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Και ούτω dunr λμ at^fmrm θΐΜπτ tuu ivIm/moii«v β^ς, nwaXKayn rm «λλ«ν 
rwt Tiii», wm\o99i rm τιΛ, ^uyn fAmw erfoc fAom. — ^Ploti"! Op. p. 771. 
















PoRPHYHY, the celebrated author of the treatises 
translated in this volume, was dignified by his 
conteinporaries, and by succeeding Platonists, 
with tike appellation of the philosopher, on account 
of his very extraordinary philosophical attain- 
ments. He is likewise called by Simplicius, the 
most homed of the philosophers, and is praised by 
Proclus for his ηξοττξε'ττη vOtifAMr», OT Conceptions 
adapted to sanctity; the truth of all which appel- 
lations is by the following treatises most abun- 
dantly and manifestly confirmed. 

A few biographical particulars only have been 
transmitted to us respecting this great man, and 
these are as follow. He was bom at Tyre, in the 
twelfth year of the reign of the Emperor Alex- 
ander Severus, and in the two hundred and 
thirty- third of the Christian era; and he died 
at Rome, when he was more than seventy years 
old, in the latter part of the Emperor Dioclesian's 
reign. He was also a disciple first of Longinus, 
and afterwards of the great Plotinus, with whom 

he became acquainted in the thirtieth year of his 



age; and it is to Porphyry we are indebted for 
the publication of the inestimable and uncom- 
monly profound works of that most extraordinary 
man. For, as I have observed in my History 
of the Restoration of the Platonic Theology, it 
was a long time before Plotinus committed his 
thoughts to writing, and gave the world a copy 
of his inimitable mind. That light which was 
destined to illuminate the philosophical world, 
as yet shone with solitary splendour, or beamed 
only on a beloved few ; and it was through Por- 
phyry alone that it at length emerged from its 
sanctuary, and displayed its radiance in full per- 
fection, and with unbounded diffusion. For Por- 
phyry, in the language of Eunapius, " like a 
Mercurial chain let down for the benefit of 
mortals, unfolded every thing with accuracy and 
clearness, by the assistance of universal eru- 

We are likewise informed, by the same Eu- 
napius, that Porphyry, when he first associated 
with Plotinus, bade farewell to all his other 
preceptors, and totally applied himself to the 
friendship of that wonderful man. Here he filled 
his mind with science, as from a perennial and 
never-satiating fount. But afterwards, being con- 
quered, as it were, by the magnitude of his doc- 
trines, he conceived a hatred of body, and could 
no longer endure the fetters of mortality. — 


" Hence/' says he *, ^' I formed an intention of 
destroying myself, which Plotinus wonderfully 
perceived; and as I was walking home, stood 
before me, and said. Your present design, Ο 
Porphyry^ is not the dictate of a sound intellect, but 
rather of a soul raging with an atrabilarious fury . 
In consequence of this he ordered me to depart 
from Rome ; and accordingly I went to* Sicily, 
having heard that a certain worthy and elegant 
man dwelt at that time about Lilybaeum. And 
thus, indeed, I was liberated from this perturba- 
tion of soul ; but was, in the meantime, hindered 
from being with Plotinus till his death." 

Porphyry also maintains a very distinguished 
rank among those great geniuses who contributed 
to the development of the genuine dogmas of 
Plato, after they had been lost for upwards of 
five hundred years ; as I have shown in my above- 
mentioned History of the Restoration of the Pla- 
tonic Theology. Among these dogmas, that which 
is transcendently important is this, — that the inef- 
fable principle of things, which is denominated 
by Plato the good and the one, is something supe- 
rior to intellect and being itself. This, as we are 
informed by Proclus, was demonstrated by Por- 
phyry, by many powerful and beautiful argu- 
ments, in his treatise Concerning Principles, 

* In Vit. Plotin. 


which is unfortunately lost. And this dogiAa;' 
Which was derived principally from the 6th book 
of the Republic, and the Parmenides, of Plato^ 
and was adopted by nil succeeding Platonists, is 
copiously unfolded, and the truth of it supported 
by reasoning replete with what Plato calls geo- 
metrical necessities, by those two great philo- 
saphical luminaries Proclus and Damascius**; the 
former of whom was the Coryphaeus of the Plato- 
nists, and the latter possessed a profoundly in- 
vestigating mind. 

Of the disciples of Porphyry the most cele- 
brated was lamblichus, a man of an uncommonly 
penetrating genius, and who, like his master 
Plato, on account of the sublimity of his con- 
ceptions, and his admirable proficiency in theo- 
logical learning, was sumamed the divine. This 
extraordinary man, though zealously attached to 
the Platonic philosophy, yet explored the wisdom 
of other sects, particularly of the Pythagoreans, 
Egyptians, and Chaldeans ; and formed one beatt- 
tiful system of recondite knowledge, from their 
harmonious conjunction*'. 

** See the 2d book of my translation of Proclus on the 
Theology of Plato, and the Introduction to my translation of 
Plato, and notes on the 3d volume of that translation. 

c S6e my translation of his Life of Pythagoras, and also of 
his treatise on the I^ysteries. The Emperor JuUan says of 
lamblichus, " that he was posterior in time, but not in genius, 
to Plato himself.*' 


With respect to the works of Porphyry ivhich 
are translated in this volume, the first, wiiitih 
is On Abstinence frorn Animal Food, is a treatise 
not only replete with great erudition, but is 
remarkable for the purity of life which it incul- 
cates, and the sanctity of conception with which 
it abounds. At the same time it must be remem- 
bered, that it was written solely, as Porphyry 
himself informs us, with a view to the man who 
wishes in the present life to liberate himself as 
much as possible from the fetters of the corporeal 
nature, in order that he may elevate his intel- 
lectual eye to the contemplation of truly-e^visting 
being (το οντοας οί/,) and may establish himself in 
deity as in hi6 paterrihl port**. But such a one, as 

< Such a man as this, is arranged by Plotinus in the claes 
of dixme men, in the following extract from my translation of hia 
U'eatise on Intdlect, Ideas, and Real Being, Ennead V. ^• 
The extract, which is uncommonly beautiful in the original, 
forms the beginning of the treatise. '^ Since all men, iiOm their 
birth, employ sense prior to intellect, and are necessarily first 
conversant with sensibles, some, proceeding no farther, pass 
tiirough life, considering these as the first and last of things, 
cmd apprehending, that whatever is painful among these, is evil, 
and whatever is pleasant, is good ; thus, thinking it sufficient to 
pursue the one and avoid the other. Those, too, among them, 
who pretend to a greater share of reason than others, esteem 
this to be wisdom ; being affected in a manner similar to more 
heavy birds, who, collecting many things from the earth, and 
being oppressed with the weight, are unable to fly on high. 



he beautifully observes, must divest himself of 
every thing of a mortal nature .which he has 
assumed, must withdraw himself from sense and 
imagination, and the irrationality with which 
they are attended, and from an adhering aflfec- 
tion and passion towards them ; and must enter 
the stadium naked and unclothed, striving for the 
most glorious of all prizes, the Olympia of the 
soul*. Hence, says he, " my discourse is not 
directed to those who are occupied in sordid 
mechanical arts, nor to those who are engaged in 
athletic exercises ; neither to soldiers nor sailors, 
nor rhetoricians, nor to those luho lead an active 

though they have received wiugs fdb thie purpose from nature. 
But others are in a small degree elevated from things subor- 
dinate, the more excellent part of the soul recalling them from 
pleasure to a more worthy pursuit. As they are, however, 
unable to look on high, and as not possessing any thing else 
which can afford them rest, they betake themselves, together 
with the name of virtue, to actions and the election of things 
inferior, from which they at first endeavoured to raise themselves, 
though in vain. In the third class is the race of divine wen, who 
through a more excellent power, and with piercing eyes, acutely 
perceive supernal light, to the vision of which they raise them- 
selves, above the clouds and darkness, as it were, of this lower 
world, and there abiding, despise every thing in these regions of 
sense; being no otherwise delighted with the place which is 
truly and properly their own, than he who, after many wander- 
ings, is at length restored to his lawful country." 

* Page 23. 


life ^; but I write to the man who considers what 
he is, whence he came, and whither he ought 
to tend, and who, in what pertains to nutriment 
and other necessary concerns, is diflferent from 
those who propose to themselves other kinds 
of life ; for to none but such as these do I direct my 
discourse *." This treatise, also, is highly valuable 
for the historical information which it contains, 
independently of the philosophical beauties with 
which it abounds. 

The Explanation of the Homeric Cave of the 
Nymphsy which follows next, is not only remark- 
able for the great erudition which it displays, but 
also for containing some profound arcana of 
the mythology and symbolical theology of the 

And the third treatise, which is denominated 

' The translator of this work, and of the other treatises con- 
tained in this' volume, haying been so circumstanced, that he 
has been obliged to mingle the active with the contemplative 
life {μΐΎΛ Oio^9iT(xot; νου ητο^κτιυαμινος) in acquiring for himself 
a knowledge of the philosophy of Plato, and disseminating that 
philosophy for the good of others, has also found it expedient to 
make use of a fleshy diet Nothing, however, but an imperious 
necessity, from causes which it would be superfluous to detail 
at present, could have induced him to adopt animal, instead of 
vegetable nutriment. But though he has been nurtured in 
£leatic and Academic studies, yet it has not been in Academic 

» Page 19. 


Auxiliaries tq the Perception of Inteliigibles, may be 
considered as an excellent introduction to the 
works of Plotinus in general, from which a great 
part of it is extracted, and in particular, to the 
following books of that most sublime genius, vis. 
On the Virtues ^ ; On the Impassivity of Incor- 
poreal Natures ' ; and On Truly-Existing Being, 
in which it is demonstrated that such being \s 
every where one and the same whole*'. This 
Porphyrian treatise, also, is admirably calculated 
to afford assistance to the student of the Theolo- 
gical Elements of Proclus, a work never to be suffi- 
ciently praised for the scientific accuracy, pro- 
fundity of conception, and luminous development 
of the most important dogmas, which it display^. 
In the fourth place. Porphyry, in his treatise 
On the Cave of the Nymphs, having informed us, 
that Numenius, the Pythagorean, considered the 
person of Ulysses, in the Odyssey, as the image 
of a man who passes in a regular manner over the 
stormy sea of generation, or a sensible life, and 
thus at length arrives at a region where tempest 
and seas are unknown, and finds a nation 


Who ne'er new salt, or heard the billows roar :*' 

I have endeavoured, by the assistance of this 

b Ennead I. 2. < £nnead III. 6. 
"* Ennead VI. lib. 4, 5. 


intimation^ to ^nfojld^ in the Af^ndix ^Μφ 
concludes the work, the secret meaniAg Qf >the 
allegory; and, I trust, in a way which will not be 
deemed by the intelligent reader either visionary 

With respect to the translation of the treatises, 
I have endeavoured faithfully to preserve both 
the matter and manner of the author ; and have 
av^ed myself of the best editions of them^ and,, 
likewise, of all the information which apprared to 
me to be most important, and most appropriate, 
from the remarks of critics and philologists, but 
especially from the elucidations of philosophers. 
This, I trust, will be evident from a perusal of the 
notes which acqompany the translation. 

Of all the other writings of Porphyry, besides 
those translated in this volume/few unfortunately 
have been preserved entire \ the greater part of 
what remains of them being fragments. Among 
these fragments, however, there is one very 
important, lately found by Angelus Maius, and 
published by him, Mediol. 1816, 8vo. It is 
nearly the whole of the Epistle of Porphyry to hiis 
wife Marcella, in which I have discovered the 

> For even with respect to the treatise On Abstinence from 
Animal Food, there is every reason to believe that something is 
wanting at the end of it. 


original of many of the Sentences of the cele- 
brated Sextus Pythagoricus °, which have been 

^ See the Latin translation of these Sentences by Ruffinus, 
in the Opuscula Mythologica of Gale. The Sentences which 
are to be found in this Epistie of Porphyry, were published by 
me, with some animadversions, in the Classical Journal, about 
two years ago ; but on account of the great importance of these 
Sentences, and for the sake of those who may not have this 
Journal in their possession, I shall here repeat what I have there 
said on tiiis subject. 

After haying premised that great praise is due to the editor 
for the publication of this EpisUe, but that, as he has taken no 
notice of the sources whence most of the beautiful moral sen- 
tences with which this Epistle abounds, are derived, it becomes 
necessary to unfold them to the reader, particularly as by this 
means several of the Sentences of Sextus Pythagoricus may be 
obtained in the original Greek ; — I then observe : 

" Previous, however, to this development, I shall present 
the reader with the emendation of the foIiowin|^ defective sen- 
tence in p. 19: To it ^ιπαιλνσθαι ovx, u πολν/χαθιια'ζ avaXn^t^ 
* • • • ψταλαξα ίι ru9 ψϋ;^*»*»» Ora^ut lOiwgiiro• The editor, not 
being an adept in the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato, con- 
ceived that ναλαξίί was a genuine word ; for he remarks, ** Nota 
vocabulum «-αλβ^Ικ," whereas it is only a part of a word, t. e. it 
is a part of α^αλλαξ^. Hence, if after βνβληψιι, the words ly 
αν-αλλαΙ» are inserted, the sentence of Porphyry will be perfect 
both in its construction and meaning, and will be in English, 
" Erudition does not consist in the resumption of polymathy, 
but is to be surveyed in a liberation from the passions pertaining 
to the soul.*' The editor, not perceiving the necessity of this 
emendation, has, by the following version, totally mistaken the 
meaning of the sentence : *' Bonam autem institutionem nun- 


hitherto supposed to be alone extant in the 
fraudulent Latin version of the Presbyter Ruf- 

quam eestimem, quee cum eruditionis copia^ animalium quoque 
passionum containinatione sordescat." 

The first sentence of which I have discovered the source, is 
from Sextus, and is the following, in p. 23 : utoq fAt» γαξ λιτά» 
ov^iyo^* σοφ 0$ ^f f/.ofov Ocov : 2. e. '^ For God is not in want of any 
thing.; but the wise man is alone in want of God." This, in 
the version of Ruffinus, is : ** Deus quidem nuUius eget, fidelis 
autem Dei solius." (Vid. Opusc. Mytholog. 8vo. 1688, p. 646.) 

2.' Τ1»σνις ττξαζίως koh ναντος 6ξγον »α% Aoyot; Θεο( iWOTrrriq ψΓΟξίστω 

και ιφοξος^ (ρ. 24) : ι, €, " Of every action, and of every deed 
and word, God is present as the scrutator and inspector.'^ This 
is evidently derived from the following sentence of Demophilus, 

(Opusc• Mythol. p. 621): Έλ» »h fji.vrifJiovtvii)qy ort οπον at S yi ^νχι/ι 
(TOVf xai TO σωμ.» e^yoy β(9Γ0ΤΕλΕ», Geo; E^comxfiy ιψοξος^ tv νασχις σον 
«fftK βνχβίκ ^^l• 'ίΤξαζίσιν^ atoiadija)} f/.t» rov ^ίωξου το αλ-ηστοιι^ ι|ικ ^* 

το» Ofoy συν<»κο9, Ζ, €. '* If you always remember, that wherever 
your soul, or your body, performs any deed, God is present as 
an inspector, in all your prayers and actions, you will reverence 
the nature of an inspector, from whom nothing can be con- 
cealed, and will have God for a cohabitant." What imme- 
diately follows in this paragraph is from Sextus, viz. kou τταντων 
ων ΤΓξατΎομεν αγαθών rov θεον αίτιον ηγωμεθα: i.e. ^* Of all the 
good that we do, we should consider God as the cause." And 
Sextus says, p. 648. *'• Deus in bonis actibus hominibus dux 
est•'' Porphyry adds : Ύων 3ε χακων αίτιοι τομείς εσμεν οι ελομενοι, 
θεός h αναίτιος. And the latter part is evidently from Sextus, 
who says, p. 648, ** Mali nullius autor est Deus." Poφhyry 
further adds : Οθεν και ευκταιον τα αζια θεού' χαι αιτωμεθα α μη 
λαζοιμεν αν τταξ* ετεξου* και ων ηγεμόνες οι μετ άδετης ττονοι, ταύτα 
ανχομεθα γενέσθαι μετά τους πόνους : ι. e. " Hence we should ask 
of God things which are worthy of him, and which we cannot 

*1« i«?HipDjjqwi^»r• 

^vs. Autd for ^n accounl; of the other enlorei 
works ftud fragments that are extaot, and also 

receive from any other. The goods also, of which labours are 
the leaders, in conjunction with virtue, we should pray that we 
may obtain after the labours [are accomplished]." All this is 
from Sextus. For, in p. 648, he says : " Heec posce k Deo, 
quse dignum est preestare Deum. £a pete k Deo, quee accipere 
ab hpihine non potes. In quibus preecedere debet labor, heec 
tibi opta evenire post laborem." Only, in this last sentence, 
RufiEinus has omitted to add, after labor, the words cum virtute. 
What Porphyry says, almost immediately after this, is precisely 
the fir$t of the Sentences of Demophilus, (Opusc. MythoL 
p. 626), viz. ^A Se κτήσαμενος ου κο^ύεξεις, μη οατου τταξα θεού' ίοΛξον 
γοξ $εου τταν αναψαίξετον' αχηε ου ίωσει ο μη καθεζεις : ι. e. ** Do 
not ask of God that which, when you have obtained, you can- 
not preserve. For every gift of God is incapable of being taken 
away; so that he will not give that which you cannot retain.** 
The sentence immediately following this is ascribed to Pytha- 
goras, and is to be found in the Sentences of Stobeeus, (edit. 
1609, p. 65): viz. X2v ^ε του σώματος ατταλλαγεισα ου ίεη&ησγ, 
εκείνων χαταφξονει' και ων αν α/ίτού^^γεισ» tgri, εις ταύτα συ 
βσκουμενη τον θεον τταξεκΰίκει γενέσθαι συλληπτοξα. In Stobseu^y 
however, there is some difference, so as to render the sentence 
more complete. For immediately after καταφρονείς there is πάν- 
των ; for ίεηθηση there is ίεηση ; for ieij, ίεησνι ; for τον θεον, τους 
θεούς ; for συ ασκούμενη, σοι ασκούμενα) ; and instead of γενέσθαι, 
συ»χν7Γτοξα, γενέσθαι σοι συΧΚινπτοξα. This, therefore, translated, 
will be : '^ Despise .all those things which, when liberated froqi 
the body, you will not want ; and exercising yourself in those 
things, of which, when liberated from the body, you will be 
in want, invoke the Gods to become your helpers." In pp. 27 
and 28, Porphyry says, αίξετωτεξου σοι οντος [^Χξνιματα^ εική 


of the los* writings^^ of Ψ&ίφργ^ I-refer the^ 
rSadet to the Bilbliotheca; G^raBca of Fabricii^ and^ 

βαλΒίν ti Xoyor xat ro ηττασθβΐ τ αληθή λέγοντα, ti νικαν απατκντα : 
ύ €. " It should be more eligible to you carelessly to throw 
away riches than reason ; and to be vanquished when speaking 
the truth, than to vanquish by deception." And the latter part 
of this sentence is to be found in Sextus: for in p. 649 he says, 
'' Melius est vinci vera dicentem, quam vincere, mentientem. 
Almost immediately after Porphyry adds, Αδύνατον τον αυτόν 
φ^ύεον τε εινα^ και φιληίονον και φιλοσαματον ο γαξ, ψιληίονος 
MCU φιλοοΌματος . πάντως χμ ψίλοχξτιματο^ ο ίε φιλοχξπματος, εξ 
ύηοημοΜ o^uto^ ο ίε αίΐΗος^ και εις θεον not εις ττατΒξίχς ανόσιος^ και 
&ς Ύους α>Χους 'παζονομος' ώστε καν εκατομβας ύνγ,• και μυξίοις 
ΰεΜ^ημασι νε&ς αγαλλιι, ασεβϊΐς εστί και αΒεο^ κάι rjf τςοαίζεσεί 
Οζο^υλοςτ ίϊο και "πάντα φιλοσαματον ως a&eov και μΑαξον εκτςετΓεσθαί 
Xpf, Thi» sentence is the last of the Sentences of Demophilus, 
(Opttsc*. Mythol. p. 625); but in Porphyry it is in one part 
defective, and in another is fuller than in DemopUlus^ For in 
the first colon, φιλοχξηματον b wantmg : in the second ccdon, 
after ο γαξ φιληίονος km φιλοσωματος, the words ο ίε φιλοσωματος 
af#e wanting. And in Demophilus, instead of ο if αίικος και 
Βίς θεον και εις ιτατεξος ανόσιος^ και εις τους άλλους 'παξανομος, there 
18' nothing more than ο ίε αίικος, εις μεν θεόν ανόσιος, εις ίε ανθξωττους 
^αξονομος. In Demophilus also, after ώστε καν εκατομ€ας θυη 
the words και μυξίοις αναθημασι τους νεως αγαλλη, are wanting. 
And in Porphyry, after νεως αγαλλτι, the words 'πολύ μάλλον 
ανοσιωτεξος εστί, και, are wanting. This sentence therefore, thus 
amended, will be in English, *^ It is impossible for the same 
person to be a lover of God, a lover of pleasure, a lover of body, 
and a lover of riches. For a lover of pleasure is also a lover of 
body; but a lover of body is entirely a lover of riches; and a 


to my before-mentioned History of the Restora- 
tion of the Platonic Theology ; in which latter 

lover of riches is necessarily unjust. But he who is unjust 
b impious towards God and his parents, and lawless towards 
others. So that, though he should sacrifice hecatombs, and 
adorn temples with ten thousand gifts, he will be much more 
unholy, impious, atheistical, and sacrilegious in his deliberate 
choice. Hence it is necessary to avoid every lover of body, as 
one who is without God, and is defiled." 

3. The following passages in the epistle of Porphyry, are 
from SextUS : Ο λ άξιος αν^ξανος Of ο ν, Btoq a» cm, (p. 30,) t. €. 
** The man who is worthy of God, will be himself a God." And 
Sextus says, '^ Dignus Deo homo, deus est et in hominibus.*' 
(p. 654.) Porphyry says, Ke» τψησ^ς μ,ιΐβ αξίστΛ τον Oso», οτα» τψ 
Oitf Ti}y σαυτης λανοια» oμ.o^tισ't^ςf (ρ. 30,) t. e• ** And you will 
honour God in the best manner, when you assimilate your 
reasoning power to God." Thus also Sextus, " Optime honorat 
Deum ille, qui mentem suam, quantum fieri potest, similem Deo 
facit/' (p. 655.) Again, Porphyry says, Θιος it αν^ξωιρον /?ι/3βιοι 

Τζασσοντα καλά' xaicuv it ΌΤξΛζίωψ ΗΛκος δαίμων nyt^uvy (p. 31): i,e» 

*' God corroborates man when he performs beautiful deeds ; but 
an evil deemon is the leader of bad actions.'' And Sextus says, 
*^ Deus bonos actus hominum confirmat. Malorum actuum, 
malus deemon dux est." (p. 653). Porphyry adds, Ύνχη h σοψου 

αριιοζίΤΛΐ νξος Oeoy, an θιον θρβ(, •συησηρ an Oso;, (ρ• 31,) i, e. '^ The 

soul of the wise man is adapted to God; it always beholds 
God, and is always present with God." Thus, too, Sextus, 
*^ Sapientis anima audit Deum, sapientis anima aptatur k Deo, 
sapientis anima semper est cum Deo, (p. 655). There is, how- 
ever, some difference between the original and the Latin version, 
which is most probably owing to the fraud of Ruffinus. And in 


Work, in speaking of Porphyry's lost treatise 
on the Reascent of the Soul, I have given a 

the last place. Porphyry says^ Αλλα 1tξyιv^ς ινσι^ε^ας σοι νο^ιζισθα; 

91 ψιλαν^ρνιηοί, (ρ. 58,) t. e, *^ Philanthropy should be considered 
by you as the foundation of piety." And Sextus says, " Fun- 
damentum et initium est cultus Dei, amare Dei homines." 
(p. 654). Ruffinus, however, in this version, fraudulently trans- 
lates f »λβ»Ο^Α^»α, amare Dei homines, in order that this sentence, 
as well as the others, might appear to be written by Sixtus the 
bishop ! 

4. The learned reader will find the following passages in 
the Epistle of Porphyry, to be sentences of Demophilus, viz. 
Αογον yotg θεού τοις υπο hing ίιεφθαρμενοις λέγειν, «.τ.λ. usque ad 
ίσον φέξει, (ρ. 29). Ουχ η γλωττα του σοφού τιμιον τταξα θεω, «.τ.λ. 
usque ad μονός ειίως ευξασΟαι, (ρ. 32). Ου χολωθεντες ουν οι θεοί 
βλΛΤττουοΊ, *.τ.λ. usque ad 6εω ίε ουίεν αβουλητον, (ρ. 35). Ούτε 
ίακρυα και ικετειαι 6εον εττιστξεφουσΊ, ούτε θυτη'πολία θεον τιμωσιν^ 
ούτε αναύτιματων ΤΓλτιθος κοσμουσι θεον, χ.τ.λ. usque ad ίε/ο^νλοις 
xopnyiuy (p. 36). In which passage» however, there is a remark- 
able difference, as the learned reader will find, between the text 
of Porphyry and that of Demophilus. Eav ow αει μνυμονευτις, 
οτι ο'που αν »» ψν%» σου ττερί'ρτατγ, και το σώμα ενεργον (lege έργον,) 
α^οτελή, *.τ.λ. usque ad τον θεον συνοιηον, (ρ. 37). Ο συνετός 
ανηρ και θεοφιλής, κ, τ, λ, usque ad σττουίάζεται ^ονησας, (ρ. 54). 
Γυμνός ίε αττοσταλεις [σοφος^ η, τ, λ, usque ad εΊτηκοος ο θεός, 
(ρ. 54.) Χαλεττωτεξον ίουλευειν τταθεσιν ί τυραννοις. And οσα γαρ 
ΤΓοΙθη ^υχης, τοσούτοι και ωμοί ίεσττοται, (ρ. 57). And lastly, 
9Γ0λλΔί γαρ κξειττον τεθναναι 5 h' ακξασιαν την 4^υχην αμαυρωσαι, 
(ρ. 58). In all these passages, it will be found, by comparing 
them with Porphyry, that they occasionally differ from the text 
of Demophilus, yet not so as to alter the sense. 

lod^aiid iimit m/tetesifiti^ eirtratut is^ative to that 
treadise» ftaat Synesius^ o& Dreame. 

I only addy that many of the Sentences of Demophihis will 
be found among those of Sextas. Nor is this at all wonderful^ 
as it was usual with the Pythagoreans^ from their exalted notions 
of friendship, to consider the work of one of them as the pro- 
duction of all. 







I. Hearing from some of our acquaintance, Ο Firmus*, 
that you, having rejected a fieshless diet, have again 
returned to animal food, at first I did not credit the 
report, when I considered your temperance, and the 
reverence which you have been taught to pay to those 
ancient and pious men from whom we have received the 
precepts of philosophy. But when others who came 
after these confiimed this report, it appeared to me that 
it would be too rustic and remote from the rational 
method of persuasion to reprehend you, who neither, 
according to the proverb, flying from evil have found 
something better, nor according to Empedocles, having 
lamented your former life, have converted yourself to one 
that is more excellent. I have therefore thought it 
worthy of the friendship which subsists between us, and 
also adapted to those who have arranged their life con- 

*■ Porphyry elsewhere calls this Firmus Castricius his friend and 
fellow disciple. See more concerning him in Porphyry's Life of 



formably to truth, to disclose your errors through a con- 
futation derived from an argumentative discussion. 

2^ For when I considered with myself what could be 
the cause of this alteration in your diet, I could by 
no means suppose that it was for the sake of health and 
strength, as the vulgar and idiots would say ; since, on 
the contrary, you yourself, when you were with us, con- 
fessed that a fleshless diet contributed both to health and 
to the proper endurance of philosophic labours ; and 
experience testifies, that in saying this yo.u spoke the 
truth. It appears, therefore, that you have returned to 
your former illegitimate^ conduct, either through decep- 
tion % because you think it makes no difference with 
respect to the acquisition of wisdom whether you use this 
or that diet; or perhaps through some other cause of 
which I am ignorant, which excited in you a greater fear 
than that which could be produced by the impiety of 
transgression. For I should not say that you have 
despised the philosophic laws which we derived from our 
ancestors, and which you have so much admired, through 
intemperance, or for the sake of voracious gluttony; or 
that you are naturally inferior to some of the vulgar, who, 
when they have assented to laws, though contrary to 
those under which they formerly lived, will suffer ampu- 
tation [rather than violate them], and will abstain from 
certain animals on which they before fed, more than they 
' would from human flesh. 

3. But when I was also informed by certain persons 
that you even employed arguments against those who 
abstained from animal food, I not only pitied, but was 


i> νοξΛνοΐΑ,η/ΜΐΎΛ, Porphyry calls the conduct of Firraas illegitimaie, 
because the feeding on flesh is for the most part contrary to the laws of 
genuine philosophy. 

^ The original in this place is, « ^* awamv ow, « to f^nhv Sut^r^Kv tytia-Bat 
ψτξος ^ξοησ-ιν^ »,τ.λ. ; but, for « τβ /t**iisv ha<ps^iv^ I read 5*» ro μαίεν ^α<ρ$ξΜ, 
And this appears to have been the reading which Felicianus found in his 
MS. ; for his version of this passage is, " Vel igitur deceptione inductiis, 
ll^od sive hoc sive illo modo vescnris, &c.'* 

ANIMAJL food. — BOOK I. 3 

indignant with you, that, being persuaded by certain 
frigid and very corrupt sophisms, you have deceived 
yourself, and have endeavoured to subvert a dogma which is 
both ancient and dear to the Gods. Hence it appeared to 
me to be requisite not only to show you what our own 
opinion is on this subject, but also to collect and dissolve 
the arguments of our opponents, which are much stronger 
than those SKlduced by you in multitude and power, and 
every other apparatus ; and thus to demonstrate, that 
truth is not vanquished even by those arguments which 
seem to be weighty, and much less by superficial 
sophisms. For you are perhaps ignorant, that not a few 
philosophers are adverse to abstinence from animal food, 
but that this is the case with those of the Peripatetic and 
Stoic sects, and with most of the Epicureans ; the last 
of whom have written in opposition to the philosophy of 
Pythagoras and Empedocles, of which you once were 
studiously emulous. To this abstinence, likewise, many 
philologists are adverse, among whom Clodius the Nea- 
politan wrote a treatise against those who abstain from 
flesh. Of these men I shall adduce the disquisitions and 
common arguments against this dogma, at the same time 
omitting those reasons which are peculiarly employed by 
them against the demonstrations of Empedocles. 

The Arguments of the Peripatetics and Stoics, from 

Heraclides Ponticus^. 

4. Our opponents therefore say, in the first place, 
that justice will be confounded, and things immoveable 
be moved, if we extend what is just, not only to the 
rational, but also to the irrational nature ; conceiving that 
not only Gods and men pertain to us, but that there 
is likewise an alliance between us and brutes, who [in 
reality] have no conjunction with us. Nor shall we 
employ some of them in laborious works, and use others 
for food, from a conviction that the association which 145 

<* This philosopher was an auditor of Plato and Speusippus. 


between us and them^ in the same manner as that of 
some foreign polity, pertain» to a tribe different from 
ours, and is dishonourable. For he who uses these as if 
they were men, sparing and not injuring them, thus 
endeavouring to adapt to justice that which it cannot 
bear, both destroys its power, and corrupts that which is 
appropriate, by the introduction of what is foreign. For 
it necessarily follows, either that we act unjustly by 
sparing them, or if we sp^re and do not employ them, 
that it will be impossible for us to live. We shall also, 
after a manner, live the life of brutes, if we reject the. use 
which they are capable of affording. 

5. For I shall omit to mention the innumerable multi- 
tude of Nomades and Troglodytes, who know of no other 
nutriment than that of flesh ; but to us who appear to 
live mildly and philanthropically, what work would be 
left for us on the earth or in the sea, what illustrious art, 
what ornament of our food would remain, if we conducted 
ourselves innoxiously and reverentially towards brutes, 
as if they were of a kindred nature with us? For it 
would be impossible to assign any work, any medicine, 
or any remedy for the want which is destructive of 
life, or that we can act justly, unless we preserve the 
ancient boundary and law. 

To fishes, savage beasts, and birds, devoid 
Of justice, Jove to devour each other 
Granted; but justice to mankind be gave *. 

i, e. towards each other. 

6. But it is not possible for us to act unjustly towards 
those to whom we are not obliged to act justly. Hence, 
for those who reject this reasoning, no other road of 
justice is left, either broad or narrow, into which they can 
enter. For, as we have already observed, our nature, not 
being sufficient to itself, but indigent of many things, 
would be entirely destroyed, and enclosed in a life 
involved in difficulties, unorganic, and deprived of neces- 

• Hesiod. Op. et Di. lib. I. v. 275, &c. 


SEries^ if excluded from the assistance derived from 
animals. It is likewise said^ that those first men did not 
live prosperously ; for this superstition did not stop 
at animals^ but compelled its votaries even to spare 
plants. For, indeed, what greater injury does he do, who 
cuts the throat of an ox or a sheep^ than he who cuts 
down a fir tree or an oak? since^ from the doctrine of 
transmigration, a soul is also implanted in these. These 
therefore are the principal arguments of the Stoics and 

The Arguments of the epicureans, from Hermachus^. 

7. The Epicureans, however, narrating, as it were, 
a long genealogy, say, that the ancient legislators» look- 
ing to the association of life, and the mutual actions 
of men, proclaimed that manslaughter was unholy, and 
punished it with no casual disgrace. Perhaps, indeed, 
a certain natural alliance which exists in men towards 
each other, through the similitude of form and soul, 
is the reason why they do not so readily destroy an 
animal of this kind, as some of the other animals which 
are conceded to our use. Neverthele§s, the greatest 
cause why manslaughter was considered as a thing 
grievous to be borne, and impious, was the. opinion that 
it did not contribute to the whole nature and condition of 
human life. For, from a principle of this kind, those who 
are capable of perceiving the advantage arising from this 
decree, require no other cause of being restrained from a 
deed so dire. But those who are not able to have a 
sufficient perception of this, being terrified by the magni^ 
tude of the punishment, will abstain from readily destroy- 
ing each other. For those, indeed, who survey the 
utility of the before-mentioned ordinance, will promptly 
observe it ; but those who are not able to perceive the 
benefit with which it is attended, will obey the mandate, 

^ This philosopher was a Mitylenaean, and is said to have been an 
auditor of, and also the successor of* £picurus. 



in consequence of fearing the threatenings of the laws ; 
which threatenings certain persons ordained for the sake of 
those who could not, by a reasoning process, infer the 
beneficial tendency of the decree, at the same time that 
niost would admit this to be evident. 

8. For none of those legal institutes which were 
established from the first, whether \Yritten or unwritten, 
and which still remain, and are adapted to be transmitted, 
[from one generation to another] became lawful through 
violence, but through the consent of those that used 
them. For those who introduced things of this kind to 
the multitude, excelled in wisdom, and not in strength of 
body, and the power which subjugates the rabble. Hence, 
through this, some were led to a rational consideration 
of utility, of which before they had only an irrational 
sensation, and which they had frequently forgotten ; but 
others were terrified by the magnitude of the punish- 
ments'. For it was not possible to use any other remedy 
for the ignorance of what is beneficial, than the dread of 
the punishment ordained by law. For this alone even 
now keeps the vulgar in awe, and prevents them from 
doing any thing, either publicly or privately, which is not 
beneficial [to the community]. But if all men were 
similarly capable of surveying and recollecting what is 
advantageous, there would be no need of laws, but men 
would spontaneously avoid such things as are prohibited, 
and perform "such as they were ordered to do. For 
the survey of what is useful and detrimental, is a suffi- 
cient incentive to the avoidance of the one and the 
choice of the other. But the infliction of punishment 
has a reference to those who do not foresee what is bene- 
ficial. For impendent punishment forcibly compels such 
as these to subdue those impulses which lead them 
to useless actions, and to do that whicli is right. 

9. Hence also, legislators ordained, that even invo- 
luntary manslaughter should not be entirely void of 
punishment ; in order that they might not only afford no 
pretext for the voluntary imitation of those deeds which 


were iDToluDtarily performed, but also that they might 
prevent many things of this kind from taking place, 
which happen, in reality, involuntarily. For neitbi^ 
is thiis advantageous through the same causes by whicb 
men were forbidden voluntarily to destroy each other. 
Since, therefore, of involuntary deeds, some proceed from 
a cause which is unstable, and which cannot be guarded 
against by human nature; but others are produced by 
our negligence and inattention to diflFerent circumstances; 
hence legislators, wishing to restrain that indolence which 
is injurious to our neighbours, did not even leave ai^ 
involuntary noxious deed without punishment, but, 
through the fear of penalties, prevented the commission 
of numerous offences of this kind. I also am of opinion, 
that the slaughters which are allowed by law, and which 
receive their accustomed expiations through certain puri- 
fications, were introduced by tho^e ancient legislators, 
who first very properly instituted these things for no 
other reason than that they wished to prevent men 
ias much as possible from voluntary slaughter. For the 
vulgar every where require something which may impede 
them from promptly performing what is not advantageous 
[to the community]. Hence those who first perceived 
this to be the case, not only ordained the punishment 
of fines, but also excited a certain other irrational dread, 
through proclaiming those not to be pure who in any 
way whatever had slain a man, unless thej»used purifica- 
tions after the commission of the deed. For that part of 
the soul which is void of intellect, being variously dis- 
ciplined, acquired a becoming mildness, certain taming 
arts having been from the first invented for the purpose 
of subduing the irrational impulses of desire, by those 
who governed the people. And one of the precepts pro- 
mulgated on this occasion was, that men should not 
destroy each other without discrimination. 

10. Those, however, who first defined what we ought 
to do, and what we ought not, very properly did not 
forbid US to kill, other animals. For the advantage 


arising from tJiese is effected by a contrary practice, 
since, it is not possible that men could be preserved, 
unless they endeavoured to defend those who are nur* 
tured with themselves from the attacks of other animals. 
At that time, therefore, some of those, of the most 
elegant manners, recollecting that they abstained from 
slaughter because it was useful to the public safety, they 
also reminded the rest of the people in their mutual asso-^ 
ciations of what was the consequence of this abstinence ; 
in order that, by refraining from the slaughter of their 
kindred, they might preserve that communion which 
greatly contributes to the peculiar safety of each indi- 
vidual. But it was not only found to be useful for men 
not to separate from each other, and not to do any thing 
injurious to those who were collected together in the 
same place, for the purpose of repelling the attacks 
of animals of another species; but also for defence 
against men whose design was to act nefariously. To a 
certain extent, therefore, they abstained from the slaughter 
of men, for these reasons, viz. in order that there might 
be a communion among them in things that are neces- 
sary, and that a certain utility might be afforded in each 
of the above-mentioned incommodities. In the course of 
time, however, when the offspring of mankind, through 
their intercourse with each other, became more widely 
extended, and animals of a different species were ex- 
pelled, certain persons directed their attention in a 
rational way to what was useful to men in their mutual 
nutriment, and did not alone recal this to their memory in 
an irrational manner. 

11. Hence they endeavoured still more firmly to 
restrain those who readily destroyed each other, and who, 
through an oblivion of past transactions, prepared a more 
imbecile defence. But in attempting to effect this, they 
introduced those legal institutes which still remain in 
cities and nations ; the multitude spontaneously assenting 
to them, in consequence of now perceiving, in a greater 
degree, the advantage arising from an association with 


each other. For the destruction of every thing noxious, 
and the . preservation of that which is subservient to 
its extermination^ similarly contribute to a fearless life* 
And hence it is reasonable to suppose^ that one. of. the 
above-mentioned particulars was forbidden, but that the 
other was not prohibited. Nor must it be said^ that the 
law allows us to destroy some animals which are not 
corruptive of human nature, and which are not in any 
other way injurious to our life. For, as I may say, 
no animal among those which the law permits us to kill is 
of this kind; since, if we suffered them to increase 
excessively, they would become injurious to . us. But 
through the number of them which is now preserved, 
certain advantages are imparted to human life. For 
sheep and oxen, and every such like . animal, when the 
number of them is moderate, are beneficial to our neces- 
sary wants ; but if they become redundant in the extreme, 
and far exceed the number which is sufficient, they then 
become detrimental to our life ; the latter by employing 
their strength, in consequence of participating of this 
through an innate power of nature, and the former, 
by consuming the nutriment which springs up from the. 
earth for our benefit alone. Hence, through this cause, 
the slaughter of animals of this kind is not prohibited, in 
order that as many of them as are sufficient for our 
use, and which we may be. able easily to subdue, may be 
left. For it is not with horses, oxen, aifd sheep, and 
with all tame animals, as it is with lions and wolves, and, 
in short, with all such as are called savage animals, that, 
whether the number of them is small or great, no 
multitude of them can be assumed, which, if left, would 
alleviate the necessity of our life. And on this account, 
indeed, we utterly destroy some of them; but of others, 
we take away as many as are found to be more than com- 
mensurate to our use. 

12. On this account, from the above-mentioned 
causes, it is similarly requisite to think, that what per- 
tains to the eating of animals, was ordained by thgse who. 


from the first established the laws ; and that the advan- 
tageous and the disadvantageous were the causes why 
some animals were permitted to be eaten and others not. 
So that those who assert, that every thing beautiful and 
just subsists conformably to the peculiar opinions of men 
respecting those who established the laws, are full of 
a certain most profound stupidity. For it is not possible 
that this thing can take place in any other way than that 
in which the other utilities of life subsist, such as those 
that are salubrious, and an innumerable multitude of 
others. Erroneous opinions, however, are entertained in 
many particulars, both of a public and private nature. 
For certain persons do not perceive those legal institutes, 
which are similarly adapted to all men ; but some, con- 
ceiving them to rank among things of an indifferent 
nature, omit them ; while others, who are of a contrary 
opinion, think that such things as are not universally pro- 
fitable, are every where advantageous. Hence, through 
tliis cause, they adhere to things which are unappro- 
priate ; though in certain particulars they discover what is 
advantageous to themselves, and what contributes to 
general utility. And among these are to be enumerated 
the eating of animals, and the legally ordained destruc- 
tions which are instituted by most nations on account 
of the peculiarity of the region. It is not necessary, 
however, that these institutes should be preserved by us, 
because we do not dwell in the same place as those did 
by whom they were made. If, therefore, it was possible 
to make a certain compact with other animals in the 
same manner as with men, that we should not kill them, 
nor they us, and that they should not be indiscriminately 
destroyed by us, it would be well to extend justice as far 
as to this ; for this extent of it would be attended 
with security. But since it is among things impossible, 
that animals which are not recipients of reason should 
participate with us of law, on this account, utility cannot 
be in a greater degree procured by security from other 
animals, than from inanimate natures. But we can alone 


obtain security from the liberty which we now possess of 
putting them to death. And such are the arguments of 
the Epicureans. 

The Arguments of Claudius the NeapolitaUy who published 
a Treatise against Abstinence from Animal Food. 

13. It now remains, that we should adduce what 
plebeians and the vulgar are accustomed to say on this 
subject. For they say, that the ancients abstained from 
animals, not through piety, but because they did not yet 
know the use of fire ; but that as soon as they became 
acquainted with its utility, they then conceived it to 
be most honourable and sacred. They likewise called it 
Vesta, and from this the appellation of convestals or com- 
panions was derived; and afterwards they began to use 
animals. For it is natural to man to eat flesh, but con- 
trary to his nature to eat it raw. Fire, therefore, being 
discovered, they embraced what is natural, and admitted 
the eating of boiled and roasted flesh. Hence lynxes are 
[said by Homer ^ to be] crudivorous, or eaters qffaiofksh; 
and of Priam, also, he says, as a disgraceful circum- 

Raw flesh by you, Ο Priam, is devoured ''. 


Raw flesh, dilacerating, he devoured'. 

And this is said, as if the eating of raw flesh per- 
tained to the impious. Telemachus, also, when Minerva 
was his guest, placed before her not raw, but roasted 
flesh. At first, therefore, men did not eat animals, for 
man is not [naturally] a devourer of raw flesh. But 
when the use of fire was discovered, fire was employed 
not only for the cooking of flesh, but also for most other 
eatables. For that man is not [naturally] adapted to eat 

t Iliad, XL V. 479. ^ Iliad, IV. v. 35. 

^ Iliad, XXII. v. 347. 


raw fleshy is evident from certain nations that feed on 
jfishes. For these they roast, some upon stones that 
are very much heated by the sun ; but others roast them 
in the sand. That man, however, is adapted to feed on 
flesh, is evident from this, that no nation abstains from 
animal food. Nor is this adopted by the Greeks through 
depravity, since the same custom is admitted by the bar- 

14. But he who forbids men to feed on animals^ arid 
thinks it is unjust, will also say that it is not just to kill 
them, and deprive them of life. Nevertheless, an innate 
and just war is implanted in us against brutes. For some 
of them voluntarily attack men, as, for instance, wolves 
and lions ; others not voluntarily, as serpents, since they 
bite not, except they are trampled on. And some, 
indeed, attack men ; but others destroy the fruits of the 
earth. From all these causes, therefore, we do not spare 
the life of brutes ; but we destroy those who commence 
hostilities against us, as also those who do not, lest 
we should suffer any evil from them. For there is no one 
who, if he sees a serpent, will not, if he is able, destroy it, 
in order that neither it, nor any other serpent, may bite a 
man. And this arises, not only from our hatred of those 
that are the destroyers of our race, but likewise from 
that kindness which subsists between one man and 
another. But though the war against brutes is just, yet 
we abstain from many which associate with men. Hence, 
the Greeks do not feed either on dogs, or horses, or 
asses, because of these, those that are tame are of the 
same species as the wild. Nevertheless, they eat swine 
and birds. For a hog is not useful for any thing but 
food. The Phoenicians, however, and Jews, abstain from 
it, because, in short, it is not produced in those places. 
For it is said, that this animal is not seen in Ethiopia 
even at present. As, therefore, no Greek sacrifices 
a camel or an elephant to the Gods, because Greece does 
not produce these animals^ so neither is a hog sacrificed 
to the Gods in Cyprus or Phoenicia, because it is not 



indigenous in those places. And» for the same reason, 
neither do the Egyptians sacrifice this animal to the 
Gods« In short, that some nations abstain from a hog, is 
similar to our being unwilling to eat the flesh of camels. 

15. But why should any one abstain from animals? 
Is it because feeding on them makes the soul or the body 
worse ? It is, however, evident, that neither of these is 
deteriorated by it. For those animals that feed on flesh ' 
are more sagacious than others^ as they are venatic, and 
possess an art. by which they supply themselves with 
food, and acquire power and strength; as is evident 
in lions and wolves. So that the eating of flesh neither 
injures the soul nor the body. This likewise is manifest, 
both frojn the athletse, whose bodies become stronger 
by feeding on flesh, and from physicians, who restore 
bodies to health by the use of animal food. For this 
is no small indication that Pythagoras did not think 
sanely, that none of the wise men embraced his opinion ; 
since neither any one of the seven wise men, nor any 
of the physiologists who lived after them, nor even the 
most wise Socrates, or his followers, adopted it. 

16. Let it, however, be admitted that all men are 
persuaded of the truth of this dogma, respecting absti- 
nence from animals. But what will be the boundary of 
the propagation of animals? For no one is' ignorant how 
numerous the progeny is of the swine and the hare. 
And to these add all other animals. Whence, therefore, 
will they be supplied with pasture ? And what will hus- 
bandmen do ? For they will not destroy those who destroy 
the fruits of the earth. And the earth will not be able 
to bear the multitude of animals. Corruption also will 
be produced from the putridity of those that will die. 
And thus, from pestilence taking place, no refuge will 
be left. For the sea, and rivers, and marshes, will be 
filled with fishes, and the air with birds, but the earth 
will be full of reptiles of every kind. 

17. How many likewise will be prevented from hay- 
ing their diseases cured, if animals are abstained from? 


For we see that those who are blind recover their sight 
by eating a viper. A servant of Craterus, the physician^ 
happening to be seized with a new kind of disease, in 
which the flesh fell away from the bones, derived no 
benefit from medicines ; but by eating a viper prepared 
after the manner of a fish, the flesh became conglutinated 
to the bones, and he was restored to health. Many 
other animals also, and their several parts> cure diseases 
when they are properly used for that purpose ; of all which 
remedies he will be frustrated who rejects animal food. 

18. But if, as they say, plants also have a soul, what 
will become of our life if we neither destroy animals 
nor plants? If, however, he is not impious who cuts 
off plants, neither will he who kills animals. 

19. But some one may, perhaps, say it is not proper 
to destroy that which belongs to the same tribe with 
ourselves ; if the souls of animals are of the same essence 
with ourselves. If, however, it should be granted that 
souls are inserted in bodies voluntarily, it must be said 
that if is through a love of juvenility : for in the season 
of youth there is an enjoyment of all things. Why, 
therefore, do they not again enter into the nature of 
man ? But if they enter voluntarily, and for the sake of 
juvenility, and pass through every species of animals, 
they will be much gratified by being destroyed. For 
thus their return to the human form will be more rapid. 
The bodies also which are eaten will not produce any 
pain in the souls of those bodies, in consequence of the 
souls being liberated from them ; and they will love to 
be implanted in the nature of man. Hence, as much as 
they are pained on leaving the human form, so much will 
they rejoice when they leave other bodies. For thus 
they will more swiftly become man again, who predo- 
minates over, all irrational animals, in the same manner 
as God does over men. There is, therefore, a sufficient 
cause for destroying other animals, viz. their acting 
unjustly in destroying men. But if the souls of men 
are immortal, but those of irrational animals mortal, men 


will not act unjustly by destroying irrational animals. 
And if the souls of brutes are immortal, we shall benefit 
them by liberating them from their bodies. For, by 
killing them, we shall cause them to return to the human 
nature. • 

20. If, however, we [only] defend ourselves [in put- 
ting animals to death], we do not act unjustly, but we 
take vengeance on those that injure us. Hence, if the 
souls of brutes are indeed immortal, we benefit them by 

Η destroying them. But if their souls are mortal, we do 
nothing impious in putting them to death. And if we 
defend ourselves against them, how is it possible that in 
so doing we should not act justly. For we destroy, 
indeed, a serpent and a scorpion, though they do not 
attack us, in order that some other person may not be 
injured by them ; and in so doing we defend the human 
race in general. But shall we not act justly in putting 
those animals to death, which either attack men, or those 
that associate with men, or injure the fruits of the earth ? 

21. If, however, some one should, nevertheless, think 
it is unjust to destroy brutes, such a one should neither 
use milk, nor wool, nor sheep, nor honey. For, as you 
injure a man by taking from him his garments, thus, also, 
you injure a sheep by shearing it. For the wool which 
you take from it is its vestment. Milk, likewise, wa» 
not produced for you, but for the young of the animal 
that has it. The bee also collects honey as food for 
itself; which you, by taking away, administer to your 
own pleasure. I pass over in silence the opinion of the 
Egyptians, that we act unjustly by meddling with plants. 
But if these things were produced for our sake, then the 
bee, being ministrant to us, elaborates honey, and the 
wool grows on the back of sheep, that it may be an orna- 
ment to us, and afford us a bland heat. 

22. Co-operating also with the Gods themselves in 
what contributes to piety, we sacrifice animals : for, of 
the Gods, Apollo, indeed, is called λυκοκτονος, the slayer of 
wolves: and Diana, θηξοκτονοζ, the destroyer of vnld beasts. 


Demi-gods likewise, and all the heroes who excel ui 
both in origin and virtue, have so much approved of the 
slaughter of animals, that they have sacrificed to the Gods 
Dodeceides ^ and Hecatombs. But Hercules, among other 
things, is celebrated for being an ox-devourer, 

23. It is, however, stupid to say that Pythagoras 
exhorted men to abstain from animals, in order that he 
might, in the greatest possible degree, prevent them from 
eating each other. For, if all men at the time of Pytha- 
goras were anthropophagites, he must be delirious who 
drew men away from other animals, in order that they 
might abstain from devouring each other. For^ on this 
account, he ought rather to have exhorted them to 
become anthropophagites, by showing them that it was an 
equal crime to devour each other, and to eat the flesh 
of oxen and swine. But if men at that time did not eat 
each other, ' what occasion was there for this dogma ? 
And if he established this law for himself and his asso- 
ciates, the supposition that he did so is disgraceful. For 
it demonstrates that those who lived with Pythagoras 
were anthropophagites. 

24. For we say that the very contrary of what he con- 
jectured *would happen. For, if we abstained from ani- 
mals, we should not only be deprived of pleasure and 
riches of this kind, but we should also lose our fields, 
which would be destroyed by wild beasts ; since the 
whole earth would be occupied by serpents and birds, so 
that it would be difficult to plough the land ; the scat- 
tered seeds would immediately be gathered by the birds ; 
and all such fruits as had arrived at perfection, would 
be consumed by quadrupeds. But men being oppressed 
by such a want of food, would be compelled, by bitter 
necessity, to attack each other. 

25. Moreover, the Gods themselves, for the sake of a 
remedy, have delivered mandates to many persons about 
sacrificing animals. For history is full of instances of 

^ i. e. Sacrifices from tweh'C animals. 


tSie Crbds fiaving ordered certain person^ to sacrifice 
animals» and, wjien sacrificed» to eat them. For, in the 
return of the Heraplidse/ those who engaged * in war 
against Lacedeemon, in conjunction with Eurysthenee 
and Proscles» through a want of necessaries» were com- 
pelled to eat serpents, which the land at that time 
afforded for the nutriment of the army. In Libya, also, 
a cloud^ of locusts fell for the relief of ai^other army that 
was oppressed by hunger. The same diing likewise hap- 
pened at Gades. Bogus was a king of th^ Mauritanians» 
who was slain by Agrippa in Mothone. He in that 
place attacked the temple of Hercules, which was most 
rich. But it was the custom of the priests daily to 
sprinkle the altar with blood. That this» however, was 
not efiected by the decision of men, but by that of 
divinity» the occasion at that time demonstrated. For, 
the siege being continued for a long time» victims were 
wanting. But the priest being dubious how he should 
act» had the following vision in a dream. He seemed 
to himself to be standing in the middle- of the pillars 
of the temple of Hercules» and afterwards to see a bird 
sitting opposite to the altar» and endeavouring to fly 
to it» but which at length flew into his hsduds. He 
also saw that the altar was sprinkled with its blood. 
Seeing this» he rose as soon as it was day» and went 
to the altar» and standing on the turret, as he thought he 
did in his dream, he looked round, and saw the very bird 
which he had seen in his sleep. Hoping, therefore» that 
his dream would be fulfilled, he stood still» saw the bird 
fly to the altar and sit upon it, and deliver itself into the 
hands of the high priest. Thus the bird was sacrificed, 
and the altar sprinkled with blood. That» however» 
which happened at Cyzicus» is still more celebrated than 
this event. For Mithridates having besieged this city» 
the festival of Proserpine was then celebrated, in which 
it was requisite to sacrifice an ox. But the sacred 
herds» from which it was necessary the victim should be 



taken, led oppoeite to the city,, oh the continent^ : and 
one of tbein lyas already marked for this purpose. Wheny 
therefore; the hour demanded tlie sacrifice^ the ox lowed» 
and swam over the sea, and the.guards of the^ity opened 
the gates to it. Then the ox directly ran into th6 city» 
and stood at the altar» and was sacrificed to the Goddess* 
Not unreasonably» therefore, was it thought to be moi^t 
pious to sacrifice many animals^ since it appeared that 
ihe sacrifice of them was gleasing to the Gods. 

26. But what would be the Qondition of a city» if all 
the citizens were of this opinion, [viz. that they should 
abstain from destroying animals ?] For how would th^y 
repel their enemies» when they were attacked by th^m» 
if they were careful in the extreme not to kill any one of 
them? In this case» indeed, they must be immediately 
destroyed. And it would be tOQ prolix to narrate otheir 
difficulties and inconveniences» which would necessarily 
take place. That it is not» however» impious to slay and 
feed on animals, is evident from this, that Pythagoras 
himself» though those prior to him permitted the athlet» 
to drink milk» and to eat cheese, irrigated with water ; 
but others» posterior to him» rejecting this diet^ fed them 
with dryrfigs; yet he, abrogating the ancient custom; 
allowed them to feed on flesh» and found that such a 
diet greatly increased their strength. Some also relate» 
that the Pythagoreans themselves did not spare animals 
when they sacrificed to the gods. Such, therefore, are 
the arguments of Clodius» Heraclides Ponticus, Her- 
machus the Epicurean» and the Stoics and Peripatetics, 
[againtit abstinence from animal food] : among which 
also are comprehended the arguments which were sent 
to us by you» Ο Castricius. As» however, I intend to 
oppose these opinions, and those of the multitude, I may 
reasonably premise what follows• 

27. In the first place, therefore, it must be ktiown 

' For Gyzicus was situated in an island. 

xmUAL FOOD. — 300K I. \9 

&at m; dieootuvae doe$ liot bring with it an es^Jiortation^ 
to every description of men. For it is not directed t(x 
diosa who are occupied in sordid mechanical arts, nor to 
tiK>se who are engaged in athletic exercises ; neither to, 
soldiersy nor sailors^ nor rhetoricians» nor to those^ who 
lead aa' active life. Bat I write to the man who cour 
iidera what he is^ whence he came, and whither be ought 
to, tend^ and who« in what pertains to nutriment, and 
other necessary concerns; is different from those who 
propose to themselves other kinds of life; for to none 
but such as these do I direct my discourse. For, neither 
in this common life can there be one ^nd the same 
exhortation to the sleeper, who endeavours to obtain 
sleep through the whole of life, and who, for this purpose» 
procures from all places things of a spporiferous nature, 
as there is to him who is anxious to repel sleep^ and tq 
dispose every thing about him to a vigilant condition• 
But to the former it is necessary to recommend intoxi^ 
cation, surfeiting, and satiety, and to exhort him to 
choose a dark house, and 

A bed loKumnt, hroBtd, and eoft, — 

as the poets say ; and that he should procure for himself 
all such things as are of a soporiferous nature, and which 
are effective of sluggishness and oblivion, whether they 
are odours, or ointments, or are liquid or solid medicines» 
And to' the latter it is requisite to advise the use of 
a drink sober and without wine, food of an attenuated 
nature, and almost approaching to fasting ; a house lucid^ 
and participating of a subtle air and wind, and to urge 
him to be strenuously excited by solicitude and thought, 
and to prepare for himself a small and bard bed. But, 
whether we are naturally adapted to this, I mean to 
a vigilant life, so as to grant as little as possible to sleep, 
since we do not dwell among those who ar^ perpetually 
vigilant, or whether we are designed to be in a sopo- 
riferous state of existence, is the business of another dis- 


cussion^ and is a subject which requires very extended 

28. To the man, however, who once suspects the 
enchantments attending our journey through the present 
life, and belonging to the place in which we dwell ; who 
also perceives himself to be naturally vigilant, and con- 
siders the somniferous nature of thie re&;ion which he 
inhabits; — to this man addressing ourselves, we pre- 
scribe food consentaneous to his suspicion and know- 
ledge of this terrene abode, and exhort him to suffer the 
somnplent to be stretched on their beds, dissolved in 
sleep. For it is requisite to be cautious, lest as those 
who look on the blear-eyed contract an ophthalmy, and 
as we gape when present with those who are gaping^ 
so we should be filled with drowsiness and sleep, when 
the region. which we inhabit is cold, and adapted to fill 
the eyes with rheum, as being of a marshy nature, and 
drawing down all those that dwell in it to a somniferous 
iand oblivious condition. If, therefore, legislators had 
ordained laws for cities, with a view to a contemplative 
and intellectual life, it would certainly be requisite to be 
obedient to those laws, and to comply with what they 
instituted concerning food. But if they established their 
laws, looking to a life according to nature, and which is 
said to rank as a medium, [between the irrational and the 
intellectual life,] and to what the vulgar admit, who con- 
ceive externals, and things which pertain to the body 
to be good or evil, why should any one, adducing their 
laws, endeavour to subvert a life, which is more excellent 
than every law which is written and ordained for the mul- 
titude, and which is especially conformable to an unwritten 
and divine law? For such is the truth of the case. 

29. The contemplation which procures for us felicity, 
does not consist, as some one may think it does, in a 
multitude of discussions and disciplines ; nor does it 
receive any increase by a quantity of words. For if this 
were the case, nothing would prevent those from being 


happy by whom all disciplines are collected together [and 
comprehended]- Now, however, every discipline by no 
means gives completion to this contemplation^ nor even 
the disciplines which pertain to truly existing beings, 
unless there is a conformity to them of our nature "^ and 
life. For since there are, as it is said« in every purpose 
three *^ ends^ the end with us is to obtain the contempla- 
tion of real being, the attainment of it procuring, as much 
as it is possible for us, a conjunction of the contemplator 
with the object of contemplation. For the reascent of 
the soul is not to any thing else than true being itself, 
nor is its conjunction with any other thing. But intellect 
is truly-existing being ; so that the end is to live accord- 
ing to intellect. Hence such discussions and exoteric 
disciplines as impede our purification, do not give com* 
pletion to our felicity. If, therefore, felicity consisted 
in literary attainments, this end might .be obtained by 
those who pay no attention to their food and their 
actions. But since for this purpose it is requisite to 
exchange the life which the multitude lead for another, 
and to become purified both in words and deeds, let 
us consider what reasonings and what works will enable 
us to obtain this end. 

30. Shall we say, therefore, that they will be such 
as separate us from sensibles, and the passions which 
pertain to them, and which elevate us as much as possible 
to an intellectual, unimaginative, and impassive life ; but 
that the contraries to these are foreign, and deserve to be 
rejected? And this by so much the more, as they 
separate us from a life according to intellect. But, I 
think, it must be admitted, that we should follow the 
object to which intellect attracts us. For we resemble 
those who enter into, or depart from a foreign region, 

™ In the original uu μη wfoati nat η tutr aura φυ^^βΜ-κ tuu ζβη ; bat it is 
' obviously necessary for ^να-Μβ-ις to read ψυσις, 

^ viz. As it appears to me, a pleasurable, a profitable, and a virtuous 
end, which last is a truly beautiful fund good end. 


not only because we are banifthed from our intissate 
associates^ but in consequence of dwelling in a foreign 
land^ we are filled with barbaric passions^ and manners, 
and legal institutes, and to all these have a great propen- 
sity. Hence, he who wishes to return to his proper 
kindred and associates, should not only with alacrity 
begin the journey, but, in order that he may be properly 
received, should meditate how he may divest himself 
of every thing of a foreign nature which he has assumed, 
and should recall to his memory such things as he 
has forgotten, and without which he cannot be admitted 
by his kindred and friends. After the same manner, 
alsOy it is necessary, if we intend to return to things 
whifch are truly our own, that we should divest ourselves 
of every thing of a mortal nature which we have assumed, 
together with an adhering affection towards it, and which 
is the cause of our descent [into this terrestrial region ;] 
and that we should excite our recollection of that blessed 
and eternal essence, and should hasten our return to 
the nature which is without colour and without quality, 
earnestly endeavouring to accomplish two things; one, 
that we may cast aside every thing material and mortal ; 
but the other, that we may properly return, and be again 
conversant with our true kindred, ascending to them in a 
way contrary to that in which we descended hither. For 
we were intellectual natures, and we still are essences 
purified from all sense and irrationality ; but we are com- 
plicated with sensibles, through our incapability of eter- 
nally associating with the intelligible, and through the 
power of being conversant with terrestrial concerns. For 
all the powers which energise in conjunction with sense 
and body, are injured, in consequence of the soul not 
abiding in the intelligible ; (just as the earth, when in 
a bad condition, though it frequently receives the seed 
of wheat, yet produces nothing but tares), and this is 
through a certain depravity of the soul, which does 
not indeed destroy its essence from the generation of 

AUTlaiALFOOD•^— 300&)Ι. 23 

trmtiQuaUty> but through this is conjoined with a mortal 
tiature, and is drawn down from its own proper to a 
foreign condition of being. 

31. So tbaty if we are desirous of returning to those 
natures with which we formerly associated^ we mu6t 
endearouir to the utmost of our .power to withdraw our* 
selves irom sense and imagination^ and the irrationality 
with which'they are attended^ tud also^from the passions 
which subsist about them, as far as the necessity of out 
condition in this life will permit. But such things as 
pertain to intellect should be distinctly arranged, pro* 
curing for it peace and quiet from tlie war with the 
irrational .part 5 that we may not only be auditors of 
intellect and intelligibles, but may as much as possible 
enjoy the contemplation of ithem^ and, being established 
in an incorporeal nature, may truly live through intellect ; 
and not falsely in conjunction with things allied to 
bodies. We must therefore divest ourselves of our 
manifold garments, both of this visible and fleshly vest- 
ment, and. of those with which we are internally clothed, 
and which are proximate to our cutaneous habiliments ; 
and we must enter the stadium naked and unclothed, 
striving for [the most glorious of all prizes] the Olympia 
of the soul. The first thing, however, and without which 
we cannot contend, is to divest ourselves of our gar^ 
ments. But since of these some are external and others 
internal, thus also with respect to the denudation, one 
kind is through things which are apparent, but another 
through such as are more unapparent. Thus, for instance, 
not to eat, or not to receive what is offered to us, belongs to 
things which are immediately obvious ; but not to desire 
is a thing more obscure ; so that, together with deeds, we 
must also vnthdraw ourselves from an adhering affection 
and passion towards them. For what benefit shall we 
derive by abstaining from deeds, when at the same time 
we tenaciously adhere to the causes from which the 
deeds proceed? 

32. But this departure [from sense, imagination, and 


irrationality J may be effected by violence^ und also 
. by persuasion and by reason ^ thtough the wasting away, 
and, as it may be said^ oblivion and d^ath of the pas- 
sions ; which, indeed, is the best kind of departure, ulince 
it is accomplished without oppressioig that from which 
we are diviilsed* For» in sensiblesi a diVulsion by force 
is not effected without either a laceration of & part^ of a 
vestige of avulsion. But this separation is introduced by 
a continual negligence of the passions. And this negli- 
gence is produced by an abstinence from th^e sensible 
perceptions which excite the passions, and by a perse^ 
vering attention to inteliigibles. And among these pas^ 
sions or perturbations, those which arise from food are to 
be enumerated; 

33. We should therefore abstain, no less than from 
other things, from certain food, viz. such as is naturally 
adapted to excite the passive part of our soul, concerning 
which it will be requisite to consider as follows : There 
are two fountains whose streams irrigate the bond by 
which the soul is bound to the body; and from which 
the, soul being filled as with deadly potions', becomes 
oblivious of the proper objects of her contemplation. 
These fountains. are pleasure and pain; of which sense 
indeed is preparative, and the perception which is accord^ 
ing to sense, together with the imaginations, opinions, 
and recollections which accompany the senses. But 
from these, the passions being excited, and the n^rhole of 
the irrational nature becoming fattened, the soul is drawn 
downward, and abandons its proper love of true being. 
As much as possible, tlierefore, we must separate our- 
selves from these. But the separation must be effected 
by an avoidance of the passions which subsist through 
the senses and the irrational part. But the senses are 
employed either on objects of the sight, or of the hearing, 
or of the taste, or the smell, or the touch ; for sense is as 
it were the metropolis of that foreign colony of passions 
which we contain. Let us, therefore, consider how much 
fuel of the passions enters into us through each of 


the senses. For this is effected partly hy the view of 
the contests of horses and the atbietae^ or those who^e 
bodies are contorted in dancing ; and partly from tfae 
survey of beautiful women. For these, ensnaring the 
irrational nature, attack and subjugate it by all-yarious 

. 34. For the $oul> being agitated with Bacchic fury 
through all these by the irrational part, is made to leap, 
to exclaim and vociferate, the external tumult being 
inflamed by the internal, and which was first enkindled 
by sense. But the excitations through the ears, and 
which are of a passive nature, are produced by" certain 
noises and sounds, by indecent language and defamatiop, 
so that many through these being exiled from reason, are 
furiously agitated, and some, becoming effeminate, exhibit 
all-various convolutions of the body. And who is 
ignorant how much the use of fumigations, and the 
exhalations of sweet odours, with which lovers supply the 
objects of their love, fatten the irrational part of the 
soul ? But what occasion is there to speak of the passions 
produced through the taste? For here, especially, there 
is a complication of a twofold bond; one which is 
fattened by the passions excited by the taste ; and the 
other, which we render heavy and powerful, by the intro- 
duction of foreign bodies [t. e. of bodies different from 
our own]. For, as a certain physician said, those are not 
the only poisons which are prepared by the medical art ; 
but those likewise which we daily assume for food, both 
in what we eat, and what we drink, and a thing of 
a much more deadly nature is imparted to. the soul 
through these, than from the poisons which are com- 
pounded for the purpose of destroying the body. And 
as to the touch, it does all but transmute the soul into the 
body, and produces in it certain inarticulate sounds, such 
as frequently take place in inanimate bodies. And from 
all these, recollections, imaginations, and opinions being 
collected together, excite a swarm of passions, viz. of 


fear, desire, anger, love, voIaptOOusness*, pain, emula* 
tion, solicitude, and disease, and cause the soul to be full 
of similar pertij^rbations. 

35. Hence, to be purified from all these is most diffi^ 
cult, and requires a great contest, and we must bestow 
much labour both by night and by day to be liberated 
from an attention to them, and this, because we are 
necessarily complicated with sense. Whence, also, as 
much as possible, we should withdraw ourselves from 
those places in which we may, though unwillingly, meet 
with this hostile crowd. From experience, also, we 
«hould avoid a contest with it, and even a victory over it, 
and the want of exercise from inexperience. 

36. For we learn, that this conduct was adopted 
by some of the celebrated ancient Pythagoreans and wise 
men ; some of whom dwelt in the most solitary places ; 
but others in temples and sacred groves, from which, 
though they were in cities, all tumult and the multitude 
were expelled. But Plato chose to reside in the Academy, 
a place not only solitary and remote from the city, but 
which was also said to be insalubrious. Others have not 
spared even their eyes, through a desire of not being 
divulsed from the inward contemplation [of reality]. If 
some one, however, at the same time that he is con^• 
versant with men, and while he is filling his senses with 
the passions pertaining to them, should fancy that he can 
remain impassive, he is ignorant that he both deceives 
himself and those who are persuaded by him» nor does he 
see that we are enslaved to many passions, through not 
alienating ourselves from the multitude. For he did not 
speak vainly, and in such a way as to falsify the nature 
of [the Coryphaean] philosophers, who said of them, 
" These, therefore, from their youth, neither know the 
way to the forum, nor where the court of justice or 
senate-bouse is situated, or any common place of assembly 
belonging to the city. They likewise neither hear nor 

•» For ^t%.rfan here, I read <|>*xi»Je»fiw, 


iee laws, or decrees, whether oirally promulgated ot 
written. And as to the ardent "endeavours of their oom- 
pauions to obtain magistracies, the associations of these, 
their banquets and wanton feaatings, «G^ompanied by 
pipers, these they do not even dream of aocomplishiiig« 
Stit whether any thing in the city has happened w^ 
or ill, or what evil has befallen any one frcmi his pror 
genitors,. whether male or female, these are more con- 
cealed from such a one, than, as it is eaid, how many 
«measures called choes the sea contains. And besides 
this, he is even ignorant that he is ignorant <* of all these 
particulars. For he does not abstain from them for 
the sake of renown, but, in reality, his body only dwells, 
and is conversant in the city; but his reasoning power 
considering all these as trifling and of no value, '' he is 
■borne away," according to Pindar,^i*^n all sides, and does 
not apply himself to any thing which is near." 

37» In what is here said, Plato asserts, that the 
•Corypheean philosopher, by not at all mingling himself 
with the above-mentioned pctrticulars, remains impassive 
^to'them. Hence, he neitheir knows the way to the court 
of justice nor the senate-house, nor any thing else which 
•has been before enumerated. He does not say, indeed, 
<that he knows and is conversant with these particulars, 
and that, being conversant, and filling his senses with them, 
^yet does not know any thing about them ; but, on theoon* 
'trary, he says, that abstaining fi^m them, he is ignorant that 
-he is ignorant of them. He liteo adds, ihui this pbilo- 
Uopher does not even dream of betaking himself to banquet6« 
"M^uch less, therefore, would he be indignant, if deprived 
of broth, or pieces of flesh ; nor, in short, will he admit 


' The multitude are ignorant ^hat they are ignorant 'with respect to 
objects of all others the most splendid and real; but the Coryphean 
philosopher is ignorant that he is ignorant with respect to objects most 
unsubstantial and obscure. The former ignorance is the consequence of 
a defect, but the latter of a transcendency of gnostic enei^. What 
Porphyry here says of the Coryphanin philosopher, is derived from the 
Thestetus of Plato. 



things of this kind. And will he not rather consider the 
abstinenCie from all these as trifling, and a thing of no 
^consequence^ but the assumption of them to be a thing of 
great importance and noxious? For since there are two 
paradigms in the order of things» one of a divine nature, 
which is most happy» the other of that which is destitute 
of divinity^ and which is most miserable^; the Coryph»an 
.philosopher will assimilate himself to the one» but will 
render himself dissimilar to the other, and will lead a life 
conformable to the paradigm to which, he is assimilated» 
viz. a life satisfied with slender food» and sufficient to 
itself, and in the smallest degree replete with mortal 

38. Hence» .as long as any one is discordant about 
food» and contends that this or that thing should be 
eaten, but does not conceive that» if it were possible» we 
should abstain from all food> assenting by this contention 
to his passions» such a one forms a vain opinion» as if the 
subjects of his dissension were things of no consequence. 
He» therefore» who philosophizes» will not separate him- 
self [from his terrestrial bonds] by violence; for he who 
is compelled to do this» nevertheless remains there from 
whence he was forced to depart. Nor must it be 
thought» that he who strengthens these bonds» effects a 
thing of small importance. So that only granting to 
. nature what is necessary» and this of a light quality» and 
through more slender food, he will reject whatever 
-exceeds this» as only contributing to pleasure. For he 
will be persuaded of the truth of what Plato says» that 
sense is a nail by which the soul is fastened to bodies'^ 
through the agglutination of the passions» and the ei\joy- 
ment of corporeal delight. For if sensible perceptions 
were no impediment to the pure energy of the soul, why 
would it be a thing of a dire nature to be in body, while 

^ Seep. 52 of my translation of the Theaetetus nf Plato, from which 
Dialogue» what Porphyry here says» as well as vyhat be a Uttle before said, 
is derived. 

'. See the Phaedo of Plato, where this is assertec). 


at the same time the soul remained impassive to th0 
motioiie of the body? 

39. How is it, also» that you have decided and said, 
that you are not passive to things which you suffer» and 
that you are not pres^it with things by which you 
are passively affected ? For intellect, indeed, is present 
with itself/ though we are not present with it. But 
he who departs from intellect, is in that place to wl^ich 
he departs; and when» by discursive energies, he applies 
hiniself upwards and downwards by his apprehension of 
things, he is there where his apprehension is. But it 
is one thing not to attend to sensibles» in consequence of 
being present with other things», and another for a man 
to think» that though he attends to sensibles yet .he is 
not present with them. Nor can any one . show that 
Plato admits this» without at the same time demon• 
strating himself to be deceived. He» therefore» who sub-^ 
mits to the assumption of [every kind of] food» and 
voluntarily betakes himself to [alluring] spectacles» to 
conversation with the multitude» aad laughter ; such 
a one, by thus acting, is there where the passion is which 
he sustains. But he who abstains from these in conse- 
quence of being presj^nt with other things» he .it is 
who» through his unskilfulness» not only excites laughter 
in Thracian maid-servecnts» but in the rest of the vulgar^ 
and when he sits at a banquet^ falls into the greatest per- 
plexity,^not from any defect of sensation» or iroma superior 
accuracy of sensible perception». and energizing with the 
irrational part of the soul alone; for Plato does not 
venture to assert this ; but because» in slanderous con^ 
versation, he has nothing reproachful to say of any < one, 
as not knowing any evil of any one, because he has 
not made individuals the subject of his meditation. 
Being in such perplexity, therefore, he appears, says 
Plato» to be ridiculous ; and in the praises and boastings 
of others» as he is manifestly seen to laugh, not dissem- 
blingly» but, in reality, he appears to be. delirious. . 

40» So that, through ignorance of» and abstaining 


fi^in (ieneible concerns, he ie unacquainted with tbeiii• 
But it is by no means to be admitted, that though 
he should be fanuliar with seinsibles, and dbould energize 
through the irrational puri^ jet it is j^ssible for him 
[at the same time] genuinely ta surrey the oi]jects of 
intelleot. For neither do they who assert that we hare 
two souls, admit that we can attend at one and the same 
tim^ to two different things. For thus they would make 
Si conjunction of two anii^als, which being employed 
in different energies, the one would not be able to per* 
teive the operations of the other. 

41. But why would it be reiquisite that the passions 
should waste away, that we should die with respect to 
them, and that this should he daily the subject of our 
ineditation, if it was possible for Us, as some assert, 
to energize according to intellect, though wie are at the 
same time intimately connected with mortal concerns^ and 
tills without the intuition of intellect? For intellect seea, 
alid intellect hears [as Epicharmus says]. But if, while 
eating luxuriously, and drinking the sweetest wine, it 
were possible to be present with immaterial natures, why 
may not this be frequently effected while you are presa[it 
widi, and are performing things which it is not becoming 
even to mention? For these passions every where pro* 
ceed from the boy' which is in us. And you certainly 
will admit that the baser these passions are, the more we 
are drawn down towards them. For what will be the 
distinction which oUgfat here to be made, if you admit 
that to some things it is not possible to be passive^ with^ 
out being present with them> but that you may ac- 
complish other things, at the same time that you are 
surveying intelligibles ? For it is not because some things 
are iapprehended to be base by the multitude, but others 
not• For all the above mentioned passions are base. 
So that to the attainment of a life according to intellect, 

" Sen^e, and th&t whicli \s beautifal m tb« energies όΓ sense, hve thus 
tlisnominateid by Plata. 


3t 18 requisite to abstain from iaU thdse, in iShe eAOkn 
manner as from venereal concerns. To nature therefore, 
but little food must be granted, through the necessity 
of genemtion [or of our connexion with a dowiAg con« 
dition of being.] For^ where sense and sensible appre- 
hension are, there a departure and separation from thci 
intelligible take place ; and by how much stronger the 
excitation is of the irratiotial part, by so much the greactet 
is the departure from intellection. For it is not possible 
for us to be botne along to this piace and to that; while 
we are here, and yet be there, [i. e. be present with an 
intelligible essence.] For our attentions to things are 
not effected jvith a part, but with the whole of ourselves. 

42. But to fancy that he who is passively affected 
according to 8ense> may, nevertheless, energize about 
intelligibles, has precipitated many of the Barbarians to 
destruction; who arrogantly dissert, that thotigh they 
indulge in every kind of pleasure^ yet they aire able to 
convert themselves to things of a different natuf e from 
sensibles^ at the same time that they are energizing with 
the irrational part. For I have heard some persons 
patronizing their infelicity after the following manner. 
*' We are not," say they, " defiled by food, as neither is 
the sea by the filth of rivers» For we have dominion 
over all eatables, in the same manner as the sea over aH 
humidity• But if the sea should shut up itd mouth, so 
as not to receive the streams that now flow into it^ it 
would be indeed, with respect to itself, great ; but, with 
respect to the world, small, as not being able to receive 
dirt and corruption. If, however, it was afraid of being 
defiled, it would not receive these stream^ ; but l^nowing 
its own magnitude, it receives all things, aiid is not 
averse to any thing which proceeds intb it. In like 
manner, say they, we also, if we were afraid of food, 
should be enslaved by the conception of fear• But it is 
requisite that all things should be obedient to us. For, 
if we collect a little Water, indeed, which has received 
any filth, it becomes immediately defiled and oppressed 


by the filth; but this is not the case with the profound 
3ea. Thus> also, aliments vanquish the pusillanimons ; 
but where there is an immense liberty with respect to 
food, all things are received for nutriment, and no defile- 
ment is produced/' These men, therefore, deceiving 
themselves by arguments of this kind, act in a manner 
conformable to their deception. But, instead of obtaining 
liberty, being precipitated into an abyss of infelicity, 
they are suffocated. This, also, induced some of the 
Cynics to be desirous of eating every kind of food, in 
consequence of their pertinaciously adhering to the cause 
of errors, which we are accustomed to call a thing of an 
indifferent nature. 

43. The man, however, who is cautious, and is suspi-? 
cious of the enchantments of nature, who has surveyed 
the essential properties of body, and knows that it was 
adapted as an instrument to the powers of the soul, will 
also know how readily passion is prepared to accord with 
the bady^ whether we are willing or not,- when any thing 
external strikes it, and the pulsation at length arrives at 
perception. For perception is, as it were, an answer [to 
that which causes the perception.] But the soul cannot 
apswer unless she wholly converts herself to the sound, 
and transfers her animadversive eye to the pulsation. In 
short, the irrational part not being able to judge to what 
extent, hpw, whence, and what thing ought to be the 
object of attention, but of itself being inconsiderate, like 
horses without ?t charioteer*; whither it verges down- 
ward, thither it is borne along, without any power of 
governing itself in things external. Nor does it know 
the fit time or the measure of the food which. should 
be taken, unless the eye of the charioteer is attentive 
to it, which regulates, and governs the motions of irra- 
tionality, this part of the soul being essentially blind. 

^ The rational part of the soul is assimilated by Plato, in the Phsdms, 
to a charioteer, and the two irrational parts, desire and anger^ to two 
horses. See my translation of that Dialogue• 


But he who takes away from reason its dominion over 
the irrational part, and permits it to be borne alongy 
conformably to its proper nature: such a*one^ yielding 
to desire and anger, will suffer them to proceed to what- 
ever extent they please. On the contrary, the worthy 
man will so act that his deeds may be conformable to 
presiding reason^ even in the energies of the irrational 

44. And in this the worthy appears to differ from the 
depraved man, that the former has every where reason 
present, governing and guiding, like a charioteer, the 
irrational part; but the latter performs many things 
without reason for his guide. Hence the latter is said 
to be most irrational, and is borne along in a disorderly 
manner by irrationaUty ; but the former is obedient to 
reason, and superior to every irrational desire. This, 
therefore, is the cause why the multitude err in words 
and deeds, in desire and anger, and why, on the contrary, 
good men act with rectitude, viz. that the former suffer 
the boy within them to do whatever it pleases ; but the 
latter give themselves up to the guidance of the tutor of 
the boy, [i. e. to reason] and govern what pertains to 
themselves in conjunction with it. Hence in food, and 
in other corporeal energies and enjoyments, the cha- 
rioteer being present, defines what is commensurate and 
opportune. But when the charioteer is absent, and, as 
some say, is occupied in his own concerns, then, if he 
ako has with him our attention, he does not permit 
it to be disturbed, or at all to energize with the irrational 
power. If, however, he should permit our attention to 
be directed to the boy, unaccompanied by himself, he 
would destroy the man, who would be precipitately borne 
along by the folly of the irrational part. 

46. Hence, to worthy men, abstinence in food, and in 
corporeal enjoyments and actions, is more appropriate 
than abstinence in what pertains to the touch ; because 
though, while we touch bodies, it is necessary we should 
descend from our proper manners to the instruction of 


that which is mo&t irrational in ns ; yet this is still more 
necessary in th^ assumption of food. For the irrational 
nature is incapable of considering what will be the effect 
of it, because this part of the soul is essentially ignorant 
of that which is absent. But, with respect to food, if it 
were possible to be liberated from it, in the same manner 
as from visible objects, when they are removed from the 
view ; for we can attend to other things when the ima- 
gination is withdrawn from them; — if this were possible, 
it would be no gieat undertaking to be immediately 
emancipated from the necessity of the mortal nature, by 
yielding, in a small degree, to it. Since, however, a 
prolongation of time in cooking and digesting food, and 
together with this the co-operation of sleep and rest, 
are requisite, and, after these, a certain temperament 
from digestion, and a separation of excrements, it is 
necessary that the tutor of the boy within us should 
be present, who, selecting things of a light nature, and 
which will be no impediment to him, may concede these 
to nature, in consequence of foreseeing the future, and 
the impediment which will be produced by his permitting 
the desires to introduce to us a burden not easily to be 
borne, through the trifling pleasure arising from the 
deglutition of food. 

46. Reason, therefore, very properly rejecting the 
much and the superfluous, will circumscribe what is 
necessary in , narrow boundaries, in order that it may not 
be molested in procuring what the wants of the body 
demand, through many things being requisite ; nor being 
attentive to elegance, will it need a multitude of servants ; 
nor endeavour to receive much pleasure in eating, nor, 
through satiety, to be filled with much indolence; nor 
by rendering its burden [the body] more gross, to become 
somnolent; nor through the body being replete with 
things of a fattening nature, to render the bond more 
strong, but himself more sluggish and imbecile in the 
performance of his proper works. For, let any man show 
us who endeavours as much as possible to hve according 


to intellect, and not to be attracted by the passions. of 
the body, that animal food is more easily procured than 
the food from fruits and herbs ; or that the preparation 
of the former is more simple than that of the latter, and, 
in short, that it does not require cooks^ but, when com- 
pared with inanimate nutriment^ is unattended by plea- 
sare^ is lighter in concoction, and is more rapidly digested, 
excites in a less degree the desires, and contributes less 
to the strength of the body than a vegetable diet. 

47. If, however, neither any physician^ nor philo- 
sopher, nor wrestler, nor any one of the vulgar, has dared 
to assert this, why should we not willingly abstain from 
this corporeal burden ? Why should we not, at the same 
time, liberate ourselves from many inconveniences by 
abandoning a fleshly diet? For we should not be liberated 
from one only, but from myriads of evils, by accustoming 
ourselves to be satisfied with things of the smallest 
nature; viz. we should be freed from a superabundance 
of riches, from numerous servants, a multitude of uten- 
sils, a somnolent condition, from many and vehement 
diseases, from medical assistance, incentives to venery, 
more gross exhalations, an abundance of excrements, the 
crassitude of the corporeal bond, from the strength which 
excites to [base] actions, and, in short, from an Iliad of 
evils. But from all these, inanimate and slender food, 
and which is easily obtained, will liberate us, and will 
procure for us peace, by imparting salvation to our 
reasoning power. For, as Diogenes says, thieves and 
enemies are not found among those that feed on maize ", 
but sycophants and tyrants are produced from those who 
feed on flesh. The cause, however, of our being in want 
of many things being taken away, together with the 
multitude of nutriment introduced into the body, and 
also the weight of digestibles being lightened, the eye 
of the soul will become free, and will be established as in 

ο A kind of bread made of milk and flour. 


a port beyond the smoke and the waves of the corporeal 

48. And this neither requires monition, nor demon- 
stration, on account of the evidence with which it is 
immediately attended. Hence, not only those who en- 
deavour to live according to intellect, and who establish 
for themselves an intellectual life, as the end t)f their 
pursuits, have perceived that this abstinence was neces- 
sary to the attainment of this end ; but, as it appears 
to me, nearly every philosopher, preferring frugality to 
luxury, has rather embraced a life which is satisfied with 
a little, than one that requires a multitude of things. 
And, what will seem paradoxical to many, we shall find 
that this is asserted and praised by men who thought 
that pleasure is the end of those that philosophize. For 
most of the Epicureans, beginning from the Corypheus of 
their sect, appear to have been satisfied with maize and 
fruits, and have filled their writings with showing how 
little nature requires, and that its necessities may be 
sxifficiently remedied by slender and easily-procured food. 

49. For the wealth, say they, of nature is definite, 
^md easily obtained ; but that which proceeds from vain 
opinions, is indefinite, and procured with difficulty. For 
things which may be readily obtained, remove in a 
beautiful and abundantly sufficient manner that which, 
through indigence, is the cause of molestation to the 
flesh; and these are such as have the simple nature of 
moist and dry aliments. But «very thing else, say they, 
which terminates in luxury, is not attended with a neces- 
sary appetition, χιοτ is it necessarily produced from a 
certain something which is in pain; but partly arises 
from the molestation and pungency solely proceeding 
from something not being present ; partly from joy ; and 
partly from vain and false dogmas, which neither pertain 
to any natural defect, nor to the dissolution of the human 
frame, those not being present. For things which may 
«very where be obtained, are sufficient for those purposes 


which nature necessarily requires. But these^ through 
their simplicity and paucity^ may be easily procured. 
And he, indeed, who feeds on flesh, requires also inani- . 
mate natures ; but he who is satisfied with things inani- 
mate, is easily supplied from the half of what the other 
wants, and needs but a small expense for the preparation 
of his food. 

60. They likewise say, it is requisite that he who 
prepares the necessaries of life, should not afterwards 
make use of philosophy as an accession ; but, having 
obtained it, should, with a confident mind, thus genuinely 
endure * the events of the day. For we shall commit 
what pertains to ourselves to a bad counsellor, if we 
measure and procure what is necessary to nature, without 
philosophy. Hence it is necessary that those who phi- 
losophize should provide things of this kind, and strenu- 
ously attend to them as much as possible. But, so far 
as there is a dereliction from thence, [i. e. from philo- 
sophizing], which is not capable of effecting a perfect 
purification Z, so far we should not endeavour to procure 
either riches or nutriment. In conjunction, therefore, 
with philosophy, we should engage in things of this kind, 
and be immediately persuaded that it is much better to 
pursue what is the least, the most simple, and light in 
nutriment. For that which is least, and is unattended 
with molestation, is derived from that which is least '. 

51. The preparation also of these things, draws along 

* In the original, άλλα νΛξαα%ίυαα'Λ/Μΐην το ^ΛξξΜ rn 4^χγ γηοΊνς ourmt 
Λψηχισ^αι rw χαθ' «ifci^etv. But the editor of the quarto edition of this 
work, who appears to have been nothing more than a mere verbal critic, 
says, in a note on this passage, that the word Λ)τηχ*σ^Λΐ, signifies per- 
tinacimme illis inharere, nihil ultra studere; whereas it must be 
obvious to any man who understands what is here said, that in this 
place it signifies to endure, 

y In the original, β μη αυξαυσ-ι της ηλίΜ^ ϋΐΒΛξςηα^»ς ; but for νιβΛζξησίβος 
Ι read with Felicianus tJuιΛθaξσ^Λ^ς, 

* In the original, ^λαχισ^οψ γοξ jmi τ• οχληςον ι» nrw t\a)(ia^ov. But it is 
obviously necessary for οχΧηζα» to read ΛναχλΛξβν^ and yet this was not 
perceived by the German editor of this work, Jacob Rhoer. 


with it many impediments, either from the weight of the 
body, [which they are adapted to inoreasej or from the 
difficulty of procuring them, or from their preventing the 
continuity of the energy of our most principal reason• 
inga *, or from some other cause. For this energy then 
becomes immediately useless, and does not remain 
unchanged by the concomitant perturbations. It is neces- 
sary, however, that a philosopher should hope that he 
may not be in want of any thing through the whole of 
life. But this hope will be sufficiently preserved by 
things which are easily procured; while, on the other 
hand, this hope is frustrated by things of a sumptuous 
nature. The multitude, therefore, on this account, though 
their possessions are abundant, incessantly labour to 
obtain more, as if they were in want. But the recol- 
lection that the greatest possible wealth has no power 
worth mentioning of dissolving the perturbations of the 
soul, will ^ cause us to be satisfied with things easily 
obtained, and of the most simple nature. Things also, 
which are very moderate and obvious, and which may be 
procured with the greatest facility, remove the tumult 
occasioned by the flesh. But the deficiency of things of 
a luxurious nature will not disturb him who meditates on 
death. Farther still, the pain arising from indigence 
is much milder than that which is produced by repletion, 
and will be considered to be so by him who does not 
deceive himself with vain opinions.• Variety also of food 
not only does not dissolve the perturbations of the soul, 
but does not even increase the pleasure which is felt 
by the flesh. For this is terminated as soon as pain is 
removed ^ So that the feeding on flesh does not remove 
any thing which is troublesome to nature, nor effect any 
thing which, unless it is accomplished, will end in pain. 

*■ i, e. Of our reasonings about intelligible objects. 

^ Conformable to this, it is beautifully observed by Aristotle, in bis 
Nicomachean Etbics, that corporeal pleasures ajre the remedies of pain, 
and that they fill vtp the indigence of nature, but do not perfect any 
energy of the [rational] soul. 


But- the pleasantness with whic^ it is attended is violent, 
and; perhaps, mingled with the contrary. For it does 
not contribute to the duration of life, but to the variety 
of pleasure ; and in this respect resembles venereal enjoy- 
ments, and the drinking of foreign wines, without which 
nature is able to remain. For those things, without 
which nature cannot last, are very few, and may be pi<>• 
cured easily, and in conjunction with justice, liberty, 
quiet, and abundant leisure. 

52. Again, neither does animal food contribute, but is 
rather an impediment to health. For health is preserved 
through those things by which it is recovered. But it is 
recovered through a most slender and fleshless diet; so 
that by this also it is preserved. If, however, vegetable 
food does not contribute to the strength of Milo, nor, in 
short, to an increase of strength, neither does a philo- 
sopher require strength, or an increase of it, if he intends 
to give himself up to contemplation, and not to an active 
and intemperate life. But it is not at all wonderful, that 
the vulgar should fancy that animal food contributes to 
health ; for they also think that sensual enjoyments and 
venery are preservative of health, none of which benefit 
any one ; and those that engage in them must be thankOil 
if they are not injured by them. And if many are not of 
this opinion, it is nothing to us. For neither is any 
fidelity and constancy in friendship and benevolence to 
be found among the vulgar; nor are they capable of 
receiving these, nor of participating of wisdom, or any 
portion of it which deserves to be mentioned. Neither 
do they understand what is privately or publicly advan- 
tageous ; nor are they capable of forming a judgment of 
depraved and elegant manners, so as to distinguish the 
one from the other. And, in addition to these things, 
they are full of insolence and intemperance. On this 
account, there is no occasion to fear that there will not 
be those who will feed on animals. 

53. For if all men conceived rightly, there would be 
no need of fowlers, or hunters, or fishermen, or swine- 


herds. But animals governiDg themselves^ and having 
no guardian and ruler^ would quickly perish, and be 
destroyed by others, who would attack them and diminish 
their multitude, as is found to be the case with myriads 
of animals on which men do not feed. But all-various 
folly incessantly dwelling with mankind, there will be an 
innumerable multitude of those who will voraciously feed 
on flesh. It is necessary however to preserve health; 
not by the fear of death, but for the sake of not being 
impeded in the attainment of the good which is derived 
from contemplation. But that which is especially pre- 
servative of health, is an undisturbed state of the soul, 
and a tendency of the reasoning power towards truly 
existing being. For much benefit is from hence derived 
to the body, as our associates have demonstrated from 
experience. Hence some who have been afflicted with 
the gout in the feet and hands, to such a degree as to be 
infested with it for eight entire years, have expelled it 
through abandoning wealth, and betaking themselves to 
the coptemplation of divinity ^. At the same time, there- 
fore, that they have abandoned riches, and a solicitude 
about human concerns, they have also been liberated 
f|[om bodily disease. So that a certain state of the soul 
greatly contributes both to health and to the good of 
the whole body. And to this also, for the most part, 
a diminution of nutriment contributes. In short, as 
Epicurus likewise has rightly said, that food is to be 
avoided, the enjoyment of which we desire and pursue, , 
but which, after we have enjoyed, we rank among things 
of an unacceptable nature. But of this kind is ev^ry 
thing luxuriant and gross. And in this manner those 
are affected, who are vehemently desirous of such nutri- 
ment, and through it are involved either in great expense, 
or in disease, or repletion, or the privation of leisure**. 

<* This is said by Poφhyl•y, in his Life of Plotinus, to have been tlie 
case with the senator Rogatianus. 

^ And leisure, to those who know how rightly to employ it, is, as 
Socrates said, κΛλλιβτβν Λτιιματων, " the most beautiful of possession».** 


64. Hence also, in simple and slender food, repletion 
is to be avoided, and every where v^e should consider 
what will be the consequence of the possession or enjoy- 
ment of it, what the magnitude of it is, and what molest- 
ation of the flesh or of the soul it is capable of dis- 
solving. For we ought never to act indefinitely, but in 
things of this kind we should employ a boundary and 
measure ; and infer by a reasoning process, that he who 
fears to abstain from animal food, if he suffers himself to. 
feed on flesh through pleasure, is afraid of death. For 
immediately, together with a privation of such food, he 
conceives that something indefinitely dreadful will be 
present, the consequence of which will be death. But 
from these and similar causes, an insatiable desire is pro- 
duced of riches, possessions, and renown, together with 
an opinion that every good is increased with these in a 
greater extent of time, and the dread of death as of an 
infinite evil. The pleasure however which is produced 
through luxury, does not even approach to that which is 
experienced by him who lives with frugality. For such a 
one has great pleasure in thinking how little he reqYiires. 
For luxury, astonishment about venereal occupations, and 
ambition about external concerns, being taken away, what 
remaining use can there be of idle wealth, which will be 
of no advantage to us whatever, but will only become a 
burden, no otherwise than repletion ? — while, on the 
other hand, the pleasure arising from frugality is genuine 
and pure. It is also necessary to accustom the body to 
become alienated, as much as possible, from the pleasure 
of the satiety arising from luxurious food, but not from 
the fulness produced by a slender diet, in order that 
moderation may proceed through all things, and that 
what is necessary, or what is most excellent, may fix a 
boundary to our diet. For he who thus mortifies his 
body will receive every possible good, through being 
sufficient to himself, and an assimilation to divinity. And 
thus also, he will not desire a greater extent of time, as if 
it would bring with it an augmentation of good. He will 


likewise thus be truly rich^ measuring wealth by a natural 
bound, and not by vain opinions. Thus too, he will not 
depend on the hope of the greatest pleasure, the exist- 
ence of which is incredible, since this would be most 
troublesome. But he will remain satisfied with his present 
condition, and will not be anxious to live for a longer 
period of time. 

55. Besides this also, is it not absurd, that he who is 
in great affliction, or is in some grievous external calamity» 
or is bound with chains, does not even think of food» nor 
concern himself about the means of obtaining it; but 
w^en it is placed before him, refuses what is necessary to 
his subsistence ; and that the man who is truly in bonds» 
and is tormented by inward calamities, should endea- 
Tour to procure a variety of eatables, paying attention to 
things through which he will strengthen his bonds ? And 
how is it possible that this should be the conduct of men 
who know what they suffer, and not rather of those who 
are delighted with their calamities, and who are ignorant 
of the evils which they endure ? For these are affected 
in a way contrary to those who are in chains, and who 
are conscious of their miserable condition ; since these, 
experiencing no gratification in the present life, and 
being full of immense perturbation, insatiably aspire after 
another life. For no one who can easily liberate himself 
from all perturbations, will desire to possess silver tables 
and couches, and to have ointments and cooks, splendid 
vessels and garments, and suppers remarkable for their 
sumptuousness and variety ; but such a desire arises from 
a perfect useleesness to every purpose of the present life, 
from an indefinite generation of good, and from immense 
perturbation. Hence some do not remember the past, 
the recollection of it being expelled by the present ; but 
others do not inquire about the present, because they are 
not gratified with existing circumstances. 

56. The contemplative philosopher, however, will in- 
variably adopt a slender diet. For he knows the parti- 
culars in which his bond consists, so that he i9 not 


capable of desiring luxuries. Hence^ being delight^ 
with simple food^ he will not seek for animal nutrin^ent^ 
as if he was not satisfied with a vegetable diet. But if 
the nature of the body in a philosopher was not such as 
we have supposed it to be, and was not so tractable, and 
so adapted to have its wants satisfied through things 
easily procured, and it was requisite to endure some pain^ 
and molestations for the sadce of true salvation; ought we 
not [willingly] to endure them ? For when it is requisitii 
that we should be liberated from disease, do we not 
voluntarily sustain many pains, viz. while we are cut, 
covered with blood, burnt, drink bitter medicines, and 
are purged through the belly, through emetics, and 

through the nostrils^ and do we not also reward those 
who cause us to sufier in this manner? And this being 
the case, ought we not to sustain every things though of 
the most afflictive nature, with equanimity, for the sake of 
being purified from internal disease, since our contest is 
for immortality, and an association with divinity, from 
which we are prevented through an association with the 
body ? By no means, therefore, ought we to follow the 
laws of the body, which are violent and adverse to the 
laws of intellect, and to the paths which lead to salvation. 
Since, however, we do not now philosophize about the 
endurance of pain, but about the rejection of pleasures 
which are not necessary, what apology can remain for 
those, who impudently endeavour to defend their own 
intemperance ? 

57. For if it is requisite not to dissemble any thing 
through fear, but to speak freely, it is no otherwise 
possible to obtain the end [of a contemplative life], than 
by adhering to God, as if fastened by a nail, being 
divulsed from body, and those pleasures of the soul 
which subsist through it; since our salvation is efiTected 
by deeds, and not by a mere attention to words. But 
as it is not possible with any kind of diet, and, in short, 
by feeding on fiesh, to become adapted to an union with 
even some partial deity, much less is this possible with 


that God who is beyond all things, and is above a nature 
simply incorporeal ; but after all-various purifications, both 
of soul and body, he who is naturally of an excellent 
disposition, and lives vdth piety and purity, will scarcely 
be thought worthy to perceive him. So that, by how 
much more the Father of all things excels in simplicity, 
purity, and sufficiency to himself, as being established 
far beyond all material representation, by so much the 
more is it requisite, that he who approaches to him 
should be in every respect pure and holy, beginning from 
his body, and ending internally, and distributing to each 
of the parts, and in short to every thing which is present 
with him, a purity adapted to the nature of each*. Per- 
haps, however, these things will not be contradicted by 
any one. But it may be doubted, why we admit absti- 
nence from animal food to pertain to purity, though in 
sacrifices we slay sheep and oxen, and conceive that 
these immolations are pure and acceptable to the Gods. 
Hence, since the solution of this requires a long discus- 
sion, the consideration of sacrifices must be assumed 
from another principle. 




1. Pursuing therefore the inquiries pertaining to sim- 
plicity and purity of diet, we have now arrived, Ο Cas- 
tricius, at the discuseion of sacrifices ; the consideration 
of which is difficult, and at the same time requires much 
explanation, if we intend to decide concerning it in such 
a way as will be acceptable to the Gods. Hence, as this 
is the proper place for such a discussion, we shall now 
unfold what appears to us to be the truth on this subject^ 
and what is capable of being narrated, correcting what 
was overlooked in the hypothesis proposed from the 

2. In the first place therefore we say, it does not 
follow because animals are slain that it is necessary to eat 
them. Nor does he who admits the one, I mean that they 
should be slain, entirely prove that they should be eaten. 
For the laws permit us to defend ourselves against 
enemies who attack us [by killing them] ; but it did not 
seem proper to these laws to grant that we should eat 
thom, as being a thing contrary to the nature of man. In 
the second place, it does not follow, that because it is 
proper to sacrifice certain animals to daemons, or Gods, 
or certain powers, through causes either known or un- 
known to men, it is therefore necessary to feed on 
animals. For it may be shown, that men assumed 
animals in sacrifices, which no one even of those who 



introduced, we do not rightly interpret; since we call the 
worship of the Gods through the immolation of animals 
^υσ-ια, thusia. But so careful were the ancients not to 
transgress this custom, that against those who, neglecting 
the pristine^ introduced novel modes of sacrificing, they 
employed execrations^, and therefore they now denominate 
the substances which are used for fumigations αρώματα, 
aromata, i. e. aromatics, [or things of an execrable nature.] 
The antiquity, however, of the before-mentioned fumiga- 
tions may be perceived by him who considers that many 
now also sacrifice certain portions of odoriferous wood. 
Hence, when after grass, the earth produced trees, and 
men at first fed on the fruits of the oak, they offered to 
the Gods but few of the fruits on account of their rarity, 
but in sacrifices they burnt many of its leaves. After 
this, however, when human life proceeded to a milder 
nutriment, and sacrifices from nuts were introduced, they 
said enough of the oak. 

6. But as barley first appeared after leguminous sub- 
stances, the race of men used it in primitive sacrifices, 
moistening it for this purpose with water. Afterwards, 
when they had broken and bruised it, so as to render 
it eatable, as the instruments of this operation afforded a 
divine assistance to human life, they concealed them in 
an arcane place, and approached them as things of a 
sacred nature. But esteeming the food produced from 
it when bruised to be blessed, when compared with their 
former nutriment, they offered, in fine, the first-fruits of 
it to the Gods. Hence also now, at the end of the sacri- 
fices, we use fruits that are bruised or ground; testi- 
fying by this how much fumigations have departed from 
their ancient simplicity ; at the same time not perceiving 
on what account we perform each of these. Proceeding, 
however, from hence, and being more abundantly sup- 

^ In the original Λξοσ-αμηους^ which is derived from the verb α^αομαι, 
imprecor, maledico ; and from hence, according to Porphyry, came th• 

word ΛξββΙΑΛΎΛ, 


plied, both with other fruits and wheat, the first-fruits of 
cakes, made of the fine flour of wheat, and of every 
thing else, were offered in sacrifices to the Gods ; many 
flowers being collected for this purpose, and with these 
all that was conceived to be beautiful, and adapted, by 
its odour, to a divine sense, being mingled. From these', 
also, some were used for garlands, and others were given 
to the fire. But when they had discovered the use of 
the divine drops of wine, and honey, and likewise of oiU 
for the purposes of human life, then they sacrificed these, 
to their causes, the Gods. 

7. And these things appear to 'be testified by the 
splendid procession in honour of the Sun and the Hours, 
which is even now performed at Athens, and in which 
there were other herbs besides grass, and also acorns, the 
fruit of the crab tree, barley, wheat, a hpap of dried figs, 
calLes made of wheaten and barley flour; and, in the 
last place, an earthen pot. This mode, however, of offer- 
ing first-fruits in sacrifices, having, at length, proceeded 
to great illegality, the assumption of immolations, most 
dire and full of cruelty, was introduced ; so that it would 
seem that the execrations which were formerly uttered 
against us, have now received their consummation, in 
consequence of men slaughtering animals, and defiling 
altars with blood ; and this commenced from that period 
in which mankind tasted of blood, through ha^'ing expe- 
rienced the evils of famine and war. Divinity, therefore, 
as Theophrastus says, being indignant, appears to have 
inflicted a punishment adapted to the crime. Hence 
some men became atheists ; but others, in consequence 
of forming erroneous conceptions of a divine nature, may 
be more justly called MetMoffoveg, kakophrones, than naxoukot, 
lutkotheoi^, because they think that the Gods are de- 
praved, and in ικ> respect naturally more excellent than 
we are. Thus, therefore, some were seen to live without 

* f. e. May be rather called maUvoleni than unhappy. 


toorificing tuiy things and without offibring the finlt-fruilt 
of their poseessiione to the Gods ; but others sacrificed 
improperly, Und made use of illegal oblations. 

8. Hence the Thoes^^ Mrho dwell in the cohfines of 
Thrttce^ as thej neither offered any first-fruits, nor sucri^ 
ficed to the Gods, were at that time suddenly taken away 
from the rest of mankind; so that neither the inha^- 
1>itants, lidr the city, nor the foundations of the houses^ 
uould by any one be ibund» 

" Men prone to ill, denied the Code their dae. 
And by their follies made their days but few. 
The altars of the bless'd neglected stand. 
Without the ofiPeiings which the latrd demfand ; 
BiHt angry Jo^e in du&t this people i&id. 
Because no honours to the Gt>ds they paid.*^ 

Hesiod. Op. et Di. lib. i, ▼. iSX 

If Of did they offer fijst-fruits to the Gods, as it was just 
that they should* But with respect to the Bassarians^ 
who formerly were not only emulous of sacrificing bulle^ 
but also ate the flesh of slaughtered men^ in the same 
manner as we now do with other animals ; for we offer 
to the Gods some parts of them as first-fruits^ and eat th^ 
rest; — with respect to these men, who has not heard^ 
that insanely rushing on and biting each, other, sxkd in 
reality feeding on blood, they did not cease to act in this 
manner till the whole race was destroyed of those who 
used sacrifices of this kind ? 

&. The sacrifice, therefor^ through animals is posr 
terior and most recent^ and originated from a cause 
which is not of a pleasing nature^ like that of the sacri- 
fice firom fruita, but received its commencement either 
from famine, or some other unfortunate circumstance. 
The causes, indeed^ of the peculiar mactations among the 

* Fabricius is of opinion that these Thoes are the same with the 
Acrothoitae, mentioned h^y SinpUcius in his.ConHDenU in £pictet. from 


Atfiemaosr bad tiieir begindng either in igRoraaGe, or 
Un^er, or fear. For the slaughter of swine is attributed to 
an involuntary error of Clymene, who, by unintentionaUy 
striking, slew the animal. Hence her husband» being 
terrified as if he had perpetrated an illegal deed, con- 
eulted the oracle of the Pythian God about it. But ae 
tiie God did not condemn what had happened, the 
slaughter of animals was afterwards considered as a tiling 
of an indifferent nature. The inspector, however, of 
sacred rites, who was the offspring of prophets, wishing 
to make an offering of first-fruits from sheep, was per• 
mitted to do so, it is said, by an oracle, but with much 
caution and fear. For the oracle was as follows : — 

'' Ofi&pring of prophets, sheep by force to day, 
The Gods permit not thee; but with washed hands 
For thee 'tis lawful any sheep to kill, 
That dies a voluntary death.** 

10. But a goat was first slain in Icarus, a mou^itain of 
Attica, because it had cropped a vine. And Diomus, 
who was a priest of Jupiter Polieus^ was the .first that 
slew an ox ; because, when the festival sacred to Jupiter* 
and called Diipolia, was celebrated, and fruits were pre- 
pared after the ancient manner, an ox approachijag tasted 
the sacked cake. But the priest, being aided by othem 
who were present, slew the ox. And these are the 
causes, indeed, which are assigned by the Athenia,|[i8 for 
this deed ; but by others, other causes are narrated. AU 
of them, however, are full of explanations that ^re not 
holy. But most of them assign famine, and the inju^tico 
with which it is attended, as the cause. Hence mea 
having tasted of animals, they offered them in 'Sacrifice^ 
as first-firuits, to the Gods ; but prior to this, they were 
accustomed to abstain from animal food. Whence, sinqe 
the sacrifice of animals is not more ancient than neces- 
sary food, it may be determined from this circumstance 
what ought to be tiie nutriment of jmen. But it4Qes not 
follow^ because men have tasted of and offered anioanJs ia • 


sacrifices as first-fruits, that it must necessarily be ad* 
mitted to be pious to eat that which was not piously 
offered to the Gods, 

11. But what especially proves that every thing of 
this kind originated from injustice, is this, that the same 
things are neither sacrificed nor eaten in every nation, 
but that they conjecture what it is fit for them to do 
from what they find to be useful to themselves. With 
the Egyptians, therefore, and Phoenicians, any one would 
sooner taste human flesh than the flesh of a cow. The 
cause, however, is, that this animal being useful^ is also 
rare among them. Hence, though they eat bulls, and 
offer them in sacrifice as first-fruits, yet they spare cows 
for the sake of their progeny, and ordain that, if any one 
kill them, it shall be considered as an expiation. And 
thus, for the sake of utility in one and the same genus of 
animals, they distinguish what is pious, and what is 
impious. So that these particulars subsisting after this 
manner, Theophrastus reasonably forbids those to sacri- 
fice animals who wish to be truly pious ; employing 
these, and other siuiilar arguments^ such as the fol- 

12. In the first place, indeed, because we sacrificed 
animals through the occurrence, as we have said, of 
a greater necessity. For pestilence and war were the 
causes that introduced the necessity of eating them. 
Since, therefore, we are supplied with fruits, what occa- 
sion is there to use the sacrifice of necessity ? In the 
next place, the remunerations of, and thanks for benefits, 
are to be given differently, to different persons, according 
to the worth of the benefit conferred ; so that the greatest 
remunerations, and from things of the most honourable 
nature, are to be given to those who have benefited us 
in the greatest degree, and especially if they are the 
causes of these gifts. But the most beautiful and honour- 
able of tho^^ things, by which the Gods benefit us, are 
the fruits of the earth• For through these they preserve 

•us^ and enable. us to live legitimately; so that, from. 


these we ought to venerate them. Besides, it is requisite 
to sacrifice those things by the sacrifice of which we 
shall not injure any one. For nothing ought to be so 
innoxious to all things as sacrifice. But if some one 
should say, that God gave animals for our use, no less, 
than the fruits of the earth, yet it does not follow that 
they are, therefore, to be sacrificed, because in so doing 
they are injured, through being deprived of Ufe, For 
sacrifice is, as the name implies, something holy*. But 
no one is holy who requites a benefit from things which 
are the property of another, whether he takes fruits or 
plants from one who is unwilling to be deprived of them.. 
For how can this be holy, when those are injured from 
whom they are taken? If, however, he who takes away 
fruits from others does not sacrifice with sanctity, it 
cannot be holy to sacrifice things taken from others, 
which are in every respect more honourable than the 
fruits of the earth. For a more. dire deed is thus perpe-. 
trated. But soul is much more honourable than the 
vegetable productions of the earth, which it is not fit, 
by sacrificing animals, that we should take away. . 

13. Some one, however, perhaps may say, that we 
also take away something from plants [when we eat, and 
sacrifice them to the Gods], But the ablation is hot 
similar; since we. do not take this away from those who 
are unwilling that we should. For, if we omitted to 
gather them, they would spontaneously drop their fruits.. 
The gathering of the fruits, also, is not attended with the 
destruction of the plants, as it is when animals lose their, 
animating principle. And, with respect to the fruit 
which we receive from bees, since this is obtained by our 
labour, it is fit that we should derive^ a common benefit 
from it. For bees collect their honey from plants ; but 
we carefully attend to them. On which account it ig. 
requisite that such a division. should be made [of our 
attention and their labour] that they may suffer no injury. 

• In the original, »» y»( flt/^e, •0•μ tic i^ti» λλύλ rec^ft•. 


But that which Is useless to thetis^ and beneflcldl td thi, 
will be the reward which we receite from them [of our 
attention to their concerns]. In sacrifices^ therdfore> we 
lAoald abstain from animals. For» though all thihgd 
«re in reality the property of Uie Gods^ yet plants appeilr 
to be out property; Ante we bow and cultivate th^itti/ 
and nourish them by other attentiotis which we pay to 
tJbem• We ought to sacrifice» therefore» from our 6\fli 
property» and not from the property of oth)&i% ; silice that 
which may be procured at a small expense» and which 
may easily be obtained, is more holy» more acceptable to 
the Grods» and better adapted to the purposes of sactffice, 
and to the exercise of continual pipty. Hence^ that 
which is neither holy» nor to b^ obtained at a small' 
expense» is not to be ofiered in h^cn&te, even though it 
should be pr^esent. 

14k But that imiieals do not rank athong things which 
may be procured* easily» and at a amall expense, may be 
seen by directing oilr tiew to i^e greater psert of onr 
ra(5et for we are not now to uon^ide^ that scm^ meti 
abound in sheep» and otliefs ill ol^en. In the first place> 
therefore, there are many nations that do not possess any 
of those animals which are offered in sacrifice» some 
ignoble animals» perhapia» excepted. And» in the second 
place, most of those that dwell in cities themselves, 
possess these but rarely. But if some one should i^y 
that the iuhabi'tants of cities have not mild fruits in 
abundance; yet, though this should be admitted» they 
are not in want of th^ othet vegetable productions of the 
earth ; nor is it so difficult to procure fruits as it is to 
procure animals. Hence an abundance of fruits, and 
Other Vegetables, is more easily obtained than that of 
aniikials. But that which is obtained with facility» and at 
a small expense» contributes tb incessant and universal 

.15. Experience aflso testifies that the uods rejoice ih 
this more than in «umptuous offerings. For when that 
Thessalian sacrificed to Uie Pythian deity oxen with gilt 

borne» and heoatomb^, ApoUo si^id, that the off^rii^g 
of Hermioiieue was more gratifying to bi^i? though bf 
bad only. sacrificed as much meal as he Qould ta)^e i¥ij% 
his three fingers out of a sack* But when tl|e T)3e39aliM| 
on hearing this» placed all the re^it of \άβ offerings on ihn 
altar, the God again said, that by i^o doing hi^ preaen^ 
was doubly more unacceptable to him thai^ his former 
offering. Hence the sacrifice which is attended with 9. 
aooall expense is pleasing to the Gods» and divinity look^ 
more to the disfX)8ition and manners of tho9^ that>^cri« 
fice, than to the multitude <xf the things wbipb a^i 

16. Tbeopompu^ likewise narrates things ^imUar tp 
these, yiz, that a certain Magnesian caipe frop» Asif 
to Delphi ; a man yery rich, and abounding iq eattl^, 2^φ 
that he was accustomed every year to make pmny and 
magnificent eacrifices to the Gode, partly through th^ 
«Ibundance of his posse^sicms, and partly thj^ough p^ety 
and wishing to please (be Godei^ @u^ being thuf di^r- 
posed^ he came to the divinity at Pelpbi, bringing w^4i^ 
him a hecatomb for the God, and magnificently honouring 
Apollo» he consulted his oracle. Co^ceiviug also tbat b^ 
wroEshipped the Gods in a manner more beauti&d than 
iihat of all other men, he asked the Pythian deity who the 
sian was thai, with the greaie^t promptitude, and in tb^ 
best manner, venerated divinityi and made the m^ 
acceptable sacrifices^ conceiving that on 1bhi$ oopapion this 
God would deem hun to be prenemineut• The Pyjbbiau 
<leity however answered, that iGle^chus, who 4w^t i^. 
.Methydrium, a town of Arcadia, worshipped t^be Gods i|L 
A way surpassing that of all other men. But th^ Magne^ 
«ian being astonished, was desirous of se«^ing Clearohus; 
and of learning from him the manner in which he per«- 
formed his sacrifices. Swiftly, therefore, betaking him- 
self to Methydrium^ in the first place^ indeed, he despised 
«tbe smallness and vileness of the town, coQceivinig that 
neither any private per^Qn^ nor even the whpje city, ppuld 


honour the Gods more magnificently and more beauti-' 
fully than he did. Meeting, however, with the man, he 
thought fit to ask him after what manner he reverenced 
the Gods. But Clearchus answered him, that he dili- 
gently sacrificed to them at proper times in every month 
at the new moon, crowning and adorning the statues of 
Hermes and Hecate, and the other sacred images which 
were left to us by our ancestors, and that he also honoured 
the Gods with frankincense, and sacred wafers and 
cakes. He likewise said, that he performed public sacri- 
fices annually, omitting no festive day ; and that in these 
festivals he worshipped the Gods, not by slaying oxen, 
nor by cutting victims into fragments, but that he sacri- 
ficed whatever he might casually meet vnth, sedulously 
offering the first-fruits to the Gods of all the vegetable 
productions of the seasons, and of all the fruits with 
which he vras supplied. He added, that some of these he 
placed before the [statues of the] Gods^ but that he 
burnt others on their altars; and that, being studious of 
frugality, he avoided the sacrificing of oxen. 

17. By some writers, also, it is related, that certain 
tyrants, after the Carthaginians were conquered, having, 
with great strife among themselves, placed hetacombs 
before Apollo, afterwards inquired of the God with 
which of the offerings he was most delighted ; and that he 
answered, contrary to all their expectation, that he was^ 
most pleased with the cakes of Docimus. But this 
Docimus was an inhabitant of Delphi, and cultivated 
some rugged and stony land. Docimus^ therefore, com- 
ing on that day from the place which he cultivated, took 
from a bag which was fastened round him a few handfuls 
of meal, and sacrificed them to the God, who was more 
delighted with his offering than with the magnificent 

' In the original, tun ra ftiv va^artBtvai^ which Felicianus very errone- 
ously renders, *' alius siquideni milii ad vescendeni sumo ;** but Valen- 
tinus rightly, ** et horum aliqua coram illis apponere.'' 


♦ Sacrifices of the tyrants. Hence, also, a certain poet, 
because the affair was known, appears to have asserted 
things of a similar kind, as we are informed by Antiphanes 
in his Mystics : 

In simple oiTenngs most the Gods delight : 
For though before them hecatombs are placed, 
Yet frankincense i^ burnt the last of all• 
An indication this that all the rest. 
Preceding, was a vain expense, bestowed 
Through ostentation, for the sake of men ; 
But a small offering gratifies the Gods. 

Menander likewise, in the comedy called the Morose, 

Pious th* oblation which with frankincense 
And pcpanum^ is made ; for in the fire 
Both these, when placed, divinity accepts. 

18. On this account also, earthen, wooden, and wicker 
vessels were formerly used, and especially in public sacri- 
fices, the ancients being persuaded that divinity is de- 
lighted with things of this kind. Whence, even now, the 
most ancient vessels, and which are made of wood, 
are thought to be more divine, both on account of the 
matter and the simplicity of the art by which they were 
fashioned. It is said, therefore, that iBschylus, on his 
brother's asking him to write a Psean in honour of 
Apollo, replied, that the best Paean was written by Tynni- 
chus^ ; and that if his composition were to be compared 
with that of Tynnichus, the same thing would take place 
as if new were compared with ancient statues. For 
the latter, though they are simple in their formation, are 
conceived to be divine ; but the former, though they are 
most accurately elaborated, produce indeed admiration, 
but are not believed to possess so much of a divine 

' A round, broad, and thin cake, which was offered in sacrifice 
to the Gilds. 

•• Tynnichus, the Chnlcidensian, i» mentioned by Plato in his lo. 



Datnre• Hence Heeiod> prai»ng the law of ancient saeri•* 
fice•, very properly says. 

Your country's rites in sacrifice observe : 
[In pious works] the ancient law is best*. 

19. But those who have written concerning sacred 
operations and sacrifices^ admonish us to be accurate 
in preserving what pertains to the popana, because these 
are more acceptable to the QodA thap the sacrifice 
' which is performed through the mactation of animals. 
Sophocles also, in describing a sacrifice which is pleasing 
to divinity^ says in his Polyidus : 

Tlie skins of sheep in sacri6ce were used. 
Libations too of wine, grapes well preserved, 
And fruits collected in a heap of every kind ; 
The olive's pinguid juice, and waxen work 
Most variegated, of the yellow bee. 

Formerly, also, there were venerable monuments in 
Delos of those who came from the Hyperboreans, bearing 
handfuh [of fruits]. It is necessary, therefore, that, being 
purified in our manners, we should make oblations, offer- 
' ing to the Oods those sacrifices which are pleasing to 
them, and not such as are attended with great expense. 
Now, however, if a man^s body is not pure and invested 
with a splendid garment, he does not think it is qualified 
for the sanctity of sacrifice. But when he has rendered 
his body splendid, together with his garment, though 
his soul at the same tii^e is not purified from vice, yet he 
betakes himself to sacrifice, and thinks that it is a thing 
of no consequence•; as if divinity did not especially 
rejoice in that which is most divine in our nature, when 
it is in a pure condition, as being allied to his essence. 
In Epidaurus, therefore, there was the following inscrip- 
tion on the doors of the temple : 

Into an odorous temple, he who goes 
Should pure and holy be ; but to be wise 
In what to sanctity pertains, is to befMire. 

* Vid. Hesiod. Fragm. r. 169. 


20. But that God is not delighted with the amplitude 
of sacrifices, but with any casual offering, is evident from 
this, that of our daily food, whatever it may be that 
is placed before us, we all of us make an offering to the 
Godsi before we have tasted it ourselves; this offering 
beitig small indeed, but the greatest testimony of honour 
to divinity. Moreover» Theophrastus shows, by enume-» 
rating many of the rites of different countries^ that the 
sacrifices of the aUcients were from fruits, and he narrates 
what pertaiqs to Ubations in the following manner : ^^ An- 
cient sacrifices were for the most part performed witb 
sobriety. But those sacrifices are sober in which the 
libations are made with water. Aftei*wards, however^ 
libations were made with honey% For we first receive 
this liquid fruit prepared for us by the bees. In the 
third place, libations were made with oil; and in the 
fourth and last place with wine." 

21. These things» however, are testified not only by 
the pillars which are preserved in Cyrbe^ and which coa-» 
tain, as it were^ certain true descriptions of the Cretao 
sacred rites of the Corybantes ; but also by Empedocleei 
who, in discussing what pertains to sacrifices and theo«- 
gony, or the generation of the Gods, says : 

With tbeni nor Mars nor tumult dire was found, 
Nor Saturn, Neptune, or the sovereign Jove, 
But Venus [beauty's] queen. 

And Venus is friendship. Afterwards he adds. 

With painted animals, and statues once 
Of sacred form, with unguents sweet of smell. 
The fume of frankincense and genuine myrrh, 
And with libations poured upon the ground 
Of yellow honey, Venus was propitious made. 

Which ancient custom is still even now preserved by 
some pers9ns as a certain vestige of the truth. And in 
the last place, Empedocles says. 

Nor tlien were altars wet with blood of bull^ 
Irrationally slain. 

^ A city of Crete. 


22. For, as it appears to me, when friendship and a 
proper sense of the duties' pertaining to kindred natures, 
was possessed by all men, no ο le slaughtered any living 
being, in consequence of thinking that other animals 
were allied to him. But when strife and tumult, every 
liind of contention, and the principle of war, invaded 
mankind, then, for the first time, no one in reality spared 
any one of his kindred natures. The following parti- 
culars, likewise, ought to be considered : For, as though 
there is an affinity between us and noxious men, who, 
as it were, by a certain impetus of their own nature and 
depravity, are incited to injure any one they may happen 
to meet, yet we think it requisite that all of them should 
be punished and destroyed ; thus also, with respect to 
those irrational animals that are naturally malefic and 
unjust, and who are impelled to injure those that approach 
them, it is perhaps fit that they should be destroyed. But 
with respect to other animals who do not at all act 
unjustly, and are not naturally impelled to injure us, it is 
certainly unjust to destroy and murder them, no otherwise 
than it would be to slay men who are not iniquitous. 
And this seems to evince, that the justice between us 
and other animals does not arise from some of them 
being naturally noxious and malefic, but others not, as is 
also the case with respect to men. 

23. Are therefore those animals to be sacrificed to the 
Gods which are thought to be deserving of death? But 
how can tl^is be possible, if they are naturally depraved ? 
For it is no more proper to, sacrifice such as these, than it 
would be to sacrifice mutilated animals. For thus, 
indeed, we shall offer the first-fruits of things of an evil 
nature, but we shall not sacrifice for the sake of honour- 
ing the Gods. Hence, if animals are to be sacrificed 
to the Gods, we- should sacrifice those that are perfectly 
innoxious. It is however acknowledged,, that those 
animals are not to be destroyed who do not at all injur6 
us, so that neither are they to be sacrificed to the Gods. 
If, therefore, neither these, nor those that are noxious, 


are to be sacrificed, is it not evident that we should 
abstain from them more than from any thing else, and 
that we should not sacrifice any one of them, though it is 
fit that some of them should be destroyed ? 

24. To which may be added, that we should sacrifice 
to the Gods for the sake of three things, viz. either for 
the sake of honouring them, or of testifying our grati- 
tude, or through our want of good. For, as we offer first- 
fruits to good men, thus also we think it is necessary that 
we should ofifer them to the Gods. But we honour 
the Gods, either exploring the means of averting evils 
and obtaining good, or when we have been previously 
benefited, or in order that we may obtain some present 
advantage and assistance, or merely for the purpose of 
venerating the goodness of their nature. So that if the 
first-fruits of animals are to be offered to the Gods, some 
of them for the sake of this are to be sacrificed. For 
whatever we sacrifice, we sacrifice for the sake of some 
one of the above-mentioned particulars. Is it therefore 
to be thought that G(wl is honoured by us, when we are 
directly seen to act unjustly through the first-fruits which 
we offer to him? Or will he not rather think that he 
is dishonoured by such a sacrifice, in which, by immo• 
lating animals that have not at all injured us, we acknow- 
ledge that we have acted unjustly. So that no one of 
other animals is to be sacrificed for the sake of honouring 
divinity. Nor yet are they to be sacrificed for tlie pur- 
pose of testifying our gratitude t^ the Gods. For he who 
makes a just retribution for the benefits he has received, 
ought not to. make it by doing an injury to certain other 
animals. For he will no more appear to make a retribu- 
tion than he who, plundering his neighbour of his pro- 
perty, should bestow it on another person for the sake of 
honour. Neither are animals' to be sacrificed for the sake 
of obtaining a certain good of which we are in want. For 
he who endeavours to be benefited by acting unjustly, if) 
to be suspected as one who would not be grateful even 
when he is benefited. So that animals are not to be 


sacrificed to the Gods through the expectation of deriving 
advantage from the eacrifice. For he who does this, may 
perhaps elude men, but it is impossible that he can elude 
divinity. If, therefore, we ought to sacrifice for th% 
sake of a certain thing, but this is not to be done for the 
«ake of any of the before mentioned particulars, it is evi- 
dent that animals ought not to be sacrificed• 

26. For, by endeavouring to obliterate the truth of 
these things through the pleasures which we derive froai 
sacrifices, we deceive ourselves, but cannot deceive divi* 
nity« Of those animals, therefore, which are of an 
ignoble nature, which do not impart to our life any eupe^ 
rior .utility, and which do not afford us any pleasure, w« 
do not sacnfice. any one to the Gods. For who- ever 
eacrificed serpents, scorpions, and apes, or any one of 
such like animals ? But we do not abstain from any one 
of those animals which afford a certain utility to our lif&, 
or which have something in them tiiat contributes to our 
enjojnnents ; since we, in reality, cut their throats, and 
excoriate them, under the patronage of divinity^. For we 
sacrifice to the Gods oxen and sheep, and besides these; 
stags and birds, and fat hogs, though they do not at 
all participate^ of purity, but afford us delight. And of 
these animals, indeed, some, by co-operating with ouf 
labours, afford assistance to our life, but others supply us 
with food, or administer to our other wants. But those 
which effect neither of these, yet, through the enjoyment 
which is derived from them, are slain by men in sacrifice^ 
similarly with those who afford ms utility. We do not> 
however, eacrifice asses or elephants, or any o4^her of 
those animals that co-operate with us in our labours, but 
are not subservient to our pleasure; .though, sacriffieing 
being excepted, we do «not abstain from such like animals^ 
but we cut their throats on account of the delight with 
i^hich the deglutition of them is attended; and of those 
which are fit to be sacrificed, we do not sacrifice such 

ι J 

4..e. Under the pretext of being patronized by divinity m 90'doktg. 


as are acceptable to the Gods^ but such as in a greater 
degree gratify the desires of men ; thus testifying against 
ourselves, that we persist in sacrificing to the Gods, for 
the sake of our own pleasure, and not for the sake of gra• 
tifying the Gods. 

26. But of the Syrians» the Jews indeed, through the 
sacrifice which they first made, even now, say^ Theo* 
phrastus, sacrifice animals, and if we were persuaded by 
them to sacrifice io the same way that they do, we should 
abstain from the deed. For they do not feast on the 
flesh of the sacrificed animals, but having thrown the 
whole of the victims into the fire/and poured rnnch honey 
and wine on them during the night, they swiftly consume 
the sacrifice, in order that the aD-seeing sun may not 
become a spectator of it• And they do this, £aeting 
during aU the intermediate days, and through the whole 
of this time, as belonging to the class of philosophers^ 
and also discourse with each other dbont the divinity *\. 
But in the night, they apply themselves to the theory of 
the stars, surveying them, and through prayers invoki»f 
Godb For these make ofierings both of other animals 
and themselves, doing this from necessity, and not from 
their own will. The truth of this, howev^, may be 
iearnt by any one who directs his attention to die £gyp«- 
iians, the most learned of all men; who are so far from 
«laying othefr animals, that they make the images of these 
to be imitations of the Gods ; so adapted and aUied do 
they conceive these to be both to Gods and men. 

27. For at first, indeed, sacrifices of fruits were snade 
%o the Gods ; but, in the course of time, men becoming 
negligent of sanctity, in consequence of fi*uite being 
scarce, and, through the want of legitimate Detriment, 
being impelled to eat each other ; then supplicating 
divinity with many prayers, they first began to make 
oblations of themselves to the Gods, not only conse- 

* Poqibyry, in what he here says of die Jews, allades to that sect 
of them called Esssans; concerning whom, see the 4th book of 
tliis work. 


crating to the divinities whatever among their possessione 
was most beautiful, but, proceeding beyond this, they 
sacrificed those of their own species. Hence, even to the 
present time, not only in Arcadia, in the Lupercal festi•» 
vals, and in Carthage, men are sacrificed in. common to 
Saturn, but periodically, *also, for the sake of remem- 
bering the legal institute, they sprinkle the altars of those 
of the same tribe with blood, although the rites of their 
sacrifices exclude, by the voice of the crier, him from 
engaging in them who is accused of human slaughter. 
Proceeding therefore from hence, they made the bodies 
of other animals supply the place of their own in sacri- 
fices, and again, through a satiety of legitimate nut ri- 
. ment, becoming oblivious of piety, they were induced by 
voracity to leave nothing untasted, nothing undevoured• 
And this is what now happens to all men with respect to 
the aliment from fruits. For when, by the assumption of 
them, they have alleviated their necessary indigence, 
then searching for a supei-fluity of satiety, they labour to 
procure many things for food which are placed beyond 
the limits of temperance. Hence, as if they had made no 
ignoble sacrifices to the Gods, they proceeded also to 
taste the animals which they immolated ; and from this, 
as a principle of the deed, the eating of animals became 
an addition to men to the nutriment derived from fruits. 
As, therefore, antiquity offered the 'first produce of fruits 
to the Gods, and gladly, after their pious sacrifice, tasted 
what they offered, thus also, when they sacrificed th^ 
firstlings of animals to the divinities, they thought that 
the same thing ought to be done by them, though ancieot 
piety did not ordain these particulars after this manner^ 
but venerated each of the Gods from fruits. For with such 
oblations, both nature, and every sense of the hum^ soul, 
are delighted. 

No altar therr was wet with blood of bulls 
Irrationally tslaiu ; but this was tbuu|^ht 
To be of every impious deed the worst, 
Limbb to devour of brutes deprived of life. 


28. The truth of this may also be perceived from the 
altar which is even now preserved about Delos^ which, 
because no animal is brought to^ or is sacrificed upon it^ 
is called the altar of the pious. So that the inhabitants 
not only abstain from sacrificing animals, but they like- 
wise conceive, that those who established, are similarly 
pious with those who use the altar. Hence, the Pytha- 
gpreans having adopted this mode of sacrifice, abstained 
from animal food through the whole of life. But when 
th^y distributed to the Gods a certain animal instead 
of themselves^ they merely tasted of it, living in reality 
without touching other animals. We, however, do not 
act after this manner ; but being filled with animal diet^ 
we have arrived at this manifold illegality in our life 
by slaughtering animals, and using them for food. For 
neither is it proper that the altars of the Gods should be 
jde^led with tnurder, nor that food of this kind should be 
pouched by men, as neither is it fit that men should^ 
^at one another ; but the precept which is still preserved 
at Athens, should be obeyed through the whole of life. 

29. For formerly, as we have before observed, when 
inen sacri^ced to the Gods fruits and not animals, and did 
90t assume the latter for food^ it is said, that a commoa 
sacrifice being .celebrated at Athens, one Oiomus, or 
Sppater, who wae not a native, but cultivated some land 
JLu Attica, seizing a sharp axe which was near to him, and 
being excessively indignant, struck with it an ox, who, 
coming from his labour^ approached to a table, on which 
we^re openly placed cakes and other offerings which were 
p9 be burnt as a sc^crifice to the Gods, and ate some, but 
tarampled on the rest of the offerings. The ox, therefore, 
being killed, Diomus, whose anger was now appeased, at 
the same time perceived what kind of deed he had perpe- 
trated. And the ox, indeed, he buried. But embracing 
a. voluntary banishment, as if he had been accused of 
impiety, he fled to Crete. A great dryness, however, 
^taking place in the Attic land from vehement heat, and a 
dreadful sterility of fruit, and the Pythian deity being in 



consequence of it consulted by the general consent) the 
Ood answered, that the Cretan exile must expiate iht 
crime ; and that, if the murderer was punished, and the 
statue of the slain ox was erected in the place in which it 
fel)| this would be beneficial both to those. who had and 
those who had not tasted its flesh. An inquiry therefor^ 
being made into the affair, and Sopater, together with 
the deed, having been discovered, he, thinking that he 
Ishould be liberated from the difficulty in which he was 
now involved, through the accusation of impiety, if the 
same thing was done ,by all men in common, said Ιί^ 
those who came to him, that it was necessary an oX 
should be slain by the city. But, on their being dubious 
who should strike the ox, he said that he would unden- 
take to do it, if they would make him a citizen, and 
Would be partakers with him of the slaughter. Thi8> 
therefore, being granted, they returned to the city, and 
ordered the deed to be accomplished in such a way as 
it is performed by them at present, [and which was as 
follows :] 

SO. They selected virgins who were drawers of water ; 
but these brought water for the purpose of sharpening an 
uXe and a knife. And these being sharpened, one person 
gave the axe, another struck with it the ox, and a third 
person cut the throat of the ox. But after this, havift|f 
excoriated the animal, all that were present ate of ifts 
ne$h• These things therefore being performed, they 
sewed up the hide of the ox^ and having stuffed it with 
straw, raised it upright in the same form which it had 
when alive, and yoked it to a plough, as if it was about 
to work with it. Instituting also a judicial process^ 
Iresipe'cting the slaughter of the sOx, they cited all those 
who were partakers of the deed, to defend their conduct. 
But as the drawers of watef accused those who sharpened 
the axe and the knife, as more culpable than themselves, 
sind those who «sharpened these instruments accused him 
Ivho gave the axe, and be accused him who cut the throat 
'(0f %be i>x, and ibk last person accused the knye^r-beoce. 

«r the knife dotiU Mb 8peak> th^ condemned it as Ae» 
cliueb of the elaligfater. From ttuit time also» ereh till 
now, dvrii^ the festival sacred to Jupiter, in the Acro- 
polis^ at Athens, the sacrifice of an ox is performed after 
the same manner. For, placing cakes on a brazen table, 
they drive oxen round it, and the ox that tastes of the 
cakes that are distributed on the table, is• ^lain. The 
race likewise of those who perform this, still remains. 
And all those, indeed, who derive their origin from 
Sopater are called boutupoi [i. e. shyers of oxen\ ; but 
those who aire descended from him that drove the ox 
round. the table, are called kentriadai, [or stimulators.'] 
And those who originate from him that cut the throat 
of the ox, are denominated daitroi, [or dividers,'] on ac- 
count of the banquet which takes place from the distri- 
bution of flesh. But when they have filled the hide, and 
the judicial process is ended, they throw the knife into 
ihe sea. 

31. Hence, neither did the ancient^ conceive it to be 
holy to slay animals that co-operated with us in works 
beneficial to our life, and we should avoid doing this even 
now. And as formerly it was not pious for men to injure 
these animals, so now it should be considered as unholy 
to slay them for the sake of food* If, however, this is to 
be done from motives of religious reverence of the Gods, 
yet every passion or affection which is essentially pro- 
duced from bodies is to be rejected, in order that we may 
not procure food from improper substances, and thus 
have an incentive to violence as the intimate associate 
of our life,. For by such a rejection we shall, at least, all 
of us derive great benefit in what pertains to our mutual 
sectirity, if we do not in any thing else• For those whose 
senee is averse to the destruction of animals of a i^cies 
diffident from their ovm, will evidently abstain from in- 
juring those of their own kind. Hence it would perhaps 
have been best, if men in after-times had immediately 
f^bstatued fronr slaugkteriiig these anin^ds; but siace no 
one is free fitnn error, it remaim f0» posterity• to ^i^* 


away by purifications the crime of their ancestors, Te^ 
specting nutriments This, howeyer, will be effected^ if^ 
placing before our eyes the dire nature of such conduct^ 
we exclaim with Empedodes : 

Ah me, while yet eiempt from fuch a crimei 
Why was I not destroyed by croel Time, 
Before these lips began the guilty deed. 
On the dire natriment of flesh to feed ? 

i^or in those only the appropriate sense sympathetically 
grieveii for errors that have been committed, who endea- 
TOur to find a remedy for the evils with which they are 
affiicted; so that every one, by offering pure and holy 
sacrifices to divinity, may through sanctity obtain the 
greatest benefits from the Oods. 

32. But the benefit derived firom firuits is the first and 
the greatest of' all others, and which, as soon as they are 
matured, should alone be offered to the Oods, and to 
Earth, by whom they are produced. For she is the 
common Vesta of Gods and men ; and ii is requisite that 
all of us, reclining on her surface, as on the bchsoin of our 
mother and nurse, should celebrate her divinity, and love 
her with a parental affection, as the source of our exist- 
ence. For thus, when we exchange this life for anoth^t, 
we shall again be thought worthy of a residence in Che 
heavens, and of associating with all the celestial Gods, 
whom, now beholding % we ought to venerate with those 
fruits of which they are the causes^ sacriflcitig indeed to 

" In the original, tvc vut» ofdMr«« rtfuu «nvrovc, it.tjk., instead of whid, 
, Reisk proposes to read, «vc κν ονχ ^fmrat r^uof Hi [vel xgi] rtumtc^ »Mi» 
But^the inisertion of ονχ b most absurd: for the uUttial are <^ed 
the vUible Gods. Thus Plato, in the Timet», in the speedi of the 
I)einioi]pis to the junior or mundane Opds, who consist of the ceUttiaf 
«id nalunafy deities, calls the ceUtUal Gods those that wibfy revolve* 
and the guhlunofyf those that become apparent when they pfease: 
Iim «Mr ««Hte tm «n vifi«r»X«V0-c ^αηξως^ tuu •σοι ^yorr«i luA* tdiv «r ι9ιλΜτ« 
θΐΝ, ym&t9 ΐαχ•», ».τ.λ. Conformably, therefore, to die above translation, 
I«iead, «w *vr ψ/η^ς rtfAtof hi twrncy ».τ•λ• To which may be added, 
Ikat <^ author» in pasagrsph 37, exprssaly calls Uie atars vitible Godi. 


ihem from all theee, when they have arrived at maturiiy» 
but not conceiving all of na to be sufficiently worthy to 
sacrifice to the Gods. For as all things are not to be 
sacrificed to the Gods, so neither perhaps are the Gods 
gratified by the sacrifice of every one. This^ therefore, is 
the substance of the arguments adduced by Theophrastus» 
to show that animals ought not to be sacrificed ; exclusive 
of the interspersed fabulous narrations^ and a few things 
which we have added to what he has said. 

33. I, hawever» shall not attempt to dissolve the legal 
institutes which the several nations have established. For 
it is not my design at present to speak about a polity. 
But as the laws by which we are governed permit us to 
renerate divinity by things of the most simple, and of an 
inanimate nature, hence, selecting that which is the least 
costly, let us sacrifice according to the law of the city» 
and endeavour to offer an appropriate sacrifice, approach- 
ing with consummate purity to the Gods. In short, if the 
oration of first-fruita is of any value, and is an acknow- 
ledgment of thanks for the benefits which we receive, it 
will be most irrational to abstain ourselves from animals, 
and yet offer the first-fruits of these to the Gods. For 
neither are the Gods worse than we are, so as to be in 
want of those things of which we are not indigent, nor is 
it holy to offer the firstrfruits of that nutriment from 
which we ourselves abstain. For we find it is usual with 
men, that, when they refrain from animal food, they do 
not make oblations of animals ; but that they o£fer to the 
Gods the first-fruits of what they themselves eat. Hence 
also it is now fit, that he who abstains from animals 
-should offer the first-fruits of things which he touches 
[for the purpos• of food]. 

34. Let us therefore also sacrifice, but let us sacrifice 
in such a manner as is fit, offering different sacrifices to 
different powers^; to the God indeed who is above all 

* In the original, ^οβ^μ» tmwv «m «/umi«• «λλ» θινβ^ητ, «e «|{μ^ιμ<, 

-<4i«f«{peuc T«c θνβ-Μΐς, #c Μβ he^9K ϊυ^Λ/ΛΛοΊ «rfMwyemc. This Valentnias 

•rroneousljr tranftlatet μ follows: '< Sacrificabimii• igitur etimn st aos, 


things^ as a certain wise man eaid^ neUbef <emi^i6Qii|g 
incense, nor coneecratipg any tbii^g sensible. Eo^r t))p^ 
is nothing ^material, which is not immediately impi^ii^ tp 
an immaterial nature. Hence, neither is vocal langiiage, 
nor internal speech, adapted to the highest God, when it 
is defiled by any passion of the soul; but we should 
generate him in profound silence with a pure soul, and 
with pure conceptions about him. It is necessary, there- 
fore, that being conjoined with and assimilated to him, 
we should offer to him, as a sacred sacrifice, the elevation 
of our intellect, which offering will be both a hymn and 
our salvation. In an impassive contemplation, therefore, 
of this divinity by the soul, the sacrifice to him is effected 
in perfection; but to his progeny, the intelligible Gods, 
hymns, orally enunciated, are to be offered. For to each 
of the divinities, a sacrifice is to be made of the first-friiito 
of the things which he bestows, and through which he 
nourishes and preserves us. As, therefore, the husband- 
man offers handfuls of the fruits and berries which the 
season first produces; thus also we should offer to the 
divinities the first-fruits of our conceptions of their trans» 
cendent excellence, giving them thanks for the contem- 
plation which they impart to us, and for truly nourishing 
us through the vision of themselves, which they afford us, 
associating with, appearing to, and shining upon us, for 
our salvation. 

35. Now, however, many of those who apply them- 
selves to philosophy are unwilling to do this; and, 
pursuing renown rather than honouring divinity, they 
are busily employed about statues, neither consideiing 
whether they are to be reverenced or not, nor endeavour- 
ing to learn from those who are divinely wise, to what 
extent, and to what degree, it is requisite to proceed in 
this affiiir. We, however, shall by no means contend with 

$βά prout decet, victimas scilicet eximias potestatibut eximiii addu- 
ccntes.'' For ^α^ψ^ς and ^ια^ξης^ in this passage, evidently meiyi 
different^ and not excelUnt, 

AVllMAL• rOQQ.— ftQOi; II. 71 

Ae^e, nor are we very desirous of ^eipg well in8tri;<^te4 
in a thing of this kind ; but imitating holy and ancient 
men, we offer to the Gods, more than any thing elsQ^ 
the first-fruits of contemplation, which they have imparted 
to us, and by the use of which we become partakers of 
true salvation. 

36. The Pythagoreans, therefore, diligently applyingp 
themselves to the ^tudy of numbers s^nd lipes, sacri6ced 
for the most part from these to the Gods, denominating! 
indeed, a certain number Minerva, but another Diana, 
and another Apollo : and again, they called one number 
Justice, but another temperanpe p. In diagrams also they 
tkdopted a similar mode. And thus, by offerings of this 
Und, they rendered the Gods propitious to them, so as 
to obtain of them the object of their wishes, by the 
things which they dedicated to, and the names by which 
they invoked them. They likewise frequently employed 
their aid in divinatioq, and if they were in want of a 
certain thing for the purpose of son^e investigation. In 
order, therefore, to effect this, they made use of the Gods 
within the heavens, both the erratic and non-erratic, of 
all of whona it is requisite to consider the sun as the 
leader; but to rank the moon in the second place; and 
we should conjoin with these fire, in the third place, from 
its alliance to them, as the theologist*> says. He also 
aays that no animal is to be sacrificed ; but that first* 
fhiits are to be offered from meal and honey, and the 
vegetable productions of the earth. He adds, that fire 
id not to be enkindled on a hearth defiled with gore ; and 
asserts other things of the like kind• For what occasion 
i• there to transcribe all that he says? for he who is 
etudious of piety knows, indeed, that to the Gods no 

f Concerning the appellations which the Pythagqreans gave to 
numbers, see my Theoretic Arithmetic, in which also the occuU 
meaning of these appellations is unfolded. 

4 '< Plotinus ni fallor, aut Plato, sed ille potius,'' sayi Reisk ; bat 
every one who is at all conversant with Platonic writef^, will imme* 
climtely see that by the tkeobgist, Porphyry means Orpheut, 


jEinimal is to be sacrificed, but Uiat a sacrifice of this kmd 
pertains to demons^ and other powers, whether they are 
beneficent^ or depraved ^. He likewise knows who those 

' Though Porphyry excelled in all philosophical knowledge, whence 
also he was called x^r* ιζοχϋν, ike philoioph$r, yet he was inferior to 
his auditor laroblichus, in theological inferroation. On this account, 
lamblichus was called by all the Platonists posterior to liim, the dhine, 
and f Ae great priest. I shall present the reader, therefore, with an 
extract from my translation of his treatise on the Mysteries, which 
appears to me to be an admirable supplement to what Porphyiy has 
said in this book, about sacrificing animals, and a satisfactory answer 
to the question whether they are to be sacrificed or not. 

In Chap. 14, tlierefore, of Sect. 5, he observes as follows : '^' We 
shall begin the elucidation of this subject in the best possible manner, 
if we demonstrate that the sacred law of sacrifices is connected with 
the order of the Gods. In the first place, therefore, we say, that of 
the Gods some are material, but others immaterial» And the material^ 
indeed, are those that comprehend matter in themselves, and adorn it ; 
but the immaterial are those that are perfecuy exempt from, and 
transcend matter : but, according to the sacrific art, it is requisite to 
l>egin sacred operations from the material Gods; for the ascent to the 
' immaterial Gods will not otherwise be effected. The material Gods, 
therefore, have a certain communication with matter, so for as they 
preside over it. Hence they have dominion over things which happen 
about matter, such as the division, percussion, repercussion, mutation, 
generation, and corruption of all material bodies. He, therefore, who 
wishes to worship these theurgioally, in a manner adapted to theto, 
and to the dominion which they are allotted, should, as they are 
material, employ a matepal mode of worsliip. For thus we shall be 
wholly led to a familiarity with them, and worship them in an allied 
and appropriate manner. Dead bodieSf therefore, and things deprived 
of life, the slaving of animals^ and the consumption of victims^ andj in 
short, the mutation of the matter which is offered, pertain to these 
Gods, not by themselves, but on account of the matter over which they 
preside. For though they are, in the most eminent degree, separate 
from it, yet, at the same time» they are present with it; and, though 
they comprehend matter in an immaterial power, yet they are co- 
existent with it. Things also that are governed, are not foreign from 
their governors ; and things which are subservient as instruments, are 
not unadapted to those that use them. Hence it is foreign to the 
immaterial Gods, to offer matter to them through sacrifices, but this is 
roost adapted to all the material Gods.'* 

In the following chapter» lamblichus 'observes, ** that as there is 4 


kre that ought to sacrifice to these, and to what extent 
ihey ought to proceed in the sacrifices which they make. 


time when we become wholly soul, are oat of the body» and sublimely 
jneTolye on high, in conjunction with all the immaterial Gods; so, like- 
wise, there is a two-fold mode of worship, one of which is simple, iacor- 
'poreal, and pure from all generation ; and this mode pertains to undefiled 
tools ; bat the other is replete with every thing of a material nature, and 
μ adapted to souls which are neither pure, nor liberated from all gene- 
jration.'' He adds, ^ we must admit, therefore, that there are two-fold 
q>ecie8 of sacrifices ; one kind, indeed, pertaining to men who are not 
entirely purified, which, as Heraclitus says, rarely happens to one man, 
or to a certain easily• to-be-numbered few of mankind; but the other > 
kind being material, and consisting in mutation, is adapted to souls that 
.are still detained by the body. Hence, to cities and people not yet 
Kbemted firom sublunary fate, and the impending communion of bodies, 
if such a mode of sacrifice as this latter is net permitted, they will wander 
both firom immaterial and material good• For they will not be able 
to receive the former, and to the latter they will not offer what is 

He farther informs us, in Chap. S2, tliat though the summit of the 
sacrific art recurs to the most principal one of the whole multitude of 
Gods [t. e. to the ine&ble cause of all,] and at one and the same time 
worships the many essences and principles that are [rooted and concen- 
tred] in it ; yet this happens at the latest period, and to a very few, and 
• that we must be satbfied, if it takes place, when the sun of life is setting. 
^ Bat,'' says he, ** our present discussion does not ordain laws for a man 
of this kind ; for he is superior to all law ; but it promulgates a law such 
as that of which we are now speaking, to those who are in want of a cer- 
tain divine legislation." In the above passage, by ** a man of thi$ kindf* 
lamUichus most probably alludes to Plotinus, as both his works, and 
the life of him, written by Porphyry, show that he was a man capable 
of recurring to, andbecoiniog united with the highest God, and thus at 
the same time worshipping all the divine powers that are rooted in him. 

To what lamblichus has thus excellently observed, may be added 
what the philosopher Sallust says in his golden treatise On the Gods and 
the World, vii. ^ that since life primarily subsists in the Gods, and there 
is also a certain human life, but the latter desires to be united to 
the former, a medium is required ; for natures much distant from each 
other cannot be conjoined without a medium; and it is necessary 
that the medium should be similar to the connected natures. Life, 
'therefore, must necessarily be the medium of life. Hence, men of tlie 
present day that are happy, and all tlie ancients, have sacrificed animals; 
and this, indeed, not rashly, but in a way accommodated to every God, 


Qtii^r Ibhig») howeYer« will be pa&sec) over by me in 
silence. But what some Platonists have divulged, I fthaU 
lay before the reader, in order that the things proposed 
to be discussed, may become manifest to the intelhgent. 
What they have unfolded, therefore, is as follows : 

37. The first God being incorporeal, immoveable, and 
impartible, and neither aubsisting in any thing, nor 
restrained in his energies, is not, as hae been before 
observed, in want of any thing external to himself, as 
neither is the soul of the world ; but this latter, contain- 
ing in itself the principle of that which is triply divisible, 
and being naturally self-motive, is adapted to be movQcJ 
in a beautiful and orderly manner, and also to move the 
body of the world according to the most excellent 
reasons [i. e. productive principles or powers]. It is, 
however, connected with and comprehends body, though 
it is itself incorporeal, and liberatea from the participation 
of any passion. To the remaining Gods, therefore, to 
the. world, to the inerratic and erratic stars, who are 
visible Gods, consisting of soul and body, thanks are to 
be returned after the above-mentioned manner, through 
sacrifices from inanimate natures. The multitude, there- 
fore, of those invisible beings remains for us, whom 
Plato indiscriminately calls dsemons ' ; but of these, some 
being denominated by men, obtain from them honours, 
and other religious Observances, similar to those which 
are paid to the Gods ; but othijrs, who for the most part 
are not explicitly denominated, receive an oqcult religious 
reverence and appellation from certain persons in 
villages and certain cities^ and the remaining multitude 
is called in common by the name of daemons. The 

with many other ceremonies respecting the cultjiration of divinity," Lfit 
the truly inteliectual and pious man, however, never forget that prayer, 
as Procius divinely observes, possesses of itself λ supernatural p^rfectiofi 
and power. 

* For a more theological account of daemops, I refer the reader tp 
my translation of the before-jOQentioned admirable treatise of }aii|l>lichiie 
on the Mysteries. 


geaer^l persuasion, however, reapecttng iall these ixiyistUe 
\^ng^, is this» that if they become angry tbromgh being 
«eglected, and deprived of the religious reverence which 
is due to them, they are noxious to those by whom they 
^e thus neglected, and that they again become bene- 
^gcent, if they are appeased by prayers^ supplications, and 
sacrifices, and other similar rites. 

38. But the confused notion which is formed of these 
beings, and which has proceeded to great crimination, 
necessarily requires that the nature of them should be 
distinguished according to reason. For perhaps it wi^ 
be said, that it is requisite to show whence the error 
concerning them originated among men. The distinction, 
.therefore, must be made after the following manner• 
Such souls as are the progeny of the whole soul of the 
universe, and who govern the great parts of the region 
under the moon, these, being incumbent on a pneumatic 
si^bstanoe or spirit, and ruling over it conformably to 
reason, are to be considered as good daemons, who are 
ililigently employed in causing every thing to be bene- 
4cial to the subjects of their government, whether they 
.preside over certain animals, or fruits, which are arranged 
under their inspective care, or over things which subsist 
for the sake of these, such as showers of rain, moderate 
winds, serene weather, and other things which cooperate 
.with these, such as the good temperament of the seasons 
of the year. They are also, our leaders in the attainment 
of music, and the whole of erudition, and likewise of 
medicine and gymnastic, and of every thing else similar 
to these. For it is impossible that these daemons should 
impart utility, and yet become, in the very same things, 
the causes of what is detrimental. Among these two, 
those transporters, as Plato calls them, [in his Banquet] 
are to be enumerated, who announce the affairs of men 
to the Gods, and the will of the Gods to men ; carrying 
our prayers, indeed, to the Gods as judges, but oracu«- 
larly unfolding tp us the exhortations and admonitions 
of the Gods. But such souls as do not rule over the 


]pneumatic substance with which they are connected^ 
hot for the most part are vanquished by it ; these are 
Tehemendy agitated and borne along [in a disorderly 
mannerj when the irascible motions and the desires of 
the pneumatic substance, receive an impetus. These 
«oulS| therefore, are indeed daemons, but are deservedly 
called malefic dsemons• 

39• All these beings, likewise, and those who possess 
a contrary power, are invisible, and perfectly imper- 
ceptible by human senses ; for they are not surrounded 
with a solid body, nor are all of them of one form, 
but they are fashioned in numerous figures. The forms, 
however, which characterize their pneumatic substance, 
at one time become apparent, but at another are invisible• 
Sometimes also those that are malefic, change their 
forms; but the pneumatic substance, so far as it is 
corporeal, is passive and corruptible : and though, because 
it is thus bound by the souls [that are incumbent on it,] 
ihe form of it remains for a long time, yet it is not 
eternal. For it is probable that something continually 
flows from it, and also that it is nourished. The pneu- 
matic substance, therefore, of good daemons, possesses 
symmetry, in the same manner as the bodies of the visible 
Oods; but the spirit of malefic daemons is deprived 
of symmetry, and in consequence of its abounding in 
passivity, they are distributed about the terrestrial region• 
Hence, there is no evil which they do not attempt to 
effect ; for, in short, being violent and fraudulent in their 
manners, and being also deprived of the guardian care 
of more excellent daemons, they make, for the most pait, 
vehement and sudden attacks ; sometimes endeavouring 
to conceal their incursions, but at other times assaulting 
openly• Hence the molestations which are produced by 
them are rapid ; but the remedies and corrections which 
proceed from more excellent daemons, appear to be more 
slowly effected: for every thing which is good being 
tractable and equable, proceeds in an orderly manner, 
and does not pass beyond what is fit. By forming this 


«pinioD, therefore^ you will aever fall into ibat mostr 
absurd notion» that evil may be expected from the good, 
or good from the evil. For this notion 19 not only 
attended with absurdity, but the multitude^ receiving 
through it the most erroneous conceptions of the Gods, 
disseminate them among the rest of mankind. 

40. It must be admitted, therefore» that one of the 
greatest injuries occasioned by malefic daemons is this, 
that though they are the causes of the calamities which 
take place about the earth» such as pestilence, sterilityit 
earthquakes» excessive dryness» and the like» yet they 
endeavour to persuade us» that they are the causes of 
things the most contrary to these, viz. of fertility» [salu-r 
brity, and elementary peace•] Hence» they exonerate 
themselves from blame, and» in the first place» endeavour 
to avoid being detected as the sources of injury; and,i 
in the next place» they convert us to supplications andl 
sacrifices to the beneficent Gods» as if they w6re angryj, 
But they effect these» and things of a similar nature, jUl 
consequence of wishing to turn us from right conceptions 
of the Gods» and convert us to themselves ; for they arer 
delighted with all such as act thus incongpruously and 
discordantly» and» as it were, assuming the persons of 
other Gods, they enjoy the effects of our imprudenccr 
and folly; conciliating to themselves the good opinion^ 
of the vulgar, by inflaming the minds of men with the 
love of riches» power» and pleasure, and filling them with, 
the desire of vain glory, from which sedition» and war» 
and other things allied to these, are produced. But 
that which is the most dire of all things, they proceed 
stiU farther, and persuade men that similar things are 
effected by the greatest Gods, and do not stop till they 
even subject the most excellent of the divinities to these 
calumnies^ through whom they say every thing is in 
perfect confusion. And not only the vulgar are affected 
in this manner» but not a few also of those who are 
conversant with philosophy. The cause of this» however» 
extends equally to philosophers» and the vulgar ; for pf 


pfialoBopheniy lbo#e' wllto do m>t depart from tbe preVftili^ 
Botions, iall into the same error with the multitude; 
tfttd again, the multitude, on hearing assertions from cele• 
brated men conformable to their own opinions^ are in a* 
i;reater degree corroborated in conceiving things of this 
kind of the Gods. 

41. For poetry also inflames the opinions of men, by 
employing a diction adapted to produ03 astonishment 
and enchantment, and not only allures the ears, but is 
alto capable of procuring belief in things that are most 
impossible» At the same time, howerer, it is requisite 
to be firmly persuaded, that what is good can never 
injure, nor what is evil can ever be beneficial ; for, as 
Plato says, it is not the province of heat to refrigerate, 
but of that which is contrary to heat; and, in like 
aanner, neither is it the province of that which is juH 
to injure, pnt divinity is naturally the m<5st just of all 
things ; since otherwise he would not be divinity. Hence 
IIhs power and |)ortion of good is not to be abscinded 
from beneficent dsemoos; for the powter which is natu- 
rally adapted, and wishes to injure, is contrary to the 
jMiwer which is beneficent: but contraries can never 
subsist about• the same thing. As malefic deemons, 
therefore, injure the mortal race in many respects, and 
sOmetiiBeies in things of the greatest consequence, good 
dsi^mons not only never cease to act conformably to their 
offlc^^ but alsd^ as much as po&sible, presignify to us the- 
dlingera whioh are impendent from malefic daemons, 
unfolding tbes^ through dreams, through a divinely 
inspired soul, and through many other things; so that- 
be who is capahle of explaining what is signified, may 
know and avodd all the perils with which he is threatened.' 
For they indicate [future events] to all men, but every' 
one cannot upderstapd what they indicate, nor is every' 
one able to read what is written by them ; but he alone 
is able to do this, who has learnt their letters. All 
eftchantment^ bow^ver^ [or witchcraft,] is effected through* 
is of a contrary nature; for those who ftrpt^tdLte» 


«v)I throttgH enchantmeiitft, especially Teaerate thestf 
malefic beings, and the power that presides over thetn^ 

42. For they are full of every kind of imagination» 
and are sufficiently qualified to deceive^ through eiibcti 
ef a prodigious fiature ; and through these, unhappy msn 
pTQcxxte philtries, and amatory allurements. For all 
i&temperance> and hope of possessing wealth and renown^ 
and especially deception, '%xist through these, sine• 
iUsehood is allied to these malevolent beings \ for tknf 
%uitih to be camidered as Gods, and the power which presidei 
iiver iitm is ambitious to appear to be the greatest God^ 
These are they that rejoice in libations, and the savoiuf 
of sacrifioesy through which their pneumatic vehicle is 
fettetied; for this vehicle lives through vapours and 
Mhaiations^ and the life of it is various through varioud 
eithalations• It is likewise corroborated by the savour of 
blood and flesh. 

48. On this account, a wise and temperate man wilt 
be religiously afraid to use sacrifices of this kmd, througb; 
which he will attmct to himself such-like daMSvons ; bot 
he will endeavour in all possible ways to purify his eouL 
For these malefic beings do not attack a p^ure «oul» 
because it is dissimilar to them ; but if it is tiecessary t^ 
eiaes to render them propitious^ this is nothing to usv 
Έάΐ by these riches, and things external and corporeal^ 
are thought to be good, and their contraries evil ; but 
the smallest attention is paid by them to the good of the 
soul. We however, to the utmost of our ability, endea- 
vour not to be in want of those things which they* 
impart; but all our endeavour is to become similar tO' 
God, and to the [divine] powers with which he is sur•' 
rounded both from what pertains to the soul^ and from 
extemaie ; and this is ^ected through an entire liberation 
from the dominion of the passions, an evolved perception of 
trulji existing beings, and a vital tendency towards them. 
On the other hand, we strive to become dissimilar to, 
dcipraved men and evil doemons^ and, in short, to every, 
being that rejoices in a mortal and material nature. So. 


that, conformably to what is «aid by Theophrastus^ We^ 
also shall sacrifice from those things which theoIogist% 
permit us to use. for this purpose ; as well knowing, that 
by how much the more we neglect to exempt ourselvecr 
from the passions of the soul^ by so much the more we 
connect ourselves with a depraved power, and render it 
liecessary that he should become propitious to us. For^ 
«8 theologists say, it is necessary that those who met 
lK>Qnd^ to things external, and have not yet vanquished 
their passions, should avert the anger of this [malefic} 
power; since, if they do not, there will be no end to theic 

44. Thus far what pertains to sacrifices has been elu•* 
cidated» As we said, however, at first, as it is not entirely 
liecessary, if animals are to be sacrificed, that they are 
ftlsQ. to be eaten, we shall now show that it is necessary 
we should not eat them, though it may be sometimeG| 
liecessary that they should be sacrificed. For all theo- 
logists agree in this, that in sacrifices, which are made fot 
the purpose of averting some evil, the immolated animals 
^e not to be tasted, buf are to be used as expiations. 
For» say they, no one should go into the city, nor into his 
owa house, till he has first purified his garments, and his 
body, in rivers, or some fountain. So that they ordev 
those whom they permit to sacrifice, to abstain from the 
victims, and to purify themselves before they sacrifice by 
fasting, and especially by abstaining from animals. They 
add, that purity is the guardian of piety ; and is, as it were^ 
a symbol or dkine seal^ which secures its possessor from the 
attacL• and allurements of evil demons. For such a one, 
jbeing contrarily disposed to, and more divine in his 


^ Jn the original, «c >^ ^Λ^α μ θϋλβχοι χ»ς Ιιψ,νηις υν rm ικτορ »α$ 
(uHhvtf ΜξΛτνυβΊ,ν rm «τ«θ«ιτ, κ. τ. λ. But for hoμ^votςy it 18 necessary to 
read ^i^/mivmc; and it is evident that both the Latin translators of this 
work found ΙιΙιμινοις in their manuscripts. For Felicianus has *' qui 
devincti exterhis rebus sunt,'' and Valentinns, ** qui rebus extemis i//»• 
gautur,*' Reisk, however, has taken no notice of this error in Urn 
printed text. 


operations than those by whom he is attacked, because 
he is more pure both in his body and in the passions of 
his souly remains uninjured, in consequence of being sur- 
rounded with purity as with a bulwark. 

45. Hence a defence of this kind has appeared to be 
necessary even to enchanters; though it is not effica- 
cious with them on all occasions. For they invoke evil 
daemons for lascivious purposes. So that purity does not 
belong to enchanters, but to divine men, and such as are 
divinely wise ; since it every where becomes a guard to 
those that use it, and conciliates them with a divine 
nature. I wish, therefore, that enchanters would make 
use of purity continually, for then they would not employ 
themselves in incantations, because, through this, they 
would be deprived of the enjoyment of those things, for 
the sake of which they act impiously. Whence becoming 
full of passions, and abstaining for a short time from 
impure food, they are notwithstanding replete with impu- 
rity, and suffer the punishment of their illegal conduct 
towards the whole of things, partly from those whom 
they irritate, and partly from Justice, who perceives all 
mortal deeds and conceptions. Both inward^ therefore, 
and external purity pertain to a divine man, who earnestly 
endeavours to be liberated from the passions of the soul^ 
and who abstains from such food as excites the passions^ 
and is fed with divine wisdom ; and by right conception» 
of, is assimilated to divinity himself. For such a man, 
be^no* consecrated by an intellectual sacrifice, approaches 
to God in a white garment, and with a truly pure impas- 
sivity of soul, and levity of body, and is not burdened 
with foreign and external juices, and the passions of the 

46. For, indeed, it must not be admitted as necessary 
in temples, which are consecrated by men to the Gods, 
that those who enter into them should have their feet 
pure, and their shoes free from every stain, but that in 
the temple of the father [of all], which is this world, it is 
not proper to preserve our ultimate and cutaneous vest- 


ment pure, and to dwell in this temple with an undefiled 
garment. For if the danger consisted only in the defile- 
ment of the body, it might, perhaps, be lawful to neglect 
it. But now, since every sensible body is attended with 
an efflux of material desmons, hence, together with the 
impurity produced from flesh and blood, the power which 
is friendly to, and familiar with, this impurity, is at the 
same time present through similitude and alliance. 

47. Hence theologists have rightly paid attention to 
abstinence. And these things were indicated to us by a 
certain Egyptian^, who also assigned a most natural 
cause of them, which was verified by experience. For, 
since a depraved and irrational soul, when it leaves the 
body, is still compelled to adhere to it, since the souls 
also of those men who die by violence, are detained 
about the body ; this circumstance should prevent a man 
from forcibly expelling his soul from the body. The 
violent slaughter, therefore, of animals, compels souls 
to be delighted with the bodies which they have left, but 
, the soul is by no means prevented from being there, 

where it is attracted by a kindred nature ; whence many 
souls are seen to lament, and some remain about the 
bodies that are unburied; which souls are improperly 
used by enchanters, as subservient to their designs, being 
compelled by them to occupy the body, or a part of the 
body, which they have left. Since, therefore, these things 
were well known to theologists, and they also perceived 
the nature of a depraved soul, and its alliance to the 

** Reisk, with his usual stupidity, where merely verbal emendations 
are not concerned, says that this Egyptian is Plotinus, whose country 
was Lycopolis, in Egypt. But what instance' can be adduced, in all 
antiquity, of the disciple of a philosopher speaking of his preceptor in 
this indefinite manner ? Is it not much more probable that this Egyptian 
is the priest mentioned by Porphyry in his Life of Plotinus, who, at the 
request of a certain firiend of Plotinus, (which friend was, perhaps, Poiv 
phyry himself,) exhibited to Plotinus, in the temple of Isis, at Rome, the 
&miliar daemon, or, in modern language, the guardian angel of that 

ANIMAL FOOD. — B00& II. 83 

bodies from which it was divulsed^ and the pleasure 
which it received from a union with them, they very pro- 
perly avoided animal food, in order that they might not 
be disturbed by alien souls^ violently separated from the 
body and impure, and which are attracted to things of a 
kindred nature, and likewise that they might not be 
impeded by the presence of evil daemons, in approaching 
alone [or without being burdened with things of a foreign 
«nature] to the highest God *. 

48. For that the nature of a kindred body is attractive 
of soul, experience abundantly taught these theologists• 
Hence those who wish to receive into themselves the 
souls of prophetic animals, swallow the most principal 
parts of them, such as the hearts of crows, or of moles, or 
of hawks. For thus they have soul present with, and 
predicting to them like a God, and entering into them 
together with the intromission of the body. 

49. Very properly, therefore, will the philosopher, and 
who is also the priest of the God that is above all things, 
abstain from all animal food, in consequence of earnestly 
endeavouring to approach through himself alone to the 
alone'' God, without being disturbed by any attendants. 
Such a one likewise is cautious^ as being well acquainted 
with the necessities of nature. For he who is truly a 
philosopher, is skilled in, and an observer of many things, 
understands the works of nature, is sagacious, temperate 

* Conformably to this, the Pythagorean Demophilus beautifully 

observes, Γνμης ανοσ^αλίις 0O<{>of , yvfMirivon icaXse^t rey ?τ^•ψ«ντ«* fAWW γοξ τβ» 
μη τοις αΧΚοτζίοις Ί^^οξτισ-μΐνου ίΐηχΛος ο θβο;. i. e, ^* The wise man being sent 
hither naked, should naked invoke him by whom he was sent. For he 
alone is heard by divinity, wlio is not burdened with things of a foreign 

y This expression of ** approaching ahne to the alone God," Por- 
phyry derived from his master, the great Plotinus, who divindy con- 
cludes his £nneads as follows: — »eu wroa bton lun αν^ξωττοη ^tiw mm u^ai' 
/C40)wv 0toi, α9Ταλλαχΐ) rwi oKKvn ton rji^s, ανιι^ονος ron τη^ί, ^υγη μονού νίξος /caovov-— 
f . e. *^ This, therefore, is the life of the Gods, and of divine and happy 
inen, a liberation from all terrene concerns, a life unaccompanied by 
human pleasures, and a flight of the alone to the alone*** 


and modest, and is in every respect the saviour of him- 
self. And as he who is the priest of a certain particular 
God, is skilled in placing the statues of that divinity, and 
in his orgies, mysteries, and the like, thus also he who is 
the priest of the highest God, is skilled in the manner in 
which his statue ought to be fashioned, and in purifi- 
cations, and other things through which he is conjoined 
to this divinity. 

50. But if in the sacred rites which are here, those 
that are priests and diviners order both themselves and 
others to abstain from sepulchres, from impious men, 
from menstrual purgations, and from venereal congress, 
and likewise from base and mpumful spectacles, and 
from those auditions which excite the passions, (because 
frequently, through those that are present being impure, 
something appears which disturbs the diviner ; on which 
account it is said, that to sacrifice inopportunely, is at- 
tended with greater detriment than gain) ; — if this, there- 
fore, is the case, will he, who is the prie&t of the father of 
all things, suffer himself to become the sepulchre of dead 
bodies? And will such a one, being full of defilement, 
endeavour to associate with the transcendent God ? It is 
sufficient, indeed, Ihat in fruits we assume parts of death, 
for the support of our present life. This, however, is not 
yet the place for such a discussion. We must, therefore, 
still farther investigate what pert9.ins to sacrifices. 

51. For some one may say that we shall subvert a 
great part of divination, viz. that which is effected through 
an inspection of the viscera, if we abstain from destroying 
animals. He, therefore, who makes this objection, should 
also destroy men: for it is said that future events are 
more apparent in the viscera of men than in those of 

-brutes ; and many of the Barbarians exercise the art of 
divination through the entrails of men. As, however, it 
would be an indication of great injustice, and inex- 
haustible avidity, to destroy those of our own species for 
the sake of divination, thus also it is unjust for the sake 
of this to day an irrational animal. But it does not 


belong to the present discussion to investigate whether 
Gods, or deemons, or soul liberated from the animal [with 
which it had been connected], exhibit signs of future 
events to those who explore such signs, through the 
indications which the viscera afford. 

52. Nevertheless, we permit those whose life is rolled 
about externals, having once acted impiously towards 
themselves, to be borne along to that to which they tend ; 
but we rightly say, that the man whom we designate as a 
philosopher, and who is separated from externals, will not 
be disturbed by daemons, nor be in want of diviners, nor 
of the viscera of animals. For he earnestly endeavours 
to be separated from those things for the sake of which 
divinations are effected. For he does not betake himself 
to nuptials, in order that he may molest the diviner about 
wedlock, or merchandise, or inquiries about a servant, 
or an increase of property, or any other object of vulgar 
pursuit. For the subjects of his investigation are not 
clearly indicated by any diviner or viscera of animals. 
But he, as we have said, approaching through himself to 
the [supreme] God, who is established in the true inward 
parts of himself, receives from thence the precepts of 
eternal life, tending thither by a conflux of the whole of 
himself, and instead of a diviner praying that he may 
become a confabulator of the mighty Jupiter. 

53. For if such a one is impelled by some necessary 
circumstance, there are good daemons, who, to the man 
living after this manner, and who is a domestic of 
divinity, will indicate and prevent, through dreams and 
symbols, and omens, what may come to pass, and what is 
necessarily to be avoided. For it is only requisite to 
depart from evil, and to know ^hat is most honourable 
in the whole of things, and every thing which in the 
universe is good, friendly, and familiar. But vice, and an 
ignorance of divine concerns, are dire, through which a 
man is led to despise and defame things of which he has 
no knowledge ; since nature does not proclaim these par- 
ticulars with a voice which can be heard by the ears^ 


but being herself intellectual % she initiates through intel- 
lect those who venerate her. And even though some one 
should admit the art of divination for the sake of pre- 
dicting what is future, yet it does not from thence neces- 
sarily follow that the flesh of animals is to be eaten ; as 
neither does it follow^ that because it is proper to sacri- 
fice to Gods or deemons» food from animals is therefore to 
be introduced. For, not only the history which is related 
by Theophrastus, but also many other narrations inform 
tis, that in ancient times men were sacrificed» yet it must 
not be inferred that on this account men are to be eaten. 
54. And that we do not carelessly assert these things» 
but that what we have said is abundantly confirmed by 
history, the following narrations sufficiently testify. For 
in Rhodes» on the sixth day of June, a man was sacri- 
ficed to Saturn; which custom having prevailed for a 
long time, was afterwards changed [into a more human 
mode of sacrificing]. For one of those men who, by the 
public decision, had been sentenced to death, was kept in 
prison till the Saturnalia commenced; but as soon as 
this festival began, they brought the man out of the gates 
of the city, opposite to the temple of Aristobulus, and 
giving him wine to drink, they cut his throat. But in the 
island which is now called Salamis, but was formerly 
denominated Coronis, in the month according to the 
Cyprians Aphrodisius, a man was sacrificed to Agraule, 
the daughter of Cecrops, and the nymph Agraulis. And 
this custom continued till the time of Diomed. After- 

* Nature, considered as the last of the causes which fabricate this 
corporeal and sensible world, '^ bounds (sajs Proclus in Tim.) the pro- 
gressions of incorporeal essences, and is full of forms and powers, 
through which she governs mundane affairs. And she is a Goddess, 
indeed, considered as deified; but not according to the primary signi- 
fication of the word. By her summit likewise she comprehends the 
beavens, but through these rules over the fluctuating empire of genera- 
tion ; and she every where weaves together partial natures in admirable 
conjunction with wholes." See more on this subject in my translation 
.of that work. 


wards it was changed, so that a man was sacrificed to 
Diomed. But the temples of Minerva, of Agraule, and 
Diomed, were contained in one and the s£^me enclosure. 
The man also who was about to be slain, was first led by 
young men thrice round the altar, afterwards the priest 
pierced him with a lance in the stomach, and thus being 
thrown bn the pyre, he was entirely consumed. 

55. This sacred institute was, however, abolished by 
Diphilus, the king of Cyprus, who flourished about the 
time of Seleucus, the theologist. But Daemon substi- 
tuted an ox for a man ; thus causing the latter sacrifice 
to be of equal worth with the former. Amosis also 
abolished the law of sacrificing men in the Egyptian city 
Heliopolis ; the truth of which is testified by Manetho in 
his treatise on Antiquity and Piety. But the sacrifice 
was made to Juno, and an investigation took place, as if 
they were endeavouring to find pure calves, and such as 
were marked by the impression of a seal. Three men 
also were sacrificed on the day appointed for this pur- 
pose, in the place of whom Amosis ordered them to 
substitute three waxen images. In Chios likewise, they 
sacrificed a man to Omadius Bacchus % the man being for 
this purpose torn in pieces ; and the same custom, as 
Euelpis Carystius says, was adopted in Tenedos. To 
which may be added, that the Lacedaemonians, as Apol- 
lodorus says, sacrificed a man to Mars. 

56. Moreover the Phoenicians, in great calamities, 

* This epithet is used in two of the Orphic hymns, viz. in Hymn LI. 
7., and Hymn XXIX. 5. But tlie following appears to be the reason 
why Bacchus is so called. Bacchus is the intellect, and Ippa the soul of 
the world, according to the Orphic Theology ; and the former is said by 
Orpheus to be carried on the head of the latter. For so we are informed 
by Proclus, in Tim. p. 124. Jacob de Rhoer, therefore, the editor of 
this work, was grossly mistaken in saying, '' Non dubito, quin «/^alko( 
A(oyv0-oc, idem sit qui w/bmo^iK, crudivorus.'' Scaliger, in his version of the 
Hymns, very improperly translates α/Αα^ιος bajulus, a porter, Por 
Bacchus is carried on, but does not carrj Ippa» 


either of war, or excessive dryness, or pestilence, sacri- 
ficed some one of their dearest friends, who was selected 
by votes for this purpose. The Phoenician history also 
is replete with instances of men being sacrificed, which 
history was written by Sanchoniatho in the Phoenician 
tongue, and was interpreted into Greek in eight books, 
by Philo Byblius. But Ister, in his collection of the 
Cretan sacrifices, says that the Curetes formerly sacri- . 
ficed children to Saturn. And Pallas, who is the best of 
those that have collected what pertains to the mysteries 
of Mithras, says, that under the Emperor Adrian the 
sacrificing of men was nearly totally abolished. For, 
prior to his time, in Laodicea, which is in Syria, they 
anciently sacrificed a virgin to Minerva, but now they 
sacrifice a stag. The Carthaginians too, who dwell in 
Libya, formerly sacrificed men ; but this custom wa^ 
abolished by Iphicrates. And the Dumatii, a people of 
Arabia, annually sacrificed a boy, whom they buried 
under the altar, which was used by them as a statue• 
But Phylarchus narrates, that it was the general custom of 
all the Greeks, before they went to war, to immolate men• 
I omit to mention the Thracians and Scythians, and also 
the Athenians, who slew the daughter of Erechtheus and 
Praxithea. And even at present, who is ignorant that 
in the great city of Rome, in the festival of Jupiter La- 
tialis, they cut the throat of a man ? Human flesh, how- 
ever, is not on this account to be eaten ; though, through' 
a certain necessity, a man should be sacrificed. For, 
when a famine takes place during a siege, some of the 
be»eged feed on each other, yet at the same time those 
who do so are deemed execrable, and the deed is thought 
to be impious. 

57. After the first war, likewise, waged by the Romans 
against the Carthaginians, in order to obtain Sicily, when 
the mercenary soldiers of the Phoenicians revolted, and, 
together with them, those of Africa deserted, Amilcar, 
who was surnamed Barkas, in attacking the Romans, was 


reduced to such a scarcity of food, that at first his men 
ate those that fell in battle ; but afterwards^ th^se failings 
they ate their captives ; in the third place, their servants ; 
and in the last place, they attacked each other, and 
devoured their fellow-soldiers, who were led to be slaugh- 
tered for this purpose by lot. But Amilcar, taking those 
men that were in his power, caused his elephants to 
trample on such of the soldiers as had acted in this 
manner, conceiving that it was not holy to suffer them to 
be any longer mingled with other men ; and neither did 
he admit that men should be eaten because certain per- 
sons had dared to do this ; nor his son Hannibal, who, 
when he was leading his army into Italy, was advised by 
a certain person to accustom his troops to feed on human 
flesh, in order that they might never be in want of food• 
It does not follow, therefore, that because famine and 
war have been the causes of eating other animals, it is 
also requisite to feed on them for the sake of pleasure; as 
neither must we admit, that on this account men are to be 
eaten. Nor does it follow, that because animals are 
sacrificed to certain powers, it is also requisite to eat 
them. For neither do those who sacrifice men, on this 
account, feed on human flesh. Through what has been 
said, therefore, it is demonstrated, that it does not 
entirely follow that animals are to be eaten because they 
are sacrificed. 

68. But that those who had learnt what the nature is 
of the powers in the universe, offered sacrifices through 
blood, not to Gods, but to daemons, is confirmed by 
theologists themselves. For they also assert, that ot 
daemons, some are malefic, but others beneficent, who will 
not molest us, if we offer to them the first-fruits ,of those 
things alone which we eat, and by which we nourish 
either the soul or the body^ After, therefore, we have 
added a few observations more, in order to show that the 
unperverted conceptions of the multitude accord with 
a right opinion respecting the Oods, we shall conclude 


this book. Those poets, therefore^ who are wise, though 
but in a small degree, say. 

What man so credulous and void of mind. 
What man so ignorant, as to think the Gods 
In fiery bile and fleshless bones rejoice. 
For haiagry dogs a nutriment not fit ; 
Or that such offerers they will e'er reward? 

But another poet says, 

My offerings to the Gods from cakes alone 
And frankincense shall be ; for not to friends 
But deities my sacrifice I make. 

59. Apollo also, when he orders men to sacrifice 
according to paternal institutes, appears to refer erery 
thing to andent custom. But the ancient custom of 
sacrificing was, as we have before shown, with cakes and 
iruits. Hence also, sacrifices were called δνσ-ΐΜ, thusiai, 
and di/t)A^, thuelai, and ^υμελαι, thumelai, and eeuro το di/siv, 
auUa to thuein, i. e, the act of sacrificing, signified the same 
thing as roi/ ^νμιαν, tou iJuimian, i. e. to offer incense, and 
which is now called by us, εττιΒυειν, epitkuein, i. e. to sacrifice 
something more. For what we now call ^νειν, thuein, L e» to 
sacrifice, the ancients denominated ερίειν, erdein, i. e. to per- 
form or make. 

They perfect hecatombs of bulls, or goats. 
Made to Apollo. 

60. But those who introduced costliness into sacri- 
fices, were ignorant that, in conjunction with this, they 
also introduced a swarm of evils, viz. superstition, luxury, 
an opinion that a divine nature may be corrupted by 
gifts, and that a compensation may be made by sacrifices 
for injustice. Or whence do some make an oblation 
of three animals with gilded horns, but others of heca- 
tombs? And whence did Olympias, the mother of Alex- 
ander [the Great,] sacrifice a thousand of each species of 
animals, unless sumptuousness had at length proceeded to 


a^uperstition ? But when the young man was informed 
that the Gods rejoiced in magnificent sacrifice?, and, 
as they say, in solemn banquets of oxen and other j^i•" 
mals, how, though he w^s wilUng to act wisely, was it 
possible that he could? How also, when he conceived 
that these sacrifices were acceptable to the Gods, was it 
possible he should not fancy that he was permitted to 
act unjustly,, when he might exonerate himself from 
erroneous conduct through sacrifices? But iif he had 
been persuaded that the Gods have no need of thei^e 
things, and that they look to the manners of those who 
approach to them,' and conceive that a right opinion of them, 
and of things theifiselves, ζβ the greatest sacrifice, how is it 
possible that he should iiot have been temperate, holy, 
and just ? 

61. To the Gods; indeed, the most excellent ofiering 
is a pure intellect and spi impassive soul, and also a 
modi&rate oblation of our own property arid of other 
things, and this not negligently, but with the greatest 
alacrity* For the honours which we pay to the Gods 
should be acpompunied by the same promptitude as that 
with which we give the first seat to worthy men, and 
with which we rise to, and salute them, and not by 
the promptitude with which we pay a tribute. For man 
must not use such language as the following to God : 

If, Ο Philious, you recal to mind, 
And love me for, the benefits which I 
On you conferrM, 'ds well, since for the sake 
• Of these atone my bounty was bestow'd• 

For divinity is not satisfied with such assertions as 
these. And hence Plato says [in his Laws], that it 
pertains to a good man to sacrifice, and to be always 
conversant with the Gods by prayers, votive oiferings, 
sacrifices, and every kind of religious worship ; but that 
to the bad man, much labour about the Gods is ineffica- 
cious and vain. For the good man knows what ought ta 
be sacrificed, and from what it is requisite to abstain; 


what things are to be offered to divinity^ and of what the 
first-fruits are to be sacrificed; but the bad man exhi- 
biting honours to the Gods from his own disposition and 
his own pursuits, acts in so doing more impiously than 
piously. Hence Plato thought, that a philosopher ought 
not to be conversant with men of depraved habits ; for 
this is neither pleasing to the Gods, nor useful to men ; 
but the philosopher should endeavour to change such 
men to a better condition, and if he cannot effect this, he 
should be careful that he does not himself become 
changed into their depravity. He adds, that having 
entered into the right path, he should proceed in it, 
neither fearing danger from the multitude, nor any other 
blasphemy which may happen to take place. For it 
would be a thing of a dire nature, that the Syrians indeed 
will not taste fish, nor the Hebrews swine> nor most of the 
PhcBuicians and Egyptians cows ; and though many kings 
have endeavoured to change these customs, yet those 
that adopt them would rather suffer death, than a trans- 
gression of the law [which forbids them to eat these 
animals] ; and yet that we should choose to transgress the 
laws of nature and divine precepts through the fear of 
men, or of a certain denunciation of evil from them. For 
the divine choir of .Gods, and divine men, may justly 
be greatly indignant with us, if it perceives us directing 
our attention to the opinions of depraved men, and idly 
looking to the terror with which they are attended, 
though we daily meditate how we may become [philoso- 
phically] dead to other things in the present life. 




1. In the two preceding books» Ο Firmus Castricius, we 
have demonstrated» that animal food does not contribute 
eilher to temperance and frugality» or to the piety which 
especially gives completion to the theoretic life» but 
is rather hostile to it. Since» however» the most beautiful 
part of justice consists in piety to the Gods» and this 
is principally acquired through abstinence» there is no 
occasion to fear that we shall violate justice towards men, 
while we preserve piety towards the Gods. Socrates 
therefore says» in opposition to those who contend that 
pleasure is the supreme good» that though all swine and 
goats should accord in this opinion» yet he should never 
be persuaded that our felicity was placed in the enjoy- 
ment of corporeal delight» as long as intellect has domi- 
nion over all things. And we also say, that though 
all wolves and vultures should praise the eating of flesh» 
we should not admit that they spoke justly, as long as man 
is by nature innoxious, and ought to abstain from procuring 
pleasure for himself by injuring others. We shall pass 
on» therefore» to the discussion of justice ; and since our 
opponents say that this ought only to be extended to 
those of a similar species» and on this account deny that 
irrational animals can be injured by men» let us exhibit 
the true, and at the same time Pythagoric opinion, 
and demonstrate that every soul which participates of 


sense and memory is rational. For this being demon- 
strated, we may extend, as our opponents will also admit, 
justice to every animal. But we shall epitomize what 
has been said by the ancients on this subject. 

2. Since, however, with respect to reason, one kind, 
according to the doctrine of the Stoics, is internal, but 
the other external* ; and again, one kind being right» but 
the other erroneous» it is requisite to explain of which 
of these two, animals, according to them, are deprived• 
Are they therefore deprived of right reason alone ? or are 
they entirely destitute both of internal and externally 
proceeding reason? They appear, indeed, to ascribe to 
brutes an entire privation of reason, and not a privation 
of right reason alone. For if they merely denied that 
brutes possess right reason, animals would not be irra'- 
tiokial, but rational beings, in the same manner as nearly 
dl men are according to them. For, according to their 
opinion, one or two wise men may be found in whom 
alone right reason prevails, but all the rest of mankind are 
depraved ; though sotne of these make a certain pro^ 
flciency, but others are profoundly depraved, and yet, at 
the same time, all of them are similarly rational. Through 
the influence, therefore, of self-love, they say, that all 
other animals are irrational ; wishing to indicate by irra- 
tionality, an entire privation of reason. If, however, it be 
requisite to speak the truth, xlot only reason may plainly 
be perceived in all animals, but in many of them it is so 
great as to approximate to perfection. 

3. Since, therefore, reason is two-fold, one kind con- 
sisting in external speech, but the other in the disposition 
of the soul, we shall begin from that which is external, 
iand which is arranged according to the voice. But if 
external reason is voice, which through the tongue is sig- 
nificant of the internal passions of the soul (for this is the 
most common definition of it, and is not adopted by one 
sect [of philosophers] only, and if it is alone indicative of 

* . 

* This external reason (xoyo« ^ξ(ί^ψ»Λ;) is speech. 



the conception of [internal] reason)— if this be the case, 
in what pertaining to this are such animals as have & 
Toice deficient? Do they not discursively perceive the 
manner in which they are inwardly affected, before it 
is vocally enunciated by them ? By a discursive percep- 
tion, however» I mean the perception produced by the 
silent discourse which takes place in the soul. Since, 
therefore, that which is vocally expressed by the tongue 
is reason, in whatever manner it may be expressed^ 
whether in' a barbarous or a Grecian, a canine or a bovine 
mode, other animals also participate of it that are vocal ; 
men, indeed, speaking conformably to the human laws 
[of speech], but other animals conformably to the laws 
which they received from the Gods and nature. But 
if we do not understand what they say, what is this 
to the purpose ? For the Greeks do not understand what 
is said by the Indians, nor those who are educated in Attica 
the language of the Scythians, or Thracians, or Syrians ; 
but the sound of the one falls on the ears of the other 
Hke the clangor of cranes, though by others their 
vocal sounds can be written and articulated, in the same 
manner as ours can by us. Nevertheless, the vocal 
sounds of the Syrians, for instance, or the Persians, are 
to us inarticulate, and cannot be expressed by writing, 
just as the speech of animals is unintelligible to all men. 
For as we, when we hear the Scythians speak, apprehend, 
by the auditory sense, a noise only and a sound, but are 
ignorant of the meaning of what they say, because their 
language appears to us to be nothing but a clangor, to 
have no articulation, and to employ only one sound 
either long^ or shorter, the variety of which is not at all 
significant to us, but to them the vocal sounds are intel- 
ligible, and have a great difference, in the same manner 
as our language has to us; the like also takes place 
in the vocal sounds of other animals. For the several 
species of these understand the language which is adapted 
to them, but we only hear a sound, of the signification of 
which we are ignorant, because no one who has learnt 


our language^ is able to teach ns through ours the meaning 
of what is said by brutes. If, howeyer, it is requisite 
to believe in the ancients, and also in those who have 
lived in our times, and the times of our fathers, there are 
some among these who are said to have heard and to 
have understood the speech of animals. Thus, for in- 
slance, this is narrated of Melampus and Tiresias, and 
others of the like kind ; and the same thing, not much 
prior to our time, is related of ApoUonius Tyanasus. For 
it is narrated of him^ that once^ when he was with his 
associates, a swallow happening to be present, and twit- 
tering, he said, that the swallow indicated to other birds, 
that an ass laden with corn had fallen down before 
the city, and that in consequence of the fall of the. ass, 
the corn was spread on the ground^. An associate, also, 
of mine informed me, that he once had a boy for a 
servant, who understood the meaning of all the sounds of 
birds, and who said, that all of them were prophetic, and 
declarative of what would shortly happen. He added, 
that he was deprived of this knowledge through his 
mother, who, fearing that he would be sent to the 
£mperor as a gift, poured urine into his ear when he was 

4. Omitting, however, these things, through the 
passion of incredulity, which is connascent with us, 
I think there is no one who is ignorant, that there are 
some nations even now who understand the sounds of 
certain animals, through an alliance to those animals. 
Thus, the Arabians understand the language of crows, 
and the Tyrrhenians of eagles. And, perhaps, all men 
would understand the language of all animals, if a drs^on 
were to lick their ears. Indeed, the varietv and differ- 


ence in the vocal sounds of animals, indicate that they 
are significant. Hence, we hear one sound when they 
are terrified, but another, of a different kind, when they 
call their associates, another when tjiey summon their 

^ Philostratus relates this of ApoUouius, in bb life of him. 


young to food, another when they lovingly embrace each 
other, and another when they incite to battle. And so 
great is the difference in their vocal sounds, that, even by 
those who have spent their whole life, in the observation 
of them, it is found to be extremely difficult to ascertain 
their meaning, on account of their multitude. Diviners, 
therefore, who predict from ravens and crows, when they 
have noted the difference of the sounds, as far as to a 
certain multitude, omit the rest, as not easily to be appre- 
hended by man.- But when animals speak to each other, 
these sounds are manifest and significant to them, though 
they are not known to all of us. If, however, it appears 
that they imitate us, that they learn the Greek tongue, 
and understand their keepers, what man is so impudent 
as not to grant that they are rational, because he does 
not understand what they say ? Crows, therefore, and 
magpies, the robin redbreast, and the parrot, imitate men, 
recollect what they have heard, are obedient to their pre- 
ceptor while he is teaching them ; and many of them, 
through what they have learnt, point out those that have 
acted wrong in the house. But the Indian hyaena, which 
the natives call crocotta, speaks in a manner so human, 
and this without a teacher, as to go to houses, and call 
that person whom he knows he can easily vanquish. He 
also imitates the voice of him who is most dear, and 
would most readily attend to the person whom he calls ; 
so that, though the Indians know this, yet being deceived 
through the similitude, and obeying the call, they come 
forth, and are destroyed. If, however, all animals do not 
imitate, and all of them are not adapted to learn our 
language, what is this to the purpose? For neither is 
every man docile or imitative, I will not say of the vocal 
sounds of animals, but of the five dialects of the Greek 
tongue. To which may be added, that some animals, 
perhaps, do not speak, because they have not been taught, 
or because they are impeded by the ill conformation of 
the instruments of speech. We, therefore, when we were 
at Carthage, nurtured a tame partridge, which we caught 



flying, and wbich^ in process of time, and by associating 
¥rith υβ, became so exceedingly mild, that it was not only 
sedulously attentive to us, caressed and sported with us, 
but uttered a sound corresponding to the sound of our 
voice, and, as far as it was capable, answered us ; and this 
in a manner different from that by which partridges are 
accustoihed to call each other. For it did not utter a 
corresponding sound when we were silent, but when we 
spoke to it. 

5. It is also narrated, that some dumb animals obey 
their masters with more readiness than any domestic 
servants. Hence, a lamprey was so accustomed to the 
Roman Crassus, as to come to him when he called it by 
its name ; on which account Crassus was so affectionately 
disposed towards it, that he exceedingly lamented its 
death, though, prior to this, he had borne the loss of 
three of his children with moderation. Many likewise 
relate that the eels in Arethusa, and the shell-fish de- 
nominated saperdsB, about Meeander, are obedient to 
those that call them. Is not the imagination, therefor^, 
of an animal that speaks, the same, whether it proceeds 
as far as to the tongue, or does not? And if this be the 
case, is it not absurd to call the voice of man alone 
[external] reason, but refuse thus to denominate the 
voice of other animals? For this is just as if crows 
should think that their voice alone is external reason, 
but that we are irrational animals, because the meaning 
of the sounds which we utter is not obvious to them; 
or as if the inhabitants of Attica should thus denomi- 
nate their speech alone, and should think that those 
are irrational who are ignorant of the Attic tongue, 
though the inhabitants of Attica would sooner under- 
stand the croaking of a crow, than the language of a 
Syrian or a Persian. But is it not absurd to judge of 
rationality and irrationality from apprehending or not 
apprehending the meaning of vocal sounds, or from 
silence and speech '^ For thus some one might say, thftt 
^he God who is above all things, and likewise^he other 


Gods, are not rational, because they do not speak. The 
Gods, however, silently indicate their will, and birde 
apprehend their will more rapidly than men, and when 
they have apprehended it, they narrate it to men as much 
as they are able, and different birds are the messengers to 
men of different Gods. Thus^ the eagle is the messenger 
of Jupiter, the hawk and the crow of Apollo, the stork of 
Juno, the crex and the bird of night of Minerva, the 
crane of Ceres, and some other bird is the messenger of 
some other deity. Moreover, those among us that ob- 
serve animals, and are nurtured together with them, know 
the meaning of their vocal sounds. The hunter, there- 
fore, from the barking of his dog, perceives at one time, 
indeed, that the dog explores a hare, but at another, that 
the dog has found it ; at one time, that he pursues the 
game, at another that he has caught it, and at another 
that he is in the wrong track, through having lost the 
scent of it. Thus, too, the cowherd knows, at one time, 
indeed, that a cow is hungry, or thirsty, or weary, and at 
another, that she is incited to venery, or seeks her calf, 
[from her different lowings]^ A lion also manifests by 
his roaring that he threatens, a wolf by his howling that 
he is in a bad condition, and shepherds, from the bleating 
of sheep, know what the sheep want. 

6. Neither, therefore, are animals ignorant of the 
meaning of the voice of men, when they are angry, στ 
speak kindly to, or call them, or pursue them, or ask them 
to do something, or give something to them; nor, in 
short, are they ignorant of any thing that is usually said 
to them, but are aptly obedient to it; which it would be 
impossible for them to do, unless that which is similar to 
intellection energized, in consequence of being excited by 
its similar. The immoderation of their passions, also, is 
suppressed by certain modulations, and stags, bulls, and 

^ The words within the brackets are added from the version of 
Felicianus. Hence it appears, that the words i» rm ^Μ^ψη μνιίΛμΛτΦη 
are wanting in the original, after the word (xru. But this defect is not 
noticed by any of the editors. 


other animals^ from being wild become tame. Those^ too^ 
who are decidedly of opinion that brutes are deprived of 
reason^ yet admit that dogs have a knowledge of dia•» 
lectic^ and make use of the syllogism which consists of 
many disjunctive propositions, when, in searching for 
their game, they happen to come to a place where there 
are three roads. For they thus reason, the beast has 
either fled through this road, or through that, or through 
the remaining road; but it has not fled either through 
this, or through that, and therefore it must have fled 
through the remaining third of these roads ^. After 
which syllogistic process, they resume their pursuit in 
that road. It may, however, be readily said, that animals 
do these things naturally, because they were not taught 
by any one to do them ; as if we also were not allotted 
reason by nature, though we likewise give names to 
things, because we are naturally adapted to do so. 
Besides, if it be requisite to believe in Aristotle, animals 
are seen to teach their offspring, not only something per- 
taining to other things, but also to utter vocal sounds ; as 
the nightingale, for instance, teaches her young to sing. 
And as he likewise says, animals learn many things from 
each other, and many from men ; and the truth of what 
he asserts is testified by all the^ tamers of colts, by every 
jockey, horseman, and charioteer, and by all hunters, 
herdsmen, keepers of elephants, and masters of wild beasts 
and birds. He, therefore, who estimates things rightly, will 
be led, from these instances, to ascribe intelligence to 
brutes; but he who is inconsiderate, and is ignorant of 
these things, will be induced to act rashly, through his 
inexhaustible avidity co-operating with him against them. 
For how is it possible that he should not defame and 
calumniate animals, who has determined to cut them in 
pieces, as if they were stones ? Aristotle, however, Plato, 
£mpedocles, Pythagoras, Democritus, and all such as 

* Porphyry derived this from the treatise of Plutarch, in which it ii 
investigated whether land are more sagacious than aguatic animals. 


endeavoured to discover the truth concerning animals^ 
have acknowledged that they participate of reason. 

7. But it is now requisite to show that brutes have 
internal reason. The diflPerence, indeed, between our 
reason and theirs, appears to consist, as Aristotle some- 
where says, not in essence, but in the more and the less ; 
just as many are of opinion, that the difference between 
the Gods and us is not essential, but consists in this, that 
in them there is a greater, and in us a less accuracy, of 
the reasoning power*. And, indeed, so far as pertains to 
sense and the remaining organization, according to the 
sensoria and the flesh, every one nearly will grant that 
these are similarly disposed in us, as they are in brutes. 
For they not only similarly participate with us of natural 
passions, and the motions produced through these, but 
we may also survey in them such affections as are preter- 
natural and morbid. No one, however, of a sound mind, 
will say that brutes are unreceptive of the reasoning 
power, on account of the difference between their habit 
of body and ours, when he sees that there is a great 
variety of habit in men, according to their race, and the 
nations to which they belong, and yet, at the same time, 
it is granted that all of them are rational. An ass, there- 
fore, is a£3[icted with a catarrh, and if the disease flows to 
his lungs, he dies in the same manner as a man. A horse, 
too, is subject to purulence, and wastes away through it, 
like a man. He is likewise attacked with rigour, the 
gout, fever, and fury, in which case he is also said to 
have a depressed countenance. A mare, when pregnant, 
if she happens to smell a lamp when it is just extin- 
guished, becomes abortive, in the same manner as a 
woman. An ox, and likewise a camel, are subject to 

* This was the opinion of the Stoics ; but is most erroneous. For 
the supreme divinity, being superessential, transcends even intellect itself, 
and much more reason, which is an evolved perception of things ; and 
this is also the case with every other deity, according to the Platonic 
theology, when considered according to his hyparxis, or summit. See 
my translation of Proclus on the Theology of Plato. 


fever and insanity; a raven becomes scabby, and has 
the leprosy; and also a dog, who, besides this« is 
afflicted with the gout, and madness: but a hog is 
subject to hoarseness, and in a still greater degree a dog; 
whence this disease in a man is denominated from the 
dog, cynanche^ And these things are known to us, 
because we are familiar with these animals ; but of the 
diseases of other animals we are ignorant, because we 
do not associate with them. Castrated animals also 
become more effeminate. Hence cocks, when they are 
castrated, no longer crow; but their voice becomes 
effeminate, like that of men who lose their testicles. It 
is not possible, likewise, to distinguish the bellowing 
and horns of a bull, when he is castrated, from those of 
a cow. But stags, when they are castrated, no longer 
cast off their horns, but retain them in the same manner 
as eunuchs do their hairs; and if, when they are 
castrated, they are without horns, they do not afterwards 
produce them, just as it happens to those who, before 
they have a beard, are made eunuchs. So that nearly 
the bodies of all animals are similarly affected with ours, 
with respect to the bodily calamities to which they are 

8. See, however, whether all the passions of the soul 
in brutes, are not similar to ours ; for it is not the pro- 
vince of man alone to apprehend juices by the taste, 
colours by the sight, odours by the smell, sounds by the 
hearing, cold or heat, or other tangible objects, by the 
touch ; but the senses of brutes are capable of the same 
perceptions. Nor are brutes deprived of sense because 
they are not men, as neither are we to be deprived of 
reason, because the Gods, if they possess it, are rational 
beings. With respect to the senses, however, other 
animals appear greatly to surpass us ; for what man can 
see so acutely as a dragon? (for this is not the fabulous* 
Lynceus). And hence the poets denominate to see- 
ίξοχειν, drakein: but an eagle, from a great height, sees 
a hare• What man hears more acutely than craned ^bo^ 


are able to hear from an interval so great; ^^ to be 
beyond the reach of human sight? And as to smell, 
almost all animals so much surpass us in this sense, that 
things which fall on it, and are obvious to them, are 
concealed from us; so that they know and, smell the 
several kinds of animals by their footsteps. Hence, men 
employ dogs as their leaders, for the purpose of discover- 
ing the retreat of a boar, or a stag. And we, indeed, 
are slowly sensible of the constitution of the air ; but 
this is immediately perceived by other animals, so that ' 
from them we derive indications of the future state of 
the weather. With respect to juices also, they so accu- 
rately know the distinction between them, that their 
knowledge of what are morbific, salubrious, and dele- 
terious among these, surpasses that of physicians. But 
Aristotle says, that animals whose sensitive powers are 
more exquisite, are more prudent. And the diversitiies, 
indeed, of bodies are capable of producing a facility or 
difficulty of being passively affected, and of having reason, 
more or less prompt in its energies; but they are not 
capable of changing the essence of the soul, since neither 
are they able to change the senses, nor to alter the 
passions, nor to make them entirely abandon their proper 
nature. It must be granted, therefore, that animals 
participate more or less of reason, but not that they are 
perfectly deprived of it ; as neither must it be admitted 
that one animal has reason, but another not. As, how- 
ever, in one and the same^ species of animals, one body is 
more, but another less healthy ; and, in a similar manner, 
in diseases, in a naturally good, and a naturally bad, 
disposition, there is a great difference ; thus also in souls, 
one is naturally good, but another depraved: and of 
souls that are depraved, one has more, but another less, 
of depravity. In good men, likewise, there is not the 
same equality; for Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, are 
not similarly good. Nor is there sameness in a concord- 
ance of opinions. Hence it does not follow, if we have 
more intelligence than other animals, that on this account 


th^y are to be deprived of intelligence ; as neither must 
it be said, that partridges do not fly, because hawks fly 
higher; nor that other hawks do riot fly, because the 
bird called phassophonos ^ flies higher than these, and 
than all other birds. Some one, therefore, may admit 
that the soul is co-passive with the body, and that the 
former sufiers something from the latter, when the latter 
is well or ill affected ; but in this case it by no means 
changes its nature : but if the soul is only co-passive to, 
and uses the body as an instrument, she may be able to 
efiect many things through it, which we cannot, even 
when it is organized differently from ours, and when it 
is affected in a certain manner, may sympathize with it, 
and yet may not change its proper nature. 

9. It must be demonstrated, therefore, that there is 
a. rational power in animals, and that they are not 
deprived of prudence. And in the first place, indeed, 
each of them knows whether it is imbecile or strong, 
and, in consequence of this, it defends some parts of 
itseif, but attacks with others. Thus the panther uses 
its teeth, the lion its nails and teeth, the horse its hoofs, 
the ox its horns, the cock its spurs, and the scorpion its 
sting; but the serpents in Egypt use their spittle, 
(whence also they are called 'jrruahg, ptuades, i. e. spitters,) 
and with this they blind the eyes of those that approach 
them : and thus a different animal uses a different part 
of itself for attack, in order to save itself. Again, some 
animals, viz. such as are robust, feed [and live] remote 
from men ; but others, who are of an ignoble nature, live 
remote from stronger animals, and, on the contrary, 
dwell nearer men. And of these, some dwell at a greater 
distance from more robust animals, as sparrows and 
swallows, who build their hests in the roofs of houses; 
but others associate with .men, as, for instance, dogs. 
They likewise change their places of abode at certain 

' A musket, or male hawk of a small kind. This bird is mentioned 
by Homer, Iliad, XIV. v. 238. 


tilues^ and know every thing which contributes to their 
advantage. In a similar manner, in fishes and in birds, 
a reasoning energy of this kind may be perceived; all 
which particulars are abundantly collected by the 
ancients, in their writings concerning the prudence of 
animals ; and they are copiously discussed by Aristotle, 
who says, that by all animals an habitation subservient 
to their subsistence and their safety, is most exquisitely 

10. But he who says that these things are naturally 
present with animals, is ignorant in asserting this, that 
they are by nature rational ; or if this is not admitted, 
neither does reason subsist in us naturally, nor with the 
perfection of it receive an increase, so far as we are 
naturally adapted to receive it. A divine nature, indeed, 
does not become rational < through learning, for there 
never was a time in which he was irrational ; but ration- 
ality is consubsistent with his existence, and he is not 
prevented from being rational, because he did not receive 
reason through discipline: though, with ^respect to other 
animals, in the same manner as with respect to men, 
many things are taught them by nature, and some things 
are imparted by discipline. Brutes, however,, learn some 
things from each other, but are taught others, as we 
have said, by men. They also have memory, which is a 
most principal thing in the resumption of reasoning and 
prudence. They likewise have vices, and are envious; 
though their bad qualities are not so widely extended as 
in men : for their vices are of a lighter nature than 
those of men. This, indeed, is evident; for the builder 
of a house will never be able to lay the foundation of it, 
unless he is sober ; nor can a shipwright properly place 

^ Reason in a divine intellect subsists causally, or in a way better 
than reason, and therefore is not a discursive enei);y (λιξο)(χιι m^ia), 
but an evolved cause of things. And though, in a divine soul, it is 
discursive, or transitive, yet it differs from our reason in this, that it 
perceives the whole of one form at once, and not by degrees, as we do 
when we reason. 


the keel of a sbip^ unless be is in health ; nor a husband- 
man plant a vine» unless he applies his mind to it ; yet 
nearly all men^ when they are intoxicated, can beget 
children. This» however» is not the case with other 
animals; for they propagate for the sake of offspring, and 
for the most part» when the males have made the female 
pregnant» they no longer attempt to be connected with 
her; nor» if they should attempt it, would the female 
permit them. But the magnitude of the lascivious inso- 
lence and intemperance of men in these things, is 
evident. In other animals» however» the male is conscious 
of the parturient throes of the female, and» for the most 
part» partakes of the same pains ; as is evident in cock^. 
But others incubate together with the females; as the 
males of doves. They likewise provide a proper place 
for the delivery of their offspring ; and after they have 
brought forth their offspring, they both purify them and 
themselves. And he who properly observes» will see 
that every thing proceeds with them in an orderly 
manner; that they fawn on him who nourishes them, 
and that they know their master, and give indications of 
him who acts insidiously. 

11. Who likewise is ignorant how much gregarioua 
animals preserve justice towards each other? for this is 
preserved by ants, by bees» and by other animals of the 
like kind.^ And who is ignorant of the chastity of female 
ring-doves towards the males with whom they associate ? 
for they destroy those who are found by them to have 
committed adultery. Or who has not heard of the 
justice of storks towards their parents? For in the 
several species of animals, a peculiar virtue is eminent^ 
to which each species is naturally adapted ; nor because 
this virtue is natural and stable, is it fit to deny that they 
are rational ? For it might be requisite to deprive them 
of rationality, if their works were not the proper effects 
of virtue and rational sagacity ; but if we do not under- 
stand how these works are effected, because we are 
unable to penetrate into the reasoning which they use^ 


we are not on this account to accuse them of irrationality ; 
for Ineither is any one able to penetrate into the intel^ 
lect of that divinity the sun, but from his works we assent 
to those who demonstrate him to be an intellectual and 
rational essence. 

12. But some one may very properly wonder at 
tho^ who admit that justice derives its subsistence from 
the rational part, and who call those animals that have 
QO association with men, savage and unjust, and yet do 
Qot extend justice as far as to those that do associate 
with us ; and which, in the same manner as men, would 
be deprived of life, if they were deprived of human 
society^ Birds, therefore^ and dogs, and many quadru- 
peds, such as goats, horses, sheep, asses, and mules, 
would perish, if deprived of an association with mankind. 
Nature also, the fabricator of their frame, constituted 
them so as to be in want of men, and fashioned men so 
ap to require their assistance ; thus producing an innate 
justice in them towards us, and in us towards them. 
But it is not at all wonderful, if some of them are savage 
towards men ; for what Aristotle says is true, that if all 
animals had an abundance of nutriment^ they would not 
^ct ferociously, either towards each other, or towards 
men. For on account of food, though necessary and 
slender, enmities and friendships are produced among 
animals, and also on account of the places which they 
occupy; but if men were reduced to such straits as 
brutes are [with respect to food,] how much more savage 
would they become than those animals that appear to be 
wild? War and famine are indications of the truth of 
this; for then men do not abstain from eating each 
other; and even without war and famine, they eat 
animals that are nurtured with them^ and are perfectly 

13. Some one, however, may say, that brutes are 
indeed rational animals, but have not a certain habitude, 
proximity, or alliance to us ; but he who asserts thii^ will, 
in the first place, make them to be irrational animals, in 


consequence of depriving them of an alliance to our 
nature. And^ in the next place, he will mate their 
association with us to depend on the utility which we 
derive from them, and not on the participation of reason. 
The thing proposed by us, however, is to show that 
brutes are rational animals, and not to inquire whether 
there is any compact between them and us. For, with 
respect to men, all of them do not league with u8> 
and yet no one would say, that he who does not enter 
into a league with us is irrational. But many brutes are 
slaves to men, and, as some one rightly says, though they 
are in a state of servitude themselves, through the impro- 
bity of men, yet, at the same time, by wisdom and justice^ 
they cause their masters to be their servants and curators. 
Moreover, the vices of brutes are manifest, from which 
especially their rationality is 4emonstrated. For they 
are envious, and the males are rivals of each other with 
respect to the favour of the females, and the females with 
respect to the regard of the males. There is one vice,, 
however, which is not inherent in them, viz. acting insi- 
diously towards their benefactors, but they are perfectly 
benevolent to those who are kind to them, and place 
so much confidence in them, as to follow wherever they 
may lead them, though it should even be to slaughter and 
manifest danger. And though some one should nourish 
them, not for their sake, but for his own, yet they will be 
benevolently disposed towards their possessor. But men 
[on the contrary] do not act with such hostility towards 
any one, as towards him who has nourished them ; nor do 
they so much pray for the death of any one, as for 
his death. 

14. Indeed, the operations of brutes are attended with 
so much consideration**, that they frequently perceive, 
that the food which is placed for them is nothing else 

*• lu the original, Owr» y trit Xcyia-rinA m ^j», Η.τ.λ. But for Xeyte^»•, 
lipsius proposes to read, Xo^txa, and Meennan hvyoM, There is, how- 
ever, no occasion whatever to sabstitote any other word for xo}^rrMM, as, 
with Platonic writers, ▼• "Kvyirrvim is equivalent to τβ >Λγ^%μχηι»* 


than a snare, though, either through intemperance or 
hunger, they approach to it. And some of them, indeed, 
do not approach to it immediately, but others slowly 
accede to it. They also try whether it is possible to take 
the food without falling into danger, and frequently in 
consequence of rationality vanquishing passion, they de- 
part without being injured. Some of them too revile at, 
and discharge their urine on the stratagem of men ; but 
others, through voracity, though they know tha^ they 
shall be captured, yet no less than the associates of 
Ulysses, suffer themselves to die rather than not eat. 
Some persons, likewise, have not badly endeavoured to 
show from the places which animals are allotted, that 
they are far more prudent than we are. For as those 
beings that dwell in aether are rational, so also, say they, 
are the animals which occupy the region proximate to 
SBther, viz. the air ; afterwards aquatic animals differ, from 
these, and in the last place, the terrestrial differ from 
the aquatic [in degrees of ration?ility]. And we belong 
to the class of terrene animals dwelling in the sediment of 
the universe. For in the Gods, we must not infer that 
they possess a greater degree of excellence from the 
places [which they illuminate], though in mortal natures 
this may he admitted. 

15. Since, also, brutes acquire a knowledge of the arts, 
and these such as are human, and learn to dance, to 
drive a chariot, to fight a duel, to walk on ropes, to write 
and read, to play on the pipe and the harp, to discharge 
arrows, and to ride, — this being the case, can you 
any longer doubt whether they possess that power which 
is receptive of art, since the recipient of these arts may be 
seen to exist in them ? For where will they receive them, 
unless reason is inherent in them in which the arts sub- 
sist ? For they do not hear our voice as if it was a mere 
sound only, but they also perceive the difference in the 
meaning of the words, which is the effect of rational 
intelligence. But our opponents say, that animals per- 
form badly what is done by men. To this we reply, that 


neither do men perform all things well. For if this 
be not admitted, some men would be in vain victors in 
a contest, and others vanquished. They add^ that brutes 
do not consult, nor form assemblies, nor act in a judicial 
capacity. But tell me whether all men do this ? Do not 
actions in the multitude precede consultation? And 
whence can any one demonstrate that brutes do not con- 
sult? For no one can adduce an argument suiHcient 
to prove that they do not. But those show the contrary 
to this, who have written minutely about animals. As to 
other objections, which are adduced by aur adversaries in 
a declamatory way, they are perfectly frivolous; such, 
for instance, as that brutes have no cities of their own. 
For neither have the Scythiime, who live in carts, 
nor the Grods. Out opponents add, that neither have 
brutes any written laws• To this we reply, that neither 
had men while they were happy. For Apis is said- to 
have been the first that promulgated laws for the Greeks, 
when they were in want of them. 

16. To men, therefore, on account of their voracity, 
brutes do not appear to possess reason ; but by the Gods 
and divine men, they are honoured equally with sacred 
suppliants. Hence^ the God' said to Aristodicus, the 
Cumean, that sparrows were his suppliants. Socrates 
also, and prior to him, Rhadamanthus, swore by animals. 
But the Egyptians conceive them to be Gods, whether 
they, in reality, thought them to be so, or whether 
they intentionally represented the Gods in the forms 
of oxen, birds, and other animals, in order that these 
animals might be no less abstained from than from men, 
or whether they did this through other more mystical 
causes^. Thus also the Greeks united a ram to the 

' See the first book of Herodotus, chap. 159. 

^ The more mystical cause why the Egyptians worshipped ammals, 
appears to me to be this, that they conceived a living to be preferable to 
an inanimate image of divinity. Hence, they reverenced animals as 
visible and living resemblances of certain invisible powers of the Gods. 
-^See Plutarch's Treatise on Isis and Osiris. 


statue of Jupiter, but the horns of a bull to that of 
Bacchus. They likewise fashioned the statue of Pan 
from the form of a man and a goat ; but they represented 
the Muses and the Sirens winged, and also Victory, Iris, 
Love, and Hermes. Pindar too, in his hymns, represents 
the Gods, when they were expelled by Typhon, not 
resembling men, but other animals. And Jupiter, when 
in love with Pasiphae, is said to have become a bull ; but 
at another time, he is said to have been changed into an 
eagle and a swan ; through all which the ancients indi- 
cated the honour which they paid to animals, and this in 
a still greater degree when they assert that Jupiter was 
nursed by a goat. The Cretans, from a law established 
by Rhadamanthus, swore by all animals. Nor was 
Socrates in jest when he swore by the dog and the goose; 
but in so doing, he swore conformably to the just son 
of Jupiter [Rhadamanthus]; nor did he sportfully say 
that swans were his fellow- servants. But fables ob- 
scurely signify, that animals have souls similar to ours, 
when they say that the Gods in their anger changed men 
into brutes, and that, when they were so changed, they 
afterwards pitied and loved them. For things of this 
kind are asserted of dolphins and halcyons^ of night- 
ingales and swallows. 

17, £ach of the ancients, likewise, who had been 
prosperously nursed by animals, boasted more of this 
than of their parents and educators. Thus, one boasted 
of having Been nursed by a she-wolf, another by a hind, 
another by a she-goat> and another by a bee. But Semi- 
ramis gloried in having been brought up by doves, Cyrus 
in being nursed by a dog, and a Thracian in having a swan 
for his nurse, who likewise bore the name of his nurse. 
Hence also, the Gods obtained their surnames, as 
Bacchut that of HirmuleuSy Apollo that of Lyceus, and, like- 
wise Delphinius, Neptune and Minerva that of Equestris. 
But Hecate, when invoked by the names of a bull, a dog, 
and a lioness, is more propitious. If, however, those who 
(Sacrifice animals and eat them, assert that they are irra- 


tional, in order that they may mitigate the crime of 
so doing, the Scythians also, who eat their parents, may 
in like manner say that their parents are destitute of 

18. Through these arguments, therefore, and others 
which we shall afterwards mention, in narrating the 
opinions of the ancients, it is demonstrated that brutes 
are rational animals, reason in most of them being indeed 
imperfect, of which, nevertheless, they are not entirely 
deprived. Since, however, justice pertains to rational 
beings, as our opponents say, how is it possible not to 
admit, that we should also act justly towards brutes ? For 
we do not extend justice to plants, because there appears 
to be much in them which is unconnected with reason ; 
though of these, we are accustomed to use the fruits, but 
not together with the fruits to cut off the trunks. We 
collect, however, corn and leguminous substances, when, 
being efflorescent, they have fallen on the earth, and are 
dead. But no one uses for food the flesh of dead animals, 
that of fish being excepted, unless they have been de- 
stroyed by violence. So that in these things there 
is much injustice. As Plutarch also says^ it does not 
follow that, because our nature is indigent of certain 
things, and we use these, we should therefore act unjustly 
towards all things. For we are allowed to injure other 
things to a certain extent, in order to procure the neces- 
sary means of subsistence (if to take any thing from 
plants, even while they are living, is an injury to them) ; 
but to destroy other things through luxury, and for the 
enjoyment of pleasure, is perfectly savage and unjust. 
And the abstinence from these neither diminishes our 
life nor our living happily. For if, indeed, the destruc- 
tion of animals and the eating of flesh were as requisite 
as air and water, plants and fruits, without which it 
is impossible to live, this injustice would be necessarily 
connected with our nature. But if many priests of the 

1 See the Symposiacs of Plutarch, lib. ix. 8^ 


Gods, and many kings of the barbarians, being attentive 
to purity, and if, likewise, infinite species of animals 
never taste food of this kind, yet live, and obtain their 
proper end according to nature, is not he absurd who 
orders us, because we are compelled to wage war with 
certain animals^ not to live peaceably with those with 
whom it is possible to do so, but tliinks, either that we 
ought to live without exercising justice towards any 
thing, or that, by exercising it towards all things^ we 
should not continue in existence ? As, therefore, among 
men, he who, for the sake of his own safety, or that of his 
children or country, either seizes the wealth of certain 
persons, or oppresses some region or city, has necessity 
for the pretext of his injustice ; but he who acts in 
this manner through the acquisition of wealth, or through 
satiety or luxurious pleasure, and for the purpose of 
satisfying desires which are not necessary, appears to 
be .inhospitable, intemperate, and depraved; — thus too, 
divinity pardons the injuries which are done to plants, 
the consumption of fire and water, the shearing of sheep, 
the milking of cows, and the taming of oxen, and subju- 
gating them to the yoke, for the safety and continuance 
in life of those that use them. But to deliver animals 
to be slaughtered and cooked, and thus be filled with 
murder, not for the sake of nutriment and satisfying the 
wants of nature, but making pleasure and gluttony the 
end of such conduct, is transcendently iniquitous and 
dire. For it is sufficient that we use, for laborious pur- 
poses, though they have no occasion to labour them- 
selves, the progeny of horses, and asses, and bulls, as 
^schylus says, as our substitutes, who, by being tamed 
and subjugated to the yoke, alleviate our toil. 

19. But with respect to him who thinks that we 
should not use an ox for food, nor destroying and 
corrupting spirit and life, place things on the table which 
are only the allurements and elegancies of satiety, of 
what does he deprive our life, which is either necessary 
to our safety, or subservient to virtue? To compare 



plants, however, with animals, is doing violence to the 
order of things. For the latter are naturally sensitive, 
and adapted to feel paki, ta be terrified and hurt ; on 
which account also they may be injured. But the former 
are entirely destitute of sensation, and in consequence of 
this, nothing foreign, or evil, or hurtful,, or injurious, can 
befall them. For sensation is the principle of all alliance, 
and of every thing of a foreign nature. But Zeno and his 
followers* assert, that alliance is the principle of justice. 
And is it not absurd, since we see that many of our own 
species live from sense alone, but da not possess intellect 
and reason, and since we also see, that many^ of them sur* 
pass the most terrible of wild beasts in cruelty, anger, 
and rapine, being murderous of their children and their 
parents, and also being tyrants, and the tools of kings [is 
it not, I say, absurd,] to fancy that we ought to act justly 
towards these, but that no justice is due from us to the 
ox that ploughs, the dog that is fed with us, and the 
animals that nourish us with their milk, a^d adorn our 
bodies with their wool ? Is not mich an opinion most irra- 
tional and absurd ? 

20. But, \\j Jupiter, the assertion of Chrysippus is 
considered by our opponents to be very probable, that 
the Gods made us for the sake of themselves, and for the 
sake of each other, and that they made animals for 
the sake of us ; horses, indeed, in order that they might 
assist us in battle, dogs, that they might hunt with us, 
and leopards, bears, and lions, for the sake of exercising 
otur fortitude. But the hog (for here the pleasantry 
of Chrysippus is most delightful) was not made for, 
any other purpose than to be sacrificed; and God mingled 
soul, as if it were salt, with the flesh of this animal, that 
he might procure for us excellent food. In order, like- 
wise, that we might have an abundance of broth, and 
luxurious suppers, divinity provided for us all-various 
kinds of shell-fish, the fishes called purples, sea-nettles, 
and the various kinds of winged animals ; and this not 
from a certain other cause, but only that he might supply 


man with an exuberance of pleasure ; in so doing, sur- 
passing all nurses [in kindness], and thickly filling with 
pleasures and enjoyments the terrestrial place. Let him, 
however, to whom these assertions appear to possess 
a certain probability, and to participate of something 
worthy of deity, consider what he will reply to the saying 
of Carneades, that every thing which is produced by 
nature, is benefited when it obtains the end to which it is 
adapted, and for which it was generated. But benefit 
is to be understood in a more general way, as signifying 
what the Stoics call useful. The hog, however, [says he] 
was produced by nature for the purpose of being slaugh- 
tered and used for food ; and when it suffers this, it 
obtains the end for which it is adapted, and is benefited. 
But if God fashioned animals for the use of men, in what 
do we use flies, lice, bats, beetles, scorpions, and vipers ? 
of which some are odious to the sight, defile the tQuch, 
are intolerable to the smell, and in their voice dire 
and unpleasant; and others, on the contrary, are destruc- 
tive to those that meet with them. And with respect to 
the balana, pistrices, and other species of whales, an infi-> 
nite number of which, as Homer says"", the loud-sounding 
Amphitrite nourishes, does not the Demiurgus teach ue, 
that they were generated for the utility of the nature of 
things"? And if our opponents should admit, that all 
things were not generated for us, and with a view to our 
advantage, in addition to the distinction which they make 
being very confused and obscure, we shall not avoid 
acting unjustly, in attacking and noxiously using those 
animals which were not produced for our sake, but 
according to nature [i. e. for the sake of the universe], as 
we were. I omit to mention, that if we define, by utility, 

"» Odyss. XII. V. 96. 

" The latter part of this sentence, which iu the original is η oy» 
th^a^n ημάς ο ^ιμιονξγος ovn χ^ησ-ιμα td ^υηι ytywt • Valentinius most erro- 
neously translates, '' quare nos rerum opifi^x non edocuit, quoniodo k 
natura in nostros usus facta fuerint ? " 


things which pertain to us^ we shall not be prevented 
from admitting, that we were generated for the sake 
of the most destructive animals, such as crocodiles, 
balaense, and dragons. For we are not in the least 
benefited by them ; but they seize and destroy men that 
fall in their way, and use them for food ; in so doing 
acting not at all rarore cruelly than we do, excepting that 
they commit this injustice through want and hunger, but 
we through insolent wantonness, and for the sake of 
luxury, frequently sporting in theatres, and in hunting 
slaughter the greater part of animals. And by thus 
acting, indeed, a murderous disposition and a brutal 
nature become strengthened in us, and render us insen- 
sible tt> pity : to which we may add, that those who first 
dared to do this, blunted the greatest part of lenity, and 
rendered it inefficacious. The Pythagoreans, however, 
made lenity towards beasts to be an exercise of philan- 
thropy and commiseration. So that, how is it possible 
they should not in a greater degree excite us to justice, 
than those who assert that, by not slaughtering animals, 
the justice which is usually exercised towards men will be 
corrupted ? For custom is most powerful in increasing 
those passions in man which were gradually introduced 
into his nature. 

21. It is so, say our antagonists; but as the immortal 
is opposed to the mortal, the incorruptible to the cor- 
ruptible, and the incorporeal to the corporeal, so to the 
rational essence which has an existence in the nature of 
things, the irrational essence must be opposed, which has 
a subsistence contrary to it ; nor in so many conjugations 
of things, is this alone to be left imperfect and mutilated* 
[Our opponents, however, thus speak], as if we did not 
grant this, or as if we had not shown that there is much 
of the irrational among beings. For there is an abundance 
of it in all the natures that are destitute of soul, nor do 
we require any other opposition to that which is rational ; 
but immediately every thing which is deprived of soul. 


being irrational and without intellect^ is opposed to that 
which possesses reason and dianoia^. If, however, some 
one should think fit to assert that not nature in common, 
but the animated nature, is divided into that which pos- 
sesses and that which is without imagination, and into 
that which is sensitive, and that which is deprived of 
sensation, in order that these oppositions of habits and 
privations may subsist about the same genus, as being 
equiponderant; — he who says this speaks absurdly. For 
it would be absurd to investigate in the animated nature 
that which is sensitive, and that which is without sen- 
sation, that which employs, and that which is without* 
imagination, because every thing animated is immediately 
adapted to be sensitive and imaginative. So that neither 
thus will he justly require, that one part of the animated 
nature should be rational, but another irrational, when he 
is speaking to men, who think that nothing participates 
of sense which does not also participate of intelligence, 
and that nothing is an animal in which opinion and 
reasoning are not inherent, in the same manner as with 
animals every sense and impulse are naturally present. 
For nature, which they rightly assert produced all things 
for the sake of a certain thing, and with reference to 
a certain end, did not make an animal sensitive merely 
that it might be passively affected, and possess sensible 
perception ; but as there are many things which are allied 
and appropriate, and many which are foreign to it, it 
would not be able to exist for the shortest space of time, 
unless it learnt how to avoid some things, and to pursue 
others. The knowledge, therefore, of both these, sense 
similarly imparts to every animal ; but the apprehension 
and pursuit of what is useful, and the depulsion and 
avoidance of what is destructive and painful, can by no 
possible contrivance be present with those animals that 
are incapable of reasoning, judging, and remembering, 
and that do not naturally possess an animadversive power. 

** i. e. The discursive energy of reason. 


For to those animals from whom you entirely take away 
expectation, memory, design, preparation, hope, fear, 
desire, and indignation, neither the eyes when present, 
nor the ears, nor >sense, nor phantasy, will be beneficial, 
since they will be of no use ; and it will be better to be 
deprived of them than to labour, be in pain, and be 
afflicted, without possessing the power of repelling these 
molestations. There is, however, a treatise of Strato, the 
physiologist, in which it is demonstrated, that it is not 
possible to have a sensible perception of any thing with- 
out the energy of intellection. For frequently the letters 
of a book, which we cursorily consider by the sight, and 
words which fall on the auditory sense, are concealed 
from and escape us, when our intellect is attentive to 
other things ; but afterwards» when it returns to the thing 
to which it was before inattentive, then, by recollection, 
it runs through and pursues each of the before-mentioned 
particulars. Hence also it is said [by Epicharmus], — 

Tis mind alone that sees and hears, 
And all besides is deaf and blind. 

For the objects which fall on the eyes and the ears do 
not produce a sensible perception of themselves, unless 
that which is intellective is present. On which account, 
also,king Cleomenes, when something that was recited was 
applauded^ being asked, if it did not also appear to him to 
be excellent,, left this to the decision of those that asked 
him die question; for he said, that his intellect was at 
the time in Peloponnesus. Hence it is necessary that 
intellect should be present with all those with whom 
sensible perception is present. 

22. Let us, however, admit that sense does not require 
intellect for the accomplishment of its proper work, yet, 
when energizing about what is appropriate and what is 
foreign, it discerns the difference between the two, it 
must then exercise the power of memory, and must dread 
that which will produce pain, desire that which will be 
beneficial, and contrive, if it is absent, how it may be 


present^ aud will procure methods of pursuing and in- 
vestigating what is advantageous, and of avoiding and 
flying from hostile occurrences. Indeed, our opponent, 
in their Introductions, [as they call them], every where 
inculcate these things with a tedious prolixity» defining 
design to be an indication of perfection ; the tendency of 
intellect to the object of its perception, an impulse prior 
to impulse; preparation, an action prior to action; and 
memory, the comprehension of some past things, the 
perception of which, when present, was obtained through 
sense. For there is not any one of these which is not 
rational, and all of them are present with all animals. 
Thus, too, with respect to intellections, those which are 
reposited in the mind, are called by them swoiai, notions ; 
but when they are in motion [through a discursive 
energy] they denominate them ί^αοηνεις, or perceptions 
obtained by a reasoning process. But with respect to all 
the passions, as they are in common acknowledged to be 
depraved natures and opinions, it is wonderful that our 
opponents should overlook the operations and motions 
of brutes, many of which are the effects of anger, many 
of fear, and, by Jupiter, of envy also and emulation. 
Our opponents, too, themselves punish dogs and horses 
when they do wrong; and this not in vain, but in order 
to make them better, producing in them, through the 
pain, a sorrow which we denominate repentance. But 
the name of the pleasure which is received through the 
ears is πηλησις, i. e. an ear'alluring sweetness; and the 
delight which is received through the eyes is denominated 
γοητεία, t. e. enchantment. Each of these, however, is 
used towards brutes. Hence stags and horses are allured 
by the harmony produced from reeds and flutes ; and the 

^ In the original, /Λημην U χΑΤΑλϋψιν αξ^ματος «ΤΑ^ιλυλνβος, ου το tto^w »ξ 
ΛΐαΒηα»ο»ς χατιλο^ιι ; but for β^Μ/ΛΛτος, Ι read νςαγμΛτος, Fellcianos also 
appears to have found this reading in his manuscript copy of this work; 
fur his version of the passage is, '' vel memoriam rei praeteritas conipre• 
hensionein, quam praesentem sensus perciperat.'' 


crabs, called παγουξοι, paguri, are evocated from their 
caverns by the melody of reeds. The fish thrissa, hke- 
wise, is said through harmony to come forth from its 
retreats. Those, however, who speak stupidly about 
these things, assert that animals are neither delighted, 
nor enraged, nor terrified, nor make any provision for 
whkt is necessary, nor remember ; but they say that the 
bee as4t loere remembers, that the swallow as it were pro- 
vides what is requisite, that the lion is as it were angry, 
and that the stag is as it were afraid. And I know not 
what answer to give to those who say that animals 
neither see nor hear, but see as it were, and as it were 
hear ; that they do not utter vocal sounds, but as it were 
utter them ; and that, in short, they do not live, but as it 
were live. For he who is truly intelligent, will readily 
admit that these assertions are no more sane than the 
former, and are similarly destitute of evidence. When, 
however, on comparing with human manners and lives, 
actions, and modes of living, those of animals, I see 
much depravity in the latter, and no manifest tendency to 
virtue as to the principal end, nor any proficiency, or 
appetition of proficiency, I am dubious why nature gave 
the beginning of perfection to those that are never able 
to arrive at the end of it*^. But this to our opponents 
does not appear to be at all absurd. For as they admit 
that the love of parents towards their offspring is the 
principle in us of association and justice ; yet, though 
they perceive that this affection is abundant and strong 
in animals, they nevertheless deny that they participate 
of justice ; which assertion is similarly defective with the 
nature of mules, who, though they are not in want of any 
generative member, since they have a penis and vulva, 

4 Tliis doubt may, perhaps, be solved, by admitting that brutes have 
an imperfect rationality, or the very dregs of the rational faculty, by 
which they form a link between men and zoophytes, just as zoophytes are 
a link between brutes and merely vegetable substances. Brutes, there- 
fore, having an imperfect reason, possess only the beginning of per- 

ANIMAL FOOD. — BOOK 111. 121 

and receive pleasure from employing these parts, yet 
they are not able to accomplish the end of generation ^ 
Consider the thing, too, in another way : Is it not ridi- 
culous to say that such men as Socrates, Plato, and Zeno, 
were not less vicious than any slave, but resembled slaves 
in stupidity, intemperance, and injustice^ and afterward» 
blame the nature of brutes, as neither pure, nor formed 
with sufficient accuracy for the attainment of virtue; thus 
attributing to them a privation, ahd not a depravity and 
imbecility of reason ? Especially since they acknowledge 
that there is a vice of the rational part pf the soul, with 
which every brute is replete. For we may perceive that 
timidity, intemperance^ injustice^ and malevolence, are 
inherent in many brutes. 

23. But he who thinks that the nature which is not 
kdapted to receive rectitude of reason, does not at all 
receive reason^ he, in the first place^ does not differ from 
one who fancies that an ape does not naturally parti- 
cipate of deformity, nor a tortoise of tardity; because the 
former is not receptive of beauty, nor the latter of celerity• 
And, in the nextfplace, this is the opinion of one who 
does not perceive the obvious difference of things. For 
reason, indeed, is ingenerated by nature ; but right and 
perfect reason is acquired by study and discipline. Hence 
all animated beings participate of reason, but our oppo- 
nents cannot mention any man who possesses rectitude 
of reason and wisdom [naturally], though the multitude 
of men is innumerable. But as the sight of one animal 
differs from that of another, and the flying of one bird 
from that of another, (for hawks and grasshoppers do not 
similarly see, nor eagles and partridges) ; thus, also, 
neither does every thing which participates of reason 
possess genius and acuteness in the highest perfection. 
Indeed there are many indications' in brutes of asso- 
ciation, fortitude, and craft, in procuring what is neces- 
sary, and in economical conduct; as, on the contrary, 
there are also indications in them of injustice, timidity, 
and fatuity. Hence it is a question with some, which 


are the more excellent, terrestrial <ηγ iqvatic mntmals'^? 
And that there are these indications, is evident from 
comparing storks with river horses: for the former 
nourish, but the latter destroy their fathers, in order that 
they may have connexion with their mothers. This is 
likewise seen on comparing doves with partridges : for 
the latter conceal and destroy their eggs, if the female, 
during her incubation, refuses to be connected with 
the male. But doves successively relieve each other in 
incubation, alternately cherishing the eggs ; and first, 
indeed, they feed the young, and afterwards the male 
strikes the female with his beak, and drives her to the 
eggs and her young, if she has for a long time wandered 
from them. Antipater, however, when he blames asses 
and sheep for the neglect of purity, overlooks, I know not 
how, lynxes and swallows ; of which, the former remove 
and entirely conceal and bury their excrement, but the 
latter teach their young to throw it out of their nest. 
Moreover, we do not say that one tree is more ignorant 
than another, as we say that a sheep is more stupid than 
a dog. Nor do we say that one herb is more timid than 
another, as we do that a stag is more timid than a lion. 
For, as in things which are immoveable, one is not slower 
than another, and in things which are not vocal, one is 
not less vocal than another : thus, too, in all things in 
which the power of intellection is wanting, one thing can- 
not be said to be more timid, more dull, or more intem- 
perate than another. For, as these qualities are present 
differently in their different participants, they produce in 
animals the diversities which we perceive. Nor is it 
wonderful that man should so much excel other animals 
in docility, sagacity, justice, and association. For many 
brutes surpass all men in magnitude of body, and celerity 
of foot, and likewise in strength of sight, and accuracy of 
hearing ; yet man is not on this account either deaf, or 
blind, or powerless. But we run, though slower than 

' Plutarch has written a most ingenious treatise on this subject. 


stags^ and we see, though not so acoaratefyms havks; 
and nature has not deprived us of strength and magid• 
tude, though our possession of these is nothing, when 
compared with the strength and bulk of the elephant and 
the camel. Hence, in a similar manner^ we must not say 
that brutes, becaitse their intellection is more dull than ours, 
and because they reason worse than we do, neither energize 
discursively, nor, in short, possess intellection and reason ; but 
it must be admitted thai they possess these, though in an 
imbecile and turbid manner, just as a dull and disordered eye 
participates of sight. 

24. Innumerable instances, however, might be ad* 
duced in proof of the natural sagacity of animals, if many 
things of this kind had not by many persons been col* 
lected and narrated. But this subject must be still further 
considered. For it appears that it belongs to the same 
thing, whether it be a part or a power, which is naturally 
adapted to receive a certain thing, to be also disposed to 
fall into a preternatural mode of subsistence, when it 
becomes mutilated or diseased. Thus, the eye is adapted 
to fall into blindness, the leg into lameness, and the 
tongue into stammering ; but nothing else is subject to 
such defects. For blindness does not befall that which is 
not naturally adapted to see, nor lameness that which it 
not adapted to walk ; nor is that which is deprived of a 
tongue fitted to stammer, or lisp, or be dumb. Hence^ 
neither can that animal be delirious, or stupid, or insane, 
in which intellection, and the discursive energy of reason» 
are not naturally inherent. For it is not possible for any 
thing to be passively affected which does nol possess 
a power, the passion of which is either privation, or muti- 
lation, or some other deprivation. Moreover, I have 
met with mad dogs, and also rabid horses; and some 
persons assert that oxen and foxes become mad. The 
example of dogs, however, is sufficient for our purpose : 
for it is a thing indubitable, and testifies that the animal 
possesses no despicable portion of reason and discursive 
energy, the passion of which, when disturbed and con- 


founded, is fury and madness. For, when tbey are thus 
affected, we do not see that there is any change in the 
quality of their sight or hearing. But as he is absurd 
who denies that a man is beside himself^ and that his 
intellectual, reasoning, and recoUective powers, ai^e cor- 
rupted, when he is afflicted with melancholy or delirium, 
(for it is usually said of those that are insane, that they 
are not themselves, but have fallen off from reason) : 
thus, also, he who thinks that mad dogs suffer any thing 
else than that of having the ppwer, which is naturally 
intellective, and is adapted to reason and recollect, full of 
tumult and distortion, so. as to cause them to be ignorant 
of persons most dear to them, and abandon their accus- 
tomed mode of living; — he who thus thinks, appears 
either to overlook what is obvious ; or, if he really per- 
ceives what takes place, voluntarily contends against the 
truth. And such are the arguments adduced by Plutarch 
in many of his treatises against the Stoics and Peri- 

25. But Theophrastus employs the following reason- 
ing : — Those that are generated from the same sources, 
I mean from the same father and mother, are said by us 
to be naturally aUied to each other. And moreover, we 
likewise conceive that those who derive their origin from 
the same ancestors that we do, are allied to us, and also 
that this is the case with our fellow-citizens, because they 
participate with us of the same land, and are united to us 
by the bonds of association. For we do not think that 
the latter are allied to each other, and to us, through 
deriving their origin from the same ancestors, unless it 
should so happen that the first progenitors of these were 
the sources of our race, or were derived from the same 
ancestors. Hence I think we should say, that Greek is 
allied and has an affinity to Greek, and Barbarian to Bar- 
barian, and all men to each other ; for one of these two 
reasons, either because they originate from the same 
ancestors, or because they participate of the same food, 
manners, and genus• Thus also we must admit that all 




men have an affinity^ and are allied to each other. And» 
moreover, the principles of the bodies of all animals are 
naturally the same. I do not say this with reference to 
the first elemeats of their bodies ; for plants also consist 
of these ; but I mean the seed, the flesh, and the con- 
nascent genus of humours which is inherent in animals• 
But animals are much more allied to each other, through 
naturally possessing souls, which are not different from 
each other, I mean in desire and anger ; and besides 
these, in the reasoning faculty, and, above all, in the 
senses. But as with respect to bodies, so likewise with 
respect to souls, some animals have them more, but others 
less perfect, yet all of them have naturally the same prin- 
ciples. And this is evident from the affinity of their 
passions. If, however, what we have said is true, viz. 
that such is the generation of the manners of animals, all 
the tribes of them are indeed intellective, but they differ 
in their modes of living, and in the temperature of the 
first elements of which they consist. And if this be 
admitted, the genus of other animals has an affinity, and 
is allied to us. For, as Euripides says, they have all of 
them the same food and the same spirit, the same purple 
streams ; and they likewise demonstrate that the common 
parents of all of them are Heaven and Earth. 

26. Hence, since animals are allied to us, if it should 
appear, according to Pythagoras, that they are allotted 
the same soul that we are, he may justly be considered 
as impious who does not abstain from acl .ng unjustly 
towards his kindred. Nor because some animals are 
savage, is their alliance to us to be on this account 
abscinded. For some men may be found who are no 
less, and even more malefic than savage animals to their 
neighbours, and who are impelled to injure any one they 
may meet with, as if they were driven by a certain blast 
of their own nature and depravity. Hence also, we 
destroy such men; yet we do not cut them off* from 
an alliance to animals of a mild nature. Thus, thereforci 
if likewise some animals are savage, these, as such, are to 


be destroyed, in the same manner as men that are savage ; 
but our habitude or alliance to other and wilder animals 
is not on this account to be abandoned. But neither 
tame nor savage animals are to be eaten; as neither 
are unjust men. Now, however, we act most unjustly, 
destroying, indeed, tame animals, because some brutes 
are savage and unjust, and feeding on such as are tame. 
With respect to tame animals, however, we act with 
a twofold injustice, because, though they are tame, we 
slay them, and also, because we eat them. And, in short, 
the death of these has a reference to the assumption 
of them for food. 

To these, also, such arguments as the following may 
be added. For he. who says that the man who extends 
the just as far as to brutes, corrupts the just, is ignorant 
that he does not himself preserve justice, but increases 
pleasure, which is hostile to justice. By admitting, there- 
fore, that pleasure is the end [of our actions], justice 
is evidently destroyed. For to whom is it not manifest 
that justice is increased through abstinence? For he who 
abstains from every thing animated, though he may 
abstain from such animals as do not contribute to the 
benefit of society, will be much more careful not to injure 
those of his own species. For he who loves the genus, 
will not bate any apecies of animals ; and by how much 
the greater his love of the genus is% by so much the 
more will he preserve justice towards a part of the genus, 
and that to which he is allied. He, therefore, who admits 
that he is allied to all animals, will not injure any animal. 
But he who confines justice to man alone, is prepared, 
like one enclosed in a narrow space, to hurl from him the 
prohibition of injustice. So that the Pythagorean is 
more pleasing than the Socratic banquet. For Socrates 

* In the original, 0^00 /bui^ov το γηος το τοη ζοο<»ν, τοα^υτο» χλι ^ξος το (Λίζος 
Ktu τβ oMtKoy ravmv ^uia-ua-ti. On this passage, Reisk observes, " Forte 
oroo μt^ζaίv η οαΐ6ΐο»σ-ις ντξος το yfyof το rcov ζοααη, rocwro» (scilicet μάλλον) και wgoff 
το μΈξος, χ,τ.λ." But, instead of »» οί«ί»β•ίς, it appears to me that »» <ί>«λί• 
should be substituted. 


said^ that hunger is the sauce of food ; but Pythagoras 
said, that to injure no one^ and to be exhilarated with jus- 
tice, is the sweetest sauce ; as the avoidance of animal 
food, will also be the avoidance of unjust conduct with 
respect to food. For God has not so constituted things^ 
that we cannot preserve ourselves without injuring others; 
since, if this were the case, he would have connected us 
with a nature which is the principle of injustice. Do not 
they, however, appear to be ignorant of the peculiarity of 
justice, who think that it was introduced from the 
alliance of men to each other ? For this will be nothing 
more than a certain philanthropy ; but justice consists in 
abstaining from injuring any thing which is not noxious. 
And our conception of the just man must be formed 
according to the latter, and not according to the former 
mode. Hence, therefore, since justice consists in not 
injuring any thing, it must be extended as far as to every 
animated nature. On this account, also, the essence 
of justice consists in the rational ruling over the irrationid, 
and in the irrational being obedient to the rational part. 
For when reason governs, and the irrational part is obe- 
dient to its mandates, it follows, b}^ the greatest necessity, 
that man will be innoxious towards every thing. For the 
passions being restrained, and desire and anger wasting 
away, but reason possessing its proper empi|^e, a simi- 
litude to a more excellent nature [and to deity] imme- 
diately follows. But the more excellent nature in the 
universe is entirely innoxious, and, through possessing 
a power which preserves and benefits all things, is itself 
not in want of any thing. We, however, through justice 
[when we exercise it], are innoxious towards all things, 
but, through being connected with mortality, are indigent 
of things of a necessary nature. But the assumption 
of what is necessary, does not injure even plants, when 
we take what they cast off; nor fruits, when we use such 
of them as are dead ; nor sheep, when through shearing 
we rather benefit than injure them, and by partakinig 
of their milk, we in return afford them every proper atten- 



tion. Hence, the just man appears to be one who de* 
privee himself of things pertaining to the body ; yet he 
does not [in reality] injure himself. For, by this manage- 
ment of his body, and continence, he increases his inward 
good. I.e. his similitude to God. 

27. By making pleasure^ therefore^ the end of life> 
that which is truly justice cannot be preserved; since 
neither such things as^ are primarily useful according 
to nature^ nor all such as are easily attainable^ give com- 
pletion to felicity. For in many instances^ the motions of 
the irrational nature, and utility and indigence, have 
been, and still are the sources of injustice. For men be- 
came indigent [as they pretended] of animal food, in 
order that they might preserve, as they said, the corporeal 
frame free from molestation, and without being in want of 
those things after which the animal nature aspires. But 
if an assimilation to divinity is the end of life, an 
innoxious conduct towards all things will be in the most 
eminent degree preserved. As, therefore, he who is 
led by his passions is innoxious only towards his children 
and his wife, but despises and acts fraudulently towards 
other persons, since, in consequence of the irrational part 
predominating in him, he is excited to, and astonished 
about mortal concerns ; but he who is led by reason, pre- 
serves an innoxious conduct towards his fellow-citizens, 
and still more so towards strangers, and towards all men, 
through having the irrational part in subjection, and 
is therefore more rational and divine than the former 
character ; — thus also, he who does not confine harmless 
conduct to men alone, but extends it to other animals, is 
more similar to divinity ; and if it was possible to extend 
it even to plants, he would preserve this image in a still 
greater degree. As, however, this is not possible, we 
may in this respect lament, with the ancients*, the defect 
of our nature, that we consist of such adverse and dis- 
cordant principles, so^that we are unable to preserve our 

* Porpliyry here particularly alludes to Empedocles. 


divine part incorruptible, and in* all respects innoxious. 
For we are not unindigent in all things; the cause of 
which is generation, and our becoming needy through the 
abimdant corporeal efflux which we sustain. But want 
procures safety and ornament from things of a foreiga 
nature^ which are necessary to the existence of' our 
mortal part. ' He, therefore, who is indigent of a greater 
number of externals, is in a greater degree agglutinated 
to penury; and by how much his wants increase, by 
so much is he destitute of divinity, and an associate of 
penury. For that which is similar to deity, through this 
assimilation immediately possesses true wealth• Biit no 
one who is [truly] rich and perfectly unindigent injures 
any thing. For as long as any one injures another, 
though he should possess the greatest wealth, and all the 
acres of land which the earth contains, he is still poor, 
and has want for his intimate associate. On this account, 
also, he is unjust, without God, and impious, and en- 
slaved to every kind of depravity, which is produced by 
the lapse of the soul into matter, through the privation of 
good. Every thing, therefore, is nugatory to any one, as 
long as he wanders from the principle of the universe ; and 
he is indigent of all things, while he does not direct his 
attention to Porus [or the source of true abundance]. Be 
likewise yields to the mortal part of his nature, while he 
remains ignorant of his real self. But Injustice is power- 
. ful in persuading and corrupting those that belong to her 
empire, because she associates with her votaries in con- 
junction with Pleasure. As, however, in the choice of 
lives, he is the more accurate judge who has obtained an 
experience of both [the better and the worse kind of life], 
than he is who has only experienced one of them ; thus 
also, in the choice and avoidance of wliat is proper, he is 
a safer judge who, from that which is more, judges of that 
which is less excellent, than he who from the less, j udges of 
the more excellent. Hence, he who lives according to intel- 
lect, will more accurately define what is eligible and what 
is not^ than he who lives under the dominion of irration- 



ality. For the former has passed through the irrational 
life, as having from the first associated with it ; but the 
latter, having had no experience of an intellectual life, 
persuades those that resemble himself, and acts with 
nugacity, like a child among children. If, however, say 
our opponents, all men were persuaded by these argu- 
ments^ what would become of us ? Is it not evident that 
we should be happy, injustice, indeed, being exterminated 
from men, and justice being conversant with us, in the 
same manner as it is in the heavens ? But now this ques- 
tion is just the same as if men should be dubious what 
the life of the Danaids would be, if they were liberated 
from the employment of drawing water in a sieve, and 
attempting to fill a perforated vessel. For they are 
dubious what would be the consequence if we should 
cease to replenish our passions and desires, the whole of 
which replenishing continually flows away through the 
want of real good ; since this fills up the ruinous clefts of 
the soul more than the greatest of external necessaries. 
Do you therefore ask, Ο man, what we should do ? We 
should imitate those that lived in the golden age, we 
should imitate those of that period who were [truly] free. 
For with them modesty, Nemesis, and Justice associated^ 
because they were satisfied with the fruits of the earth. 

The fertile earth for them spontaneous yields 
Ahundantly her fruits ". 

But those who are liberated from slavery, obtain for 
themselves what they before procured for their masters. 
In like manner, also, do you, when liberated from the 
servitude of the body, and a slavish attention to the 
passions produced through the body, as, prior to this, you 
nourished them in an all-various manner with externals^ 
80 now nourish yourself ail-variously with internal good, 
justly assuming things which are [properly] your own, and 
no longer by violence taking away things which are foreign 
[to your true nature and real good]. 

" Hesiod. Oper. v. 1 17. 




1. In the preceding books, Ο Castricius, we have nearly 
answered all the arguments which in reality defend the 
feeding on fleshy for the sake of incontinence and intem- 
perance, and which adduce impudent apologies for so 
doing by ascribing a greater indigence to our nature than 
is fit. Two particular inquiries, however, still remain; 
in one of which the promise of advantage especially 
deceives those who are corrupted by pleasure. And, 
moreover, we shall confute the assertion of our opponents, 
that no wise man, nor any nation, has rejected animal 
food, as it leads those that hear it to great injustice, 
through the ignorance of true history ;. and we shall also 
endeavour to give the solutions of the question concern- 
iOg advantage, and to reply to other inquiries. 

2. But we shall begin from the abstinence of certain 
nations, in die narration of which, what is asserted of the 
Gtreeks will first claim our attention, as being the most 
allied to us, and the most appropriate of all the witnesses 
thatcanbe adduced. Among those, therefore, that have con* 
cisely, and at the same time accurately collected an account 
of the afiairs of the Greeks, is the Peripatetic Dicflearchus*, 
who, in narrating the pristine life of the Greeks, says, the 

* There were many celebrated men of this name among the aadesti^ 
concerning which vid. Fabric. BiUioth. Gr«c. L. Ill• C. 11. 


ancients, being generated with an alliance to the Gods, 
were naturally most excellent, and led the best life ; so 
tbaty when compared to us of the present day, who con-* 
sist of an adulterated and most vile matter, they were 
thought to be a golden race; and they slew no animal 
what^rer. The tru& of this, he also eaye, is testified by 
the poets, who denominate these ancients the golden race« 
and assert that every good was present with them. 

The ferule earth for them spontaneous bore 
Of fruity a copious mid uhenvy'd store ; 
In blissful quiet then, unknown to strife, 
The worthy with the worthy passed their life**. 

Which assertions, indeedj» Sicsearchus explaining, saysj, 
that a life of this kind was under Saturn ; if it is proper 
to consider it as a thing that once existed, and that it is 9k 
life which has not been celebrated in vain, and if, laying 
aside what, is extremely fabulous, we may refer it ta 
a physical narration. All things, therefore^ are rery pro-^ 
perly said to have been t^i^n spontaneously produced { foif 

^ These Hnee are from Hesiod. Oper, 116. The ^ffer^fr ages, how* 
ever, of mankiiKiy which are celebrated by Heeiod in his Works and 
Days, signify the diJOferent lives which the individuals of the hiiniai» 
Species pass throv^ ; and as Proclus on Hesiod beautifully observes, 
th^r ift^y he ^dm^prthended iii this triad, the gdt^n, ^eViher, and thfe 
hrd^^m age. But hy the gblden age an intellectual Kfe is implied. Fof 
such a life is pure, inqpmssive, and fite ftom sorrow ; aftd 'of tfafis in(i|Mft*> 
sivi^. and pufity^ gold is an iiiiage, thfomgh nchrer being subject to rust or- 
putrefaction• Such a life, too, i^ very properly said to be under Satun^ 
because Saturn is an intelkqiuai God, or a God characterised by intel- 
lect; ' tly the ifT^Jsr age,'a rustic and natural life is implied, in which the 
atteiiiiion df the rlitlonM scftrl is ^ittnrely dttected to Aie care of thetiody, 
4»t nrklKmi (iroobedti^ Id cfitreme depniln^. Aud b^ the brliteii «ge, a 
du^, tyrantiio^ «nd cruel ^fe is Hnplied, which is en^rely passive, an4 
proceeds to tt^very ex^eoMty of vice. Tlie order, atiKS «^tbese metali^ 
liaiDioniTief, as Proclus observes, with that of the lives. '* For,'' says b^ 
** gold 18 sotar-Jhrm, because the sun is solely inimaterial light. But 
silver is lunar-form, because the moon partakes of shadow, just as silver 
partakes of nist. And brau is earthfy^ so ^ as not hwvtng aiiature 
similar to a jueid body ; it is replete with abundance of covri^tioiv'' 


men did not procure any thing by labour, because they 
were unacquainted wjth the agricultural art, and, in short, 
had no knowledge of any other art. This very thing, 
likewise, was the cause of their leading a life of leisure, 
free from labours and care ; and if it is proper to assent to 
the decision of the most skilful and elegant of physi- 
cians, it was also the cause of their being liberated from 
disease. For there is not any precept of physicians which 
more contributes to health, than that which exhorts us not to 
make an abundance of excrement, from which those pristine 
Greeks always preserved their bodies pure. For they 
neither assumed such food as was stronger than the 
nature of the body could bear, but such as could be van- 
quished by the corporeal nature, nor more than was 
moderate^ on account of the facility of procuring it, 
but for the most part less than was sufficient, on account , 
of its paucity. Moreover, there were neither any wars 
among them, nor seditions with each other. For no 
reward of contention worth mentioning was proposed 
as an incentive, for the sake of which some one might be 
induced to engage in such dissensions. So that the 
principal thing in that life was leisure and rest from 
necessary occupations, together with health, peace, and 
friendship. But to those in after times, who, through 
aspiring after things which greatly exceeded mediocrity, 
fell into many evils, this pristine life became, as it was 
reasonable to suppose it would, desirable. The slender 
and extemporaneous food, however, of these first men, 
is manifested by the saying which was afterwards prover- 
bially used, enot/gA of the oak; this adage being probably 
introduced by him who first changed the ancient mode of 
living. A pastoral life succeeded to this, in which men 
procured for themselves superfluous possessions, and 
meddled vrith animals. For, perceiving that some of 
them were innoxious, but others malefic and savage, they 
tamed the former, but attacked the latter. At the same 
time, together with this life, war was introduced. And 
these things, says Dicsearchus, are not asserted by us, but 


by those who have historically discussed a multitude 
of particulars. For, as possessions were now of such 
a magnitude as to merit attention, some ambitiously 
endeavoured to obtain them, by collecting them [for their 
own use], and calling on others to do the same^ but 
others directed their attention to the preservation of 
them when collected. Time, therefore, thus gradually 
proceeding, and men always directing their attention to 
what appeared to be useful, they at length became con- 
versant with the third, and agricultural form of life. And 
this is what is said by Dicaearchus, in his narration of the 
manners of the ancient Greeks, and the blessed life which 
they then led, to which abstinence from animal food con- 
tributed, no less than other things. Hence, at that 
period there was no war, because injustice was extermi- 
nated. But afterwards, together with injustice towards 
animals, war was introduced among men, and the endea- 
vour to surpass each other in amplitude of possessions. 
On which account also, the audacity of those is wonder- 
ful, who say that abstinence from animals is the mother 
of injustice, since both history and experience testify, 
that together with the slaughter of animals, war and 
injustice were introduced. 

3. Hence, this being afterwards perceived by the 
Lacedemonian Lycurgus, though the eating of animals 
then prevailed, yet he so arranged his polity, as to render 
food of this kind requisite in the smallest degree. For 
the allotted property of each individual did not consist in 
herds of oxen, flocks of sheep, or an abundance of goats, 
horses, and money, but in the possession of land, which 
might produce for a man seventy medinmi^ of barley, and 
for a woman twelve, and the quantity of liquid fruits m 
the same proportion. For he thought that this quantity 
of nutriment was sufficient to procure a good habit of body 
and health, nothing else to obtain these being requisite. 
Whence also it is said, that on returning to his country, 

• . • * • 

^ The medimnus w^ a measure cofntaioiiig six bashels. 


after be had beea for some time absent from it^ and 
perceiving, as be passed through the fields, that the corn 
had just; been reaped, and that the threshing-floors and 
the heaps were parallel and equable, he laughed, and said 
to those that were present, that all Laconia seemed to 
belong to many brothers, who had just divided the land 
among themselves. He added, that as he had therefore 
expelled luxury from Sparta, it would be requisite also to 
annul the use of money, both golden and silver, aud to 
introduce iron alone, as its substitute, and this of a great 
bulk and weight, and of little value ; so that as much of 
it as should be worth ten minse, should require a large 
receptacle to hold it, and a cart drawn by two oxen to 
carry it. But this being ordained, many species of in- 
justice were exterminated from Lacedsemon. For who 
would attempt to thieve, or suffer himself to be corrupted 
by gifts, or defraud or plunder another, when it was not 
possible for him to conceal what he had taken, nor 
poseees it so as to be envied by others, nor derive any 
advantage from coining it? Together with money also, 
the useless arts were expelled, the work& of the Lacedae- 
monians not being saleable. For iron money could not 
be exported to the other Greeks, nor was^ it esteemed by 
iJiem, but ridiculed» Hence, neither was it lawful to buy 
any thing foreign, and which was intrinsically of no 
worth, nor did ships laden with merchandise sail into 
their ports, nor was any verbal sophist, or futile diviner, 
or bawd, or artificer of golden and silver ornaments, per- 
mitted io come to Laconia, because there money was of 
no use. And thus luxury, being gradually depdved of 
its incitements and nourishment, wasted away of itself. 
Those likewise who possessed much derived no greater 
advantage from it, than those who did not, as no egress 
W9» ajBforded to abundance, since it was so obstructed by 
impediments, that it was forced to remain in indolent 
rest. Hence such household furniture as was in constant 
use, and was necessary, such as beds, chairs, and tables^ 
these were made by them in the best manner;. an4 the 


Laconic cup^ which was called cothon, was^ as Critias 
siiys, especially celebrated in military expeditions. For 
in these expeditions^ the water which they drank, and 
which was unpleasant to the sight, was concealed by the 
colour of the cup ; and the turbid part of the water falling 
against the lips, through their prominency, that part of it 
which was drank, was received in a purer condition by 
the mouth. As we are informed, however, by Plutarch, 
the legislator was the cause of these things. For the. 
artificers being liberated from useless works, exhibited 
the beauty of art in things of a necessary nature. 

4. That he might also in a still greater degree oppose, 
luxury, and take away the ardent endeavour to obtain, 
wealth, he introduced a third, and most beautiful political 
institution, viz. that of the citizens eating and drinking 
together publicly; so that they might partake of the 
same prescribed food in common, and might not be fed 
at home, reclining on sumptuous couches, and placed 
before elegant tables^ through the hands of artificers and 
cooks, being fattened in darkness, like voracious animals, 
and corrupting their bodies, together with their morals, 
by falling into every kind of luxury and repletion; as 
such a mode of living would require much sleep, hot 
baths, and abundant quiet, and such attentions as are 
paid to the diseased. This indeed was a great thing; 
but still greater than this, that, as Theophrastus says, 
he caused wealth to be neglected, and to be of no value, 
through the citizens eating at common tables, and the 
frugality of their food. For there was no use, nor enjoy- 
ment of riches ; nor, in short, was there any thing to 
gratify the sight, or any ostentatious display in the 
whole apparatus, because both the poor and the rich 
sat at the same table. Hence it was universally said, 
that in Sparta alone, .Plutus was seen to be blind, and 
lying like an inanimate and immoveable picture. For 
it was not possible for the citizens, having previously 
feasted at home, to go to the common tables with/ 
appetites already satiated with food. For the rest care- 


fully observed him who did not eat and drink with them, 
and reviled him, as an intemperate person^ and as one 
who conducted himself effeminately with respect to the 
common food. Hence these common tables were called 
pkiditia; either as being the causes of friendship an^. 
benevolence, as if they were philitia, assuming ί for λ; 
or as accustoming men Ι'ττξος ευτίλειαν uai φζιίω] to frugality, 
and a slender diet. But the number of those that as- 
sembled at the common table was fifteen^ more or less» 
And each person brought every month, for the purpose 
of furnishing the table, a medimnus of flour, eight choas,**^^ 
of wine, five pounds of cheese, two pounds and a half o£ 
figs, and, besides all these, a very little quantity of money. 
5. Hence the children of those who ate thus sparingly 
and. temperately, came to these common tables, as to 
schools of temperance, where they also heard .poUtical 
discourses, and were spectators of liberal sports. Here, 
likewise, they learnt to jest acrimoniously, without scur- 
rility, and to receive, without being indignant, the biting 
jests of others. For this appeared to be extremely. 
Laconic, to be able to endure acrimonious jests ; though 
he who could not endure was permitted to refuse hearing 
them, and the scoffer was immediately sjlent. Such^ 
therefore, was the frugality of the Lacedaemonians, with 
respect to diet, though it was legally instituted for the 
sake of the multitude. . Hence those who came from this 
polity are said to have been more brave and temperate, 
and paid more attention to rectitude, than those who 
came from other communities, which are corrupted both 
in souls and bodies. And it is evident that perfect 
abstinence is adapted to such a polity as this, but to 
corrupt communities luxurious food*. If, likewise, we 

^ An Attic measure, containing six Attic pints. 

* In the original, *m ^λον «c ητοιβαηγ iroXtTiif owuor, το nic Μίοχ^ς ης 
ιτΛνηλονς, TMc h ^α^ΒΛξ(Μ9Μς, το tuc βςο^αίως, . But the latter part of this 
sentence is evidently defective, though the defect is not noticed either 
by Valentinas, or Bebke, or Rhoer. It appears therefore to me, that 


direct our attention to euch other nations as regarded 
equity, mildness^ and piety to the Oode, it will be evi- 
dent that abstinence was ordained by them, with a view 
to the safety and advantage, if not of all, yet at least of 
aonse of the citizens, who; sacrificing to, and worshipping 
the Crods, on account of the city, might expiate the «ins 
of the muHitade. For, in the mysteries, what the boy 
who attends the altar accomplishes, by performing accu- 
rately what he is commanded to do, in order to render 
the Gods propitious to all those who have been initiated, 
as far as to muesis^ [orri voarQv rw μνονμΒν»ν]^ thaty in 
nations and cities, priests are able to efifect, by sacrificing 
for all the people, and through piety inducing the Gods 
to be attentive to the welfare of those that belong to them. 
With respect to priests, therefore, the eating of all animals 
is prohibited to some, but of certain animals to others, 
vrtietker you consider the customs of the Greeks or of 
tiie baiiMtnans, which are different in different nations. 
So that all of tiiem, collectively considered, or existing as 
one, being assumed, it will he found that they abstain 
from all animaku If, therefore, those wbo preside over 
the safety of cities, and to whose care piety to the Gods 
is <}ommitted, abstain from animals, how can any cme 
dare to accuse this abstinence as disadvantageous to 

6. ChsBremon tiie Stoic, therefore, in his narration of 
the Egyptian priests, who, he says, were cozisidered by 
the Egyptians as philosophers, informs us, that they 
chose 'temples, as the places in which they might philoso- 

*ni Tftf^Qc is wanting; so thai for ^ ηης βξωσΛως, we should read ro ^ις 
t^Mfxic «■€ /Sfof^Mfc• And my conjecture is justified bj the version of 
Felicianus, which is, " Huic autem ahstinentiam, caeteris luxuriant 
rictus foisse pecoliarem penpicuum est/' 

' Those who, in being initiated, elogett thif eyes, which muesis 
unifies, no longer (says Hermias in FhaBdnm) received by sense 
tlioee divine mysteries, but with the pure soul itself. See my Die- 
•ertatioK on the Bleusinian and Bacchic Mysleriee* 


phize. For to dwell with the statues of the Godscils a 
thing allied to the whole desire, by which the soul tends 
to the contemplatk)n of their divinities. And from the 
divine veneration indeed^ which was paid to them through' 
dweUiag in tempies, they obtained security, all men 
honouring these philosophers, as if they were certain 
sacred animals. They also led a solitary life, as tbey 
only mingled with other men in solemn sacrifices and 
feistivals• But at other times the priests were almost in- 
accessible to any one who wished to converse with them. 
For it was requisite that he who approached to them 
should be first purified, and abstain from many things; 
and this is as it were a common sacred law respecting 
the Egyptian priests. But these [philosophic priests], 
having relinquished every other emj^oyment, and human 
labours ^ gave up the whole of their life to the contempla- 
tion and worship of divine natures and to divine inspire^ 
tion ; thlrough the latter, indeed, procuring for themselves 
honour, security, and piety; but through contemplation 
science ; and through both, a certain occult exercise of man- 
ners, worthy Of antiquity**• Fot to be always conversant 
with divine knowledge smd inspiration, removes those mbo 
are so from all avarice, suppresses the passions, and ezcileo 
to aa intellectual life. But they were studious of firugahtj 
in their diet and apparel, and also of continence, and 
endurance, and in all things were attentive to justice and 
equity. They likewise were rendered veneraUe, throu^ 
rarely mingling with other men. For during the time ti 
what are called purifications, they scarcely mingled iwiMh 
their nearest kindred, and those of their own order, nor 
were they to be seen by any one, unless it was requisite 

f In the original, «m κ^^ρους αΆξωττη^υς; but for fro^c I read «rnwc, and 
Felicianus appears to have found the same reading in his MS»; for his 
version is, ** iaboribusque humanis." Neither Reisk, however, nor 
Rhoer, have at all noticed the word «o^ovc as improper in this place. 

^ Madi is related about the Egyptian priests by Herodotus, Ub. ii. 
ST. M^ith raepect Cb CheMremon^ die dedslon*^ of the* aacieats coa- 
ceming him are veqr discoidwit. 


for the necessary purposes of purification. For the sanc^ 
tuary was inaccessible to those who were not purified, 
and they dwelt in holy places for the purpose of per- 
forming divine works ; but at all other times they asso- 
ciated more freely with those who lived like themselves. 
They did not, however, associate with any one who ^as 
not a religious character. But they were always seen 
near to the Gods, or to the statues of the Gods, .the 
latter of which they were beheld either carrying, or pre- 
ceding in a sacred procession, or disposing in an orderly 
manner, with modesty and gravity ; each of which opera- 
tions was not the effect of pride, but an indication of 
some physical reason. Their venerable gravity also was 
apparent from their manners. For their walking was 
orderly, and their aspect sedate ; and they were so 
studious of preserving this gravity of countenance, that 
Uiey did not even wink, when at any time they were 
unwilling to do so ; and they seldom laughed, and when 
they did, their laughter proceeded no farther than to a 
smile. But they always kept their hands within their 
garments. Each likewise bore about him a symbol, in- 
dicative of the order which he was allotted in sacred 
concerns ; for there were many orders of priests. Their 
diet also was slender and simple. For, with respect to 
wine, some of them did not at all drink it, but others 
drank very little of it, on account of its being injurious 
to the nerves, oppressive to the head, an impediment to 
invention, and an incentive to venereal desires. In many 
other things also they conducted themselves with cau- 
tion; neither using bread at all in purifications, and at 
those times in which they were not employed in purifying 
themselves, they were accustomed to eat bread with 
hyssop, cut into small pieces. For it is said, that hyssop 
very much purifies the power of bread. But they, for the 
most part, abstained from oil, the greater number of them 
entirely ; and if at any time they used it with pot-herbs, 
they took very little of it, and only as much as was 
sufficient to mitigate the taste of the herb^• 


7. Κ was not lawful for tb^m therefor^ Μ .meddk 
with the feculent and potable eubstdncee^ whtcb wiere 
]^d«ced out of Egypt» and this contributed much to tha 
eJEclustOn of luitury from these priests. But tb^y aln 
stained from ^U the fish that was caught in Egypt, and 
frodi suoh quadrupeds as bad solid> or many^fiesured 
hoofst and from aiich as were not honied; and likewise 
from aU such birds as were camiyorons^ Many of theln^ 
however, entirely abstained from all animlds;.tod in piiri^ 
fications this abstinence was adoj^d by &11 of th^m, for 
th^d they did not even eat an ^g. Moreover, they adso 
f^|ectJ3d other things, without being calumniated for so 
doing. Thus, for instance, of oxen> they rejected the 
females, and also such of the males as were twine» or 
" were speckled, or of a difierent colour, or alternately 
varied in their form^ or which were now tamed> as having 
be^i already consecrated to labours, and resembled udh 
mals that are honoured, or which were the image9 of any 
thing [that is divine], or those that had bat one eye, ov 
thoiae that verged to a similitude of th^ huan^n form^ 
There are also innumerable other observations perfiaintng 
to the art of those who are cabled μοσχοφξαγιστα\^ or who 
stamp calves widn a seal« and of which books have been 
composed. But these observations are stiU mrore curious 
respecting birds ; as^ for in^ance, that a turtie should not 
be eaten ; for it is said that a bawk frequently dismisses 
this bird after he has a^ized it, and preserves its life, as a 
reward for having hful coiuiextcm with it. .The Egyptian 
IwiestSj» therefore^ d^at they might not ignorantly meddle 
with a turtle of this kind, avoided the whole species of 
tbos^ birds, And these indeed were certain comiiKm 
religiQus ceremoniea; but there were different ceremonies, 
which varied according to the class of the priests that 
used them,' and were adapted to the several divinities^ 
B«t chastity and purificatioi» were common to aU the 
praestf. When also die time arrived in which they were 
to perform sometiting pciitaiaing to the sacred rites of 
fcltgbn, tthey speai soine days in {tteparatory ccycwioniea. 


some indeed forty-two, but others a greater, and others 
a less number of days; yet never less than seven 
days; and during this time they abstained from all 
animals, and like wise, from all pot-herbs and legumi- 
nous, substances, and, above all, from a venereal con- 
nexion with women; for they never at any time had 
connexion with males. They likewise washed them- 
selves with cold water thrice every day ; viz. when they 
rose from their bed, before dinner, and when they betook 
themselves to sleep. But if they happened to be polluted 
in their sleep by the emission of the seed, they immedi- 
ately purified their body in a bath. They also used cold 
bathing at other times, but not so frequently as on the 
above occasion. Their bed was woven from the branches 
of the palm tree, which they cbII bats; and their bolster 
was a smooth semi-cylindric piece of wood. But they 
exercised themselves in the endurance of hunger and 
thirst, and were accustomed to paucity of food through 
the whole of their life* 

8. This also is a testimony of their continence, that, 
though they neither exercised themselves in walking or 
riding, yet they lived free from disease, and were suffi- 
ciently strong for the endurance of moderate labours. 
They bore therefore many burdens in the performance of 
sacred operations, and. accomplished many ministrant 
works, which required more than common strength. But 
they divided the night into the observation of the celestial 
bodies/ and sometimes devoted a part. of it to offices of 
purification ; and they distributed the day into the wor- 
ship of the Gods, according to which they celebrated 
them with hymns thrice or four times, viz. in the morning 
and evening, when the sun is at his meridian altitude, and 
when he is declining to the west. The rest of their time 
they devoted to arithmetical and geometrical speculations» 
always labouring to efiect somethings and to make soine 
joew discovery, and, in short, continually exercising their 
skill. In winter nights also they were occupied in; the 
same employments, being vigilantly engaged in literary 


pursuits^ as paying no attention to the acquieition of 
externals, and being liberated from the servitude of that 
bad master, excessive expense. Hence their unwearied 
and incessant labour testifies their endurance, but thw 
continence is manifested by their liberation from tk^ 
desire of external good. To sail from Egypt likewide^ 
[i. e.xto quit Egypt J was considered by them to be one 
of the most unholy things, in consequence of their being 
careful to avoid foreign luxury and pursuits; for this 
appeared to them to be alone lawful to those who w€r<e 
compelled to do so by regal necessities* Indeed, they 
were very anxious to continue in the observance of the 
institutes of their country, and those who were found to 
have violated them, though but in a small degree, w^re 
expelled [from the college of the priests]. The tr«e 
method of philosophizing, likewise, was preserved by the 
prophets, by the hiero&toHstiB^, and the sacred ecribes» 
and also by the horohgi, or calculators of nativities. But 
the rest of the priests, and of the pastophori S curajtorp 
of temples, and ministers of the Gods, were similarly 
studious of purity, yet not so accurately, and with sucIjl 
great continence, as the priests of whom we have been 
speaking. And such are the particulars which are nar- 
rated of Hae f^gyptians, by a man who was a lover of 
truth, and an accurate writer, and who among the Stoici^ 
strenuously and solidly philosophized. 

9. But the Egyptian priests, through the proficiency 
which they made by this exercise, and similitude %^ 
divinity, knew that divinity does not pervade through 
man alone, and that soul is not enshrined in man alone 
on the earth, but that it nearly passes through all anir 
mals. On this account, in fisis^uoning the images of the 
Gods, they assumed every animal, and for this purpose 
mixed together the human form and the forms of wild 
beasts, and again the bodies of birds with the body of n 

* t. e. Those to whose care the sacred vestments were committed. 
^ These were so denominaled from- carrying the little reoeptacki in 
which the im«Be8 of the Cods were cQHtwed. 


man. For a certain deity was represented by them in a 
human shape as far as to the neck^ but the face was that 
of a bird, or a lion, or of some other animal. And again, 
another divine resemblance had a human head, but the 
other parts were those of certain other animals^ some 
of which had an inferior^ but others a superior position ; 
through which they manifested ^ that these [i.e. brutes and 
men], through the decision of the Gods^ communicated 
with each other, and that tame and savage animals are 
nurtured together with us, not without the concurrence of 
a certain divine will. Hence also, a lion is worshipped 
as a God, and a certain part of Egypt, which is called 
Nomos^has the surname of Leontopolis [or the city of the 
lion], and another is denominated Busiris [from an ox], 
and another Lycopolis [or the city of the wolf]. , For 
they venerated the power of God which extends to 
all things through animals which are nurtured together, 
and which each of the Gods imparts. They also reve- 
renced water and fire the most of all the elements, as 
being the principal causes of our safety. And these 
things are exhibited by them in temples ; for even now, 
on opening the sanctuary of Serapis, the worship is per- 
formed through fire and water; he who sings the hymns 
making a libation with water, and exhibiting fire, when, 
standing on the threshold of the temple, he invokes the 
God in the language of the Egyptians. Venerating, 
therefore, these dements, they especially reverence those 
things which largely participate of them, as partaking 
more abundantly of what is sacred. But after these, they 
venerate all animals, and in the village Anubis they wor- 
ship a man, in which place also they sacrifice to him, and 
victims are there burnt in honour of him on an altar ; but 
he shortly after only eats that which was procured for 
him as a man. Hence, as it is requisite to abstain from 
man, so, likewise, from other animals. And farther still, 
the Egyptian priests, from their transcendent wisdom 
and association with divinity, discovered what animals 
are more acceptable to the Gods [when dedicated to 


them] than man. Thus they found that a hawk is dear 
. to the sun, since the whole of its nature consists of blood 
and spirit. It also commiserates man, and laments over 
his dead body, and scatters earth on his eyes, in which 
these priests believe a solar light is resident. They like- 
wise discovered that a hawk lives many years, and that, 
after it leaves the present life, it possesses a divining 
power, is most rational and prescient when liberated 
from the body, and gives perfection to statues, and moves 
temples. A beetle will be detested by one who is igno- 
rant of and unskilled in divine concerns, but the Egyp- 
tians venerate it, as an animated image of the sun. For 
every beetle is a male, and emitting its genital seed in 'a 
muddy place, and having made it spherical, it tumis 
round the seminal sphere in a way sipilar to that of the 
sun in the heavens. It likewise receives a period of 
twenty-eight days, which is a lunar period. In a similar 
manner, the Egyptians philosophize about the ram, the 
crocodile, the vulture, and the ibis, and, in short, about 
every animal ; so that, from their wisdom and transcen- 
dent knowledge of divine concerns, they came at length 
to venerate all animals ^ An unlearned man, however, 
does not even suspect that they, not being borne along 
with the stream of the vulgar who know nothing, and not 
walking in the path of ignorance, but passing beyond the 
illiterate multitude, and that want of knowledge which 
befals every one at first, were led to reverence things 
which are thought by the vulgar to be of no worth. 

10. This also, no less than the above-mentioned par- 
ticulars, induced them to believe, that animals should be 
reverenced [as images of the Gods], viz. that the soul 
of every animal, when liberated from the body, was dis- 
covered by them to be rational, to be prescient of fiiturity, 
to possess an oracular power, and to be effective of 
«very thing which man is capable of accomplishing when 
eeparated from the body. Hence they very properly 

^ See on this subject Plutarch's excellent treatise of Isis and Osiris* 



honoured tbem^ and abstained from them as much as 
possible. Since, however, the cause through which the 
Egyptians venerated the Gods through animals requires 
a copious discussion, and which would exceed the limits 
of the present treatise, what has been unfolded respecting 
this particular is sufficient for our purpose. Nevertheless, 
this is not to be omitted, that the Egyptians, when they 
buried those that were of noble birth, privately took away 
the belly and placed it in a chest, and together with other 
things which they performed for the sake of the dead 
body, they elevated the chest towards the sun, whom 
they invoked as a witness ; an oration for the deceased 
being at the same time made by one of those to whose 
care the funeral was committed. But the oration which 
Euphantus"* has interpreted from the Egyptian tongue 
was as follows : " Ο sovereign Sun, and all ye Gods who 
impart life to men, receive me, and deliver me to the 
eternal Gods as a cohabitant. For I have always 
piously worshipped those divinities which were pointed 
out to me by my parents as long as I lived in this 
age, and have likewise always honoured those who pro- 
created my body. And, with respect to other men, I 
have never slain any one, nor defrauded any one of what 
be deposited with me, nor have I committed any other 
atrocious deed. If, therefore, during my life I have acted 
erroneously, by eating or drinking things which it is 
unlawful to eat or drink, I have not erred through myself, 
but through these,*' pointing to the chest in which the 
belly was contained. And having thus spoken, he threvf 
tho chest into the river [Nile] ; but buried the rest of the 
body as being pure. After this manner, they thought an 
apology ought to be made to divinity for what they had 
eaten and drank, and for the insolent conduct which they 
had been led to through the belly• 

" Fabricius is of opinion, that this Eupkantus is the same with the 
Ecphantut mentioned by lambhchus (in Vit. Pyth.) as one of the Pytha- 
goreans. Vid. Fabric. Bibl. Grsc. lib. ii. c. IS. 


11. But among those who are known by us, the Jews, 
before they first suffered the subversion of their legal 
institutes under Antiochus, and afterwards under the 
Romans^ when also the temple in Jerusalem was cap- 
tured, and became accessible to all men to whom, prior 
to this events it was inaccessible, and the city itself was 
destroyed ; — before this took place, the Jews always 
abstained from many animals, but peculiarly, which they 
even now do, from swine. At that period, therefore, 
there were three kinds of philosophers among them. And 
, of one kind, indeed, the Pharisees were the leaders, but of 
another, the Sadducees, and of the third, which appears to 
have been the most venerable, the Essaeans. The mode of 
life, therefore, of these third was as follows, as Josephus 
frequently testifies in many of his writings. For in the 
second book of his Judaic History, which he has com- 
pleted in seven books, and in the eighteenth of his Antiqui- 
ties, which consists of twenty books, and likewise in the 
second of the two books which he wrote against the Greeks, 
he speaks of these Essseans, and says, that they are of the 
race of the Jews, and are in a greater degree than others 
friendly to one another. They are averse to pleasures, 
conceiving them to be vicious, but they are of opinion 
that continence, and the not yielding to the passions, 
constitute virtue. And they despise, indeed, wedlock, 
but receiving the children of other persons, and instruct- 
ing them in disciplines while they are yet of a tender age, 
they consider them as their kindred, and form them to 
their own manners. And they act in this manner, not for 
the purpose of subverting marriage, and the succession 
arising from it, but in order to avoid the lasciviousness of 
women. They are, likewise, despisers of wealth, and the 
participation of external possessions among them in com- 
mon is wonderful; nor is any one to be found among 
them who is richer than the rest. For it is a law with 
them, that those who wish to belong to their sect, must 
give up their property to it in common ; so that among all 
of them,^ there is not to be seen* either the abjectness 
of poverty, or the insolence of wealth; but the posses- 


sions of each being mingled with those of the rest, there 
was one property with all of them, as if they had been 
brothers. They likewise conceived oil to be a stain to 
the body, and that if any one, though unwillingly, was 
anointed, he should [immediately] wipe his body. For 
it was considered by them as beautiful to be squalid", 
and to be always clothed in white garments. But cura- 
tors of the common property were elected by votes, indis- 
tinctly for the use of all. They have not, however, one 
city, but in each city many of them dwell together, and 
those who come among them from other places, if they, 
are of their sect, equally partake with them of their pos- 
sessions, as if they were their own. Those, likewise, 
who first perceive these strangers, behave to them as if 
they were their intimate acquaintance. Hence, when 
they travel, they take nothing with them for the sake 
of expenditure. But they neither change their garments 
nor their shoes, till they are entirely torn, or destroyed by 
time. They neither buy nor sell any thing, but each 
of them giving what he possesses to him that is in want^ 
receives in return for it what will be useful to him. 
Nevertheless, each of them freely imparts to others of 
their sect what they may be in want of, without any remu- 

12. Moreover, they are peculiarly pious to divinity. 
For before the sun rises they speak nothing profane, but they 
pour forth certain prayers to him which they had received 
from their ancestors, as if beseeching him to rise. After- 
wards, they are sent by their curators to the exercise of the 
several arts in which they are skilled, and having till the 
fifth hour strenuously laboured in these arts, they are after- 
wards collected together in one place ; and there, being 
begirt with linen teguments, they wash their bodies with 
cold water. After this purification, they enter into their own 

" This is not wonderful ; for the Jews appear to have been always 
negligent of cleanliness. The intelligent reader will easily perceife that 
there is some similitude between these Esseans and the ancient Pytha» 
goreans, but that the latter were infinitely superior to the former. See 
my translation of lamblichus' Life of Pythagoras. 


proper habitation, into which no heterodox person is per- 
mitted to enter. But they being pure, betake themselves 
to the dining room, as into a certain sacred fane. In this 
place, when all of them are seated in silence, the baker 
places the bread in order, and the cook distributes to 
each of them one vessel containing one kind of eatables. 
Prior, however, to their taking the food which is pure 
and sacred, a priest prays^ and it is unlawful for any one 
prior to the prayer to taste of the food. After dinner, 
likewise, the priest again prays ; so that both when they 
begin, and when they cease to eat, they venerate divinity• 
Afterwards, divesting themselves of these garments as 
sacred, they again betake themselves to their work till 
the evening ; and, returning from thence, they eat and 
drink in the same manner as before, strangers sitting with 
them, if they should happen at that time to be present. 
No clamour or tumult ever defiles the house in which 
they dwell ; but their conversation with each other is per- 
formed in an orderly manner ; and to those that are out 
of the house, the silence of those within it appears as if it 
was some terrific mystery. The cause, however, of this 
quietness is their constant sobriety, and that with them 
their meat and drink is measured by what is sufficient [to 
the wants of nature]. But those who are very desirous 
of belonging to their sect, are not immediately admitted 
into it, but they must remain out of it for a year, adopting 
the same diet, the Esseeans giving them a rake; a girdle, 
and a white garment. And if, during that time, they have 
given a sufficient proof of their continence, they proceed 
to a still greater cobformity to the institutes of the sect, 
and use purer water for the purposes of sanctity ; though 
they are not yet permitted to live with the Esseeans. 
For after this exhibition of endurance, their manners are 
tried for two years more, and he who after this period 
appears to deserve to associate with them, is admitted into 
their society. 

13. Before, however, he who is admitted touches his 
common food, he takes a terrible oath, in the first place. 


that he will piously worship divinity ; in the next place, 
that he will preserve justice towards men, and that he will 
neither designedly, nor when commanded, injure any 
one ; in the third place, that he will always hate the un- 
just, but strenuously assist the just ; and in the fourth 
place, that he will act faithfully towards all men, but 
especially towards the rulers of the land, since no one 
becomes a ruler without the permission of God ; in the 
fifth place, that if he should be a ruler, he will never 
employ his power to insolently iniquitous purposes, nor 
will surpass those that are in subjection to him in his 
dress, or any other more splendid ornament ; in the sixth 
place, that he will always love the truth, and be hostile to 
liars ; in the seventh place, that he will preserve his hands 
from theft, and his soul pure from unholy gain**; and, in 
the eighth place, that he will conceal nothing from those 
of his sect, nor divulge any thing to others pertaining to 
the sect, though some one, in order to compel him, 
should threaten him with death. In addition to these 
things, also, they swear, that they will not impart the 
dogmas of the sect to any one in any other way than that 
in which they received them; that they will likewise 
abstain from robbery p, and preserve the books of their 
sect with the same care as the names of the angels. 
Such, therefore, are their oaths. But those among them 
that act criminally, and are ejected, perish by an evil 
destiny. For, being bound by their oaths and their cus- 
toms, they are not capable of receiving food from others ; 
but feeding on herbs, and having their body emaciated 
by hunger, they perish. Hence the Essseans, commi- 
serating many of these unfortunate xnen, receive them in 
their last extremities into their society, thinking that 
they have suffered sufficiently for their offences in having 

* This was a very necessary oath for these Essasans to take ; as tb« 
Jews in general, if we may believe Tacitas and other ancient histcnriuis, 
were always a people immoderately addicted to gain. 

* As the Essaeans appear to have been an exception to the rest of the 
Jews, the reason is obvious why they took this oath. 


been punished for them till they were on the brink of the 
grave• But they give a rake to those who intend to 
belong to their sect, in order that, when they sit for the 
purpose of exonerating the belly, they may make a trench 
a foot in depth, and completely cover themselves by their 
garment, in order that they may not act contumeliously 
towards the sun by polluting the rays of the Qod. And 
so great, indeed, is their simplicity and frugality with 
respect to diet, that they do not require evacuation till 
the seventh day after the assumption of food, which day 
they spend in singing hymns to God, and in resting from 
labour. But from this exercise they acquire the power of 
such great endurance, that even when tortured and burnt, 
and suffering every kind of excruciating pain, they can- 
not be induced either to blaspheme their legislator/ or to 
eat what they have not been accustomed to. And the 
truth of this was demonstrated in their war with the 
Romans. For then they neither flattered their tormen- 
tors, nor shed any tears, but smiled in the midst of their 
torments, and derided those that inflicted them^ and 
cheerfully emitted their souls, as knowing that they 
should possess them again. For this opinion was firmly 
established among them, that their bodies were indeed 
corruptible, and that the matter of which they consisted 
was not stable, but that their souls were immortal, and 
would endure for ever, and that, proceeding from the 
most subtle ether, they were drawn down by a natural 
flux, and complicated with bodies ; but that, when they 
are no longer detained by the bonds of the flesh, then, as 
if liberated from a long slavery, they will rejoice, and 
ascend to the celestial regions. But from this mode of 
living, and from being thus exercised in truth and piety, 
there were many among them, as it is reasonable to sup- 
pose there would be, who had a foreknowledge of future 
events, as being conversant from their youth with sacred 
books, different purifications, and the declarations of the 
prophets. And such is the order [or sect] of tb^ 
£ss»ans among the Jews. 



14. All of them, however, were forbidden to eat tie* 
flesh of swine, or fish witliout scales, which the Greeks 
call σελαχια^ i.e. cartilaginous; or to eat any animal that 
has solid hoofs. They were likewise forbidden not only 
to refrain from eatings but also from killing animals that 
fled to their houses as supplicants. Nor did the legis- 
lator permit them to slay such animals as were parents 
together with their young; but ordered them to spare^ 
even in a hostile land, and not put to death brutes that 
assist us in our labours. Nor was the legislator afraid 
that the race of animals which are not sacrificed, would, 
through being spared from slaughter, be so increased in 
multitude as to produce famine among m6n ; for he knew, 
in the first place, that multiparous animals live but for 
a short time; and in the next place, that many of them 
perish, unless attention is paid to them by men. More- 
over, he likewise knew that other animals would attack 
those that increased excessively; of which this is an 
indication, that we abstain from many animals, such as 
lizards, worms, flies, serpents, and dogs, and yet, at the 
same time, we are not afraid of perishing through hunger 
by abstaining from them, though their increase is abun-* 
dant. And in the next place, it is not the same thing to 
eat and to slay an animal. For we destroy many of the 
above-mentioned animals, but we do not eat any of thera, 

15. Farther still, it is likewise related that the Syrians 
formerly abstained from animals, and, on this account, 
did not sacrifice them to the Gods ; but that afterwards 
they sacrificed them, for the purpose of averting certain 
evils ; yet they did not at all admit of a fleshly diet. In 
process of time, however, as Neanthes the Cyzicenean 
and Asclepiades the Cyprian say, about the era of Pyg- 
malion, who was by birth a Phoenician, but reigned over 
the Cyprians, the eating of flesh was admitted, from an 
illegality of the following kind, which Asclepiades, in his 
treatise concerning Cyprus and Phoenicia, relates as fol- 
lows : — In the first place, they did not sacrifice any 
thing animated to the Gods; but neither was there any 


law pertaining to a thing of this kind^ because it was 
prohibited by natural law. They are- said, however, on a 
certain occasion, in which one soul was required for 
another, to have, for the first time, sacrificed a victim ; 
and this taking place, the whole of the victim was then 
consumed by fire. But afterwards, when the victim was 
burnt, a portion of the flesh fell on the earth, which was 
taken by the priest, who, in so doing, having burnt his 
fingers, involuntarily moved them to his mouth, as a 
remedy for the pain which the burning produced. Having, 
therefore, thus tasted of the roasted flesh, he also desired 
to eat abundantly of it, and could not refrain from giving 
some of it to his wife. Pygmalion, however, becoming 
acquainted with this circumstance, ordered both the 
priest and his wife to be hurled headlong from a steep 
rock, and gave the priesthood to another person, who not 
long after performing the same sacrifice, and eating the 
flesh of the victim, fell into the same calamities as his 
predecessor. The thing, however, proceeding still farther, 
and men using the same kind of sacrifice, and through 
yielding to desire, not abstaining from, but feeding on 
flesh, the deed was no longer punished. Nevertheless 
abstinence from fish continued among the Syrians till the 
time of Menander : for he says. 

The Syrians for example take, since these 
When by intemperance led of fish they eat, 
Swoln in their belly and their feet become. 
With sack then cover'd, in the public way 
They oo a dunghill sit, that by their lowly state, 
The Goddess may, appeased, the crime forgive. 

le. Among the Persians, indeed, those who are wise 
in divine concerns, and worship divinity, are called Magi; 
for this is the signification of Magus, in the Persian 
tongue. But so great and so venerable are these men 
thought to be by the Persians, that Darius, the son 
of Hystaspes, had among other things this engraved on 
his tomb, that he had been the master of the Magi. They 


ase likewise divided into three genera, as we are informed 
by Eubulus, who wrote the history of Mithra, in a treatise 
eonsieting of many books. In this work he says, that 
the first and most learned class of the Magi neither eat 
nor slay any thing animated, but adhere to the ancient 
abstinence from animals. The second class use some 
animals indeed [for food]» but do not slay any that are 
tame. Nor do those of the third class» similarly with 
other men» lay their hands on all animals. For the 
dogma with all of them which ranks as the first is this» 
ihttt there is a transmigration of souls ; and this they 
also appear to indicate in the mysteries of Mithra. For 
in these mysteries» obscurely signifying our having some- 
thing in common with brutes, they are accustomed to 
call us by the names of difierent animals. Thus they 
denominate the males who participate in the same mys- 
teries Uons, but the females lionesses, and those who s^re 
ministrant to these rites crows. With respect to theii* 
fathers also, they adopt the same mode. For these are 
denominated by them eagles and hawks. And he who 
is initiated in the Leontic mysteries, is invested with all- 
various forms of animals "> ; of which particulars, Pallas, in 
his treatise concerning Mithra, assigning the cause» says, 
that it is the common opinion that these things are to be 
referred to the circle oiF the zodiac, but that truly and 
accurately speaking» they obscurely signify something 
pertaining to human souls» which, according to the Per- 

4 Similar to this was the garment with which Apuleius was invested 
after bis initiation into the mysteries of Isis» and which he describes as 
follows : — " There [f . e. on a wooden throne] I sat conspicuous, in a 
garment which was indeed linen, but was elegantly painted. A pre- 
cious cloak also depended from my shoulders behind my back» as far as 
to my heels. Nevertheless, to whatever part of me you directed your 
view, you might see that I was remarkable by the animals which were 
painted round my vestment, in various colours. Here were Indtiaa 
dragons, there Hyperborean griffins, which the other hemisphere gene- 
rates in the form of a winged animal. Men devoted to the service of 
divinity, call this cloak the Olympic garment.'^ — See Bool^ II. of qiiy 
translation of the Metamorphosis of Apuleius. 


eians, are invested with bodies of aU-various forms, Fojs 
the Latins also^ says Eubulus^ call some men^ in theic 
tongue, boars and scorpions, lizards, and blackbirds. 
After the same manner likewise the Persians denominate 
the Gods the demiurgic causes of these : for they call 
Diana a she-wolf; but the sun, a bull, a lion, a dragon, and 
a hawk ; and Hecate^ a horse, a bull, a lioness, and a dog. 
But most theologists say that the name of Proserpine 
[της φεξεφατΙης] is derived from nourishing a ringdove, 
[πάρα το φεξζειν την φατΊαν] : for the ringdove is sacred to 
this Goddess "", Hence, also, the priests of Maia dedicate 

^ Proclos, however, in his Scholia on the Cratylus of Plato, gives ft 
much more theological account of the derivation of the name of Proser- 
pine, as followe : — '' Socrates now delivers these three vivific monadji 
in a consequent or(jler, viz. Ceres, Juno, Proserpine; calling the first 
the mother, the second the sister, and the third the daughter of the 
Deniiurgus [Jupiter]. All of them, however, are partakers of the whole 
of fabrication ; the first in an exempt manner, and intellectually ; the 
seconc^ in a fontal manner, and, at the same time, in a way adapted to ft 
principle [«f^ou»?] ; and the third in a manner adapted to a principlft 
and a leader [hx*'^^ *<m nytfAwuuHt^, 

Of these Goddesses the last is allotted triple powers, and impartibly 
and uniforrolj comprehende throe monads of Grods^ But she is called 
Core [fto^n] through the purity of her essenxre, and her undefiled trans- 
cendency in her generations. She also possesses a first,, middle, and last 
empire ; and according to her summit, indeed, she is called Diana by 
Orpheus ; but, according to her middle, Proserpine ; and according to 
the extremity of the order, Minerva. Likewise, according to an essence 
transcending the other powers of this triple vivific order, the dominion of 
Hecate is established; but according to a middle power, and which is 
generative of wholes, that of soul; and, according to intellectual con- 
version, that of Virtue *. Ceres, therefore, subsisting on high, and among 
the supermundane Gods, uniformly extends this triple order of divinities ; 
and, together with Jupiter, generates Bacchus, who impartibly presides 
over partible fiabrication• But beneath, in conjunction with Pluto, she 
is particularly beheld according to the middle characteristic : for it is 
this which, proceeding every where, imparts vivification to the last of 

* Proclus says this conformably to the theology of the Chaldeans ; 
for, according to that theology, the first monad of the vivific triad ύ 
Hecatfy the second Soul, and the third Virtue. 


to her a ringdoye. And Maia is the same with Proser- 
pine, as being obstetric, and a nurse*. For this God- 

things. Hence she is called Proserpine, because she especially asso* 
ciates with Pluto, and, together with him, distributes in an orderly man* 
ner the extremities of the universe. And, according to her extremities, 
indeed, she is said to be a virgin, and to remain undefiled ; but, accord- 
ing to her middle, to be conjoined with Hades, and to beget the Furies in 
the subterranean regions. She, therefore, is also called Ceres, bat 
after another manner than the supermundane and ruling Ceres. For the 
one is the connective unity of the three vivific principles ; but t&e 
other is the middle of them, in herself possessing the peculiarities of the 
extremes. Hence, in the Proserpine conjoined with Pluto, you will find 
the peculiarities of Hecate and Minerva ; but these extremes subsist in 
her occultly, while the peculiarity of the middle shines forth, and that 
which is characteristic of ruling soul, which in the supermundane Ceres 
was of a ruling* nature, but here subsists according to a mundane pecu- 

Proclus farther observes, ** that Proserpine is denominated either 
through judging of forms, and separating them from each other, thus 
obscurely signifying the subversion of slaughterf, {ha τ• Λξΐηιψ τ* ithi, auii 
χΌξ^ζΜ αλλϋλαητ ως τον ^w tuv anufta•» «uvcrrofAiyov^) or through separating 
souls perfectly from bodies, through a conversion to things on high, 
which is the most fortunate slaughter and death to such as are worthy of it. 
() ha TO X^^uf τας -^νχας tiXmc μ rtn σ^/ΑατΜ }ια tdc «rpoc ra avu iitm-I^o^c, 
ονις ιστιν Λυτυχί^ΙαΎος φόνο; juu ^ανατης τοις αζιου/ΜΨΜς tovtou.) But the name 
f ιρι^Μίττα, PherephattOy is adapted to Proserpine, acconling to a contact 
with generation; but according to wisdom and counsel, to Minerva. At 
the same time, however, all the appellations by which she is distin- 
guished, are adapted to the perfection of soul. On this account, also, 
she is called Proserpine, and not by the names of the extremes; since 
that which was ravished by Pluto, is this middle deity ; the extremes at 
the same time being firmly established in themselves; according to which 
Ceres is said to remain a virgin. 

* The first subsistence of Maia, who, according to the Orphic theology, 
is the same with the Goddess Night, is at the summit of the intelligible. 

* That is, of a supermundane nature; for the ruling are the superb- 
mundane Gods. 

t Proclus here alludes to the war which subsbts among forms through 
their union with matter, and which Proserpine subverts by separating 
them from each other. 


dess is terrestrial, and so likewise is Ceres. To this 
Goddess, also, a cock is consecrated ; and on this account 
those that are initiated in her mysteries abstain from 
domestic birds. In the Eleusinian mysteries, likewise, the 
initiated are ordered to abstain from domestic birds, from 
fishes and beans, pomegranates and apples ; which fruits 
are as equally defiling to the touch, as a woman re-< 
cently delivered, and a dead body. But whoever is ac- 
quainted with the nature of divinely-luminous appearances 
Ιφασ-ματα,'] knows also on what ' account it is requisite to 
abstain from all birds, and especially for him who hastens 
to be liberated from terrestrial concerns, and to be 
established with the celestial Gods. Vice, however, as 
we have frequently said, is sufficiently able to patronize 
itself, and especially when it pleads its cause among the 
ignorant. Hence, among those that are moderately 
vicious, some think that a dehortation of this kind is 
vain babbling, and, according to the proverb, the nu- 
gacity of old women ; and others are of opinion that it is 
superstition. But those who have made greater advances 
in improbity, are prepared, not only to blaspheme those 
who exhort to, and demonstrate the propriety of this 
abstinence, but calumniate purity itself as enchantment 
and pride. They, however, suffering the punishment of 
their sins, both from Gods and men, are, in the first 
place, sufficiently punished by a disposition [i, e, by a 
depravity] of this kind. We shall, therefore, still farther 
make mention of another foreign natipp, renowned and 

and at the same time intellectual order, and is wholly absorbed in the 
intelligible. As we are also informed by Proclus (in Cratylum), -^ She 
is the paradigm of Ceres. For immortal Night is the nurse of the Gods 
[according to Orpheus]. Night, however, is the cause of aliment intel• 
ligibly : for the intelligible is, as the Chaldean Oracle says, the aliment 
of the intellectual orders of Gods. But Ceres, first of all, separates the 
two kinds of aliment [nectar and ambrosia] in the Gods.*' He adds, 
^* Hence our sovereign mistress [iirrew*], Ceres, not only generates 
life, but that which gives perfection to life; and this from supernal 
natures, to such as are last. For virtue is the perfection of souls:* 


juBt« and believed to be pioas in divine concernsy and 
then pass on to other particulars. 

17. For the polity of the Indians being distributed 
into many parts, there is one tribe among them of men 
divinely wise, whom the Greeks are accustomed to call 
G^ymnosophists ^ But of these there are two sects, over 
one of which the Bramins preside, but over the other the 
Samanseans. The race of the Bramins, however, receive 
divine wisdom of this kind by succession, in the same 
manner as the priesthood. But the Samaneeans are 
elected, and consist of those who wish to possess divine 
knowledge. And the particulars respecting them are the 
following, as the Babylonian Bardesanes ^ narrates, who 
lived in the times of our fathers, and was familiar with 
those Indians who, together with Damadamis, were sent 
to Caesar. All the Bramins originate from one stock; 
for all of them are derived from one father and one 
mother. But the Samaneeans are not the offspring of 
one family, being, as we have said, collected from every 
nation of Indians. A Bramin, however, is not a subject 
ef any government, nor does he contribute any thing 
together with others to government. And with respect 
to those that are philosophers, among these some dwell 
on mountains, and others about the river Ganges. And 
those that live on mountains feed on autumnal fruits, and 
on cows' milk coagulated with herbs. But those that 
reside near the Ganges, live also on autumnal fruits, 
which are produced in abundance about that river. The 
land likewise nearly always bears new fruit, together with 
much rice, which grows spontaneously, and. which they 
use when there is a deficiency of autumnal fruits. But to 
taste of any other nutriment, or, in short, to touch animal 
food, is considered by them as equivalent to extreme 

* Concerning the Indian philosophers, see the second book of Dio^ 
dorus Siculus. 

" This is the Bardesanes who lived in the time of Marcus Antoninus, 
and who wrote a treatise on the Lake of Probation in India, which is 
mentioned byPorphyny in his fra^^ent'De Styge, preserved by Stobsils• 


impttnty and impiety. And this is one of ibeir dogmas. 
They also worship divinity with piety and purity. They 
]»pend the day, and the greater part of the night» in 
hymns and jprayers to the Gods ; each of them having a 
cottage to himself, and living, as much as possible, alone. 
For the Bramins cannot endure to remain with others, 
nor to speak much ; but when this happens to take place, 
they afterwards withdraw themselves, and do not speak 
for many days. They likewise frequently fast. But the 
SamansBans are, as we have said, elected. When, how- 
ever, any one is desirous of being enrolled in their order, 
he proceeds to the rulers of the city ; but abandons thfe 
city or village that he inhabited, and the wealth and all 
the other property that he possessed. Having likewise 
the superfluities of his body cut off, he receives a garment, 
and departs to the Samaneeans, but does not return either 
to his wife or children, if he happens to have any, nor 
does he pay any attention to them, or think that they at 
all pertain to him. And, with respect to his children 
indeed, the king provides what i^ecessary for them, and 
the relatives provide for the yfife. And such is the life 
of the Samaneeans. But they live out of the city, and 
spend the whole day in conversation pertaining to 
divinity. They have also houses and temples, built by 
the king, in which there are stewards, who receive a 
certain emolument from the king, for the purpose of 
supplying those that dwell in them with nutriment. But 
their food consists of rice, bread, autumnal fruits, and 
pot-herbs. And when they enter into their house, the 
sound of a bell being the signal of their entrance, those 
that are not Samanasans depart from it, and the Sama- 
nseans begin immediately to pray. But having prayed, 
again, on the bell sounding as a signal, the servants give 
to each Samaneean a platter, (for two of them do not eat 
out of the same dish,) and feed them with rice. And to 
him who is in want of a variety of food, a pot-herb is 
added, or some autumnal fruit. But having eaten as 
much as is requisite, without any delay they proceed to 


their accustomed employments. All of them likewise are 
unmarried, and have no possessions : and so much are 
both these and the Bramins venerated by the other 
Indians» that the king also visits them, and requests them 
to pray to and supplicate the Oods, when any calamity 
befals the country, or to advise him how to act. 

18. But they are so disposed with respect to death, 
that they unwillingly endure the whole time of the pre- 
sent life, as a certain servitude to nature, and therefore 
they hasten to liberate their souls from the bodies [with 
which they are connected]. Hence frequently, when 
they are seen to be well, and are neither oppressed, nor 
driven to desperation by any evil, they depart from life. 
And though they previously announce to others that it is 
their intention to commit suicide, yet no one impedes 
them ; but, proclaiming all those to be happy who thus 
quit the present life, they enjoin certain things to the 
domestics and kindred of the dead : so stable and true do 
they, and also the multitude, believe the assertion to be, 
that souls [in another life] associate with each other. 
But as soon as those to iifhom they have proclaimed that 
this is their intention, have heard the mandates given to 
them, they deliver the body to fire, in order that they 
may separate the soul from the body in the purest 
manner, and thus they die celebrated by all the Samanse- 
ans. For these men dismiss their dearest friends to death 
more easily than others part with their fellow-citizens 
when going the longest journeys. And they lament 
themselves, indeed, as still continuing in life ; but they 
proclcdm those that are dead to be blessed, in conse- 
quence pf having now obtained an immortal allotment. 
Nor is there any sophist, such as there is now amongst 
the Greeks, either among these Samanaeans, or the above- 
mentioned Bramins, who would be seen to doubt and 
to say, if all men should imitate you [i. e. should imitate 
those Samanaeans who commit suicide], what wauld 
become of us ? Nor through these are human affairs con- 
fused. For neither do all men imitate them, and those 


Vrho have, may be said to have been rather the causes of 
eqnitaile legislation, than of confusion to the different 
nations of men. Moreover, the law did not compel 
the Samtoaeans and Bramins to eat animal food^ but, per- 
mitting others to feed on fliesh, it suffered these to be 
a law to themselves, and venerated them as being supe- 
l4or to law. Nor did the law subject these men to the 
punishment which it inflicts, as if they were the primary 
perpetrators of injustice, but it reserved this for othefs. 
Hence, to those who ask, what would be the consequence 
if all men imitated such characters as these, the saying of 
Pythagoras must be the answer; that if all men were 
kings, the passage through life would be difficult, yet regal 
government is not on this account to be avoided. And [we 
likewise say] thiit if all men were worthy, no administra- 
tion of a polity would be found in which the dignity that 
probity merits would be preserved. Nevertheless, no one 
woiild be so insane as not to think that alt men should 
earnestly endeavour to become worthy characters. Indeed, 
the law grants to the' vulgaf many other things [besides a 
fleshly diet], which, lievertheless, it does not grant to 
a philosopher, ttot even to one who conducts the affiiirs of 
government in a proper manner. For it does not receive 
every artist into the administration, though it does not 
forbid the exercise of any art, nor yet men of every pur- 
suit. But it excludes those who are occupied in vile and 
illiberal arts'", and, in short, all those who are destitute of 
justice and the other virtues, from having any thing to do 
vnth the management of public affairs. Thus, likewise, 
the law does not forbid the vulgar from associating with 
harlots, on whom at the same time it imposes a fine ; but 
thinks that it is disgraceful and base for men that are 
moderately good to have any connexion with them. 
Moreover, the law does not prohibit a man from spending 
the whole of his life in a tavern^ yet at the same time this 

' Bmmwm) t. e• diity mechanics and bellows-^blowers, an appella- 
tm by wkidi Flito is hii^ttivAls deeipiatts the t^pmmntaUttt, 



is most disgraceful even to a man of moderate worth. It 
appears, therefore^ that the same thing must also be said 
with respect to diet. For that which is permitted to the 
multitude, must not likewise be granted to the best of 
men. For the man who is a philosopher, should espe- 
cially ordain for himself those sacred laws *which the 
Gods, and men who are followers of the Gods, have insti- 
tuted. But the sacred laws of nations and cities appear 
to have ordained for sacred men purity, and to have 
interdicted them animal food. They have also forbidden 
the multitude to eat certain animals, either from motives 
of piety, or on account of some injury which would be 
produced by the food. So that it is requisite either to 
imitate priests, or to be obedient to the mandates of all 
legislators ; but, in either way, he who is perfectly legal 
and pious ought to abstain from all animals. For if some 
who are only partially pious abstain from certain animals, 
he who is in every respect pious will abstain from all 

19. I had almost, however, forgotten to adduce what 
is said by Euripides, who asserts, that the prophets of 
Jupiter in Crete abstained from animals. But what 
is said by the chorus to Minos on this subject^ is as 
fotUows : 


Sprung frony Phoenicia's royal line, 
Son of Europa, nymph divine, 
And mighty Jove, thy envy Μ reign 
O'er Crete extending, whose domain 
Is with a hundred cities crown'd — 
I leave yon consecrated ground, 
Ton fane, whose beams the artist's toil 
With cypress, rooted from the soil, 
Hath fashion'd. In the mystic rites 
Initiated, life's best delights 
I place in chastity alone. 
Midst Nighfs dread orgies wont to rove, 
The priest of Zagreus^ and of Jove ; 


y Zagreus is an epithet of Bacchus. Wodhull, however, from whoie 
translation of Euripides the above lines are taken, is greatly mistaken in 


Feasts of crude flesh I now decline^ 
And wave aloof the blazing pine 
To Cybele, nor fear to claim 
Her own Curete's hallow'd name ; 
Clad in a snowy vest I fly 
Far from the throes of pregnancy. 
Never amidst the tombs intrude. 
And slay no animal for food. 

20. For holy men were of opinion that purity con- 
sisted in a thing not being mingled with its contrary, and 
that mixture is defilement. Hence, they thought that 
nutriment should be assumed from fruits, and not from 
dead bodies, and that we should not, by introducing 
that which is animated to our nature, defile what is 
administered by nature. But they conceived, that the 
slaughter of animals, as they are sensitive, and the 
depriving them of their souls, is a defilement to the 
living ; and that the pollution is much greater, to mingle 
a body which was once sensitive, but is now deprived of 
sense, with a sensitive and living being. Hence univer- 
sally, the purity pertaining to piety consists in rejecting 
and abstaining from many things, and in an abandonment 
of such as are of a contrary nature, and the assumption of 
such as are appropriate and concordant. On this account, 
venereal connexions are attended with defilement. For 
in these, a conjunction takes place of the female with the 
male ; and the seed^ when retained by the woman, and 
causing her to be pregnant, defiles the soul, through its 
association with the body ; but when it does not produce 
conception, it pollutes, in consequence of becoming a 
lifeless mass. The connexion also of males with males 
defiles, because it is an emission of seed as it were into a 
dead body, and because it is contrary to nature. And, in 
short, all venery, and emissions of the seed in sleep, 


saying, that " it is evident from the hymns of Orpheus that Zagreus was 
a name given to Bacchus at his sacred rites.'' For the word ΧΛγξίος 
(Zagreus) is not to be found either in the hymns of Orpheus, or in any 
other of the Orphic wntiogs that are extant. 


pollute^ because the spul becomes mingled with the body, 
add is drawn down to pleasure. The passions of the soul 
likewise defile, through the complication of the irrational 
and effeminate part with reason, the internal masculine 
part. For, in a certain respect, defilement and pollution 
manifest the mixture of things of an heterogeneous 
nature, and especially when the abstersion of this mixture 
is attended with difficulty. Whence, also, in tinctures 
which are produced through mixture, one species being 
complicated with another^ this mixture is denominated 
a defilement. 

As when some woman with a lively led 
Stuns the pure iy Vy ■ 

says Homer'. And again, painters call the mixtures of 
colours, corruptions. It is usual, likewise, to denominate 
that which is unmingled and pure, incorruptible, and to 
call that which is genuine, uopolluted. For water, when 
mingled with earth, is corrupted, and is not genuine. 
But water which is diffluent, and runs with tumultuoas 
rapidity, leaves behind in its course the earth which it 
carries in its stream. 

When from a limpid and perennial fount 
It defluous runs ■ ■...■■■■.« 

as Hesiod says'". For such water is salubrious, because 
it is uncorrupted and unmixed* The female, likewise, that 
does not receive into herself the exhalation of seed, 
is said to be uncorrupted. So that the mixture of con- 
traries is corruption and defilement. For the mixture of 
-dead with living bodies, and the insertion of beings thai 
were once living and sentient into animals, and of dead 
into living flesh, may be reasonably supposed to intro- 
duce defilement and stains to our nature ; just, again, as 
the soul is polluted when it is invested with the body• 
HencQf he who is bor% is polluted by the mi^tuce of 

< Uiad; IV. v. Ul. • Opsr. et IKm^ 696. 


his seal with body ; and he who dies, defiles his body^ 
through leaving it a corpse^ different and foreign from 
that which possesses life. The soul» likewise, is polluted 
by anger and desire, and the multitude of passions of 
which in a certain respect diet is a co-operating cause^ 
But as water which flows through a rock is more uncor- 
rupted than that which runs through marshes, because it 
does not bring with it much mud ; thus, also, the soul 
which administers its own affairs in a body that is dry^ 
and is not moistened by the juices of foreign flesh, is in a 
more excellent condition, is more uncorrupted, and is^ 
more prompt for intellectual energy. Thus too, it is said, 
that the thyme which is the driest and the sharpest 
to the taste, afibrds the best honey to bees. The dianoe- 
tic, therefore, or discursive power of the soul, is polluted ^ 
or rather, he who energizes dianoetically, when this 
energy is mingled with the energies of either the imagi- 
native or doxastic power. But purification consists in 
a separation from all these, and the wisdom which is 
adapted to divine concerns, is a desertion of every thing. 
of this kind. The proper nutriment, likewise, of each 
thing, is that which essentially preserves it. Thus you^ 
may say, that the nutriment of a stone is the cause of its 
continuing to be a stone, and of firmly remaining in a• 
lapideoos form; but the nutriment of a plant is that 
which preserves it in increase and fructification ; and of 
an animated body, that which preserves its composition. 
It is one thing, however, to nourish, and another to 
fiitten ; and one thing to impart what is necessary, and 
another to procure what is luxurious. Various, therefore, 
are the kinds of nutriment, and various also is the nature 
of the things that are nourished. And it is necessary,, 
indeed, that all things should be nourished, but we 
should earnestly endeavour to fatten our most principal 
parts• Hence, the nutriment of the rational soul is that 
which preserves it in a rational state. But this is intel• 
lect; so that it is to be nourished by intellect; and we 
should earnestly endeavour that it may be fattened 


through this, rather than that the flesh may become 
pinguid, through esculent substances. For intellect pre- 
serves for us eternal life, but the body when fattened 
causes the soul to be famished, through its hunger after a ' 
.blessed life not being satisfied, increases our mortal part, 
since it is of itself insane, and impedes our attainment of 
an immortal condition of being. It likewise defiles by 
corporifying the soul, and drawing her down to that 
which is foreign to her nature. And the magnet^ indeed, 
imparts, as it were, a soul to the iron which is placed 
near it; and the iron^ though most heavy, is elevated, and 
runs to the spirit of the stone. Should he, therefore, who 
is suspended from incorporeal and intellectual deity, be 
anxiously busied in procuring food which fattens the 
body, that is an impediment to intellectual perception? 
Ought he not rather, by contracting what is necessary 
to the flesh into that which is little and easily procured, 
be himself nourished, by adhering to God more closely 
than the iron to the magnet? I wish, indeed, that our 
nature was not so corruptible, and that it were possible 
we could live free from molestation, even without the 
nutriment derived from fruits. Ο that, as Homer ^.saye, 
we were not in want either of meat or drink, that we 
might be truly immortal ! — the poet in thus speaking 
beautifully signifying, that food is the auxiliary not only, 
of life, but also of death. If, therefore, we were not 
in want even of vegetable aliment, we should be by 
so much the more blessed, in proportion as we should be 
more immortal. But now, being in a mortal condition^ 
we render ourselves, if it be proper so to speak, still more 
mortal, through becoming ignorant that, by the addition 
of this mortality, the soul, as Theophrastus says, does 
not only confer a great benefit on the body by being its 
inhabitant, but gives herself wholly to it^ Hence, it is 

* Tliad, V. V. 341. 

• In the original, w woXv το ivotjtior, «c ^a-i vw efo^fa^^oc, 're» cmfAon 
)i)ou0ij( TXff ^vpc*)?) χ.'τ.λ. But for ov voxu TO lyoiiuoy, it appears to me to be 
necessary to read, ou (otovoy ιτολύ το ivoutioy, χ.τ.λ. 




much to be wished that we could easily obtain the life 
celebrated in fables, in which hunger and thirst are 
unknown; so that, by stopping the every-way-flowing 
river of the body, we might in a very little time be 
present with the most excellent natures, to which he who 
accedes, since deity is there, is himself a God. But how 
is it possible not to lament the condition of the generality 
of mankind, who are so involved in darkness as to cherish 
their own evil, and who, in, the first place, hate them- 
selves, and him who truly begot them, and afterwards, 
those who admonish them, and call on them to return 
from ebriety to a sober condition of being ? Hence, dis- 
missing things of this kind, will it not be requisite to pas» 
'on to what remains to be discussed? 

21. Those then who oppose the Nomades, or Troglo- 
dytaeS or Ichthyophagi, to the legal institutes of the nations 
which we have adduced, are ignorant that these people were 
brought to the necessity of eating animals through the infe- 
cundity of the region they inhabit, which is so barren, that it 
does not even produce herbs, but only shores and sands. 
And this necessity is indicated by their not being able to 
make use of fire, through the want of combustible materials ; 
but they dry their fish on rocks, or on the shore. And 
these indeed live after this manner from necessity. There 
are, however, certain nations whose manners are rustic, 
and who are naturally savage ; but it is not fit that those 
who are equitable judges should, from such instances as 
these, calumniate human nature. For thus we should not 
only be dubious whether it is proper to eat animals, but 
also, whether we may not eat men, and adopt all other 
savage manners. It is related, therefore, that the Massa- 
getee and the Derbices consider those of their kindred to 
be most miserable who die spontaneously. Hence, pre- 
venting their dearest friends from dying naturally, they 
slay them when they are old, and eat them. The Tiba- 
reni hurl from rocks their nearest relatives, even while 

* Vid.Diod.Sic.lib.iii. S3. 


livings when they are old« And with respect to the Hyfr 
cani ai^d Caspii^ the one exposed the Imng, but the other 
the dead, to be devoured by birds and dogs. But iik% 
Scythians bury the living with the dead» and cut thjeif 
throats on the pyres of the dead by whom thpy were 
especially beloved. The Bactrii likewise cast thosf 
among them that are old, even while living» to the dqg9» 
And Stasanor» who was οηο of Alexander's prefecte» 
nearly lost his government through endeavouring t(i 
destroy this custom. As» however» we do not on accovi|t 
of these examples subvert mildness of conduct tpwardfj^ 
men» so neither should we imitate those nations that feed 
on flesh through necessity» but we should rather imitata 
the pious» and those who consecrate themselves to th^ 
Qods. For Democrates*^ says» that to live badly, apd not 
prudently, temperately» and piously, is not to live }^ 
reality ^ but to die for a long time. 

22. It now remains that we should adduce fti few 
examples of certain individuals» as testimonies in fay^i^ 
of abstinence from animal food. For the ^afit qf tli£§^ 
was one of the accusations which were urged againsf 19^ 
We learn» therefore» that Triptolemus was the v^o^i^ 
ancient of the Athenian legislators ; of whom Her't 
mippusS in the second book of his treatise on Legi^latpr9| 
writes as follows: '' U is said, that Triptql^m^^ es^T^ 
blished laws for the Athenians. An4 t^i^ pl^ilOf^pbieF 
Xenocrates asserts» that three of his l^ws still re^iai^ 
in Eleusis» which are these» Honour your pft^e^^ti^; ^f|-i 
crifice to the Gods from the fruits pf th^ e^h ; Ini|U^^ 
not animala/' Two of tbese^ therefor^, Ijie^ say^, f|L)r<e 

* Reisk says, that be does not know who this DeraoO^tes is> 1^ΐ|| 
there can» I think» Ve no doubt p.f its. (Deiog the Pythagorean of th^ 
namej whose Qolden Sentences are ^Uaut in the Optuscul^ l^7(l^W96|ii?^ 
of Gale, ojf which se^ Mr. Bridgman's translation. 

' In the original» ου hmm^ ζρν eiv^i. But for ου κΛχοίς, 1 read^^ 
βϋχ evT«c. For without this emendation, Detnocrates will o6iAtrslds«» 

' This Hermippus is also cited hy Diogeners Laertius in Pytb. 


pptperly instituted. For it is necessary that we should 
^ much as possible recompense our parents for the 
benefits which they have conferred on us; and that 
we should offer to the Gods the first-fruits of the 
things useful to our life, which they have imparted to 
us. But with respect to the third law, he is dubious 
as to the intention of Triptolemus, in ordering the Athe-• 
nians to abstain from animals. Was it^ says he, because 
he thought it was a dire thing to slay kindred natures, 
or because he perceived it would happen, that the most 
useful animals would be destroyed by men for food? 
Wishing, therefore, to make our life as mild as possible, 
he endeavoured to preserve those animals that associate 
with men, and which are .especially tame. Unless, in- 
deed, because having ordained that men should honour 
the Gods by offering to them first-fruits, he therefore 
added this third law, conceiving that this mode of wor- 
ship would continue for a longer time, if sacrifices 
through animals were not made to the Gods. But as 
many other causes, though not very accurate, of the pro- 
mulgation of these laws, are assigned by Xenocrates, 
thus much from what has been said is sufficient for our 
purpose, that abstinence from animals was one of the 
legal institutes of Triptolemus. Hence, those who after- 
wards violated this law, being compelled by great neces- 
sity, and involuntary errors, fell, as we have shown, 
into this custom of slaughtering and eating animals. 
The following, also, is mentioned as a law of Draco : 
" Let this be an eternal sacred law^ to the inhabitants 
of Attica, and let its authority be predominant for 
ever ; viz. that the Gods, and indigenous Heroes, be 
worshipped publicly, conformably to the laws of the 
country, delivered by our ancestors ; and also, that they 
be worshipped privately, according to the ability of each 
individual, in conjunction with auspicious words, the 

•* In the original, βίβ-^ος, which, as we are informed by Proclas, 
bigniiies divine order^ and a uniform boundary. 



firstlings of fruits, and annual cakes. So that this law 
ordains, that divinity should be venerated by the first 
offerings of fruits which are used by men, and cakes 
made of the fine flour of wheats 

* This book is evidently imperfect, because there are wanting at 
the end examples of illustrious Greeks and Romans, who, from the 
most remote antiquity, abstained from animal food. And this was also 
obvious to Reisk. 





1. What does Homer obscurely signify by the cave in 
Ithaca^ which he describes in the following verses? 

'* High at the head a branching olive grows, 
And crowns the pointed clifis with shady boughs. 
A cavern pleasant, though involvM in night. 
Beneath it lies, the Naiades' delight : 
Where bowls and urns of workmanship divine 
And massy beams in native marble shine ; 
On which the Nymphs amazing webs display, 
Of purple hue, and exquisite array. 
The busy bees within the urns secure 
Honey delicious, and like nectar pure. 
Perpetual waters through the grotto glide, 
A lofty gate unfolds on either side; 
That to the north is pervious to mankind ; 
The sacred south t' immortals is consigned.*' 

That the poet, indeed, does not narrate these particulars 
from historical information^ is evident from this, that 
those who have given us a description of the island^ 
have, as Cronius * says, made no mention of such a cave 
being found in it. This likewise, says he^ is manifest^ 
that it would be absurd for Homer to expect, that in 

* This Cronius, the Pythagorean, is also mentioned by Porphyry, in 
liis Life of Plotinus. 



describing a cave fabricated merely by poetical license, 
and thus artificially opening a path to Gods and men 
in the region of Ithaca, he should gain the belief of man- 
kind. And it is equally absurd to suppose^ that nature 
herself should point out, in this place, one path for the 
descent of all mankind, and again another path for all the 
Gods. For, indeed, the whole world is full of Gods and 
men: but it is impossible to be persuaded, that in the 
Ithacensian cave men descend, and Gods ascend. Cro- 
"nius, therefore, having premised thus much, says, that it 
is evident, not only to the wise but also to the vulgar, 
that the poet, under the veil of allegory, conceals some 
mysterious signification ; thus compelling others to ex- 
plore what the gate of men is, and also what is the gate 
of the Gods : what he means by asserting that this cave 
of the Nymphs has two gates; and why it is both pleasant 
and obscure, since darkness is by no means delightful, 
but is rather productive of aversion tind horror. Like- 
wise, what is the reason why it is not simply said to 
be the cave of the Nymphs, but it is accurately added, 
of the Nymphs which are called Naiades ? Why, also, is 
the cave represented as containing bowls and amphorae, 
when no mention is made of their receiving any liquor, 
but bees are said to deposit their honey in these vessels 
as in hives ? Then, again, why are oblong beams adapted 
to v^aviijg placed here for the Nymphs ; and these not 
formed from wood, or any other pliable matter, but from 
stone, as well. as the amphoi^ and bowls? Which last 
circumstance is, indeed, less obscure ; but that, on these 
stony beams, the Nymphs should weave purple garments, 
is not only wonderful to the sight, but also to the auditory 
sense. For who would believe that Goddesses weave 
garments in a cave involved in darkness, and on stony 
beaoM } especially while he hears the poet asserting, that 
the purple webs of the Goddesses were visible. In 
addition to these things likewise, this is admirable, that 
the cave should have a twofold entrance ; one made for 
the descent of men, but the other for the ascent of Gods. 


And again^ that the gate, which is peirvious by men, 
should be said to be turned towards the north wind, but 
the portal of the Gods to the south ; and why the poet 
' did not rather make use of the west and the east for this 
purpose; since nearly all temples have their statues and 
entrances turned towards the east ; but those who enter 
them look towards the west, when standing with their 
faces turned towards the statues^ they'bonour and worship 
■ythe Gods. Hence, since this narration is full of such 
obscurities, it can neither be a Action casually devised for 
the purpose of procuring delight, nor an exposition of 
a topical history; but something allegorical must be 
indicated in it by the poet, who likewise mystically placeti 
an olive near the cave. All which particular» the ancients 
thought very laborious to investigate and unfold ; and 
we, with their assistance, shall now endeavour to develope 
the secret meaning of the allegory. Those persons, there- 
fote, appear to have written very negligently about the 
situation of the place, who think that the cave, and what 
is narrated concerning it, are nothing more than a fiction 
of the poet. But the best and most accurate writers of 
geography, and among these Artemiderus the Ephesian, 
in tlie fifth book of his work, which consists of eleven 
books, tfins writes : '* The island of Ithaca, confining an 
extent of eighty-five stadia^, is distant from Panormus, 
a port of Cephalenia, about twelve stadia. It has a port 
named Phorcys, in which there is a shore, and on that 
shore a cave, in which the Pfaceacians are reported to haY« 
placed Ulysses." This cave, therefore, will not be entirely 
an Homeric fiction. But whether the poet describes it 
as it really is, or whether he has added something to it^ of 
bis own invention, nevertheleas the same inquiries remain ; 
whether the intention of the poet is investigated, or of 
those who founded the cave. For, neither did the 
ancients establish temples without fobulous symbols, nor 

> κ e. Rather more than ten Itidian miias and a half, eight stadia 
makiiig «altaliaa mile. 


does Homer rashly narrate the particulars pertaining to 
things of this kind. But how much the more any one 
endeavours to show that this description of the cave 
is not an Homeric fiction^ but prior to Homer was conse- 
crated to the Gods, by so much the more will this conse- 
crated cave be found to be full of ancient wisdom. And 
on this account it deserves to be investigated, and it is 
requisite that its symbolical consecration should be amply 
unfolded into light. 
i^ 2. The ancients, indeed, very properly consecrated a 
cave to the world, whether assumed collectively, accord- 
iqg to the whole of itself, or separately, according to its 
parts. Hence they considered earth as a symbol of that 
matter of which the world consists ; on which account 
some thought that matter and earth are the same ; 
through the cave indicating the world, which was gene- 
rated from matter. For caves are, for the most part, 
spontaneous productions, and connascent with the earthy 
being comprehended by one uniform mass of stone ; the 
interior parts, of which are concave, but the exterior parte 
are extended over an indefinite portion of land. And the 
world being spontaneously produced, [i. e. being produced 
by no external, but from an internal cause,] and being 
also self-adherent, is allied to matter ; which, according 
to a secret signification, is denominated a stone and a 
rock, on account of its sluggish and repercussive nature 
with respect to form: the ancients, at the same time, 
asserting that matter is infinite through its privation of 
• form^ Since, however, it is continitally flowing, and is 
of itself destitute of the supervening investments of form; 
\ through which it participates of morphe^j and becomes 
; visible, the flowing waters, darkness, or, as the poet says, 
\ obscurity of the cavern, were considered by the ancients 
\ as apt symbols of what the world contains, on account of 
; the matter with which it is connected. Through matter, 

* In the original, h w μοζ^ουτΜ, But morphe, as we are informed hj 
Simplidus, pertains to the colour, figure, and magnitude of superficie•. ... 


therefore, the world is obscure and dark; but through 
the connecting power, and orderly distribution of form, 
from which also it is called worlds it is beautiful and 
delightful. Hence it may very properly be denominated 
a cave ; as being lovely, indeed, to him who first enters 
into it, through its participation of forms, but obscure 
to him who surveys its foundation, and examines it with 
an intellectual eye. So that its exterior and superficial 
parts, indeed, are pleasant, but its interior and profound 
^arts are obscure, [and its very bottom is darkness itself]. 
Thus also the Persians, mystically signifying the descent 
of the soul into the sublunary regions, and its regression 
from it, initiate the mystic [or him who is admitted to the 
arcane sacred rites] in a place which they denominate 
a cavern* For, as Eubulus says^ Zoroaster was the first 
who consecrated, in the 
sia, a spontaneously ftg oduced cave, florid, and having 
fiQuntams, m honour of Mithra, the maker and father of 
all things; a cave, according to Zoroaster, bearing a 
reeeuiblance of the-wprW, which 'wa»-fetm<attedbv 
MMura. But the things contained in the cavern being 
arranged according to commensurate intervals, were 
symbols of the mundane elements and climates. 

3. After this Zoroaster likewise, it was usual with 
others to perform the rites pertaining to the mysteries in 
caverns and dens, whether spontaneously produced, or 
made by the hands. For, as they established temples, 
groves, and altars, to the celestial Gods, but to the 
terrestrial Gods, and to heroes, altars alone, and to the 
subterranean divinities pits and cells; so to the world 
they dedicated caves and dens; as likewise to Nymphs^; 
on account of the water which trickles, or is diffused in 
caverns, over which the Naiades, as we shall shortly observe, 

> ' ** Nymphs," says Hermias, in his Scholia on the Phaedrus of Plato, 
'' are Goddesses who preside over regeneration, and are ministrant to 
Bacchus, the oi&pring of Semele. Hence they dwell near water, that is, 
they are conversant with generation. But this Bacchus supplies the 
regeneration of the whole leiisible world." 


preside. Not only, however, did the ancients ttfak^ it 

/cavern, as we have said, to be a symbol of the woi4d, &t 
of a generated and sensible nature ; but they also a^sUM^d 

- it as a symbol of all invisible powers ; because, as CHtiMi^ 
are obscure and dark, so the essence of these powers 

\ is occult. Hence Saturn fabricated a cavern in the ocem 
itself, and concealed in it his children. Thus, toa, Ceries 
educated Proserpine, with her Nymphs, in a 6«tf6; aM 
many other particulars of this kind may be foand ift t%^ 
writings of theologists. But that the ancient» de^6ate4 

.. caverns to Nymphs, and especially to the Naiaden, who 
dwelt near fountains, and who are called Nakd^fiJciSkJtlB» 
etreams over which they preside, is manifest frotn ibe 
fey»n to Apollo, in which it is said: ** TW NfaiSfii* 

waters to thee, (according to the di.Yinf Y^ifie tff tfa^t 
\ Muses,) which are the progeny of a tRr^ciR^^s^ui^^ 
waters, bursting through every river, sfcntt eatybiH Λ^ 
mankind perpetual eflPiistons of sweet stfeihns^^^^HPnJfflr 
hence, as it appears to ine, the Pythagbi^aiis; ~a3^1^^r 
ewaa Plato, showed that the world is^ a (Jikvem an* 4^ 4^m: 
For the powers which are the leaders of sou)s>- th^ 9ί^ίθ& 
in a verse of £mpedocles : 

Now at this secret cavern we're arrived. 

And by Plato, in the 7th book of his Republic^ it is sakk 
'' Behold men as if dwelling in a subterraneous caver», 
and in a den-like habitation, whose entrance is widely 
expanded to the admission of the light through the whkole 
cave." But when the other person in the Dialogue ^ays, 
** You adduce an unusual and wonderful similitude/' he 
replies, " The whole of this image, friend GlaucO| must 
be adapted to what has been before said, ajsi^iiailatiag tbis 
receptacle, which is visible through the sight, to the 
habitation of a prison; but the light of the fire which is 
in it to the power of the sun.'' 

« These lines are not to be found in aafiy of the h^ns no«r extant, 
ascribed to Homer. 


4. That theologiste therefore considered caverns as 
symbols of the worlds and of mundane powers, is, through 
this, manifest. And it has been already observed by us, 
that they also considered a cave as a symbol of the 
intelligible essence; being impelled to do so by differ- 
ent and not the same conceptions. For they were of' 
opinion, that a cave is a symbol of the sensible vi^orld, 
because caverns are aaxk, stony, and humid 9 and they 
asserted, that the world is a thing of this kind, through 
the matter of which it consists, and through its reper- — 
cussive and flowing nature. But they thought it to be a 
symbol of the intelligible world, because that world is 
invisible to sensible perception, and possesses a firm and 
stable essence. Thus, also, partial powers are unappa- 
rent, and especially those which are inherent in matter. 
For they formed these symbols, from surveying the 
spontaneous production of caves, and their nocturnal, 
dark, and stony nature ; and not entirely, as some suspect, 
firom directing their attention to the figure of a cavern. 
For every cave is not spherical, as is evident from this 
Homeric cave with a twofold entrance. But since a 
cavern has a twofold similitude, the present cave must 
not be assumed as an image of the intelligible, but of the "^ 
sensible essence. For in consequence of containing per- 
petually-flowing streams of water, it will not be a symbol 
of an intelligible hypostasis^ but of a material essence* -^ 
On this account also, it is sacred to Nymphs, not the 
mountain, or rural^ Nymphs, or others of the lik« kind^ 
but to the Naiades, who are thus denominated from streams 
of water. For we peculiarly call the Naiades, and the^. 
powers that preside over waters, Nymphs ; and this / 
term, also, is commonly applied to all souls descending intoV- 
generation. For the ancients thought that these souls are 
incumbent on water which is inspired by divinity, as Nu- 
menius. says, who adds, that on this account, a prophe|f^ 
asserts, that the Spirit of God moved on the waters. The '" 

' In the orijgina], μ^& μι^α^μρ; tmt for Μ(«ι«ν, { read, ay^m, 



Egyptians likewise, oa thia aecount, represent all dsBmons, 
and also the sun, and, in shorty all the planets ^, not standing; 
on any thing solid, but on a sailing .vessel ; for souls 
desc^iding into generation fly to moistwre. Hence,, alfio» 
Heraiclitus says, " that moisture appears delightfol ai^ 
not deadly to souls;'.' but the lapse into generation is 
delightful to them. And in another place [speaking of 
nnemhodied souls], he says, '' We live their death, wskd, 
we die their life." Hence the poet calls those that are 
in generation humid, because they have souls which are 
profoundly steeped in moisture. On this account, such 
souls delight in blood and humid seed ; but water is the 
nutriment of the souls of plants. Some likewise are! of 
opinion, that the bodies in the air, and in the heavens^ 
are nourished by vapours from fountains and, rivers, and 
other exhalations. But the Stoics assert, that the aun is* 
nourished by the exhalation from the sea; the moon frov^- 
the vapours of fountams and rivers ; and the stars from 
the exhalation of the earth. Hence, according to tbem^ 
die sun is an intellectual composition formed from the- 
sea ; die moon from river waters ; and the stars firoitt 
tervene exhalations. 

5. It is necessary, therefore, that souls, whether 
they are corporeal or incorporeal, while they attract to 
themselves body, and especially such as are about to be; 
bound to blood and moist bodies, should verge to hu- 
midity, and be corporalized, in^ consequence of beio^ 
drenched in moisture. Helice the souls of the dead an» 
evocated by the effusion of bile and blood ; and souls 

β• In the original, roue ts Αιγυντηους ha rovro τους δαίμονας α^Λττας ου^ 
terravai im «ύι gfot;, άλλα νταντΛς tm νΚοιου, *at τον ηλιον^ και ανλο»ς ναντας^ wf 
ητας iiUfmi χξη τβς -^Λίχας ίψηνοτοί/Ληας τω vyξ«i, τας $ις ytvtatv παπουσ-ας. Dot 
after the words λλι αντλοις vtatras, it appears to me to be requisite to insei$ 
*rwg w>>nnra§. For Martianus Capella, in lib. ii. De Nuptiis Philold^e, 
speaking of the sun, says : '* Ibi quandam navim, totius naturae cur^bua 
diversa cupiditate moderantem, cuuctaque ilammarum congestione pie• 
nissimam, beatis circumact^ mercibus conspicatur. Cui nauta septem 
germani, tamen suique consimiles praesidebant/' &c. For in this 
the seven sailors are evideotly, the seven planets. 


that are lovers of hody, by atti^acting & moist spirit, cofi>- 
d«ne tbis IniMiid Tehide like a clotid. For moisture coft- 
densed in the mr constitatee a cloud. But the pneumatic 
vehicle being' condensed- in these souls', becomes visibie 
through an^ exc ess of m oisture. And among the number 
of these w^ ifiust recKSTTlfchose apparitions of images^ 
which, from» a spirit coloured by the iBfiiSiceofiuiAgiiia- 
tion, present themselves to mankind. But pure souls aiPkc 
averse from g^eration ;• so• that,, as Heraclitus says, ** a/- 
dry soul is thewiseit," Hence, here also, the spirit becomes 
moist smd more aqueous througb the desire of coition, 
the soul thus attracting a humid vapour from verging to 
generation. Souls, therefore, proceeding into generation^ 
affe llie Nymphs called Naiades. Hence it is usual to call [ 
those that are married Nymphs, as being conjoined to 
generation, and to pour water mto baths from fountains,• 
Of rivers, or perpetual rills• 

6. This worid, then, is sacred and pleasant to souls^ 
who have- now proceeded into nature, and to natil 
diBGFmons, though it is ess'entially dark wadodscure; [ifefotii»;]^ 
from which some have suspected that souls also are of ait 
obeeture nature•, [αε^ω^ΰίς,'] and essentially consist of air. 
Hence a cavern^ which is both pleasant and dark, will be 
appropriately consecrated to souls on the earth, con^ 
formably to its similitude to the world ; in which, as^ itl 
Ae greatest of all temples, souls reside. To the Nym^w 
likewise, who preside over waters, a cavern, in which 
tliere are perpetually flowing streams, is adapted. Let, 
therefore, this present cavern be consecrated to soulsi ' 
and, among the more partial powers, to nymphs, that 
preside over streams and fountains, and who^ on this 
account, are called /οη/α/ and Naiades. What, therefore, 
are the different symbols, some of which are adapted to 
soulsy but others to the aquatic powers, in order that W& 
may apprehend that this cavern is consgcrated in common 
to both? Let the stony bowls, then,, and the amphorseX 
be symbols of the aquatic Nymphs. For these are, \ 
indeed, the symbols of Bacchus, but their composition is 


fictile, t. e, consists of baked earth; and these are 
^ friendly to the vine, the gift of the Ood ; since the fruit 
of the vine is brought to a proper maturity by the celestial 
* fire of the sun. But the stony bowls and amphorsB, are 
.v in the most eminent degree adapted to the Nymphs who 
jptreside over the water that flows firom rocks. And ta 
souls that descend into generation, and are occupied in 
corporeal energies, what symbol can be more appropriate 
l/^than those instruments pertaining to weaving? Hence^ 
also, the . poet ventures to say, ^' that on these the 
ufymphs weave purple webs, admirable to the view." Fof 
the formation of the flesh is on and about the bones» 
which in the bodies of animals resemble stones. Hence 
tiiese instruments of weaving consist of stone, and not of 
a^ny other matter. But the purple webs will evidently be 
the flesh which is woven from the blood. For purple 
woollen garments are tinged firom blood; and wool is 
dved from animal juice. The generation of flesh, also, is 
tbrough and from blood. Add, too, that the body is 
^ garment with which the soul is invested, a thing 
wonderful to the sight, whether this refers to the compo- 
oition of the soul, or contributes to the colligation of the 
soul [to. the whole of a visible essence]. Thus, also, 
Proserpine, who is the inspective guardian of every thing 
produced from seed, is represented by Orpheus as weav- 
ing a web^; and the heavens are oalled by the ancients. 

, ^ The theological meaning oF this Orphic fiction is beautifully un- 
folded by PfocIus, as follows : — '' Orpheus says that the vivific cause 
of partible natures [i. e. Proserpine], while she remained on high, weav- 
ing the order of celestials, was a nymph, as being undefiled ; andjn con- 
sequence of this connected with Jupiter, and abiding in her iippropriate 
manners ; but that, proceeding iron her proper habitation, she left her 
webs unfinished, was riEivished; having been ravished, was mariied; and 
thfit being married she generated, in order that she might animate things 
which have an adventitious life. For the unfinished state of her webs 
indicates, I think, that the universe is imperfect or unfinished, as far as 
to perpetual animals [t. e. The universe would be imperfect if uothing 
»(briof to the celestial God» was produced]. Hence Plato says, that 
the one Demiurgus calls on the raany'Demiurgi to weave together the 


a yeilf in consequence of being, as it were, the vestment 
of the celestial Grods. 

7. Why, therefore, are the amphoree said not to be 
filled with water, but with honey-combs? For ih these' 
Homer says the bees deposit their honey• But this is 
evident from the word η^αι€ωσ•σειν, which signifies τΑεναι 
την βοσιν; i.e. to deposit aliment. And honey is the 
nutriment of bees. Theologists, also, have made honey 
subservient to many and different symbols, because it 
consists of many powers ; since it is both cathartic and 
preservative. Hence, through honey, bodies are pre-, 
served from putrefaction, and inveterate ulcers are puri- 
fied. Farther still, it is also sweet to the taste, and is 
collected by bees, who are ox-begotten, from flowers. 
When, therefore» those who are initiated in the Leontic 
sacred rites, pour honey instead of water on their hands ; 
they are ordered [by the initiator] to have their hands 
pure from every thing productive of molestation, and 
from every thing noxious and detestable. Other initiators 
[into the same mysteries] employ fire, which is of a 
cathartic nature, as an appropriate purification. And 
they likewise purify the tongue from dl the defilement of 
evil with honey. But the Persians, when they offer 
honey to the guardian of firuits, consider it as the symbol 
of a preserving and defending power. Hence some per- 

mortal and immortal natures; after a manner reminding us, that the 
addition of the mortal genera is the perfection of the textorial life of the 
universe, and also exciting our recollection of the divine Orphic fable, 
and affordin us interpretative causes of the unfinished webs of Proser- 
pine.'' — See vol. ii. p. 356, of mj translation of Proclue on the Timsus. 
The unfinithed webs of Proserpine are also alluded to by Claudiaa, 
in his poem De Baptu Proserpinz, in the following verse : 

Sensit adesse Deas, imperfeciumque laborem 


I onl^ add, that, by ancient theologists, the shuttle was considered as 
a signature of teparaiingf a cup o£vivific^ a sceptre of ruling, and a key 
of guariitafi power. 


sons haire thought that the nectar aiMtaoabr^eia^, which 
the poet pours into the nostrils of Uke dead, for the 
j^qiose Of preventing putrefaction, ie iioney ; since honey 
is the food of the Grods• On tU» acceunt, also, the aame 
poet somewhere caMs neotar tft^ov ; for such is the colour 
of honey, [viz. it is a deep yellow]. But whether or not 
honey is to be taken for nectar, we shall elsewhere more 
accuiately examine. In Orpheus, l^Lewise, Batum is 
ensnared by Jupiter through honey. For Satun}> being 
filled with honey, is intoxicated, hia senses are darkened» 
as if from the effects of wine, and *he sleeps ; just a» 
Voxm, in the JBanquet of Plato, is filled with nectar; f<^ 
wine was not (says he) yetkujown. The Goddess Nighty 

' The theological meaning of nectar and ambrosia, is beautiful^ 
imiblded by Hermias, in his Scholia on the Phaedrus of Plato, publishecl 
by Aft, Lips. 1810, p. 145, wfaete he informs us, '* that trmhrosia is 
amlogpDus to dry nutrimeat, iiod that, on tins aoeount, it sigmfies «a 
)B»(sblisbiDeBt in causes; but that mctar is analogoos to moiatfood,~«nd 
that it signifies the providential attention of the Gods to secondary 
natures; the former being denominated, according to aj^rvoatwn f^tk€ 
mortal and corruptible\inArA στψξητη του B^prw wu ^αξτοΰ\ ; but the latter, 
according to a privation of the funeral and sepulchral [xata a-nfurt» 
«ev ΜίΜξκςί M^n/toMv juu Tou Td^]. And when ^e Gods are represented as 
tntt^iiing providentially, the^ are said to drbk uectac Thus Homec^ 
in the beginning of the 4th boo|L of tlie Iliad: 

Oi ^ Bioi 9Λξ Z«y( iHi^«^c(itro».ii}«go«yk 
ΧζυοΊοο VI )α^ι)α», fjAtoi. )t v^ivk Vonfut hCh 

Δΐ»^ατ' αλληλον;, Ύζγοη viiKa iMOgeawTic• 

Now with each other, 00 the golden flaor 
Seated near. Jove, theCkids con?erse; to whom 
The venerable Heba nectar bears,. 
In golden goblets ; and aa these flow roand, 
Th' immortals turn their careful eye& on Troy. 

Por then they providentially attend to the Trojans. The possession, 
therefore, of immutable providence by the Gods is signified by their 
drinking nectar; the eaiection of Φλά providence, by th^ beholding 
Troy ; and their communicating with each other in providential eneigtasi^ 
by receiving the goblets from each other. 

ON THE CAV£ OF THfi NtMPlls: Ιβ3 

too, in Orpbeue, advises Jupiter to make Bse of honey as 
an artifice. For she says to him — 

When Btretch'd beneath the lofty oaks you view 
Saturn, with honey by the bees produc*d, 
Sunk in ebriety \ fast bind the God. 

This, therefore, takes place, and Saturn being bound, 
is castrated in the same manner as Heaven ; the theolo- 
gist obscurely signifying by this, that divine natures 
become through pleasure bound, and drawn down into 
the realms of generation ; and also that, when dissolved 
in pleasure, they emit certain seminal powers. Hence 
Saturn castrates Heaven, when descending to earth, 
through a desire of coition ^ But the sweetness of 
honey signifies, with theologists, the same thing as the 
pleasure arising from copulation, by which Saturn, being 
ensnared, was castrated. For Saturn, and his sphere, 
are the first of the orbs that move contrary to the course 
of Coelum, or the heavens. Certain powers, however, 
descend both from Heaven [or the inerratic sphere] and 
the planets. But Saturn receives the powers of Heaven, 

^ £briety, when ascribed to divine natures by ancient theologists, 
signifies a deific superessential energy, or an energy superior to intellect, 
tience, when Saturn is said by Orpheus to have been intoxicated with 
faoiiey or nectar, the meaning is, that he then energized providentially, in 
a deific and super^intellectual manner. 

' Porphyry, though he excelled in philosophical, was deficient in theo- 
logical knowledge ; of which what he now says of the castrations of Saturn 
and Heaven, is a rema^^kable instance. For ancient theologists, by things 
preternatural, adumbrated the transcendent nature of the Gods ; by 
such as are irrational, a power more divine than all reason ; and by 
things apparently base, incorporeal beauty. Hence, in the fabiilonis 
narrations to which Porphyry now alludes, the genital parts must be 
considered as symbols of prolific power; and the castration of these 
parts as signifying the progression of this power into a subject order* 
So that the fiib|e means that the prolific powers of Saturn are called 
forth into progression by Jupiter, and those of Heaven by Saturn; 
Jupiter bemg inferior to Saturn, and Saturn to Heaven. — See the 
Apology for the Fables of Homer, in vol. i. of my translation of Plato. 


and Jupiter the powers of Sditum. Since, therefore, hoaey 

is assumed in purgations^ and as an antidote to putre- 

V- faction, and is indicative of the pleasure which draws, 

V «Olds down\(rard to generation ; it is a symbol well 
adapted to aquatic Nymphs, on account of the unpi:i- 
trescent naturie of the waters over which they preside, 
their purifying power, and their co-operation with geneFa- 
tion For water co-operates in the work of generation• 
On this account the bee& are said, by the poet, to deposit 
their honey in bowls and amphorae; the bowls being 

^ a symbol of fountains, and therefore a bowl is placed 
near to Mithra, instead of a fountain ; but the amphor» 
are symbols of the vessels with which we draw water 
from fountains. And fountains and streams are adapted 
to aquatic Nymphs, and still more so to the Nymphs that 
are souls/ which the ancients peculiarly called bees, as 
the efficient causes of sweetness. Hence Sophocles does 
not speak unappropriately when he says of souls ^ 

In swarms while wandering, from the dead, 
A hamming sound is heard. 

8. The priestesses of Ceres, also, as being initiated 
into the mysteries of the terrene Goddess, were called by 
the ancients bees; and Proserpine herself was denomi- 
nated by them honied. The moon, likewise, who presides 
over generation, was called by them a bee, and also 
a bull. And Taurus is th6 exaltation of the moon. But 
bees are ox-begotten. And this appellation is also given 
to souls proceeding into generation. The God, likewise, 
who is occultly connected with generation,^ is a stealer of 
oxen. To which may be added, that honey is considered 
as a symbol of death, and on this account^ it is usual to 
offer libations of honey to the terrestrial Gods ; but gall 
is considered as a symbol of life ; whether it is obscurely 
signified by this, that the life of the soul dies through 
pleasure, but through bitterness the soul resumes its life» 
whence, also, bile is sacrificed to the Gods ; or whether it 
is, because death liberates from molestation^ but the pre-- 


isent life is iaboriobs aiid bitter. All souls^ however^ 
proceeding into generation, are tiot simply caUed bees;^ 
but those who will live in it justly, and who, after having 
performed such things as are acceptable to the Gods, will 
again return [to their kindred stars]. For this insect 
loves to return to the place from whence it first came^ 
and is eminently just and sober. Whence, also, the liba^ 
tions which are made with honey are calle4 sober. Beek, 
likewise, do hot sit on beans, which were considered by 
the ancients as a symbol of generation proceeding in a 
right line, and vnthout flexure ; because this leguminous 
vegetable is almost the only seed-bearing plant, whose 
stalk is perforated throughout without any intenrening 
knots "". We must therefore admit, that honey-combs 
and beef are appropriate and common symbols of the 
aquatic Nymphs, and of souls that are married [as it 
were] to [the humid and fluctuating nature of] gene- 

9. Caves, therefore, in the most remote periods of 
antiquity, were consecrated to the Gods, before temples 
were erected to them. Hence, the Curetes in Crete 
dedicated a caverp to Jupiter ; in Arcadia, a cave was * 
sacred to the Moon, and to Lycean Pan ; and in Naxus^ 
to Bacchus. But wherever Mithra was known, they pro- 
pitiated the God in a cavern. With respect, however, to 
this Ithacensian cave. Homer was not satisfied with 
saying that it had two gates, but adds^ that one of the 
gates was turned towards the north, biit the other, which 
was more divine, to the south. He also says, that the 
northern gate was pervious to descent, but does not indi- 
cate whether this was also the case with the southern 
gate. For of this, he only says, " It is inaccessible to 
men, but it is the path of the immortals." 

10. It remains, therefore, to investigate what is indi- 

■B Hence, whien Pythagoras exhorted his disciples to abstain from 
beans, he intended to signify, that they should beware of a continued and 
perpetual descent into the realms of generation. 


CBlbed by iius narration/ nrhether the poet deseiibee « 
etPHsm which was in realtty cteeeorated -by others, or 
whether it is an enigma of his own invention• Sinoei, 
however^ a cavern is an image and symbol of the worlds 
as Numenius and his familkr Cronius assert» there are 
two extremities in the heavens, viz. the winter tropic, tlnun 
which nothing is more southern, and the summer traqpAG, 
than which nothing is more northern. But the summer 
tropic is in Cancer, and the winter tropic in Capricora. 
And since Cancer is nearest to us, it is very properly attri«^ 
buted to the Moon, which is the nearest of all the heavenly 
bodies to the earth. But as the southern pole, by its 
great distance, is invisible to us, hence Capricorn is attri- 
buted to Saturn, the highest and most remote of all 
the planets; Again, the signs from Cancer to Capricbisi, 
are situated in the following order : and the first of these 
is Leo, which is the house of the Sun ; afterwards Virgo^ 
which is the house of Mercury; Libra, the house of 
Venus; Scorpius, of Mars; Sagittarius, of Jupiter; and 
Capricomus, of Saturn. But from Capricorn in an inveiBe 
carder, Aquarius is attributed to Saturn ; Pisces, to Jnpi^ 
ter ; Aries, to Mars ; Taurus, to Venus ; (Gemini, to Mer^ 
cury ; and, in the last place. Cancer to the Moon» 

11. Theologists therefore assert, that these two gate» 
are Cancer and Capricorn ; but Plato calls them exw 
trances. And of these, -^theologists say, that Cancer is 
the gate throiugh which souls descend; but Caprioom. 
ihat through which they ascend. Cancer is indeed 
nerthem, and adapted to descent ; but Capricorn is soutb- 
em, and adapted to ascent''. The northern parts, Uke- 

* Macrobius, in the 12th chapter of his Commentaiy ση Scipkfi 
Dream, has derived some of the ancient arcana which it contains from 
what is here said by Porphyry. Λ part of what he has farther added, I 
shall translate, on account of its excellence and connexion with the 
above passage. '' Pythagoras thought that the empire of Pluto began 
downwards from the milky way, because souls &lfiiig from theDce 
appear to have already receded from the Gods. Hence he asserts, that . 
the nutriment of milk is first offnred to infants, because their first niotkm 


YNBe, pevtain tto jnooile descending iato geaemtiein• And 
the gttlee of the cavern wUcli are tumotdrto tbe noiih, are 

commences From the galaxy, vrhen they begin to fall into terrene bodies. 
On this accoanty since those who are about to descend are yet in 
Cancer, and have not left the milky way^ they rank in the order of the 
Gods. But when, by felling, they arrive at the Lion^ in this constella- 
tion they enter on the exordium of their future condition. And because^ 
in the Lion, the rudiments of birth^ and certain primary exercises 
of human nature^ commence ; but Aquarius is opposite to the Lion, and 
presently sets after the Lion rises; hence, when the sun is in Aquarius, 
funeral rites are performed to departed souls, because he is then carried 
in a sign which is contrary or adverse to human life. From the confine, 
therefore, in which the zodiac and galaxy touch each other, the soul, 
descending from a round figure, which is the only divine form, is pro- 
duced into a cone by its defluxion. And as a line is generated from a 
point, and proceeds into length firom an indivisible, so the soul, from its 
own point, which is a monad, passes into the duad, which is the first 
extension. And this is the essence which Plato, in the Timaeus, calls 
impartible, and at the same time partible, when he speaks of the nature of 
the mundane soul. Tor as the soul of the \vorld, so likewise that of man,• 
will be found to be in one respect without division, if the simplicity 
of a divine native is considered ; and in another respect partible, if we 
regard the diffusion of the former through the world, and of the latter 
through the members of the body. 

" As soon, therefore, as the soul gravitates towards body in this first 
production of herself, she begins to experience a material tumult, that is, 
matter flowing into her essence. And this is what Plato remarks in the 
Phsdo, that the soul is drawn into body staggering with recent intoxica- 
tion ; signifying by this, the new drink of matter's impetuous flood, through 
which the soul, becoming defiled and heavy, is drawn into a terrene 
situation. But the starry cup placed between Cancer and the Lion, is a 
symbol of thb mjstic truth, signifying that descending souls first expe- 
rience intoxication in that part of the heavens through the influx of 
matter. Hence oblivion, the companion of .intoxication, there begins 
silently to cre^p into the recesses of the soul. For if souls retained in 
their descent to bodies the memory of divine concerns, of which they 
•weie eonsGiQue in the heavens, there would be no dissension among menr 
«kottt divinity. But all, .indeed, in deicending, drink of oblivion^ 
though some more, and others less. On .this account, though truth 
ie not apparent to all men on the earth, yet all exercise their cfunions 
about it ; because a drftct of memory is the origin of ορίηίφη. But 
these discover most whn have drank least of oblivion, beoaose they 
easily remember what they bad known before in the heavens. 


rightly said to be pervious to the descent of men .; but 
the southern gates are not the avenues of the Gods, bat 

*' The souly therefore, falling with this first weight from the zodiac and 
milky way into each of the subject spheres, is not only clothed with the 
accession of a luminous body, but produces the particular motion» which 
it is to exercise in the respective orbs. Thus in Saturn, it eneigizes 
according to a ratiocinative and intellective power; in the spher» 
of Jove, according to a practic power ; in the orb of the Sun, accordiii^ 
to a sensitive and imaginative nature; but according to the motioa 
of desire in the planet Venus ; of pronouncing and interpreting what it 
perceives in the orb of Mercury; and according to a plantal or vegetable 
nature, and a power of acting on body, when it enters into the lunar 
globe. And this sphere, as it is the last among the divine orders, so it 
is the first in our terrene situation. For this body, as it is the dregs 
of divine natures, so it is the first animal substance. And this is the 
difference between terrene and supernal bodies (under the' latter of 
which I comprehend the heavens, the stars, and the more elevated 
elements,) that the latter are called upwards to be the seat of the sool, 
and merit immortality from the very nature of the region, and an imita- 
tion of sublimity ; but the soul is drawn down to these terrene bodies^ 
and is on this account said to die when it is enclosed in this fallen regioo, 
and the seat of mortality. Nor ought it to cause any disturbance that 
we have so often mentioned the death of the soul, which we have pro- 
nounced to be immortal. For the soul is not extinguished by its orwn 
proper death, but is only overwhelmed for a time. Nor does it lose the 
benefit of perpetuity by its temporal demersion. Since, when it deserves 
to be purified from the contagion of vice, through its entire refinement 
from body, it will be restored to the light of perennial life, ahd will 
return to its pristine integrity and perfection.'' 

'^ The powers, however, of the planets, which are the causes of 
the energies of the soul in the several planetary spheres, are more 
accurately described by Proclus, in p. 260 of his admirable Com- 
mentary on the Timaeus, as follows ; κ 'i Covx» xat τι rm ayeBmf 
flrXavurwy ZiXdvh μη αιτίΛ τοις dmrotf της φ90Ί«;, to atnvwlw αγοΛ,μΛ 4w« 
TUf ιηγΛίας ^υσ%οβς• Ηλιοζ h ^ίμιον^γος ran Λίτ'^ηϋΊΜ vtto'uv, hori km tm; 
οςαν »α( τον οξοσ^αι αίτιος* Ες/αιχ h τ«ν της ^rraa-utg xtmsun• αντης ymf'tmc 
^ΨταΑνυηζ oue-tof, ως μιας ουϋτης Μσ-^η^Μς juu ^rrae'(«c^HXM( me^crrtvni^ A ipf o fcin 
)i Tm ii(i%^ivraun opt£g«v* A^; 9• tml• du/bioctW iwmatm *rw luvra ^ura um^mc* 
Mm It nrm μη ζοηαιαη fcarm ^ηΛμΛοη Ztu;, fcn Η γνη^αιαη Κξονος, ^ηξ^ναν ymf 
vmrtt ratihi τλ aKtya »; Totrroc, i, e, '^ If you are willing, also, yoamaj 
say, that of the beneficent planets, the Moon is the cause to mortals of 
nature, being herself the visible statue of fontal nature. But the Sun 
is the: Demiurgus of every thing sensible, in consequence of being the 
cause of sight and visibility. Mercury is the cause of the -motions of : the 


of souls ascending to the Gods. On this account, thQ 
poet does not say thait they are the avenueB of the Gods, 
but of immortals; this appellation being also common tQ 
our souls, which are per se, or essentially^ immortal. It i^, 
said, that Parmeiiides -mentions these two gates in his 
treatise On the Nature of Things ; as likewise, that they 
are not unknown to the Romans and Egyptians. For 
the Romans celebrate their Saturnalia when the Sun is in 
Capricorn ; and during this festivity, slaves wear the 
shoes of those that are free, and all things are distributed 
among them in common ; the legislator obscurely signify- 
ing by this ceremony, that through this gate of the 
heavens, those who are now born slaves will be liberated 
through the Satumian festival, and the house attributed 
to Saturn, i. e. Capricorn, when they live again, and 
return to the fountain of life. Since, however, the path 
from Capricorn is adapted to ascent ^ hence the Romans 
denominate that month in which the Son, turning from 
Capricorn to the east, directs his course to the north^ 
Januarius, or January, from janua, a gate. But with the 
Egyptians,^the beginning of the year is not Aquarius, as 
with the Romans, but Cancer. For the star Sothis, 
which the Greeks call the Dog, is nesur to Cancer. And 
the rising of Sothis is the new moon with them, this 
being the principle of generation to the world. On this 
account, the gates of the Homeric cavern are not dedi- 
cated to the east and west, nor to the equinoctial signs, 
Aries and Libra, but to the north and south, and to 
those celestial signs which, towards the south, are most 
southerly, and, towards the north,' are most northerly; 

phantasy ; for of the imaginative essence itself, so fieur as sense and phan- 
tasy are one, the Sun is the producing cause. But Venus is the cause of 
epithymetic appetites [or of the appetites pertaining to desire]; and 
Mars, of the irascible motions which are conformable to nature. Of all 
vital powers, however, Jupiter is the common cause ; but of all gnostic 
powers, Saturn. For all the irrational forms «re divided into these.'' 

* For «oTttCA'TiiM^ in this place, it appears to me to be iobviously 
necessary to read »vaSartw. For Porphyry has above informed us, that 
Capricorn is the gate through which souls ascend. 


beeanee thw cave was saoyed ta soul• and aqnade 
Kymphi. But diese place» are adapted to ediib deaoefid- 
ing inUygenemtiaD, and afterwards Qepafating themaelvni 
froin it» Hence, a place near to the equinoctial ctrder 
was assigned to Mithva as ani appropriate seat• And on 
this account he beaite the sword of Aries, wUeb ia 
a martial sign. He ia likewise carried in the Bull^ wbiehr 
is the sign of Venus. For Mithra, as well as the Bufl^ ia 
the demiurgus and lord of generation!^• But he is ptaced' 
near the equinoctial circle, having the novthera part» att 
his' right band, and thesouthera on his left•. They Uke^ 
wise arranged towards the south the souuiem henii^ 
sphere, because it is* hot ; but the northern hemispheiv: 
towards the north, through the coldness of tfaei nortb 

V L2. The ancients, likewise, very reasonably connected 
windii with souls proceeding into generation^ and agpun 
aeparatni]^ themselves from: it, beoauBB, as some diinky 
sml^ attract a spirit, and have a pneumatic^essencE; Botf 
<!he> north wind is adapted* to souls > £dling into gaiera-^ 
tion ; and» on this account, the northevn blasta refi«»Ii 
tiiose who are dying, and when they can scarcely dra'wr 
ti^eir breatii. On the contrary^ the soadiern galies dib- 
solVe life. For the north wind, indeed^ from its superior 
coldness, congeals [as it were, the animal life],, and 
detains it in the frigidity of terrene generation. But thm 
south wind being hot, dissolves this life, and sends i^ 
upward to the heat of a divine nature. Since, however, 
enr terrene habitation is more northern, it is proper th«f 
souls which are born in it should be familiar with t^ 
north wind ; but those that exchange this life for a better, 
with the south wind. This also is the cause why the 
north wind'-is at its commencement gveat ; but the south 


^ Hence Phanes, or Protogonus, nvho is the paradigm of the aniverse, 
and who was absorbed by Jnpiter, the Demiui^us, is represented' by 
Orpheus as having- the head of a 6u// among other heads with which 
he is adorned. And in the. Orphic hjmn to him, he ia eaUed BuH^ 
roarer, . - * 


wind, at it& terminatkiiii. Fov tke former is situated 
directly orer the inhabitants of the northern part of the 
globe ; but the latter iat at a great distance from them ; 
aad the blast from; places very remote, is more tardy than- 
from such a& are near. But when it is coacervated> then 
it blows abundantly, and with vigour. Since, however, 
souls proceed into• generation through the northern gate, 
hence this wind> is said to be amatory. For, as the poet 

Boreas, enainour'd of the sprightly train, 
€oiiceal*d his godhead in a flowing mane. 
With voice dissembled, to his loves he neigh'd. 
And coursed the dappled beauties o*er the mead: 
Hence sprung twelve others, of uorivall'dldody 
Swift as their mother mares, and father windi. 

It is also said, that Boreas ravished Orithya', from 

4 Iliad, lib. xx. y. 293, &c. 

' Hiis fable is mentioned by Plato in the Phaedrus, and is beautifully 
oofblded as follows, by Hermias, in his Scholia on that Dialogue : *^ A 
twofold solution mi^ be given of this fable ; one from history, more 
ethical; but the odier, transfisrring us [from parts] to wholes. And 
the former of these is a» follows : Orithya was the daughter of Erectheus, 
and the priestess of Boreas ; for each of the winds has a presiding deity, 
which the telestic art, or the- art pertaining to sacred mysteries, teli- 
^ously cultivates. To this Orithya, then, the God was so very propi- 
tious, that he sent the north wind for the safety of the country ; and' be- 
sides this, he is said to have assisted the Albenians in their naval battles. 
Orithya, therefore, becoming enthusiastic, being possessed by her proper 
God Boreas, and no longer energizing as a human being (for animals 
cease to energize according to their own peculiarities, when possessed 
by superior causes), died under the inspiring influence, and thus was said 
to have been ravished by Boreas. And this is the more ethical explana- 
tion of the fable. 

'^ But the second, whioh transfers the narration to wholes, and does 
not entirely subvert the former, is the following : for divine fables often 
employ transactions and histories, in subserviency to the discipline of 
wholes. It is said then, that Erectheus is the God that rules over the 
three dements, air, water, and earth. Sometimes, however, he is consi- 
dered as alone the ruler of the earth, and sometimes as the presiding 
deity of Attica alone. Of this deity Orithya is the daughter; and she 
is the prolific power of the Earth, whtdi is indeed coextended with the 


wkom he begot Zetis and Calais. But as the south 
is attributed to the Gods, hence, when the Sun is at 
hi|( meridian, the curtains in temples are drawn before 
the statues of the Gods; in consequence of observing the 
Hoiperic precept, '* that it is not lawful for men to enter 
temples when the Sun is inclined to the south ;" for this 
is the path of the immortals. Hence, when the God is at 
his meridian altitude, the ancients placed a symbol of 
mid-day and of the south in the gates of temples*; and, 
on this account, in other gates also, it was not lawful 
to speak at all times, because gates were considered 
as sacred. Hence, too, the Pythagoreans, and the 
wise men among the Egyptians, forbade speaking while 
passing through doors or gates ; for then they venerated 
in silence that God who is the principle of wholes [and, 
therefore of all things]. 

13. Homer likewise knew that gates are sacred, as is 

word Erectheus, as the unfolding; of the name signines. For it is the 
prolific power of the Earth, flourishing and restored, according, to the 
seasons. But Boreas is the providence of the Gods, supemally illumir 
nating secondary natures. For the providence of the Gods in the world 
is signified by Boreas, because this divinity blows from lofty places. 
And the elevating power of the Gods is signified by the south wind, be- 
cause this wind blows from low to lofty places ; and besides this, thingg 
situated towards the south are more divine. The providence of the Gods, 
therefore, causes the prolific power of the Earth, or of the Attic land, to 
ascend, and become visible. 

" Orithva also may be said to be a soul aspiring after things above» 
from o^ovM and Θ»», according to the Attic custom of adding a letter 
at the end of a word, which letter is here an ''«.*' Such a soul, there- 
fore, is ravished by Boreas supemally blowing. But if Orithya . was 
hurled firom a precipice, this also is appropriate, for such a soul dies 
a philosophic, not receiving a physical death, and abandons, a life per- 
taining to her own deliberate choice, at the same time that she lives a 
physical life. And philosophy, according to Socrates in the Phaedo, 
is nothing else than a meditation of death." 

' In the original, ιστΛο-αν wt και σνμ,ζολνν ης μΛσημ^ξίΛς JUtt tw rorov, iir• 
Tn θυρ»ι, ^*ιβτ»^€ρ»Λ{οντβς τβν θιβν, which Holstenius ti^slates most errone- 
ously as follows: ** Austrum igitur meridiei symbolum statuunt;.ciim 
deus meridiano tempore ostio immineat." 


evident from his representing Oeneus, when supplicating^ 
shaking the gate : 

The gates he shakes^ and supplicates the son °. 

He also knew the gates of the heavens which are com- 
mitted to the guardianship of the Hours; which gates 
originate in cloudy places, and are opened and shut by 
the clouds. For he says. 

Whether dense clouds they close, or wide unfold'• 

And on this account, these gates emit a bellowing 
sound, because thunders roar through the clouds : 

Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers ; 
Heaven's bellowing portals, guarded by the Hours 7. 

He likewise elsewhere speaks of the gates of the Sun, 
signifying by these Cancer and Capricorn ; for the Sun 
proceeds as far as to these signs, when he descends from 
the north to the south, and from thence ascends again to 
the northern parts. But Capricorn and Cancer are situ- 
ated about the galaxy, being allotted the extremities 
of this circle ; Cancer, indeed, the northern, but Capri- 
corn the southern extremity of it. According to Pytha- 
goras, also, the people of dreams^, are the souls which are 
said to be collected in the galaxy, this circle being 
so called from the milk with which souls are nourished 
when they fall into generation. Hence, those who evocate 
departed souls, sacrifice to them by a libation of milk 
mingled with honey; because, through the allurements 
of sweetness, they will proceed into generation; with the 
birth of man, milk being naturally produced. Farther 
still, the southern regions produce small bodies ; for it is 
usual with heat to attenuate them in the greatest degree. 
But all bodies generated in the north are large, as is 

* niad, lib. xi. v. 579. ' Iliad, lib. viii. v. 395. 
y Hiad, lib. viii. v. 393. 

* The souls of the suitors are said by Homer,. in the 24|th ^ook of the 
Odyssey (v. 11), to have passed, in their descent to the region of spirits» 
beyond the peopU of dreams, 




evident in the Celtse^ the Thracians, and the ScythiliLnB ; 

and these regions are humid^ and abound with pastaree• 

For the word Boreas is derived from Βοξα, which signifies 

nutriment. Hence, also, the wind which blows from 

a land abounding in nutriment, is called Βοξξας, as being 

of a nutritive nature. From these causes* therefore, the 

northern parts are adapted to the mortal tribe, and to 

souls that fall into the realms of generation. But tUe 

southern parts are adapted to that which is immortal % 

just as the eastern parts of the world are attributed to the 

Gods, but the western to deemons. For, in consequenoe 

of nature originating from diversity, the ancients every 

where made that which has a twofold entrance to be 

a symbol of the nature of things. For the progression is 

either through that which is intelligible, or through that 

which is sensible. And if through that which is sensible^ 

it is either through the sphere of the fixed stars, or 

through the sphere of the planets. And again, it is either 

through an immortal, or through a mortal progression. 

One centre, likewise, is above, but the other beneath the 

earth ; and the one is eastern, but the other western. 

Thus, too, some parts of the world are situated on the 

left, but others on the right hand : and night is opposed 

to day. On this account, also, harmony consists of, and 

proceeds^ through contraries. Plato also says, that there 

are two openings % one of which afibrds a passage to 

souls ascending to the heavens, but the other to souls 

descending to the earth. And, according to theologisfs^ 

the Sun and Moon are the gates of souls, which ascend 

through the Sun, and descend through the Moon. With 

Homer, likewise, there are two tubs, 

From which the lot of every one he fills, 
Blessings to these, to those distributes ills ^• 

» Hence, the soathern have always been inore favourable' to genius^ 
than the northern parts of the earth. 

^ In the origirtal, τοζίυκ ; but instead of it,• I reiid ibffu»• 
< See toy translation of the lOth book of bl^lU^ublic. 
^ Iliad, xxiv. v. 528. 

ON TllfC CAVfi OF f^Je, NYMpHS. |i95 

But PlatO; m the Qorgias^ by tubs intends to signify 
^uls, some of wbich are malei^c, bμt others beneficent, 
i^nd iio^m of which are rational, but others irrational®. 

^ The passage Id the Gorgias of Plato, to which Porphyry here alludes, 
is AS allows : — ^^ Soc BqI, indeed, as you also say, life is a grievoof 
tjiing. For I should not wonder if Euripides ^poke the truth when he 
99ys : ^ Who knows whether to live is not to die, and to die is not to 
live ? ' And we, perhaps, are in reality dead. For I have heard from 
one of the wise, that we are now dead ; and that Jthe body b our 
sepulchre ; but that the part of the soul in which the ^desires are con- 
tained, is of such a nature that it can be persuaded, and hurled upwardf 
and downwa^• Hence a certain elegant man, perhaps a Sicilian. 
9Γ an ludian, denomiqated, mythologizing, this part of the soul a tub, by 
a derivation from the probable and the persuasive; and, likewise, he 
called those that are stupid, or deprived of intellect, uninitiated. He 
farther said, that the intemperate and uncovered nature of that part of 
the .eoul in which the desires are contained, was lil^e a pierced tub» 
tbr<>|igb its insfMifible {greediness/' 

Wbfut is here said ,by Plato is beautifully unfplded by .Olympiodorui^ 
in his Μβ. Commentary on the Goi^ias, as follows : — ^' Euripides Qn 
Phryzo) says, that to live is to die, and to die to live. For the sou^ 
coming hither, as she imparts life to the body, so she partakes [through 
this] of a certain privation of life 4 but this is ιμ evil. When sepan^ted, 
tiierefore, from the body, she lives in reality: for she dies here, through 
partiqpating a privation of life, because the body becomes the source of 
evils. And hence it is. necessary to subdue the body• 

'* But the meaning of the Pythagoric &ble, which is here introduced 
by Plato, is this : We are said to be dead, because, as we have before 
observed, we partake of a privation of life. The sepulchre which we 
cany about with us is, as Plato himself ci^^plains it, the body. But 
Hades is the unapparent, because we are situated in obscurity, the soul 
being in a state of servitude to the body. The tubs are the desires ; 
.«rhether th^ ;are so called from our hastening to fill them, as if they 
.were tubs, or from desire persuading us that it is beautiful. The initiated, 
'therefore,.!, e. those that ha?e a perfect knowledge, pour into the entice 
tub: for these have their tub full; or, in other words, have perfect 
wtoe. But. the miinitiated, vjz. those that possess nothing perfect, have 
perforated tubs. For those that are in a state of servitude to desire 
always wish to fill it, and are more inflamed; and on this account they 
bay• perforated, tubs, as beiag never full• But the sieve is the ratioual 
soul mingiled with the irrational. For the [mtional] soul is callefi 
•A ^arde, becaiMe it «feks itsalf, apd is itself joi^tght; .finds jts^ and is 
Itself foond. Batthe-imtional aod iipittt^s % !V^t }m9, 4| fluffs 


Souls^ however, are [analogous to] tube^ because they 
contain in themselves energies and habits, as in a vessel. 
In Hesiod too, we find one tub closed, but the other, 
opened by Pleasure, who scatters its contents every 
where, Hope alone remaining behind. For in those 
things in which a depraved soul, being dispersed about 
matter, deserts the proper order of its essence; in all 
these, it is accustomed to feed itself with [the pleasing 
prospects of] auspicious hope. 

14. Since, therefore, every twofold entrance is a 
symbol of nature, this Homeric cavern has, very properly, 
not one portal only, but two gates, which differ from 
each other conformably to things themselves ; of which 
one pertains to Gods and good [daemons ^], but the other 
to mortals, and depraved natures. Hence, Plato took 
occasion to speak of bowls, and assumes tubs instead of 
amphorae, and two openings, as we have already observed, 
instead of two gates. Pherecydes Syrus also mentions 
recesses and trenches, caverns, doors, and gates; and 
through these obscurely indicates the generations of 
souls, and their separation from these material resJms. 
And thus much for an explanation of the Homeric cave, 
which we think we have sufficiently unfolded without 
adducing any farther testimonies from ancient philo- 
sophers and theologists, which would give a needless 
extent to our discourse. 

15. One particul^, however, remains to be explained^ 

not revert to itself like a circle. So far, therefore, as the sieve is circolar, 
it is an image of the rational soul; but, as it is placed under the right 
lines formed from the holes, it is assumed for the irrational soul. Right 
lines, thierefore, are in the middle of the cavities. Hence, by the sieve, 
Plato signifies the rational in subjection to the irrational soul. . But the 
water is the flux of nature : for, as Heraclitus says, moisture is the death 
of the soul,** 

.In this extract the intelligent reader will easily perceive that the 
occult signification of the tubs is more scientifically unfolded by Olympio- 
dofus than by Porphyry. 

' In the original, «*» t*c f*», θι«ί τι και τοις eyn&eic irjemeiw*c• . B^t 
after «^«SrotCy I have no doUbt we -should insert iaifMo-i, 


and that is the symbol of the olive planted at the top of 
the cavern ; since Homer appears to indicate something 
very admirable by giving it such a position. For he does 
not merely say that an olive grows in this place^ but that it 
flourishes on the summit of the cavern. 

^* High at the head a branching olive grows,. 
Beneath, a gloomy grotto's cool recess.*' 

But the growth of the olive in such a situation, is not 
fortuitous, ioLS some one may suspect, but contains the 
enigma of the cavern. For since the world was n^t pro- 
duced rashly and casually^ but is the work of divine wis- 
dom and an intellectual nature, hence an olive, the 
symbol of this wisdom, flourishes near the present cavern^ 
which is an image of the world. For the olive is the 
plant of Minerva ; and Minerva is wisdom. But this 
Goddess being produced from the head of, Jupiter, the 
theologist has discovered an appropriate place for the 
olive, by consecrating it at the summit of the port ; signi- 
fying by this, that the universe is not the effect of 
a casual event, and the work of irrational fortune, but 
that it is the offspring of an intellectual nature and divine 
wisdom, which is separated, indeed, from it [by a differ- 
ence of essence], but yet is near to it, through being 
established on the summit of the whole port ; \i. e, from 
the dignity and excellence of its nature governing the 
whole with consummate wisdom]. Since, however, an 
olive is ever-flourishing, it possesses a certain peculiarity 
in the highest degree adapted to the revolutions of souls 
in the world ; for to such souls this cave [as we have 
«aid] is sacred. For in summer, the white^ leaves of the 
olive tend upward, but in winter, the whiter leaves are 
bent downward. On this account, also, in prayers and 
supplications, men extend the branches of an olive, omin- 
ating from this, that they shall exchange the sorrowful 
darkness of danger for the fair light of security and 
peace. The olive, therefore, being naturally ever-flou- 
rishing, bears fruit which is the auxiliary of labour [by 



being its reward] ; it is also sacred to Mineira ; supplies 
the victors in atiiletic labours with crowns ; and affords a 
friendly branch to the suppliant petitioner. Thus, too, 
the world is governed by an intellectual nature, and 
is conducted by a wisdom eternal and ever-flourishing ; 
by which the rewards of victory are conferred on 
the conquerors in^ the athletic race of life, as the 
reward of severe toil and patient perseverance. And the 
Demiurgus^ who connects and contains the world [in 
ineffable comprehensions], invigorates miserable and dup!^ 
pliant souls. 

16. In this cave, therefore, says Horner^ all external 
possessions must be deposited. Here, naked, and assum- 
ing a suppliant habit, a£9[icted in body, casting aside 
every thing superfluous, and being averse to the energies 
pf sense, it is requisite to sit at the foot of the olive, and 
consult with Minerva by what means we tnay most eflfeo- 
tually destroy that hostile rout of passions which insidi- 
ously lurk in the secret recesses of the soul. Indeed^ ^ 
it appears to me, it was not without reason that Numeniuis 
and his followers thought the person of Ulysses in the 
Odyssey represented to us a man> who passes in a regul^ 
manner over the dark and stormy sea of generation, and 
thus at length arrives at that region where tempests and 
seas are unknown, and finds a nation 

*^ Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar•^ 

17. Again, according to Plato, the deep, the sea^ and 
a tempest, are images of a material nature. And on this 
account, I think, the poet called the port by the name of 
Phorcys. For he says, '^ It is the port of the ancient marine 
Phorcys*." The daughter, likewise, of this God is men- 

r Phorcys is one among the ennead of Gods who, accotding to 
Plato in the Tiinaeus, fabricate generation. Of this deity, Produs 
observes, *' that as the Jupiter in this ennead causes the una{^arent 
divisions and separation of forms made by Saturn to become appaVei^t, 
aind as Rhea calls them forth into motion and generation; soPhdi^ys 
inslertt them in miatter, produces sensible natur^s^ and «doms the vieftle 


tipned in the beginning of the Odyssey. But from 
Thoosa^ the Cyclops was born, whom Ulysses deprived of 
Qight. And this deed of Ulysses became the occasion of 
reminding him of his errors, till he was safely landed in 
his native country. On this account^ too, a seat under 
the olive is proper to Ulysses, as to one who implores 
divinity^ and would appease his natal daemon with a sup- 
pliant branch. For it will not be simply^ and in a 
concise way, possible for any one to be liberated from this 
Sensible life, who blinds this daemon, and renders his 
energies inefficacious ; but he who dares to do this, will 
be pursued by the anger^ of the marine and material 
Gods, whom it is first requisite to appease by sacrifices, 
labours, and patient endurance ; at one time, indeed, con- 
tending with the passions, and at another employing 
enchantments and deceptions, and by these, transforming 
himself in an all-various manner ; in order that, being at 
length divested of the torn garments [by which his true 
person was concealed], he may recover the ruined empire 
of his soul. Nor will he even then be liberated from 
labours; but this will be effected when he has entirely 
passed over the raging sea, and, though still living, 
becomes so ignorant of marine and material works 
[through deep attention to intelligible concerns], as to 
mistake an oar for a corn-van. 

18. It must not, however, be thought, that interpreta- 
tions of this kind are forced, and nothing more than the 
conjectures of ingenious men ; but when we consider the 
great wisdom of antiquity, and how much Homer excelled 
in intellectual prudence, and in an accurate knowledge of 
every virtue, it must not be denied that he has obscurely 

essence, in order that there may not only be divisions of productive 
principles [or forors] in natures and in souls, and in intellectual 
essences prior to these ; but likewite in sensibles. For this is the pecu" 
liarity qffahrication/* 

^ ^ The anger of the Gods," says Proclus, *^ is not an indication of 
•ny passion in them, but demonstrates our inaptitude to participate 
of their illuminatioDS.'' 



indicated the images of things of a more divine nature in 
the fiction of a fable. For it would not have been 
possible to devise the whole of this hypothesis, unless 
the figment had been transferred [to an appropriate 
meaning] from certain established truths. But reserviiig 
the discussion of this for another treatise, we shall 
here finish our explanation of the present Cave of the 





I. Every body is in place; but nothing essentially in- 
corporeal^ or any thing of this kind^ has any locality. 

2. Things essentially incorporeal^ because they are 
more excellent than all body and place, are every where, 
not with interval, but impartibly. 

3. Things essentially incorporeal, are notlocally pre- 
sent with bodies, but are present with them when they 
please ; by verging towards them so far as they are 
naturally adapted so to verge. They are not, however, 
present with them locally, but through habitude, proxi- 
mity, and alliance. 

4. Things essentially incorporeal, are not present with 
bodies, by hypostasis and essence; for they are not 
mingled with bodies. But they impart a certain power 
which is proximate to bodies, through verging towards 
them. For tendency constitutes a certain secondary 
power proximate to bodies. 

5. Soul, indeed, is a certain medium between an im- 
partible essence, and an essence which is divisible about 
bodies. But intellect is an impartible essence alone. And 
qualities and material forms are divisible about bodies. 

6. Not every thing' which acts on another, effects 

* In the original, Ου το ir9UU9 nc «λλο, «ηλΜίι tuu Λψη ιτμι», λ «τμιι* »• r. λ. 
But it is eTident, from the sense of the whole passnge, that, for Ου r§ 
99iWf^ Yt^ should read, Ου τταν το «oiow, «. τ, λ. 



that which it does effect by approximation and contact ; 
but those natures which effect any thing by approxi- 
mation and contact^ use approximation accidentally. 

7. The soul is bound to the body by a ponv^sioa 
to the corporeal passions; and is again liberated l^ 
becoming impassive to the body. 

8. That which nature binds^ nature also dissolres : 
and that which the soul binds, the soul likewise dis- 
solves. Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul; 
but the soul binds herself to the body. Nature, there- 
fore^ liberates the body from the soul; but the sool 
liberates herself from the body. 

9. Hence there is a twofold death ; the one^ indeed, 
universally known, in which the body is liberated from | 
the soul; but the other peculiar to philosophers^ in 
which the soul is liberated from the body. Nor does the 
one** entirely follow the other. 

10. We do not understand similarly in all things^ but 
in a manner adapted to the essence of each. For intel- 
lectual objects we understand intellectually; but those 
that pertain to soul rationally. We apprehend plants 
spermatically ; but bodies idolically [i. e. as images]; 
iand that which is above all these, super-intellectually and 
Buper-essentially ^• 

^ The article ο is wanting here in the original before trif «c. 

*^ Knowledge subsists conformably to the nature by which it is pos- 
sessed, and not conformably to the thing known. Hence it is either 
better than, or co-ordinate with, or inferior to the object of kno^l^dge* 
Thus the rational soul has a knowledge of sensibles, which is superior to 
sensibles; but it knows itself with a co-ordinate knowledge; and its 
knowledge of divinity is inferior to the object of knowledge. Pprpbyry, 
therefore, is not correct in what he here says. This dogma respecting 
tlie conformity of knowledge to that which knows, rather than to the 
thing known, originated from the divine lamblichus, as we are iofbnned 
by Ammonius in his commentary on Aristotle's treatise De Int^re- 
tatione, and is adopted by Proclus (in Parmenid.)• Boetius likewise 
employs it in his reasoning in lib. v. ji^ut tbe prescience of divinity. 
None of his commentatorsi bowpver^ hi^v^ notiq^d ^9 pomPt ήτ9Ρρι 
whence it was deiived. 


11. Incorporeal hypostases^ in deseending» are dis- 
tributed into parts, and multiplied about individuals with 
a diminution of power ; but when they ascend by their 
energies beyond bodies, they become united^ and proceed 
into a simultaneous subsis);ence, through exuberance of 

12. The homonymous is not in bodies only, but life 
also is among the number of things which have a multi- 
farious subsistence. For the life of a plant is dififerent 
from that of an animated being ; the life of an intel• 
lectual essence differs from that of the nature which is 
beyond intellect; and the psychical differs from the intel- 
lectual life. For these natures live^ though nothing 
which proceeds from, possesses a life similar to them. 

13. Every thing which generates by its very essence, 
generates that which is inferior to itself^; and every thing 
generated, is naturally converted to its generator. Of 
generating natures, however, some are not at all con- 
verted to the beings which they generate ; but others are 
partly converted to them, and partly not; and others are 
only converted to their progeny, but are not converted to 

14. Every thing generated, possesses from that which 
is different from itself the cause of its generation, since 
nothing is produced without a cause. Such generated 
natures, however, us have their existence through compo- 
sition, these are on this account corruptible. But such 
as, being simple and incomposite, possess their existence 
in a simplicity of hypostasis, these being indissoluble, 
are, indeed, incorruptible ; yet they are said to be gene- 
rated, not as if they were composites, but as being 
suspended from a certain cause. Bodies, therefore, are in 
a twofold respect generated ; as being suspended from a 
certain producing cause ; and as being composites. But 
Boul and intellect are only generated as being suspended 

' Beoanse here the geoemtor k that prmarily which the thing gen»- 
mtod if 9eea»danfy. See 07 tiaiieUitioB of Frodiie'• Tbeotogioa 

204 AUXILIARIES το THE - . . 

from a cause^ and not as composites. Hence bodies' are - 
generated, dissoluble and corruptible ; but soul and intel•^ 
lect are unbegotten, as being without composition, abd 
on this. account indissoluble and incorruptible; yet they 
are generated so far as they are suspended from a causes *^ 
15. Intellect is not the principle of all things ; foif 
intellect is many things; but, prior to the many, it is 
necessary that there should be the one. It is evident^ 
however, that intellect is many things. For it always 
understands its conceptions, which are not one, but many ; 
and which are not any thing else than itself. If, there- 
fore, it is the same with its conceptions, but they are 
many, intellect also will be many things. But that it 
is the same with intelligibles [or the objects of its intel- 
lection], may be thus demonstrated. For, if there is any 
thing which intellect surveys, it will either survey thii^ 
thing as contained in itself, or as placed in something 
else. And that intellect, indeed, contemplates or stir- 
veys, is evident. For, in conjunction with intellection-^ 
or intellectual perception, it will be intellect ; butifyou 
deprive it of intellection, you will destroy its essence. It 
is necessary, therefore, that, directing our attention to the 
properties of knowledge, we should investigate the per- 
ception of intellect. All the gnostic powers, then, which 
we contain, are universally sense, imagination, and intei- 
iect •. The power, however, which employs sense, surveys 
by projecting itself to externals, not being united to the* 
objects which it surveys, but only receiving an impres« 
sion of^ by exerting its energies upon them» Wheii^ 

* ΡοφΗγτγ here summarily comprehends the rational gnostic powers 
of the soul in intellect, because, being rational, they are expansions of 
intellect properly so called. ' But these powers, beginning from the lowest^ 
are opinion^ dianoia, and the summit of dianoia, which summit is ' the 
intellect of the hiunan soul, and is that power, by the light of which w•"" 
perceive the truth of axioms, it being intuitive perception. Dianoia is • 
the discursive energy of reason ; or it is that power which reasons scien-- 
tifically, deriving the principles of its reasoning from intellect. And 
opinion is that power which knows that a' thing is, but is: igiiorant of thib 
cause of it, or wht/ it is. • . 


therefore/ tiie! eye sees a. visible object, it is impossible^ 
that it should become the same with that which it per-''^ 
ceives : for it would not see if there was not au interval'; 
between . it and the object of its perception. And, after 
the. same manner,• that which is touched, if it was the' 
same with that by which it is touched, . would . perish• is. evident that, sense, and that which 
employs sense, most always tend tO:an external object, 
in * order, to. apprehend something, sensible. In like 
manner . also,, the phantasy, or imagination', always 
tends to something external, and by this extension 
of itself, gives subsistence, to, or prepares an image ; its 
extension to .what is external, indicating ^hat the object 
of its perception, is a resemblance of something external. 
And. such, indeed, is. the < apprehension of these two' 
powers ; neither of which vergipg to, and being collected 
into itself, perceives either a sensible or insensible form. 

^ In intellect, however, the apprehension of its objects 
xloes not subsist after this manner, but is effected by 
•converging to, and surveying itself. For. by departing 
from itself, in order, to survey its own energies, and 
become the eye of them, and the sight of essences, it will 
not understand any thing. Hence, ^as seose: is to that 
which is s^isible, so is intellect to that which is intel- 
ligible. Sense, however, by .extending itself to externals, 
finds that which is sensible situated in matter; but intel• 
lect surveys the intelligible, by being collected into itself, 
and not extended outwardly ^ On this account some are 
of opinion, that the hypostasis of intellect differs from 
that of the phantasy only in name. For the phantasy, in 
th^, rational animal, appeared to. them to be intelligence. 
As these men, however, suspended all things from matter 
and .a corporecdnafture^ it follows that they should also . 
suspend from these intellect. But our intellect surveyB - 

' Ια th^ origkial, u 9f fwi ι{«. ίχητανομηος ; .but for κ ^i μη^ it appears to 
me to be obviousl j necessary to read ovhf*v. 

ΟΟΛ AUKiLmaiES το τηχ 

b9ick bodies and oilier eeeenoei. Hence it appfehe&de 
ibem eitaated somewhere. But as the proper objects of 
intellect have a sttbsistenoe out of matter, ihey wH be 
no where' [locally]• It is evident^ therefore, that mtel- 
kctual natures Are to he conj oined with inielli^nce• Bixt 
if inteUectoal natives are in intellect, it follows that intel- 
lect» when it understands intelligibles, surveys both the 
intelligible and itself; and that proceeding into itself» it 
perceives intellectually, because it proceeds into intel• 
iigibles. If, however^ intellect nnderstands many things» 
and not one thing only, intellect also wiU necessarily 
be many. But tAe one subsists prior to the many ; so iiuit 
it is necessary that the one should be prior to intellect• 

16. Memory is not the conservation of imaginations» 
but the power of calling forth de sot^o those 4)onoep«- 
ϋοηβ which had previously oocupied the attention of tbe 

17. Soul, indeed, contains the teasons [or £)rms] of 
all things, but energizes according to them, either beuag 
called forth to this energy by 'something else, or jQOfOr 
vetting itself to them inwardly• And when ^called fbvtik 
by something else, it introduces^ , as it were, the aenses to 
esitemals, but when it enters into itself, it becomes occu*•• 
pied with intellectual conceptions• Hence some one may 
say, that neither the senses, nor intellectual perceptions» 
are without the phantasy; so that, as in the animal, the 
senses are not without the passive affection of the 

' In the • ong;inal, a£« )■- «nwy υ\ος, οό^λ/λμ λψ ι ui «mvr» ; which ^ol9tί^ 
nius, wholly mistakiDg the meaning, most erroneously translates, *^ At fi 
extra materiam sint, neutiquam id fieri poteiit.'' Farther on. Porphyry 
asserts, that God, intellect, and sool, where, according to oor- 
poreal locali^^. 

I' In the onginal, « μafψM^ tmim ^manm r«fii(«i, «^^«iffifMUBi- 
Ibwnem v^JUxku^M te n^ vf^k$fMurtu But ibr ν^οβληματα^ I read ι^|βΛίΐ|^ 
ξΛΛΤΛ. This power, hy which Porphyry characterizes memory, is of a 
stable nature. And hence memory is ttainlity of hnowltd^ef io tbe 
same manner as immortality is staUlity tfJifCf and ^UmtjiiMlity ^f 

mlbrre Organs, in fike ttianner intdlections ate nnt tri^«t 
the phantasy. Perhaps, however» it may be said, in 
answer to tiiis, that» as an impression in iSae sensitive 
organ is the concomitant of the sensithne animal, so ana^ 
logously a phantasm is the concomitant <i)lf tixe inteUecUM 
of the soid in man, considered as en animal Κ 

18. Soiil is to essence without ^dagmtiide, immateria]^ 
itioomiptibl^» possessiiig its eadstence in life, and havmg 
life from 'itself. 

19. l*he passivity of bodies is different from UM of 
inic0rpo)real natures. For ihe passivity of 'bodies is 
attended with mutation ; but the adaptations and passiont 
of the soul are energies ; yet they are by-no means similatr 
to the calefiictions and frigefactions- of bodies. Hence, if 
the passivity of bodies is accompanied by mutation> it 
must be said that all incorporeal natures are impassive. 
For the essences which are separated iroln matter and 
bodies, are whieit'they are in energy. But those things 
whioh approximate to matter and 'bodiesi are (hemsehres, 
indeed, impassive'; but the n«[tures 'in "Which they are sur- 
veyed are passive. For when the : animal perceives een- 
sibly/the «oul {i/t. the iratidnal soul] appears to'be similair 
to separa:te'hnrmonyVof itself nu)Ving Ul^ chords adaf^ted 

' * See the not^ on the Μ book of my "translation t)f ii^nstotleli 
treatise on'iiie 'Sotil, and Uno my thin^tion of-PlotinusonF^dty. 
^ The pbantasy," says Olynipiodoras (in Platonis Pbsd.) ** is an impedip 
ment to our intelieGtual conceptions ; and hence, when we are agitated 
by the inspiring influence of Divinity, if the phantasy intervenes, the 
enthusiastic energy ceases: for enthusiasm and the phantasy are con• 
trary to each other. Should it be asked, whether the soul is able to 
eneigize without the phantasy? we reply, that its perception of universale 
proves thiit it is able. It baa perceptions, therefore, independent uftbe 
phantasy; nt the same time, however, the phantasy attends if^in its 
energiee, just as a storm pursues him who sails on the sea•'' 

^ The analogy of the toul to harmony, is more accurately «infolded 
as follows, by Oiympiod6ms, in his Commentary on the Phssdo of PlatQ, 
'than it is in diis plate by Porphyry : *^• Harmony has a tripleeabeisteaof , 
For it is titfaer inf mony itself, or it is that which i» fiiat himouseiV^ad 
which is such according to the'^hole of ittfdf; or it ίs^llιat fih i rfi 



to hkrmony ; but the body is similar to the inseparable^ 
harmony in the chords^ [t. e. to the harmony which cannot 
exist separate from the chords]• But the animal is the 
cause of the motion, because it is an animated being. It 
is, however^ analogous to a musician^ because it is har- 
monic ; but the bodies which are struck through sensitive 
passion, are analogous to the harmonized chords of a 
musical instrument. For in this instance, also, separate 
harmony is not passively affected, but the chords• And 
the nrasician, indeed, moves according to the harmony 
which is in him ; yet the chords would not be musically 
moved, even though the musician wished that they should, 
unless harmony ordered this to take place. 

20. Incorporeal natures are not denominated like 
bodies, according to a participation in common of one 
and the same genus; but they derive their appellation 
from- a mere privation with respect to bodies. Hence, ' 
nothing hinders some of them from having a subsistence 
as beings, but others as non-beings ; some of them, from 
being prior to, and others posterior to bodies ; some, from 
being separate, and others inseparable from bodies; some, 
from having a subsistence by themselves, but others from 
being indigent of things different from themselves, to 
their existence; some, from being the same through 
enei^es and self-motive lives, but others from subsisting 
together with lives, and energies of a certain qusdity. 
For they subsist according to a negation of the things 
which they are not, and not according to the affirmation 
of the things which they are. 

21. The properties of matter, according to the an- 

it ^secondarily harmonized, and which partially participates of hannony. 
Th^first of these must be assigned to intellect, the second to soul, and 
the third to body. This last, too, is corruptible, because it subsists ία a 
subject ; but the other two are incorruptible, because they are neither 
composites, nor dependent on a subject. Hence, the rational soul 
is analogous to a musician, but the animated ' body to harmonized 
chbrds; for the former has a' subsistence separate^ but the latter ins^ 
parable from the musical instrument/' 


cients^ are the following : Xt is incorporeal ; for it is dif*- 
ferent from bodies. It is without life ; for it is neither 
intellect nor soul, nor vital from itself [i. e. essentially}. It 
is also formless^ variable, infinite, and powerless. Hencev 
it is neither being, nor yet non-being. Not that it is non- 
being like motion, but it is true non-being, the image 
and phantasm of bulk, because it is that which bulk 
primarily contains. It is likewise powerless, and the 
desire of subsistence, has stability, but not in permanency, 
and always appears in itself to be contrary. Hence, it is 
both small and great, more and less, deficient and exceed- 
ing. It is always becoming to be, or rising into exist 
ence ; abides not, and yet is unable to fly away ; and 
is the defect of all being. Hence, in whatever it an- 
nounces itself to be, it deceives; and though it should 
appear to be great. It is nevertlieless small. For it 
resembles a flying mockery, eluding all pursuit, and 
vanishing into non-entity. For its flight is not in place, 
but is efiected. by its desertion of real being. Hence, 
also, the images which are in it, are in an image more unreal 
than themselves ; just as in a mirror, where the thing 
represented is in one place, and the representation of 
it in another. It likewise appears to be full, yet contains 
nothing, though it seems to possess all things ^ 

22. All passions subsist about the same thing as that 
about which corruption subsists ; for the reception of 
passion is the path to corruption. And the thing that is 
the subject of passivity, is also the subject of corruption. 
Nothing incorporeal, however, is corrupted. But some 
of them either exist, or do not exist ; so that they are not 
at all passive. For that which is passive, ought not to be 
a thing of this kind, but such as may be changed in 
quahty, and corrupted by the properties of the things 

' Whal Porphyry here says about matter, is derived from the treatue 
of Piotiuus, On the Impassivity of Incorporeal Natures^ to my translation 
of which I refer the readt^r. 


that enter into it, and cause it to be passive. For the 
change in quality of that which is inherent, is not 
casually effected. Neither, therefore, does matter suffer ; 
for it is. of itself without quality. Nor do the forms 
which enter into, and depart from it, suffer ; but the 
passion subsists about the composite from matter and 
form, the very being of which consists in the union of the 
' two. For this, in the contrary powers and qualities of 
the things which enter and produce passion, is seen to 
be the subject of them. On which account, also, those 
things, the life of which is externally derived, and does 
not subsist from themselves, are capable of suffering both 
the participation and the privation of life. But those 
beings whose existence consists in an impassive life, 
must necessarily possess a permanent life ; just as a pri- 
vation of life, so far as it is a privation of it, is attended 
with impassivity. As, therefore, to be changed and to 
suffer pertain to the composite from matter and form, and 
this is body, but matter is exempt from this ; thus also, to 
live and to die, and to suffer through the participation of 
life and death, is beheld in the composite from soul and 
body. Nevertheless, this does not happen to the soul; 
because it is not a thing which consists of life and 
the privation of life, but consists of life alone. And it 
possesses this, because its essence is simple, and the 
reason [or form] of the soul is self-motive "*. 

23. An intellectual essence is so similar in its parts, 
that the same** things exist both in a partial and an 
all-perfect intellect. In an universal intellect, however, 
partial natures subsist universally; but in a partial 
intellect, both universals and particulars subsist partially. 

24. Of that essence, the existence of which is in life, 
and the passions of which are lives, the death also con- 
sists in a certain life, and not in a total privation of life ; 

* See my translation of the before^mentioned treatise of Plotinus. 
" For ΎΛ vrra here, I read τ» ovta. 


because, fieither is the deprivation of life in this essence 
a passion, or a path which entirely leads to a non-vital 

25• In incorporeal lives^ the progressions are e^epted 
while the lives theinselves remain firm ^^d st^l^> nothing 
pertaining to them being corrupted, or changed into the 
hypostasis of things subordinate to them. Hence, neither 
are the things tp which they give subsistence produced 
with a certain Qo^rijiptioi) or mutation. Nor dp these 
incorporeal lives subsist like geqeration, wbich parti- 
cipates of corruption and mutation. Hence^ th^y ar^ 
unbegotten and incorruptible, and on this aqcount are 
unfolded into light without generation and ipcorruptibly• 

26, Of that nature which is beyond intellect, many 
things are s^sserted through intellection, but it is surveyed 
by a cessation of intellectjual energy better than with it® ; 
just as with respect to one who is asleep,, m^ny things 
are asserted of hi«i while he is in that state by thoae who 
are awake ; but the proper knowledge and apprehension 
of his dormant condition, is only to be obtained through 
sleep. For the similar is knoyvn by the similar; b^oause 
all knowledge is an assimilation t<^ the object of knowledgfi. 

27. With respect to that which 19 non-beiDg^ we 
either produce it, being ourselves separated from real 
being, or we have a preconception of it, as adhering to 
being. Hence, if we are S(^parated from being, we have 
not an antecedent conception of the non-behig which is 
above being, but our knowledge in this case is only that 
of a false passion, such as that which happens to a man 
when he departs from himself. For as a man ^lay him- 
self, and through himself, be trjuly elevajted to the non- 
heing which is above being, so, by departing f;rom hejng, 

^ Hence, it is beautifully said in the Clarie of Hermes Trismegistus, 
** that the knowledge of tke good {or the supreme principle of things], is 
a divine silence, and the quiescence of all the senses.'' See, also, on this 
subject, a most admirable extract fcom Damasciu^, 9ψ ofxan, at the end 
of the 3d volume of my Plato. 


he is led to the non-being which is a falling o£f from 

28. The hypostasis of body is no impediment what- 
ever to that which is essentially incorporeal^ so as to 
prevent it from being where, and in such a way, as it 
wishes to be. For as that which is without bulk is 
incomprehensible by body, and does not at all pertain to 
it, so that which has bulk cannot impede or obscure 
an incorporeal nature, but lies before it like a non-entity. 
Nor does that which is incorporeal pervade locally, when 
it wishes to pass from one thing to another ; for place is 
consubsistent with bulk. Nor is it compressed by bodies. 
For that which in any way whatever is connected with 
bulk^ may be compressed, and effect a transition locally ; 
but that which is entirely without bulk and without mag- 
nitude, cannot be restrained by that which has bulk, and 
does not participate of local motion. Hence, by a cer- 
tain disposition, it is found to be there, where it is 
inclined to be, being with respect to place every where 
and yet no where p. By a certain disposition, therefore, it 
is either above the heavens, or is contained in a certain 
part of the world. When, however, it is contained 
in a certain part of the world, it is not visible to the 
eyes, but the presence of it becomes manifest from its 

29. It is necessary that an incorporeal nature, if it is 
contained in body, should not be enclosed in it like a 
wild beast in a den ; (for no body is able thus to enclose 
and comprehend it), nor is it contained in body in the 
same way as a bladder contains something liquid^ or 
wind ; but it is requisite that it should give subsistence to 
certain powers which verge to what is external, through 
its union with body ; by which powers, when it descends, 
t becomes complicated with body. Its conjunction, 
therefore, with body, is effected through an ineffable 

' For that which is truly iucurpureal, is every where virtually, i. e, in 
power and efficacy, but is no where locally. 


extension. Qence, nothing else binds it, but itself binds 
itself to body. Neither, therefore, is it liberated from the 
body, when the body is [mortally] wounded and cor- 
rupted, but it liberates itself, by turning itself from an 
adhering affection to the body. 

30. None of the hypostases which rank as wholes, and 
are perfect, is converted to its own progeny ; but all per- 
fect hypostases are elevated to their generators as far 
as to the mundane body [or the body of the world]. For 
this body, being perfect, is elevated to its soul, which 
is intellectual : and on this account it is moved in a 
circle. But the soul of this body is elevated to intellect ; 
and intellect, to the first principle of all things. All 
beings, therefore, proceed to this principle as much as 
possible, beginning f^-om the last of things. The eleva- 
tion, however, to that which is first, is either proximate or 
remote. Hence, these natures may not only be said to 
aspire after the highest God, but also to enjoy him to the 
utmost of their power. But in partial^ hypostases, and 
which are able to verge to many things, there is also 
a desire of being converted to their progeny. Hence, 
likewise, in these there is error, in these there is repre- 
hensible incredulity. These, therefore, matter injures, 
because they are capable of being converted to it, being 
at the same time able to be converted to divinity. Hence, 
perfection gives subsistence to secondary from primary 
natures, preserving them converted to the first of things ; 
but imperfection converts primary' to posterior natures, 
and causes them to love the beings which have departed 
from divinity prior to themselves. 

31. God is every where because he is no where: and 
this is also true of intellect and soul : for each of these is 

*i For fMpurrat; here, I read, /bu^ucai?. For Porphyry is here speaking 
of essences which are opposed to i^ich as rank as wholes, as is evident 
from the whole of this paragraph. 

*■ The primary natures of which Poφhyry is now speaking, are 
rational partial souls, such as ours ; for the natures superior to these, are 
never converted to beings posterior to themselves. 


every where, because each is no where. But God indeed 
is ev^ry where, and no where, with respect to all things 
which are posterior to him ; and he* alone is such as he 
is^ and such as he wills himself to be. Intellect is in Qod, 
but is every where, and no where, with respect to the 
niitures posterior to it. And soul is in God and intellect» 
and is every where and no where, in [or with respect to] 
body*. But body is in soul, and in intellect", and in 
God. And as all beings and non-beings are from and in 
Grod, hence, he is neither beings nor non-beings, nor 
subsists in them. For if, indeed, he was alone every 
where^ he would be all things and in all, but since he is 
also no where, all things are produced through him, and 
are contained in him^ because he is every where. They 
are, however, different from him, because he is no where. 
Thus, likewise, intellect being every where and no where^ 
is the cause of souls, atid of the natures posterior to 
souls ; yet intellect is not soul, nor the natures post^or 
to soul, nor subsists iti thetn ; because it is not only 
every where, but is also ilo where, with respect to the 
natureis posterior to it. And soul is neither body, nor in 
body, but is the cause of body ; because being every 
where* it ife also no where, with respect to body. And 
this progression of thingis iti the UUiverse extends as far 
as to that which is neither able to be at once every where, 
nor at once no where, but partially participates of each of 

32. The soul does not exist on the earth [when it is 
cbhversant with terrene natures,] in the same manned 

' For »u7«Vy istkicy I read^ αυτύς. 

* In the original, *eu 4^" <v ^V ^ '"'•^ ^*V warra/w^ κα» ου^μύΟ fv σ^ψανι^ 
but it appears to me to be necessary to read, aat 4'^χη iv w τι »ai 5•α•, tuu 
«ανταχον λλι ouiafMv η αγμ/ματι. 

ο »άι ty y«, is omitted in the original, but ought to be infe^rtnd, as 
is evident from the version olf Holstenius• 

' The irrational life is a thing of this kind, which is pardy sep^ur^blte 
and partly inseparable from body. Hence, so far as it is itisejparable 
from body, it partakes of the every where ; but, so far as it is separable,. 
of the no where. 


as bodies accede to the earth ; but a subsistence of the 
soul on the earth, signifies its presiding over terrene 
bodies. Thus^ also, the soul is said to be in Hades, when 
it presides over its image ^^ which is naturally adapted to 
be in place, but possesses its hypostasis in darkness. 
So that if Hades is a subterranean dark place, the soul» 
though not divulsed from being, will exist in Hades, by 
attracting to itself its image. For when the soul departs 
from the solid body, the spirit accompanies it which it 
had collected from the starry spheres. But as from its 
adhering affection to the body, it exerts a partial reason, 
through which it possesses an habitude to a body of a 
certain quality, in performing the energies of life; — 
hence, from this adhesion to body, the form of the phan- 
tasy is impressed in the spirit, and thus the image is 
attracted by the soul. The soul, however, is said to be 
in Hades, because the spirit obtains a formless and 
obscure nature. And as a heavy and moist spirit per- 
vades as far as to subterranean places, hence the soul is 
said to proceed under the earth. Not that this essence of 
the soul changes one place for another, and subsists in 
place, but it receives the habitudes of bodies which are 
naturally adapted to change their places, and to be 
a^otted a subsistence in place ; such-like bodies receiving 
it according to aptitudes, from being disposed after a 
certain manner towards it. For the soul, conformably to 
the manner in which it is disposed, finds an appropriate 
body. Hence, when it is disposed in a purer manner, 
it has a connascent body which approximates to an 
ethereal nature, and this is an ethereal body. But when it 
proceeds from reason to the energies of the phantasy; 
then its connascent body is of a solar-form nature. And 
when it becomes effeminate and vehemently excited by 
corporeal form, then it is connected with a lunar-form 

7 I. e. The aoiroai spirit, or pneumatic soul, in which the rational 
boul suiFen» her punishments in Hades. 



body. When, however, it falls into bodies which consist 
of humid vapours^ then a perfect ignorance of real being 
follows, together with darkness and infancy. 

Moreover, in its egress from the body, if it still 
possesses a spirit turbid from humid exhalations, it then 
attracts to itself a shadow, and becomes heavy ; a spirit 
of this kind naturally striving to penetrate into the 
recesses of the earth, unless a certain other cause draws 
it in a contrary direction. As therefore the soul, when 
surrounded with this testaceous and terrene vestment, 
necessarily lives on the earth ; so likewise when it 
attracts a moist spirit, it is necessarily surrounded with 
the image. But it attracts moisture when it continually 
endeavours to associate with nature, whose operations 
are effected in moisture, and which are rather under than 
upon the earth. When, however, the soul earnestly 
endeavours to depart from nature, then she becomes a 
dry splendour, without a shadow, and without a cloud, or 
mist. For moisture gives subsistence to a' mi^t in the 
air ; but dryness constitutes a dry splendour from exha* 

33. The things which are truly predicated of a sensible 
and material nature, are these : that it has, in every 
respect, a diffused and dispersed subsistence ; that it 
is mutable ; that it has its existence in difference ; that 
it is a composite ; that it subsists by itself, [as the subject 
or recipient of other things ;] that it is beheld in place, 
and in bulk : and other properties similar to these are 
asserted of it. But the following particulars are pre- 
dicated of truly existing being, and which itself subsists 
from itself; viz. that it is always established in itself; 
that it has an existence perpetually similar and the same ; 
that it ie essentialized in sameness ; that it is immutable 
according to essence^ is uncompounded, is neither disso-. 
luble, nor, in place, nor is dispersed into bulk ; and is 
neither generated, nor capable of being destroyed : and 
other properties are asserted of it similar to these. To 


% ■■•.. 


which predications adhering, we should neither ourselves 
assert any thing repugnant to them, concerning the 
different nature of sensible and truly-existing beings, 
nor assent to those who do. 


34. There is one kind of virtues pertaining to the 
political character, and another to the man who tends to 
contemplation, ^nd who, on this account, is called theo- 
retic, and is now a beholder [of intellectual and in- 
telligible natures]. And there are also other virtues per- 
taining to intellect, so far as it is intellect, and separate 
from soul. The virtues indeed of the political character, 
and which consist in the moderation of the passions, are 
characterized by following and being obedient to the 
reasoning about that which is becoming in actions. 
Hence, looking to an innoxious converse with neighbours, 
these virtues are denominated, from the aggregation of 
fellowship, political. And here prudence indeed subsists 
about the reasoning part ; fortitude about the irascible 
part; temperance in the consent and symphony of the 
epithymetic^ with the reasoning part; and justice, in each 
of these performing its proper employment with respect to 
governing and being governed. But the virtues of him 
who proceeds to the contemplative life, consist in a 
departure from terrestrial concerns. Hence, also, they 
are called purifications, being surveyed in the refraining 
from corporeal actions, and avoiding sympathies with the 
body. For these are the virtues of the soul elevating 
itself to true being. The political virtues therefore * 
adorn the mortal man, and are the forerunners of purifi- 
cations. For it is necessary that he who is adorned by 
the cathartic virtues, should abstain from doing any thing 
precedaneously in conjunction with body. Hence, in 

■ i. e. That port of the soul which is the source of all-various desires.^ 



these purifications, not to opine with body, but to ener- 
gize alone, gives subsistence to prudence ; which derives 
its perfection through energizing intellectually with 
purity. But not to be similarly passive with the body, 
constitutes temperance. Not to fear a departure from 
body, as into somethiqg void, and non-entity, gives sub- 
sistence to fortitude. But when reason and intellect are 
the leaders, and there is no resistance [from the irrational 
part], justice is produced. The disposition therefore, 
according to the political virtues, is surveyed in the 
moderation of the passions ; having for its end to live as 
man conformable to nature. But the disposition, accord- 
ing to the theoretic virtues, is beheld in apathy*, the end 
of which is a similitude to God. 

Since, however, of purification, one kind consists in 
purifying, but another pertains to those that are purified, 
the cathartic virtues are surveyed according to both these 
significations of purification. For the end of purification 
is to become pure. But since purification, and the being 
purified, are an ablation of every thing foreign, the good 
resulting from them will be different from that which 
purifies; so, that if that which is purified was good 
prior to the impurity with which it is defiled, purification 
is sufficient. That, however, which remains after purifi- 
cation, is good, and not purification. The nature of the 
soul also was not good [prior to purification], but is 
that which is able to partake of good, and is boniform. 
For if this were not the case, it would not have become 
situated in evil. The good therefore of the soul consists 
in being united to its generator, but its evil in an associ- 
ation with things subordinate to itself. Its evil also is 
twofold ; the one arising from an association with terres- 
trial natures, but the other from doing this with an , 
excess of the passions. Hence, all the political virtues 
which liberate the soul from one evil, may be denomi- 

* This philosophic apathy is not, as is stupidly supposed by most of 
the present day, insensibility, but a perfect subjugation of the passions 
to reason. 


nated virtues, and are honourable. But the cathartic are 
more honourable, and liberate it from evil, so far as it is 
soul. It is necessary therefore, that the soul, when 
purified^ should associate with its generator. Hence, the 
virtue of it, after its conversion^ consists in a scientific 
knowledge of [true] being ; but this will not be the case, 
unless conversion precedes. 

There is, therefore, another genus of virtues after the 
cathartic and political, and which are the virtues of the 
soul energizing intellectually. And here, indeed, wisdom 
and prudence consist in the contemplation of those things 
which intellect possesses. But justice consists in per- 
forming what is appropriate in conformity to, and ener- 
gizing according to intellect. Temperance is an inward 
conversion of the soul to intellect. And fortitude is 
apathy, according to a similitude of that to which the soul 
looks, and which is naturally impassive. These virtues 
also, in the same manner as the others, alternately follow 
each other. 

The fourth species of the virtues, is that of the para- 
digms subsisting in intellect: which are more excellent 
than the psychical virtues, and exist as the paradigms of 
these'; the virtues of the soul being the similitudes of 
them. And intellect indeed is that in which all things 
subsist at once as paradigms. Here, therefore, prudence 
is science ; but intellect that knows [all things] is wisdom. 
Temperance is that which is converted to itself. The 
proper work of intellect, is the performance of its appro- 
priate duty, [and this is justice^.] But fortitude is same- 
ness, and the abiding with purity in itself, through an 
abundance of power. There are therefore four genera of 
virtues; of which, indeed, some pertain to intellect, 
concur with the essence of it, and are paradigmatic. 
Others pertain to soul now looking to intellect, and 

^ The words *»i Juuuoown, are omitted in tiie original. But it is 
evident fponi the treatise of Plotinus " On the Virtues," that they ought 
to be inserted. For what Porphyry says in tliis Section ahout the 
virtues, is derived from that treatise. 



being filled from it. Others belong to the soul of man, 
purifying itself, and becoming purified from the body, and 
the irrational passions. And others are the virtues of the 
soul of man, adorning the man, through giving measure 
and bound to the irrational nature, end producing mode- 
ration in the passions. And he indeed, who has the greater 
virtues, has also nec(*smrily the kss; hut the conirury is not 
true, that he wL• has the less, has also the greater virtues. 
Nor will he who possesses the greater, energize prece- 
daneonsly according to the less, but only so far as the 
necessities of the mortal nature require. The scope also 
of the virtues, is, as we have said, genericaliy different in 
the different virtues. For the scope of the political virtues, 
is to give measure to the passions in their practical 
energies according to nature. But the scope of the 
cathartic virtues, is entirely to obliterate the remembrance 
of the passions ; and the scope of the rest subsists 
analogously to what has been before said. Hence, he 
who energizes according to the practical virtues, is a 
worthy man ; but iie who energizes 'according to the 
cathartic virtues, is an fincrelic man, or is also a <food 
damon. He who energizes accord mg to the intellectual 
virtues alone is a God ; but he who energizes according 
to the paradigmatic virtues, is the father of tlte Gods. We, 
therefore, ought especially to pay attention to the cathartic 
virtues, since we may obtain these in the preseat life. 
But through these, the ascent is to the more honourable 
virtues. Hence, it is requisite to survey to what degree 
purification may be extended : for it is a separation from 
body, and from the passive motion of the irrational part. 
But how this may be effected, and to what extent, must 
now be unfolded. 

In the first place, indeed, it is necessary that he who 
intends to acquire this purification, should, as the found- 
ation and basis of it, know himself to be a soul bound in 
a foreign thing, and in a different essence. In the second 
place, as that which is raised from this foundation, he 
should collect himself from the body, and as it were from 



di£ferent places, so as to be disposed in a manner perfectly 
impassive with xespect to the body. Foi* he who ener- 
gizes uninterruptedly according to sense, though he may 
not do this with an adhering affection, and the enjoy- 
ment resulting from pleasure^ yet, at the same time^ his 
attention is dissipated about the body, in consequence of 
becoming through seiise^ in contact with it. But we are 
addicted to the pleasures or pains of sensibles ; in con- 
junction with a promptitude, and converging sympathy; 
from which disposition it is requisite to be purified. ThiSj 
hotoeveTy will be effected by admitting necessary pkdsures^ and 
the sensations of them, merely as remedies, or as a liberation 
from pain^, in order that [the rational parti may not be 
impeded [in its energies]. Pain also must be taken away. 
But if this is not possible, it must be mildly diminished. 
And it will be diminished, if the soul is not copassive 
with it. Anger, likewise, must as much as possible 
be taken away; and must by no means be premedi- 
tated. But if it cannot be entirely removed, deliberate 
choice must not be mingled with it, but the unpre- 
meditated motion must be the impulse of the irrational . 
part. That however which is unpremeditated, is imbecile 
and small. All fear likewise must be expelled. For 
he who is addpted to this purification, will fear nothing. 
Here, however, if it should take place, it will be un- 
premeditated. Anger therefore and fear must be used 
for the purpose of admonition. But the desire of 
every thing base must be exterminated. Such a one also, 
so far as he is a cathartic philosopher, will not desire 
meats and drinks [except so far as they are necessary]. 
Neither must there be the unpremeditated in natural 
venereal connexions ; but if this should take place^ it must 
only be as far as to that precipitate imagination which 

* Instead oi* *λτ' awrnv, here it is necessary to read, itar* <u<rhn<riv, 
** Conformably to this, as we have before observed, Aristotle says in 
the 7lli Book of his Nicoiuachean lUhics, '' that corporeal pleasures are 
remedies against pain, and thai they fill up the indigence of nature, but 
perfect no energy of the rational soul.*' ^ 


energizes in sleep. In short, the intellectual soul itself of 
the purified man must be liberated from all these [cor- 
poreal propensities]. He must likewise endeavour, that 
what is moved to the irrational nature of corporeal 
passions^ may be moved without sympathy, and without 
animadversion ; so that the motions themselves may be 
immediately dissolved, through their vicinity to the 
reasoning power. This, however, will not take place 
while the purification is proceeding to its perfection ; but 
will happen to those in whom reason rules without oppo<- 
sitioa. Hence, in these, the inferior part will so venerate 
reason, that it wilt be indignant if it is at all moved, 
in consequence of not being quiet when its master is 
present, and will reprove itself for its imbecility. These,' 
however, are yet only moderations of the passions, but 
at length terminate in apathy. For when copassivity 
is entirely exterminated, then apathy is present with him 
who is purified from this passivity. For passion becomes 
moved when reason imparts excitation, through verging 
[to the irrational nature]. 

35. Every thing which i$ situated somewhere^ 19 ther^ 
situated according to its own nature, and not preter- 
naturally* For body, therefore, which subsists in matter 
and bulk, to be somewhere, is to be in place. Hence^ for 
the body .of the world, wbiqb is material and has bulk^ to 
be every where, is to be ej^tended with interval; aod 
to subsist in the plax^e of intervaU 3ut α subsistence m 
plaice, is not at all present with the intelligible ws)rld, nor, 
in short, with that wrhich is immaterial» and essentially 
incorporeal, because it is without bulki and without inter- 
val ; 80 that the ubiquity of an incorporeal nature is not 
local. Hence, neither will one part of it be here, but 
another there ; for if this were the case^ it would not be 
out of place, nor without interval ; but wherever it is, the 
whole of it is there. Nor is it indeed in this, but not 
^ in another place ; for thus it would be comprehended by 
one place, but separated from another. Nor is it remote 
from this thing, but near to that ; in the same manner as 



remoteness and nearness are asserted of things which are 
adapted to be in place, according to the measures of 
intervals. Hence» the sensible is present, indeed, with 
the intelligible world, according to interval, but [a truly] 
incorporeal nature is present with the world impartibly, 
and unaccompanied by interval. The iIIφaΓtible, like* 
wise, when it is in that which has interval, is wholly 
in every part of it, being one and the same in number [in 
every part of it]• That which is impartible, therefore, 
and without multitude, becomes extended into magnitude, 
and multiplied, when intimately connected with that 
which is naturally multitudinous, and endued with magni* 
tude ; and thus the latter receives the former in sqch 
a way as it is adapted to receive it, and not such as 
the former triily is. But that which is partible and 
multitudinous, is received by that which is naturally 
impartible and without multitude, impartibly and non- 
multitudinously, and after this manner is present with it ; 
t. e. the impartible is present impartibly^ without plurality, 
and without a subsistence in place, conformably to its 
own nature, with that which is partible, and which is 
naturally multitudinous, and exists in place. But that 
which is partible, multiplied, and in place, is present with 
the impartible essence, partibly, multitudinously, and 
locally. Hence, it is necessary, in the survey of thet^e 
natures^ to preserve and not confound the peculiarities of 
each ; or rather, we should not imagine or opine of that 
which is incorporeal, such properties as pertain to bodies, 
or any thing of the like kind. For no one would ascribe 
to bodies the peculiarities of a genuinely incorporeal 
essence. For all of us are familiar with bodies ; but the 
knowledge of incorporeal natures is attainable by us with 
great di£Giculty; because, through not being able to 
behold them intuitively, W€ are involved in doubt about 
their nature ; and this takes place as long as we are under 
the dominion of imagination. 

Thus, therefore, you should say. If that which is in 
place, is out of, or has departed from itself, through 


having proceeded into bulk^ that which is intelligible 
is not in place, and is in itself, because it has not 
proceeded into corporeal extension. Hence, if the for- 
fner is an image, the latter is an archetype• And the 
former, indeed, derives its being through the intelligible ; 
but the latter subsists in [and through] itself. For every 
[physical] image is the image of intellect. It is also 
requisite that, calling to mind the peculiarities of both 
these, we should not wonder at the discrepance which 
takes place in their congress with each other; if, in 
short, it is proper on this occasion to use the word 
congress. For we are not now surveying the congress of 
bodies, but of things which are entirely distinct fronoi 
each other, according to peculiarity of hypostasis. Hence, 
also, this congress is different from every thing which is 
usually surveyed in things essentially the same. Neither, 
therefore, is it temperament, or mixture, or conjunction, 
or apposition, but subsists in a way different from all 
these ; appearing, indeed, in all the mutual participations 
of consubstantial natures, in whatever way this may be 
effected; but transcending every thing that falls under 
the apprehension of sense. Hence, an intelligible essence 
is wholly present without interval, with all the parts of 
that which has interval, though they should happen to be 
infinite in number. Nor is it present distributed into 
parts, giving a part to a part ; nor being multiplied, does 
it multitudinously impart itself to multitude ; but it is 
wholly present with the parts of that which is extended 
into bulk, and with each individual of the multitude, and 
all the bulk impartibly, and without plurality, and as 
numerically one. But it pertains to those natures to 
enjoy it partibly, and in a distributed manner, whose 
power is dissipated into different parts. And to these it 
frequently happens, that through a defect of their own 
nature, they counterfeit an intelligible essence ; so that 
doubts arise respecting that essence, which appears to 
have passed from its own nature into theirs. 

36. Truly-existing being is neither great nor suiall. 


for magnitude and parvitude are properly the peculiarities 
of bulk. But true being transcends both magnitude and 
parvitude ; and is above the greatest^ and above the 
least; and is numerically one and the same, though it is 
found to be simultaneously participated by every thing 
that is greatest, and every thing that is least. You must 
not, therefore, conceive of it as something which is 
greatest; as you will then be dubious how, being that 
which is greatest, it is present with the smallest masses, 
without being diminished or contracted• Nor must you 
conceive of it a^ something which is least ; since you will 
thus again be. dubious how, being that which is least, it id 
present with the greatest masses, without being multi- 
plied or increased, or without receiving addition. But at 
one and the same time receiving into the greatest magni- 
tude that which transcends the greatest bulk, and into 
the least magnitude that which transcends the least % you 
will be able to conceive how the same thing, abiding 
in itself, may be simultaneously seen in any casual mag- 
nitude, and in infinite multitudes and corporeal masses* 
For according to its own peculiarity,' it is present with 
the magnitude of the world impartibly and without mag- 
nitude* It also antecedes the bulk of the world, and 
comprehends every part of it, in its own impartibility ; just 
as, vice versa, the world, by its multitude of parts, is mul- 
tifariously present, as far as it is able, with truly-existing 
being, yet cannot comprehend it, neither with the whole 
of its bulk, nor the whole of its power ; but meets with 
it in all its parts as that which is infinite, and cannot be 
passed beyond ; and this both in other respects, and 

*■ In th• original, λΧΚλ f «tCi Crntoc m μβγιτην vywiit^ ii( to (Μγ^τοψ^ iui% 
Ψ9» η^χοΎ» ftc TO ΐλ«;^ΜΎον, ΛμΛ >jAm, ».τΛ• This Holsteiuus most 
erroneously translates, *\ Verum id quod maximain molem intervallQ 
maximo, et niinimam minimo excedit simul sumeus, &c/' For a truly 
hicorporeal nature, such as that of which Porphyry is now speaking, has 
nothing to do with interval^ and, therefore, does not by interval surpass 
either the greatest or the least corporeal mass; but is received 
transcendenjtly by the greatest and the least magnitude*. 



becauae truly-existing being is entirely free from all cor- 
poreal extension. 

37. That which is greater in bulk» is less in 'po/wmr, 
when compared^ not with things of a similar kind, but 
with those that are of a different species, or of a different 
essence. For bulk is, as it were, ifae departure of a 
thing from itself, and a division of power into the smalleet 
parts. Heace, that which transcends in power, is foreign 
from all bulk. For power proceeding into itself, is filled 
with itself, and, by corroborating itself, obtains its proper 
strength ; on which account, body proceeding into bnlk 
through a diminution of power, is as much remote from 
truly4acorporeal being, as that which truly exists is from 
being exhausted by bulk; for the latter abides in the 
magnitude of the same power, through an exemption 
from bulk. As, therefore, truly-existing being is, with 
reference to a coiporeal mass, without magnitude and 
without bulk ; thus also, that which is corporeal is, with 
reference to truly-existing being, imbecile and powerleee. 
For that which is greatest by magnitude of power^ is 
exempt from all bulk ; so that the world existing every 
where, and, as it is said, meeting with real being which is 
truly every where, is not able to comprehend the magnx* 
tude of its power. It meets, however, with tirue being» 
which is not partibly present with it, but is present with- 
out magnitude, and without any definite limitation. The 
presence, therefore, of truly-existing being with the world, 
is not local, but assimilative, so far as it is possible 
for body to be assimilated to that which is incorporeal, 
and for that which is incorporeal to be surveyed in 
a body assimilated to it. Hence, cm incorporeal nature is 
not present with body, so far as it is not possible for that 
which is material assimilated to a perfectly inuna^ 
terial nature; and it is present, so far as a corporeal can 
be assimilated to an incorporeal essence. Nevertheless, 
this is not ^effected through reception ; since, if it were^ 
each would be corrupted. For the material, indeed^ in 
receiving the immaterial nature, would be corrupted^ 


through being changed into it; and the immaterial 
essence would become material. Assimilations, therefore, 
and participations of powers, and the deficiency of power^ 
proceed into things which are thus different in essence 
from each other, into each other. The world, therefore^ 
is very far from possessing the power of real being ; and 
real being is very remote from the imbeciUty of a material 
nature. But that which subsists between these, assimi- 
lating and being assimilated, and conjoining the extremes 
to each other, becomes the cause of deception about the 

^'extremes, in consequence of applying, through the assi- 
milation,^ the one to the other. 

38. Truly-eusting being is said to be many things, not 
by a subsistence in different places, nor in the measureaof 
bulk, nor by coacervation, nor by the circumscriptions or 
comprehensions^ of divisible parts, but by a difference 
which is inmiaterial, without bulk, and without plurality, 
and which is .divided according to multitude. Hence, 
also, it is one ; not as one body, nor as in one place ; nor 
as one bulk ; nor as one which is many things ; because 
it is different so far as it is one, and its difference is both 
divided and united• For its difference is not externally 
acquired, nor adscititious, nor obtained through the par- 
ticipation of something else, but it is many things from 
itself. For, remaining one, it energizes with all energies, 
because, through sameness* it constitutes all difference ; 
not being surveyed in the difference of one thing with 
respect to another, as is the case in bodies. For, on the 

, contrary, in these, unity subsists in difference; because 
diversity has in them a precedaneous existence ; but the 
unity which they contain is externally and adscititiously 
derived. For in truly existing being, indeed, unity and 
sameness precede ; but difference is generated, from this 
nnity being energetic. Hence, true bang is multiplied in 
;. but boAf is united in multitude and bulk. The 

' For liAXn^M-tVy here, I read χαταλη^'^^α, and Holstenius also has ia 
tbit' place comprfAeiisteiitto• 


former also is established in itself, subsisting in itself 
according to unity; but the latter is never in itself; 
because it receives its hypostasis in an extension of 
existence. The former, therefore, is an all-energetic oAe i 
but the latter is an united multitude• Hence, it is requi- 
site to explore how the former is one and different ; and 
again, how the latter is multitude and one; Nor must We 
transfer the peculiarities of the one to those which per- 
tain to the other. 

39. It is not proper to think that the multitude of 
souls was generated on account of the multitude of 
bgdies ; but it is necessary, to admit that, prior to bodiee, 
there were many souls, and one soul [the cause of the 
many]• Nor does the one and whole soul prevent the 
subsistence in it of many souls ; nor do the multitude of 
souls distribute by division the one soul into themselvee: 
For they are distinct from, but are not abscinded from' 
the soul, which ranks aa a whole; nor do they distribute' 
into minute parts this whole soul into themselves. They 
are also present with each other without confusion ; nof 
do they produce the whole soul by coacervation. For 
they are not separated from each other by any boundaries; 
nor, again, are they confused with each other; just as 
neither are many sciences confused in one soul [by which* 
they are possessed]. For these sciences do not subsist 
in the soul like bodies, as things of a different essence 
from it; but they are certain energies of the soul. For 
the nature of soul possesses an infinite power. Every 
thing also that occurs in it is soul ; and all souls are [in « 
certain respect] one; and again, the soul which ranks as* 
a whole, is different from all the rest. For as bodies, 
though divided to infinity, do not end in that which is* 
incorporeal, but alone: receive a difference of segments' 
according to bulk ; thus also soul, being a viUd form^^ 
may be conceived to consist of fotms ad if^inittMi -Fpt• 
it possesses specific differences, and the whole of it sub* 
sists together, with, or without these. For, if there is in 
the soul that which is as it were a part divided from the 


rest of the parts, yet, at the same time that there is dif- 
ference^ the sameness remains. If, however, in bodies, in 
which difference predominates over sameness, nothing 
incorporeal when it accedes cuts off the. union, biit all 
the p^rts remain essentially nnited, and are divided by 
qualities and other forms ; what ought we to assert, and 
conceive of a specific incorporeal life, in which sameness 
is more prevalent than difference; to which nothing 
foreign to form is subjected, and from which the union of 
bodies is derived? Nor does body, when it becomes. con- 
nected with soul, cut off its union, though it ifif an impe- 
diment to its energies in many respects. But the same- 
ness of soul produces and discovers all things through 
itself, through its specific energy; which proceeds tp 
infinity; since any part of it whatever is capable of 
effecting all things, when it is liberated and purified from 
a conjunction with bodies; just as any part of seed pos- 
sesses the power of the whole seed. As, however, seed, 
when it is united with matter, predominates over it, 
according to each of the productive principles which the 
seeds contain ; and all the seed, its power being collected 
into one, possesses the whole of its power in each of the 
parts ; thus also, in the immaterial soul, that which may 
be conceived as a part,^ has the power of the whole souL 
But that part of it which verges to matter, is vanquil^ed^ 
indeed, by the form to which it verges, and yet is adapted 
to associate with immaterial form, though it is. connected 
with matter, when withdrawing itself from. a materia 
nature, it is converted to itself. Since, however, through 
verging to matter, it becomes in want of all things, and 
suffers an emptiness of its proper power f• but when it is 
elevated to intellect, is found to possess a plenitude .of a)} 
its powers ; hence those who first obtained a knowledge 
of this plenitude of the sonl> very properly, indicated its 
emptiness by calling it poverty ^ and its fulness by de^ 
nominating it satiety. 



40. The ancients, wishing to exhibit to us the pecu- 
liarity of incorporeal being, so &r as this can be effected 
by words, when they assert that it is one, iounediately 
add, that it is likewise all things ; by which they signified 
that it is not some one< of the things which are known 
1>y the senses. Since, however, we suspect that this 
incorporeal one is different from sensibles, in conse- 
quence of not perceiving this total one, which is all 
things according to one, in a sensible nature, and whioh 
is so because this one is all things : -—hence the ancients 
added, that it is one so far as one; in order that we might 
understand that what is all things in truly existing beii^^ 
is something uncompounded, and that we might with- 
draw ourselves from the conception of a coacervation^ 
When likewise they say that it is every where, they add 
that it is no where. When also they assert that it is in 
all things, they add, that it is no where in every thing. 
Thus, too, when they say, that it is in all things, and in 
every divisible nature which is adapted to receive it» tbey 
add, that it is a whole in a whole. And, in short, they 
render it manifest to us, through contrary peculiarities ; 
at one and the same time assuming these, in order that 
we may exterminate, from the apprehension of it» tlie 
fictitious conceptions which are derived from bodies, and 
which obscure the cognoscible peculiarities of real being. 
41. When you have assumed an eternal essence, 
infinite in itself according to power, and begin to perceive 
intellectually an hypostasis unwearied, untamed, and 
never-fauing, but transcending in the most pure and 

f In the original, jmSo ly *n rm ««y «M^wir σνηγ^σμηοη^ but it 
i^pear9 to me to be necessary, after »«θβ^ to insert the words mm ΐσ•ην• 
For incoirporeal being is not like some one of the things which are 
Icnown by the senses, because no one of these is 6Ae, and, at the sani^ 
time, all things. Holstenios did not perceive the necessity of this 
emendation, as is evident from his version of the passage. 


genuine life, ^nd full from itself; and which is likewise 
established in itself» satisfied with, and seeking nothing 
but itself: — to this essence, if you add a subsistence 
in place» or a relation to a certain thiiig, at the same time 
that you [appear to] diminish it» by ascribing to it an 
indigence of place, or a relative condition of b^ing, you 
do not [in reality] diminish this essence, but you separate 
yourself from the perception of it, by receiving as a veil 
the phantasy which runs under your conjectural appre* 
hetfsion of it. For you cannot pass beyond, or stop» or 
render more perfect, or efiect the least change in a thing 
of this kind, because it is impossible for it to be in the 
smallest deg;ree deficient. For it is much more never- 
failing than any perpetually flowing fountain can be con- 
ceived to be. If» however» you are unable to keep pace 
with it» and to become assimilated to the intelligible all» 
you should not investigate any thing pertaining to real 
being ; or» if you do» you will deviate from the path that 
leads to it» and will look to something 'else. But if yoμ 
investigate nothing else» being established in yourself and 
your own essence» you will be assimilated to the intel- 
Kgible universe» and will not adhere to any thing pos- 
terior to it. Neither» therefore» should you say» I am of a 
great magnitude. For» omitting this greatness» you will 
become universalj though you were universal prior to 
this. But» together with the universal» something else 
was present with you, and you became less by the addi- 
tion ; because the addition was not from truly-existing 
being. For to that you cannot add any thing. When, 
therefore» any thing is added from non-being» a place 
is afforded to Poverty as an associate» accompanied by 
an indigence of all things. Hence» dismissing non-being» 
you will then become sufficient to yourself^. For he will 
not return properly to himself who does not dismiss things 

^ Immediately after this something is wanting in the original, (as is 
evident from the asterisks,) which, as it appears to me, no conjecture 
can appropriately supply. 


of a more vile and abject nature, and who opines himeelf 
to be something naturally small» and not to be such as he 
truly is. For thus he, at one and the sam^ time, departs 
both from himself, and from truly-existing being. . When^ 
also» any one is present with that which is present, ία 
himself» then he is present with true being» which is every 
where. But when you withdraw irom yourself, then,. 
likewise» you recede from real being;— of such great 
consequence is it» for a man to be present with that whick> 
is present with himself» [i. e. with his rational part], and 
to be absent from that which is external to him. 

If» however» true being is present with us, but non- 
being is absent, and real being is not present with ub in 
conjunction with other things [of a nature foreign] ; 
it does not accede in order that it may be pres.ent» but. we 
depart from it» when it is not present [with things of 
a different nature]. And why should this be considered 
as wonderful ? For you when present are not absent from 
yourself; and yet you are not present with yourself, 
though present. And you are both present with and 
absent from yourself when you survey other things» and 
omit to behold yourself. If» therefore» you are thus 
present» and yet not [in reality] present with yourself 
and on this account are ignorant of yourself» and in a 
greater degree discover all things, though remote from 
your essence, .than yourself» with which you are naturally 
present» why should you wonder if that which is not 
present is remote from you who are remote from il;^ 
because you have become remote from yourself? For, by 
how much the more you are [truly] present with yourself, 
though it is present» and inseparably conjoined with yoil, 
by so much the more will you be present with real beings 
which is so essentially united to you» that it is as impos- 
sible for it to be divulsed from you, as for you to be 
separated from yourself. So that it is universally pos- 
sible to know what is present with real being, and what 
is absent from it» though it is every where present, aiMJl 
again is also no where. For those who are able to pror 


ceed into tb^ir own essence intellectually; and io obtain 
a knowledge of it, will, in the knowledge itself, and the 
science accompanying this knowledge» be able to recover 
or regain themselyes, through the union of that whidi 
knows with that which is known. And with those, who 
are prese^t with themselves, truly-existing being will 
also be present. But from such ae abandon the proper 
being of themselves to other things^— from these, as they 
are absent from themselves, true being will also be 
idbsent. If, however, we are naturally adapted to ha 
established in the same essence» to be rich from our- 
selves, and not to descend to that which we are not; in 
so doing becoming in want of ourselves, and thus again 
associating with Poverty, though Porus* [or Plenty] is 
present; — and if we are cut off from real being, from' 
which we are not separated either by place, or essence; 
nor by any thing else, through our conversion to' non- 
being, we suffer as a just punishment of our abandon- 
ment of true being, a departure from, and ignorance 
of ourselves. And i^ain, by a proper attention to, we 
recover ourselves, and become united to divinity. It is, 
therefore, rightly said, that the soul is confined in body 
as in a prison, and is there detained in chains like a 
fugitive slaved We should, however, [earnestly] en- 
deavour to be liberated from our bonds. For, through 
being converted to these sensible objects, we desert our- 
selves, though we are of a divine origin, and are, as 
Empedocles says. 

Heaven's eiiles, straying from the orb of light. 

' In the original, sm ha rttorw «rttXiy 77 «met otiMmu, ΛΛίψηζ wa^mrn 
mnw ; but for eurov, I read wo(w ; as it appears to me that Porphyry is 
here alluding to what is said by Diotiroa, in the Banquet of Plato, con- 
cerning the parents of Love, m. that they are Poverty and ForuSj or 

^ See the Phiedo of Plato. But something is here wanting in the 
original, as b evident not only from the asterislcs, but finom the want of 
connexion in the words themselvea» 


So that every depraved Kfe is ibll of sefvitade; ar^d'^oft . 
due account is nvithont Gk>d and nnjusty tbe spiirit m 
it . being' inll of impiety, and ootifteqtiently of injuetitiew 
And tbi«i> again, it is rightly said, that justice it to te 
fonnd in the performance of that whidi is tiie pfotikioe pf 
him who performs it The image also of true justiba 
consiats in distribnting to each of those with whomw^ 
Uts^ that which is due to the desert bf each. 

42. That which poBsesses iSi existence in another 
[ii e.\xi something dififerent from itself], and is not essbl»- 
tialized in itself^ separably from anodier, if it ehoBid be 
converted to itself, in order to know itself, without Iteit in 
whidi it is essentialized, wiUidrawing itself from it^ 
would be corrupted by this knowledge, in consequence of 
separating itself from its essence. But that.which is able 
to know itself without the subject in which it exists, akid 
is able to withdraw itself from this subject, without the 
destruction of itsdf, cannot be essentialized in that» fixnn 
which it is capable of ^converting itself to itself, without 
being corrupted, and of knowing itself by its own ener- 
gies» Hence, if sight, and every sensitive power, neither 
perceives itself, nor apprehends or preserves itself by 
separating itself from body ; but intellect, when it sepa^ 
rates itself from body, then especially perceives intel•- 
lectuafiy, is converted to itself, and is not corrupted ; — it 
is evident that the sensitive powers obtain the power of 
energizing through the body ; but that intellect posseaseB 
its energies and its essence not in body, but in itself* 

43. Incorporeal natures are properly denominated, 
and conceived to be what they are, according to a pri- 
vation of body ; just as, according to the ancients, matter, 
and the form which is in matter^ and also natures and 
[physical] powers, are apprehended by an abstraction 
from matter. And after the same manner place, time, and 
the boundaries of things, are apprehended. For all such 
things are denominated according to a privation of body. 
There are likewise other things which are said to be 
incorporeal improperly, not according to a privation of 


body, bttty in ehort^ because they are not naturally.adapt^ 
to generatci. body^ ' Hence those of the former signifir 
cation subsist in bodies ; . but those of the second leure 
perfectly separated from, bodies, and from those inc<^- 
(K)real natures which subsist. about bodies^ FQr bodies, 
indeed, are in place, and bixundaries are. in. body. B«t 
intellect, and intellectual reason, neither, subsist in place 
nor in body; nor proximately give existence to bodies,, 
nor subsist together with bodies, or with those incor- 
poreal natures which are denominated according to a 
privation of bodies. Neither, therefore, if a certain 
incorporeal vacuum should be conceived to exist, would 
it be possible for intellect to be in a vacuum. For a 
vacuum may be the recipient of .body ; but it is impos*- 
sible that it should be the recipient of intellect, and afford 
a place for its energy. . Since, however, the genus of an 
incorporeal nature appears to be twofold, one of these 
tiie followers of Zeno do not at all admit, but they adopt 
the other; and perceiving that the former is not such as 
the latter, they entirely subvert it, though they ought 
rather to conceive that it is of another genus, and not 
to fancy that, because it is not the latter, it has no 

44. Intellect and the intelligible are one thing, and 
sense and that which is sensible another^ And the intel• 
ligible, indeed, is conjoined with intellect, but that which 
is sensible with sense. Neither, however, can sense by 

itself apprehend itself * * *• But the. intelligiUe, which 

* •■ • 

1 t. e. They are not adapted to be the immediate causes of bodj, 
because thej are perfectly separated firom it. The origioal is, «In li «v 
glKKa χΛΤΛ,χρι^ίΛΜς Xf/eftiy» αη#μιιτ•, «u ΚΛτβ ζτΐίζησνβ σ^/ΛΛτος, κατ• h •>Μς μη 
«ι^ϋκίΝΜ yma» owfM. Holstenius, not understanding what is here said by 
Poi^yiy, translates the words juire li oKmQfuiin^mareu ymf» β•»μα, ** led 
quod nullum omnino corpus generare possunt." For Porphyry, as ie 
evident from what immediatdy follows, is here speaking of natures 
which are perfectly separated from bodies, and which are, therefore, not 
naitorally adapted to be the immediate generators of tbeio, not through 
any deficiency, but through transcendency of power* 


id conjoined with intellect^ and intellect» which is con- 
joined with the intelligible, by no means fall under the 
perception of sense. Intellect, however» is intelligible to 
intellect. But if intellect is the intelligible object of 
intellect, intellect 'will be its own intelligible object. If^ 
therefore, intellect is an intellectual and not a sensible 
object, it will be intelligible. But if it is intelligible to 
intellect» and not to sense» it will also be intelligent• The 
same thing» therefore, will be that which is intelligent^ 
or intellectually perceives, and which is intellectually per- 
ceived, or is intelligible; and this will be true of the 
whole with respect to the whole; but not as he who 
rubs» and he who is rubbed. Intellect» therefore» does 
not intellectually perceive by one part, and is intel• 
lectually perceived by another : for it is impartible» and 
the whole is an intelligible object of the whole. It is 
likewise wholly intellect» having nothing in itself which 
can be conceived to be deprived of intelligence. Hence 
one part of it does not intellectually perceive» but not 
another part of if". For» so far as it does not intel- 
lectually perceive» it will be unintelligent. Neither, there- 
fore» departing from this thing» does it pass on to that. 
For of that from which it departs, it has no intellectual 
perception. But if there is no transition in its intel- 
lections» it intellectually perceives all things at once. 
If, therefore, it understands all things at once» and not 
this thing now, but an'other afterwards» it understands 
all things instantaneously and always * * * °. 

Hei ce» if all things are instantaneously perceived by 
it» its perceptions have nothing to do with the past aqd 

™ In the original» Sm 6υχι r»h μη taurw yo«». ro^i Η w yoi<, which Hoi- 
stenias erroneously translates» *' Ideoquenon quidera unam sui partem 
intelHgit» alteram vero non intelligit.'* For Porphyry is not here speak- 
ing of intellect surveying its parts» but of its being wholly intellective• 
This, if evident from what immediately follows. 

" The asterisks in the original denote something is wanting. Neyev» 
tbeless» what immediately follows them» is evidently connected with 
what immediately precedes, 


the future, but subsist in an indivisible un temporal. no«^^•' 
so that the simultaneous, both according to multitude^ 
and according to temporal interval, are present with 
intellect. Hence, too, all things subsist in it according 
to one, and in one, without interval, and without time^ 
But if this be the case, thero is nothing discursive 
or transitive in its intellections, and consequently they 
are without motion. Hence, they are energies "according 
to one, subsisting in one, and without increase or muta- 
tion, or any transition. If, however, the multitude sub- 
sists according to one, and the energy is collected 
together at once, and without time, an essence of this 
kind must necessarily always subsist in [an intelligiUe] 
one. But this is eternity. Hence, eternity is present 
with intellect. That nature, however, which does, not 
perceive intellectually according to one, and in one, but 
transitively, and with motion, so that in understanding it 
leaves one thing and apprehends another, divides and 
proceeds discursively, — this nature [which is soul] 
sists in conjunction with time. For with a motion of this 
kind, the future and. the past are consubsistent. But 
soul, changing its conceptions, passes from one thing to 
another ; not that the prior conceptions depart, . and 
the posterior accede in their place, but there is, as it 
were, a transition of the former, though they remain 
in the soul, and the latter accede, as if from some other 
place. They do not, however, . accede in reality from 
another place ; but they appear to do so in consequence 
of the self-motion of the soul, and through her eye being 
directed to a survey of the different forms which she con- 
tains, and which have the relation of parts to her whoje 
essence. For she resembles a fountain not flowing Qutr 
wardly, but circularly scattering its streams into itself. 
With the motion, therefore, of soul, time is consub- 
sistent; but eternity is consubsistent with the perma.-: 
nency of intellect in itself ^ It is not, however, divide4 

^ See the fourth book of my translation of Proclus, on the TimsQ« of 
Plato, In which the nature of time and eternity is most admirably 


from intellect in the same manner as time is from soul ; 
because in intellect the consubsistent essences are united. 
But that which is perpetually moved^ is the source of 
a false opinion of eternity» through the , immeasurable 
extent of its motion producing a conception of eternity. 
And that which abides [in one,] is falsely conceived to be 
til<i Isame with that which is [perpetually] moved. For 
tliat which is perpetually moyed, evolves the time of 
itself in the same manner as the now of itself, and mul- 
tiplies it, according to a temporal progression. Hence» 
eome have apprehended that time is to be surveyed in 
permanency no less than in motion ; and that eternity, as 
we have said, is infinite time ; just as if each of iJlese 
imparted its own properties to the other; time, which 
is always moved, adumbrating eternity by the perpetuity of * 
itself, and the sameness ofits motion ; and eternity, through 
being established in sameness of energy, becoming similar 
to time, by the permanency of itself arising from energy. 
In sensibles, however, the time of one thing is distinct 
from that of another. Thus, for instance, there is one 
time of the sun, and another of the moon, one time of the 
morning-star, and another of each of the planets. Hence, 
also, there is a different year of different planets. The 
year, likewise, whicl^ comprehends these times, termi- 
nates as in a summit, in the motion of the soul [of 
the universe,] according to the imitation of which the 
celestial orbs are moved. The motion of this soul, how- 
ever, being of a different nature from that of the planets^ 
the time of the former also is different from that of 
the latter. For the latter subsists with interval, and 
is distinguished from the former by local motions and 

unfolded. See, also, my translation of Plotinus, on Eternity and lime• 
In these works, what hoth these divine men have said of eternity, and 
what the former has said of time, contains, as it appears to me, the 
ne pint ultra of philosophical investigation on these most abstroee 







In my History of the Restoration of the Platonic Theo- 
logy [see Vol. II. of my Proclus on Euclid,] and in a 
note accompanying my translation of the treatise of Por- 
phyry, on the Cave of the Nymphs, in that work, I 
attempted, from the hints afforded by Porphyry, and the 
work of an anonymous Greek writer, De Ulyxis Error- 
ibus, to unfold the latent meaning of the wanderings 
of Ulysses, as narrated by Homer. But as, from my con- 
tinued application to the philosophy of Plato for upwards 
of forty years, I now know much more of that philosophy 
than• I then did, a period of thirty-five years having 
elapsed from that to the present time, I shall again 
attempt to explain those wanderings, rejecting some 
things, and retaining others which I had adopted before. 
In the first place, it is necessary to observe, that 
Ulysses does not rank among the first heroic characters, 
or in other words, he was not one of those heroes who 
descend into the regions of mortality at certain periods, 
not only in compliance with that necessity through which 
all partial souls such> as ours descend periodically, but 
also for the purpose of benefiting others, and leading 
them back to their pristine state of perfection. Hence, 
he was by no means such an exalted hero as Hercules, or 
Pythagoras, or Socrates, or Plato ; for they largely bene- 


fited others ; but he only benefited himself. For all his 
companions perished prior to his arrival at Ithaca. So 
that he was able to save himself^ but not others. 
'* Hence," says Olynipiodorus, in his MS. Scholia on the 
Gorgias of Plato, •* it is said, that Ulysses wandered on 
the sea by the will of Neptune. For by this it is 
signified that the Odyssean life was neither terrestrial^ nor 
yet celestial, but between these. Since, therefore, Nep- 
tune is the lord of the middle natures, on this account it 
is said, that Ulysses wandered through the will of Nep- 
tune, because he had a Neptunian allotment. Thus, also, 
theologists speak of the sons of Jupiter, Neptune, and 
Pluto) regarding the allotment of each. For we say, that 
he who has a divine and celestial polity, is the son of 
Jupiter ; that he who has a terrestrial polity, is the son of 
Pluto ; and he is the son of Neptune, whose polity or 
allotment is between these*." Hence Ulysses, froin hie 
Neptunian allotment, was a man who ranked among the 
middle class of characters that transcend the majority of 

In the next place, in order to understand accurately 
the recondite meaning of the wanderings of Ulysses, it is 
requisite to know what the most divine and theological 
poet Homer indicates by the Trojan war in the Iliad. For 
Homer, by combining fiction with historical facts, has 
delivered to us some very occult, mystic, and valuable 
information, in those two admirable peems, the Iliad and 
Odyssey. Hence, by those who directed their attention 
to this rect)ndite information, he was said, conformably 
to the tragical mode of speaking, which was usual with 
the most ancient writers, to have been blind, because, as 

* A«t T0( TovTo, xat τ«ν Ο^υσσ-ίΛ Xtyovcrt χατα Ι^αλβΐττ«ν vfkctvaa^eu ζουΧη τον 
ITo0'S(i«voc* σν/ΛΛίνουα-ι γαζ την O^ve-eruov ζοονν^ οτ< ou^i χθϋνια nt, αλλ'ον^ε /Λην tn 
ovgayta, αλλ« μ*σ^* tvti Wf ο Πύσ^ί^οον rw /Λίταζυ κύριος ee-7(, )(« τοντο και <rop 
Oh/aOta <paci ζουλη ΤΙοσ-κ^ο»νος [supple 9Τλανα0-θα<*] tirtihi rov xXupov ητου ΤΙοσ-^^οηος 
et^fv* ουτο γοιη »αι τον; μ.» ψαο** Δ<ος utou;, τους ie Τίοσαί'νγος^ τονς ^έ Πλουτβηρος, 
νξος τους κΧηξους αιασίου' τον μη γαξ ιγαντα θκαν χα( oupttiiav «roXiTKav ^ος 
ψα /ufy Mfv, Toy ie γ^ν/ιαν^ ΤΐΚουτοανος, τον h tuv {ΑίΤΛ^υ TToru^wyoc. 


Proclus observes'*, he separated himself from sensible 
beauty, and extended the intellect of his soul to invisible 
and true harmony. He was said, therefore, to be blind, 
because that intellectual beauty to which he raised him- 
self cannot be perceived by corporeal eyes. Thus, too, 
Orpheus is tragically said to have been lacerated in 
an all-various manner, because men of that age partially 
participated of «his mystic doctrine. The principal part of 
it, however,, was received by the Lesbians; and on this 
account, his head, when separated from his body, is said 
to have been carried to Lesbos. Hence, the Platonic 
Hermeas, conformably to this opinion of the occult 
meaning of the Iliad, beautifully explains as follows the 
Trojan war, in his Scholia on the Phsedrus of Plato : 

*' By Ilion, we must understand the generated and 
material place, which is so denominated from mud and 
matter (prapa mv Osuv xai mv i/Aw,) and in which there are 
war and sedition. But the Trojans are material forms, 
and all the lives which subsist about bodies. Hence, 
also, the Trojans are called genuine (i$cxyEveig\ For all the 
lives which subsist about bodies, and irrational^ souls, 
are favourable and attentive to their proper matter. On 
the contrary, the Greeks are rational souls, coming from 
Greece, 2. e. from the intelligible into matter. Hence, the 
Greeks are called foreigners {εττηλυ^ς,) and vanquish the 
Trojans, as being of a superior order. But they fight 
with each other about the image of Helen, as the poet 
says [about the image of Eneas]. 

Around the phantom Greeks and Trojans fight ^. 

Helen signifying intelligible beauty, being a certain vessel 
(ελενοη ης ou<ra,) attracting to itself intellect. An eflBiux, 
therefore, of this intelligible beauty is imparted to matter 

»» In Plat. Polit. p. 398. 

^ Instead of avaxoy» ^^νχΜ^ in this place, it is necessary to read 

* Iliad, V. V. 451. 



through Venus ; and about this efflux of beauty the 
Greeks fight with the Trojans [t. e. rational with irrational 
lives•]. And those, indeed, that oppose and vanquish 
matter, return to the intelligible world, which is their 
true country ; but those who do not, as is the case with 
the multitude, are bound to matter. As, therefore, the 
prophet, in the tenth book of the Republic, previously to 
the descent of souls, announces to them how they may 
return [to their pristine felicity], according to periods of 
a thousand and ten thousand years ; thus, also, Calchas 
predicts to the - Greeks their return in ten years, the 
number ten being the symbol of a perfect period. And 
as, in the lives of souls, some are elev^ated through philo- 
sophy, others through the amatory art, and others through 
the royal and waiflike disciplines ; so with respect to the 
Greeks,* some act with rectitude through prudence, but 
others through war or love, and their return is different 
[according to their different pursuits]." 

The first obviously fabulous adventure, then, of 
Ulysses, is that of the Lotophagi, which Homer beauti- 
fully narrates, and whose narration Pope very elegantly 
translates as follows : 

The trees around them all their fruit produce. 
Lotos the name, and dulcet is the juice ^! 
(Thence call'd Lotophagi) which, whoso tastes, 
Insatiate riots in the sweet repasts, - 
Nor other home, nor other care intends, 
But quits his house, his country, and his friends. 

* Conformahly to this, Proclus, in Plat. Polit. p. 398, says, " that 
all the beauty subsisting about generation [or the regions of sense], from 
* the fabrication of things, is signified by Helen ; about which there is 
a perpetual battle of souls, till the more intellectual having vanquished 
the more irrational forms of life, return to the place from whence they 
originally came.'' For the beauty which is iu the realms of generation, 
is an efflux of intelligible beauty. 

^ This second line is, in Pope's version, ^' Lotos the name, divine, 
nectarious juiqe!'' which I have altered as above, as being more 
conformable to the original. 


The three we sent froiaoff th' enchanting ground 
We dragged reluctant, and by'force we bound : 
The rest in haste forsook the pleasing shore. 
Or, the charm tasted, had retum'd no more fi. 

Plato,, in the 8th book of his Republic^ has admirably 
unfolded to us what the lotos occultly indicates, viz. that 
it signifies '* false and arrogant reasonings and opinions:" 
for daily experience shows that nothing is more enchant- 
ing and delicious than these to such as have made ησ 
solid proficiency in virtue, and who, like some of the 
companions of Ulysses, being fascinated by erroneous 
conceptions, consign their true country and true kindred 
to oblivion, and desire to live for ever lost in the intoxica- 
tion of fallacious delight. 

The next adventure of Ulysses is that of the Cyclops, 
whom he deprived of sight, and irritated by reproaches. 
But according to Porphyry, in the above-mentioned 
excellent treatise^ this is no other than the natal daemon 
of Ulysses,* or the daemon to whose protecting power 
he became subject, as soon as he was born^. In order, 
however, to understand perfectly the arcane meaning 
of this fable, it is necessary to observe^ that according to 
the ancient theology, those souls that in the present life 
will speedily Return to their pristine felicity in the intelli- 
ligible world, have not the essential daemon^ or the 
daemon which is inseparable from the essence of the soul, 
different from the daemon that presides over the birth ; for 
they are one and the same. But the case is otherwise 
with more imperfect souls ; a's the natal is in these differ- 
ent from the essential daemon ^ As Ulysses, therefore,. 

V Lib. ix. 1. 94, &c. 

^ Vid. Censoris, De Die Natali, cap. iii. 

' Thi» is evident from the following passage in the Commentary of 
Proclus, on the First Alcibiades of Plato : tmc μ» wf avwareurraruLtt^ 
ζωσ-Μς '\'Χ/χΜς ο αντβς iarn etvot ttarrau&a ^oifAW τοις U αηΧί^ίζΜς άλλος μη • 
«AT ουα-ιαψ iaifAm^ άλλος h ο Hara rw ιΤ^οβηβΧημηοψ 0ioy. p. 37, Bdit. Creuz. 
But for a copious account of the essential daemon, and of the different 
orders and offices of daemons, see the notes accompanying my translation, 
of the First Alcibiades, Phaedo^ asd Gorgias of Plato. 



does not rank among the more perfect heroic characters, 
and was not one who in the present life is immediately 
ascending to his kindred star^ or^ in Platonic language, to 
the paternal port, the soul's true paradise of rest ; but was 
a man who, prior to this, had many laborious wanderings 
to accomplish, and many difficulties and dangers of no 
common magnitude to sustain, his natal was not the 
same with his essential deemon. As he is, however, 
departing from a sensible to an intellectual life, though 
circuitously and slowly, he is represented in so doing as 
blinding and irritating his natal daemon. For he who 
blinds the eye of sense, and extinguishes its light, after 
his will has profoundly assented to its use, must expect 
punishment for the deed ; as necessary ultimately to his 
own peculiar good, and the gene^l order of the universe. 
Indeed, troubles and misfortunes resulting from such 
undertakings, not only contribute to appease the anger of 
their authors, but likewise purify and benefit the subjects 
of their revenge. According to the Greek theology; 
therefore, he who, in the present life, while he is in 
the road of virtue, and is eagerly searching for wisdom, 
perceives that there is a great resemblance between his 
destiny and that of Ulysses, may safely conclude, that 
either here, or in a prior state of existence, he has volun•' 
tarily submitted to the power of his natal deemon, and 
has now deprived him of sight; or in other words, 
has abandoned a life of sense; and that he has been 
profoundly delighted with the nature of matter, and is 
now abrogating the confessions which he made. This^ 
too, is insinuated in the beautiful story of Cupid and 
Psyche, by Apuleius, when the terrestrial Venus sends 
Mercury with a book in which her name is inscribed, to 
apprehend Psyche as a fugitive from her mistress. For 
this whole story relates to the descent of the soul into 
this tetrene body, and its wanderings and punishments, 
till it returns to its true country and pristine felicity^. 

^ See the note (p. 90) accompanying my translation of the Metamor- 
phosis of Apuleius. 


In the next fable^ which is that of iEoIus, the poet 
appears to me to signify that providence of divinity 
which is of an elevating and guardian nature, the 
influence of which, when properly received by the sub- 
J€Qts of it, enables them to pass with security over the 
stormy sea of life to their native land ; but when this 
influence is neglected through the sleep of reason, the 
negligence is followed by a temporary destruction of 
hope. This providence also of the Gods is not only one, but 
all-various, which Homer appears to indicate by ^olus ; 
the word αιοχος signifying various and manifold. As the 
advancement, therefore, of Ulysses in the virtues is as yet 
imperfect, extending no farther than to the ethical and 
political, which are but adumbrations of the true virtues, 
the cathartic and theoretic^, he is said to have fallen 
asleep, and to have been thereby disappointed of his wishes, 
his soul not being at that time in a truly vigilant state, as 
not having yet elevated its eye to real being from objects 
of sense which resemble the delusions of dreams. 

By the adventure of the Lestrigons, which follow» 
in the next place. Homer represents to us Ulysses flying 
from voracity, and fierce and savage manners ; a flight 
indispensably necessary, as preparatory to his attainment 
of the higher virtues. 

In the next adventure, which contains the beautiful 
allegory of Circe, we shall find some deep arcana of 
philosophy contained, exclusive of its connexion with 
Ulysses. By the iBean isle, then, in which the palace of 
Circe was situated, the region of sorrow and lamentation 
is signified, as is evident from the name of the island 
itself. And, by Circe, we must understand the Goddess 
of sense. For thus Porphyry, in Stobseus, p. 141 : 
^' Homer calls the period and revolution of regeneration 
in a circle, Circe, the daughter of the Sun, who perpetu- 
ally connects and combines all corruption with genera• 

' For an accurate account of the gradation of tlie virtues, see Por- 
phyry's Auxiliaries to Intelligibles, p. 217. 


tion, arid generation again with corruption/' And this 
if asserted still more explicitly by Proclus, in his Scholia 
on the Cratylus of Plato. For he says, '* Circe is that 
divine power which weaves all the life contained in 
the four elements, and, at the same time, by her song 
harmonizes the whole sublunary world. But the shuttle 
with which she weaves, is represented by theologists as 
golden, because her essence is intellectual, pure, imma- 
terial, and unmingled with generation ; all which is signi- 
fied by the shuttle being golden. And her employment 
consists in separating^ stable things from such as are 
in motion, according to divine diversity." And he also 
informs us, " that Circe ranks among the divinities who 
preside over generation, or the regions of sense." Homer, 
too, with great propriety, represents Circe, who rules over 
the realms of generation, as waited on by Nymphs sprung 
from fountains ; for Nymphs, says Hermias (in Plat. 
Phaedrum,) are Goddesses who preside over regeneration, 
and are the attendants of Bacchus, the son of Semele. 
On this account, they are present with water; that is, 
they ascend, as it were, into, and rule over generation. 
But this Dionysius, or Bacchus, supplies the regeneration 
of every sensible nature." 

Hence we may observe,, that the iEean isle, or this 
region of sense, is, with great propriety, called the abode 
of trouble and lamentation. In this region, then, the 
companions of Ulysses, in consequence of being very- 
imperfect characters, are changed, through the incanta^ 
tions of the Goddess, into brutes, i. e. into unworthy and 
irrational habits and manners. Ulysses, however, as one 
who is returning, though slowly, to the proper perfection 
of his nature, is, by the assistance of Mercury, or reason, 
prevented from destruction. Hence intellect, roused by 
its impassive power, and at the same time armed with 
prudent anger, and the plant moly, or temperance, which 
is able to repel the allurements of pleasure, wars on 


For the shuttle is a symbol of separating power. 


sensible delight, and prevents the effects of its transform- 
ing power. Ulysses, also, though he was not able talead 
his companions back to their native land, the paternal 
port of the soul, yet saves them from being transformed, 
through the enchantments of sense, into an irrational 

After this follows the allegory respecting the descent 
of Ulysses into Hades,- which occultly signifies, that he 
still lived a life according to sense, and not according to 
intellect, and that, in consequence of not having yet van- 
quished a terrestrial life, he was involved in obscurity. 
For ancient wise men universally considered Hades as com- 
mencing in the present state, of existence, and that sense is 
nothing more than the energy of the dormant soul, and a 
perception, as it were, of the delusions of dreams, as I have 
abundantly proved in my treatise on the Mysteries. The 
secret meaning, also, of what Ulysses saw in Hades, is no 
less beautiful than profound, as the follpwing extract 
from the manuscript Commentary of Olympiodorus, on 
the Gorgias of Plato, abundantly evinces : *' Ulysses,*' 
says he, *' descending into Hades, saw, among others, 
Sysiphus, and Tityus, and Tantalus. And Tityus he saw 
lying on the earth, and a vulture devouring his liver ; the 
liver signifying that he lived solely according to the 
epithymetic part of his nature [or that part of the soul 
which is the source of desires,] and that through this, 
indeed, he was, indeed, internally prudent; but earth 
signifying the terrestrial condition of his prudence. But 
Sysiphus, living under the dominion of ambition and 
anger, was employed in continually rolling a stone up an 
eminence, because it perpetually descended again; its 
descent implying the vicious government of himself; and 
his rolling the stone, the hard, refractory, and, as it were, 
rebounding condition of his life. And, lastly, he saw 
Tantalus extended by the side of a lake, and that there 
was a tree before him, with abundance of fruit on its 
branches, which he desired to gather, but it vanished 
from bis view. And this indeed indicates, that he lived 


under the dominion of the phantasy; but his hanging 
over the lake, and in vain attempting to drink, denotes 
the elusive, humid, and rapidly-gliding condition of such 
a life." 

We must now, however, view Ulysses passing from 
sense to imagination ; in the course of which voyage he 
is assailed by various temptations of great power, and 
destructive effect. We shall perceive him victorious in 
some of these, and sinking under others ; but struggling 
against the incursions of all. Among the first of these is 
the enchanting melody of the Sirens, 

Whose song is death, and makes destruction please. 

But what is occultly signified by the Sirens, is beautifully 
unfolded by Proclus, on the Cratylus of Plato, as fol- 
lows : *' The divine Plato knew that there are three 
kinds of Sirens ; the celestial, which is under the govern- 
ment of Jupiter ; that which is effective of generation, and 
is under the government of Neptune ; and that which is 
cathartic, and is under the government of Pluto. It is 
common to all these, to incline all things through qin 
harmonic motion to their ruling Gods. Hence, when the 
soul is in the heavens, they ,are desirous of uniting it to 
the divine life which flourishes there. But it is proper 
that souls living in generation should sail beyond them^ 
like the Homeric Ulysses, that they may not be allured 
by generation, of which the sea is an image. And when 
souls are in Hades, the Sirens are desirous of uniting 
them through intellectual conceptions to Pluto. So that 
Plato knew that in the kingdom of Hades there are 
Gods, daemons, and souls, who dance, as it were, round 
Pluto, allured by the Sirens that dwell there." Ulysses, 
therefore, as now proceeding to a life which is under the 
dominion of imagination, but which is superior to a life 
consisting wholly in sensitive energies, abandons those 
alluring and fraudulent pleasures of sense, which charm 
the soul with flattering and mellifluous incantations. 
Hence he closes with divine reasons and 6ne^ies, as with 


wax^ the impulses of desire and the organs of sense; 
so that every passage being barred from accesiSy they may 
in vain warble the song of ecstasy, and expect to ruin the 
soul by the enchanting strain. He also restrains the 
corporeal assaults by the bands of morality, and thus 
employs the senses without yielding to their impetuous 
invasions ; and experiences delight without resigning the 
empire of reason to its fascinating control. 

Ulysses, having escaped the dangers of the Sirens, 
passes on to the rocks of Scylla and Charybdis, of terrific 
appearance and irresistible force. By these two rocks 
the poet seems to signify the passions of anger and 
desire, and their concomitants, that compress human life 
on both sides; and which every one must experience 
who proceeds, like Ulysses, in a regular manner to an 
intellectual state of existence. Some of these are, like 
Scylla, of a lofty malignity ; fraudulent, yet latent and 
obscure, as being concealed in the penetration of the 
soul. And such is revenge, and other passions of a 
similar kind. In these recesses a daemon, the prince of 
such passions, resides. For the Chaldean oracles assort 
that terrestrial dssmons dwell in the soul, which is replete 
with irrational affections °. This dsemon also may justly 
be denominated a dire and enraged dog, who partly 
exposes his own malice, and partly hides it in impene- 
trable obscurity. Hence he is capable of producing mis- 
chief in a twofold respect. For he privately hurts by 
malignant stratagems, openly ravishes the soul on the 
lofly rock of fury, and rends it with the triple evil of 
deadly teeth, viz. dereliction of duty, hatred of humanity, 
and self-conceit. Indeed, a daemon of this kind will be 
perpetually vigilant in endeavouring to destroy, at one 

" And this is the meaning of the Chaldaic oracle, — 

t. e. ** The wild beasts of the earth shall inhabit thy vessel/' For, a^ 
PseliuB well observes, by the vessel, the composite temperature of the 
soul is signified, and by the wild beasts of the earth, terrestrial daemons. 


time the whole^ and at another time a part of the soul 
of one, struggling, like Ulysses^ against passion^ and 
yielding reluctantly to its invasions. 

But the other affections which pertain to desire are 
of a more corporeal nature, and are more conspicuously 
depraved. A wild fig-tree, i. e. the will, is produced on 
the top of this rock ; wild, indeed, on account of its free 
nature, but sweet in fruition; and, under which, often 
through the day, the impetuosities of the boiling body 
are accustomed to absorb and destroy the man, agitating 
upwards and downwards inflamed desire ; so that mighty 
destruction, both to soul and body, is produced by their 
mutual consent. But it is highly proper that a rock of 
this last kind should be anxiously avoided by one, who, 
like Ulysses, is labouring to return to his true country 
and friends. * Hence, if necessity requires, he will rather 
expose himself . to the other : for there the energy of 
thought, and of the soul's simple motions, is alone neces^ 
sary to be exerted, and it is easy to recover the pristine 
habit of the soul. In short, the poet seems to represent, 
by this allegory of the two rocks, as well the dangers 
which spontaneously arise from the irascible part of the 
soul, as those which are the effect of deliberation, and 
are of a corporeal nature ; both of which must be sus- 
tained, or one at least, by a necessary consequence. For 
it is impossible that neither of them should be expe- 
rienced, by one who is passing over. the stormy ocean 
of a sensible life. 

, After this succeeds the allegory, of the Trinacrian 
isle, containing the herds sacred to the God of day, 
which were violated by the companions of Ulysses ; but 
not without the destruction of the authors of this impiety, 
and the most dreadful danger to Ulysses. By the result 
of this fable, the poet evidently shows that punishment 
attends the sacrilegious and the perjured ; and teaches us 
that we should perpetually reverence divinity, with the 
greatest sanctity of mind, and be cautious how we com- 
mit any thing in divine concerns contrary to piety of 


manners and purity of thought. But Homer, by attri- 
buting sense to the flesh and hides of the slain herds^ 
manifestly evinces that every base deed universally pro- 
claims the iniquity of its author; but that perjury and 
sacrilege are attended with the most glaring indications 
of guilt, and the most horrifi signatures of approaching 
vengeance and inevitable ruin. We may here, too, ob- 
serve, that the will of Ulysses was far from consenting 
to this impious deed ; and that, though his passions 
prevailed at length over his reason, it was not till after 
frequent admonition had been employed, and greiat dili- 
gence exerted, to prevent its execution. This, indeed, 
is so eminently true, that his guilt was the consequence 
of surprise, and not . of premeditated design ; which 
Homer appears to insinuate by relating that Ulysses was 
asleep when his associates committed the offence. 

In the next fable we find Ulysses, impelled by the 
southern wind towards the rocks of ScyllaandCharybdis ; 
in the latter of which he found safety, by clinging 
to the fig-tree which grew on its summit, till she refunded 
the mast, on which he rode after 'the tempest. But the 
secret meaning of the allegory appears to me to be as 
follows : — Ulysses, who has not yet taken leave of a life 
according to sense, is driven by the warmth of passion, 
represented by the southern gales, into the dire vortex of 
insane desires, which frequently boiling over, and tossing 
on high the storms of depraved affections, plunges into 
ruin the soul obnoxious to its waves. However, per- 
ceiving the danger to which he is exposed, when the 
base storms begin to swell, and the whirlpools of de- 
pravity roar, he seizes the helm of temperance, and binds 
himself fast to the solid texture of his remaining virtue. 
The waves of desire are, indeed, tempestuous in the 
extreme ; but before he is forcibly merged, by the rage 
of the passions, into the depths of depravity, he tena- 
ciously adheres to his unconsenting will, seated, as it 
were, on the lofty summit of terrene desire. For this, 
like the wild fig-tree, affords the best refuge to the soul 


strnggling with the billows of base perturbations. Hence 
he thus recovers the integrity which he had lost, and 
afterwards swims without danger over the waves of 
temptation; ever watchful and assiduous, while he sails 
through this impetuous river of the flesh, and is exposed 
to the stormy blasts of heated passion and destructive 
vice. Hence, too, while he is thus affected, and anxious 
lest the loss from unworthy affections should return upon 
himself, he will escape being lacerated by the teeth of 
Anger, though she should terribly and fiercely bark in 
the neighbourhood of Desire, and endeavour, like Scylla, . 
to snatch him on her lofty rock. For those who are 
involuntarily disturbed, like Ulysses, by the billows of 
Desire, suffer no inconvenience from the depraved rock 
of Wrath; but considering the danger of their present 
situation, tifiey refiDquish the false confidence produced 
by rage for modest diffidence and anxious hope. 

Hitherto we have followed Ulysses in his voyage 
over the turbulent and dangerous ocean of sense ; in 
which we have seen him struggling against the storms 
of temptation, and in• danger of perishing through the 
tempestuous billows of vice. We must now attend him 
in the region of imagination, and mark his progress from 
the enchanted island, till he regain^ the long-lost empire 
of his soul. That the poet then, by Calypso, occultly 
signifies the phantasy or imagination, is, I think, evident 
from his description of her abode. For she is represented 
as dwelling in a cavern, illuminated by a great fire ; and 
this cave is surrounded with a thick wood, is watered by 
four fountains, and is situated in an island, remote from 
any habitable place, and environed by the mighty ocean. 
All which particulars correspond with the phantasy, as I 
presume the following observations will evince. In the 
first place, the primary and proper vehicle of the phan- 
tasy, or, as it is called by the Platonic philosophers, the 
imaginative spirity is attenuated and ethereal, and is there- 
fore naturally luminous. In the next place, the island 
is said to be sqrrounded with a thick wood, which 


evidently corresponds to a material nature, or this body, 
with which the phantasy is invested. For υλη, or matter, 
also signifies a wood. But the four fountains, by which 
the cave is watered, occultly signify the four gnostic 
powers of the soul, intellect , the discursive energy of reason, 
opinion, and sense ; with all which the phantasy, being also 
a gnostic power, communicates ; so that it receives images, 
like a mirror, from all of them, and retains those which 
it receives from the senses, when the objects by which 
they were produced are no longer present. Hence the 
imagination, or the phantasy, Ιφαντασ-ια,'] is denominated 
from being των φανεντων σίασις, the permanency of ap- 
pearances. And,' in the last place, the island is said to be 
environed by the ocean ; which admirably accords with 
a corporeal nature, for ever flowing, without admitting 
any periods of repose. And thus much for the secret 
agreement of the cavern and island with the region of 

But the poet, by denominating the Goddess Calypso, 
and the island Ogygia, appears to me very evidently to 
confirm the preceding exposition. .For Calypso is derived 
from HoXyTTToi, which signifies to cover as with a veil; and 
Ogygia is from ωγυγιος, ancient. And as the imaginative 
spirit is the primary vehicle of the rational soul, which 
it derived from the planetary spheres, and ia which it 
descended to the sublunary regions, it may with great 
propriety be said to cover the soul as with a fine garment 
or veil; and it is no less properly denominated ancient, 
when considered as the first vehicle of the soul. 

In this region of the phantasy, then, Ulysses is repre- 
sented as an involuntary captive, continually employed in 
bewailing his absence from his true country, and ardently 
longing to depart from the fascinating embraces of the 
Goddess. For thus his situation is beautifully described 
by the poet : 

But sad Ulysses, by himself apart, 

Pour'd the big sorrows of his swelling heart; 


All on the lonely shore he sat to weep, 
And roird his eyes around the restless deep ; 
Tow'rd his lovM coast he roU'd his eyes in vain. 
Till dimm'd with rising grief they streamM again **. 

His return, however, is at length effected through Mer- 
cury, or reason, who prevails oh the Goddess to yield to 
his dismission. Hence, after her consent, Ulysses is, 
with great propriety, said to have placed himself on the 
throne on which Mercury had sate : for reason then 
resumes her proper seat when the reasoning power is 
about to abandon the delusive and detaining charms of 
imagination. But Homer appear^ to me to insinuate 
something admirable when he represents Ulysses, on his' 
departure from Calypso, sailing by night, and contem- 
plating the order and light of the stars, in the following 
beautiful lines : 

And now, rejoicing in the prosperous gales. 
With beating heart Ulysses spread his sails ; 
Placed at the helm he sate, and marked the skies. 
Nor clos'd in sleep his ever watchful eyes. 
There viewed the Pleiads, and the northern team, 
And great Oriou*s more refulgent beam ; 
To which around the axle of the sky 
The Bear, revolving, points his golden eye; 
Who shines ei^alted on the ethereal plain, 
Nor bathes his blazing forehead in the main p. 

For what he here says of Ulysses, is perfectly con- 
formable to what is said by Plato in the 7th book of his 
Republic, respecting the man who is to be led from the 
cave, which he there describes, to the light of day, 
i. e. from a sensible to an intellectual life, viz. *' that he 
will more easily see what the heavens contain, and the 
heavens themselves, by looking in the night to the light of 
the stars and the moon, than by day looking on the sun, 
and the light of the sun." For by this, as Proclus well 

® Odyss. lib. v. 82, &c. The translation by Pope. 
» Ibid. lib. v. 269, &c. 



observes, *' Plato signifies the contemplation of intelli- 
giblee, of which the stars and their light are imitations» 
so far as all of them partake of the form of the sun, in the 
same manner as inielligibles are characterized by the 
nature of tL• good. These, then» such a one must con•^ 
template, that he may understand their essence» and 
dioee summits of their nature» by which they are dei- 
form processions from tlie ineffable principle of things." 
Ulysses» therefore» who is hastening. to an intellectual 
life» contemplates these lucid objects with vigilant eyes, 
rejoicing in the illuminations and assistance they afford 
him while sailing over the dark ocean of a sensible life. 

But as he is now earnestly engaged in departing from 
sense» he must unavoidably be pursued by the anger of 
Neptune, the lord of generation and a sensible life» whose 
service he has forsakeir» and whose offspring ^e has 
blinded by stratagem» and irritated by reproach. Hence» 
in the midst of these delightful contemplations, he is 
almost overwhelmed by the waves of misfortune» roused 
by the wrath of his implacable foe. He is» however» 
through divine assistance, or JLeucoUiea» enabled to sustain 
the dreadful storm. For» receiving from divinity the 
immortal fillet of true fortitude» and binding it under his 
breast, (the proper seat of courage») he encounters the 
billows of adversity» and bravely shoots along the 
boisterous ocean of life. It must» however» be carefully 
observed, that the poet is far from ascribing a certain 
passion to a divine nature, when he speaks of the anger of 
Neptune : for, in thus speaking» he» as well as other theo- 
logists» intended only to signify our inaptitude to the 
participation of its beneficent influence. 

Ulysses therefore, having with muoh difficulty escaped 
the dangers arising from the wrath of Neptune, lands at 
length on the island of Phseacia» where he is hospitably 
received» and honourably dismissed. Now, as it is proper 
that he who» like Ulysses» departs from the delusions of 
imagination» should immediately betake himself to the 
more intellectual light of the rational energy of the aaul» 


the land of Phseacia ought to correspond to our intellec- 
tual part^ and particularly to that portion of it which ie 
denominated in Greek diandia, and which is characterized 
by the power of reasoning scientifically, deriving the 
principles of its discursive energy from intellect. And 
that it has this correspondence^ the following observations 
will, I persuade myself, abundantly evince. In the first 
place, then, this island is represented by the poet as 
enjoying a perpetual spring, which plainly indicates that 
it is not any terrestrial situation. Indeed, the critical 
commentators have been so fully convinced of this, that 
they acknowledge Homer describes Phseacia as one of the 
Fortunate Islands ; but they have not attempted to pene- 
trate his design, in such a description. If, however, we 
consider the perfect liberty, unfading variety, and endless 
delight, which our intellectual part afibrds, we shall find 
that it is truly the Fortunate Island of the soul, in which, 
by the exercise of the theoretic virtues, it is possible for 
a man, even in the present life, to obtain genuine felicity, 
though not in that perfection as when he is liberated from 
the body- With respect to the Fortunate Islands, their 
occult meaning is thus beautifully unfolded by Olympio- 
dorus, in his Μ S, commentary on the Gorgias of Plato : 
Δει is sihvai on ai νήσοι υττεςιωττΎουσι της θαλασ-σ-ιις ανωτεξω 
ουσ -cu, την ουν '^ολιτειαν τνν νττεξκυ^αα-αν του βίου και της γενησεως, 
μαχοξων νήσους καΧουσι' ταυτον ίε εστί παι το η>^υσιον ττείιον, 
ίια τοι τούτο και ο Ηξαχλης τελευταιον αΟλον, εν τοις εσττεξίοις 
μεξεσίν ε^οιησατο, αντί πατηγανισατο τον σκοτεινον και χθονιον^ 
βιον, και λοινον εν ημεξα, ο εστίν εν αλήθεια και φατι εξη : ι. e, " It 
is necessary to know that islands are raised above, being 
higher than the sea. A condition of being, therefore, 
which transcends this corporeal life and ' generation, is 
denominated the islands of the blessed; but these are 
the same with the Elysian fields. And on this account, 
Hercules is reported to have accomplished his last labout 
in the Hesperian regions ; signifying by this, that having 
vanquished an obscure and terrestrial life, he afterwards 
lived in open day, that is, in truth and resplendent light." 


In the next place, the poet, by his description of the 
palace of Alcinous, the king of this island, admirably 
indicates the pure and splendid light of the energy of 
reason. For he says of it : 

The front appear'd with radiant splendours gay, 
Bright as the lamp of night, or orb of day. 
The walls were massy brass : the cornice high 
Blue metals crowned in colours of the sky. 
Rich plates of gold the folding doors incase ; 
The pillars silver on a brazen base. 
Silver the lintels deep projecting o*er. 
And gold the ringlets that command the door. 
Two rows of stately dogs on either hand» 
In sculpturM gold, and labour'd silver, stand. 
These Vulcan form'd intelligent to wait 
Immortal guardians at Alcinous' gate ^. 

And he represents it as no less internally luminous by 

Refulgent pedestals the walls surround, 

Which boys of gold with flaming torches crown'd ; 

The polisHM ore, reflecting ev'ry ray, 

Blaz'd on the banquets with a double day. 


Indeed Homer, by his description of the outside of this 
palace, sufficiently indicates its agreement with the planet 
Mercury, the deity of which presides over the rational 
energy. For this God, in the language of Proclus*", 
*' unfolds into light intellectual gifts, fills all things with 
divine reasons [i. e. forms, and productive principles,] 
elevates souls to intellect, wakens them as from a pro- 
found sleep, converts them through investigation to them- 
selves, and by a certain obstetric art and invention of 
pure intellect, brings them to a blessed life.^' According 
to astronomers, likewise, the planet Mercury is resplen- 
dent with the colours of all the other planets. Thus 
Baptista Porta in Coelest. Physiog. p. 88. ** Videbis 
in eo Saturni luridum, Martis ignem, Jo vis candidum, 

' Odyss. lib. vii.84> &c. The translation by Pope. 
^ In Euclid. Element, lib. i. p. 14. 


^ Veneris flavum, necnon utriusque nitor, hilaritasque, et 
ob id non peculiaris formse, sed eorum formam capit, cum 
quibus associatur^ ob ,id in describendo ejus colore astro- 
logi differunt." i. e, ** You may perceive in this planet 
the pale colour of Saturn, the fire of Mars, the whiteness 
of Jupiter, and the yellow of Venus ; and likewise the 
brilliancy and hilarity of each. On this account it is not 
of a peculiar form, but receives the form of its associates, 
and thus causes astrologers to differ in describing its 

But that the island of Phseacia is the dominion of 
reason, is, I think, indisputably confirmed by Homer's 
account of the ships fabricated by its inhabitants. For 
of these, he says : 

So shalt thou instant reach the realm assigned, 
In wondVous ships self-mov'd, instinct with mind. 
No helm secures their course, no pilot guides, 
Like man intelligent they plough the tides. 
Conscious of ev'ry coast and ev'ry bay, 
That lies beneath the sun*s all-seeing ray ; 
And veird in clouds impervious to the eye, 
Fearless and rapid through the deep they fly ". 

For it is absurd to suppose that Homer would employ 
such an hyperbole, in merely describing the excellency of 
the Phaeacian ships. Hence, as it so greatly surpasses 
the bounds of probability, and is so contrary to the 
admirable prudence which Homer continually displays, it 
can only be admitted as an allegory, pregnant with latent 
meaning, and the recondite wisdom of antiquity. The 
poet likewise adds respecting the Phasacians : 

These did the ruler of the deep ordain 

To build proud navies, and command |^e main ; 

On canvas wings to cut the wat'ry way. 

No bird more light, no thought more swift than they. 

The last of which lines so remarkably agrees with the 
preceding explanation, that I presume no stronger confirm- 

* Odyss. lib. viii. 536, &c. 


ation em be desired. Nor is the origiiial less fifatis- 

i, e. '* The ships of these men are swift as a wing, or as 
a conception of tL• mindJ* But the inhabitants of the 
palaoe are represented as spending their days in continual 
festivity, and unceasing mirth ; in listening to the har- 
mony of the lyre, or in forqiing the tuneful mazes of the 
joyful dance. For to the man who lives under the guidance 
of reason, or to the good man, every day, as Diogenes 
said, is a festival. Hence, such a one is constantly em- 
ployed in tuning the lyre of recollectiop, in harmonious 
revolutions about an intelligible essence, and the never- 
satiating and deifying banquet of intellect. 

And here we may observe how much the behaviour of 
Ulysses, at the palace of Alcinous, confirms the preceding 
exposition, and accords with his character, as a man 
passing in a regular manner from the delusions of sense, 
to the realities of intellectual enjoyment. For as he is 
now converted to himself, and is seated in the palace of 
reason, it is highly proper that he should call to mind his 
past conduct, and be afflicted with the-eurvey ; and that he 
should be wakened to sorrow by the lyre of reminiscence, 
and weep over the follies of his past active life. Hence, 
when the divine bard Demodocus, inspired by the fury of 
th^ Muses, sings the contention between Ulysses and 
Achilles, on his golden lyre, Ulysses is vehemently afiected 
with the relation. And when the inhabitants of the palace, 
i. e. the powers and energies of the rational soul, trans- 
ported with the song, demanded its repetition. 

Again Ulysses veil'd his pensive head, 
Again, unaKinn'd,-a shower of sorrow shed. 

For to the man who is making a proficiency in virtue, the 
recollection of his former conduct is both pleasing and 
painful; pleasing, so far as in some instances it was 
attended with rectitude, but painful so far as in others it 
was erroneous. 

^ Odyss. lib. vii. 33. 


Ulysses, also, is with the greatest propriety represented 
as relating his past adventures in the palace of Alcinous. 
For as he now betakes himself to the intellectual light of 
the reasoning power, it is highly necessary that he should 
review his past conduct, faithfully enumerate the errors of 
his life, and anxiously solicit a return to true manners, 
and perfect rectitude of tnind. As likewise he is now on 
his passage, by the pure energy of reason to regain the 
' lost empire of his soul, he is represented as falling into so 
profound a sleep in his voyage, as to be insensible for 
some time of its happy consummation ; by which the poet 
indicates his being separated from sensible concerns, and 
wholly converted to the energies of the rational soul. 
Nor is it without reason that the poet represents Ithaca, 
as presenting itself to the mariners' view, when the bright 
morning star emerges from the darkness of night. For 
thus he sings : 

But when the morning star, with early ray, 
Flam'd in the front of heav'n and promised day ; 
like distant clouds, the mariner descries 
Fair Ithaca's emerging hills arise ^. 

Since it is only by the dawning beams of intellect, that 
the discursive energy of reason can gain a glimpse of the 
native country and proper seat of empire of the soul. 

Ulysses therefore, being now converted to the energies 
of the rational soul, and anxious to commence the 
cathartic virtues, recognizes, through the assistance of 
Minerva, or wisdom, his native land : and immediately 
enters into a consultation with the Goddess, how he may 
effectually banish the various perturbations and inordinate 
desires, which yet lurk in the penetralia of his soul. For 
this purpose, it is requisite that he should relinquish all 
external possessions, mortify every sense, and employ 
every stratagem, which may finally destroy these malevo- 
lent foes. Hence, the garb of poverty, the wrinkles of 
age, and the want of the necessaries of life, are symbols 

" Odyss. lib. xiii. 93, &c. 


of mortified habits, desertion of sensible pursuits, and an 
intimate conversion to intellectual good. For the sensi- 
tive eye must now give place to the purer sight of Che 
rational soul ; and the strength and energies of the corpo- 
real nature must yield to the superior vigour of intellec- 
tual exertion, and the severe exercise of cathartic virtue^ 
And this, Homer: appears most evidently to indicate in 
the following beautiful lines : 

Now seated in the olive's sacred shade, 

Confer the hero and the martial maid. 

The Goddess of the azure eyes began : 

Son of Laertes 1 much experienced man ! 

The suitor train thy earliest care demand. 

Of that luxurious race to rid the land. 

Three years thy house their lawless rule has seen. 

And proud addresses to the matchless queen^; 

But she thy absence mourns from day to day, 

And inly bleeds, and silent wastes away ; 

Elusive of the bridal hour, she gives 

Fond hopes to all, and all with hopes deceives y. 

Hence : 

It fits thee now to wear a dark disguise. 
And secret walk unknown to mortal eyes ; 
For this my hand shall wither ev'ry grace. 
And evVy elegance of form and face. 
O'er thy smooth skin a bark of wrinkles spread, 
Turn hoar the auburn honours of thy head, 
Ois6gure every limb with coarse attire, 
And in thine eyes extinguish all the fire ; 
Add all the wants and the decays of life. 
Estrange thee from thy own ; thy son, thy wife ; 
From the loath'd object ev'ry sight shall turn, 
And the blind suitors their destruction scorn >. 

After this follows the discovery of Ulysses to Tele- 
machus, which is no less philosophically sublime than 

* t. e. Philosophy ; for of this Penelope is an image. 
^ Odyss. lib. xiii. 373, &c. 

' Odyss. lib. xiii. 397, &c. The translation of the above, and 
likewise of all the following passages from the Odyssey, is by Pope. 


poetically beautiful. For^ by Telemabhu8> we must under- 
stand a true scientific conception of things; since this is 
the legitimate ofispring of the energy of the rational soul^ 
in conjuncttion with philosophy. Hence Ulysses, while 
employed in the great work of mortification, recognizes 
his genuine offspring, and secretly plans with him the 
destruction of his insidious foes. And hence we may 
see the propriety of Telemachus being represented as 
exploring his absent father^ and impatient for his return. 
For the rational soul then alone associates with a true 
conception of things^ when it withdraws itself from 
sensible delights, and meditates a restoration of its fallen 
dignity and original sWay. 

And now Ulysses presents himself to our view in the 
habits cf mortification, hastening to his long deserted 
palace, or the occult recesses of his soul^ that he may 
mark the conduct and plan the destruction of those bane- 
ful passions which are secretly attempting to subvert the 
empire of his mind. Hence, the poet very properly and 
pathetically exclaims : 

And now his city strikes thi3 monah^h's eyes, 
Alas ! how cbfing'd ! a man of miseries ; 
Propt on a staff, a beggar, old and hatie, 
In tatter*d garments, flattering with the air^ 

However; as this disguise was solely assumed for the 
purpose of procuring ancient purity and lawful rule, he 
divests himself of the torn garments of mortification, 
as soon as he begins the destruction of occult desires; 
and resumes the proper dignity and strength of his 
genuine form. But it is not without reason that Pene- 
lope, who is the image of philosophy, furnishes the 
instrunient by which the hostile rout of passions are 
destroyed. For what besides the arrows of philosophy 
can extirpate the leading bands of impurity and vice? 
Hence, as soon as he is furnished with this irresistible 

* Odyss• Jib. xvii. 20J, &c. 




weapon^ he no longer defers the rmn of his insidious 
foes, but 

Then fierce the hero o^er the threshold strode ; 
Stript of his rags, he hlaz'd out like a God. 
Full in their face the lifted bow he bore» 
And qoiver'd deaths a formidable store ; 
Before his feet the rattling showV he threw, 
And thus terrific to the suitor crew ^. 

But Homer represents Penelope as remaining ignorant 
of Ulysses^ even after the suitors are destroyed, and he is 
seated on the throne of majesty, anxious to be known, and 
impatient to return her chaste and affectionate embrace. 
For thus he describes her : 

Then gliding through the marble valves in state, 

OpposM before the shining fire she sate. 

The monarch, by a colomn high enthronM, 

Hie ^je withdrew, and fixed it on the ground, 

Anxious to hear hia queen the silence break : 

Amazed she sate, and impotent to speak ; 

O'er all the man her eyes she rolls in vain. 

Now hopes, now fears, now knows, then doubts again*. 

By which Homer indicates, that Philosophy, through 
her long absence from the soul, and the foreign manners 
and habits which the soul had assumed, is a stranger 
to it, so that it is difficult for her to recognize the union 
and legitimate association which once subsisted between 
thtfm. However, in order to facilitate this discovery, 
Ulysses renders all pure and harmonious within the 
recesses of his soul ; and, by the assistance of Minerva, or 
wisdom, resumes the garb and dignity which he had for- 
merly displayed. 

Then instant to the baA (the monarch cries,) 
Bid the gay youth and sprightly virgins rise, 

^ Odyss. lib. χχϋ. 1, &c. « Odyss.lib. xxiii. 88, &c. 


Thence all descend in pomp and proud array. 
And bid the dome retound the mirthful lay ; 
While the sweet lyrist airs of raptures sings. 
And forms the dance responsive to the strings ^. 

And afterwards, Ulysses is described as appearing, 
through the interposition of Minerva, like one of the 

So Pallas his heroic form improves, 

With bloom divine, and like a God he moves ^. 

For, indeed; he who, like Ulysses, has completely 
destroyed the domination of his passions, and purified 
himself, through the cathartic virtues, from their defiling 
nature, no longer ranks in the order of mortals, but 
is assimilated to divinity. And now, in order that he 
may become entirely known to Philosophy, that chaste 
Penelope of the soul, it is only requisite for him to relate 
the secrets of their mystic union, and recognize the 
bower of intellectual love. For then perfect recol- 
lection will ensue ; and the anxiety of diffidence will be 
changed into transports of assurance, and tears of rap- 
turous delight. 

And thus we have attended Ulysses in his various 
wanderings and woes, till, through the cathartic virtues^ 
he recovers the ruined empire of his soul. But, as it 
is requisite that he should, in the next place, possess and 
energize according to the theoretic or contemplative 
virtues, the ^ end of which is a union with deity, as far 
as this can be effected by man in the present life. Homer 
only indicates to us his attainment of this end, without 
giving a detail of the gradual advances by which he 
arrived at this consummate felicity. This union is 
occultly signified by Ulysses first beholding, and after- 

^ Odyss. lib. xxiii. 131, &c. 
« Odyss. lib. xxiii. 163, &c• 


wards ardendy embraciiig his fiiiher with ecstatic delight• 
With most admirable propriety, also, is Ulysses repre- 
sented as proceeding, in order to effect this union, by 
himself al(me, to his father who is also alone. 

Alone and unattended, let me try 
If yet I share the old man's memory', 

says Ulysses. And afterwards it is said, 

Bat all alone the hoary king he found ^. 

For a union with the ijieffable one of the Demiurgus, the 
true father of the soul, can only be accomplished by the 
soul recurring to its own maty; and having for this 
purpose previously dismissed and abandoned every thing 
foreign to it. This occurrence, indeed, of the soul with 
deity, is, as Plotinus divinely says, <p\rrfi μονού vgog μόνον \ 
a flight of the alone to the alone, in which most beautiful 
expression I have no doubt he alludes to this mystic 
termination of the wanderings of Ulysses, in the embraces 
of his father. Proclus also, in a no less admirable 
manner, alludes to this union in his Commentaries on 
the Timseus of Plato Κ The allusion is in his comment 
on the words, " It is difficult, therefore, to discover the 
maker and father of this universe ; and, when found, it is 
impossible to speak of him to all men." On this passage 
Proclus observes : *' It is necessary that the soul, be- 
coming an intellectual world, and being as much as 
possible assimilated to the whole intelligible world, 
should introduce herself to the maker of the universe; 
and from this introduction, should, in a certain respect, 
become familiar with him through a continued intel- 

' Odyss. lib. xxiv. 215, &c. ^ Ibid. lib. xxiv. 235. 

^ These are the concluding words of the last book of his last Ennead. 
' See vol. i. p.' 254, of my translation of that work. 

2β8 ακ ΤΗ£ WAVDfiRiKoa of vlys^ksu 

lectual energy. For unintefrupted energy about any thing 
calls forth, and resuscitates our dormant ideas. But 
through this familiarity, becoming stationed at the door 
of the father, it is necessary that vre should be united to 
him. For discovery is this, to meet with him, to be 
united to him, to ctssociate alone with the alone, and to see 
him himself, the soul hastily withdrawing herself from 
every'other energy to him. For, being present with her 
father, she then considers scientific discussions to be but 
words ^ banquets together with him on the truth of real 
being, and in pure splendour is purely initiated in entire 
and stable visions. Such, therefore, is the discovery of 
the father, not that which is doxastic [or pertaining to 
opinion] ; for this is dubious, and not very remote from 
the irrational life. Neither is it scientific; for this is 
syllogistic and composite, and does not come into contact 
with the intellectual essence of the intellectual Derai- 
urgus. But it is that which subsists according to intel- 
lectual vision itself, a contact with the intelligible, and 
a union with the demiurgic intellect. For this may 
properly be denominated difficult, either as hard to 
obtain, presenting itself to souls after every evolution 
of life, or as the true labour of souls. For, after the 
wandering about generation, after purification, and the 
light of science, intellectual energy and the intellect 
which is in us shine forth, placing the soul in the father 
as in a port, purely establishing her in demiurgic intel- 
lections, and conjoining light with light; not such as 
that of science, but more beautiful, more intellectual, 
and partaking more of the nature of the one than this. 
For this is the paternal port, and the discovery of the father^ 
viz, an undefiied union with him.'* 

With great beauty also, and in perfect conformity to 
the most recondite theology, is the father .of Ulysses 

^ This is in consequence of a union with the Deoiiurgus being so 
much superior to scientific perception. 


represented as coarsely clothed^ and occupied in bota- 
nical labours : 

But all alone the hoary king he found; 

His habit coarse, but warmly wrapt around ; 

His head, that bow'd with many a pensive carp, 

Fenc*d with a double cap of goatskin hair ; 

His buskins old, in former service torn. 

But well repaired ; and gloves against the thorn. 

In this array the kingly gard*ner stood, 

And clear'd η plant, encumbered with its wood*. 

For this simplicity, and coarseness of the garb of Laertes, 
considered as an image of the true father of Ulysses, 
is, in every respect, conformable to the method adopted 
by ancient mythologists in their adumbrations of deity. 
For they imitated the transcendency of divine natures 
by things preternatural ; a power more divine than all 
reason by things irrational; and, by apparent deformity, a 
beauty which surpasses every thing corporeal. This 
array, therefore, of the father of Ulysses, is, in the lan- 
guage of Proclus, indicative '^ of an essence established 
in the simplicity of the one, and vehemently rejoicing, as 
some one of the piously wise says, in an unadorned 
privation of form, and extending it to those who are able 
to survey it"*." And the botanical labours of Laertes are 
an image of the providential attention of the Demiurgus 
to the immediate ramifications and blossoms of his own 
divine essence, in which they are inefiably rooted, and 
from which they eternally germinate. 

Though Ulysses, however, is placed through the 
theoretic virtues in the paternal port, as far as this is 
possible to be efiected in the present life, yet we must 
remember, according to the beautiful observation of Por- 

* Odyss. lib. xxiv. 2125, &c. 

>" ra fxvt γαξ t^t &ita και fv rn a^rXomrt rov ηος ι^ξυμίνα my euutXXoirt^Tov 
tυfAOξ^a'ιr (lege Λμοξ^ιαν) β*ς ^ari ης tm ta ooria 0-o^«v, λα^^οντο»; αγανοαττΛ^ 
ΛΛΐ <7ΤξοτίΐνοντΛ τοις κς αυτΛ 0λΐ7τ»ν ίν¥ΛμΈνοις» — Procl. in Parmenid. lib• i., 
p. 38. 8vo. Parisiis, 1821. 


phyry, that he is not freed from molestation, till he has 
passed over the raging sea of a material nature ; i. e. has 
become impassive'^ to the excitations of the irrational 
life» and is entirely abstracted from external concerns. 

Then heav*n decrees in peace to end his days. 
And steal himself from life by slow decays ; 
Unknown to pain, in age resign his breath, 
When late stem Neptune points the shaft of death ; 
To the dark grave retiring as to rest; 
His people blessing, by his people blest \ 

I shall only observe farther, that Plotlnus also con- 
sidered the vtranderings of Ulysses as a fabulous nar- 
ration containing a latent meaning, such as that v^hich 
we have above unfolded. This is evident from the fol- 
lovi^ing extract from his admirable treatise on the Beauti- 
ful: ** It is here, then, [in order to survey the beautiful 
itself] that we may more truly exclaim. 

Haste, let us fly and all our sails expand. 
To gain our dear, our long-lost native land p. 

But by wh^i leading stars shall we direct our flight, 
and by what means avoid the magic power of Circe, 
and the detaining charms of Calypso? For thus the 
fable of Ulysses obscurely signifies, which feigns him 
abiding an unwilling exile, though pleasant spectacles 

■ This impassivity, or perfect subjugation of the passions to reason, 
which is the true apathy of the Stoics and Platonists, is indicated by 
Ulysses finding a nation 

" Who ne'er knew salt or heard the billows roar." 

° Odyss. lib. xxiii. 281, &c. By the people, in these lines, the 
inferior parts or powers of the soul are indicated. 
Ρ Uiad, lib. ii. 140, and lib. ix. 27. 


were continually^ presented to bis sight ; and every thing 
was proffered to invite his stay, which can delight the 
senses and captivate the heart. But our true country, 
like that of Ulysses, is from whence we came^ and where 
our father lives **." 

1 See my paraphrased translation of this treatise, p. 37, &c. 




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