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Title: Five Stages of Greek Religion
Author: Murray, Gilbert, 1866-1957
Language: English
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                            FIVE STAGES OF
                            GREEK RELIGION

                            GILBERT MURRAY

                           THE BEACON PRESS


Anyone who has been in Greece at Easter time, especially among the more
remote peasants, must have been struck by the emotion of suspense and
excitement with which they wait for the announcement "_Christos
anestê_," "Christ is risen!" and the response "_Alêthôs anestê_," "He
has really risen!" I have referred elsewhere to Mr. Lawson's old peasant
woman, who explained her anxiety: "If Christ does not rise tomorrow we
shall have no harvest this year" (_Modern Greek Folklore_, p. 573). We
are evidently in the presence of an emotion and a fear which, beneath
its Christian colouring and, so to speak, transfiguration, is in its
essence, like most of man's deepest emotions, a relic from a very remote
pre-Christian past. Every spring was to primitive man a time of terrible
anxiety. His store of food was near its end. Would the dead world
revive, or would it not? The Old Year was dead; would the New Year, the
Young King, born afresh of Sky and Earth, come in the Old King's place
and bring with him the new growth and the hope of life?

I hardly realized, when writing the earlier editions of this book, how
central, how omnipresent, this complex of ideas was in ancient Greek
religion. Attis, Adonis, Osiris, Dionysus, and the rest of the "Year
Gods" were not eccentric divagations in a religion whose proper worship
was given to the immortal Olympians; they are different names given in
different circumstances to this one being who dies and is born again
each year, dies old and polluted with past deaths and sins, and is
reborn young and purified. I have tried to trace this line of tradition
in an article for the _Journal of Hellenic Studies_ for June 1951, and
to show, incidentally, how many of the elements in the Christian
tradition it has provided, especially those elements which are utterly
alien from Hebrew monotheism and must, indeed, have shocked every
orthodox Jew.

The best starting point is the conception of the series of Old Kings,
each, when the due time comes, dethroned and replaced by his son, the
Young King, with the help of the Queen Mother; for Gaia or Earth, the
eternal Wife and Mother of each in turn, is always ready to renew
herself. The new vegetation God each year is born from the union of the
Sky-God and the Earth-Mother; or, as in myth and legend the figures
become personified, he is the Son of a God and a mortal princess.

We all know the sequence of Kings in Hesiod: First Uranus (Sky), King of
the World, and his wife Gaia (Earth); Uranus reigns till he is dethroned
by his son Cronos with the help of Gaia; then Cronos and Rhea (Earth)
reign till Cronos is dethroned by his son Zeus, with the help of Rhea;
then Zeus reigns till . . . but here the series stops, since, according
to the orthodox Olympian system, Zeus is the eternal King. But there was
another system, underlying the Olympian, and it is to that other system
that the Year-Kings belong. The Olympians are definite persons. They are
immortal; they do not die and revive; they are not beings who come
and go, in succession to one another. In the other series are the
Attis-Adonis-Osiris type of gods, and especially Dionysus, whose name
has been shown by Kretschmer to be simply the Thracian _Deos_ or _Dios
nysos_, "Zeus-Young" or "Zeus-the-son." And in the Orphic tradition it
is laid down that Zeus yields up his power to Dionysus and bids all the
gods of the Cosmos obey him. The mother of Dionysus was Semelê, a name
which, like Gaia and Rhea, means "Earth." The series is not only
continuous but infinite; for on one side Uranus (Sky) was himself the
son of Gaia the eternal, and on the other, every year a Zeus was
succeeded by a "Young Zeus."

The Young King, bearer of spring and the new summer, is the Saviour of
the Earth, made cold and lifeless by winter and doomed to barrenness by
all the pollutions of the past; the Saviour also of mankind from all
kinds of evils, and bringer of a new _Aion_, or Age, to the world.
Innumerable different figures in Greek mythology are personifications of
him, from Dionysus and Heracles to the Dioscuri and many heroes of myth.
He bears certain distinguishing marks. He is always the son of a God and
a mortal princess. The mother is always persecuted, a _mater dolorosa_,
and rescued by her son. The Son is always a Saviour; very often a
champion who saves his people from enemies or monsters; but sometimes a
Healer of the Sick, like Asclepius; sometimes, like Dionysus, a priest
or hierophant with a _thiasos_, or band of worshippers; sometimes a
King's Son who is sacrificed to save his people, and mystically
identified with some sacrificial animal, a lamb, a young bull, a horse
or a fawn, whose blood has supernatural power. Sometimes again he is a
divine or miraculous Babe, for whose birth the whole world has been
waiting, who will bring his own Age or Kingdom and "make all things
new." His life is almost always threatened by a cruel king, like Herod,
but he always escapes. The popularity of the Divine Babe is probably due
to the very widespread worship of the Egyptian Child-God, Harpocrates.
Egyptian also is the Virgin-Mother, impregnated by the holy _Pneuma_ or
_Spiritus_ of the god, or sometimes by the laying on of his hand.

Besides the ordinary death and rebirth of the vegetation year god, the
general conclusion to which these considerations point has many
parallels elsewhere. Our own religious ideas are subject to the same
tendencies as those of other civilizations. Men and women, when
converted to a new religion or instructed in some new and unaccustomed
knowledge, are extremely unwilling, and sometimes absolutely unable, to
give up their old magical or religious practices and habits of thought.
When African negroes are converted to Christianity and forbidden to
practise their tribal magic, they are apt to steal away into the depths
of the forest and do secretly what they have always considered necessary
to ensure a good harvest. Not to do so would be too great a risk. When
Goths were "converted by battalions" the change must have been more in
names than in substance. When Greeks of the Mediterranean were forbidden
to say prayers to a figure of Helios, the Sun, it was not difficult to
call him the prophet Elias and go on with the same prayers and hopes.
Not difficult to continue your prayers to the age-old Mother Goddess of
all Mediterranean peoples, while calling her Mary, the Mother of Christ.
Eusebius studied the subject, somewhat superficially, in his
_Praeparatio Evangelica_, in which he argued that much old pagan belief
was to be explained as an imperfect preparation for the full light of
the Gospel. And it is certainly striking how the Anatolian peoples,
among whom the seed of the early Church was chiefly sown, could never,
in spite of Jewish monotheism, give up the beloved Mother Goddess for
whom mankind craves, or the divine "Faithful Son" who will by his own
sacrifice save his people. Where scientific knowledge fails man cannot
but be guided by his felt needs and longings and aspirations.

The elements in Christianity which derive from what Jews called "_the
Gôyim_" or "nations" beyond the pale, seem to be far deeper and more
numerous than those which come unchanged from Judaism. Even the Sabbath
had to be changed, and the birthday of Jesus conformed to that of the
Sun. Judaism contributed a strong, though not quite successful,
resistance to polytheism, and a purification of sexual morality. It
provided perhaps a general antiseptic, which was often needed by the
passionate gropings of Hellenistic religion, in the stage which I call
the Failure of Nerve.

                                                            G. M.

_September 1951._


In revising the _Four Stages of Greek Religion_ I have found myself
obliged to change its name. I felt there was a gap in the story. The
high-water mark of Greek religious thought seems to me to have come just
between the Olympian Religion and the Failure of Nerve; and the
decline--if that is the right word--which is observable in the later
ages of antiquity is a decline not from Olympianism but from the great
spiritual and intellectual effort of the fourth century B.C., which
culminated in the _Metaphysics_ and the _De Anima_ and the foundation of
the Stoa and the Garden. Consequently I have added a new chapter at this
point and raised the number of Stages to five.

My friend Mr. E. E. Genner has kindly enabled me to correct two or three
errors in the first edition, and I owe special thanks to my old pupil,
Professor E. R. Dodds, for several interesting observations and
criticisms on points connected with Plotinus and Sallustius. Otherwise I
have altered little. I am only sorry to have left the book so long out
of print.

                                                            G. M.


This small book has taken a long time in growing. Though the first two
essays were only put in writing this year for a course of lectures which
I had the honour of delivering at Columbia University in 1912, the
third, which was also used at Columbia, had in its main features
appeared in the _Hibbert Journal_ in 1910, the fourth in part in the
_English Review_ in 1908; the translation of Sallustius was made in 1907
for use with a small class at Oxford. Much of the material is much older
in conception, and all has been reconsidered. I must thank the editors
of both the above-named periodicals for their kind permission to

I think it was the writings of my friend Mr. Andrew Lang that first
awoke me, in my undergraduate days, to the importance of anthropology
and primitive religion to a Greek scholar. Certainly I began then to
feel that the great works of the ancient Greek imagination are
penetrated habitually by religious conceptions and postulates which
literary scholars like myself had not observed or understood. In the
meantime the situation has changed. Greek religion is being studied
right and left, and has revealed itself as a surprisingly rich and
attractive, though somewhat controversial, subject. It used to be a
deserted territory; now it is at least a battle-ground. If ever the
present differences resolved themselves into a simple fight with
shillelaghs between the scholars and the anthropologists, I should
without doubt wield my reluctant weapon on the side of the scholars.
Scholarship is the rarer, harder, less popular and perhaps the more
permanently valuable work, and it certainly stands more in need of
defence at the moment. But in the meantime I can hardly understand how
the purest of 'pure scholars' can fail to feel his knowledge enriched by
the savants who have compelled us to dig below the surface of our
classical tradition and to realize the imaginative and historical
problems which so often lie concealed beneath the smooth security of a
verbal 'construe'. My own essays do not for a moment claim to speak with
authority on a subject which is still changing and showing new facets
year by year. They only claim to represent the way of regarding certain
large issues of Greek Religion which has gradually taken shape, and has
proved practically helpful and consistent with facts, in the mind of a
very constant, though unsystematic, reader of many various periods of
Greek literature.

In the first essay my debt to Miss Harrison is great and obvious. My
statement of one or two points is probably different from hers, but in
the main I follow her lead. And in either case I cannot adequately
describe the advantage I have derived from many years of frequent
discussion and comparison of results with a Hellenist whose learning and
originality of mind are only equalled by her vivid generosity towards
her fellow-workers.

The second may also be said to have grown out of Miss Harrison's
writings. She has by now made the title of 'Olympian' almost a term of
reproach, and thrown down so many a scornful challenge to the canonical
gods of Greece, that I have ventured on this attempt to explain their
historical origin and plead for their religious value. When the essay
was already written I read Mr. Chadwick's impressive book on _The Heroic
Age_ (Cambridge, 1912), and was delighted to find in an author whose
standpoint and equipment are so different from mine so much that
confirmed or clarified my own view.

The title of the third essay I owe to a conversation with Professor J.
B. Bury. We were discussing the change that took place in Greek thought
between, say, Plato and the Neo-Platonists, or even between Aristotle
and Posidonius, and which is seen at its highest power in the Gnostics.
I had been calling it a rise of asceticism, or mysticism, or religious
passion, or the like, when my friend corrected me. 'It is not a rise; it
is a fall or failure of something, a sort of failure of nerve.'--We are
treading here upon somewhat firmer ground than in the first two essays.
The field for mere conjecture is less: we are supported more
continuously by explicit documents. Yet the subject is a very difficult
one owing to the scattered and chaotic nature of the sources, and even
where we get away from fragments and reconstructions and reach definite
treatises with or without authors' names, I cannot pretend to feel
anything like the same clearness about the true meaning of a passage in
Philo or the Corpus Hermeticum that one normally feels in a writer of
the classical period. Consequently in this essay I think I have hugged
my modern authorities rather close, and seldom expressed an opinion for
which I could not find some fairly authoritative backing, my debt being
particularly great to Reitzenstein, Bousset, and the brilliant
_Hellenistisch-römische Kultur_ of P. Wendland. I must also thank my
old pupil, Mr. Edwyn Bevan, who was kind enough to read this book in
proof, for some valuable criticisms. The subject is one of such
extraordinary interest that I offer no apology for calling further
attention to it.

A word or two about the last brief revival of the ancient religion under
'Julian the Apostate' forms the natural close to this series of studies.
But here our material, both historical and literary, is so abundant that
I have followed a different method. After a short historical
introduction I have translated in full a very curious and little-known
ancient text, which may be said to constitute something like an
authoritative Pagan creed. Some readers may regret that I do not give
the Greek as well as the English. I am reluctant, however, to publish a
text which I have not examined in the MSS., and I feel also that, while
an edition of Sallustius is rather urgently needed, it ought to be an
edition with a full commentary.[xvi:1]

I was first led to these studies by the wish to fill up certain puzzling
blanks of ignorance in my own mind, and doubtless the little book bears
marks of this origin. It aims largely at the filling of interstices. It
avoids the great illuminated places, and gives its mind to the stretches
of intervening twilight. It deals little with the harvest of flowers or
fruit, but watches the inconspicuous seasons when the soil is beginning
to stir, the seeds are falling or ripening.

                                                            G. M.


[xvi:1] Professor Nock's edition (Cambridge 1926) has admirably filled
this gap.


     I. SATURNIA REGNA                                       1

    II. THE OLYMPIAN CONQUEST                               39

   III. THE GREAT SCHOOLS                                   79

    IV. THE FAILURE OF NERVE                               123

     V. THE LAST PROTEST                                   173

       SALLUSTIUS, περὶ Θεῶν καὶ Κόσμου

   INDEX                                                   227

     Ο πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος ὲκ γῆς, χοῖκός· ὁ δεύτερος ἄνθρωπος ὁ
     Κύριος ἐξ οὐρανοῦ.

     "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the
     Lord from heaven."



Many persons who are quite prepared to admit the importance to the world
of Greek poetry, Greek art, and Greek philosophy, may still feel it
rather a paradox to be told that Greek religion specially repays our
study at the present day. Greek religion, associated with a romantic,
trivial, and not very edifying mythology, has generally seemed one of
the weakest spots in the armour of those giants of the old world. Yet I
will venture to make for Greek religion almost as great a claim as for
the thought and the literature, not only because the whole mass of it is
shot through by those strange lights of feeling and imagination, and the
details of it constantly wrought into beauty by that instinctive sense
of artistic form, which we specially associate with Classical Greece,
but also for two definite historical reasons. In the first place, the
student of that dark and fascinating department of the human mind which
we may call Religious Origins, will find in Greece an extraordinary mass
of material belonging to a very early date. For detail and variety the
primitive Greek evidence has no equal. And, secondly, in this department
as in others, ancient Greece has the triumphant if tragic distinction of
beginning at the very bottom and struggling, however precariously, to
the very summits. There is hardly any horror of primitive superstition
of which we cannot find some distant traces in our Greek record. There
is hardly any height of spiritual thought attained in the world that has
not its archetype or its echo in the stretch of Greek literature that
lies between Thales and Plotinus, embracing much of the
'Wisdom-Teachers' and of St. Paul.

The progress of Greek religion falls naturally into three stages, all of
them historically important. First there is the primitive _Euetheia_ or
Age of Ignorance, before Zeus came to trouble men's minds, a stage to
which our anthropologists and explorers have found parallels in every
part of the world. Dr. Preuss applies to it the charming word
'Urdummheit', or 'Primal Stupidity'. In some ways characteristically
Greek, in others it is so typical of similar stages of thought elsewhere
that one is tempted to regard it as the normal beginning of all
religion, or almost as the normal raw material out of which religion is
made. There is certainly some repulsiveness, but I confess that to me
there is also an element of fascination in the study of these 'Beastly
Devices of the Heathen', at any rate as they appear in early Greece,
where each single 'beastly device' as it passes is somehow touched with
beauty and transformed by some spirit of upward striving.

Secondly there is the Olympian or classical stage, a stage in which, for
good or ill, blunderingly or successfully, this primitive vagueness was
reduced to a kind of order. This is the stage of the great Olympian
gods, who dominated art and poetry, ruled the imagination of Rome, and
extended a kind of romantic dominion even over the Middle Ages. It is
the stage that we learn, or mis-learn, from the statues and the
handbooks of mythology. Critics have said that this Olympian stage has
value only as art and not as religion. That is just one of the points
into which we shall inquire.

Thirdly, there is the Hellenistic period, reaching roughly from Plato to
St. Paul and the earlier Gnostics. The first edition of this book
treated the whole period as one, but I have now divided it by writing a
new chapter on the Movements of the Fourth Century B. C., and making
that my third stage. This was the time when the Greek mind, still in its
full creative vigour, made its first response to the twofold failure of
the world in which it had put its faith, the open bankruptcy of the
Olympian religion and the collapse of the city-state. Both had failed,
and each tried vainly to supply the place of the other. Greece responded
by the creation of two great permanent types of philosophy which have
influenced human ethics ever since, the Cynic and Stoic schools on the
one hand, and the Epicurean on the other. These schools belong properly,
I think, to the history of religion. The successors of Aristotle
produced rather a school of progressive science, those of Plato a school
of refined scepticism. The religious side of Plato's thought was not
revealed in its full power till the time of Plotinus in the third
century A. D.; that of Aristotle, one might say without undue paradox,
not till its exposition by Aquinas in the thirteenth.

The old Third Stage, therefore, becomes now a Fourth, comprising the
later and more popular movements of the Hellenistic Age, a period based
on the consciousness of manifold failure, and consequently touched both
with morbidity and with that spiritual exaltation which is so often the
companion of morbidity. It not only had behind it the failure of the
Olympian theology and of the free city-state, now crushed by
semi-barbarous military monarchies; it lived through the gradual
realization of two other failures--the failure of human government, even
when backed by the power of Rome or the wealth of Egypt, to achieve a
good life for man; and lastly the failure of the great propaganda of
Hellenism, in which the long-drawn effort of Greece to educate a corrupt
and barbaric world seemed only to lead to the corruption or
barbarization of the very ideals which it sought to spread. This sense
of failure, this progressive loss of hope in the world, in sober
calculation, and in organized human effort, threw the later Greek back
upon his own soul, upon the pursuit of personal holiness, upon emotions,
mysteries and revelations, upon the comparative neglect of this
transitory and imperfect world for the sake of some dream-world far off,
which shall subsist without sin or corruption, the same yesterday,
to-day, and for ever. These four are the really significant and
formative periods of Greek religious thought; but we may well cast our
eyes also on a fifth stage, not historically influential perhaps, but at
least romantic and interesting and worthy of considerable respect, when
the old religion in the time of Julian roused itself for a last
spiritual protest against the all-conquering 'atheism' of the
Christians. I omit Plotinus, as in earlier chapters I have omitted Plato
and Aristotle, and for the same reason. As a rule in the writings of
Julian's circle and still more in the remains of popular belief, the
tendencies of our fourth stage are accentuated by an increased demand
for definite dogma and a still deeper consciousness of worldly defeat.

I shall not start with any definition of religion. Religion, like
poetry and most other living things, cannot be defined. But one may
perhaps give some description of it, or at least some characteristic
marks. In the first place, religion essentially deals with the uncharted
region of human experience. A large part of human life has been
thoroughly surveyed and explored; we understand the causes at work; and
we are not bewildered by the problems. That is the domain of positive
knowledge. But all round us on every side there is an uncharted region,
just fragments of the fringe of it explored, and those imperfectly; it
is with this that religion deals. And secondly we may note that religion
deals with its own province not tentatively, by the normal methods of
patient intellectual research, but directly, and by methods of emotion
or sub-conscious apprehension. Agriculture, for instance, used to be
entirely a question of religion; now it is almost entirely a question of
science. In antiquity, if a field was barren, the owner of it would
probably assume that the barrenness was due to 'pollution', or offence
somewhere. He would run through all his own possible offences, or at any
rate those of his neighbours and ancestors, and when he eventually
decided the cause of the trouble, the steps that he would take would all
be of a kind calculated not to affect the chemical constitution of the
soil, but to satisfy his own emotions of guilt and terror, or the
imaginary emotions of the imaginary being he had offended. A modern man
in the same predicament would probably not think of religion at all, at
any rate in the earlier stages; he would say it was a case for deeper
ploughing or for basic slag. Later on, if disaster followed disaster
till he began to feel himself a marked man, even the average modern
would, I think, begin instinctively to reflect upon his sins. A third
characteristic flows from the first. The uncharted region surrounds us
on every side and is apparently infinite; consequently, when once the
things of the uncharted region are admitted as factors in our ordinary
conduct of life they are apt to be infinite factors, overruling and
swamping all others. The thing that religion forbids is a thing never to
be done; not all the inducements that this life can offer weigh at all
in the balance. Indeed there is no balance. The man who makes terms with
his conscience is essentially non-religious; the religious man knows
that it will profit him nothing if he gain all this finite world and
lose his stake in the infinite and eternal.[6:1]

Am I going to draw no distinction then between religion and mere
superstition? Not at present. Later on we may perhaps see some way to
it. Superstition is the name given to a low or bad form of religion, to
the kind of religion we disapprove. The line of division, if we made
one, would be only an arbitrary bar thrust across a highly complex and
continuous process.

Does this amount to an implication that all the religions that have
existed in the world are false? Not so. It is obvious indeed that most,
if analysed into intellectual beliefs, are false; and I suppose that a
thoroughly orthodox member of any one of the million religious bodies
that exist in the world must be clear in his mind that the other million
minus one are wrong, if not wickedly wrong. That, I think, we must be
clear about. Yet the fact remains that man must have some relation
towards the uncharted, the mysterious, tracts of life which surround him
on every side. And for my own part I am content to say that his method
must be to a large extent very much what St. Paul calls πίστις or
faith: that is, some attitude not of the conscious intellect but of the
whole being, using all its powers of sensitiveness, all its feeblest and
most inarticulate feelers and tentacles, in the effort somehow to touch
by these that which cannot be grasped by the definite senses or analysed
by the conscious reason. What we gain thus is an insecure but a precious
possession. We gain no dogma, at least no safe dogma, but we gain much
more. We gain something hard to define, which lies at the heart not only
of religion, but of art and poetry and all the higher strivings of human
emotion. I believe that at times we actually gain practical guidance in
some questions where experience and argument fail.[8:1] That is a great
work left for religion, but we must always remember two things about it:
first, that the liability to error is enormous, indeed almost infinite;
and second, that the results of confident error are very terrible.
Probably throughout history the worst things ever done in the world on a
large scale by decent people have been done in the name of religion, and
I do not think that has entirely ceased to be true at the present day.
All the Middle Ages held the strange and, to our judgement, the
obviously insane belief that the normal result of religious error was
eternal punishment. And yet by the crimes to which that false belief led
them they almost proved the truth of something very like it. The record
of early Christian and medieval persecutions which were the direct
result of that one confident religious error comes curiously near to
one's conception of the wickedness of the damned.

       *       *       *       *       *

To turn to our immediate subject, I wish to put forward here what is
still a rather new and unauthorized view of the development of Greek
religion; readers will forgive me if, in treating so vast a subject, I
draw my outline very broadly, leaving out many qualifications, and
quoting only a fragment of the evidence.

The things that have misled us moderns in our efforts towards
understanding the primitive stage in Greek religion have been first the
widespread and almost ineradicable error of treating Homer as primitive,
and more generally our unconscious insistence on starting with the
notion of 'Gods'. Mr. Hartland, in his address as president of one of
the sections of the International Congress of Religions at Oxford,[9:1]
dwelt on the significant fact about savage religions that wherever the
word 'God' is used our trustiest witnesses tend to contradict one
another. Among the best observers of the Arunta tribes, for instance,
some hold that they have no conception of God, others that they are
constantly thinking about God. The truth is that this idea of a god far
away in the sky--I do not say merely a First Cause who is 'without body
parts or passions', but almost any being that we should naturally call a
'god'--is an idea not easy for primitive man to grasp. It is a subtle
and rarefied idea, saturated with ages of philosophy and speculation.
And we must always remember that one of the chief religions of the
world, Buddhism, has risen to great moral and intellectual heights
without using the conception of God at all; in his stead it has Dharma,
the Eternal Law.[10:1]

Apart from some few philosophers, both Christian and Moslem, the gods of
the ordinary man have as a rule been as a matter of course
anthropomorphic. Men did not take the trouble to try to conceive them
otherwise. In many cases they have had the actual bodily shape of man;
in almost all they have possessed--of course in their highest
development--his mind and reason and his mental attributes. It causes
most of us even now something of a shock to be told by a medieval Arab
philosopher that to call God benevolent or righteous or to predicate of
him any other human quality is just as Pagan and degraded as to say that
he has a beard.[10:2] Now the Greek gods seem at first sight quite
particularly solid and anthropomorphic. The statues and vases speak
clearly, and they are mostly borne out by the literature. Of course we
must discount the kind of evidence that misled Winckelmann, the mere
Roman and Alexandrian art and mythology; but even if we go back to the
fifth century B. C. we shall find the ruling conceptions far nobler
indeed, but still anthropomorphic. We find firmly established the
Olympian patriarchal family, Zeus the Father of gods and men, his wife
Hera, his son Apollo, his daughter Athena, his brothers Poseidon and
Hades, and the rest. We probably think of each figure more or less as
like a statue, a habit of mind obviously wrong and indeed absurd, as if
one thought of 'Labour' and 'Grief' as statues because Rodin or St.
Gaudens has so represented them. And yet it was a habit into which the
late Greeks themselves sometimes fell;[11:1] their arts of sculpture and
painting as applied to religion had been so dangerously successful: they
sharpened and made vivid an anthropomorphism which in its origin had
been mostly the result of normal human laziness. The process of making
winds and rivers into anthropomorphic gods is, for the most part, not
the result of using the imagination with special vigour. It is the
result of not doing so. The wind is obviously alive; any fool can see
that. Being alive, it blows; how? why, naturally; just as you and I
blow. It knocks things down, it shouts and dances, it whispers and
talks. And, unless we are going to make a great effort of the
imagination and try to realize, like a scientific man, just what really
happens, we naturally assume that it does these things in the normal
way, in the only way we know. Even when you worship a beast or a stone,
you practically anthropomorphize it. It happens indeed to have a
perfectly clear shape, so you accept that. But it talks, acts, and
fights just like a man--as you can see from the _Australian Folk Tales_
published by Mrs. Langloh Parker--because you do not take the trouble to
think out any other way of behaving. This kind of anthropomorphism--or
as Mr. Gladstone used to call it, 'anthropophuism'--'humanity of
_nature_'--is primitive and inevitable: the sharp-cut statue type of god
is different, and is due in Greece directly to the work of the artists.

We must get back behind these gods of the artist's workshop and the
romance-maker's imagination, and see if the religious thinkers of the
great period use, or imply, the same highly human conceptions. We shall
find Parmenides telling us that God coincides with the universe, which
is a sphere and immovable;[12:1] Heraclitus, that God is 'day night,
summer winter, war peace, satiety hunger'. Xenophanes, that God is
all-seeing, all-hearing, and all mind;[12:2] and as for his supposed
human shape, why, if bulls and lions were to speak about God they would
doubtless tell us that he was a bull or a lion.[12:3] We must notice the
instinctive language of the poets, using the word θεός in many subtle
senses for which our word 'God' is too stiff, too personal, and too
anthropomorphic. Τό εὐτυχεῖν, 'the fact of success', is 'a god and more
than a god'; τὸ γιγνώσκειν φίλους, 'the thrill of recognizing a friend'
after long absence, is a 'god'; wine is a 'god' whose body is poured out
in libation to gods; and in the unwritten law of the human conscience 'a
great god liveth and groweth not old'.[12:4] You will say that is mere
poetry or philosophy: it represents a particular theory or a particular
metaphor. I think not. Language of this sort is used widely and without
any explanation or apology. It was evidently understood and felt to be
natural by the audience. If it is metaphorical, all metaphors have grown
from the soil of current thought and normal experience. And without
going into the point at length I think we may safely conclude that the
soil from which such language as this grew was not any system of
clear-cut personal anthropomorphic theology. No doubt any of these
poets, if he had to make a picture of one of these utterly formless
Gods, would have given him a human form. That was the recognized symbol,
as a veiled woman is St. Gaudens's symbol for 'Grief'.

       *       *       *       *       *

But we have other evidence too which shows abundantly that these
Olympian gods are not primary, but are imposed upon a background
strangely unlike themselves. For a long time their luminous figures
dazzled our eyes; we were not able to see the half-lit regions behind
them, the dark primeval tangle of desires and fears and dreams from
which they drew their vitality. The surest test to apply in this
question is the evidence of actual cult. Miss Harrison has here shown
us the right method, and following her we will begin with the three
great festivals of Athens, the Diasia, the Thesmophoria, and the

The Diasia was said to be the chief festival of Zeus, the central figure
of the Olympians, though our authorities generally add an epithet to
him, and call him Zeus Meilichios, Zeus of Placation. A god with an
'epithet' is always suspicious, like a human being with an 'alias'. Miss
Harrison's examination (_Prolegomena_, pp. 28 ff.) shows that in the
rites Zeus has no place at all. Meilichios from the beginning has a
fairly secure one. On some of the reliefs Meilichios appears not as a
god, but as an enormous bearded snake, a well-known representation of
underworld powers or dead ancestors. Sometimes the great snake is alone;
sometimes he rises gigantic above the small human worshippers
approaching him. And then, in certain reliefs, his old barbaric presence
vanishes, and we have instead a benevolent and human father of gods and
men, trying, as Miss Harrison somewhere expresses it, to look as if he
had been there all the time.

There was a sacrifice at the Diasia, but it was not a sacrifice given to
Zeus. To Zeus and all the heavenly gods men gave sacrifice in the form
of a feast, in which the god had his portion and the worshippers theirs.
The two parties cemented their friendship and feasted happily together.
But the sacrifice at the Diasia was a holocaust:[14:2] every shred of
the victim was burnt to ashes, that no man might partake of it. We know
quite well the meaning of that form of sacrifice: it is a sacrifice to
placate or appease the powers below, the Chthonioi, the dead and the
lords of death. It was performed, as our authorities tell us, μετὰ
στυγνότητος, with shuddering or repulsion.[15:1]

The Diasia was a ritual of placation, that is, of casting away various
elements of pollution or danger and appeasing the unknown wraths of the
surrounding darkness. The nearest approach to a god contained in this
festival is Meilichios, and Meilichios, as we shall see later, belongs
to a particular class of shadowy beings who are built up out of ritual
services. His name means '_He of appeasement_', and he is nothing else.
He is merely the personified shadow or dream generated by the emotion of
the ritual--very much, to take a familiar instance, as Father Christmas
is a 'projection' of our Christmas customs.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Thesmophoria formed the great festival of Demeter and her daughter
Korê, though here again Demeter appears with a clinging epithet,
Thesmophoros. We know pretty clearly the whole course of the ritual:
there is the carrying by women of certain magic charms, fir-cones and
snakes and unnameable objects made of paste, to ensure fertility; there
is a sacrifice of pigs, who were thrown into a deep cleft of the earth,
and their remains afterwards collected and scattered as a charm over the
fields. There is more magic ritual, more carrying of sacred objects, a
fast followed by a rejoicing, a disappearance of life below the earth,
and a rising again of life above it; but it is hard to find definite
traces of any personal goddess. The Olympian Demeter and Persephone
dwindle away as we look closer, and we are left with the shadow
Thesmophoros, '_She who carries Thesmoi_',[16:1] not a substantive
personal goddess, but merely a personification of the ritual itself: an
imaginary Charm-bearer generated by so much charm-bearing, just as
Meilichios in the Diasia was generated from the ritual of appeasement.

Now the Diasia were dominated by a sacred snake. Is there any similar
divine animal in the Thesmophoria? Alas, yes. Both here, and still more
markedly in the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, we
regularly find the most lovely of all goddesses, Demeter and Persephone,
habitually--I will not say represented by, but dangerously associated
with, a sacred Sow. A Pig is the one animal in Greek religion that
actually had sacrifice made to it.[16:2]

       *       *       *       *       *

The third feast, the Anthesteria, belongs in classical times to the
Olympian Dionysus, and is said to be the oldest of his feasts. On the
surface there is a touch of the wine-god, and he is given due official
prominence; but as soon as we penetrate anywhere near the heart of the
festival, Dionysus and his brother gods are quite forgotten, and all
that remains is a great ritual for appeasing the dead. All the days of
the Feast were _nefasti_, of ill omen; the first day especially was ἐς
τὸ πᾶν ἀποφράς. On it the Wine Jars which were also Seed and Funeral
Jars were opened and the spirits of the Dead let loose in the
world.[17:1] Nameless and innumerable, the ghosts are summoned out of
their tombs, and are duly feasted, each man summoning his own ghosts to
his own house, and carefully abstaining from any act that would affect
his neighbours. And then, when they are properly appeased and made
gentle, they are swept back again out of this world to the place where
they properly belong, and the streets and houses cleaned from the
presence of death. There is one central stage indeed in which Dionysus
does seem to appear. And he appears in a very significant way, to
conduct a Sacred Marriage. For, why do you suppose the dead are summoned
at all? What use to the tribe is the presence of all these dead
ancestors? They have come, I suspect, to be born again, to begin a new
life at the great Spring festival. For the new births of the tribe, the
new crops, the new kids, the new human beings, are of course really only
the old ones returned to earth.[17:2] The important thing is to get them
properly placated and purified, free from the contagion of ancient sin
or underworld anger. For nothing is so dangerous as the presence of what
I may call raw ghosts. The Anthesteria contained, like other feasts of
the kind, a ἱερὸς γάμος, or Holy Marriage, between the wife of the
Basileus or Sacred King, and the imaginary god.[18:1] Whatever reality
there ever was in the ceremony has apparently by classical times faded
away. But the place where the god received his bride is curious. It was
called the Boukolion, or Bull's Shed. It was not originally the home of
an anthropomorphic god, but of a divine animal.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus in each of these great festivals we find that the Olympian gods
vanish away, and we are left with three things only: first, with an
atmosphere of religious dread; second, with a whole sequence of magical
ceremonies which, in two at least of the three cases,[18:2] produce a
kind of strange personal emanation of themselves, the Appeasements
producing Meilichios, the Charm-bearings Thesmophoros; and thirdly, with
a divine or sacred animal. In the Diasia we find the old superhuman
snake, who reappears so ubiquitously throughout Greece, the regular
symbol of the underworld powers, especially the hero or dead ancestor.
Why the snake was so chosen we can only surmise. He obviously lived
underground: his home was among the Chthonioi, the Earth-People. Also,
says the Scholiast to Aristophanes (_Plut._ 533), he was a type of new
birth because he throws off his old skin and renews himself. And if that
in itself is not enough to show his supernatural power, what normal
earthly being could send his enemies to death by one little pin-prick,
as some snakes can?

In the Thesmophoria we found sacred swine, and the reason given by the
ancients is no doubt the right one. The sow is sacred because of its
fertility, and possibly as practical people we should add, because of
its cheapness. Swine are always prominent in Greek agricultural rites.
And the bull? Well, we modern town-dwellers have almost forgotten what a
real bull is like. For so many centuries we have tamed him and penned
him in, and utterly deposed him from his place as lord of the forest.
The bull was the chief of magic or sacred animals in Greece, chief
because of his enormous strength, his size, his rage, in fine, as
anthropologists call it, his _mana_; that primitive word which comprises
force, vitality, prestige, holiness, and power of magic, and which may
belong equally to a lion, a chief, a medicine-man, or a battle-axe.

Now in the art and the handbooks these sacred animals have all been
adopted into the Olympian system. They appear regularly as the
'attributes' of particular gods. Zeus is merely accompanied by a snake,
an eagle, a bull, or at worst assumes for his private purposes the forms
of those animals. The cow and the cuckoo are sacred to Hera; the owl and
the snake to Athena; the dolphin, the crow, the lizard, the bull, to
Apollo. Dionysus, always like a wilder and less middle-aged Zeus,
appears freely as a snake, bull, he-goat, and lion. Allowing for some
isolated exceptions, the safest rule in all these cases is that the
attribute is original and the god is added.[20:1] It comes out very
clearly in the case of the snake and the bull. The tremendous _mana_ of
the wild bull indeed occupies almost half the stage of pre-Olympian
ritual. The religion unearthed by Dr. Evans in Crete is permeated by the
bull of Minos. The heads and horns are in almost every sacred room and
on every altar. The great religious scene depicted on the sarcophagus of
Hagia Triada[20:2] centres in the holy blood that flows from the neck of
a captive and dying bull. Down into classical times bull's blood was a
sacred thing which it was dangerous to touch and death to taste: to
drink a cup of it was the most heroic form of suicide.[20:3] The
sacrificial bull at Delphi was called _Hosiôtêr_: he was not merely
_hosios_, holy; he was _Hosiôtêr_, the Sanctifier, He who maketh Holy.
It was by contact with him that holiness was spread to others. On a coin
and a vase, cited by Miss Harrison,[21:1] we have a bull entering a holy
cave and a bull standing in a shrine. We have holy pillars whose
holiness consists in the fact that they have been touched with the blood
of a bull. We have a long record of a bull-ritual at Magnesia,[21:2] in
which Zeus, though he makes a kind of external claim to be lord of the
feast, dare not claim that the bull is sacrificed to him. Zeus has a ram
to himself and stands apart, showing but a weak and shadowy figure
beside the original Holy One. We have immense masses of evidence about
the religion of Mithras, at one time the most serious rival of
Christianity, which sought its hope and its salvation in the blood of a
divine bull.

Now what is the origin of this conception of the sacred animal? It was
first discovered and explained with almost prophetic insight by Dr.
Robertson Smith.[21:3] The origin is what he calls a sacramental feast:
you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the divine animal in
order--here I diverge from Robertson Smith's language--to get into you
his _mana_, his vital power. The classical instance is the sacramental
eating of a camel by an Arab tribe, recorded in the works of St.
Nilus.[21:4] The camel was devoured on a particular day at the rising of
the morning star. He was cut to pieces alive, and every fragment of him
had to be consumed before the sun rose. If the life had once gone out
of the flesh and blood the sacrifice would have been spoilt; it was the
spirit, the vitality, of the camel that his tribesmen wanted. The only
serious error that later students have found in Robertson Smith's
statement is that he spoke too definitely of the sacrifice as affording
communion with the tribal god. There was no god there, only the raw
material out of which gods are made. You devoured the holy animal to get
its _mana_, its swiftness, its strength, its great endurance, just as
the savage now will eat his enemy's brain or heart or hands to get some
particular quality residing there. The imagination of the pre-Hellenic
tribes was evidently dominated above all things by the bull, though
there were other sacramental feasts too, combined with sundry horrible
rendings and drinkings of raw blood. It is strange to think that even
small things like kids and fawns and hares should have struck primitive
man as having some uncanny vitality which he longed for, or at least
some uncanny power over the weather or the crops. Yet to him it no doubt
appeared obvious. Frogs, for instance, could always bring rain by
croaking for it, and who can limit the powers and the knowledge of

Here comes a difficulty. If the Olympian god was not there to start
with, how did he originate? We can understand--at least after a course
of anthropology--this desire of primitive man to acquire for himself the
superhuman forces of the bull; but how does he make the transition from
the real animal to the imaginary human god? First let us remember the
innate tendency of primitive man everywhere, and not especially in
Greece, to imagine a personal cause, like himself in all points not
otherwise specified, for every striking phenomenon. If the wind blows it
is because some being more or less human, though of course superhuman,
is blowing with his cheeks. If a tree is struck by lightning it is
because some one has thrown his battle-axe at it. In some Australian
tribes there is no belief in natural death. If a man dies it is because
'bad man kill that fellow'. St. Paul, we may remember, passionately
summoned the heathen to refrain from worshipping τὴν κτίσιν, the
creation, and go back to τὸν κτίσαντα, the creator, human and
masculine. It was as a rule a road that they were only too ready to

But this tendency was helped by a second factor. Research has shown us
the existence in early Mediterranean religion of a peculiar transitional
step, a man wearing the head or skin of a holy beast. The Egyptian gods
are depicted as men with beasts' heads: that is, the best authorities
tell us, their shapes are derived from the kings and priests who on
great occasions of sacrifice covered their heads with a
beast-mask.[23:2] Minos, with his projection the Minotaur, was a
bull-god and wore a bull-mask. From early Island gems, from a fresco at
Mycenae, from Assyrian reliefs, Mr. A. B. Cook has collected many
examples of this mixed figure--a man wearing the _protomê_, or mask and
mane, of a beast. Sometimes we can actually see him offering libations.
Sometimes the worshipper has become so closely identified with his
divine beast that he is represented not as a mere man wearing the
_protomê_ of a lion or bull, but actually as a lion or bull wearing the
_protomê_ of another.[24:1] Hera, βοῶπις, with a cow's head; Athena,
γλαυκῶπις, with an owl's head, or bearing on her breast the head of the
Gorgon; Heracles clad in a lion's skin and covering his brow δεινῷ
χάσματι θηρός, 'with the awful spread jaws of the wild beast', belong to
the same class. So does the Dadouchos at Eleusis and other initiators
who let candidates for purification set one foot--one only and that the
left--on the skin of a sacrificial ram, and called the skin Διὸς κῶας,
the fleece not of a ram, but of Zeus.[24:2]

The _mana_ of the slain beast is in the hide and head and blood and fur,
and the man who wants to be in thorough contact with the divinity gets
inside the skin and wraps himself deep in it. He begins by being a man
wearing a lion's skin: he ends, as we have seen, by feeling himself to
be a lion wearing a lion's skin. And who is this man? He may on
particular occasions be only a candidate for purification or initiation.
But _par excellence_ he who has the right is the priest, the
medicine-man, the divine king. If an old suggestion of my own is right,
he is the original θεός or θεσός, the incarnate medicine or spell or
magic power.[24:3] He at first, I suspect, is the only θεός or 'God'
that his society knows. We commonly speak of ancient kings being
'deified'; we regard the process as due to an outburst of superstition
or insane flattery. And so no doubt it sometimes was, especially in
later times--when man and god were felt as two utterly distinct things.
But 'deification' is an unintelligent and misleading word. What we call
'deification' is only the survival of this undifferentiated human θεός,
with his _mana_, his κράτος and βία, his control of the weather, the
rain and the thunder, the spring crops and the autumn floods; his
knowledge of what was lawful and what was not, and his innate power to
curse or to 'make dead'. Recent researches have shown us in abundance
the early Greek medicine-chiefs making thunder and lightning and
rain.[25:1] We have long known the king as possessor of Dike and Themis,
of justice and tribal custom; we have known his effect on the fertility
of the fields and the tribes, and the terrible results of a king's sin
or a king's sickness.[25:2]

What is the subsequent history of this medicine-chief or θεός? He is
differentiated, as it were: the visible part of him becomes merely
human; the supposed supernatural part grows into what we should call a
God. The process is simple. Any particular medicine-man is bound to
have his failures. As Dr. Frazer gently reminds us, every single
pretension which he puts forth on every day of his life is a lie, and
liable sooner or later to be found out. Doubtless men are tender to
their own delusions. They do not at once condemn the medicine-chief as a
fraudulent institution, but they tend gradually to say that he is not
the real all-powerful θεός. He is only his representative. The real
θεός, tremendous, infallible, is somewhere far away, hidden in clouds
perhaps, on the summit of some inaccessible mountain. If the mountain is
once climbed the god will move to the upper sky. The medicine-chief
meanwhile stays on earth, still influential. He has some connexion
with the great god more intimate than that of other men; at worst he
possesses the god's sacred instruments, his ἱερά or ὄργια; he knows the
rules for approaching him and making prayers to him.

There is therefore a path open from the divine beast to the
anthropomorphic god. From beings like Thesmophoros and Meilichios the
road is of course much easier. They are already more than half
anthropomorphic; they only lack the concreteness, the lucid shape and
the detailed personal history of the Olympians. In this connexion we
must not forget the power of hallucination, still fairly strong, as the
history of religious revivals in America will bear witness,[26:1] but
far stronger, of course, among the impressionable hordes of early men.
'The god', says M. Doutté in his profound study of Algerian magic,
'c'est le désir collectif personnifié', the collective desire projected,
as it were, or personified.[27:1] Think of the gods who have appeared
in great crises of battle, created sometimes by the desperate desire of
men who have for years prayed to them, and who are now at the last
extremity for lack of their aid, sometimes by the confused and excited
remembrances of the survivors after the victory. The gods who led the
Roman charge at Lake Regillus,[27:2] the gigantic figures that were seen
fighting before the Greeks at Marathon,[27:3] even the celestial signs
that promised Constantine victory for the cross:[27:4]--these are the
effects of great emotion: we can all understand them. But even in daily
life primitive men seem to have dealt more freely than we generally do
with apparitions and voices and daemons of every kind. One of the most
remarkable and noteworthy sources for this kind of hallucinatory god in
early societies is a social custom that we have almost forgotten, the
religious Dance. When the initiated young men of Crete or elsewhere
danced at night over the mountains in the Oreibasia or Mountain Walk
they not only did things that seemed beyond their ordinary workaday
strength; they also felt themselves led on and on by some power which
guided and sustained them. This daemon has no necessary name: a man may
be named after him 'Oreibasius', 'Belonging to the Mountain Dancer',
just as others may be named 'Apollonius' or 'Dionysius'. The god is only
the spirit of the Mountain Dance, Oreibates, though of course he is
absorbed at different times in various Olympians. There is one god
called Aphiktor, the Suppliant, He who prays for mercy. He is just the
projection, as M. Doutté would say, of the intense emotion of one of
those strange processions well known in the ancient world, bands of
despairing men or women who have thrown away all means of self-defence
and join together at some holy place in one passionate prayer for pity.
The highest of all gods, Zeus, was the special patron of the suppliant;
and it is strange and instructive to find that Zeus the all-powerful
is actually identified with this Aphiktor: Ζεὺς μὲν Ἀφίκτωρ ἐπίδοι
προφρόνως.[28:1] The assembled prayer, the united cry that rises from
the oppressed of the world, is itself grown to be a god, and the
greatest god. A similar projection arose from the dance of the _Kouroi_,
or initiate youths, in the dithyramb--the magic dance which was to
celebrate, or more properly, to hasten and strengthen, the coming on of
spring. That dance projected the Megistos Kouros, the greatest of
youths, who is the incarnation of spring or the return of life, and lies
at the back of so many of the most gracious shapes of the classical
pantheon. The Kouros appears as Dionysus, as Apollo, as Hermes, as Ares:
in our clearest and most detailed piece of evidence he actually appears
with the characteristic history and attributes of Zeus.[28:2]

This spirit of the dance, who leads it or personifies its emotion,
stands more clearly perhaps than any other daemon half-way between
earth and heaven. A number of difficult passages in Euripides' _Bacchae_
and other Dionysiac literature find their explanations when we realize
how the god is in part merely identified with the inspired chief dancer,
in part he is the intangible projected incarnation of the emotion of the

       *       *       *       *       *

'The collective desire personified': on what does the collective desire,
or collective dread, of the primitive community chiefly concentrate? On
two things, the food-supply and the tribe-supply, the desire not to die
of famine and not to be harried or conquered by the neighbouring tribe.
The fertility of the earth and the fertility of the tribe, these two are
felt in early religion as one.[29:1] The earth is a mother: the human
mother is an ἄρουρα, or ploughed field. This earth-mother is the
characteristic and central feature of the early Aegean religions. The
introduction of agriculture made her a mother of fruits and corn, and it
is in that form that we best know her. But in earlier days she had been
a mother of the spontaneous growth of the soil, of wild beasts and trees
and all the life of the mountain.[29:2] In early Crete she stands with
lions erect on either side of her or with snakes held in her hands and
coiled about her body. And as the earth is mother when the harvest
comes, so in spring she is maiden or Korê, but a maiden fated each year
to be wedded and made fruitful; and earlier still there has been the
terrible time when fields are bare and lifeless. The Korê has been
snatched away underground, among the dead peoples, and men must wait
expectant till the first buds begin to show and they call her to rise
again with the flowers. Meantime earth as she brings forth vegetation in
spring is Kourotrophos, rearer of Kouroi, or the young men of the tribe.
The nymphs and rivers are all Kourotrophoi. The Moon is Kourotrophos.
She quickens the young of the tribe in their mother's womb; at one
terrible hour especially she is 'a lion to women' who have offended
against her holiness. She also marks the seasons of sowing and
ploughing, and the due time for the ripening of crops. When men learn to
calculate in longer units, the Sun appears: they turn to the Sun for
their calendar, and at all times of course the Sun has been a power in
agriculture. He is not called Kourotrophos, but the Young Sun returning
after winter is himself a Kouros,[30:1] and all the Kouroi have some
touch of the Sun in them. The Cretan Spring-song of the Kouretes prays
for νέοι πολῖται, young citizens, quite simply among the other gifts of
the spring.[30:2]

This is best shown by the rites of tribal initiation, which seem
normally to have formed part of the spring Drômena or sacred
performances. The Kouroi, as we have said, are the initiated young men.
They pass through their initiation; they become no longer παῖδες, boys,
but ἄνδρες, men. The actual name Kouros is possibly connected with
κείρειν, to shave,[31:1] and may mean that after this ceremony they
first cut their long hair. Till then the κοῦρος is ἀκερσεκόμης--with
hair unshorn. They have now open to them the two roads that belong to
ἄνδρες alone: they have the work of begetting children for the tribe,
and the work of killing the tribe's enemies in battle.

The classification of people according to their age is apt to be sharp
and vivid in primitive communities. We, for example, think of an old man
as a kind of man, and an old woman as a kind of woman; but in primitive
peoples as soon as a man and woman cease to be able to perform his and
her due tribal functions they cease to be men and women, ἄνδρες and
γυναῖκες: the ex-man becomes a γέρων; the ex-woman a γραῦς.[31:2] We
distinguish between 'boy' and 'man', between 'girl' and 'woman'; but
apart from the various words for baby, Attic Greek would have four sharp
divisions, παῖς, ἔφηβος, ἀνήρ, γέρων.[31:3] In Sparta the divisions are
still sharper and more numerous, centring in the great initiation
ceremonies of the Iranes, or full-grown youths, to the goddess called
Orthia or Bortheia.[32:1] These initiation ceremonies are called
Teletai, 'completions': they mark the great 'rite of transition' from
the immature, charming, but half useless thing which we call boy or
girl, to the τέλειος ἀνήρ, the full member of the tribe as fighter or
counsellor, or to the τελεία γυνή, the full wife and mother. This whole
subject of Greek initiation ceremonies calls pressingly for more
investigation. It is only in the last few years that we have obtained
the material for understanding them, and the whole mass of the evidence
needs re-treatment. For one instance, it is clear that a great number of
rites which were formerly explained as remnants of human sacrifice are
simply ceremonies of initiation.[32:2]

At the great spring Drômenon the tribe and the growing earth were
renovated together: the earth arises afresh from her dead seeds, the
tribe from its dead ancestors; and the whole process, charged as it is
with the emotion of pressing human desire, projects its anthropomorphic
god or daemon. A vegetation-spirit we call him, very inadequately; he is
a divine Kouros, a Year-Daemon, a spirit that in the first stage is
living, then dies with each year, then thirdly rises again from the
dead, raising the whole dead world with him--the Greeks called him in
this phase 'the Third One', or the 'Saviour'. The renovation ceremonies
were accompanied by a casting off of the old year, the old garments, and
everything that is polluted by the infection of death. And not only of
death; but clearly I think, in spite of the protests of some Hellenists,
of guilt or sin also. For the life of the Year-Daemon, as it seems to be
reflected in Tragedy, is generally a story of Pride and Punishment. Each
Year arrives, waxes great, commits the sin of Hubris, and then is slain.
The death is deserved; but the slaying is a sin: hence comes the next
Year as Avenger, or as the Wronged One re-risen. 'All things pay
retribution for their injustice one to another according to the
ordinance of time.'[33:1] It is this range of ideas, half suppressed
during the classical period, but evidently still current among the ruder
and less Hellenized peoples, which supplied St. Paul with some of his
most famous and deep-reaching metaphors. 'Thou fool, that which thou
sowest is not quickened except it die.'[33:2] 'As He was raised from the
dead we may walk with Him in newness of life.' And this renovation must
be preceded by a casting out and killing of the old polluted life--'the
old man in us must first be crucified'.

'The old man must be crucified.' We observed that in all the three
Festivals there was a pervasive element of vague fear. Hitherto we have
been dealing with early Greek religion chiefly from the point of view of
_mana_, the positive power or force that man tries to acquire from his
totem-animal or his god. But there is also a negative side to be
considered: there is not only the _mana_, but the _tabu_, the Forbidden,
the Thing Feared. We must cast away the old year; we must put our sins
on to a φαρμακός or scapegoat and drive it out. When the ghosts have
returned and feasted with us at the Anthesteria we must, with tar and
branches of buckthorn, purge them out of every corner of the rooms till
the air is pure from the infection of death. We must avoid speaking
dangerous words; in great moments we must avoid speaking any words at
all, lest there should be even in the most innocent of them some unknown
danger; for we are surrounded above and below by Kêres, or Spirits,
winged influences, shapeless or of unknown shape, sometimes the spirits
of death, sometimes of disease, madness, calamity; thousands and
thousands of them, as Sarpedon says, from whom man can never escape nor
hide;[34:1] 'all the air so crowded with them', says an unknown ancient
poet, 'that there is not one empty chink into which you could push the
spike of a blade of corn.'[34:2]

The extraordinary security of our modern life in times of peace makes it
hard for us to realize, except by a definite effort of the imagination,
the constant precariousness, the frightful proximity of death, that was
usual in these weak ancient communities. They were in fear of wild
beasts; they were helpless against floods, helpless against
pestilences. Their food depended on the crops of one tiny plot of
ground; and if the Saviour was not reborn with the spring, they slowly
and miserably died. And all the while they knew almost nothing of the
real causes that made crops succeed or fail. They only felt sure it was
somehow a matter of pollution, of unexpiated defilement. It is this
state of things that explains the curious cruelty of early agricultural
doings, the human sacrifices, the scapegoats, the tearing in pieces of
living animals, and perhaps of living men, the steeping of the fields in
blood. Like most cruelty it has its roots in terror, terror of the
breach of _Tabu_--the Forbidden Thing. I will not dwell on this side of
the picture: it is well enough known. But we have to remember that, like
so many morbid growths of the human mind, it has its sublime side. We
must not forget that the human victims were often volunteers. The
records of Carthage and Jerusalem, the long list in Greek legend of
princes and princesses who died for their country, tell the same story.
In most human societies, savage as well as civilized, it is not hard to
find men who are ready to endure death for their fellow-citizens. We
need not suppose that the martyrs were always the noblest of the human
race. They were sometimes mad--hysterical or megalomaniac: sometimes
reckless and desperate: sometimes, as in the curious case attested of
the Roman armies on the Danube, they were men of strong desires and weak
imagination ready to die at the end of a short period, if in the
meantime they might glut all their senses with unlimited

Still, when all is said, there is nothing that stirs men's imagination
like the contemplation of martyrdom, and it is no wonder that the more
emotional cults of antiquity vibrate with the worship of this dying
Saviour, the Sôsipolis, the Sôtêr, who in so many forms dies with his
world or for his world, and rises again as the world rises, triumphant
through suffering over Death and the broken _Tabu_.

_Tabu_ is at first sight a far more prominent element in the primitive
religions than _Mana_, just as misfortune and crime are more highly
coloured and striking than prosperity and decent behaviour. To an early
Greek tribe the world of possible action was sharply divided between
what was Themis and what was Not Themis, between lawful and _tabu_, holy
and unholy, correct and forbidden. To do a thing that was not Themis was
a sure source of public disaster. Consequently it was of the first
necessity in a life full of such perils to find out the exact rules
about them. How is that to be managed? Themis is ancient law: it is τὰ
πάτρια, the way of our ancestors, the thing that has always been done
and is therefore divinely right. In ordinary life, of course, Themis is
clear. Every one knows it. But from time to time new emergencies arise,
the like of which we have never seen, and they frighten us. We must go
to the Gerontes, the Old Men of the Tribe; they will perhaps remember
what our fathers did. What they tell us will be _Presbiston_, a
word which means indifferently 'oldest' and 'best'--αἰεὶ δὲ νεώτεροι
ἀφραδέουσιν, 'Young men are always being foolish'. Of course, if there
is a Basileus, a holy King, he by his special power may perhaps know
best of all, though he too must take care not to gainsay the Old Men.

For the whole problem is to find out τὰ πάτρια, the ways that our
fathers followed. And suppose the Old Men themselves fail us, what must
we needs do? Here we come to a famous and peculiar Greek custom, for
which I have never seen quoted any exact parallel or any satisfactory
explanation. If the Old Men fail us, we must go to those older still, go
to our great ancestors, the ἥρωες, the Chthonian people, lying in their
sacred tombs, and ask them to help. The word χρᾶν means both 'to lend
money' and 'to give an oracle', two ways of helping people in an
emergency. Sometimes a tribe might happen to have a real ancestor buried
in the neighbourhood; if so, his tomb would be an oracle. More often
perhaps, for the memories of savage tribes are very precarious, there
would be no well-recorded personal tomb. The oracle would be at some
place sacred to the Chthonian people in general, or to some particular
personification of them, a Delphi or a cave of Trophônius, a place of
Snakes and Earth. You go to the Chthonian folk for guidance because they
are themselves the Oldest of the Old Ones, and they know the real
custom: they know what is Presbiston, what is Themis. And by an easy
extension of this knowledge they are also supposed to know what is. He
who knows the law fully to the uttermost also knows what will happen if
the law is broken. It is, I think, important to realize that the normal
reason for consulting an oracle was not to ask questions of fact. It was
that some emergency had arisen in which men simply wanted to know how
they ought to behave. The advice they received in this way varied from
the virtuous to the abominable, as the religion itself varied. A great
mass of oracles can be quoted enjoining the rules of customary morality,
justice, honesty, piety, duty to a man's parents, to the old, and to the
weak. But of necessity the oracles hated change and strangled the
progress of knowledge. Also, like most manifestations of early religion,
they throve upon human terror: the more blind the terror the stronger
became their hold. In such an atmosphere the lowest and most beastlike
elements of humanity tended to come to the front; and religion no doubt
as a rule joined with them in drowning the voice of criticism and of
civilization, that is, of reason and of mercy. When really frightened
the oracle generally fell back on some remedy full of pain and blood.
The medieval plan of burning heretics alive had not yet been invented.
But the history of uncivilized man, if it were written, would provide a
vast list of victims, all of them innocent, who died or suffered to
expiate some portent or _monstrum_--some reported τέρας--with which they
had nothing whatever to do, which was in no way altered by their
suffering, which probably never really happened at all, and if it did
was of no consequence. The sins of the modern world in dealing with
heretics and witches have perhaps been more gigantic than those of
primitive men, but one can hardy rise from the record of these ancient
observances without being haunted by the judgement of the Roman poet:

     Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum,

and feeling with him that the lightening of this cloud, the taming of
this blind dragon, must rank among the very greatest services that
Hellenism wrought for mankind.


[6:1] Professor Émile Durkheim in his famous analysis of the religious
emotions argues that when a man feels the belief and the command as
something coming from without, superior, authoritative, of infinite
import, it is because religion is the work of the tribe and, as such,
superior to the individual. The voice of God is the imagined voice of
the whole tribe, heard or imagined by him who is going to break its
laws. I have some difficulty about the psychology implied in this
doctrine: surely the apparent externality of the religious command seems
to belong to a fairly common type of experience, in which the
personality is divided, so that first one part of it and then another
emerges into consciousness. If you forget an engagement, sometimes
your peace is disturbed for quite a long time by a vague external
annoyance or condemnation, which at last grows to be a distinct
judgement--'Heavens! I ought to be at the Committee on So-and-so.' But
apart from this criticism, there is obviously much historical truth in
Professor Durkheim's theory, and it is not so different as it seems at
first sight from the ordinary beliefs of religious men. The tribe to
primitive man is not a mere group of human beings. It is his whole
world. The savage who is breaking the laws of his tribe has all his
world--totems, tabus, earth, sky and all--against him. He cannot be at
peace with God.

The position of the hero or martyr who defies his tribe for the sake of
what he thinks the truth or the right can easily be thought out on these
lines. He defies this false temporary Cosmos in loyalty to the true and
permanent Cosmos.

See Durkheim, 'Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse', in
_Travaux de l'Année Sociologique_, 1912; or G. Davy, 'La Sociologie de
M. Durkheim', in _Rev. Philosophique_, xxxvi, pp. 42-71 and 160-85.

[8:1] I suspect that most reforms pass through this stage. A man somehow
feels clear that some new course is, for him, right, though he cannot
marshal the arguments convincingly in favour of it, and may even admit
that the weight of obvious evidence is on the other side. We read of
judges in the seventeenth century who believed that witches ought to be
burned and that the persons before them were witches, and yet would not
burn them--evidently under the influence of vague half-realized
feelings. I know a vegetarian who thinks that, as far as he can see,
carnivorous habits are not bad for human health and actually tend to
increase the happiness of the species of animals eaten--as the adoption
of Swift's _Modest Proposal_ would doubtless relieve the economic
troubles of the human race, and yet feels clear that for him the
ordinary flesh meal (or 'feasting on corpses') would 'partake of the
nature of sin'. The path of progress is paved with inconsistencies,
though it would be an error to imagine that the people who habitually
reject any higher promptings that come to them are really any more

[9:1] _Transactions of the Third International Congress of Religions_,
Oxford, 1908, pp. 26-7.

[10:1] _The Buddhist Dharma_, by Mrs. Rhys Davids.

[10:2] See _Die Mutaziliten, oder die Freidenker im Islam_, von H.
Steiner, 1865. This Arab was clearly under the influence of Plotinus or
some other Neo-Platonist.

[11:1] Cf. E. Reisch, _Entstehung und Wandel griechischer
Göttergestalten_. Vienna, 1909.

[12:1] Parm. Fr. 8, 3-7 (Diels{2}).

[12:2] Xen. Fr. 24 (Diels{2}).

[12:3] Xen. Fr. 15.

[12:4] Aesch. _Cho._ 60; Eur. _Hel._ 560; Bac. 284; Soph. _O.T._ 871.
Cf. also ἡ φρόνησις ἁγαθὴ θεὸς μέγας. Soph. Fr. 836, 2 (Nauck).

     ὁ πλοῦτος, ἀνθρωπίσκε, τοῖς σοφοῖς θεός. Eur. _Cycl._ 316.

     ὁ νοῦς γὰρ ἡμῶν ἐστιν ἐν ἑκάστῳ θεός. Eur. Fr. 1018.

     φθόνος κάκιστος κάδικώτατος θεός. Hippothoön. Fr. 2.

A certain moment of time: ἀρχὴ καὶ θεὸς ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἱδρυμένη σῴζει πάντα. Pl. Leg.
775 E.

     τὰ μῶρα γὰρ πάντ' ἐστὶν Ἀφροδίτη βροτοῖς. Eur. _Tro._ 989.

     ἧλθεν δὲ δαὶς θάλεια πρεσβίστη θεῶν. Soph. Fr. 548.

[14:1] See J. E. Harrison, _Prolegomena_, i, ii, iv; Mommsen, _Feste der
Stadt Athen_, 1898, pp. 308-22 (Thesmophoria), 384-404 (Anthesteria);
421-6 (Diasia). See also Pauly Wissowa, s.v.

[14:2] _Prolegomena_, p. 15 f.

[15:1] Luc. _Icaro-Menippos_ 24 schol. ad loc.

[16:1] Frequently dual, τὼ Θεσμοφόρω, under the influence of the 'Mother
and Maiden' idea; Dittenberger _Inscr. Sylloge_ 628, Ar. _Thesm._ 84,
296 _et passim_. The plural αἱ Θεσμοφόροι used in late Greek is not, as
one might imagine, a projection from the whole band of worshippers; it
is merely due to the disappearance of the dual from Greek. I accept
provisionally the derivation of these θεσμοί from θεσ- in θέσσασθαι,
θέσφατος, θέσκελος, πολύθεστος, ἀπόθεστος, &c.: cf. A. W. Verrall in _J.
H. S._ xx, p. 114; and _Prolegomena_, pp. 48 ff., 136 f. But, whatever
the derivation, the Thesmoi were the objects carried.

[16:2] Frazer, _Golden Bough_, ii. 44 ff.; A. B. Cook, _J. H. S._ xiv,
pp. 153-4; J. E. Harrison, _Themis_, p. 5. See also A. Lang, _Homeric
Hymns_, 1899, p. 63.

[17:1] _Feste der Stadt Athen_, p. 390 f. On Seed Jars, Wine Jars and
Funeral Jars, see _Themis_, pp. 276-88, and Warde Fowler, 'Mundus
Patet,' in _Journ. Roman Studies_, ii, pp. 25 ff. Cf. below, p. 28 f.

[17:2] Dieterich, _Muttererde_, 1905, p. 48 f.

[18:1] Dr. Frazer, _The Magic Art_, ii. 137, thinks it not certain that
the γάμος took place during the Anthesteria, at the same time as the
oath of the γεραιραί. Without the γάμος, however, it is hard to see what
the βασίλιννα and γεραιραί had to do in the festival; and this is the
view of Mommsen, _Feste der Stadt Athen_, pp. 391-3; Gruppe in Iwan
Müller, _Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte_, i. 33; Farnell, _Cults_,
v. 217.

[18:2] One might perhaps say, in all three. Ἀνθίστηρος τοῦ Πυθοχρηστοῦ
κοινόν is the name of a society of worshippers in the island of Thera,
_I. G. I._ iii. 329. This gives a god Anthister, who is clearly
identified with Dionysus, and seems to be a projection of a feast
Anthisteria = Anthesteria. The inscription is of the second century B.
C. and it seems likely that Anthister-Anthisteria, with their clear
derivation from ἀνθίζειν, are corruptions of the earlier and difficult
forms Ἀνθέστηρ-Ἀνθεστήρια. It is noteworthy that Thera, an island lying
rather outside the main channels of civilization, kept up throughout its
history a tendency to treat the 'epithet' as a full person. Hikesios and
Koures come very early; also Polieus and Stoichaios without the name
Zeus; Delphinios, Karneios, Aiglatas, and Aguieus without Apollo.

See Hiller von Gaertringen in the _Festschrift für O. Benndorff_, p.
228. Also Nilsson, _Griechische Feste_, 1906, p. 267, n. 5.

[20:1] Miss Harrison, 'Bird and Pillar Worship in relation to Ouranian
Divinities', _Transactions of the Third International Congress for the
History of Religion_, Oxford, 1908, vol. ii, p. 154; Farnell, _Greece
and Babylon_, 1911, pp. 66 ff.

[20:2] First published by R. Paribeni, 'Il Sarcofago dipinto di Hagia
Triada', in _Monumenti antichi della R. Accademia dei Lincei_, xix,
1908, p. 6, T. i-iii. See also _Themis_, pp. 158 ff.

[20:3] Ar. _Equites_, 82-4--or possibly of apotheosis. See _Themis_, p.
154, n. 2.

[21:1] _Themis_, p. 145, fig. 25; and p. 152, fig. 28 b.

[21:2] O. Kern, _Inschriften v. Magnesia_, No. 98, discussed by O. Kern,
_Arch. Anz._ 1894, p. 78, and Nilsson, _Griechische Feste_, p. 23.

[21:3] _Religion of the Semites_, 1901, p. 338; Reuterskiold, in _Archiv
f. Relig._ xv. 1-23.

[21:4] _Nili Opera_, _Narrat._ iii. 28.

[22:1] See Aristophanes' _Birds_, e. g. 685-736: cf. the practice of
augury from birds, and the art-types of Winged Kêres, Victories and

[23:1] Romans, i. 25; viii. 20-3.

[23:2] Lang, _Myth, Ritual, and Religion_, 1906, ii. 284; ibid., 130;
Moret, _Caractère religieux de la Monarchie Égyptienne_; Dieterich,
_Mithrasliturgie_, 1903.

[24:1] A. B. Cook in _J. H. S._ 1894, 'Animal Worship in the Mycenaean
Age'. See also Hogarth on the 'Zakro Sealings', _J. H. S._ 1902; these
seals show a riot of fancy in the way of mixed monsters, starting in all
probability from the simpler form. See the quotation from Robertson
Smith in Hogarth, p. 91.

[24:2] _Feste der Stadt Athen_, p. 416.

[24:3] _Anthropology and the Classics_, 1908, pp. 77, 78.

[25:1] A. B. Cook, _Class. Rev._ xvii, pp. 275 ff.; A. J. Reinach, _Rev.
de l'Hist. des Religions_, lx, p. 178; S. Reinach, _Cultes, Mythes,
&c._, ii. 160-6.

[25:2] One may suggest in passing that this explains the enormous
families attributed to many sacred kings of Greek legend: why Priam or
Danaus have their fifty children, and Heracles, most prolific of all,
his several hundred. The particular numbers chosen, however, are
probably due to other causes, e. g. the fifty moon-months of the

[26:1] See _Primitive Traits in Religious Revivals_, by F. M. Davenport.
New York, 1906.

[27:1] E. Doutté, _Magie et religion dans l'Afrique du Nord_, 1909, p.

[27:2] Cicero, _de Nat. Deorum_, ii. 2; iii. 5, 6; Florus, ii. 12.

[27:3] Plut. _Theseus_, 35; Paus. i. 32. 5. Herodotus only mentions a
bearded and gigantic figure who struck Epizelos blind (vi. 117).

[27:4] Eusebius, _Vit. Constant._, l. i, cc. 28, 29, 30; _Nazarius inter
Panegyr. Vet._ x. 14. 15.

[28:1] Aesch. _Suppl._ 1, cf. 478 Ζεὺς ἱκτήρ. _Rise of the Greek
Epic_{3}, p. 275 n. Adjectival phrases like Ζεὺς Ἱκεσιος, Ἱκετήςιος,
Ἱκταῖος are common and call for no remark.

[28:2] Hymn of the Kouretes, _Themis_, passim.

[29:1] See in general I. King, _The Development of Religion_, 1910; E.
J. Payne, _History of the New World_, 1892, p. 414. Also Dieterich,
_Muttererde_, esp. pp. 37-58.

[29:2] See Dieterich, _Muttererde_, J. E. Harrison, _Prolegomena_, chap.
vi, 'The Making of a Goddess'; _Themis_, chap. vi, 'The Spring
Drômenon'. As to the prehistoric art-type of this goddess technically
called 'steatopygous', I cannot refrain from suggesting that it may be
derived from a mountain Δ turned into a human figure, as the palladion
or figure-8 type came from two round shields. See p. 52.

[30:1] _Hymn Orph._ 8, 10 ὡροτρόφε κοῦρε.

[30:2] For the order in which men generally proceed in worship, turning
their attention to (1) the momentary incidents of weather, rain,
sunshine, thunder, &c.; (2) the Moon; (3) the Sun and stars, see Payne,
_History of the New World called America_, vol. i, p. 474, cited by Miss
Harrison, _Themis_, p. 390.

[31:1] On the subject of Initiations see Webster, _Primitive Secret
Societies_, New York, 1908; Schurtz, _Altersklassen und Männerbunde_,
Berlin, 1902; Van Gennep, _Rites de Passage_, Paris, 1909; Nilsson,
_Grundlage des Spartanischen Lebens_ in Klio xii (1912), pp. 308-40;
Themis, p. 337, n. 1. Since the above, Rivers, _Social Organization_,

[31:2] Cf. Dr. Rivers on _mate_, 'Primitive Conception of Death',
_Hibbert Journal_, January 1912, p. 393.

[31:3] Cf. Cardinal Virtues, Pindar, _Nem._ iii. 72:

     ἐν παισὶ νέοισι παῖς, ἐν ἀνδράσιν ἀνήρ, τρίτον
     ἐν παλαιτέροισι μέρος, ἕκαστον οἶον ἔχομεν
     βρότεον ἔθνος. ἐλᾶ δὲ καὶ τέσσαρας ἀρετὰς
     ὁ θνατὸς αἰών,

also Pindar, _Pyth._ iv. 281.

[32:1] See Woodward in _B. S. A._ xiv, 83. Nikagoras won four
(successive?) victories as μικκιχιζόμενος, πρόπαις, παῖς, and μελλείρην,
i. e. from his tenth to fifteenth year. He would then at 14 or 15 become
an _iran_. Plut. _Lyc._ 17 gives the age of an _iran_ as 20. This agrees
with the age of an ἔφηβος at Athens as '15-20', '14-21', 'about 16'; see
authorities in Stephanus s. v. ἔφηβος. Such variations in the date of
'puberty ceremonies' are common.

[32:2] See _Rise of the Greek Epic_, Appendix on Hym. Dem.; and W. R.
Halliday, _C. R._ xxv, 8. Nilsson's valuable article has appeared since
the above was written (see note 1, p. 31).

[33:1] Anaximander apud Simplic. phys. 24, 13; Diels, _Fragmente der
Vorsokratiker_, i. 13. See especially F. M. Cornford, _From Religion to
Philosophy_ (Cambridge, 1912), i; also my article on English and Greek
Tragedy in _Essays of the Oxford English School_, 1912. This explanation
of the τρίτος σωτήρ is my conjecture.

[33:2] 1 Cor. xv. 36; Rom. vi. generally, 3-11.

[34:1] _Il._ M. 326 f. μυρίαι, ἃς οὐκ ἔστι φυγεῖν, βροτὸν οὐδ' ὑπαλύξαι.

[34:2] Frg. Ap. Plut. _Consol. ad Apoll._ xxvi . . . ὅτι "πλείη μὲν γαῖα
κακῶν πλείη δὲ θάλασσα" καὶ "τοιάδε θνητοῖσι κακὰ κακῶν ἀμφί τε κῆρες
εἰλεῦνται, κενεὴ δ' εἴσδυσις οὐδ' ἀθέρι" (MS. αἰθέρι).

[35:1] Frazer, _Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship_, 267; F.
Cumont, 'Les Actes de S. Dasius', in _Analecta Bollandiana_, xvi. 5-16:
cf. especially what St. Augustine says about the disreputable hordes of
would-be martyrs called _Circumcelliones_. See Index to Augustine, vol.
xi in Migne: some passages collected in Seeck, _Gesch. d. Untergangs der
antiken Welt_, vol. iii, Anhang, pp. 503 ff.



I. _Origin of the Olympians_

The historian of early Greece must find himself often on the watch for a
particular cardinal moment, generally impossible to date in time and
sometimes hard even to define in terms of development, when the clear
outline that we call Classical Greece begins to take shape out of the
mist. It is the moment when, as Herodotus puts it, 'the Hellenic race
was marked off from the barbarian, as more intelligent and more
emancipated from silly nonsense'.[39:1] In the eighth century B. C., for
instance, so far as our remains indicate, there cannot have been much to
show that the inhabitants of Attica and Boeotia and the Peloponnese were
markedly superior to those of, say, Lycia or Phrygia, or even Epirus. By
the middle of the fifth century the difference is enormous. On the one
side is Hellas, on the other the motley tribes of 'barbaroi'.

When the change does come and is consciously felt we may notice a
significant fact about it. It does not announce itself as what it was, a
new thing in the world. It professes to be a revival, or rather an
emphatic realization, of something very old. The new spirit of classical
Greece, with all its humanity, its intellectual life, its genius for
poetry and art, describes itself merely as being 'Hellenic'--like the
Hellenes. And the Hellenes were simply, as far as we can make out, much
the same as the Achaioi, one of the many tribes of predatory Northmen
who had swept down on the Aegean kingdoms in the dawn of Greek

This claim of a new thing to be old is, in varying degrees, a common
characteristic of great movements. The Reformation professed to be a
return to the Bible, the Evangelical movement in England a return to the
Gospels, the High Church movement a return to the early Church. A large
element even in the French Revolution, the greatest of all breaches with
the past, had for its ideal a return to Roman republican virtue or to
the simplicity of the natural man.[40:2] I noticed quite lately a speech
of an American Progressive leader claiming that his principles were
simply those of Abraham Lincoln. The tendency is due in part to the
almost insuperable difficulty of really inventing a new word to denote a
new thing. It is so much easier to take an existing word, especially a
famous word with fine associations, and twist it into a new sense. In
part, no doubt, it comes from mankind's natural love for these old
associations, and the fact that nearly all people who are worth much
have in them some instinctive spirit of reverence. Even when striking
out a new path they like to feel that they are following at least the
spirit of one greater than themselves.

The Hellenism of the sixth and fifth centuries was to a great extent
what the Hellenism of later ages was almost entirely, an ideal and a
standard of culture. The classical Greeks were not, strictly speaking,
pure Hellenes by blood. Herodotus, and Thucydides[41:1] are quite clear
about that. The original Hellenes were a particular conquering tribe of
great prestige, which attracted the surrounding tribes to follow it,
imitate it, and call themselves by its name. The Spartans were, to
Herodotus, Hellenic; the Athenians on the other hand were not. They were
Pelasgian, but by a certain time 'changed into Hellenes and learnt the
language'. In historical times we cannot really find any tribe of pure
Hellenes in existence, though the name clings faintly to a particular
district, not otherwise important, in South Thessaly. Had there been any
undoubted Hellenes with incontrovertible pedigrees still going, very
likely the ideal would have taken quite a different name. But where no
one's ancestry would bear much inspection, the only way to show you were
a true Hellene was to behave as such: that is, to approximate to some
constantly rising ideal of what the true Hellene should be. In all
probability if a Greek of the fifth century, like Aeschylus or even
Pindar, had met a group of the real Hellenes or Achaioi of the
Migrations, he would have set them down as so many obvious and flaming

We do not know whether the old Hellenes had any general word to denote
the surrounding peoples ('Pelasgians and divers other barbarous
tribes'[42:1]) whom they conquered or accepted as allies.[42:2] In any
case by the time of the Persian Wars (say 500 B. C.) all these tribes
together considered themselves Hellenized, bore the name of 'Hellenes',
and formed a kind of unity against hordes of 'barbaroi' surrounding them
on every side and threatening them especially from the east.

Let us consider for a moment the dates. In political history this
self-realization of the Greek tribes as Hellenes against barbarians
seems to have been first felt in the Ionian settlements on the coast of
Asia Minor, where the 'sons of Javan' (Yawan = Ἰάων) clashed as
invaders against the native Hittite and Semite. It was emphasized by a
similar clash in the further colonies in Pontus and in the West. If we
wish for a central moment as representing this self-realization of
Greece, I should be inclined to find it in the reign of Pisistratus
(560-527 B. C.) when that monarch made, as it were, the first sketch of
an Athenian empire based on alliances and took over to Athens the
leadership of the Ionian race.

In literature the decisive moment is clear. It came when, in Mr.
Mackail's phrase, 'Homer came to Hellas'.[42:3] The date is apparently
the same, and the influences at work are the same. It seems to have
been under Pisistratus that the Homeric Poems, in some form or other,
came from Ionia to be recited in a fixed order at the Panathenaic
Festival, and to find a canonical form and a central home in Athens till
the end of the classical period. Athens is the centre from which Homeric
influence radiates over the mainland of Greece. Its effect upon
literature was of course enormous. It can be traced in various ways. By
the content of the literature, which now begins to be filled with the
heroic saga. By a change of style which emerges in, say, Pindar and
Aeschylus when compared with what we know of Corinna or Thespis. More
objectively and definitely it can be traced in a remarkable change of
dialect. The old Attic poets, like Solon, were comparatively little
affected by the epic influence; the later elegists, like Ion, Euenus,
and Plato, were steeped in it.[43:1]

In religion the cardinal moment is the same. It consists in the coming
of Homer's 'Olympian Gods', and that is to be the subject of the present
essay. I am not, of course, going to describe the cults and characters
of the various Olympians. For that inquiry the reader will naturally go
to the five learned volumes of my colleague, Dr. Farnell. I wish merely
to face certain difficult and, I think, hitherto unsolved problems
affecting the meaning and origin and history of the Olympians as a

Herodotus in a famous passage tells us that Homer and Hesiod 'made the
generations of the Gods for the Greeks and gave them their names and
distinguished their offices and crafts and portrayed their shapes' (2.
53). The date of this wholesale proceeding was, he thinks, perhaps as
much as four hundred years before his own day (_c._ 430 B. C.) but not
more. Before that time the Pelasgians--i. e. the primitive inhabitants
of Greece as opposed to the Hellenes--were worshipping gods in
indefinite numbers, with no particular names; many of them appear as
figures carved emblematically with sex-emblems to represent the powers
of fertility and generation, like the Athenian 'Herms'. The whole
account bristles with points for discussion, but in general it suits
very well with the picture drawn in the first of these essays, with its
Earth Maidens and Mothers and its projected Kouroi. The background is
the pre-Hellenic 'Urdummheit'; the new shape impressed upon it is the
great anthropomorphic Olympian family, as defined in the Homeric epos
and, more timidly, in Hesiod. But of Hesiod we must speak later.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now who are these Olympian Gods and where do they come from? Homer did
not 'make' them out of nothing. But the understanding of them is beset
with problems.

In the first place why are they called 'Olympian'? Are they the Gods of
Mount Olympus, the old sacred mountain of Homer's Achaioi, or do they
belong to the great sanctuary of Olympia in which Zeus, the lord of the
Olympians, had his greatest festival? The two are at opposite ends of
Greece, Olympus in North Thessaly in the north-east, Olympia in Elis in
the south-west. From which do the Olympians come? On the one hand it is
clear in Homer that they dwell on Mount Olympus; they have 'Olympian
houses' beyond human sight, on the top of the sacred mountain, which in
the _Odyssey_ is identified with heaven. On the other hand, when
Pisistratus introduced the worship of Olympian Zeus on a great scale
into Athens and built the Olympieum, he seems to have brought him
straight from Olympia in Elis. For he introduced the special Elean
complex of gods, Zeus, Rhea, Kronos, and Gê Olympia.[45:1]

Fortunately this puzzle can be solved. The Olympians belong to both
places. It is merely a case of tribal migration. History, confirmed by
the study of the Greek dialects, seems to show that these northern
Achaioi came down across central Greece and the Gulf of Corinth and
settled in Elis.[45:2] They brought with them their Zeus, who was
already called 'Olympian', and established him as superior to the
existing god, Kronos. The Games became Olympian and the sanctuary by
which they were performed 'Olympia'.[45:3]

As soon as this point is clear, we understand also why there is more
than one Mount Olympus. We can all think of two, one in Thessaly and one
across the Aegean in Mysia. But there are many more; some twenty-odd, if
I mistake not, in the whole Greek region. It is a pre-Greek word applied
to mountains; and it seems clear that the 'Olympian' gods, wherever
their worshippers moved, tended to dwell in the highest mountain in the
neighbourhood, and the mountain thereby became Olympus.

The name, then, explains itself. The Olympians are the mountain gods of
the old invading Northmen, the chieftains and princes, each with his
_comitatus_ or loose following of retainers and minor chieftains, who
broke in upon the ordered splendours of the Aegean palaces and, still
more important, on the ordered simplicity of tribal life in the
pre-Hellenic villages of the mainland. Now, it is a canon of religious
study that all gods reflect the social state, past or present, of their
worshippers. From this point of view what appearance do the Olympians of
Homer make? What are they there for? What do they do, and what are their
relations one to another?

The gods of most nations claim to have created the world. The Olympians
make no such claim. The most they ever did was to conquer it. Zeus and
his _comitatus_ conquered Cronos and his; conquered and expelled
them--sent them migrating beyond the horizon, Heaven knows where. Zeus
took the chief dominion and remained a permanent overlord, but he
apportioned large kingdoms to his brothers Hades and Poseidon, and
confirmed various of his children and followers in lesser fiefs. Apollo
went off on his own adventure and conquered Delphi. Athena conquered the
Giants. She gained Athens by a conquest over Poseidon, a point of which
we will speak later.

And when they have conquered their kingdoms, what do they do? Do they
attend to the government? Do they promote agriculture? Do they practise
trades and industries? Not a bit of it. Why should they do any honest
work? They find it easier to live on the revenues and blast with
thunderbolts the people who do not pay. They are conquering chieftains,
royal buccaneers. They fight, and feast, and play, and make music; they
drink deep, and roar with laughter at the lame smith who waits on them.
They are never afraid, except of their own king. They never tell lies,
except in love and war.

A few deductions may be from this statement, but they do not affect its
main significance. One god, you may say, Hephaistos, is definitely a
craftsman. Yes: a smith, a maker of weapons. The one craftsman that a
gang of warriors needed to have by them; and they preferred him lame, so
that he should not run away. Again, Apollo herded for hire the cattle of
Admetus; Apollo and Poseidon built the walls of Troy for Laomedon.
Certainly in such stories we have an intrusion of other elements; but in
any case the work done is not habitual work, it is a special punishment.
Again, it is not denied that the Olympians have some effect on
agriculture and on justice: they destroy the harvests of those who
offend them, they punish oath-breakers and the like. Even in the Heroic
Age itself--if we may adopt Mr. Chadwick's convenient title for the Age
of the Migrations--chieftains and gods probably retained some vestiges
of the functions they had exercised in more normal and settled times;
and besides we must always realize that, in these inquiries, we never
meet a simple and uniform figure. We must further remember that these
gods are not real people with a real character. They never existed. They
are only concepts, exceedingly confused cloudy and changing concepts, in
the minds of thousands of diverse worshippers and non-worshippers. They
change every time they are thought of, as a word changes every time it
is pronounced. Even in the height of the Achaean wars the concept of any
one god would be mixed up with traditions and associations drawn from
the surrounding populations and their gods; and by the time they come
down to us in Homer and our other early literature, they have passed
through the minds of many different ages and places, especially Ionia
and Athens.

The Olympians as described in our text of Homer, or as described in the
Athenian recitations of the sixth century, are _mutatis mutandis_
related to the Olympians of the Heroic Age much as the Hellenes of the
sixth century are to the Hellenes of the Heroic Age. I say '_mutatis
mutandis_', because the historical development of a group of imaginary
concepts shrined in tradition and romance can never be quite the same as
that of the people who conceive them. The realm of fiction is apt both
to leap in front and to lag in the rear of the march of real life.
Romance will hug picturesque darknesses as well as invent perfections.
But the gods of Homer, as we have them, certainly seem to show traces
of the process through which they have passed: of an origin among the
old conquering Achaioi, a development in the Ionian epic schools, and a
final home in Athens.[49:1]

For example, what gods are chiefly prominent in Homer? In the _Iliad_
certainly three, Zeus, Apollo, and Athena, and much the same would hold
for the _Odyssey_. Next to them in importance will be Poseidon, Hera,
and Hermes.

Zeus stands somewhat apart. He is one of the very few gods with
recognizable and undoubted Indo-germanic names, Djëus, the well-attested
sky- and rain-god of the Aryan race. He is Achaian; he is 'Hellanios',
the god worshipped by all Hellenes. He is also, curiously enough,
Pelasgian, and Mr. A. B. Cook[49:2] can explain to us the seeming
contradiction. But the Northern elements in the conception of Zeus have
on the whole triumphed over any Pelasgian or Aegean sky-god with which
they may have mingled, and Zeus, in spite of his dark hair, may be
mainly treated as the patriarchal god of the invading Northmen, passing
from the Upper Danube down by his three great sanctuaries, Dodona,
Olympus, and Olympia. He had an extraordinary power of ousting or
absorbing the various objects of aboriginal worship which he found in
his path. The story of Meilichios above (p. 14) is a common one. Of
course, we must not suppose that the Zeus of the actual Achaioi was a
figure quite like the Zeus of Pheidias or of Homer. There has been a
good deal of expurgation in the Homeric Zeus,[50:1] as Mr. Cook clearly
shows. The Counsellor and Cloud-compeller of classical Athens was the
wizard and rainmaker of earlier times; and the All-Father surprises us
in Thera and Crete by appearing both as a babe and as a Kouros in spring
dances and initiation rituals.[50:2] It is a long way from these
conceptions to the Zeus of Aeschylus, a figure as sublime as the Jehovah
of Job; but the lineage seems clear.

Zeus is the Achaean Sky-god. His son Phoebus Apollo is of more complex
make. On one side he is clearly a Northman. He has connexions with the
Hyperboreans.[50:3] He has a 'sacred road' leading far into the North,
along which offerings are sent back from shrine to shrine beyond the
bounds of Greek knowledge. Such 'sacred roads' are normally the roads by
which the God himself has travelled; the offerings are sent back from
the new sanctuary to the old. On the other side Apollo reaches back to
an Aegean matriarchal Kouros. His home is Delos, where he has a mother,
Leto, but no very visible father. He leads the ships of his islanders,
sometimes in the form of a dolphin. He is no 'Hellene'. In the fighting
at Troy he is against the Achaioi: he destroys the Greek host, he
champions Hector, he even slays Achilles. In the Homeric hymn to Apollo
we read that when the great archer draws near to Olympus all the gods
tremble and start from their seats; Leto alone, and of course Zeus, hold
their ground.[51:1] What this god's original name was at Delos we cannot
be sure: he has very many names and 'epithets'. But he early became
identified with a similar god at Delphi and adopted his name, 'Apollôn',
or, in the Delphic and Dorian form, 'Apellôn'--presumably the Kouros
projected from the Dorian gatherings called '_apellae_'.[51:2] As
Phoibos he is a sun-god, and from classical times onward we often find
him definitely identified with the Sun, a distinction which came easily
to a Kouros.

In any case, and this is the important point, he is at Delos the chief
god of the Ionians. The Ionians are defined by Herodotus as those tribes
and cities who were sprung from Athens and kept the Apaturia. They
recognized Delos as their holy place and worshipped Apollo Patrôos as
their ancestor.[51:3] The Ionian Homer has naturally brought us the
Ionian god; and, significantly enough, though the tradition makes him an
enemy of the Greeks, and the poets have to accept the tradition, there
is no tendency to crab or belittle him. He is the most splendid and
awful of Homer's Olympians.

The case of Pallas Athena is even simpler, though it leads to a
somewhat surprising result. What Apollo is to Ionia that, and more,
Athena is to Athens. There are doubtless foreign elements in Athena,
some Cretan and Ionian, some Northern.[52:1] But her whole appearance in
history and literature tells the same story as her name. Athens is her
city and she is the goddess of Athens, the Athena or Athenaia Korê. In
Athens she can be simply 'Parthenos', the Maiden; elsewhere she is the
'Attic' or 'Athenian Maiden'. As Glaucopis she is identified or
associated with the Owl that was the sacred bird of Athens. As Pallas
she seems to be a Thunder-maiden, a sort of Keraunia or bride of
Keraunos. A Palladion consists of two thunder-shields, set one above the
other like a figure 8, and we can trace in art-types the development of
this 8 into a human figure. It seems clear that the old Achaioi cannot
have called their warrior-maiden, daughter of Zeus, by the name Athena
or Athenaia. The Athenian goddess must have come in from Athenian
influence, and it is strange to find how deep into the heart of the
poems that influence must have reached. If we try to conjecture whose
place it is that Athena has taken, it is worth remarking that her
regular epithet, 'daughter of Zeus', belongs in Sanskrit to the
Dawn-goddess, Eôs.[52:2] The transition might be helped by some touches
of the Dawn-goddess that seem to linger about Athena in myth. The rising
Sun stayed his horses while Athena was born from the head of Zeus. Also
she was born amid a snowstorm of gold. And Eôs, on the other hand, is,
like Athena, sometimes the daughter of the Giant Pallas.[53:1]

Our three chief Olympians, then, explain themselves very easily. A body
of poetry and tradition, in its origin dating from the Achaioi of the
Migrations, growing for centuries in the hands of Ionian bards, and
reaching its culminating form at Athens, has prominent in it the Achaian
Zeus, the Ionian Apollo, the Athenian Korê--the same Korê who descended
in person to restore the exiled Pisistratus to his throne.[53:2]

We need only throw a glance in passing at a few of the other Olympians.
Why, for instance, should Poseidon be so prominent? In origin he is a
puzzling figure. Besides the Achaean Earth-shaking brother of Zeus in
Thessaly there seems to be some Pelasgian or Aegean god present in him.
He is closely connected with Libya; he brings the horse from
there.[54:1] At times he exists in order to be defeated; defeated in
Athens by Athena, in Naxos by Dionysus, in Aegina by Zeus, in Argos by
Hera, in Acrocorinth by Helios though he continues to hold the Isthmus.
In Trozen he shares a temple on more or less equal terms with
Athena.[54:2] Even in Troy he is defeated and cast out from the walls
his own hands had built.[54:3] These problems we need not for the
present face. By the time that concerns us most the Earth-Shaker is a
sea-god, specially important to the sea-peoples of Athens and Ionia. He
is the father of Neleus, the ancestor of the Ionian kings. His temple at
Cape Mykale is the scene of the Panionia, and second only to Delos as a
religious centre of the Ionian tribes. He has intimate relations with
Attica too. Besides the ancient contest with Athena for the possession
of the land, he appears as the father of Theseus, the chief Athenian
hero. He is merged in other Attic heroes, like Aigeus and Erechtheus. He
is the special patron of the Athenian knights. Thus his prominence in
Homer is very natural.

What of Hermes? His history deserves a long monograph to itself; it is
so exceptionally instructive. Originally, outside Homer, Hermes was
simply an old upright stone, a pillar furnished with the regular
Pelasgian sex-symbol of procreation. Set up over a tomb he is the power
that generates new lives, or, in the ancient conception, brings the
souls back to be born again. He is the Guide of the Dead, the
Psychopompos, the divine Herald between the two worlds. If you have a
message for the dead, you speak it to the Herm at the grave. This notion
of Hermes as herald may have been helped by his use as a
boundary-stone--the Latin _Terminus_. Your boundary-stone is your
representative, the deliverer of your message, to the hostile neighbour
or alien. If you wish to parley with him, you advance up to your
boundary-stone. If you go, as a Herald, peacefully, into his territory,
you place yourself under the protection of the same sacred stone, the
last sign that remains of your own safe country. If you are killed or
wronged, it is he, the immovable Watcher, who will avenge you.

Now this phallic stone post was quite unsuitable to Homer. It was not
decent; it was not quite human; and every personage in Homer has to be
both. In the _Iliad_ Hermes is simply removed, and a beautiful creation
or tradition, Iris, the rainbow-goddess, takes his place as the
messenger from heaven to earth. In the _Odyssey_ he is admitted, but so
changed and castigated that no one would recognize the old Herm in the
beautiful and gracious youth who performs the gods' messages. I can only
detect in his language one possible trace of his old Pelasgian

Pausanias knew who worked the transformation. In speaking of Hermes
among the other 'Workers', who were 'pillars in square form', he says,
'As to Hermes, the poems of Homer have given currency to the report that
he is a servant of Zeus and leads down the spirits of the departed to
Hades'.[56:2] In the magic papyri Hermes returns to something of his old
functions; he is scarcely to be distinguished from the Agathos Daimon.
But thanks to Homer he is purified of his old phallicism.

Hera, too, the wife of Zeus, seems to have a curious past behind her.
She has certainly ousted the original wife, Dione, whose worship
continued unchallenged in far Dodona, from times before Zeus descended
upon Greek lands. When he invaded Thessaly he seems to have left Dione
behind and wedded the Queen of the conquered territory. Hera's permanent
epithet is 'Argeia', 'Argive'. She is the Argive Korê or Year-Maiden, as
Athena is the Attic, Cypris the Cyprian. But Argos in Homer denotes two
different places, a watered plain in the Peloponnese and a watered plain
in Thessaly. Hera was certainly the chief goddess of Peloponnesian Argos
in historic times, and had brought her consort Herakles[56:3] along with
her, but at one time she seems to have belonged to the Thessalian Argos.

She helped Thessalian Jason to launch the ship _Argo_, and they
launched it from Thessalian Pagasae. In the Argonautica she is a
beautiful figure, gracious and strong, the lovely patroness of the young
hero. No element of strife is haunting her. But in the _Iliad_ for some
reason she is unpopular. She is a shrew, a scold, and a jealous wife.
Why? Miss Harrison suggests that the quarrel with Zeus dates from the
time of the invasion, when he was the conquering alien and she the
native queen of the land.[57:1] It may be, too, that the Ionian poets
who respected their own Apollo and Athena and Poseidon, regarded Hera as
representing some race or tribe that they disliked. A goddess of Dorian
Argos might be as disagreeable as a Dorian. It seems to be for some
reason like this that Aphrodite, identified with Cyprus or some centre
among Oriental barbarians, is handled with so much disrespect; that
Ares, the Thracian Kouros, a Sun-god and War-god, is treated as a mere
bully and coward and general pest.[57:2]

There is not much faith in these gods, as they appear to us in the
Homeric Poems, and not much respect, except perhaps for Apollo and
Athena and Poseidon. The buccaneer kings of the Heroic Age, cut loose
from all local and tribal pieties, intent only on personal gain and
glory, were not the people to build up a powerful religious faith. They
left that, as they left agriculture and handiwork, to the nameless
common folk.[57:3] And it was not likely that the bards of cultivated
and scientific Ionia should waste much religious emotion on a system
which was clearly meant more for romance than for the guiding of life.

Yet the power of romance is great. In the memory of Greece the kings and
gods of the Heroic Age were transfigured. What had been really an age of
buccaneering violence became in memory an age of chivalry and splendid
adventure. The traits that were at all tolerable were idealized; those
that were intolerable were either expurgated, or, if that was
impossible, were mysticized and explained away. And the savage old
Olympians became to Athens and the mainland of Greece from the sixth
century onward emblems of high humanity and religious reform.

II. _The Religious Value of the Olympians_

Now to some people this statement may seem a wilful paradox, yet I
believe it to be true. The Olympian religion, radiating from Homer at
the Panathenaea, produced what I will venture to call exactly a
religious reformation. Let us consider how, with all its flaws and
falsehoods, it was fitted to attempt such a work.

In the first place the Poems represent an Achaian tradition, the
tradition of a Northern conquering race, organized on a patriarchal
monogamous system vehemently distinct from the matrilinear customs of
the Aegean or Hittite races, with their polygamy and polyandry, their
agricultural rites, their sex-emblems and fertility goddesses. Contrast
for a moment the sort of sexless Valkyrie who appears in the _Iliad_
under the name of Athena with the Korê of Ephesus, strangely called
Artemis, a shapeless fertility figure, covered with innumerable
breasts. That suggests the contrast that I mean.

Secondly, the poems are by tradition aristocratic; they are the
literature of chieftains, alien to low popular superstition. True, the
poems as we have them are not Court poems. That error ought not to be so
often repeated. As we have them they are poems recited at a Panegyris,
or public festival. But they go back in ultimate origin to something
like lays sung in a royal hall. And the contrast between the Homeric
gods and the gods found outside Homer is well compared by Mr.
Chadwick[59:1] to the difference between the gods of the Edda and the
historical traces of religion outside the Edda. The gods who feast with
Odin in Asgard, forming an organized community or _comitatus_, seem to
be the gods of the kings, distinct from the gods of the peasants,
cleaner and more warlike and lordlier, though in actual religious
quality much less vital.

Thirdly, the poems in their main stages are Ionian, and Ionia was for
many reasons calculated to lead the forward movement against the
'Urdummheit'. For one thing, Ionia reinforced the old Heroic tradition,
in having much the same inward freedom. The Ionians are the descendants
of those who fled from the invaders across the sea, leaving their homes,
tribes, and tribal traditions. Wilamowitz has well remarked how the
imagination of the Greek mainland is dominated by the gigantic
sepulchres of unknown kings, which the fugitives to Asia had left behind
them and half forgotten.[59:2]

Again, when the Ionians settled on the Asiatic coasts they were no
doubt to some extent influenced, but they were far more repelled by the
barbaric tribes of the interior. They became conscious, as we have said,
of something that was Hellenic, as distinct from something else that was
barbaric, and the Hellenic part of them vehemently rejected what struck
them as superstitious, cruel, or unclean. And lastly, we must remember
that Ionia was, before the rise of Athens, not only the most imaginative
and intellectual part of Greece, but by far the most advanced in
knowledge and culture. The Homeric religion is a step in the
self-realization of Greece, and such self-realization naturally took its
rise in Ionia.

Granted, then, that Homer was calculated to produce a kind of religious
reformation in Greece, what kind of reformation was it? We are again
reminded of St. Paul. It was a move away from the 'beggarly elements'
towards some imagined person behind them. The world was conceived as
neither quite without external governance, nor as merely subject to the
incursions of _mana_ snakes and bulls and thunder-stones and monsters,
but as governed by an organized body of personal and reasoning rulers,
wise and bountiful fathers, like man in mind and shape, only unspeakably

For a type of this Olympian spirit we may take a phenomenon that has
perhaps sometimes wearied us: the reiterated insistence in the reliefs
of the best period on the strife of men against centaurs or of gods
against giants. Our modern sympathies are apt to side with the giants
and centaurs. An age of order likes romantic violence, as landsmen safe
in their houses like storms at sea. But to the Greek, this battle was
full of symbolical meaning. It is the strife, the ultimate victory, of
human intelligence, reason, and gentleness, against what seems at first
the overwhelming power of passion and unguided strength. It is Hellas
against the brute world.[61:1]

The victory of Hellenism over barbarism, of man over beast: that was the
aim, but was it ever accomplished? The Olympian gods as we see them in
art appear so calm, so perfect, so far removed from the atmosphere of
acknowledged imperfection and spiritual striving, that what I am now
about to say may again seem a deliberate paradox. It is nevertheless
true that the Olympian Religion is only to the full intelligible and
admirable if we realize it as a superb and baffled endeavour, not a
_telos_ or completion but a movement and effort of life.

We may analyse the movement into three main elements: a moral
expurgation of the old rites, an attempt to bring order into the old
chaos, and lastly an adaptation to new social needs. We will take the
three in order.

In the first place, it gradually swept out of religion, or at least
covered with a decent veil, that great mass of rites which was concerned
with the Food-supply and the Tribe-supply and aimed at direct
stimulation of generative processes.[62:1] It left only a few reverent
and mystic rituals, a few licensed outbursts of riotous indecency in
comedy and the agricultural festivals. It swept away what seems to us a
thing less dangerous, a large part of the worship of the dead. Such
worship, our evidence shows us, gave a loose rein to superstition. To
the Olympian movement it was vulgar, it was semi-barbarous, it was often
bloody. We find that it has almost disappeared from Homeric Athens at a
time when the monuments show it still flourishing in un-Homeric Sparta.
The Olympian movement swept away also, at least for two splendid
centuries, the worship of the man-god, with its diseased atmosphere of
megalomania and blood-lust.[62:2] These things return with the fall of
Hellenism; but the great period, as it urges man to use all his powers
of thought, of daring and endurance, of social organization, so it bids
him remember that he is a man like other men, subject to the same laws
and bound to reckon with the same death.

So much for the moral expurgation: next for the bringing of intellectual
order. To parody the words of Anaxagoras, 'In the early religion all
things were together, till the Homeric system came and arranged them'.

We constantly find in the Greek pantheon beings who can be described as
πολλῶν ὀνομάτων μορφὴ μἴα, 'one form of many names'. Each tribe, each
little community, sometimes one may almost say each caste--the Children
of the Bards, the Children of the Potters--had its own special gods. Now
as soon as there was any general 'Sunoikismos' or 'Settling-together',
any effective surmounting of the narrowest local barriers, these
innumerable gods tended to melt into one another. Under different
historical circumstances this process might have been carried resolutely
through and produced an intelligible pantheon in which each god had his
proper function and there was no overlapping--one Korê, one Kouros, one
Sun-God, and so on. But in Greece that was impossible. Imaginations had
been too vivid, and local types had too often become clearly personified
and differentiated. The Maiden of Athens, Athena, did no doubt absorb
some other Korai, but she could not possibly combine with her of Cythêra
or Cyprus, or Ephesus, nor with the Argive Korê or the Delian or the
Brauronian. What happened was that the infinite cloud of Maidens was
greatly reduced and fell into four or five main types. The Korai of
Cyprus, Cythêra, Corinth, Eryx, and some other places were felt to be
one, and became absorbed in the great figure of Aphrodite. Artemis
absorbed a quantity more, including those of Delos and Brauron, of
various parts of Arcadia and Sparta, and even, as we saw, the fertility
Korê of Ephesus. Doubtless she and the Delian were originally much
closer together, but the Delian differentiated towards ideal virginity,
the Ephesian towards ideal fruitfulness. The Kouroi, or Youths, in the
same way were absorbed into some half-dozen great mythological shapes,
Apollo, Ares, Hermes, Dionysus, and the like.

As so often in Greek development, we are brought up against the immense
formative power of fiction or romance. The simple Korê or Kouros was a
figure of indistinct outline with no history or personality. Like the
Roman functional gods, such beings were hardly persons; they melted
easily one into another. But when the Greek imagination had once done
its work upon them, a figure like Athena or Aphrodite had become, for
all practical purposes, a definite person, almost as definite as
Achilles or Odysseus, as Macbeth or Falstaff. They crystallize hard.
They will no longer melt or blend, at least not at an ordinary
temperature. In the fourth and third centuries we hear a great deal
about the gods all being one, 'Zeus the same as Hades, Hades as Helios,
Helios the same as Dionysus',[64:1] but the amalgamation only takes
place in the white heat of ecstatic philosophy or the rites of religious

The best document preserved to us of this attempt to bring order into
Chaos is the poetry of Hesiod. There are three poems, all devoted to
this object, composed perhaps under the influence of Delphi and
certainly under that of Homer, and trying in a quasi-Homeric dialect and
under a quasi-Olympian system to bring together vast masses of ancient
theology and folk-lore and scattered tradition. The _Theogony_ attempts
to make a pedigree and hierarchy of the Gods; _The Catalogue of Women_
and the _Eoiai_, preserved only in scanty fragments, attempt to fix in
canonical form the cloudy mixture of dreams and boasts and legends and
hypotheses by which most royal families in central Greece recorded their
descent from a traditional ancestress and a conjectural God. The _Works
and Days_ form an attempt to collect and arrange the rules and tabus
relating to agriculture. The work of Hesiod as a whole is one of the
most valiant failures in literature. The confusion and absurdity of it
are only equalled by its strange helpless beauty and its extraordinary
historical interest. The Hesiodic system when compared with that of
Homer is much more explicit, much less expurgated, infinitely less
accomplished and tactful. At the back of Homer lay the lordly
warrior-gods of the Heroic Age, at the back of Hesiod the crude and
tangled superstitions of the peasantry of the mainland. Also the
Hesiodic poets worked in a comparatively backward and unenlightened
atmosphere, the Homeric were exposed to the full light of Athens.

The third element in this Homeric reformation is an attempt to make
religion satisfy the needs of a new social order. The earliest Greek
religion was clearly based on the tribe, a band of people, all in some
sense kindred and normally living together, people with the same
customs, ancestors, initiations, flocks and herds and fields. This
tribal and agricultural religion can hardly have maintained itself
unchanged at the great Aegean centres, like Cnossus and Mycenae.[65:1]
It certainly did not maintain itself among the marauding chiefs of the
heroic age. It bowed its head beneath the sceptre of its own divine
kings and the armed heel of its northern invaders, only to appear again
almost undamaged and unimproved when the kings were fallen and the
invaders sunk into the soil like storms of destructive rain.

But it no longer suited its environment. In the age of the migrations
the tribes had been broken, scattered, re-mixed. They had almost ceased
to exist as important social entities. The social unit which had taken
their place was the political community of men, of whatever tribe or
tribes, who were held together in times of danger and constant war by
means of a common circuit-wall, a Polis.[66:1] The idea of the tribe
remained. In the earliest classical period we find every Greek city
still nominally composed of tribes, but the tribes are fictitious. The
early city-makers could still only conceive of society on a tribal
basis. Every local or accidental congregation of people who wish to act
together have to invent an imaginary common ancestor. The clash between
the old tribal traditions that have lost their meaning, though not their
sanctity, and the new duties imposed by the actual needs of the Polis,
leads to many strange and interesting compromises. The famous
constitution of Cleisthenes shows several. An old proverb expresses well
the ordinary feeling on the subject:

     ὥς κε πόλις ῥέξειε, νόμος δ' ἀρχαῖος ἅριστος.

     'Whatever the City may do; but the old custom is the best.'

Now in the contest between city and tribe, the Olympian gods had one
great negative advantage. They were not tribal or local, and all other
gods were. They were by this time international, with no strong roots
anywhere except where one of them could be identified with some native
god; they were full of fame and beauty and prestige. They were ready to
be made 'Poliouchoi', 'City-holders', of any particular city, still more
ready to be 'Hellânioi', patrons of all Hellas.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the working out of these three aims the Olympian religion achieved
much: in all three it failed. The moral expurgation failed owing to the
mere force of inertia possessed by old religious traditions and local
cults. We must remember how weak any central government was in ancient
civilization. The power and influence of a highly civilized society were
apt to end a few miles outside its city wall. All through the backward
parts of Greece obscene and cruel rites lingered on, the darker and
worse the further they were removed from the full light of Hellenism.

But in this respect the Olympian Religion did not merely fail: it did
worse. To make the elements of a nature-religion human is inevitably to
make them vicious. There is no great moral harm in worshipping a
thunder-storm, even though the lightning strikes the good and evil quite
recklessly. There is no need to pretend that the Lightning is exercising
a wise and righteous choice. But when once you worship an imaginary
quasi-human being who throws the lightning, you are in a dilemma. Either
you have to admit that you are worshipping and flattering a being with
no moral sense, because he happens to be dangerous, or else you have to
invent reasons for his wrath against the people who happen to be struck.
And they are pretty sure to be bad reasons. The god, if personal,
becomes capricious and cruel.

When the Ark of Israel was being brought back from the Philistines, the
cattle slipped by the threshing floor of Nachon, and the holy object was
in danger of falling. A certain Uzzah, as we all know, sprang forward to
save it and was struck dead for his pains. Now, if he was struck dead by
the sheer holiness of the tabu object, the holiness stored inside it
like so much electricity, his death was a misfortune, an interesting
accident, and no more.[68:1] But when it is made into the deliberate act
of an anthropomorphic god, who strikes a well-intentioned man dead in
explosive rage for a very pardonable mistake, a dangerous element has
been introduced into the ethics of that religion. A being who is the
moral equal of man must not behave like a charge of dynamite.

Again, to worship emblems of fertility and generation, as was done in
agricultural rites all through the Aegean area, is in itself an
intelligible and not necessarily a degrading practice. But when those
emblems are somehow humanized, and the result is an anthropomorphic god
of enormous procreative power and innumerable amours, a religion so
modified has received a death-blow. The step that was meant to soften
its grossness has resulted in its moral degradation. This result was
intensified by another well-meant effort at elevation. The leading
tribes of central Greece were, as we have mentioned, apt to count their
descent from some heroine-ancestress. Her consort was sometimes unknown
and, in a matrilinear society, unimportant. Sometimes he was a local god
or river. When the Olympians came to introduce some order and unity
among these innumerable local gods, the original tribal ancestor tended,
naturally enough, to be identified with Zeus, Apollo, or Poseidon. The
unfortunate Olympians, whose system really aimed at purer morals and
condemned polygamy and polyandry, are left with a crowd of consorts that
would put Solomon to shame.

Thus a failure in the moral expurgation was deepened by a failure in the
attempt to bring intellectual order into the welter of primitive gods.
The only satisfactory end of that effort would have been monotheism. If
Zeus had only gone further and become completely, once and for all, the
father of all life, the scandalous stories would have lost their point
and meaning. It is curious how near to monotheism, and to monotheism of
a very profound and impersonal type, the real religion of Greece came in
the sixth and fifth centuries. Many of the philosophers, Xenophanes,
Parmenides, and others, asserted it clearly or assumed it without
hesitation. Aeschylus, Euripides, Plato, in their deeper moments point
the same road. Indeed a metaphysician might hold that their theology is
far deeper than that to which we are accustomed, since they seem not to
make any particular difference between οἱ θεοί and ὁ θεός or τὸ θεῖον.
They do not instinctively suppose that the human distinctions between
'he' and 'it', or between 'one' and 'many', apply to the divine.
Certainly Greek monotheism, had it really carried the day, would have
been a far more philosophic thing than the tribal and personal
monotheism of the Hebrews. But unfortunately too many hard-caked
superstitions, too many tender and sensitive associations, were linked
with particular figures in the pantheon or particular rites which had
brought the worshippers religious peace. If there had been some Hebrew
prophets about, and a tyrant or two, progressive and bloody-minded, to
agree with them, polytheism might perhaps actually have been stamped out
in Greece at one time. But Greek thought, always sincere and daring, was
seldom brutal, seldom ruthless or cruel. The thinkers of the great
period felt their own way gently to the Holy of Holies, and did not try
to compel others to take the same way. Greek theology, whether popular
or philosophical, seldom denied any god, seldom forbade any worship.
What it tried to do was to identify every new god with some aspect of
one of the old ones, and the result was naturally confusion. Apart from
the Epicurean school, which though powerful was always unpopular, the
religious thought of later antiquity for the most part took refuge in a
sort of apotheosis of good taste, in which the great care was not to
hurt other people's feelings, or else it collapsed into helpless

The attempt to make Olympianism a religion of the Polis failed also.
The Olympians did not belong to any particular city: they were too
universal; and no particular city had a very positive faith in them. The
actual Polis was real and tangible, the Homeric gods a little alien and
literary. The City herself was a most real power; and the true gods of
the City, who had grown out of the soil and the wall, were simply the
City herself in her eternal and personal aspect, as mother and guide and
lawgiver, the worshipped and beloved being whom each citizen must defend
even to the death. As the Kouros of his day emerged from the social
group of Kouroi, or the Aphiktor from the band of suppliants, in like
fashion ἡ Πολιάς or ὁ Πολιεύς emerged as a personification or projection
of the city. ἡ Πολιάς in Athens was of course Athena; ὁ Πολιεύς might as
well be called Zeus as anything else. In reality such beings fall into
the same class as the hero Argos or 'Korinthos son of Zeus'. The City
worship was narrow; yet to broaden it was, except in some rare minds, to
sap its life. The ordinary man finds it impossible to love his next-door
neighbours except by siding with them against the next-door-but-one.

It proved difficult even in a city like Athens to have gods that would
appeal to the loyalty of all Attica. On the Acropolis at Athens there
seem originally to have been Athena and some Kouros corresponding with
her, some Waterer of the earth, like Erechtheus. Then as Attica was
united and brought under the lead of its central city, the gods of the
outlying districts began to claim places on the Acropolis. Pallas, the
thunder-maid of Pallene in the south, came to form a joint personality
with Athena. Oinoe, a town in the north-east, on the way from Delos to
Delphi, had for its special god a 'Pythian Apollo'; when Oinoe became
Attic a place for the Pythian Apollo had to be found on the Acropolis.
Dionysus came from Eleutherae, Demeter and Korê from Eleusis, Theseus
himself perhaps from Marathon or even from Trozên. They were all given
official residences on Athena's rock, and Athens in return sent out
Athena to new temples built for her in Prasiae and Sunion and various
colonies.[72:1] This development came step by step and grew out of real
worships. It was quite different from the wholesale adoption of a body
of non-national, poetical gods: yet even this development was too
artificial, too much stamped with the marks of expediency and courtesy
and compromise. It could not live. The personalities of such gods vanish
away; their prayers become prayers to 'all gods and goddesses of the
City'--θεοῖς καὶ θεῇσι πᾶσι καὶ πάσῃςι; those who remain, chiefly Athena and
Theseus, only mean Athens.

What then, amid all this failure, did the Olympian religion really
achieve? First, it debarbarized the worship of the leading states of
Greece--not of all Greece, since antiquity had no means of spreading
knowledge comparable to ours. It reduced the horrors of the
'Urdummheit', for the most part, to a romantic memory, and made religion
no longer a mortal danger to humanity. Unlike many religious systems, it
generally permitted progress; it encouraged not only the obedient
virtues but the daring virtues as well. It had in it the spirit that
saves from disaster, that knows itself fallible and thinks twice before
it hates and curses and persecutes. It wrapped religion in Sophrosynê.

Again, it worked for concord and fellow-feeling throughout the Greek
communities. It is, after all, a good deal to say, that in Greek history
we find almost no warring of sects, no mutual tortures or even
blasphemies. With many ragged edges, with many weaknesses, it built up
something like a united Hellenic religion to stand against the 'beastly
devices of the heathen'. And after all, if we are inclined on the purely
religious side to judge the Olympian system harshly, we must not forget
its sheer beauty. Truth, no doubt, is greater than beauty. But in many
matters beauty can be attained and truth cannot. All we know is that
when the best minds seek for truth the result is apt to be beautiful. It
was a great thing that men should envisage the world as governed, not by
Giants and Gorgons and dealers in eternal torture, but by some human and
more than human Understanding (Ξύνεσις),[73:1] by beings of quiet
splendour like many a classical Zeus and Hermes and Demeter. If
Olympianism was not a religious faith, it was at least a vital force in
the shaping of cities and societies which remain after two thousand
years a type to the world of beauty and freedom and high endeavour. Even
the stirring of its ashes, when they seemed long cold, had power to
produce something of the same result; for the classicism of the Italian
Renaissance is a child, however fallen, of the Olympian spirit.

Of course, I recognize that beauty is not the same as faith. There is,
in one sense, far more faith in some hideous miracle-working icon which
sends out starving peasants to massacre Jews than in the Athena of
Phidias. Yet, once we have rid our minds of trivial mythology, there is
religion in Athena also. Athena is an ideal, an ideal and a mystery; the
ideal of wisdom, of incessant labour, of almost terrifying purity, seen
through the light of some mystic and spiritual devotion like, but
transcending, the love of man for woman. Or, if the way of Athena is too
hard for us common men, it is not hard to find a true religious ideal in
such a figure as Persephone. In Persephone there is more of pathos and
of mystery. She has more recently entered the calm ranks of Olympus; the
old liturgy of the dying and re-risen Year-bride still clings to her. If
Religion is that which brings us into relation with the great
world-forces, there is the very heart of life in this home-coming Bride
of the underworld, life with its broken hopes, its disaster, its
new-found spiritual joy: life seen as Mother and Daughter, not a thing
continuous and unchanging but shot through with parting and death, life
as a great love or desire ever torn asunder and ever renewed.

'But stay,' a reader may object: 'is not this the Persephone, the
Athena, of modern sentiment? Are these figures really the goddesses of
the _Iliad_ and of Sophocles?' The truth is, I think, that they are
neither the one nor the other. They are the goddesses of ancient
reflection and allegory; the goddesses, that is, of the best and most
characteristic worship that these idealized creations awakened. What we
have treated hitherto as the mortal weakness of the Olympians, the fact
that they have no roots in any particular soil, little hold on any
definite primeval cult, has turned out to be their peculiar strength. We
must not think of allegory as a late post-classical phenomenon in
Greece. It begins at least as early as Pythagoras and Heraclitus,
perhaps as early as Hesiod; for Hesiod seems sometimes to be turning
allegory back into myth. The Olympians, cut loose from the soil,
enthroned only in men's free imagination, have two special regions which
they have made their own: mythology and allegory. The mythology drops
for the most part very early out of practical religion. Even in Homer we
find it expurgated; in Pindar, Aeschylus, and Xenophanes it is
expurgated, denied and allegorized. The myths survive chiefly as
material for literature, the shapes of the gods themselves chiefly as
material for art. They are both of them objects not of belief but of
imagination. Yet when the religious imagination of Greece deepens it
twines itself still around these gracious and ever-moving shapes; the
Zeus of Aeschylus moves on into the Zeus of Plato or of Cleanthes or of
Marcus Aurelius. Hermes, Athena, Apollo, all have their long spiritual
history. They are but little impeded by the echoes of the old frivolous
mythology; still less by any local roots or sectional prejudices or
compulsory details of ritual. As the more highly educated mind of Greece
emerged from a particular, local, tribal, conception of religion, the
old denationalized Olympians were ready to receive her.

The real religion of the fifth century was, as we have said, a devotion
to the City itself. It is expressed often in Aeschylus and Sophocles,
again and again with more discord and more criticism in Euripides and
Plato; for the indignant blasphemies of the Gorgias and the Troades bear
the same message as the ideal patriotism of the Republic. It is
expressed best perhaps, and that without mention of the name of a single
god, in the great Funeral Speech of Pericles. It is higher than most
modern patriotism because it is set upon higher ideals. It is more
fervid because the men practising it lived habitually nearer to the
danger-point, and, when they spoke of dying for the City, spoke of a
thing they had faced last week and might face again to-morrow. It was
more religious because of the unconscious mysticism in which it is
clothed even by such hard heads as Pericles and Thucydides, the
mysticism of men in the presence of some fact for which they have no
words great enough. Yet for all its intensity it was condemned by its
mere narrowness. By the fourth century the average Athenian must have
recognized what philosophers had recognized long before, that a
religion, to be true, must be universal and not the privilege of a
particular people. As soon as the Stoics had proclaimed the world to be
'one great City of gods and men', the only Gods with which Greece could
satisfactorily people that City were the idealized band of the old

They are artists' dreams, ideals, allegories; they are symbols of
something beyond themselves. They are Gods of half-rejected tradition,
of unconscious make-believe, of aspiration. They are gods to whom
doubtful philosophers can pray, with all a philosopher's due caution, as
to so many radiant and heart-searching hypotheses. They are not gods in
whom any one believes as a hard fact. Does this condemn them? Or is it
just the other way? Is it perhaps that one difference between Religion
and Superstition lies exactly in this, that Superstition degrades its
worship by turning its beliefs into so many statements of brute fact, on
which it must needs act without question, without striving, without any
respect for others or any desire for higher or fuller truth? It is only
an accident--though perhaps an invariable accident--that all the
supposed facts are false. In Religion, however precious you may consider
the truth you draw from it, you know that it is a truth seen dimly, and
possibly seen by others better than by you. You know that all your
creeds and definitions are merely metaphors, attempts to use human
language for a purpose for which it was never made. Your concepts are,
by the nature of things, inadequate; the truth is not in you but beyond
you, a thing not conquered but still to be pursued. Something like this,
I take it, was the character of the Olympian Religion in the higher
minds of later Greece. Its gods could awaken man's worship and
strengthen his higher aspirations; but at heart they knew themselves to
be only metaphors. As the most beautiful image carved by man was not the
god, but only a symbol, to help towards conceiving the god;[77:1] so
the god himself, when conceived, was not the reality but only a symbol
to help towards conceiving the reality. That was the work set before
them. Meantime they issued no creeds that contradicted knowledge, no
commands that made man sin against his own inner light.


[39:1] Hdt. i. 60 ἐπεί γε ἀπεκρίθη ἐκ παλαιτέρου τοῦ βαρβάρου ἔθνεος τὸ
Ἑλληνικὸν ἐὸν καὶ δεξιώτερον καὶ εὐηθίης ἠλιθίου ἀπηλλαγμένον μᾶλλον. As
to the date here suggested for the definite dawn of Hellenism Mr. Edwyn
Bevan writes to me: 'I have often wondered what the reason is that about
that time a new age began all over the world that we know. In Nearer
Asia the old Semitic monarchies gave place to the Zoroastrian Aryans; in
India it was the time of Buddha, in China of Confucius.' Εὐηθίη ἠλίθιος
is almost '_Urdummheit_'.

[40:1] See in general Ridgeway, _Early Age of Greece_, vol. i; Leaf,
_Companion to Homer_, Introduction: _R. G. E._, chap. ii; Chadwick, _The
Heroic Age_ (last four chapters); and J. L. Myres, _Dawn of History_,
chaps. viii and ix.

[40:2] Since writing the above I find in Vandal, _L'Avènement de
Bonaparte_, p. 20, in Nelson's edition, a phrase about the Revolutionary
soldiers: 'Ils se modelaient sur ces Romains . . . sur ces Spartiates .
. . et ils créaient un type de haute vertu guerrière, quand ils
croyaient seulement le reproduire.'

[41:1] Hdt. i. 56 f.; Th. i. 3 (Hellen son of Deucalion, in both).

[42:1] Hdt. i. 58. In viii. 44 the account is more detailed.

[42:2] The Homeric evidence is, as usual, inconclusive. The word
βάρβαροι is absent from both poems, an absence which must be intentional
on the part of the later reciters, but may well come from the original
sources. The compound βαρβαρόφωνοι occurs in B 867, but who knows the
date of that particular line in that particular wording?

[42:3] Paper read to the Classical Association at Birmingham in 1908.

[43:1] For Korinna see Wilamowitz in _Berliner Klassikertexte_, V. xiv,
especially p. 55. The Homeric epos drove out poetry like Corinna's. She
had actually written: 'I sing the great deeds of heroes and heroines'
(ἰώνει δ' εἱρώων ἀρετὰς χεὶρωιάδων ἀίδω, fr. 10, Bergk), so that presumably her
style was sufficiently 'heroic' for an un-Homeric generation. For the
change of dialect in elegy, &c., see Thumb, _Handbuch d. gr. Dialekte_,
pp. 327-30, 368 ff., and the literature there cited. Fick and Hoffmann
overstated the change, but Hoffmann's new statement in _Die griechische
Sprache_, 1911, sections on _Die Elegie_, seems just. The question of
Tyrtaeus is complicated by other problems.

[45:1] The facts are well known: see Paus. i. 18. 7. The inference was
pointed out to me by Miss Harrison.

[45:2] I do not here raise the question how far the Achaioi have special
affinities with the north-west group of tribes or dialects. See Thumb,
_Handbuch d. gr. Dialekte_ (1909), p. 166 f. The Achaioi must have
passed through South Thessaly in any case.

[45:3] That Kronos was in possession of the Kronion and Olympia
generally before Zeus came was recognized in antiquity; Paus. v. 7. 4
and 10. Also Mayer in Roscher's Lexicon, ii, p. 1508, 50 ff.; _Rise of
Greek Epic_{3}, pp. 40-8; J. A. K. Thomson, Studies in the Odyssey
(1914), chap. vii, viii; Chadwick, _Heroic Age_ (1911), pp. 282, 289.

[49:1] I do not touch here on the subject of the gradual expurgation of
the Poems to suit the feelings of a more civilized audience; see _Rise
of the Greek Epic_,{3} pp. 120-4. Many scholars believe that the Poems
did not exist as a written book till the public copy was made by
Pisistratus; see Cauer, _Grundfragen der Homerkritik_{2}, (1909), pp.
113-45; _R. G. E._,{3} pp. 304-16; Leaf, _Iliad_, vol. i, p. xvi. This
view is tempting, though the evidence seems to be insufficient to
justify a pronouncement either way. If it is true, then various passages
which show a verbal use of earlier documents (like the Bellerophon
passage, _R. G. E._,{3} pp. 175 ff.) cannot have been put in before the
Athenian period.

[49:2] In his _Zeus, the Indo-European Sky-God_ (1914, 1924). See _R. G.
E._,{3} pp. 40 ff.

[50:1] A somewhat similar change occurred in Othin, though he always
retains more of the crooked wizard.

[50:2] _Themis_, chap. i. On the Zeus of Aeschylus cf. _R. G. E._,{3}
pp. 277 ff.; Gomperz, _Greek Thinkers_, ii. 6-8.

[50:3] Farnell, _Cults_, iv. 100-4. See, however, Gruppe, p. 107 f.

[51:1] _Hymn. Ap._ init. Cf. Wilamowitz's Oxford Lecture on 'Apollo'
(Oxford, 1907).

[51:2] _Themis_, p. 439 f. Cf. ὁ Ἀγοραῖος. Other explanations of the
name in Gruppe, p. 1224 f., notes.

[51:3] Hdt. i. 147; Plato, _Euthyd._ 302 c: _Socrates_. 'No Ionian
recognizes a Zeus Patrôos; Apollo is our Patrôos, because he was father
of Ion.'

[52:1] See Gruppe, p. 1206, on the development of his 'Philistine

[52:2] Hoffmann, _Gesch. d. griechischen Sprache_, Leipzig, 1911, p. 16.
Cf. Pind. _Ol._ vii. 35; Ov. _Metam._ ix. 421; xv. 191, 700, &c.

[53:1] As to the name, Ἁθηναία is of course simply 'Athenian'; the
shorter and apparently original form Ἀθάνα, Ἀθήνη is not so clear, but
it seems most likely to mean 'Attic'. Cf. Meister, _Gr. Dial._ ii. 290.
He classes under the head of Oertliche Bestimmungen: ἁ θεὸς ἁ Παφία
(Collitz and Bechtel, _Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften_,
2, 3, 14{a}, {b}, 15, 16). 'In Paphos selbst hiess die Göttin nur ἁ θεός
oder ἁ ϝάνασσα;--ἁ θιὸς ἁ Γολγία (61)--ἁ θιὸς ἁ Ἀθάνα ἁ πὲρ Ἠδάλιον (60,
27, 28), 'die Göttin, die Athenische, die über Edalion (waltet)';
'Ἀθ-άνα ist, wie J. Baunack (_Studia Nicolaitana_, s. 27) gezeigt hat,
das Adjectiv zu (*Ἀσσ-ίς 'Seeland'): Ἀττ-ίς; Ἀτθ-ίς; *Ἀθ-ίς; also Ἀθ-άνα
= Ἀττ-ική, Ἀθ-ῆναι ursprünglich Ἀθ-ῆναι κῶμαι.' Other derivations in
Gruppe, p. 1194. Or again αἱ Ἀθῆναι may be simply 'the place where the
Athenas are', like οἱ ἰχθύες, the fish-market; 'the Athenas' would be
statues, like οἱ Ἑρμαῖ--the famous 'Attic Maidens' on the Acropolis.
This explanation would lead to some interesting results.

We need not here consider how, partly by identification with other
Korae, like Pallas, Onka, &c., partly by a genuine spread of the cult,
Athena became prominent in other cities. As to Homer, Athena is far more
deeply imbedded in the _Odyssey_ than in the _Iliad_. I am inclined to
agree with those who believe that our _Odyssey_ was very largely
composed in Athens, so that in most of the poem Athena is original. (Cf.
O. Seeck, _Die Quellen der Odyssee_ (1887), pp. 366-420; Mülder, _Die
Ilias and ihre Quellen_ (1910), pp. 350-5.) In some parts of the _Iliad_
the name Athena may well have been substituted for some Northern goddess
whose name is now lost.

[53:2] It is worth noting also that this Homeric triad seems also to be
recognized as the chief Athenian triad. Plato, _Euthyd._ 302 c, quoted
above, continues: _Socrates._ 'We have Zeus with the names Herkeios and
Phratrios, but not Patrôos, and Athena Phratria.' _Dionysodorus._ 'Well
that is enough. You have, apparently, Apollo and Zeus and Athena?'
_Socrates._ 'Certainly.'--Apollo is put first because he has been
accepted as Patrôos. But see _R. G. E._,{3} p. 49, n.

[54:1] Ridgeway, _Origin and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse_, 1905,
pp. 287-93; and _Early Age of Greece_, 1901, p. 223.

[54:2] Cf. Plut. _Q. Conv._ ix. 6; Paus. ii. 1. 6; 4. 6; 15. 5; 30. 6.

[54:3] So in the non-Homeric tradition, Eur. _Troades_ init. In the
_Iliad_ he is made an enemy of Troy, like Athena, who is none the less
the Guardian of the city.

[56:1] _Od._ θ 339 ff.

[56:2] See Paus. viii. 32. 4. _Themis_, pp. 295, 296.

[56:3] For the connexion of Ἥρα ἤρως Ἡρακλῆς (Ἡρύκαλος in Sophron, fr.
142 K) see especially A. B. Cook, _Class. Review_, 1906, pp. 365 and
416. The name Ἥρα seems probably to be an 'ablaut' form of ὥρα: cf.
phrases like Ἥρα τελεία. Other literature in Gruppe, pp. 452, 1122.

[57:1] _Prolegomena_, p. 315, referring to H. D. Müller, _Mythologie d.
gr. Stämme_, pp. 249-55. Another view is suggested by Mülder, _Die Ilias
und ihre Quellen_, p. 136. The jealous Hera comes from the
Heracles-saga, in which the wife hated the bastard.

[57:2] P. Gardner, in _Numismatic Chronicle_, N.S. xx, 'Ares as a

[57:3] Chadwick, _Heroic Age_, especially pp. 414, 459-63.

[59:1] Chap. xviii.

[59:2] Introduction to his edition of the _Choëphoroe_, p. 9.

[61:1] The spirit appears very simply in Eur. _Iph. Taur._ 386 ff.,
where Iphigenia rejects the gods who demand human sacrifice:

     These tales be false, false as those feastings wild
     Of Tantalus, and gods that tare a child.
     This land of murderers to its gods hath given
     Its own lust. Evil dwelleth not in heaven.

Yet just before she has accepted the loves of Zeus and Leto without
objection. 'Leto, whom Zeus loved, could never have given birth to such
a monster!' Cf. Plutarch, _Vit. Pelop._ xxi, where Pelopidas, in
rejecting the idea of a human sacrifice, says: 'No high and more than
human beings could be pleased with so barbarous and unlawful a
sacrifice. It was not the fabled Titans and Giants who ruled the world,
but one who was a Father of all gods and men.' Of course, criticism and
expurgation of the legends is too common to need illustration. See
especially Kaibel, _Daktyloi Idaioi_, 1902, p. 512.

[62:1] Aristophanes did much to reduce this element in comedy; see
_Clouds_, 537 ff.: also _Albany Review_, 1907, p. 201.

[62:2] _R. G. E._,{3} p. 139 f.

[64:1] Justin, _Cohort._ c. 15. But such pantheistic language is common
in Orphic and other mystic literature. See the fragments of the Orphic
Διαθῆκαι (pp. 144 ff. in Abel's _Hymni_).

[65:1] I have not attempted to consider the Cretan cults. They lie
historically outside the range of these essays, and I am not competent
to deal with evidence that is purely archaeological. But in general I
imagine the Cretan religion to be a development from the religion
described in my first essay, affected both by the change in social
structure from village to sea-empire and by foreign, especially
Egyptian, influences. No doubt the Achaean gods were influenced on their
side by Cretan conceptions, though perhaps not so much as Ionia was. Cf.
the Cretan influences in Ionian vase-painting, and e. g. A. B. Cook on
'Cretan Axe-cult outside Crete', _Transactions of the Third
International Congress for the History of Religion_, ii. 184. See also
Sir A. Evans's striking address on 'The Minoan and Mycenaean Element in
Hellenic Life', _J. H. S._ xxxii. 277-97.

[66:1] See _R. G. E._,{3} p. 58 f.

[68:1] 2 Sam. vi. 6. See S. Reinach, _Orpheus_, p. 5 (English
Translation, p. 4).

[72:1] Cf. Sam Wide in Gercke and Norden's _Handbuch_, ii. 217-19.

[73:1] The Ξύνεσις in which the Chorus finds it hard to believe,
_Hippolytus_, 1105. Cf. _Iph. Aul._ 394, 1189; _Herc._ 655; also the
ideas in _Suppl._ 203, Eur. Fr. 52, 9, where Ξύνεσις is implanted in man
by a special grace of God. The gods are ξυνετοί, but of course Euripides
goes too far in actually praying to Ξύνεσις, Ar. _Frogs_, 893.

[77:1] Cf. the beautiful defence of idols by Maximus of Tyre, Or. viii
(in Wilamowitz's _Lesebuch_, ii. 338 ff.). I quote the last paragraph:

'God Himself, the father and fashioner of all that is, older than the
Sun or the Sky, greater than time and eternity and all the flow of
being, is unnameable by any lawgiver, unutterable by any voice, not to
be seen by any eye. But we, being unable to apprehend His essence, use
the help of sounds and names and pictures, of beaten gold and ivory and
silver, of plants and rivers, mountain-peaks and torrents, yearning for
the knowledge of Him, and in our weakness naming all that is beautiful
in this world after His nature--just as happens to earthly lovers. To
them the most beautiful sight will be the actual lineaments of the
beloved, but for remembrance' sake they will be happy in the sight of a
lyre, a little spear, a chair, perhaps, or a running-ground, or anything
in the world that wakens the memory of the beloved. Why should I further
examine and pass judgement about Images? Let men know what is divine (τὸ
θεῖον γένος), let them know: that is all. If a Greek is stirred to the
remembrance of God by the art of Pheidias, an Egyptian by paying worship
to animals, another man by a river, another by fire--I have no anger for
their divergences; only let them know, let them love, let them



There is a passage in Xenophon describing how, one summer night, in 405
B. C., people in Athens heard a cry of wailing, an _oimôgê_, making its
way up between the long walls from the Piraeus, and coming nearer and
nearer as they listened. It was the news of the final disaster of
Kynoskephalai, brought at midnight to the Piraeus by the galley Paralos.
'And that night no one slept. They wept for the dead, but far more
bitterly for themselves, when they reflected what things they had done
to the people of Mêlos, when taken by siege, to the people of Histiaea,
and Skîonê and Torônê and Aegîna, and many more of the Hellenes.'[79:1]

The echo of that lamentation seems to ring behind most of the literature
of the fourth century, and not the Athenian literature alone. Defeat can
on occasion leave men their self-respect or even their pride; as it did
after Chaeronea in 338 and after the Chremonidean War in 262, not to
speak of Thermopylae. But the defeat of 404 not only left Athens at the
mercy of her enemies. It stripped her of those things of which she had
been inwardly most proud; her 'wisdom', her high civilization, her
leadership of all that was most Hellenic in Hellas. The 'Beloved City'
of Pericles had become a tyrant, her nature poisoned by war, her
government a by-word in Greece for brutality. And Greece as a whole
felt the tragedy of it. It is curious how this defeat of Athens by
Sparta seems to have been felt abroad as a defeat for Greece itself and
for the hopes of the Greek city state. The fall of Athens mattered more
than the victory of Lysander. Neither Sparta nor any other city ever
attempted to take her place. And no writer after the year 400 speaks of
any other city as Pericles used to speak of fifth-century Athens, not
even Polybius 250 years later, when he stands amazed before the solidity
and the 'fortune' of Rome.

The city state, the Polis, had concentrated upon itself almost all the
loyalty and the aspirations of the Greek mind. It gave security to life.
It gave meaning to religion. And in the fall of Athens it had failed. In
the third century, when things begin to recover, we find on the one hand
the great military monarchies of Alexander's successors, and on
the other, a number of federations of tribes, which were generally
strongest in the backward regions where the city state had been least
developed. Τὸ κοινὸν τῶν Αἰτωλῶν or τῶν Ἀχαιῶν had become more important
than Athens or Corinth, and Sparta was only strong by means of a
League.[80:1] By that time the Polis was recognized as a comparatively
weak social organism, capable of very high culture but not quite able,
as the Covenant of the League of Nations expresses it, 'to hold its own
under the strenuous conditions of modern life'. Besides, it was not now
ruled by the best citizens. The best had turned away from politics.

This great discouragement did not take place at a blow. Among the
practical statesmen probably most did not form any theory about the
cause of the failure but went on, as practical statesmen must, doing as
best they could from difficulty to difficulty. But many saw that the
fatal danger to Greece was disunion, as many see it in Europe now. When
Macedon proved indisputably stronger than Athens Isocrates urged Philip
to accept the leadership of Greece against the barbarian and against
barbarism. He might thus both unite the Greek cities and also evangelize
the world. Lysias, the democratic and anti-Spartan orator, had been
groping for a similar solution as early as 384 B. C., and was prepared
to make an even sharper sacrifice for it. He appealed at Olympia for a
crusade of all the free Greek cities against Dionysius of Syracuse, and
begged Sparta herself to lead it. The Spartans are 'of right the leaders
of Hellas by their natural nobleness and their skill in war. They alone
live still in a city unsacked, unwalled, unconquered, uncorrupted by
faction, and have followed always the same modes of life. They have been
the saviours of Hellas in the past, and one may hope that their freedom
will be everlasting.'[81:1] A great and generous change in one who had
'learned by suffering' in the Peloponnesian War. Others no doubt merely
gave their submission to the stronger powers that were now rising. There
were openings for counsellors, for mercenary soldiers, for court savants
and philosophers and poets, and, of course, for agents in every free
city who were prepared for one motive or another not to kick against the
pricks. And there were always also those who had neither learned nor
forgotten, the unrepentant idealists; too passionate or too heroic or,
as some will say, too blind, to abandon their life-long devotion to
'Athens' or to 'Freedom' because the world considered such ideals out of
date. They could look the ruined Athenians in the face, after the lost
battle, and say with Demosthenes, ''Οὐκ ἔστιν, οὐκ ἔστιν ὅπως ἡμάρτετε.
It cannot be that you did wrong, it cannot be!'[82:1]

But in practical politics the currents of thought are inevitably
limited. It is in philosophy and speculation that we find the richest
and most varied reaction to the Great Failure. It takes different shapes
in those writers, like Plato and Xenophon, who were educated in the
fifth century and had once believed in the Great City, and those whose
whole thinking life belonged to the time of disillusion.

Plato was disgusted with democracy and with Athens, but he retained his
faith in the city, if only the city could be set on the right road.
There can be little doubt that he attributes to the bad government of
the Demos many evils which were really due to extraneous causes or to
the mere fallibility of human nature. Still his analysis of democracy is
one of the most brilliant things in the history of political theory. It
is so acute, so humorous, so affectionate; and at many different ages of
the world has seemed like a portrait of the actual contemporary society.
Like a modern popular newspaper, Plato's democracy makes it its business
to satisfy existing desires and give people a 'good time'. It does not
distinguish between higher and lower. Any one man is as good as another,
and so is any impulse or any idea. Consequently the commoner have the
pull. Even the great democratic statesmen of the past, he now sees,
have been ministers to mob desires; they have 'filled the city with
harbours and docks and walls and revenues and such-like trash, without
Sophrosynê and righteousness'. The sage or saint has no place in
practical politics. He would be like a man in a den of wild beasts. Let
him and his like seek shelter as best they can, standing up behind some
wall while the storm of dust and sleet rages past. The world does not
want truth, which is all that he could give it. It goes by appearances
and judges its great men with their clothes on and their rich relations
round them. After death, the judges will judge them naked, and alone;
and then we shall see![83:1]

Yet, in spite of all this, the child of the fifth century cannot keep
his mind from politics. The speculations which would be scouted by the
mass in the marketplace can still be discussed with intimate friends and
disciples, or written in books for the wise to read. Plato's two longest
works are attempts to construct an ideal society; first, what may be
called a City of Righteousness, in the _Republic_; and afterwards in
his old age, in the _Laws_, something more like a City of Refuge,
uncontaminated by the world; a little city on a hill-top away in Crete,
remote from commerce and riches and the 'bitter and corrupting sea'
which carries them; a city where life shall move in music and discipline
and reverence for the things that are greater than man, and the songs
men sing shall be not common songs but the preambles of the city's laws,
showing their purpose and their principle; where no wall will be needed
to keep out the possible enemy, because the courage and temperance of
the citizens will be wall enough, and if war comes the women equally
with the men 'will fight for their young, as birds do'.

This hope is very like despair; but, such as it is, Plato's thought is
always directed towards the city. No other form of social life ever
tempts him away, and he anticipates no insuperable difficulty in keeping
the city in the right path if once he can get it started right. The
first step, the necessary revolution, is what makes the difficulty. And
he sees only one way. In real life he had supported the conspiracy of
the extreme oligarchs in 404 which led to the rule of the 'Thirty
Tyrants'; but the experience sickened him of such methods. There was no
hope unless, by some lucky combination, a philosopher should become a
king or some young king turn philosopher. 'Give me a city governed by a
tyrant,' he says in the _Laws_,[84:1] 'and let the tyrant be young, with
a good memory, quick at learning, of high courage, and a generous
nature. . . . And besides, let him have a wise counsellor!' Ironical
fortune granted him an opportunity to try the experiment himself at the
court of Syracuse, first with the elder and then, twenty years later,
with the younger Dionysius (387 and 367 B. C.). It is a story of
disappointment, of course; bitter, humiliating and ludicrous
disappointment, but with a touch of that sublimity which seems so often
to hang about the errors of the wise. One can study them in Seneca at
the court of Nero, or in Turgot with Louis; not so well perhaps in
Voltaire with Frederick. Plato failed in his enterprise, but he did
keep faith with the 'Righteous City'.

Another of the Socratic circle turned in a different direction.
Xenophon, an exile from his country, a brilliant soldier and adventurer
as well as a man of letters, is perhaps the first Greek on record who
openly lost interest in the city. He thought less about cities and
constitutions than about great men and nations, or generals and armies.
To him it was idle to spin cobweb formations of ideal laws and
communities. Society is right enough if you have a really fine man to
lead it. It may be that his ideal was formed in childhood by stories of
Pericles and the great age when Athens was 'in name a democracy but in
truth an empire of one leading man'. He gave form to his dream in the
_Education of Cyrus_, an imaginary account of the training which formed
Cyrus the Great into an ideal king and soldier. The _Cyropaedeia_ is
said to have been intended as a counterblast to Plato's _Republic_, and
it may have provoked Plato's casual remark in the _Laws_ that 'Cyrus
never so much as touched education'. No doubt the book suffered in
persuasiveness from being so obviously fictitious.[85:1] For example,
the Cyrus of Xenophon dies peacefully in his bed after much affectionate
and edifying advice to his family, whereas all Athens knew from
Herodotus how the real Cyrus had been killed in a war against the
Massagetae, and his head, to slake its thirst for that liquid, plunged
into a wineskin full of human blood. Perhaps also the monarchical rule
of Cyrus was too absolute for Greek taste. At any rate, later on
Xenophon adopted a more real hero, whom he had personally known and

Agesilaus, king of Sparta, had been taken as a type of 'virtue' even by
the bitter historian Theopompus. Agesilaus was not only a great general.
He knew how to 'honour the gods, do his duty in the field, and to
practise obedience'. He was true to friend and foe. On one memorable
occasion he kept his word even to an enemy who had broken his. He
enjoined kindness to enemy captives. When he found small children left
behind by the barbarians in some town that he occupied--because either
their parents or the slave-merchants had no room for them--he always
took care of them or gave them to guardians of their own race: 'he never
let the dogs and wolves get them'. On the other hand, when he sold his
barbarian prisoners he sent them to market naked, regardless of their
modesty, because it cheered his own soldiers to see how white and fat
they were. He wept when he won a victory over Greeks; 'for he loved all
Greeks and only hated barbarians'. When he returned home after his
successful campaigns, he obeyed the orders of the ephors without
question; his house and furniture were as simple as those of a common
man, and his daughter the princess, when she went to and fro to Amyclae,
went simply in the public omnibus. He reared chargers and hunting dogs;
the rearing of chariot horses he thought effeminate. But he advised his
sister Cynisca about hers, and she won the chariot race at Olympia.
'Have a king like that', says Xenophon, 'and all will be well. He will
govern right; he will beat your enemies; and he will set an example of
good life. If you want Virtue in the state look for it in a good man,
not in a speculative tangle of laws. The Spartan constitution, as it
stands, is good enough for any one.'

But it was another of the great Socratics who uttered first the
characteristic message of the fourth century, and met the blows of
Fortune with a direct challenge. Antisthenes was a man twenty years
older than Plato. He had fought at Tanagra in 426 B. C. He had been
friends with Gorgias and Prodicus, the great Sophists of the Periclean
age. He seems to have been, at any rate till younger and more brilliant
men cut him out, the recognized philosophic heir of Socrates.[87:1] And
late in life, after the fall of Athens and the condemnation and death of
his master, the man underwent a curious change of heart. He is taunted
more than once with the lateness of his discovery of truth,[87:2] and
with his childish subservience to the old _jeux d'esprit_ of the
Sceptics which professed to prove the impossibility of knowledge.[87:3]
It seems that he had lost faith in speculation and dialectic and the
elaborate superstructures which Plato and others had built upon them;
and he felt, like many moralists after him, a sort of hostility to all
knowledge that was not immediately convertible into conduct.

But this scepticism was only part of a general disbelief in the world.
Greek philosophy had from the first been concerned with a fundamental
question which we moderns seldom put clearly to ourselves. It asked
'What is the Good?' meaning thereby 'What is the element of value in
life?' or 'What should be our chief aim in living?' A medieval Christian
would have answered without hesitation 'To go to Heaven and not be
damned', and would have been prepared with the necessary prescriptions
for attaining that end. But the modern world is not intensely enough
convinced of the reality of Sin and Judgement, Hell and Heaven, to
accept this answer as an authoritative guide in life, and has not
clearly thought out any other. The ancient Greek spent a great part of
his philosophical activity in trying, without propounding supernatural
rewards and punishments, or at least without laying stress on them, to
think out what the Good of man really was.

The answers given by mankind to this question seem to fall under two
main heads. Before a battle if both parties were asked what aim they
were pursuing, both would say without hesitation 'Victory'. After the
battle, the conqueror would probably say that his purpose was in some
way to consolidate or extend his victory; but the beaten party, as soon
as he had time to think, would perhaps explain that, after all, victory
was not everything. It was better to have fought for the right, to have
done your best and to have failed, than to revel in the prosperity of
the unjust. And, since it is difficult to maintain, in the midst of the
triumph of the enemy and your own obvious misery and humiliation, that
all is well and you yourself thoroughly contented, this second answer
easily develops a third: 'Wait a little, till God's judgement asserts
itself; and see who has the best of it then!' There will be a rich
reward hereafter for the suffering virtuous.

The typical Athenian of the Periclean age would have been in the first
state of mind. His 'good' would be in the nature of success: to spread
Justice and Freedom, to make Athens happy and strong and her laws wise
and equal for rich and poor. Antisthenes had fallen violently into the
second. He was defeated together with all that he most cared for, and he
comforted himself with the thought that nothing matters except to have
done your best. As he phrased it _Aretê is the good_, Aretê meaning
'virtue' or 'goodness', the quality of a good citizen, a good father, a
good dog, a good sword.

The things of the world are vanity, and philosophy as vain as the rest.
Nothing but goodness is good; and the first step towards attaining it is
to repent.

There was in Athens a gymnasium built for those who were base-born and
could not attend the gymnasia of true citizens. It was called Kynosarges
and was dedicated to the great bastard, Heracles. Antisthenes, though he
had moved hitherto in the somewhat patrician circle of the Socratics,
remembered how that his mother was a Thracian slave, and set up his
school in Kynosarges among the disinherited of the earth. He made
friends with the 'bad,' who needed befriending. He dressed like the
poorest workman. He would accept no disciples except those who could
bear hardship, and was apt to drive new-comers away with his stick. Yet
he also preached in the streets, both in Athens and Corinth. He preached
rhetorically, with parables and vivid emotional phrases, compelling the
attention of the crowd. His eloquence was held to be bad style, and it
started the form of literature known to the Cynics as χρεία, 'a help',
or διατριβή, 'a study', and by the Christians as ὁμιλία, a 'homily' or

This passionate and ascetic old man would have attracted the interest of
the world even more, had it not been for one of his disciples. This was
a young man from Sinope, on the Euxine, whom he did not take to at first
sight; the son of a disreputable money-changer who had been sent to
prison for defacing the coinage. Antisthenes ordered the lad away, but
he paid no attention; he beat him with his stick, but he never moved. He
wanted 'wisdom', and saw that Antisthenes had it to give. His aim in
life was to do as his father had done, to 'deface the coinage', but on a
much larger scale. He would deface all the coinage current in the world.
Every conventional stamp was false. The men stamped as generals and
kings; the things stamped as honour and wisdom and happiness and riches;
all were base metal with lying superscriptions. All must have the stamp

This young man was Diogenes, afterwards the most famous of all the
Cynics. He started by rejecting all stamps and superscriptions and
holding that nothing but _Aretê_, 'worth' or 'goodness', was good. He
rejected tradition. He rejected the current religion and the rules and
customs of temple worship. True religion was a thing of the spirit, and
needed no forms. He despised divination. He rejected civil life and
marriage. He mocked at the general interest in the public games and the
respect paid to birth, wealth, or reputation. Let man put aside these
delusions and know himself. And for his defences let him arm himself
'against Fortune with courage, against Convention with Nature, against
passion with Reason'. For Reason is 'the god within us'.

The salvation for man was to return to Nature, and Diogenes interpreted
this return in the simplest and crudest way. He should live like the
beasts, like primeval men, like barbarians. Were not the beasts blessed,
ῥεῖα ζώοντες like the Gods in Homer? And so, though in less perfection,
were primitive men, not vexing their hearts with imaginary sins and
conventions. Travellers told of savages who married their sisters, or
ate human flesh, or left their dead unburied. Why should they not, if
they wished to? No wonder Zeus punished Prometheus the Fire-Bringer, who
had brought all this progress upon us and left man civilized and more
unhappy than any beast! He deserved his crag and his vulture!

Diogenes took his mission with great earnestness. He was leader in a
'great battle against Pleasures and Desires'. He was 'the servant, the
message-bearer, sent by Zeus', 'the Setter-Free of mankind' and the
'Healer of passions'.

The life that he personally meant to live, and which he recommended to
the wise, was what he called τὸν κυνικὸν βίον, 'a dog's life', and he
himself wished to be a 'cynic' or 'canine'. A dog was brave and
faithful; it had no bodily shame, no false theories, and few wants. A
dog needed no clothes, no house, no city, no possessions, no titles;
what he did need was 'virtue', Aretê, to catch his prey, to fight wild
beasts, and to defend his master; and that he could provide for himself.
Diogenes found, of course, that he needed a little more than an ordinary
dog; a blanket, a wallet or bowl to hold his food, and a staff a 'to
beat off dogs and bad men'. It was the regular uniform of a beggar. He
asked for no house. There was a huge earthen pitcher--not a tub--outside
the Temple of the Great Mother; the sort of vessel that was used for
burial in primitive Greece and which still had about it the associations
of a coffin. Diogenes slept there when he wanted shelter, and it became
the nearest approach to a home that he had. Like a dog he performed any
bodily act without shame, when and where he chose. He obeyed no human
laws because he recognized no city. He was _Cosmopolîtes_, Citizen of
the Universe; all men, and all beasts too, were his brothers. He lived
preaching in the streets and begging his bread; except that he did not
'beg', he 'commanded'. Other folk obeyed his commands because they were
still slaves, while he 'had never been a slave again since Antisthenes
set him free'. He had no fear, because there was nothing to take from
him. Only slaves are afraid.

Greece rang with stories of his mordant wit, and every bitter saying
became fathered on Diogenes. Every one knew how Alexander the Great had
come to see the famous beggar and, standing before him where he sat in
the open air, had asked if there was any boon he could confer on him.
'Yes, move from between me and the sun.' They knew the king's saying,
'If I were not Alexander I would be Diogenes', and the polite answer 'If
I were not Diogenes I would be Alexander'. The Master of the World and
the Rejector of the World met on an equality. People told too how the
Cynic walked about with a lamp in the daytime searching, so he said,
'for a man'. They knew his scorn of the Mysteries with their doctrine of
exclusive salvation; was a thief to be in bliss because he was
initiated, while Agesilaus and Epaminondas were in outer darkness? A few
of the stories are more whimsical. A workman carrying a pole
accidentally hit Diogenes and cried 'Look out!' 'Why,' said he, 'are you
going to hit me again?'

He had rejected patriotism as he rejected culture. Yet he suffered as he
saw Greece under the Macedonians and Greek liberties disappearing. When
his death was approaching some disciple asked his wishes about his
burial; 'Let the dogs and wolves have me,' he said; 'I should like to be
of some use to my brothers when I die.' When this request was refused
his thoughts turned again to the Macedonian Wars; 'Bury me face
downwards; everything is soon going to be turned the other way up.'

He remains the permanent and unsurpassed type of one way of grappling
with the horror of life. Fear nothing, desire nothing, possess nothing:
and then Life with all its ingenuity of malice cannot disappoint you. If
man cannot enter into life nor yet depart from it save through agony and
filth, let him learn to endure the one and be indifferent to the other.
The watchdog of Zeus on earth has to fulfil his special duty, to warn
mankind of the truth and to set slaves free. Nothing else matters.

The criticism of this solution is not that it is selfish. It is not. The
Cynic lives for the salvation of his fellow creatures. And it is worth
remembering that before the Roman gladiatorial games were eventually
stopped by the self-immolation of the monk Telemachus, two Cynic
philosophers had thrown themselves into the arena in the same spirit.
Its weakness lies in a false psychology, common to all the world at that
time, which imagined that salvation or freedom consists in living
utterly without desire or fear, that such a life is biologically
possible, and that Diogenes lived it. To a subtler critic it is obvious
that Diogenes was a man of very strong and successful ambitions, though
his ambitions were different from those of most men. He solved the
problem of his own life by following with all the force and courage of
his genius a line of conduct which made him, next to Alexander, the most
famous man in Greece. To be really without fear or desire would mean
death, and to die is not to solve the riddle of living.

The difference between the Cynic view of life and that of Plato's
_Republic_ is interesting. Plato also rejected the most fundamental
conventions of existing society, the accepted methods of government, the
laws of property and of marriage, the traditional religion and even the
poetry which was a second religion to the Greeks. But he rejected the
existing culture only because he wanted it to be better. He condemned
the concrete existing city in order to build a more perfect city, to
proceed in infinite searching and longing towards the Idea of Good, the
Sun of the spiritual universe. Diogenes rejected the civilization which
he saw, and admitted the reality of no other. His crude realistic
attitude of mind had no use for Plato's 'Ideas'. 'I can see a table,' he
said; 'I cannot see Tabularity' (τραπεζότης). 'I know Athens and Corinth
and other cities, and can see that they are all bad. As for the Ideal
Society, show it me and I will say what I think.'

In spite of its false psychology the Cynic conception of life had a
great effect in Greece. It came almost as a revelation to both men and
women[95:1] and profoundly influenced all the Schools. Here indeed, it
seemed, was a way to baffle Fortune and to make one's own soul unafraid.
What men wanted was τὸ θαρρεῖν 'to be of good cheer'; as we say now, to
regain their _morale_ after bewildering defeats. The Cynic answer,
afterwards corrected and humanized by the Stoics, was to look at life as
a long and arduous campaign. The loyal soldier does not trouble about
his comfort or his rewards or his pleasures. He obeys his commander's
orders without fear or failing, whether they lead to easy victories or
merely to wounds, captivity or death. Only Goodness is good, and for the
soldier Goodness (ἀρετή) is the doing of Duty. That is his true prize,
which no external power can take away from him.

But after all, what is Duty? Diogenes preached 'virtue' and assumed that
his way of life was 'virtue'. But was it really so? And, if so, on what
evidence? To live like a beast, to be indifferent to art, beauty,
letters, science, philosophy, to the amenities of civic life, to all
that raised Hellenic Man above the beast or the savage? How could this
be the true end of man? The Stoic School, whose founder, Zeno, was a
disciple of old Antisthenes, gradually built up a theory of moral life
which has on the whole weathered the storms of time with great success.
It largely dominated later antiquity by its imaginative and emotional
power. It gave form to the aspirations of early Christianity. It lasts
now as the nearest approach to an acceptable system of conduct for those
who do not accept revelation, but still keep some faith in the Purpose
of Things.

The problem is to combine the absolute value of that Goodness which, as
we say, 'saves the soul' with the relative values of the various good
things that soothe or beautify life. For, if there is any value at
all--I will not say in health and happiness, but in art, poetry,
knowledge, refinement, public esteem, or human affection, and if their
claims do clash, as in common opinion they sometimes do, with the
demands of absolute sanctity, how is the balance to be struck? Are we to
be content with the principle of accepting a little moral wrong for the
sake of much material or artistic or intellectual advantage? That is the
rule which the practical world follows, though without talking about
it; but the Stoics would have none of any such compromise.

Zeno first, like Antisthenes, denied any value whatever to these earthly
things that are not virtue--to health or sickness, riches or poverty,
beauty or ugliness, pain or pleasure; who would ever mention them when
the soul stood naked before God? All that would then matter, and
consequently all that can ever matter, is the goodness of the man's
self, that is, of his free and living will. The Stoics improved on the
military metaphor; for to the soldier, after all, it does matter whether
in his part of the field he wins or loses. Life is not like a battle but
like a play, in which God has handed each man his part unread, and the
good man proceeds to act it to the best of his power, not knowing what
may happen in the last scene. He may become a crowned king, he may be a
slave dying in torment. What matters it? The good actor can play either
part. All that matters is that he shall act his best, accept the order
of the Cosmos and obey the Purpose of the great Dramaturge.

The answer seems absolute and unyielding, with no concession to the
weakness of the flesh. Yet, in truth, it contains in itself the germ of
a sublime practical compromise which makes Stoicism human. It accepts
the Cosmos and it obeys the Purpose; therefore there is a Cosmos, and
there is a purpose in the world. Stoicism, like much of ancient thought
at this period, was permeated by the new discoveries of astronomy and
their formation into a coherent scientific system, which remained
unshaken till the days of Copernicus. The stars, which had always moved
men's wonder and even worship, were now seen and proved to be no
wandering fires but parts of an immense and apparently eternal order.
One star might differ from another star in glory, but they were all
alike in their obedience to law. They had their fixed courses, divine
though they were, which had been laid down for them by a Being greater
than they. The Order, or Cosmos, was a proven fact; therefore, the
Purpose was a proven fact; and, though in its completeness inscrutable,
it could at least in part be divined from the fact that all these varied
and eternal splendours had for their centre our Earth and its ephemeral
master. The Purpose, though it is not our Purpose, is especially
concerned with us and circles round us. It is the purpose of a God who
loves Man.

Let us forget that this system of astronomy has been overthrown, and
that we now know that Man is not the centre of the universe. Let us
forget that the majestic order which reigns, or seems to reign, among
the stars, is matched by a brutal conflict and a chaos of jarring
purposes in the realms of those sciences which deal with life.[98:1] If
we can recover the imaginative outlook of the generations which
stretched from, say, Meton in the fifth century before Christ to
Copernicus in the sixteenth after, we shall be able to understand the
spiritual exaltation with which men like Zeno or Poseidonius regarded
the world.

We are part of an Order, a Cosmos, which we see to be infinitely above
our comprehension but which we know to be an expression of love for Man;
what can we do but accept it, not with resignation but with enthusiasm,
and offer to it with pride any sacrifice which it may demand of us. It
is a glory to suffer for such an end.

And there is more. For the Stars show only what may be called a
stationary purpose, an Order which is and remains for ever. But in the
rest of the world, we can see a moving Purpose. It is Phusis, the word
which the Romans unfortunately translated 'Natura', but which means
'Growing' or 'the way things grow'--almost what we call Evolution. But
to the Stoic it is a living and conscious evolution, a forethought
or Πρόνοια in the mind of God, what the Romans called _providentia_,
guiding all things that grow in a direction which accords with the
divine will. And the direction, the Stoic pointed out, was not towards
mere happiness but towards _Aretê_, or the perfection of each thing or
each species after its kind. _Phusis_ shapes the acorn to grow into the
perfect oak, the blind puppy into the good hound; it makes the deer grow
in swiftness to perform the function of a deer, and man grow in power
and wisdom to perform the function of a man. If a man is an artist it is
his function to produce beauty; if he a governor, it is his function to
produce a flourishing and virtuous city. True, the things that he
produces are but shadows and in themselves utterly valueless; it matters
not one straw whether the deer goes at ten miles an hour or twenty,
whether the population of a city die this year of famine and sickness or
twenty years hence of old age. But it belongs to the good governor to
avert famine and to produce healthy conditions, as it belongs to the
deer to run its best. So it is the part of a friend, if need arise, to
give his comfort or his life for a friend; of a mother to love and
defend her children; though it is true that in the light of eternity
these 'creaturely' affections shrivel into their native worthlessness.
If the will of God is done, and done willingly, all is well. You may, if
it brings you great suffering, feel the pain. You may even, through
human weakness, weep or groan; that can be forgiven. Ἔσωθεν μέντοι μὴ
στενάξης, 'But in the centre of your being groan not!' Accept the Cosmos.
Will joyously that which God wills and make the eternal Purpose your

I will say no more of this great body of teaching, as I have dealt with
it in a separate publication.[100:1] But I would point out two special
advantages of a psychological kind which distinguish Stoicism from many
systems of philosophy. First, though it never consciously faced the
psychological problem of instinct, it did see clearly that man does not
necessarily pursue what pleases him most, or what is most profitable to
him, or even his 'good'. It saw that man can determine his end, and may
well choose pain in preference to pleasure. This saved the school from a
great deal of that false schematization which besets most forms of
rationalistic psychology. Secondly, it did build up a system of thought
on which, both in good days and evil, a life can be lived which is not
only saintly, but practically wise and human and beneficent. It did for
practical purposes solve the problem of living, without despair and
without grave, or at least without gross, illusion.

The other great school of the fourth century, a school which, in the
matter of ethics, may be called the only true rival of Stoicism, was
also rooted in defeat. But it met defeat in a different spirit.[101:1]
Epicurus, son of Neocles, of the old Athenian clan of the Philaïdae, was
born on a colony in Samos in 341 B. C. His father was evidently poor;
else he would hardly have left Athens to live on a colonial farm, nor
have had to eke out his farming by teaching an elementary school. We do
not know how much the small boy learned from his father. But for older
students there was a famous school on the neighbouring island of Teos,
where a certain Nausiphanes taught the Ionian tradition of Mathematics
and Physics as well as rhetoric and literary subjects. Epicurus went to
this school when he was fourteen, and seems, among other things, to have
imbibed the Atomic Theory of Democritus without realizing that it was
anything peculiar. He felt afterwards as if his school-days had been
merely a waste of time. At the age of eighteen he went to Athens, the
centre of the philosophic world, but he only went, as Athenian citizens
were in duty bound, to perform his year of military service as
_ephêbus_. Study was to come later. The next year, however, 322,
Perdiccas of Thrace made an attack on Samos and drove out the Athenian
colonists. Neocles had by then lived on his bit of land for thirty
years, and was old to begin life again. The ruined family took refuge in
Colophon, and there Epicurus joined them. They were now too poor for the
boy to go abroad to study philosophy. He could only make the best of a
hard time and puzzle alone over the problems of life.

Recent years have taught us that there are few forms of misery harder
than that endured by a family of refugees, and it is not likely to have
been easier in ancient conditions. Epicurus built up his philosophy, it
would seem, while helping his parents and brothers through this bad
time. The problem was how to make the life of their little colony
tolerable, and he somehow solved it. It was not the kind of problem
which Stoicism and the great religions specially set themselves; it was
at once too unpretending and too practical. One can easily imagine the
condition for which he had to prescribe. For one thing, the unfortunate
refugees all about him would torment themselves with unnecessary
terrors. The Thracians were pursuing them. The Gods hated them; they
must obviously have committed some offence or impiety. (It is always
easy for disheartened men to discover in themselves some sin that
deserves punishment.) It would surely be better to die at once; except
that, with that sin upon them, they would only suffer more dreadfully
beyond the grave! In their distress they jarred, doubtless, on one
another's nerves; and mutual bitterness doubled their miseries.

Epicurus is said to have had poor health, and the situation was one
where even the best health would be sorely tried. But he had superhuman
courage, and--what does not always go with such courage--a very
affectionate and gentle nature. In later life all his three brothers
were his devoted disciples--a testimonial accorded to few prophets or
founders of religions. And he is the first man in the record of European
history whose mother was an important element in his life. Some of his
letters to her have been preserved, and show a touch of intimate
affection which of course must have existed between human beings from
the remotest times, but of which we possess no earlier record. And
fragments of his letters to his friends strike the same note.[103:1]

His first discovery was that men torture themselves with unnecessary
fears. He must teach them courage, θαρρεῖν ἀρὸ τῶν θεῶν, θαρρεῖν ἀρὸ
ἀνθρώπων, to fear no evil from either man or God. God is a blessed
being; and no blessed being either suffers evil or inflicts evil on
others. And as for men, most of the evils you fear from them can be
avoided by Justice; and if they do come, they can be borne. Death is
like sleep, an unconscious state, nowise to be feared. Pain when it
comes can be endured; it is the anticipation that makes men miserable
and saps their courage. The refugees were forgotten by the world, and
had no hope of any great change in their condition. Well, he argued, so
much the better! Let them till the earth and love one another, and they
would find that they had already in them that Natural Happiness which is
man's possession until he throws it away. And of all things that
contribute to happiness the greatest is Affection, φιλία.

Like the Cynics and Stoics, he rejected the world and all its
conventions and prizes, its desires and passions and futility. But where
the Stoic and Cynic proclaimed that in spite of all the pain and
suffering of a wicked world, man can by the force of his own will be
virtuous, Epicurus brought the more surprising good news that man can
after all be happy.

But to make this good news credible he had to construct a system of
thought. He had to answer the temple authorities and their adherents
among the vulgar, who threatened his followers with the torments of
Hades for their impiety. He had to answer the Stoics and Cynics,
preaching that all is worthless except Aretê; and the Sceptics, who
dwelt on the fallibility of the senses, and the logical impossibility of

He met the last of these by the traditional Ionian doctrine of
sense-impressions, ingeniously developed. We can, he argued, know the
outer world, because our sense impressions are literally 'impressions'
or stamps made by external objects upon our organs. To see, for
instance, is to be struck by an infinitely tenuous stream of images,
flowing from the object and directly impinging upon the retina. Such
streams are flowing from all objects in every direction--an idea which
seemed incredible until the modern discoveries about light, sound, and
radiation. Thus there is direct contact with reality, and consequently
knowledge. Besides direct vision, however, we have 'anticipations', or
προλήψεις, sometimes called 'common conceptions', e. g. the general
conception which we have of a horse when we are not seeing one. These
are merely the result of repeated acts of vision. A curious result of
this doctrine was that all our 'anticipations' or 'common ideas' are
true; mistakes occur through some interpretation of our own which we add
to the simple sensation.

We can know the world. How then are we to understand it? Here again
Epicurus found refuge in the old Ionian theory of Atoms and the Void,
which is supposed to have originated with Democritus and Leucippus, a
century before. But Epicurus seems to have worked out the Atomic Theory
more in detail, as we have it expounded in Lucretius' magnificent poem.
In particular it was possibly he who first combined the Atomic Theory
with hylozoism; i. e. he conceived of the Atoms as possessing some
rudimentary power of movement and therefore able to swerve slightly in
their regular downward course. That explains how they have become
infinitely tangled and mingled, how plants and animals are alive, and
how men have Free Will. It also enables Epicurus to build up a world
without the assistance of a god. He set man free, as Lucretius says,
from the 'burden of Religion', though his doctrine of the 'blessed
Being' which neither has pain nor gives pain, enables him to elude the
dangerous accusation of atheism. He can leave people believing in all
their traditional gods, including even, if so they wish, 'the bearded
Zeus and the helmed Athena' which they see in dreams and in their
'common ideas', while at the same time having no fear of them.

There remains the foolish fancy of the Cynics and Stoics that 'Aretê'
is the only good. Of course, he answers, Aretê is good; but that is
because it produces happy life, or blessedness or pleasure or whatever
you call it. He used normally the word ἡδονή 'sweetness', and counted
the Good as that which makes life sweet. He seems never to have entered
into small disputes as to the difference between 'sweetness', or
'pleasure', and 'happiness' and 'well-being' (ἡδονή, εὐδαιμονία,
εὐεστώ, κτλ.), though sometimes, instead of 'sweetness' he spoke of
'blessedness' (μακαριότης). Ultimately the dispute between him and the
Stoics seems to resolve itself into a question whether the Good lies in
πάσχειν or ποιεῖν, in Experience or in Action; and average human beings
seem generally to think that the Good for a conscious being must be
something of which he is conscious.

Thus the great system is built, simple, intelligible, dogmatic, and--as
such systems go--remarkably water-tight. It enables man to be unafraid,
and it helps him to be happy. The strange thing is that, although on
more than one point it seems to anticipate most surprisingly the
discoveries of modern science, it was accepted in a spirit more
religious than scientific. As we can see from Lucretius it was taken
almost as a revelation, from one who had saved mankind; whose intellect
had pierced beyond the 'flaming walls of Heaven' and brought back to man
the gospel of an intelligible universe.[106:1]

In 310 B. C., when Epicurus was thirty-two, things had so far improved
that he left Colophon and set up a school of philosophy in Mytilene, but
soon moved to Lampsacus, on the Sea of Marmora, where he had friends.
Disciples gathered about him. Among them were some of the leading men of
the city, like Leonteus and Idomeneus. The doctrine thrilled them and
seemed to bring freedom with it. They felt that such a teacher must be
set up in Athens, the home of the great philosophers. They bought by
subscription a house and garden in Athens for 80 minae (about
£320)[107:1] and presented it to the Master. He crossed to Athens in 306
and, though he four times revisited Lampsacus and has left letters
addressed _To Friends in Lampsacus_, he lived in the famous Garden for
the rest of his life.

Friends from Lampsacus and elsewhere came and lived with him or near
him. The Garden was not only a philosophical school; it was also a sort
of retreat or religious community. There lived there not only
philosophers like Mêtrodôrus, Colôtes, Hermarchus, and others; there
were slaves, like Mys, and free women, like Themista, the wife of
Leonteus, to both of whom the Master, as the extant fragments testify,
wrote letters of intimate friendship. And not only free women, but women
with names that show that they were slaves, Leontion, Nikidion,
Mammarion. They were _hetairae_; perhaps victims of war, like many of
the unfortunate heroines in the New Comedy; free women from conquered
cities, who had been sold in the slave market or reduced to misery as
refugees, and to whom now the Garden afforded a true and spiritual
refuge. For, almost as much as Diogenes, Epicurus had obliterated the
stamp on the conventional currency. The values of the world no longer
held good after you had passed the wicket gate of the Garden, and spoken
with the Deliverer.

The Epicureans lived simply. They took neither flesh nor wine, and there
is a letter extant, asking some one to send them a present of 'potted
cheese'[108:1] as a special luxury. Their enemies, who were numerous and
lively, make the obvious accusations about the hetairae, and cite an
alleged letter of the Master to Leontion. 'Lord Paean, my dear little
Leontion, your note fills me with such a bubble of excitement!'[108:2]
The problem of this letter well illustrates the difficulty of forming
clear judgements about the details of ancient life. Probably the letter
is a forgery: we are definitely informed that there was a collection of
such forgeries, made in order to damage Epicurus. But, if genuine, would
it have seemed to a fair-minded contemporary a permissible or an
impermissible letter for a philosopher to write? By modern standards it
would be about the border-line. And again, suppose it is a definite
love-letter, what means have we of deciding whether Epicurus--or for
that matter Zeno or Plato or any unconventional philosopher of this
period--would have thought it blameworthy, or would merely have called
our attention to the legal difficulties of contracting marriage with one
who had been a Hetaira, and asked us how we expect men and women to
live. Curiously enough, we happen to have the recorded sayings of
Epicurus himself: 'The wise man will not fall in love', and 'Physical
union of the sexes never did good; it is much if it does not do harm.'

This philosophy is often unjustly criticized. It is called selfish; but
that it is certainly not. It is always aiming at the deliverance of
mankind[109:1] and it bases its happiness on φιλία, Friendship or
Affection, just as the early Christians based it on ἀγάπη, a word no
whit stronger than φιλία, though it is conventionally translated
'Love'. By this conception it becomes at once more human than the Stoa,
to which, as to a Christian monk, human affection was merely a weakness
of the flesh which might often conflict with the soul's duty towards
God. Epicurus passionately protested against this unnatural 'apathy'. It
was also human in that it recognized degrees of good or bad, of virtue
or error. To the Stoic that which was not right was wrong. A calculator
who says that seven sevens make forty-eight is just as wrong as one who
says they make a thousand, and a sailor one inch below the surface of
the water drowns just as surely as one who is a furlong deep. Just so in
human life, wrong is wrong, falsehood is falsehood, and to talk of
degrees is childish. Epicureanism had an easy and natural answer to
these arguments, since pleasure and pain obviously admit of

The school is blamed also for pursuing pleasure, on the ground that the
direct pursuit of pleasure is self-defeating. But Epicurus never makes
that mistake. He says that pleasure, or 'sweetness of life', is the
good; but he never counsels the direct pursuit of it. Quite the reverse.
He says that if you conquer your desires and fears, and live simply and
love those about you, the natural sweetness of life will reveal itself.

A truer criticism is one which appears dimly in Plutarch and
Cicero.[110:2] There is a strange shadow of sadness hanging over this
wise and kindly faith, which proceeds from the essential distrust of
life that lies at its heart. The best that Epicurus has really to say of
the world is that if you are very wise and do not attract its
notice--Λάθε βιώσας--it will not hurt you. It is a philosophy not of
conquest but of escape. This was a weakness from which few of the
fourth-century thinkers completely escaped. To aim at what we should
call positive happiness was, to the Epicureans, only to court
disappointment; better make it your aim to live without strong
passion or desire, without high hopes or ambitions. Their professed
ideals--παντὸς τοῦ ἀλγοῦντος ὑπεξαίρεσις, ἀταραξία, εὕροια, 'the removal of all
active suffering', 'undisturbedness', 'a smooth flow'--seem to result in
rather a low tension, in a life that is only half alive. We know that,
as a matter of fact, this was not so. The Epicureans felt their doctrine
to bring not mere comfort but inspiration and blessedness. The young
Colotes, on first hearing the master speak, fell on his knees with tears
and hailed him as a god.[111:1] We may compare the rapturous phrases of
Lucretius. What can be the explanation of this?

Perhaps it is that a deep distrust of the world produces its own inward
reaction, as starving men dream of rich banquets, and persecuted sects
have apocalyptic visions of paradise. The hopes and desires that are
starved of their natural sustenance project themselves on to some plane
of the imagination. The martyr, even the most heretical martyr, sees the
vision of his crown in the skies, the lover sees in obvious defects only
rare and esoteric beauties. Epicurus avoided sedulously the
transcendental optimism of the Stoics. He avoided mysticism, avoided
allegory, avoided faith; he tried to set the feet of his philosophy on
solid ground. He can make a strong case for the probable happiness of a
man of kindly affections and few desires, who asks little from the
outside world. But after all it is only probable; misfortunes and
miseries may come to any man. 'Most of the evils you fear are false,' he
answers, still reasonably. 'Death does not hurt. Poverty need never
make a man less happy.' And actual pain? 'Yes, pain may come. But you
can endure it. Intense pains are brief; long-drawn pains are not
excruciating; or seldom so.' Is that common-sense comfort not enough?
The doctrine becomes more intense both in its promises and its demands.
If intense suffering comes, he enjoins, turn away your mind and conquer
the pain by the 'sweetness' of memory. There are in every wise man's
life moments of intense beauty and delight; if he has strength of mind
he will call them back to him at will and live in the blessedness of the
past, not in the mere dull agony of the moment. Nay, can he not actually
enjoy the intellectual interest of this or that pang? Has he not that
within him which can make the quality of its own life? On hearing of the
death of a friend he will call back the sweetness of that friend's
converse; in the burning Bull of Phalaris he will think his thoughts and
be glad. Illusion, the old Siren with whom man cannot live in peace, nor
yet without her, has crept back unseen to the centre of the citadel. It
was Epicurus, and not a Stoic or Cynic, who asserts that a Wise Man will
be happy on the rack.[112:1]

Strangely obliging, ironic Fortune gave to him also a chance of testing
of his own doctrine. There is extant a letter written on his death-bed.
'I write to you on this blissful day which is the last of my life. The
obstruction of my bladder and internal pains have reached the extreme
point, but there is marshalled against them the delight of my mind in
thinking over our talks together. Take care of the children of
Metrodorus in a way worthy of your life-long devotion to me and to
philosophy.'[113:1] At least his courage, and his kindness, did not

Epicureanism had certainly its sublime side; and from this very
sublimity perhaps arose the greatest flaw in the system, regarded as a
rational philosophy. It was accepted too much as a Revelation, too
little as a mere step in the search for truth. It was based no doubt on
careful and even profound scientific studies, and was expounded by the
master in a vast array of volumes. But the result so attained was
considered sufficient. Further research was not encouraged. Heterodoxy
was condemned as something almost approaching 'parricide'.[113:2] The
pursuit of 'needless knowledge' was deliberately frowned upon.[113:3]
When other philosophers were working out calculations about the size of
the Sun and the commensurability of the sun-cycle and the moon-cycle,
Epicurus contemptuously remarked that the Sun was probably about as big
as it looked, or perhaps smaller: since fires at a distance generally
look bigger than they are. The various theories of learned men were all
possible but none certain. And as for the cycles, how did any one know
that there was not a new sun shot off and extinguished every day?[113:4]
It is not surprising to find that none of the great discoveries of the
Hellenistic Age were due to the Epicurean school. Lucretius, writing 250
years later, appears to vary hardly in any detail from the doctrines of
the Master, and Diogenes of Oenoanda, 500 years later, actually repeats
his letters and sayings word for word.

It is sad, this. It is un-Hellenic; it is a clear symptom of decadence
from the free intellectual movement and the high hopes which had made
the fifth century glorious. Only in one great school does the true
Hellenic _Sôphrosynê_ continue flourishing, a school whose modesty of
pretension and quietness of language form a curious contrast with the
rapt ecstasies of Stoic and Cynic and even, as we have seen, of
Epicurean, just as its immense richness of scientific achievement
contrasts with their comparative sterility. The Porch and the Garden
offered new religions to raise from the dust men and women whose spirits
were broken; Aristotle in his Open Walk, or _Peripatos_, brought
philosophy and science and literature to guide the feet and interest the
minds of those who still saw life steadily and tried their best to see
it whole.

Aristotle was not lacking in religious insight and imagination, as he
certainly was not without profound influence on the future history of
religion. His complete rejection of mythology and of anthropomorphism;
his resolute attempt to combine religion and science, not by sacrificing
one to the other but by building the highest spiritual aspirations on
ascertained truth and the probable conclusions to which it pointed; his
splendid imaginative conception of the Divine Being or First Cause as
unmoved itself while moving all the universe 'as the beloved moves the
lover'; all these are high services to religious speculation, and
justify the position he held, even when known only through a distorting
Arabic translation, in medieval Christianity. If he had not written his
other books he might well be famous now as a great religious teacher.
But his theology is dwarfed by the magnificence and mass of his other
work. And as a philosopher and man of science he does not belong to our
present subject.

He is only mentioned here as a standard of that characteristic quality
in Hellenism from which the rest of this book records a downfall. One
variant of a well-known story tells how a certain philosopher, after
frequenting the Peripatetic School, went to hear Chrysippus, the Stoic,
and was transfixed. 'It was like turning from men to Gods.' It was
really turning from Greeks to Semites, from philosophy to religion, from
a school of very sober professions and high performance to one whose
professions dazzled the reason. 'Come unto me,' cried the Stoic, 'all ye
who are in storm or delusion; I will show you the truth and the world
will never grieve you more.'

Aristotle made no such profession. He merely thought and worked and
taught better than other men. Aristotle is always surprising us not
merely by the immense volume of clear thinking and co-ordinated
knowledge of which he was master, but by the steady _Sôphrosynê_ of his
temper. Son of the court physician of Philip, tutor for some years to
Alexander the Great, he never throughout his extant writings utters one
syllable of flattery to his royal and world-conquering employers; nor
yet one syllable which suggests a grievance. He saw, at close quarters
and from the winning side, the conquest of the Greek city states by the
Macedonian _ethnos_ or nation; but he judges dispassionately that the
city is the higher social form.

It seems characteristic that in his will, which is extant, after
providing a dowry for his widow, Herpyllis, to facilitate her getting a
second husband, and thanking her for her goodness to him, he directs
that his bones are to be laid in the same grave with those of his first
wife, Pythias, whom he had rescued from robbers more than twenty years

Other philosophers disliked him because he wore no long beard, dressed
neatly and had good normal manners, and they despised his philosophy for
very similar reasons. It was a school which took the existing world and
tried to understand it instead of inventing some intense ecstatic
doctrine which should transform it or reduce it to nothingness.

It possessed no Open Sesame to unlock the prison of mankind; yet it is
not haunted by that _Oimôgê_ of Kynoskephalai. While armies sweep Greece
this way and that, while the old gods are vanquished and the cities lose
their freedom and their meaning, the Peripatetics instead of
passionately saving souls diligently pursued knowledge, and in
generation after generation produced scientific results which put all
their rivals into the shade.[116:2] In mathematics, astronomy, physics,
botany, zoology, and biology, as well as the human sciences of
literature and history, the Hellenistic Age was one of the most creative
known to our record. And it is not only that among the savants
responsible for these advances the proportion of Peripatetics is
overwhelming; one may also notice that in this school alone it is
assumed as natural that further research will take place and will
probably correct as well as increase our knowledge, and that, when such
corrections or differences of opinion do take place, there is no cry
raised of Heresy.

It is the old difference between Philosophy and Religion, between the
search of the intellect for truth and the cry of the heart for
salvation. As the interest in truth for its own sake gradually abated in
the ancient world, the works of Aristotle might still find commentators,
but his example was forgotten and his influence confined to a small
circle. The Porch and the Garden, for the most part, divided between
them the allegiance of thoughtful men. Both systems had begun in days of
discomfiture, and aimed originally more at providing a refuge for the
soul than at ordering the course of society. But after the turmoil of
the fourth century had subsided, when governments began again to
approach more nearly to peace and consequently to justice, and public
life once more to be attractive to decent men, both philosophies showed
themselves adaptable to the needs of prosperity as well as adversity.
Many kings and great Roman governors professed Stoicism. It held before
them the ideal of universal Brotherhood, and of duty to the 'Great
Society of Gods and Men'; it enabled them to work, indifferent to mere
pain and pleasure, as servants of the divine purpose and 'fellow-workers
with God' in building up a human Cosmos within the eternal Cosmos. It
is perhaps at first sight strange that many kings and governors also
followed Epicurus. Yet after all the work of a public man is not
hindered by a slight irony as to the value of worldly greatness and a
conviction that a dinner of bread and water with love to season it 'is
better than all the crowns of the Greeks'. To hate cruelty and
superstition, to avoid passion and luxury, to regard human 'pleasure' or
'sweetness of life' as the goal to be aimed at, and 'friendship' or
'kindliness' as the principal element in that pleasure, are by no means
doctrines incompatible with wise and effective administration. Both
systems were good and both in a way complementary one to another. They
still divide between them the practical philosophy of western mankind.
At times to most of us it seems as though nothing in life had value
except to do right and to fear not; at others that the only true aim is
to make mankind happy. At times man's best hope seems to lie in that
part of him which is prepared to defy or condemn the world of fact if it
diverges from the ideal; in that intensity of reverence which will
accept many impossibilities rather than ever reject a holy thing; above
all in that uncompromising moral sensitiveness to which not merely the
corruptions of society but the fundamental and necessary facts of animal
existence seem both nauseous and wicked, links and chains in a system
which can never be the true home of the human spirit. At other times men
feel the need to adapt their beliefs and actions to the world as it is;
to brush themselves free from cobwebs; to face plain facts with common
sense and as much kindliness as life permits, meeting the ordinary needs
of a perishable and imperfect species without illusion and without
make-believe. At one time we are Stoics, at another Epicureans.

But amid their differences there is one faith which was held by both
schools in common. It is the great characteristic faith of the ancient
world, revealing itself in many divergent guises and seldom fully
intelligible to modern men; faith in the absolute supremacy of the
inward life over things external. These men really believed that wisdom
is more precious than jewels, that poverty and ill health are things of
no import, that the good man is happy whatever befall him, and all the
rest. And in generation after generation many of the ablest men, and
women also, acted upon the belief. They lived by free choice lives whose
simplicity and privation would horrify a modern labourer, and the world
about them seems to have respected rather than despised their poverty.
To the Middle Age, with its monks and mendicants expectant of reward in
heaven, such an attitude, except for its disinterestedness, would be
easily understood. To some eastern nations, with their cults of
asceticism and contemplation, the same doctrines have appealed almost
like a physical passion or a dangerous drug running riot in their veins.
But modern western man cannot believe them, nor believe seriously that
others believe them. On us the power of the material world has, through
our very mastery of it and the dependence which results from that
mastery, both inwardly and outwardly increased its hold. _Capta ferum
victorem cepit._ We have taken possession of it, and now we cannot move
without it.

The material element in modern life is far greater than in ancient; but
it does not follow that the spiritual element is correspondingly less.
No doubt it is true that a naval officer in a conning-tower in a modern
battle does not need less courage and character than a naked savage who
meets his enemy with a stick and a spear. Yet probably in the first case
the battle is mainly decided by the weight and accuracy of the guns, in
the second by the qualities of the fighter. Consequently the modern
world thinks more incessantly and anxiously about the guns, that is,
about money and mechanism; the ancient devotes its thought more to human
character and duty. And it is curious to observe how, in general, each
tries to remedy what is wrong with the world by the method that is
habitually in its thoughts. Speaking broadly, apart from certain
religious movements, the enlightened modern reformer, if confronted with
some ordinary complex of misery and wickedness, instinctively proposes
to cure it by higher wages, better food, more comfort and leisure; to
make people comfortable and trust to their becoming good. The typical
ancient reformer would appeal to us to care for none of those things
(since riches notoriously do not make men virtuous), but with all our
powers to pursue wisdom or righteousness and the life of the spirit; to
be good men, as we can be if we will, and to know that all else will

This is one of the regions in which the ancients might have learned much
from us, and in which we still have much to learn from them, if once we
can shake off our temporal obsessions and listen.


As an example it is worth noticing, even in a bare catalogue, the work
done by one of Aristotle's own pupils, a Peripatetic of the second
rank, Dicaearchus of Messene. His _floruit_ is given as 310 B. C. Dorian
by birth, when Theophrastus was made head of the school he retired to
the Peloponnese, and shows a certain prejudice against Athens.

One of the discoveries of the time was biography. And, by a brilliant
stroke of imagination Dicaearchus termed one of his books Βίος Ἑλλαδος,
_The Life of Hellas_. He saw civilization as the biography of the world.
First, the Age of Cronos, when man as a simple savage made no effort
after higher things; next, the ancient river-civilizations of the
orient; third, the Hellenic system. Among his scanty fragments we find
notes on such ideas as πάτρα, φρατρία, φυλή, as Greek institutions. The
_Life of Hellas_ was much used by late writers. It formed the model for
another Βίος Ἑλλαδος by a certain Jason, and for Varro's _Vita Populi

Then, like his great master, Dicaearchus made studies of the
Constitutions of various states (e. g. Pellene, Athens, and Corinth);
his treatise on the Constitution of Sparta was read aloud annually in
that city by order of the Ephors. It was evidently appreciative.

A more speculative work was his _Tripoliticus_, arguing that the best
constitution ought to be compounded of the three species, monarchic,
aristocratic, and democratic, as in Sparta. Only then would it be sure
to last. Polybius accepted the principle of the Mixed Constitution, but
found his ideal in the constitution of Rome, which later history was to
prove so violently unstable. Cicero, _De Republica_, takes the same line
(Polyb. vi. 2-10; Cic. _De Rep._ i. 45; ii. 65). Dicaearchus treated of
similar political subjects in his public addresses at Olympia and at the

We hear more about his work on the history of literature, though his
generation was almost the first to realize that such a subject had any
existence. He wrote _Lives of Philosophers_--a subject hitherto not
considered worth recording--giving the biographical facts followed by
philosophic and aesthetic criticism. We hear, for example, of his life
of Plato; of Pythagoras (in which he laid emphasis on the philosopher's
practical work), of Xenophanes, and of the Seven Wise Men.

He also wrote _Lives of Poets_. We hear of books on Alcaeus and on
Homer, in which latter he is said to have made the startling remark that
the poems 'should be pronounced in the Aeolic dialect'. Whatever this
remark exactly meant, and we cannot tell without the context, it seems
an extraordinary anticipation of modern philological discoveries. He
wrote on the _Hypotheses_--i. e. the subject matter--_of Sophocles and
Euripides_; also on _Musical Contests_, περὶ Μουσικῶν ἀγώνων, carrying
further Aristotle's own collection of the _Didascaliae_, or official
notices of the production of Tragedies in Athens. The book dealt both
with dates and with customs; it told how Skolia were sung, with a
laurel or myrtle twig in the hand, how Sophocles introduced a third
actor, and the like.

In philosophy proper he wrote On the Soul, περὶ ψυχῆς. His first book,
the _Corinthiacus_, proved that the Soul was a 'harmony' or 'right
blending' of the four elements, and was identical with the force of the
living body. The second, the _Lesbiacus_, drew the conclusion that, if a
compound, it was destructible. (Hence a great controversy with his

He wrote περὶ φθορᾶς ἀνθρώπων, on the _Perishing of Mankind_; i. e. on
the way in which large masses of men have perished off the earth,
through famine, pestilence, wild beasts, war, and the like. He decides
that man's most destructive enemy is Man. (The subject may have been
suggested to him by a fine imaginative passage in Aristotle's
_Meteorology_ (i. 14, 7) dealing with the vast changes that have taken
place on the earth's surface and the unrecorded perishings of races and

He wrote a treatise against _Divination_, and a (satirical?) _Descent to
the Cave of Trophonius_. He seems, however, to have allowed some
importance to dreams and to the phenomena of 'possession'.

And, with all this, we have not touched on his greatest work, which was
in the sphere of geography. He wrote a Περίοδος γῆς, a _Journey Round
the Earth_, accompanied with a map. He used for this map the greatly
increased stores of knowledge gained by the Macedonian expeditions over
all Asia as far as the Ganges. He also seems to have devised the method
of denoting the position of a place by means of two co-ordinates, the
method soon after developed by Eratosthenes into Latitude and Longitude.
He attempted calculations of the measurements of large geographic
distances, for which of course both his data and his instruments were
inadequate. Nevertheless his measurements remained a well-known
standard; we find them quoted and criticized by Strabo and Polybius.
And, lastly, he published _Measurements of the Heights of Mountains in
the Peloponnese_; but the title seems to have been unduly modest, for we
find in the fragments statements about mountains far outside that area;
about Pelion and Olympus in Thessaly and of Atabyrion in Rhodes. He had
a subvention, Pliny tells us (N. H. ii. 162, 'regum cura permensus
montes'), from the king of Macedon, probably either Cassander or, as one
would like to believe, the philosophic Antigonus Gonatas. And he
calculated the heights, so we are told, by trigonometry, using the
δίοπτρα, an instrument of hollow reeds without lenses which served for
his primitive theodolite. It is an extraordinary record, and illustrates
the true Peripatetic spirit.


[79:1] _Hellen._ ii. 2, 3.

[80:1] Cf. Tarn, _Antigonus Gonatas_, p. 52, and authorities there

[81:1] Lysias, xxxiii.

[82:1] Dem. _Crown_, 208.

[83:1] 'Such-like trash', _Gorgias_, 519 A; dust-storm, _Rep._ vi. 496;
clothes, _Gorg._ 523 E; 'democratic man', _Rep._ viii. 556 ff.

[84:1] _Laws_, 709 E, cf. Letter VII.

[85:1] Aulus Gellius, xiv. 3; Plato, _Laws_, p. 695; Xen. _Cyrop._ viii.
7, compared with _Hdt._ i. 214.

[87:1] This is the impression left by Xenophon, especially in the
Symposium. Cf. Dümmler, _Antisthenica_ (1882); _Akademika_ (1889). Cf.
the _Life of Antisthenes_ in Diog. Laert.

[87:2] Γέρων ὀψιμαθήϛ, Plato, _Soph._ 251 B, Isocr. _Helena_, i. 2.

[87:3] e. g. no combination of subject and predicate can be true because
one is different from the other. 'Man' is 'man' and 'good' is 'good';
but 'man' is not 'good'. Nor can 'a horse' possibly be 'running'; they
are totally different conceptions. See Plutarch, _adv. Co._ 22, 1 (p.
1119); Plato, _Soph._ 251 B; Arist. _Metaph._ 1024{b} 33; Top. 104{b}
20; Plato, _Euthyd._ 285 E. For similar reasons no statement can ever
contradict another; the statements are either the same or not the same;
and if not the same they do not touch. Every object has one λόγος or
thing to be said about it; if you say a different λόγος you are speaking
of something else. See especially _Scholia Arist._, p. 732{a} 30 ff. on
the passage in the _Metaphysics_, 1024{b} 33.

[90:1] Τὸ νόμισμα παραχαράττειν: see _Life_ in Diog. Laert., fragments
in Mullach, vol. ii, and the article in Pauly-Wissowa.

[95:1] There were women among the Cynics. 'The doctrine also captured
Metrocles' sister, Hipparchia. She loved Crates, his words, and his way
of life, and paid no attention to any of her suitors, however rich or
highborn or handsome. Crates was everything to her. She threatened her
parents that she would commit suicide unless she were given to him. They
asked Crates to try to change the girl's mind, and he did all he could
to no effect, till at last he put all his possessions on the floor and
stood up in front of her. 'Here is your bridegroom; there is his
fortune; now think!' The girl made her choice, put on the beggar's garb,
and went her ways with Crates. She lived with him openly and went like
him to beg food at dinners.' Diog. Laert. vi. 96 ff.

[98:1] e. g. the struggle for existence among animals and plants; the
ἀλληλοφαγία, or 'mutual devouring', of animals; and such points as the
various advances in evolution which seem self-destructive. Thus, Man has
learnt to stand on two feet and use his hands; a great advantage but one
which has led to numerous diseases. Again, physiologists say that the
increasing size of the human head, especially when combined with the
diminishing size of the pelvis, tends to make normal birth impossible.

[100:1] _The Stoic Philosophy_ (1915). See also Arnold's _Roman
Stoicism_ (1911); Bevan's _Stoics and Sceptics_ (1913); and especially
_Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta_ by von Arnim (1903-5).

[101:1] The chief authorities on Epicurus are Usener's _Epicurea_,
containing the _Life_ from Diog. Laert., fragments and introduction: the
papyrus fragments of Philodemus in _Volumina Herculanensia_; Diogenes of
Oenoanda (text by William, Teubner, 1907); the commentaries on Lucretius
(Munro, Giussani, &c.).

[103:1] Epicurus is the one philosopher who protests with real
indignation against that inhuman superiority to natural sorrows which is
so much prized by most of the ancient schools. To him such 'apathy'
argues either a hard heart or a morbid vanity (Fr. 120). His letters are
full of affectionate expressions which rather shock the stern reserve of
antique philosophy. He waits for one friend's 'heavenly presence' (Fr.
165). He 'melts with a peculiar joy mingled with tears in remembering
the last words' of one who is dead (Fr. 186; cf. 213). He is
enthusiastic about an act of kindness performed by another, who walked
some five miles to help a barbarian prisoner (Fr. 194).

[106:1] Lucretius, i. 62-79, actually speaks of the great
atheist in language taken from the Saviour Religions (see below, p.

     When Man's life upon earth in base dismay,
     Crushed by the burthen of Religion, lay,
     Whose face, from all the regions of the sky,
     Hung, glaring hate upon mortality,
     First one Greek man against her dared to raise
     His eyes, against her strive through all his days;
     Him noise of Gods nor lightnings nor the roar
     Of raging heaven subdued, but pricked the more
     His spirit's valiance, till he longed the Gate
     To burst of this low prison of man's fate.
     And thus the living ardour of his mind
     Conquered, and clove its way; he passed behind
     The world's last flaming wall, and through the whole
     Of space uncharted ranged his mind and soul.
     Whence, conquering, he returned to make Man see
     At last what can, what cannot, come to be;
     By what law to each Thing its power hath been
     Assigned, and what deep boundary set between;
     Till underfoot is tamed Religion trod,
     And, by His victory, Man ascends to God.

[107:1] That is, 8,000 drachmae. Rents had risen violently in 314 and so
presumably had land prices. Else one would say the Garden was about the
value of a good farm. See Tarn in _The Hellenistic Age_ (1923), p. 116.

[108:1] τυρὸν κυθρίδιον, Fr. 182.

[108:2] Fr. 143. Παιὰν ἄναξ, φίλον Λεοντάριον, οἴου κροτοθορύβου ἡμᾶς
ἀνέπλησας, ἀναγνόντας σου τό ἐπιστόλιον. Fr. 121 (from an enemy) implies
that the Hetairae were expected to reform when they entered the Garden.
Cf. Fr. 62 συνουσίη ὤνησε μὲν οὐδέποτε, ἀγαπητὸν δὲ εἰ μὴ ἔβλαψε: cf.
Fr. 574.

[109:1] See p. 169 below on Diogenes of Oenoanda.

[110:1] Pleasures and pains may be greater or less, but the complete
'removal of pain and fear' is a perfect end, not to be surpassed. Fr.
408-48, Ep. iii. 129-31.

[110:2] e. g. Plut. _Ne suaviter quidem vivi_, esp. chap. 17 (p. 1098

[111:1] Cf. Fr. 141 when Epicurus writes to Colotes: 'Think of me as
immortal, and go your ways as immortal too.'

[112:1] Fr. 601; cf. 598 ff.

[113:1] Fr. 138; cf. 177.

[113:2] 'οἱ τούτοις ἀντιγράφοντες οὐ πάνυ τι μακρὰν τῆς τῶν πατραλοιῶν
καταδίκης ἀφεστήκασιν', Fr. 49. Usener, from Philodemus, _De Rhet._ This
may be only a playful reference to Plato's phrase about being a
πατραλοίας of his father, Parmenides, _Soph._, p. 241 D.

[113:3] Epicurus congratulated himself (erroneously) that he came to
Philosophy καθαρὸς πάσης παιδείας, 'undefiled by education'. Cf. Fr. 163
to Pythocles, παιδείαν δὲ πᾶσαν, μακάριε, φεῦγε τὸ ἀκάτιον ἀράμενος,
'From education in every shape, my son, spread sail and fly!'

[113:4] Fr. 343-6.

[116:1] Pythias was the niece, or ward, of Aristotle's friend, Hermias,
an extraordinary man who rose from slavery to be first a free man and a
philosopher, and later Prince or 'Dynast' of Assos and Atarneus. In the
end he was treacherously entrapped by the Persian General, Mentor, and
crucified by the king. Aristotle's 'Ode to Virtue' is addressed to him.
To his second wife, Herpyllis, Aristotle was only united by a civil
marriage like the Roman _usus_.

[116:2] See note on Dicaearchus at end of chapter.



Any one who turns from the great writers of classical Athens, say
Sophocles or Aristotle, to those of the Christian era must be conscious
of a great difference in tone. There is a change in the whole relation
of the writer to the world about him. The new quality is not
specifically Christian: it is just as marked in the Gnostics and
Mithras-worshippers as in the Gospels and the Apocalypse, in Julian and
Plotinus as in Gregory and Jerome. It is hard to describe. It is a rise
of asceticism, of mysticism, in a sense, of pessimism; a loss of
self-confidence, of hope in this life and of faith in normal human
effort; a despair of patient inquiry, a cry for infallible revelation;
an indifference to the welfare of the state, a conversion of the soul to
God. It is an atmosphere in which the aim of the good man is not so much
to live justly, to help the society to which he belongs and enjoy the
esteem of his fellow creatures; but rather, by means of a burning faith,
by contempt for the world and its standards, by ecstasy, suffering, and
martyrdom, to be granted pardon for his unspeakable unworthiness, his
immeasurable sins. There is an intensifying of certain spiritual
emotions; an increase of sensitiveness, a failure of nerve.

Now this antithesis is often exaggerated by the admirers of one side or
the other. A hundred people write as if Sophocles had no mysticism and
practically speaking no conscience. Half a dozen retort as if St. Paul
had no public spirit and no common sense. I have protested often against
this exaggeration; but, stated reasonably, as a change of proportion and
not a creation of new hearts, the antithesis is certainly based on fact.
The historical reasons for it are suggested above, in the first of these

My description of this complicated change is, of course, inadequate, but
not, I hope, one-sided. I do not depreciate the religions that followed
on this movement by describing the movement itself as a 'failure of
nerve'. Mankind has not yet decided which of two opposite methods leads
to the fuller and deeper knowledge of the world: the patient and
sympathetic study of the good citizen who lives in it, or the ecstatic
vision of the saint who rejects it. But probably most Christians are
inclined to believe that without some failure and sense of failure,
without a contrite heart and conviction of sin, man can hardly attain
the religious life. I can imagine an historian of this temper believing
that the period we are about to discuss was a necessary softening of
human pride, a _Praeparatio Evangelica_.[124:1]

I am concerned in this paper with the lower country lying between two
great ranges. The one range is Greek Philosophy, culminating in Plato,
Aristotle, the Porch, and the Garden; the other is Christianity,
culminating in St. Paul and his successors. The one is the work of
Hellas, using some few foreign elements; the second is the work of
Hellenistic culture on a Hebrew stock. The books of Christianity are
Greek, the philosophical background is Hellenistic, the result of the
interplay, in the free atmosphere of Greek philosophy, of religious
ideas derived from Egypt, Anatolia, Syria, and Babylon. The preaching is
carried on in Greek among the Greek-speaking workmen of the great
manufacturing and commercial cities. The first preachers are Jews: the
central scene is set in Jerusalem. I wish in this essay to indicate how
a period of religious history, which seems broken, is really continuous,
and to trace the lie of the main valleys which lead from the one range
to the other, through a large and imperfectly explored territory.

The territory in question is the so-called Hellenistic Age, the period
during which the Schools of Greece were 'hellenizing' the world. It is a
time of great enlightenment, of vigorous propaganda, of high importance
to history. It is a time full of great names: in one school of
philosophy alone we have Zeno, Cleanthes, Chrysippus, Panaetius,
Posidonius. Yet, curiously enough, it is represented in our tradition by
something very like a mere void. There are practically no complete books
preserved, only fragments and indirect quotations. Consequently in the
search for information about this age we must throw our nets wide.
Beside books and inscriptions of the Hellenistic period proper I have
drawn on Cicero, Pliny, Seneca, and the like for evidence about their
teachers and masters. I have used many Christian and Gnostic documents
and works like the Corpus of Hermetic writings and the Mithras Liturgy.
Among modern writers I must acknowledge a special debt to the researches
of Dieterich, Cumont, Bousset, Wendland, and Reitzenstein.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hellenistic Age seems at first sight to have entered on an
inheritance such as our speculative Anarchists sometimes long for, a
_tabula rasa_, on which a new and highly gifted generation of thinkers
might write clean and certain the book of their discoveries about
life--what Herodotus would call their '_Historiê_'. For, as we have seen
in the last essay, it is clear that by the time of Plato the traditional
religion of the Greek states was, if taken at its face value, a bankrupt
concern. There was hardly one aspect in which it could bear criticism;
and in the kind of test that chiefly matters, the satisfaction of men's
ethical requirements and aspirations, it was if anything weaker than
elsewhere. Now a religious belief that is scientifically preposterous
may still have a long and comfortable life before it. Any worshipper can
suspend the scientific part of his mind while worshipping. But a
religious belief that is morally contemptible is in serious danger,
because when the religious emotions surge up the moral emotions are not
far away. And the clash cannot be hidden.

This collapse of the traditional religion of Greece might not have
mattered so much if the form of Greek social life had remained. If a
good Greek had his Polis, he had an adequate substitute in most respects
for any mythological gods. But the Polis too, as we have seen in the
last essay, fell with the rise of Macedon. It fell, perhaps, not from
any special spiritual fault of its own; it had few faults except its
fatal narrowness; but simply because there now existed another social
whole, which, whether higher or lower in civilization, was at any rate
utterly superior in brute force and in money. Devotion to the Polis lost
its reality when the Polis, with all that it represented of rights and
laws and ideals of Life, lay at the mercy of a military despot, who
might, of course, be a hero, but might equally well be a vulgar sot or a
corrupt adventurer.

What the succeeding ages built upon the ruins of the Polis is not our
immediate concern. In the realm of thought, on the whole, the Polis
triumphed. Aristotle based his social theory on the Polis, not the
nation. Dicaearchus, Didymus, and Posidonius followed him, and we still
use his language. Rome herself was a Polis, as well as an Empire. And
Professor Haverfield has pointed out that a City has more chance of
taking in the whole world to its freedoms and privileges than a Nation
has of making men of alien birth its compatriots. A Jew of Tarsus could
easily be granted the civic rights of Rome: he could never have been
made an Italian or a Frenchman. The Stoic ideal of the World as 'one
great City of Gods and Men' has not been surpassed by any ideal based on
the Nation.

What we have to consider is the general trend of religious thought from,
say, the Peripatetics to the Gnostics. It is a fairly clear history. A
soil once teeming with wild weeds was to all appearance swept bare and
made ready for new sowing: skilled gardeners chose carefully the best of
herbs and plants and tended the garden sedulously. But the bounds of the
garden kept spreading all the while into strange untended ground, and
even within the original walls the weeding had been hasty and
incomplete. At the end of a few generations all was a wilderness of
weeds again, weeds rank and luxuriant and sometimes extremely beautiful,
with a half-strangled garden flower or two gleaming here and there in
the tangle of them. Does that comparison seem disrespectful to religion?
Is philosophy all flowers and traditional belief all weeds? Well, think
what a weed is. It is only a name for all the natural wild vegetation
which the earth sends up of herself, which lives and will live without
the conscious labour of man. The flowers are what we keep alive with
difficulty; the weeds are what conquer us.

It has been well observed by Zeller that the great weakness of all
ancient thought, not excepting Socratic thought, was that instead of
appealing to objective experiment it appealed to some subjective sense
of fitness. There were exceptions, of course: Democritus, Eratosthenes,
Hippocrates, and to a great extent Aristotle. But in general there was a
strong tendency to follow Plato in supposing that people could really
solve questions by an appeal to their inner consciousness. One result of
this, no doubt, was a tendency to lay too much stress on mere agreement.
It is obvious, when one thinks about it, that quite often a large number
of people who know nothing about a subject will all agree and all be
wrong. Yet we find the most radical of ancient philosophers
unconsciously dominated by the argument _ex consensu gentium_. It is
hard to find two more uncompromising thinkers than Zeno and Epicurus.
Yet both of them, when they are almost free from the popular
superstitions, when they have constructed complete systems which, if not
absolutely logic-proof, are calculated at least to keep out the weather
for a century or so, open curious side-doors at the last moment and let
in all the gods of mythology.[129:1] True, they are admitted as
suspicious characters, and under promise of good behaviour. Epicurus
explains that they do not and cannot do anything whatever to anybody;
Zeno explains that they are not anthropomorphic, and are only symbols or
emanations or subordinates of the all-ruling Unity; both parties get rid
of the myths. But the two great reformers have admitted a dangerous
principle. The general consensus of humanity, they say, shows that there
are gods, and gods which in mind, if not also in visual appearance,
resemble man. Epicurus succeeded in barring the door, and admitted
nothing more. But the Stoics presently found themselves admitting or
insisting that the same consensus proved the existence of daemons, of
witchcraft, of divination, and when they combined with the Platonic
school, of more dangerous elements still.

I take the Stoics and Epicureans as the two most radical schools. On the
whole both of them fought steadily and strongly against the growth of
superstition, or, if you like to put it in other language, against the
dumb demands of man's infra-rational nature. The glory of the Stoics is
to have built up a religion of extraordinary nobleness; the glory of the
Epicureans is to have upheld an ideal of sanity and humanity stark
upright amid a reeling world, and, like the old Spartans, never to have
yielded one inch of ground to the common foe.

The great thing to remember is that the mind of man cannot be
enlightened permanently by merely teaching him to reject some particular
set of superstitions. There is an infinite supply of other superstitions
always at hand; and the mind that desires such things--that is, the mind
that has not trained itself to the hard discipline of reasonableness and
honesty, will, as soon as its devils are cast out, proceed to fill
itself with their relations.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us first consider the result of the mere denial of the Olympian
religion. The essential postulate of that religion was that the world is
governed by a number of definite personal gods, possessed of a human
sense of justice and fairness and capable of being influenced by normal
human motives. In general, they helped the good and punished the bad,
though doubtless they tended too much to regard as good those who paid
them proper attention and as bad those who did not.

Speaking broadly, what was left when this conception proved inadequate?
If it was not these personal gods who made things happen, what was it?
If the Tower of Siloam was not deliberately thrown down by the gods so
as to kill and hurt a carefully collected number of wicked people, while
letting the good escape, what was the explanation of its falling? The
answer is obvious, but it can be put in two ways. You can either say:
'It was just chance that the Tower fell at that particular moment when
So-and-so was under it.' Or you can say, with rather more reflection but
not any more common sense: 'It fell because of a definite chain of
causes, a certain degree of progressive decay in the building, a certain
definite pressure, &c. It was bound to fall.'

There is no real difference in these statements, at least in the meaning
of those who ordinarily utter them. Both are compatible with a
reasonable and scientific view of the world. But in the Hellenistic Age,
when Greek thought was spreading rapidly and superficially over vast
semi-barbarous populations whose minds were not ripe for it, both views
turned back instinctively into a theology as personal as that of the
Olympians. It was not, of course, Zeus or Apollo who willed this; every
one knew so much: it happened by Chance. That is, Chance or Fortune
willed it. And Τύχη became a goddess like the rest. The great
catastrophes, the great transformations of the mediterranean world
which marked the Hellenistic period, had a strong influence here. If
Alexander and his generals had practised some severely orthodox
Macedonian religion, it would have been easy to see that the Gods of
Macedon were the real rulers of the world. But they most markedly did
not. They accepted hospitably all the religions that crossed their path.
Some power or other was disturbing the world, that was clear. It was not
exactly the work of man, because sometimes the good were exalted,
sometimes the bad; there was no consistent purpose in the story. It was
just Fortune. Happy is the man who knows how to placate Fortune and make
her smile upon him!

It is worth remembering that the best seed-ground for superstition is a
society in which the fortunes of men seem to bear practically no
relation to their merits and efforts. A stable and well-governed society
does tend, speaking roughly, to ensure that the Virtuous and Industrious
Apprentice shall succeed in life, while the Wicked and Idle Apprentice
fails. And in such a society people tend to lay stress on the reasonable
or visible chains of causation. But in a country suffering from
earthquakes or pestilences, in a court governed by the whim of a despot,
in a district which is habitually the seat of a war between alien
armies, the ordinary virtues of diligence, honesty, and kindliness seem
to be of little avail. The only way to escape destruction is to win the
favour of the prevailing powers, take the side of the strongest invader,
flatter the despot, placate the Fate or Fortune or angry god that is
sending the earthquake or the pestilence. The Hellenistic period pretty
certainly falls in some degree under all of these categories. And one
result is the sudden and enormous spread of the worship of Fortune. Of
course, there was always a protest. There is the famous

     _Nullum numen habes si sit prudentia: nos te,
     Nos facimus, Fortuna, deam_,

taken by Juvenal from the Greek. There are many unguarded phrases and at
least three corrections in Polybius.[133:1] Most interesting of all
perhaps, there is the first oration of Plutarch on the Fortune of
Alexander.[133:2] A sentence in Pliny's _Natural History_, ii. 22, seems
to go back to Hellenistic sources:

     'Throughout the whole world, at every place and hour, by
     every voice Fortune alone is invoked and her name spoken: she
     is the one defendant, the one culprit, the one thought in
     men's minds, the one object of praise, the one cause. She is
     worshipped with insults, counted as fickle and often as blind,
     wandering, inconsistent, elusive, changeful, and friend of the
     unworthy. . . . We are so much at the mercy of chance that
     Chance is our god.'

The word used is first _Fortuna_ and then _Sors_. This shows how little
real difference there is between the two apparently contradictory
conceptions.--'Chance would have it so.' 'It was fated to be.' The sting
of both phrases--their pleasant bitterness when played with, their
quality of poison when believed--lies in their denial of the value of
human endeavour.

Yet on the whole, as one might expect, the believers in Destiny are a
more respectable congregation than the worshippers of Chance. It
requires a certain amount of thoughtfulness to rise to the conception
that nothing really happens without a cause. It is the beginning,
perhaps, of science. Ionic philosophers of the fifth century had laid
stress on the Ἀνάγκη φύσιος,[134:1] what we should call the Chain of
causes in Nature. After the rise of Stoicism Fate becomes something less
physical, more related to conscious purpose. It is not _Anankê_ but
_Heimarmenê_. Heimarmenê, in the striking simile of Zeno,[134:2] is like
a fine thread running through the whole of existence--the world, we must
remember, was to the Stoics a live thing--like that invisible thread of
life which, in heredity, passes on from generation to generation of
living species and keeps the type alive; it runs causing, causing for
ever, both the infinitesimal and the infinite. It is the Λόγος τοῦ
Κόσμου,[135:1] the Νοῦς Διός, the Reason of the World or the mind of
Zeus, rather difficult to distinguish from the Pronoia or Providence
which is the work of God and indeed the very essence of God. Thus it is
not really an external and alien force. For the human soul itself is a
fragment or effluence of the divine, and this Law of God is also the law
of man's own Phusis. As long as you act in accordance with your true
self you are complying with that divine Εἱμαρμένη or Πρόνοια, whose
service is perfect freedom. Only when you are false to your own nature
and become a rebel against the kingdom of God which is within you, are
you dragged perforce behind the chariot-wheels. The doctrine is implied
in Cleanthes' celebrated Hymn to Destiny and is explained clearly by

That is a noble conception. But the vulgar of course can turn Kismet
into a stupid idol, as easily as they can Fortune. And Epicurus may have
had some excuse for exclaiming that he would sooner be a slave to the
old gods of the vulgar, than to the Destiny of the philosophers.[135:3]

So much for the result in superstitious minds of the denial, or rather
the removal, of the Olympian Gods. It landed men in the worship of
Fortune or of Fate.

Next, let us consider what happened when, instead of merely rejecting
the Gods _en masse_, people tried carefully to collect what remained of
religion after the Olympian system fell.

Aristotle himself gives us a fairly clear answer. He held that the
origins of man's idea (ἔννοια) of the Divine were twofold,[136:1] the
phenomena of the sky and the phenomena of the human soul. It is very
much what Kant found two thousand years later. The spectacle of the vast
and ordered movements of the heavenly bodies are compared by him in a
famous fragment with the marching forth of Homer's armies before Troy.
Behind such various order and strength there must surely be a conscious
mind capable

     Κοσμῆσαι ἵρρους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἀσπιδιώτας,

     To order steeds of war and mailèd men.

It is only a step from this to regarding the sun, moon, and stars as
themselves divine, and it is a step which both Plato and Aristotle,
following Pythagoras and followed by the Stoics, take with confidence.
Chrysippus gives practically the same list of gods: 'the Sun, Moon, and
Stars; and Law: and men who have become Gods.'[136:2] Both the wandering
stars and the fixed stars are 'animate beings, divine and eternal',
self-acting subordinate gods. As to the divinity of the soul or the mind
of man, the earlier generations are shy about it. But in the later
Stoics it is itself a portion of the divine life. It shows this
ordinarily by its power of reason, and more conspicuously by becoming
ἔνθεος, or 'filled with God', in its exalted moments of prevision,
ecstasy, and prophetic dreams. If reason itself is divine, there is
something else in the soul which is even higher than reason or at least
more surprisingly divine.

Let us follow the history of both these remaining substitutes for the
Olympian gods.

First for the Heavenly bodies. If they are to be made divine, we can
hardly stop there. The Earth is also a divine being. Old tradition has
always said so, and Plato has repeated it. And if Earth is divine, so
surely are the other elements, the _Stoicheia_, Water, Air, and above
all, Fire. For the Gods themselves are said by Plato to be made of fire,
and the Stars visibly are so. Though perhaps the heavenly Fire is really
not our Fire at all, but a πέμπτον σῶμα, a 'Fifth Body', seeing that it
seems not to burn nor the Stars to be consumed.

This is persuasive enough and philosophic; but whither has it led us?
Back to the Olympians, or rather behind the Olympians; as St. Paul puts
it (Gal. iv. 9), to 'the beggarly elements'. The old Korê, or Earth
Maiden and Mother, seems to have held her own unshaken by the changes of
time all over the Aegean area. She is there in prehistoric Crete with
her two lions; with the same lions orientalized in Olympia and Ephesus;
in Sparta with her great marsh birds; in Boeotia with her horse. She
runs riot in a number of the Gnostic systems both pre-Christian and
post-Christian. She forms a divine triad with the Father and the Son:
that is ancient and natural. But she also becomes the Divine Wisdom,
Sophia, the Divine Truth, Aletheia, the Holy Breath or Spirit, the
Pneuma. Since the word for 'spirit' is neuter in Greek and masculine in
Latin, this last is rather a surprise. It is explained when we remember
that in Hebrew the word for Spirit, 'Ruah', is mostly feminine. In the
meantime let us notice one curious development in the life of this
goddess. In the old religion of Greece and Western Asia, she begins as a
Maiden, then in fullness of time becomes a mother. There is evidence
also for a third stage, the widowhood of withering autumn.[138:1] To the
classical Greek this motherhood was quite as it should be, a due
fulfilment of normal functions. But to the Gnostic and his kind it
connoted a 'fall', a passage from the glory of Virginity to a state of
Sin.[138:2] The Korê becomes a fallen Virgin, sometimes a temptress or
even a female devil; sometimes she has to be saved by her Son the
Redeemer.[138:3] As far as I have observed, she loses most of her
earthly agricultural quality, though as Selene or even Helen she keeps
up her affinity with the Moon.

Almost all the writers of the Hellenistic Age agree in regarding the
Sun, Moon, and Stars as gods. The rationalists Hecataeus and Euhemerus,
before going on to their deified men, always start with the heavenly
bodies. When Plutarch explains in his beautiful and kindly way that all
religions are really attempts towards the same goal, he clinches his
argument by observing that we all see the same Sun and Moon though we
call them by different names in all languages.[139:1] But the belief
does not seem to have had much religious intensity in it, until it was
reinforced by two alien influences.

First, we have the ancient worship of the Sun, implicit, if not
explicit, in a great part of the oldest Greek rituals, and then
idealized by Plato in the _Republic_, where the Sun is the author of all
light and life in the material world, as the Idea of Good is in the
ideal world. This worship came gradually into contact with the
traditional and definite Sun-worship of Persia. The final combination
took place curiously late. It was the Roman conquests of Cilicia,
Cappadocia, Commagene, and Armenia that gave the decisive moment.[139:2]
To men who had wearied of the myths of the poets, who could draw no more
inspiration from their Apollo and Hyperion, but still had the habits and
the craving left by their old Gods, a fresh breath of reality came with
the entrance of Ἥλιος ἀνίκητος Μίθρας, 'Mithras, the Unconquered Sun'.
But long before the triumph of Mithraism as the military religion of the
Roman frontier, Greek literature is permeated with a kind of intense
language about the Sun, which seems derived from Plato.[139:3] In later
times, in the fourth century A. D. for instance, it has absorbed some
more full-blooded and less critical element as well.

Secondly, all the seven planets. These had a curious history. The
planets were of course divine and living bodies, so much Plato gave us.
Then come arguments and questions scattered through the Stoic and
eclectic literature. Is it the planet itself that is divine, or is the
planet under the guidance of a divine spirit? The latter seems to win
the day. Anthropomorphism has stolen back upon us: we can use the old
language and speak simply of the planet Mercury as Ἑρμοῦ ἀστήρ. It is
the star of Hermes, and Hermes is the spirit who guides it.[140:1] Even
Plato in his old age had much to say about the souls of the seven
planets. Further, each planet has its sphere. The Earth is in the
centre, then comes the sphere of the Moon, then that of the Sun, and so
on through a range of seven spheres. If all things are full of gods, as
the wise ancients have said, what about those parts of the sphere in
which the shining planet for the moment is not? Are they without god?
Obviously not. The whole sphere is filled with innumerable spirits
everywhere. It is all Hermes, all Aphrodite. (We are more familiar with
the Latin names, Mercury and Venus.) But one part only is visible. The
voice of one school, as usual, is raised in opposition. One veteran had
seen clearly from the beginning whither all this sort of thing was sure
to lead. 'Epicurus approves none of these things.'[140:2] It was no
good his having destroyed the old traditional superstition, if people
by deifying the stars were to fill the sky with seven times seven as
many objects of worship as had been there before. He allows no
_Schwärmerei_ about the stars. They are _not_ divine animate beings, or
guided by Gods. Why cannot the astrologers leave God in peace? When
their orbits are irregular it is _not_ because they are looking for
food. They are just conglomerations of ordinary atoms of air or fire--it
does not matter which. They are not even very large--only about as large
as they look, or perhaps smaller, since most fires tend to look bigger
at a distance. They are not at all certainly everlasting. It is quite
likely that the sun comes to an end every day, and a new one rises in
the morning. All kinds of explanations are possible, and none certain.
Μόνον ὁ μῦθος ἀπέστω. In any case, as you value your life and your
reason, do not begin making myths about them!

On other lines came what might have been the effective protest of real
Science, when Aristarchus of Samos (250 B. C.) argued that the earth was
not really the centre of the universe, but revolved round the Sun. But
his hypothesis did not account for the phenomena as completely as the
current theory with its 'Epicycles'; his fellow astronomers were against
him; Cleanthes the Stoic denounced him for 'disturbing the Hearth of the
Universe', and his heresy made little headway.[141:1]

The planets in their seven spheres surrounding the earth continued to be
objects of adoration. They had their special gods or guiding spirits
assigned them. Their ordered movements through space, it was held,
produce a vast and eternal harmony. It is beautiful beyond all earthly
music, this Music of the Spheres, beyond all human dreams of what music
might be. The only pity is that--except for a few individuals in
trances--nobody has ever heard it. Circumstances seem always to be
unfavourable. It may be that we are too far off, though, considering the
vastness of the orchestra, this seems improbable. More likely we are
merely deaf to it because it never stops and we have been in the middle
of it since we first drew breath.[142:1]

The planets also become Elements in the Kosmos, _Stoicheia_. It is
significant that in Hellenistic theology the word Stoicheion, Element,
gets to mean a Daemon--as Megathos, Greatness, means an Angel.[142:2]
But behold a mystery! The word _Stoicheia_, 'elementa', had long been
used for the Greek A B C, and in particular for the seven vowels α ε η ι
ο υ ω. That is no chance, no mere coincidence. The vowels are the mystic
signs of the Planets; they have control over the planets. Hence strange
prayers and magic formulae innumerable.

Even the way of reckoning time changed under the influence of the
Planets. Instead of the old division of the month into three periods of
nine days, we find gradually establishing itself the week of seven days
with each day named after its planet, Sun, Moon, Ares, Hermes, Zeus,
Aphrodite, Kronos. The history of the Planet week is given by Dio
Cassius, xxxvii. 18, in his account of the Jewish campaign of Pompeius.
But it was not the Jewish week. The Jews scorned such idolatrous and
polytheistic proceedings. It was the old week of Babylon, the original
home of astronomy and planet-worship.[143:1]

For here again a great foreign religion came like water in the desert to
minds reluctantly and superficially enlightened, but secretly longing
for the old terrors and raptures from which they had been set free. Even
in the old days Aeschylus had called the planets 'bright potentates,
shining in the fire of heaven', and Euripides had spoken of the 'shaft
hurled from a star'.[143:2] But we are told that the first teaching of
astrology in Hellenic lands was in the time of Alexander, when Bêrôssos
the Chaldaean set up a school in Cos and, according to Seneca, _Belum
interpretatus est_. This must mean that he translated into Greek the
'_Eye of Bel_', a treatise in seventy tablets found in the library of
Assur-bani-pal (686-626 B. C.) but composed for Sargon I in the third
millennium B. C. Even the philosopher Theophrastus is reported by
Proclus[143:3] as saying that 'the most extraordinary thing of his age
was the lore of the Chaldaeans, who foretold not only events of public
interest but even the lives and deaths of individuals'. One wonders
slightly whether Theophrastus spoke with as much implicit faith as
Proclus suggests. But the chief account is given by Diodorus, ii. 30
(perhaps from Hecataeus).

     'Other nations despise the philosophy of Greece. It is so
     recent and so constantly changing. They have traditions which
     come from vast antiquity and never change. Notably the
     Chaldaeans have collected observations of the Stars through
     long ages, and teach how every event in the heavens has its
     meaning, as part of the eternal scheme of divine forethought.
     Especially the seven Wanderers, or Planets, are called by them
     Hermêneis, Interpreters: and among them the Interpreter in
     chief is Saturn. Their work is to interpret beforehand τὴν τῶν
     θεῶν ἔννοιαν, the thought that is in the mind of the Gods. By
     their risings and settings, and by the colours they assume,
     the Chaldaeans predict great winds and storms and waves of
     excessive heat, comets, and earthquakes, and in general all
     changes fraught with weal or woe not only to nations and
     regions of the world, but to kings and to ordinary men and
     women. Beneath the Seven are thirty Gods of Counsel, half
     below and half above the Earth; every ten days a Messenger or
     Angel star passes from above below and another from below
     above. Above these gods are twelve Masters, who are the twelve
     signs of the Zodiac; and the planets pass through all the
     Houses of these twelve in turn. The Chaldaeans have made
     prophecies for various kings, such as Alexander who conquered
     Darius, and Antigonus and Seleucus Nikator, and have always
     been right. And private persons who have consulted them
     consider their wisdom as marvellous and above human power.'

Astrology fell upon the Hellenistic mind as a new disease falls upon
some remote island people. The tomb of Ozymandias, as described by
Diodorus (i. 49, 5), was covered with astrological symbols, and that of
Antiochus I, which has been discovered in Commagene, is of the same
character. It was natural for monarchs to believe that the stars watched
over them. But every one was ready to receive the germ. The Epicureans,
of course, held out, and so did Panaetius, the coolest head among the
Stoics. But the Stoics as a whole gave way. They formed with good reason
the leading school of philosophy, and it would have been a service to
mankind if they had resisted. But they were already committed to a
belief in the deity of the stars and to the doctrine of Heimarmenê, or
Destiny. They believed in the pervading Pronoia,[145:1] or Forethought,
of the divine mind, and in the Συμπάθεια τῶν ὅλων--the Sympathy of all
Creation,[145:2] whereby whatever happens to any one part, however
remote or insignificant, affects all the rest. It seemed only a natural
and beautiful illustration of this Sympathy that the movements of the
Stars should be bound up with the sufferings of man. They also appealed
to the general belief in prophecy and divination.[145:3] If a prophet
can foretell that such and such an event will happen, then it is
obviously fated to happen. Foreknowledge implies Predestination. This
belief in prophecy was, in reality, a sort of appeal to fact and to
common sense. People could produce then, as they can now, a large number
of striking cases of second sight, presentiment, clairvoyance, actual
prophecy and the like;[145:4] and it was more difficult then to test

The argument involved Stoicism with some questionable allies.
Epicureans and sceptics of the Academy might well mock at the sight of a
great man like Chrysippus or Posidonius resting an important part of his
religion on the undetected frauds of a shady Levantine 'medium'. Still
the Stoics could not but welcome the arrival of a system of prophecy and
predestination which, however the incredulous might rail at it,
possessed at least great antiquity and great stores of learning, which
was respectable, recondite, and in a way sublime.

In all the religious systems of later antiquity, if I mistake not, the
Seven Planets play some lordly or terrifying part. The great Mithras
Liturgy, unearthed by Dieterich from a magical papyrus in Paris,[146:1]
repeatedly confronts the worshipper with the seven vowels as names of
'the Seven Deathless Kosmokratores', or Lords of the Universe, and
seems, under their influence, to go off into its 'Seven Maidens with
heads of serpents, in white raiment', and its divers other Sevens. The
various Hermetic and Mithraic communities, the Naassenes described by
Hippolytus,[146:2] and other Gnostic bodies, authors like Macrobius and
even Cicero in his _Somnium Scipionis_, are full of the influence of the
seven planets and of the longing to escape beyond them. For by some
simple psychological law the stars which have inexorably pronounced our
fate, and decreed, or at least registered the decree, that in spite of
all striving we must needs tread their prescribed path; still more
perhaps, the Stars who know in the midst of our laughter how that
laughter will end, become inevitably powers of evil rather than good,
beings malignant as well as pitiless, making life a vain thing. And
Saturn, the chief of them, becomes the most malignant. To some of the
Gnostics he becomes Jaldabaoth, the Lion-headed God, the evil
Jehovah.[147:1] The religion of later antiquity is overpoweringly
absorbed in plans of escape from the prison of the seven planets.

In author after author, in one community after another, the subject
recurs. And on the whole there is the same answer. Here on the earth we
are the sport of Fate; nay, on the earth itself we are worse off still.
We are beneath the Moon, and beneath the Moon there is not only Fate but
something more unworthy and equally malignant, Chance--to say nothing of
damp and the ills of earth and bad daemons. Above the Moon there is no
chance, only Necessity: there is the will of the other six
Kosmokratores, Rulers of the Universe. But above them all there is an
Eighth region--they call it simply the Ogdoas--the home of the ultimate
God,[147:2] whatever He is named, whose being was before the Kosmos. In
this Sphere is true Being and Freedom. And more than freedom, there is
the ultimate Union with God. For that spark of divine life which is
man's soul is not merely, as some have said, an ἀπόρροια τῶν ἄστρων, an
effluence of the stars: it comes direct from the first and ultimate
God, the Alpha and Omega, who is beyond the Planets. Though the
Kosmokratores cast us to and fro like their slaves or dead chattels, in
soul at least we are of equal birth with them. The Mithraic votary, when
their wrathful and tremendous faces break in upon his vision, answers
them unterrified: ἐγώ εἰμι σύμπλανος ὑμῖν ἀστήρ, 'I am your fellow
wanderer, your fellow Star.' The Orphic carried to the grave on his
golden scroll the same boast: first, 'I am the child of Earth and of the
starry Heaven'; then later, 'I too am become God'.[148:1] The Gnostic
writings consist largely of charms to be uttered by the Soul to each of
the Planets in turn, as it pursues its perilous path past all of them to
its ultimate home.

That journey awaits us after death; but in the meantime? In the meantime
there are initiations, sacraments, mystic ways of communion with God. To
see God face to face is, to the ordinary unprepared man, sheer death.
But to see Him after due purification, to be led to Him along the true
Way by an initiating Priest, is the ultimate blessing of human life. It
is to die and be born again. There were regular official initiations. We
have one in the Mithras-Liturgy, more than one in the Corpus Hermeticum.
Apuleius[148:2] tells us at some length, though in guarded language, how
he was initiated to Isis and became 'her image'. After much fasting,
clad in holy garments and led by the High Priest, he crossed the
threshold of Death and passed through all the Elements. The Sun shone
upon him at midnight, and he saw the Gods of Heaven and of Hades. In the
morning he was clad in the Robe of Heaven, set up on a pedestal in
front of the Goddess and worshipped by the congregation as a God. He had
been made one with Osiris or Horus or whatever name it pleased that
Sun-God to be called. Apuleius does not reveal it.

There were also, of course, the irregular personal initiations and
visions of god vouchsafed to persons of special prophetic powers. St.
Paul, we may remember, knew personally a man who had actually been
snatched up into the Third Heaven, and another who was similarly rapt
into Paradise, where he heard unspeakable words;[149:1] whether in the
body or not, the apostle leaves undecided. He himself on the road to
Damascus had seen the Christ in glory, not after the flesh. The
philosopher Plotinus, so his disciple tells us, was united with God in
trance four times in five years.[149:2]

We seem to have travelled far from the simplicity of early Greek
religion. Yet, apart always from Plotinus, who is singularly aloof, most
of the movement has been a reaction under Oriental and barbarous
influences towards the most primitive pre-Hellenic cults. The union of
man with God came regularly through _Ekstasis_--the soul must get clear
of its body--and _Enthousiasmos_--the God must enter and dwell inside
the worshipper. But the means to this union, while sometimes allegorized
and spiritualized to the last degree, are sometimes of the most
primitive sort. The vagaries of religious emotion are apt to reach very
low as well as very high in the scale of human nature. Certainly the
primitive Thracian savages, who drank themselves mad with the hot blood
of their God-beast, would have been quite at home in some of these
rituals, though in others they would have been put off with some
substitute for the actual blood. The primitive priestesses who waited in
a bridal chamber for the Divine Bridegroom, even the Cretan Kourêtes
with their Zeus Kourês[150:1] and those strange hierophants of the
'Men's House' whose initiations are written on the rocks of Thera, would
have found rites very like their own reblossoming on earth after the
fall of Hellenism. 'Prepare thyself as a bride to receive her
bridegroom,' says Markos the Gnostic,[150:2] 'that thou mayst be what I
am and I what thou art.' 'I in thee, and thou in me!' is the ecstatic
cry of one of the Hermes liturgies. Before that the prayer has been
'Enter into me as a babe into the womb of a woman'.[150:3]

In almost all the liturgies that I have read need is felt for a
mediator between the seeker after God and his goal. Mithras himself saw
a Mesîtês, a Mediator, between Ormuzd and Ahriman, but the ordinary
mediator is more like an interpreter or an adept with inner knowledge
which he reveals to the outsider. The circumstances out of which these
systems grew have left their mark on the new gods themselves. As usual,
the social structure of the worshippers is reflected in their objects of
worship. When the Chaldaeans came to Cos, when the Thracians in the
Piraeus set up their national worship of Bendis, when the Egyptians in
the same port founded their society for the Egyptian ritual of Isis,
when the Jews at Assuan in the fifth century B. C. established their own
temple, in each case there would come proselytes to whom the truth must
be explained and interpreted, sometimes perhaps softened. And in each
case there is behind the particular priest or initiator there present
some greater authority in the land he comes from. Behind any explanation
that can be made in the Piraeus, there is a deeper and higher
explanation known only to the great master in Jerusalem, in Egypt, in
Babylon, or perhaps in some unexplored and ever-receding region of the
east. This series of revelations, one behind the other, is a
characteristic of all these mixed Graeco-Oriental religions.

Most of the Hermetic treatises are put in the form of initiations or
lessons revealed by a 'father' to a 'son', by Ptah to Hermes, by Hermes
to Thoth or Asclepios, and by one of them to us. It was an ancient
formula, a natural vehicle for traditional wisdom in Egypt, where the
young priest became regularly the 'son' of the old priest. It is a form
that we find in Greece itself as early as Euripides, whose Melanippe
says of her cosmological doctrines,

     'It is not my word but my Mother's word'.[152:1]

It was doubtless the language of the old Medicine-Man to his disciple.
In one fine liturgy Thoth wrestles with Hermes in agony of spirit, till
Hermes is forced to reveal to him the path to union with God which he
himself has trodden before. At the end of the Mithras liturgy the
devotee who has passed through the mystic ordeals and seen his god face
to face, is told: 'After this you can show the way to others.'

But this leads us to the second great division of our subject. We turn
from the phenomena of the sky to those of the soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

If what I have written elsewhere is right, one of the greatest works of
the Hellenic spirit, and especially of fifth-century Athens, was to
insist on what seems to us such a commonplace truism, the difference
between Man and God. Sophrosynê in religion was the message of the
classical age. But the ages before and after had no belief in such a
lesson. The old Medicine-Man was perhaps himself the first _Theos_. At
any rate the primeval kings and queens were treated as divine.[152:2]
Just for a few great generations, it would seem, humanity rose to a
sufficient height of self-criticism and self-restraint to reject these
dreams of self-abasement or megalomania. But the effort was too great
for the average world; and in a later age nearly all the kings and
rulers--all people in fact who can command an adequate number of
flatterers--become divine beings again. Let us consider how it came

First there was the explicit recognition by the soberest philosophers of
the divine element in man's soul.[153:1] Aristotle himself built an
altar to Plato. He did nothing superstitious; he did not call Plato a
god, but we can see from his beautiful elegy to Eudemus, that he
naturally and easily used language of worship which would seem a little
strange to us. It is the same emotion--a noble and just emotion on the
whole--which led the philosophic schools to treat their founders as
'heroes', and which has peopled most of Europe and Asia with the
memories and the worship of saints. But we should remember that only a
rare mind will make its divine man of such material as Plato. The common
way to dazzle men's eyes is a more brutal and obvious one.

To people who were at all accustomed to the conception of a God-Man it
was difficult not to feel that the conception was realized in Alexander.
His tremendous power, his brilliant personality, his achievements
beggaring the fables of the poets, put people in the right mind for
worship. Then came the fact that the kings whom he conquered were, as a
matter of fact, mostly regarded by their subjects as divine
beings.[154:1] It was easy, it was almost inevitable, for those who
worshipped the 'God'[154:2] Darius to feel that it was no man but a
greater god who had overthrown Darius. The incense which had been burned
before those conquered gods was naturally offered to their conqueror. He
did not refuse it. It was not good policy to do so, and
self-depreciation is not apt to be one of the weaknesses of the born
ruler.[154:3] But besides all this, if you are to judge a God by his
fruits, what God could produce better credentials? Men had often seen
Zeus defied with impunity; they had seen faithful servants of Apollo
come to bad ends. But those who defied Alexander, however great they
might be, always rued their defiance, and those who were faithful to him
always received their reward. With his successors the worship became
more official. Seleucus, Ptolemaeus, Antigonus, Demetrius, all in
different degrees and different styles are deified by the acclamations
of adoring subjects. Ptolemy Philadelphus seems to have been the first
to claim definite divine honours during his own life. On the death of
his wife in 271 he proclaimed her deity and his own as well in the
worship of the Theoi Adelphoi, the 'Gods Brethren'. Of course there was
flattery in all this, ordinary self-interested lying flattery, and its
inevitable accompaniment, megalomania. Any reading of the personal
history of the Ptolemies, the Seleucidae or the Caesars shows it. But
that is not the whole explanation.

One of the characteristics of the period of the Diadochi is the
accumulation of capital and military force in the hands of individuals.
The Ptolemies and Seleucidae had at any moment at their disposal powers
very much greater than any Pericles or Nicias or Lysander.[155:1] The
folk of the small cities of the Aegean hinterlands must have felt
towards these great strangers almost as poor Indian peasants in time of
flood and famine feel towards an English official. There were men now on
earth who could do the things that had hitherto been beyond the power of
man. Were several cities thrown down by earthquake; here was one who by
his nod could build them again. Famines had always occurred and been
mostly incurable. Here was one who could without effort allay a famine.
Provinces were harried and wasted by habitual wars: the eventual
conqueror had destroyed whole provinces in making the wars; now, as he
had destroyed, he could also save. 'What do you mean by a god,' the
simple man might say, 'if these men are not gods? The only difference is
that these gods are visible, and the old gods no man has seen.'

The titles assumed by all the divine kings tell the story clearly.
Antiochus Epiphanês--'the god made manifest'; Ptolemaios Euergetês,
Ptolemaios Sôtêr. Occasionally we have a Keraunos or a Nikator, a
'Thunderbolt' or a 'God of Mana', but mostly it is Sôtêr, Euergetês and
Epiphanês, the Saviour, the Benefactor, the God made manifest, in
constant alternation. In the honorific inscriptions and in the writings
of the learned, philanthropy (φιλανθρωπία) is by far the most prominent
characteristic of the God upon earth. Was it that people really felt
that to save or benefit mankind was a more godlike thing than to blast
and destroy them? Philosophers have generally said that, and the vulgar
pretended to believe them. It was at least politic, when ministering to
the half-insane pride of one of these princes, to remind him of his
mercy rather than of his wrath.

Wendland in his brilliant book, _Hellenistisch-römische Kultur_, calls
attention to an inscription of the year 196 B. C. in honour of the young
Ptolemaios Epiphanês, who was made manifest at the age of twelve
years.[156:1] It is a typical document of Graeco-Egyptian king-worship:

     'In the reign of the young king by inheritance from his
     Father, Lord of the Diadems, great in glory, pacificator of
     Egypt and pious towards the gods, superior over his
     adversaries, Restorer of the life of man, Lord of the Periods
     of Thirty Years, like Hephaistos the Great, King like the Sun,
     the Great King of the Upper and Lower Lands; offspring of the
     Gods of the Love of the Father, whom Hephaistos has approved,
     to whom the Sun has given Victory; living image of Zeus; Son
     of the Sun, Ptolemaios the ever-living, beloved by Phtha; in
     the ninth year of Aëtos son of Aëtos, Priest of Alexander and
     the Gods Saviours and the Gods Brethren and the Gods
     Benefactors and the Gods of the Love of the Father and the
     God Manifest for whom thanks be given:'

The Priests who came to his coronation ceremony at Memphis proclaim:

     'Seeing that King Ptolemaios ever-living, beloved of Phtha,
     God Manifest for whom Thanks be given, born of King Ptolemaios
     and Queen Arsinoe, the Gods of the Love of the Father, has
     done many benefactions to the Temples and those in them and
     all those beneath his rule, being from the beginning God born
     of God and Goddess, like Horus son of Isis and Osiris, who
     came to the help of his father Osiris (and?) in his benevolent
     disposition towards the Gods has consecrated to the temples
     revenues of silver and of corn, and has undergone many
     expenses in order to lead Egypt into the sunlight and give
     peace to the Temples, and has with all his powers shown love
     of mankind.'

When the people of Lycopolis revolted, we hear:

     'in a short time he took the city by storm and slew all the
     Impious who dwelt in it, even as Hermes and Horus, son of Isis
     and Osiris, conquered those who of old revolted in the same
     regions . . . in return for which the Gods have granted him
     Health Victory Power and all other good things, the Kingdom
     remaining to him and his sons for time everlasting.'[157:1]

The conclusion which the Priests draw from these facts is that the
young king's titles and honours are insufficient and should be
increased. It is a typical and terribly un-Hellenic document of the
Hellenistic God-man in his appearance as King.

Now the early successors of Alexander mostly professed themselves
members of the Stoic school, and in the mouth of a Stoic this doctrine
of the potential divinity of man was an inspiring one. To them virtue
was the really divine thing in man; and the most divine kind of virtue
was that of helping humanity. To love and help humanity is, according to
Stoic doctrine, the work and the very essence of God. If you take away
Pronoia from God, says Chrysippus,[158:1] it is like taking away light
and heat from fire. This doctrine is magnificently expressed by Pliny in
a phrase that is probably translated from Posidonius: 'God is the
helping of man by man; and that is the way to eternal glory.'[158:2]

The conception took root in the minds of many Romans. A great Roman
governor often had the chance of thus helping humanity on a vast scale,
and liked to think that such a life opened the way to heaven. 'One
should conceive', says Cicero (_Tusc._ i. 32), 'the gods as like men
who feel themselves born for the work of helping, defending, and saving
humanity. Hercules has passed into the number of the gods. He would
never have so passed if he had not built up that road for himself while
he was among mankind.'

I have been using some rather late authors, though the ideas seem
largely to come from Posidonius.[159:1] But before Posidonius the sort
of fact on which we have been dwelling had had its influence on
religious speculation. When Alexander made his conquering journey to
India and afterwards was created a god, it was impossible not to reflect
that almost exactly the same story was related in myth about Dionysus.
Dionysus had started from India and travelled in the other direction:
that was the only difference. A flood of light seemed to be thrown on
all the traditional mythology, which, of course, had always been a
puzzle to thoughtful men. It was impossible to believe it as it stood,
and yet hard--in an age which had not the conception of any science of
mythology--to think it was all a mass of falsehood, and the great Homer
and Hesiod no better than liars. But the generation which witnessed the
official deification of the various Seleucidae and Ptolemies seemed
suddenly to see light. The traditional gods, from Heracles and Dionysus
up to Zeus and Cronos and even Ouranos, were simply old-world rulers and
benefactors of mankind, who had, by their own insistence or the
gratitude of their subjects, been transferred to the ranks of heaven.
For that is the exact meaning of making them divine: they are classed
among the true immortals, the Sun and Moon and Stars and Corn and Wine,
and the everlasting elements.

The philosophic romance of Euhemerus, published early in the third
century B. C., had instantaneous success and enormous influence.[160:1]
It was one of the first Greek books translated into Latin, and became
long afterwards a favourite weapon of the Christian fathers in their
polemics against polytheism. 'Euhemerism' was, on the face of it, a very
brilliant theory; and it had, as we have noticed, a special appeal for
the Romans.

Yet, if such a conception might please the leisure of a statesman, it
could hardly satisfy the serious thought of a philosopher or a religious
man. If man's soul really holds a fragment of God and is itself a divine
being, its godhead cannot depend on the possession of great riches and
armies and organized subordinates. If 'the helping of man by man is
God', the help in question cannot be material help. The religion which
ends in deifying only kings and millionaires may be vulgarly popular but
is self-condemned.

As a matter of fact the whole tendency of Greek philosophy after Plato,
with some illustrious exceptions, especially among the Romanizing
Stoics, was away from the outer world towards the world of the soul. We
find in the religious writings of this period that the real Saviour of
men is not he who protects them against earthquake and famine, but he
who in some sense saves their souls. He reveals to them the _Gnôsis
Theou_, the Knowledge of God. The 'knowledge' in question is not a mere
intellectual knowledge. It is a complete union, a merging of beings.
And, as we have always to keep reminding our cold modern intelligence,
he who has 'known' God is himself thereby deified. He is the Image of
God, the Son of God, in a sense he _is_ God.[161:1] The stratum of ideas
described in the first of the studies will explain the ease with which
transition took place. The worshipper of Bacchos became Bacchos simply
enough, because in reality the God Bacchos was originally only the
projection of the human Bacchoi. And in the Hellenistic age the notion
of these secondary mediating gods was made easier by the analogy of the
human interpreters. Of course, we have abundant instances of actual
preachers and miracle-workers who on their own authority posed, and were
accepted, as gods. The adventure of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra[161:2]
shows how easily such things could happen. But as a rule, I suspect, the
most zealous priest or preacher preferred to have his God in the
background. He preaches, he heals the sick and casts out devils, not in
his own name but in the name of One who sent him. This actual present
priest who initiates you or me is himself already an Image of God; but
above him there are greater and wiser priests, above them others, and
above all there is the one eternal Divine Mediator, who being in
perfection both man and God can alone fully reveal God to man, and lead
man's soul up the heavenly path, beyond Change and Fate and the Houses
of the Seven Rulers, to its ultimate peace. I have seen somewhere a
Gnostic or early Christian emblem which indicates this doctrine. Some
Shepherd or Saviour stands, his feet on the earth, his head towering
above the planets, lifting his follower in his outstretched arms.

The Gnostics are still commonly thought of as a body of Christian
heretics. In reality there were Gnostic sects scattered over the
Hellenistic world before Christianity as well as after. They must have
been established in Antioch and probably in Tarsus well before the days
of Paul or Apollos. Their Saviour, like the Jewish Messiah, was
established in men's minds before the Saviour of the Christians. 'If we
look close', says Professor Bousset, 'the result emerges with great
clearness, that the figure of the Redeemer as such did not wait for
Christianity to force its way into the religion of Gnôsis, but was
already present there under various forms.'[162:1] He occurs notably in
two pre-Christian documents, discovered by the keen analysis and
profound learning of Dr. Reitzenstein: the Poimandres revelation printed
in the _Corpus Hermeticum_, and the sermon of the Naassenes in
Hippolytus, _Refutatio Omnium Haeresium_, which is combined with
Attis-worship.[162:2] The violent anti-Jewish bias of most of the
sects--they speak of 'the accursed God of the Jews' and identify him
with Saturn and the Devil--points on the whole to pre-Christian
conditions: and a completely non-Christian standpoint is still visible
in the Mandaean and Manichean systems.

Their Redeemer is descended by a fairly clear genealogy from the 'Tritos
Sôtêr' of early Greece, contaminated with similar figures, like Attis
and Adonis from Asia Minor, Osiris from Egypt, and the special Jewish
conception of the Messiah of the Chosen people. He has various names,
which the name of Jesus or 'Christos', 'the Anointed', tends gradually
to supersede. Above all he is, in some sense, Man, or 'the Second Man'
or 'the Son of Man'. The origin of this phrase needs a word of
explanation. Since the ultimate unseen God, spirit though He is, made
man in His image, since holy men (and divine kings) are images of God,
it follows that He is Himself Man. He is the real, the ultimate, the
perfect and eternal Man, of whom all bodily men are feeble copies. He is
also the Father; the Saviour is his Son, 'the Image of the Father', 'the
Second Man', 'the Son of Man'. The method in which he performs his
mystery of Redemption varies. It is haunted by the memory of the old
Suffering and Dying God, of whom we spoke in the first of these studies.
It is vividly affected by the ideal 'Righteous Man' of Plato, who 'shall
be scourged, tortured, bound, his eyes burnt out, and at last, after
suffering every evil, shall be impaled or crucified'.[163:1] But in the
main he descends, of his free will or by the eternal purpose of the
Father, from Heaven through the spheres of all the Archontes or
Kosmokratores, the planets, to save mankind, or sometimes to save the
fallen Virgin, the Soul, Wisdom, or 'the Pearl'.[164:1] The Archontes
let him pass because he is disguised; they do not know him (cf. 1 Cor.
ii. 7 ff.). When his work is done he ascends to Heaven to sit by the
side of the Father in glory; he conquers the Archontes, leads them
captive in his triumph, strips them of their armour (Col. ii. 15; cf.
the previous verse), sometimes even crucifies them for ever in their
places in the sky.[164:2] The epistles to the Colossians and the
Ephesians are much influenced by these doctrines. Paul himself
constantly uses the language of them, but in the main we find him
discouraging the excesses of superstition, reforming, ignoring,
rejecting. His Jewish blood was perhaps enough to keep him to strict
monotheism. Though he admits Angels and Archontes, Principalities and
Powers, he scorns the Elements and he seems deliberately to reverse the
doctrine of the first and second Man.[164:3] He says nothing about the
Trinity of Divine Beings that was usual in Gnosticism, nothing about the
Divine Mother. His mind, for all its vehement mysticism, has something
of that clean antiseptic quality that makes such early Christian works
as the Octavius of Minucius Felix and the Epistle to Diognetus so
infinitely refreshing. He is certainly one of the great figures in Greek
literature, but his system lies outside the subject of this essay. We
are concerned only with those last manifestations of Hellenistic
religion which probably formed the background of his philosophy. It is a
strange experience, and it shows what queer stuff we humans are made of,
to study these obscure congregations, drawn from the proletariate of the
Levant, superstitious, charlatan-ridden, and helplessly ignorant, who
still believed in Gods begetting children of mortal mothers, who took
the 'Word', the 'Spirit', and the 'Divine Wisdom', to be persons called
by those names, and turned the Immortality of the Soul into 'the
standing up of the corpses';[165:1] and to reflect that it was these who
held the main road of advance towards the greatest religion of the
western world.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have tried to sketch in outline the main forms of belief to which
Hellenistic philosophy moved or drifted. Let me dwell for a few pages
more upon the characteristic method by which it reached them. It may be
summed up in one word, Allegory. All Hellenistic philosophy from the
first Stoics onward is permeated by allegory. It is applied to Homer, to
the religious traditions, to the ancient rituals, to the whole world. To
Sallustius after the end of our period the whole material world is only
a great myth, a thing whose value lies not in itself but in the
spiritual meaning which it hides and reveals. To Cleanthes at the
beginning of it the Universe was a mystic pageant, in which the immortal
stars were the dancers and the Sun the priestly torch-bearer.[165:2]
Chrysippus reduced the Homeric gods to physical or ethical principles;
and Crates, the great critic, applied allegory in detail to his
interpretation of the all-wise poet.[166:1] We possess two small but
complete treatises which illustrate well the results of this tendency,
Cornutus ρεπὶ θεῶν and the _Homeric Allegories_ of Heraclitus, a
brilliant little work of the first century B. C. I will not dwell upon
details: they are abundantly accessible and individually often
ridiculous. A by-product of the same activity is the mystic treatment of
language: a certain Titan in Hesiod is named Koios. Why? Because the
Titans are the elements and one of them is naturally the element of
Κοιότης, the Ionic Greek for 'Quality'. The Egyptian Isis is derived
from the root of the Greek εἰδέναι, Knowledge, and the Egyptian Osiris
from the Greek ὅσιος and ἱρός ('holy' and 'sacred', or perhaps more
exactly 'lawful' and '_tabu_'). Is this totally absurd? I think not. If
all human language is, as most of these thinkers believed, a divine
institution, a cap filled to the brim with divine meaning, so that by
reflecting deeply upon a word a pious philosopher can reach the secret
that it holds, then there is no difficulty whatever in supposing that
the special secret held by an Egyptian word may be found in Greek, or
the secret of a Greek word in Babylonian. Language is One. The Gods who
made all these languages equally could use them all, and wind them all
intricately in and out, for the building up of their divine enigma.

We must make a certain effort of imagination to understand this method
of allegory. It is not the frigid thing that it seems to us. In the
first place, we should remember that, as applied to the ancient
literature and religious ritual, allegory was at least a _vera
causa_--it was a phenomenon which actually existed. Heraclitus of
Ephesus is an obvious instance. He deliberately expressed himself in
language which should not be understood of the vulgar, and which bore a
hidden meaning to his disciples. Pythagoras did the same. The prophets
and religious writers must have done so to an even greater
extent.[167:1] And we know enough of the history of ritual to be sure
that a great deal of it is definitely allegorical. The Hellenistic Age
did not wantonly invent the theory of allegory.

And secondly, we must remember what states of mind tend especially to
produce this kind of belief. They are not contemptible states of mind.
It needs only a strong idealism with which the facts of experience
clash, and allegory follows almost of necessity. The facts cannot be
accepted as they are. They must needs be explained as meaning something

Take an earnest Stoic or Platonist, a man of fervid mind, who is
possessed by the ideals of his philosophy and at the same time feels his
heart thrilled by the beauty of the old poetry. What is he to do? On one
side he can find Zoilus, or Plato himself, or the Cynic preachers,
condemning Homer and the poets without remorse, as teachers of
foolishness. He can treat poetry as the English puritans treated the
stage. But is that a satisfactory solution? Remember that these
generations were trained habitually to give great weight to the voice of
their inner consciousness, and the inner consciousness of a sensitive
man cries out that any such solution is false: that Homer is not a liar,
but noble and great, as our fathers have always taught us. On the other
side comes Heraclitus the allegorist. 'If Homer used no allegories he
committed all impieties.' On this theory the words can be allowed to
possess all their old beauty and magic, but an inner meaning is added
quite different from that which they bear on the surface. It may, very
likely, be a duller and less poetic meaning; but I am not sure that the
verses will not gain by the mere process of brooding study fully as much
as they lose by the ultimate badness of the interpretation. Anyhow, that
was the road followed. The men of whom I speak were not likely to give
up any experience that seemed to make the world more godlike or to feed
their spiritual and emotional cravings. They left that to the barefooted
cynics. They craved poetry and they craved philosophy; if the two spoke
like enemies, their words must needs be explained away by one who loved

The same process was applied to the world itself. Something like it is
habitually applied by the religious idealists of all ages. A fundamental
doctrine of Stoicism and most of the idealist creeds was the perfection
and utter blessedness of the world, and the absolute fulfilment of the
purpose of God. Now obviously this belief was not based on experience.
The poor world, to do it justice amid all its misdoings, has never lent
itself to any such barefaced deception as that. No doubt it shrieked
against the doctrine then, as loud as it has always shrieked, so that
even a Posidonian or a Pythagorean, his ears straining for the music of
the spheres, was sometimes forced to listen. And what was his answer?
It is repeated in all the literature of these sects. 'Our human
experience is so small: the things of the earth may be bad and more than
bad, but, ah! if you only went beyond the Moon! That is where the true
Kosmos begins.' And, of course, if we did ever go there, we all know
they would say it began beyond the Sun. Idealism of a certain type will
have its way; if hard life produces an ounce or a pound or a million
tons of fact in the scale against it, it merely dreams of infinite
millions in its own scale, and the enemy is outweighed and smothered. I
do not wish to mock at these Posidonian Stoics and Hermetics and
Gnostics and Neo-Pythagoreans. They loved goodness, and their faith is
strong and even terrible. One feels rather inclined to bow down before
their altars and cry: _Magna est Delusio et praevalebit._

Yet on the whole one rises from these books with the impression that all
this allegory and mysticism is bad for men. It may make the emotions
sensitive, it certainly weakens the understanding. And, of course, in
this paper I have left out of account many of the grosser forms of
superstition. In any consideration of the balance, they should not be

If a reader of Proclus and the _Corpus Hermeticum_ wants relief, he will
find it, perhaps, best in the writings of a gentle old Epicurean who
lived at Oenoanda in Cappadocia about A. D. 200. His name was
Diogenes.[169:1] His works are preserved, in a fragmentary state, not on
papyrus or parchment, but on the wall of a large portico where he
engraved them for passers-by to read. He lived in a world of
superstition and foolish terror, and he wrote up the great doctrines of
Epicurus for the saving of mankind.

     'Being brought by age to the sunset of my life, and expecting
     at any moment to take my departure from the world with a glad
     song for the fullness of my happiness, I have resolved, lest I
     be taken too soon, to give help to those of good temperament.
     If one person or two or three or four, or any small number you
     choose, were in distress, and I were summoned out to help one
     after another, I would do all in my power to give the best
     counsel to each. But now, as I have said, the most of men lie
     sick, as it were of a pestilence, in their false beliefs about
     the world, and the tale of them increases; for by imitation
     they take the disease from one another, like sheep. And
     further it is only just to bring help to those who shall come
     after us--for they too are ours, though they be yet unborn;
     and love for man commands us also to help strangers who may
     pass by. Since therefore the good message of the Book has this
     wall and to set forth in public the medicine of the healing of

The people of his time and neighbourhood seem to have fancied that the
old man must have some bad motive. They understood mysteries and
redemptions and revelations. They understood magic and curses. But they
were puzzled, apparently, by this simple message, which only told them
to use their reason, their courage, and their sympathy, and not to be
afraid of death or of angry gods. The doctrine was condensed into four
sentences of a concentrated eloquence that make a translator
despair:[170:1] 'Nothing to fear in God: Nothing to feel in Death: Good
can be attained: Evil can be endured.'

Of course, the doctrines of this good old man do not represent the whole
truth. To be guided by one's aversions is always a sign of weakness or
defeat; and it is as much a failure of nerve to reject blindly for fear
of being a fool, as to believe blindly for fear of missing some
emotional stimulus.

There is no royal road in these matters. I confess it seems strange to
me as I write here, to reflect that at this moment many of my friends
and most of my fellow creatures are, as far as one can judge, quite
confident that they possess supernatural knowledge. As a rule, each
individual belongs to some body which has received in writing the
results of a divine revelation. I cannot share in any such feeling. The
Uncharted surrounds us on every side and we must needs have some
relation towards it, a relation which will depend on the general
discipline of a man's mind and the bias of his whole character. As far
as knowledge and conscious reason will go, we should follow resolutely
their austere guidance. When they cease, as cease they must, we must use
as best we can those fainter powers of apprehension and surmise and
sensitiveness by which, after all, most high truth has been reached as
well as most high art and poetry: careful always really to seek for
truth and not for our own emotional satisfaction, careful not to neglect
the real needs of men and women through basing our life on dreams; and
remembering above all to walk gently in a world where the lights are dim
and the very stars wander.


It is not my purpose to make anything like a systematic bibliography,
but a few recommendations may be useful to some students who approach
this subject, as I have done, from the side of classical Greek.

For Greek Philosophy I have used besides Plato and Aristotle, Diogenes
Laertius and Philodemus, Diels, _Fragmente der Vorsokratiker_; Diels,
_Doxographi Graeci_; von Arnim, _Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta_; Usener,
_Epicurea_; also the old _Fragmenta Philosophorum_ of Mullach.

For later Paganism and Gnosticism, Reitzenstein, _Poimandres_;
Reitzenstein, _Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen_; Dieterich,
_Eine Mithrasliturgic_ (also _Abraxas_, _Nekyia_, _Muttererde_, &c.); P.
Wendland, _Hellenistisch-Römische Kultur_; Cumont, _Textes et Monuments
relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra_ (also _The Mysteries of Mithra_,
Chicago, 1903), and _Les Religions Orientales dans l'Empire Romain_;
Seeck, _Untergang der antiken Welt_, vol. iii; Philo, _de Vita
Contemplativa_, Conybeare; Gruppe, _Griechische Religion and
Mythologie_, pp. 1458-1676; Bousset, _Hauptprobleme der Gnosis_, 1907,
with good bibliography in the introduction; articles by E. Bevan in the
_Quarterly Review_, No. 424 (June 1910), and the _Hibbert Journal_, xi.
1 (October 1912). _Dokumente der Gnosis_, by W. Schultz (Jena, 1910),
gives a highly subjective translation and reconstruction of most of the
Gnostic documents: the _Corpus Hermeticum_ is translated into English by
G. R. S. Meade, _Thrice Greatest Hermes_, 1906. The first volume of Dr.
Scott's monumental edition of the _Hermetica_ (Clarendon Press, 1924)
has appeared just too late to be used in the present volume.

For Jewish thought before the Christian era Dr. Charles's _Testaments of
the Twelve Patriarchs_; also the same writer's _Book of Enoch_, and the
_Religionsgeschichtliche Erklärung des Neuen Testaments_ by Carl Clemen,
Giessen, 1909.

Of Christian writers apart from the New Testament those that come most
into account are Hippolytis ([cross symbol] A. D. 250), _Refutatio
Omnium Haeresium_, Epiphanius (367-403), _Panarion_, and Irenaeus
([cross symbol] A. D. 202), _Contra Haereses_, i, ii. For a simple
introduction to the problems presented by the New Testament literature I
would venture to recommend Prof. Bacon's _New Testament_, in the Home
University Library, and Dr. Estlin Carpenter's _First Three Gospels_. In
such a vast literature I dare not make any further recommendations, but
for a general introduction to the History of Religions with a good and
brief bibliography I would refer the reader to Salomon Reinach's
_Orpheus_ (Paris, 1909; English translation the same year), a book of
wide learning and vigorous thought.


[124:1] Mr. Marett has pointed out that this conception has its roots
deep in primitive human nature: _The Birth of Humility_, Oxford, 1910,
p. 17. 'It would, perhaps, be fanciful to say that man tends to run away
from the sacred as uncanny, to cower before it as secret, and to
prostrate himself before it as tabu. On the other hand, it seems plain
that to these three negative qualities of the sacred taken together
there corresponds on the part of man a certain negative attitude of
mind. Psychologists class the feelings bound up with flight, cowering,
and prostration under the common head of "asthenic emotion". In plain
English they are all forms of heart-sinking, of feeling unstrung. This
general type of innate disposition would seem to be the psychological
basis of Humility. Taken in its social setting, the emotion will, of
course, show endless shades of complexity; for it will be excited, and
again will find practical expression, in all sorts of ways. Under these
varying conditions, however, it is reasonable to suppose that what Mr.
McDougall would call the "central part" of the experience remains very
much the same. In face of the sacred the normal man is visited by a
heart-sinking, a wave of asthenic emotion.' Mr. Marett continues: 'If
that were all, however, Religion would be a matter of pure fear. But it
is not all. There is yet the positive side of the sacred to be taken
into account.' It is worth remarking also that Schleiermacher
(1767-1834) placed the essence of religion in the feeling of absolute
dependence without attempting to define the object towards which it was

[129:1] Usener, _Epicurea_ (1887), pp. 232 ff.; Diels, _Doxographi
Graeci_ (1879), p. 306; Arnim, _Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta_ (1903-5),
Chrysippus 1014, 1019.

[133:1] Juv. x. 365 f.; Polyb. ii. 38, 5; x. 5, 8; xviii. 11, 5.

[133:2] Cf. also his _Consolatio ad Apollonium_. The earliest text is
perhaps the interesting fragment of Demetrius of Phalerum (fr. 19, in
_F. H. G._ ii. 368), written about 317 B. C. It is quoted with
admiration by Polybius xxix. 21, with reference to the defeat of Perseus
of Macedon by the Romans:

'One must often remember the saying of Demetrius of Phalerum . . . in
his Treatise on Fortune. . . . "If you were to take not an indefinite
time, nor many generations, but just the fifty years before this, you
could see in them the violence of Fortune. Fifty years ago do you
suppose that either the Macedonians or the King of Macedon, or the
Persians or the King of Persia, if some God had foretold them what was
to come, would ever have believed that by the present time the Persians,
who were then masters of almost all the inhabited world, would have
ceased to be even a geographical name, while the Macedonians, who were
then not even a name, would be rulers of all? Yet this Fortune, who
bears no relation to our method of life, but transforms everything in
the way we do not expect and displays her power by surprises, is at the
present moment showing all the world that, when she puts the Macedonians
into the rich inheritance of the Persian, she has only lent them these
good things until she changes her mind about them." Which has now
happened in the case of Perseus. The words of Demetrius were a prophecy
uttered, as it were, by inspired lips.'

[134:1] Eur., _Tro._ 886. Literally it means 'The Compulsion in the way
Things grow'.

[134:2] Zeno, fr. 87, Arnim.

[135:1] Chrysippus, fr. 913, Arnim.

[135:2] Cleanthes, 527, Arnim. Ἂγου δέ μ', ὦ Ζεῦ, καὶ σύ γ' ἡ Πεπρωμένη,
κτλ. Plotinus, _Enn._ III. i. 10.

[135:3] Epicurus, Third Letter. Usener, p. 65, 12 = Diog. La. x. 134.

[136:1] Aristotle, fr. 12 ff.

[136:2] e. g. Chrysippus, fr. 1076, Arnim.

[138:1] _Themis_, p. 180, n. 1.

[138:2] Not to Plotinus: _Enn._ II. ix against the Valentinians. Cf.
Porphyry, Ἀφορμαί, 28.

[138:3] Bousset, _Hauptprobleme der Gnosis_, 1907, pp. 13, 21, 26, 81,
&c.; pp. 332 ff. She becomes Helen in the beautiful myth of the Simonian
Gnostics--a Helen who has forgotten her name and race, and is a slave in
a brothel in Tyre. Simon discovers her, gradually brings back her memory
and redeems her. Irenaeus, i. 23, 2.

[139:1] _De Iside et Osiride_, 67. (He distinguishes them from the real
God, however, just as Sallustius would.)

[139:2] Mithras was worshipped by the Cilician Pirates conquered by
Pompey. Plut., _Vit. Pomp._ 24.

[139:3] ἔκγονος τοῦ πρώτου θεοῦ. Plato (Diels, 305); Stoics, ib. 547, l.

[140:1] Aristotle (Diels, 450). ὅσας δὲ εἶναι τὰς σφαίρας, τοσούτους
ὑπάρχειν καὶ τοὺς κινοῦντας θεούς. Chrysippus (Diels 466); Posidonius,
ib. (cf. Plato, _Laws_. 898 ff.). See Epicurus's Second Letter,
especially Usener, pp. 36-47 = Diog. La. x. 86-104. On the food required
by the heavenly bodies cf. Chrysippus, fr. 658-61, Arnim.

[140:2] ὁ δὲ Ἐπίκουρος οὐδὲν τούτων ἐγκρίνει. Diels, 307{a} 15. Cf.
432{a} 10.

[141:1] Heath, _Aristarchos of Samos_, pp. 301-10.

[142:1] Pythagoras in Diels, p. 555, 20; the best criticism is in
Aristotle, _De Caelo_, chap. 9 (p. 290 b), the fullest account in
Macrobius, _Comm. in Somn. Scipionis_, ii.

[142:2] See Diels, _Elementium_, 1899, p. 17. These magic letters are
still used in the Roman ritual for the consecration of churches.

[143:1] A seven-day week was known to Pseudo-Hippocrates περὶ σαρκῶν _ad
fin._, but the date of that treatise is very uncertain.

[143:2] Aesch., _Ag._ 6; Eur., _Hip._ 530. Also _Ag._ 365, where ἀστρῶν
βέλος goes together and μήτε πρὸ καιροῦ μήθ' ὕπερ.

[143:3] Proclus, _In Timaeum_, 289 F; Seneca, _Nat. Quaest._ iii. 29, 1.

[145:1] Chrysippus, 1187-95. Esse divinationem si di sint et

[145:2] Cicero, _De Nat. De._ iii. 11, 28; especially _De Divinatione_,
ii. 14, 34; 60, 124; 69, 142. 'Qua ex coniunctione naturae et quasi
concentu atque consensu, quam συμπάθειαν Graeci appellant, convenire
potest aut fissum iecoris cum lucello meo aut meus quaesticulus cum
caelo, terra rerumque natura?' asks the sceptic in the second of these

[145:3] Chrysippus, 939-44. Vaticinatio probat fati necessitatem.

[145:4] Chrysippus, 1214, 1200-6.

[146:1] _Eine Mithrasliturgie_, 1903. The MS. is 574 Supplément grec de
la Bibl. Nationale. The formulae of various religions were used as
instruments of magic, as our own witches used the Lord's Prayer

[146:2] _Refutatio Omnium Haeresium_, v. 7. They worshipped the Serpent,
Nāhāsh (נָחָשׁ).

[147:1] Bousset, p. 351. The hostility of Zoroastrianism to the old
Babylonian planet gods was doubtless at work also. Ib. pp. 37-46.

[147:2] Or, in some Gnostic systems, of the Mother.

[148:1] Harrison, _Prolegomena_, Appendix on the Orphic tablets.

[148:2] Ap. _Metamorphoses_, xi.

[149:1] 2 Cor. xii. 2 and 3 (he may be referring in veiled language to
himself); Gal. i. 12 ff.; Acts ix. 1-22. On the difference of tone and
fidelity between the Epistles and the Acts see the interesting remarks
of Prof. P. Gardner, _The Religious Experience of St. Paul_, pp. 5 ff.

[149:2] Porphyry, _Vita Plotini_, 23. 'We have explained that he was
good and gentle, mild and merciful; we who lived with him could feel it.
We have said that he was vigilant and pure of soul, and always striving
towards the Divine, which with all his soul he loved. . . . And thus it
happened to this extraordinary man, constantly lifting himself up
towards the first and transcendent God by thought and the ways explained
by Plato in the _Symposium_, that there actually came a vision of that
God who is without shape or form, established above the understanding
and all the intelligible world. To whom I, Porphyry, being now in my
sixty-eighth year, profess that I once drew near and was made one with
him. At any rate he appeared to Plotinus "a goal close at hand." For his
whole end and goal was to be made One and draw near to the supreme God.
And he attained that goal four times, I think, while I was living with
him--not potentially but in actuality, though an actuality which
surpasses speech.'

[150:1] _C. I. G._, vol. xii, fasc. 3; and Bethe in _Rhein. Mus._, N.
F., xlii, 438-75.

[150:2] Irenaeus, i. 13, 3.

[150:3] Bousset, chap. vii; Reitzenstein, _Mysterienreligionen_, p. 20
ff., with excursus; _Poimandres_, 226 ff.; Dieterich, _Mithrasliturgie_,
pp. 121 ff.

[152:1] Eur. fr. 484.

[152:2] _R. G. E._{3}, pp. 135-40. I do not touch on the political side
of this apotheosis of Hellenistic kings; it is well brought out in
Ferguson's _Hellenistic Athens_, e. g. p. 108 f., also p. 11 f. and
note. Antigonus Gonatas refused to be worshipped (Tarn, p. 250 f.). For
Sallustius's opinion, see below, p. 223, chap. xviii _ad fin._

[153:1] Cf. ψυχὴ οἰκητήριον δαίμονος, Democr. 171, Diels, and Alcmaeon
is said by Cicero to have attributed divinity to the Stars and the Soul.
Melissus and Zeno θείας οἴεται τὰς ψυχάς. The phrase τινὲς τὴν ψυχὴν ἀπὸ
τῶν ἄστρων ῥέουσαν, Diels 651, must refer to some Gnostic sect.

[154:1] See for instance Frazer, _Golden Bough_{3}, part I, i. 417-19.

[154:2] Aesch. _Pers._ 157, 644 (θεός), 642 (δαίμων). Mr. Bevan however
suspects that Aeschylus misunderstood his Persian sources: see his
article on 'Deification' in Hastings's _Dictionary of Religion_.

[154:3] Cf. Aristotle on the Μεγαλόψυχος, _Eth. Nic._ 1123 b. 15. εἰ δὲ
δὴ μεγάλων ἑαμτὸν ἀξιοῖ ἄξιος ὤν, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν μεγίστων, περὶ ἓν
μάλιστα ἂν εἲη. . . . μέγιστον δὲ τοῦτ' ἂν θείημεν ὃ τοῖς θεοῖς
ἀπονέμομεν. But these kings clearly transgressed the mean. For the
satirical comments of various public men in Athens see Ed. Meyer,
_Kleine Schriften_, 301 ff., 330.

[155:1] Lysander too had altars raised to him by some Asiatic cities.

[156:1] Dittenberger, _Inscr. Orientis Graeci_, 90; Wendland,
_Hellenistisch-römische Kultur_, 1907, p. 74 f. and notes.

[157:1] Several of the phrases are interesting. The last gift of the
heavenly gods to this Theos is the old gift of Mana. In Hesiod it was
Κάρτος τε Βίη τε, the two ministers who are never away from the King
Zeus. In Aeschylus it was Kratos and Bia who subdue Prometheus. In
Tyrtaeus it was Νίκη καὶ Κάρτος. In other inscriptions of the Ptolemaic
age it is Σωτηρία καὶ Νίκη or Σωτηρία καὶ Νίκη αἰώνιος. In the current
Christian liturgies it is 'the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory'. _R.
G. E._{3}, p. 135, n. The new conception, as always, is rooted in the
old. 'The Gods Saviours, Brethren', &c., are of course Ptolemy Soter,
Ptolemy Philadelphus, &c., and their Queens. The phrases εἰκὼν ζῶσα τοῦ
Διός, υἱὸς τοῦ Ἡλίου, ἠγαπημένος ὑπὸ τοῦ Φθᾶ, are characteristic of the
religious language of this period. Cf. also Col. i. 14, εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ
τοῦ ἀοράτου; 2 Cor. iv. 4; Ephes. i. 5, 6.

[158:1] Fr. 1118. Arnim. Cf. Antipater, fr. 33, 34, τὸ εὐποιητικόν is
part of the definition of Deity.

[158:2] Plin., _Nat. Hist._ ii. 7, 18. Deus est mortali iuvare mortalem
et haec ad aeternam gloriam via. Cf. also the striking passages from
Cicero and others in Wendland, p. 85, n. 2.

[159:1] The Stoic philosopher, teaching at Rhodes, _c._ 100 B. C. A man
of immense knowledge and strong religious emotions, he moved the Stoa in
the direction of Oriental mysticism. See Schwartz's sketch in
_Characterköpfe_{a}, pp. 89-98. Also Norden's _Commentary on Aeneid_ vi.

[160:1] Jacoby in Pauly-Wissowa's _Realencyclopädie_, vi. 954. It was
called Ἱερὰ Ἀναγραφή.

[161:1] Cf. Plotin. _Enn._ I, ii. 6 ἀλλ' ἡ σπουδὴ οὐκ ἔξω ἁμαρτίας
εἶναι, ἀλλὰ θεὸν εἶναι.

[161:2] Acts xiv. 12. They called Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, because
he was ὁ ἡγούμενος τοῦ λόγου.--Paul also writes to the Galatians (iv.
14): 'Ye received me _as a messenger of God, as Jesus Christ_.'

[162:1] Bousset, p. 238.

[162:2] Hippolytus, 134, 90 ff., text in Reitzenstein's _Poimandres_,
pp. 83-98.

[163:1] _Republic_, 362 A. Ἀνασχινδυλεύω is said to = ἀνασκολοπίζω,
which is used both for 'impale' and 'crucify'. The two were alternative
forms of the most slavish and cruel capital punishment, impalement being
mainly Persian, crucifixion Roman.

[164:1] See _The Hymn of the Soul_, attributed to the Gnostic
Bardesanes, edited by A. A. Bevan, Cambridge, 1897.

[164:2] Bousset cites Acta Archelai 8, and Epiphanius, _Haeres_. 66, 32.

[164:3] Gal. iv. 9; 1 Cor. xv. 21 f., 47; Rom. v. 12-18.

[165:1] ἡ ἀνάστασις τῶν νεκρῶν. Cf. Acts xvii. 32.

[165:2] Cleanthes, 538, Arnim; Diels, p. 592, 30. Cf. Philolaus, Diels,
p. 336 f.

[166:1] See especially the interpretation of Nestor's Cup, Athenaeus,
pp. 489 c. ff.

[167:1] I may refer to the learned and interesting remarks on the
Esoteric Style in Prof. Margoliouth's edition of Aristotle's _Poetics_.
It is not, of course, the same as Allegory.

[169:1] Published in the Teubner series by William, 1907.


     Ἄφοβον ὁ θεός. Ἀναίσθητον ὁ θάνατος.
     Τὸ ἀγαθὸν εὔκτητον. Τὸ δεινὸν εὐεκκαρτέρητον.

I regret to say that I cannot track this Epicurean 'tetractys' to its



In the last essay we have followed Greek popular religion to the very
threshold of Christianity, till we found not only a soil ready for the
seed of Christian metaphysic, but a large number of the plants already
in full and exuberant growth. A complete history of Greek religion
ought, without doubt, to include at least the rise of Christianity and
the growth of the Orthodox Church, but, of course, the present series of
studies does not aim at completeness. We will take the Christian
theology for granted as we took the classical Greek philosophy, and will
finish with a brief glance at the Pagan reaction of the fourth century,
when the old religion, already full of allegory, mysticism, asceticism,
and Oriental influences, raised itself for a last indignant stand
against the all-prevailing deniers of the gods.

This period, however, admits a rather simpler treatment than the others.
It so happens that for the last period of paganism we actually possess
an authoritative statement of doctrine, something between a creed and a
catechism. It seems to me a document so singularly important and, as far
as I can make out, so little known, that I shall venture to print it

A creed or catechism is, of course, not at all the same thing as the
real religion of those who subscribe to it. The rules of metre are not
the same thing as poetry; the rules of cricket, if the analogy may be
excused, are not the same thing as good play. Nay, more. A man states in
his creed only the articles which he thinks it right to assert
positively against those who think otherwise. His deepest and most
practical beliefs are those on which he acts without question, which
have never occurred to him as being open to doubt. If you take on the
one hand a number of persons who have accepted the same creed but lived
in markedly different ages and societies, with markedly different
standards of thought and conduct, and on the other an equal number who
profess different creeds but live in the same general environment, I
think there will probably be more real identity of religion in the
latter group. Take three orthodox Christians, enlightened according to
the standards of their time, in the fourth, the sixteenth, and the
twentieth centuries respectively, I think you will find more profound
differences of religion between them than between a Methodist, a
Catholic, a Freethinker, and even perhaps a well-educated Buddhist or
Brahmin at the present day, provided you take the most generally
enlightened representatives of each class. Still, when a student is
trying to understand the inner religion of the ancients, he realizes how
immensely valuable a creed or even a regular liturgy would be.

Literature enables us sometimes to approach pretty close, in various
ways, to the minds of certain of the great men of antiquity, and
understand how they thought and felt about a good many subjects. At
times one of these subjects is the accepted religion of their society;
we can see how they criticized it or rejected it. But it is very hard to
know from their reaction against it what that accepted religion really
was. Who, for instance, knows Herodotus's religion? He talks in his
penetrating and garrulous way, 'sometimes for children and sometimes for
philosophers,' as Gibbon puts it, about everything in the world; but at
the end of his book you find that he has not opened his heart on this
subject. No doubt his profession as a reciter and story-teller prevented
him. We can see that Thucydides was sceptical; but can we fully see what
his scepticism was directed against, or where, for instance, Nikias
would have disagreed with him, and where he and Nikias both agreed
against us?

We have, of course, the systems of the great philosophers--especially of
Plato and Aristotle. Better than either, perhaps, we can make out the
religion of M. Aurelius. Amid all the harshness and plainness of his
literary style, Marcus possessed a gift which has been granted to few,
the power of writing down what was in his heart just as it was, not
obscured by any consciousness of the presence of witnesses or any
striving after effect. He does not seem to have tried deliberately to
reveal himself, yet he has revealed himself in that short personal
note-book almost as much as the great inspired egotists, Rousseau and
St. Augustine. True, there are some passages in the book which are
unintelligible to us; that is natural in a work which was not meant to
be read by the public; broken flames of the white passion that consumed
him bursting through the armour of his habitual accuracy and

People fail to understand Marcus, not because of his lack of
self-expression, but because it is hard for most men to breathe at that
intense height of spiritual life, or, at least, to breathe soberly. They
can do it if they are allowed to abandon themselves to floods of
emotion, and to lose self-judgement and self-control. I am often rather
surprised at good critics speaking of Marcus as 'cold'. There is as much
intensity of feeling in Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν as in most of the nobler modern
books of religion, only there is a sterner power controlling it. The
feeling never amounts to complete self-abandonment. 'The Guiding Power'
never trembles upon its throne, and the emotion is severely purged of
earthly dross. That being so, we children of earth respond to it less

Still, whether or no we can share Marcus's religion, we can at any rate
understand most of it. But even then we reach only the personal religion
of a very extraordinary man; we are not much nearer to the religion of
the average educated person--the background against which Marcus, like
Plato, ought to stand out. I believe that our conceptions of it are
really very vague and various. Our great-grandfathers who read 'Tully's
_Offices_ and _Ends_' were better informed than we. But there are many
large and apparently simple questions about which, even after reading
Cicero's philosophical translations, scholars probably feel quite
uncertain. Were the morals of Epictetus or the morals of Part V of the
Anthology most near to those of real life among respectable persons? Are
there not subjects on which Plato himself sometimes makes our flesh
creep? What are we to feel about slavery, about the exposing of
children? True, slavery was not peculiar to antiquity; it flourished in
a civilized and peculiarly humane people of English blood till a
generation ago. And the history of infanticide among the finest modern
nations is such as to make one reluctant to throw stones, and even
doubtful in which direction to throw them. Still, these great facts and
others like them have to be understood, and are rather hard to
understand, in their bearing on the religious life of the ancients.

Points of minor morals again are apt to surprise a reader of ancient
literature. We must remember, of course, that they always do surprise
one, in every age of history, as soon as its manners are studied in
detail. One need not go beyond Salimbene's Chronicle, one need hardly go
beyond Macaulay's History, or any of the famous French memoirs, to
realize that. Was it really an ordinary thing in the first century, as
Philo seems to say, for gentlemen at dinner-parties to black one
another's eyes or bite one another's ears off?[177:1] Or were such
practices confined to some Smart Set? Or was Philo, for his own
purposes, using some particular scandalous occurrence as if it was

St. Augustine mentions among the virtues of his mother her unusual
meekness and tact. Although her husband had a fiery temper, she never
had bruises on her face, which made her a _rara avis_ among the matrons
of her circle.[177:2] Her circle, presumably, included Christians as
well as Pagans and Manicheans. And Philo's circle can scarcely be
considered Pagan. Indeed, as for the difference of religion, we should
bear in mind that, just at the time we are about to consider, the middle
of the fourth century, the conduct of the Christians, either to the rest
of the world or to one another, was very far from evangelical. Ammianus
says that no savage beasts could equal its cruelty; Ammianus was a
pagan; but St. Gregory himself says it was like Hell.[178:1]

I have expressed elsewhere my own general answer to this puzzle.[178:2]
Not only in early Greek times, but throughout the whole of antiquity the
possibility of all sorts of absurd and atrocious things lay much nearer,
the protective forces of society were much weaker, the strain on
personal character, the need for real 'wisdom and virtue', was much
greater than it is at the present day. That is one of the causes that
make antiquity so interesting. Of course, different periods of antiquity
varied greatly, both in the conventional standard demanded and in the
spiritual force which answered or surpassed the demand. But, in general,
the strong governments and orderly societies of modern Europe have made
it infinitely easier for men of no particular virtue to live a decent
life, infinitely easier also for men of no particular reasoning power or
scientific knowledge to have a more or less scientific or sane view of
the world.

That, however, does not carry us far towards solving the main problem:
it brings us no nearer to knowledge of anything that we may call
typically a religious creed or an authorized code of morals, in any age
from Hesiod to M. Aurelius.

The book which I have ventured to call a Creed or Catechism is the work
of Sallustius _About the Gods and the World_, a book, I should say,
about the length of the Scottish Shorter Catechism. It is printed in the
third volume of Mullach's _Fragmenta Philosophorum_; apart from that,
the only edition generally accessible--and that is rare--is a duodecimo
published by Allatius in 1539. Orelli's brochure of 1821 seems to be

The author was in all probability that Sallustius who is known to us as
a close friend of Julian before his accession, and a backer or inspirer
of the emperor's efforts to restore the old religion. He was concerned
in an educational edition of Sophocles--the seven selected plays now
extant with a commentary. He was given the rank of prefect in 362, that
of consul in 363. One must remember, of course, that in that rigorous
and ascetic court high rank connoted no pomp or luxury. Julian had
dismissed the thousand hairdressers, the innumerable cooks and eunuchs
of his Christian predecessor. It probably brought with it only an
increased obligation to live on pulse and to do without such pamperings
of the body as fine clothes or warmth or washing.

Julian's fourth oration, a prose hymn _To King Sun_, πρὸς Ἥλιον βασιλέα,
is dedicated to Sallustius; his eighth is a 'Consolation to Himself upon
the Departure of Sallustius'. (He had been with Julian in the wars in
Gaul, and was recalled by the jealousy of the emperor Constantius.) It
is a touching and even a noble treatise. The nervous self-distrust which
was habitual in Julian makes him write always with a certain
affectation, but no one could mistake the real feeling of loss and
loneliness that runs through the consolation. He has lost his 'comrade
in the ranks', and now is 'Odysseus left alone'. So he writes, quoting
the _Iliad_; Sallustius has been carried by God outside the spears and
arrows: 'which malignant men were always aiming at you, or rather at me,
trying to wound me through you, and believing that the only way to beat
me down was by depriving me of the fellowship of my true friend and
fellow-soldier, the comrade who never flinched from sharing my dangers.'

One note recurs four times; he has lost the one man to whom he could
talk as a brother; the man of 'guileless and clean free-speech',[180:1]
who was honest and unafraid and able to contradict the emperor freely
because of their mutual trust. If one thinks of it, Julian, for all his
gentleness, must have been an alarming emperor to converse with. His
standard of conduct was not only uncomfortably high, it was also a
little unaccountable. The most correct and blameless court officials
must often have suspected that their master looked upon them as simply
wallowing in sin. And that feeling does not promote ease or
truthfulness. Julian compares his friendship with Sallustius to that of
Scipio and Laelius. People said of Scipio that he only carried out what
Laelius told him. 'Is that true of me?' Julian asks himself. 'Have I
only done what Sallustius told me?' His answer is sincere and beautiful:
κοινὰ τὰ φίλων. It little matters who suggested, and who agreed to the
suggestion; his thoughts, and any credit that came from the thoughts,
are his friend's as much as his own. We happen to hear from the
Christian Theodoret (_Hist._ iii. 11) that on one occasion when Julian
was nearly goaded into persecution of the Christians, it was Sallustius
who recalled him to their fixed policy of toleration.

Sallustius then may be taken to represent in the most authoritative way
the Pagan reaction of Julian's time, in its final struggle against

He was, roughly speaking, a Neo-Platonist. But it is not as a professed
philosopher that he writes. It is only that Neo-Platonism had permeated
the whole atmosphere of the age.[181:1] The strife of the philosophical
sects had almost ceased. Just as Julian's mysticism made all gods and
almost all forms of worship into one, so his enthusiasm for Hellenism
revered, nay, idolized, almost all the great philosophers of the past.
They were all trying to say the same ineffable thing; all lifting
mankind towards the knowledge of God. I say 'almost' in both cases; for
the Christians are outside the pale in one domain and the Epicureans and
a few Cynics in the other. Both had committed the cardinal sin; they had
denied the gods. They are sometimes lumped together as _Atheoi_.
_L'athéisme, voilà l'ennemi._

This may surprise us at first sight, but the explanation is easy. To
Julian the one great truth that matters is the presence and glory of
the gods. No doubt, they are all ultimately one: they are δυνάμεις,
'forces,' not persons, but for reasons above our comprehension they are
manifest only under conditions of form, time, and personality, and have
so been revealed and worshipped and partly known by the great minds of
the past. In Julian's mind the religious emotion itself becomes the
thing to live for. Every object that has been touched by that emotion is
thereby glorified and made sacred. Every shrine where men have
worshipped in truth of heart is thereby a house of God. The worship may
be mixed up with all sorts of folly, all sorts of unedifying practice.
Such things must be purged away, or, still better, must be properly
understood. For to the pure all things are pure: and the myths that
shock the vulgar are noble allegories to the wise and reverent. Purge
religion from dross, if you like; but remember that you do so at your
peril. One false step, one self-confident rejection of a thing which is
merely too high for you to grasp, and you are darkening the Sun, casting
God out of the world. And that was just what the Christians deliberately
did. In many of the early Christian writings denial is a much greater
element than assertion. The beautiful _Octavius_ of Minucius Felix
(about A. D. 130-60) is an example. Such denial was, of course, to our
judgement, eminently needed, and rendered a great service to the world.
But to Julian it seemed impiety. In other Christian writings the
misrepresentation of pagan rites and beliefs is decidedly foul-mouthed
and malicious. Quite apart from his personal wrongs and his contempt for
the character of Constantius, Julian could have no sympathy for men who
overturned altars and heaped blasphemy on old deserted shrines, defilers
of every sacred object that was not protected by popularity. The most
that such people could expect from him was that they should not be
proscribed by law.

But meantime what were the multitudes of the god-fearing to believe? The
arm of the state was not very strong or effective. Labour as he might to
supply good teaching to all provincial towns, Julian could not hope to
educate the poor and ignorant to understand Plato and M. Aurelius. For
them, he seems to say, all that is necessary is that they should be
pious and god-fearing in their own way. But for more or less educated
people, not blankly ignorant, and yet not professed students of
philosophy, there might be some simple and authoritative treatise
issued--a sort of reasoned creed, to lay down in a convincing manner the
outlines of the old Hellenic religion, before the Christians and
Atheists should have swept all fear of the gods from off the earth.

The treatise is this work of Sallustius.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Christian fathers from Minucius Felix onward have shown us what was
the most vulnerable point of Paganism: the traditional mythology.
Sallustius deals with it at once. The _Akroâtês_, or pupil, he says in
Section 1, needs some preliminary training. He should have been well
brought up, should not be incurably stupid, and should not have been
familiarized with foolish fables. Evidently the mythology was not to be
taught to children. He enunciates certain postulates of religious
thought, viz. that God is always good and not subject to passion or to
change, and then proceeds straight to the traditional myths. In the
first place, he insists that they are what he calls 'divine'. That is,
they are inspired or have some touch of divine truth in them. This is
proved by the fact that they have been uttered, and sometimes invented,
by the most inspired poets and philosophers and by the gods themselves
in oracles--a very characteristic argument.

The myths are all expressions of God and of the goodness of God; but
they follow the usual method of divine revelation, to wit, mystery and
allegory. The myths state clearly the one tremendous fact that the Gods
_are_; that is what Julian cared about and the Christians denied: _what_
they are the myths reveal only to those who have understanding. 'The
world itself is a great myth, in which bodies and inanimate things are
visible, souls and minds invisible.'

'But, admitting all this, how comes it that the myths are so often
absurd and even immoral?' For the usual purpose of mystery and allegory;
in order to make people think. The soul that wishes to know God must
make its own effort; it cannot expect simply to lie still and be told.
The myths by their obvious falsity and absurdity on the surface
stimulate the mind capable of religion to probe deeper.

He proceeds to give instances, and chooses at once myths that had been
for generations the mock of the sceptic, and in his own day furnished
abundant ammunition for the artillery of Christian polemic. He takes
first Hesiod's story of Kronos swallowing his children; then the
Judgement of Paris; then comes a long and earnest explanation of the
myth of Attis and the Mother of the Gods. It is on the face of it a
story highly discreditable both to the heart and the head of those
august beings, and though the rites themselves do not seem to have been
in any way improper, the Christians naturally attacked the Pagans and
Julian personally for countenancing the worship. Sallustius's
explanation is taken directly from Julian's fifth oration in praise of
the Great Mother, and reduces the myth and the ritual to an expression
of the adventures of the Soul seeking God.

So much for the whole traditional mythology. It has been explained
completely away and made subservient to philosophy and edification,
while it can still be used as a great well-spring of religious emotion.
For the explanations given by Sallustius and Julian are never
rationalistic. They never stimulate a spirit of scepticism, always a
spirit of mysticism and reverence. And, lest by chance even this
reverent theorizing should have been somehow lacking in insight or true
piety, Sallustius ends with the prayer: 'When I say these things
concerning the myths, may the gods themselves and the spirits of those
who wrote the myths be gracious to me.'

He now leaves mythology and turns to the First Cause. It must be one,
and it must be present in all things. Thus, it cannot be Life, for, if
it were, all things would be alive. By a Platonic argument in which he
will still find some philosophers to follow him, he proves that
everything which exists, exists because of some goodness in it; and thus
arrives at the conclusion that the First Cause is τὸ ἀγαθόν, the Good.

The gods are emanations or forces issuing from the Good; the makers of
this world are secondary gods; above them are the makers of the makers,
above all the One.

Next comes a proof that the world is eternal--a very important point of
doctrine; next that the soul is immortal; next a definition of the
workings of Divine Providence, Fate, and Fortune--a fairly skilful piece
of dialectic dealing with a hopeless difficulty. Next come Virtue and
Vice, and, in a dead and perfunctory echo of Plato's _Republic_, an
enumeration of the good and bad forms of human society. The questions
which vibrated with life in free Athens had become meaningless to a
despot-governed world. Then follows more adventurous matter.

First a chapter headed: 'Whence Evil things come, and that there is no
_Phusis Kakou_--Evil is not a real thing.' 'It is perhaps best', he
says, 'to observe at once that, since the gods are good and make
everything, there is no positive evil; there is only absence of good;
just as there is no positive darkness, only absence of light.'

What we call 'evils' arise only in the activities of men, and even here
no one ever does evil for the sake of evil. 'One who indulges in some
pleasant vice thinks the vice bad but his pleasure good; a murderer
thinks the murder bad, but the money he will get by it, good; one who
injures an enemy thinks the injury bad, but the being quits with his
enemy, good'; and so on. The evil acts are all done for the sake of some
good, but human souls, being very far removed from the original flawless
divine nature, make mistakes or sins. One of the great objects of the
world, he goes on to explain, of gods, men, and spirits, of religious
institutions and human laws alike, is to keep the souls from these
errors and to purge them again when they have fallen.

Next comes a speculative difficulty. Sallustius has called the world
'eternal in the fullest sense'--that is, it always has been and always
will be. And yet it is 'made' by the gods. How are these statements
compatible? If it was made, there must have been a time before it was
made. The answer is ingenious. It is not made by handicraft as a table
is; it is not begotten as a son by a father. It is the result of a
quality of God just as light is the result of a quality of the sun. The
sun causes light, but the light is there as soon as the sun is there.
The world is simply the other side, as it were, of the goodness of God,
and has existed as long as that goodness has existed.

Next come some simpler questions about man's relation to the gods. In
what sense do we say that the gods are angry with the wicked or are
appeased by repentance? Sallustius is quite firm. The gods cannot ever
be glad--for that which is glad is also sorry; cannot be angry--for
anger is a passion; and obviously they cannot be appeased by gifts or
prayers. Even men, if they are honest, require higher motives than that.
God is unchangeable, always good, always doing good. If we are good, we
are nearer to the gods, and we feel it; if we are evil, we are separated
further from them. It is not they that are angry, it is our sins that
hide them from us and prevent the goodness of God from shining into us.
If we repent, again, we do not make any change in God; we only, by the
conversion of our soul towards the divine, heal our own badness and
enjoy again the goodness of the gods. To say that the gods turn away
from the wicked, would be like saying that the sun turns away from a
blind man.

Why then do we make offerings and sacrifices to the gods, when the gods
need nothing and can have nothing added to them? We do so in order to
have more communion with the gods. The whole temple service, in fact, is
an elaborate allegory, a representation of the divine government of the

The custom of sacrificing animals had died out some time before this.
The Jews of the Dispersion had given it up long since because the Law
forbade any such sacrifice outside the Temple.[188:1] When Jerusalem was
destroyed Jewish sacrifice ceased altogether. The Christians seem from
the beginning to have generally followed the Jewish practice. But
sacrifice was in itself not likely to continue in a society of large
towns. It meant turning your temples into very ill-conducted
slaughter-houses, and was also associated with a great deal of muddled
and indiscriminate charity.[188:2] One might have hoped that men so
high-minded and spiritual as Julian and Sallustius would have considered
this practice unnecessary or even have reformed it away. But no. It was
part of the genuine Hellenic tradition; and no jot or tittle of that
tradition should, if they could help it, be allowed to die. Sacrifice is
desirable, argues Sallustius, because it is a gift of life. God has
given us life, as He has given us all else. We must therefore pay to Him
some emblematic tithe of life. Again, prayers in themselves are merely
words; but with sacrifice they are words plus life, Living Words.
Lastly, we are Life of a sort, and God is Life of an infinitely higher
sort. To approach Him we need always a medium or a mediator; the medium
between life and life must needs be life. We find that life in the
sacrificed animal.[189:1]

The argument shows what ingenuity these religious men had at their
command, and what trouble they would take to avoid having to face a fact
and reform a bad system.

There follows a long and rather difficult argument to show that the
world is, in itself, eternal. The former discussion on this point had
only shown that the gods would not destroy it. This shows that its own
nature is indestructible. The arguments are very inconclusive, though
clever, and one wonders why the author is at so much pains. Indeed, he
is so earnest that at the end of the chapter he finds it necessary to
apologize to the Kosmos in case his language should have been
indiscreet. The reason, I think, is that the Christians were still, as
in apostolic times, pinning their faith to the approaching end of the
world by fire.[190:1] They announced the end of the world as near, and
they rejoiced in the prospect of its destruction. History has shown more
than once what terrible results can be produced by such beliefs as these
in the minds of excitable and suffering populations, especially those of
eastern blood. It was widely believed that Christian fanatics had from
time to time actually tried to light fires which should consume the
accursed world and thus hasten the coming of the kingdom which should
bring such incalculable rewards to their own organization and plunge the
rest of mankind in everlasting torment. To any respectable Pagan such
action was an insane crime made worse by a diabolical motive. The
destruction of the world, therefore, seems to have become a subject of
profound irritation, if not actually of terror. At any rate the doctrine
lay at the very heart of the _perniciosa superstitio_, and Sallustius
uses his best dialectic against it.

The title of Chapter XVIII has a somewhat pathetic ring: 'Why are
_Atheïai_'--Atheisms or rejections of God--'permitted, and that God is
not injured thereby?' Θεὸς οὐ βλάπτεται. 'If over certain parts of the
world there have occurred (and will occur more hereafter) rejections of
the gods, a wise man need not be disturbed at that.' We have always
known that the human soul was prone to error. God's providence is there;
but we cannot expect all men at all times and places to enjoy it
equally. In the human body it is only the eye that sees the light, the
rest of the body is ignorant of the light. So are many parts of the
earth ignorant of God.

Very likely, also, this rejection of God is a punishment. Persons who in
a previous life have known the gods but disregarded them, are perhaps
now born, as it were, blind, unable to see God; persons who have
committed the blasphemy of worshipping their own kings as gods may
perhaps now be cast out from the knowledge of God.

Philosophy had always rejected the Man-God, especially in the form of
King-worship; but opposition to Christianity no doubt intensifies the

The last chapter is very short. 'Souls that have lived in virtue, being
otherwise blessed and especially separated from their irrational part
and purged of all body, are joined with the gods and sway the whole
world together with them.' So far triumphant faith: then the
after-thought of the brave man who means to live his best life even if
faith fail him. 'But even if none of these rewards came to them, still
Virtue itself and the Joy and Glory of Virtue, and the Life that is
subject to no grief and no master, would be enough to make blessed those
who have set themselves to live in Virtue and have succeeded.'

       *       *       *       *       *

There the book ends. It ends upon that well-worn paradox which, from the
second book of the _Republic_ onwards, seems to have brought so much
comfort to the nobler spirits of the ancient world. Strange how we
moderns cannot rise to it! We seem simply to lack the intensity of moral
enthusiasm. When we speak of martyrs being happy on the rack; in the
first place we rarely believe it, and in the second we are usually
supposing that the rack will soon be over and that harps and golden
crowns will presently follow. The ancient moralist believed that the
good man was happy then and there, because the joy, being in his soul,
was not affected by the torture of his body.[192:1]

Not being able fully to feel this conviction, we naturally incline to
think it affected or unreal. But, taking the conditions of the ancient
world into account, we must admit that the men who uttered this belief
at least understood better than most of us what suffering was. Many of
them were slaves, many had been captives of war. They knew what they
were talking about. I think, on a careful study of M. Aurelius,
Epictetus, and some of these Neo-Platonic philosophers, that we shall be
forced to realize that these men could rise to much the same heights of
religious heroism as the Catholic saints of the Middle Age, and that
they often did so--if I may use such a phrase--on a purer and thinner
diet of sensuous emotion, with less wallowing in the dust and less

Be that as it may, we have now seen in outline the kind of religion
which ancient Paganism had become at the time of its final reaction
against Christianity. It is a more or less intelligible whole, and
succeeds better than most religions in combining two great appeals. It
appeals to the philosopher and the thoughtful man as a fairly complete
and rational system of thought, which speculative and enlightened minds
in any age might believe without disgrace. I do not mean that it is
probably true; to me all these overpowering optimisms which, by means of
a few untested _a priori_ postulates, affect triumphantly to disprove
the most obvious facts of life, seem very soon to become meaningless. I
conceive it to be no comfort at all, to a man suffering agonies of
frostbite, to be told by science that cold is merely negative and does
not exist. So far as the statement is true it is irrelevant; so far as
it pretends to be relevant it is false. I only mean that a system like
that of Sallustius is, judged by any standard, high, civilized, and

At the same time this religion appeals to the ignorant and the
humble-minded. It takes from the pious villager no single object of
worship that has turned his thoughts heavenwards. It may explain and
purge; it never condemns or ridicules. In its own eyes that was its
great glory, in the eyes of history perhaps its most fatal weakness.
Christianity, apart from its positive doctrines, had inherited from
Judaism the noble courage of its disbeliefs.

To compare this Paganism in detail with its great rival would be, even
if I possessed the necessary learning, a laborious and unsatisfactory
task. But if a student with very imperfect knowledge may venture a
personal opinion on this obscure subject, it seems to me that we often
look at such problems from a wrong angle. Harnack somewhere, in
discussing the comparative success or failure of various early Christian
sects, makes the illuminating remark that the main determining cause in
each case was not their comparative reasonableness of doctrine or skill
in controversy--for they practically never converted one another--but
simply the comparative increase or decrease of the birth-rate in the
respective populations. On somewhat similar lines it always appears to
me that, historically speaking, the character of Christianity in these
early centuries is to be sought not so much in the doctrines which it
professed, nearly all of which had their roots and their close parallels
in older Hellenistic or Hebrew thought, but in the organization on which
it rested. For my own part, when I try to understand Christianity as a
mass of doctrines, Gnostic, Trinitarian, Monophysite, Arian and the
rest, I get no further. When I try to realize it as a sort of
semi-secret society for mutual help with a mystical religious basis,
resting first on the proletariates of Antioch and the great commercial
and manufacturing towns of the Levant, then spreading by instinctive
sympathy to similar classes in Rome and the West, and rising in
influence, like certain other mystical cults, by the special appeal it
made to women, the various historical puzzles begin to fall into place.
Among other things this explains the strange subterranean power by which
the emperor Diocletian was baffled, and to which the pretender
Constantine had to capitulate; it explains its humanity, its intense
feeling of brotherhood within its own bounds, its incessant care for the
poor, and also its comparative indifference to the virtues which are
specially incumbent on a governing class, such as statesmanship,
moderation, truthfulness, active courage, learning, culture, and public
spirit. Of course, such indifference was only comparative. After the
time of Constantine the governing classes come into the fold, bringing
with them their normal qualities, and thereafter it is Paganism, not
Christianity, that must uphold the flag of a desperate fidelity in the
face of a hostile world--a task to which, naturally enough, Paganism was
not equal. But I never wished to pit the two systems against one
another. The battle is over, and it is poor work to jeer at the wounded
and the dead. If we read the literature of the time, especially some
records of the martyrs under Diocletian, we shall at first perhaps
imagine that, apart from some startling exceptions, the conquered party
were all vicious and hateful, the conquerors, all wise and saintly.
Then, looking a little deeper, we shall see that this great controversy
does not stand altogether by itself. As in other wars, each side had its
wise men and its foolish, its good men and its evil. Like other
conquerors these conquerors were often treacherous and brutal; like
other vanquished these vanquished have been tried at the bar of history
without benefit of counsel, have been condemned in their absence and
died with their lips sealed. The polemic literature of Christianity is
loud and triumphant, the books of the Pagans have been destroyed.

Only an ignorant man will pronounce a violent or bitter judgement here.
The minds that are now tender, timid, and reverent in their orthodoxy
would probably in the third or fourth century have sided with the old
gods; those of more daring and puritan temper with the Christians. The
historian will only try to have sympathy and understanding for both.
They are all dead now, Diocletian and Ignatius, Cyril and Hypatia,
Julian and Basil, Athanasius and Arîus: every party has yielded up its
persecutors and its martyrs, its hates and slanders and aspirations and
heroisms, to the arms of that great Silence whose secrets they all
claimed so loudly to have read. Even the dogmas for which they fought
might seem to be dead too. For if Julian and Sallustius, Gregory and
John Chrysostom, were to rise again and see the world as it now is, they
would probably feel their personal differences melt away in comparison
with the vast difference between their world and this. They fought to
the death about this credo and that, but the same spirit was in all of
them. In the words of one who speaks with greater knowledge than mine,
'the most inward man in these four contemporaries is the same. It is the
Spirit of the Fourth Century.'[196:1]

       *       *       *       *       *

'Dieselbe Seelenstimmung, derselbe Spiritualismus'; also the same
passionate asceticism. All through antiquity the fight against luxury
was a fiercer and stronger fight than comes into our modern experience.
There was not more objective luxury in any period of ancient history
than there is now; there was never anything like so much. But there does
seem to have been more subjective abandonment to physical pleasure and
concomitantly a stronger protest against it. From some time before the
Christian era it seems as if the subconscious instinct of humanity was
slowly rousing itself for a great revolt against the long intolerable
tyranny of the senses over the soul, and by the fourth century the
revolt threatened to become all-absorbing. The Emperor Julian was
probably as proud of his fireless cell and the crowding lice in his
beard and cassock as an average Egyptian monk. The ascetic movement
grew, as we all know, to be measureless and insane. It seemed to be
almost another form of lust, and to have the same affinities with
cruelty. But it has probably rendered priceless help to us who come
afterwards. The insane ages have often done service for the sane, the
harsh and suffering ages for the gentle and well-to-do.

_Sophrosynê_, however we try to translate it, temperance, gentleness,
the spirit that in any trouble thinks and is patient, that saves and not
destroys, is the right spirit. And it is to be feared that none of these
fourth-century leaders, neither the fierce bishops with their homilies
on Charity, nor Julian and Sallustius with their worship of Hellenism,
came very near to that classic ideal. To bring back that note of
Sophrosynê I will venture, before proceeding to the fourth-century Pagan
creed, to give some sentences from an earlier Pagan prayer. It is cited
by Stobaeus from a certain Eusebius, a late Ionic Platonist of whom
almost nothing is known, not even the date at which he lived.[197:1] But
the voice sounds like that of a stronger and more sober age.

     'May I be no man's enemy,' it begins, 'and may I be the friend
     of that which is eternal and abides. May I never quarrel with
     those nearest to me; and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.
     May I never devise evil against any man; if any devise evil
     against me, may I escape uninjured and without the need of
     hurting him. May I love, seek, and attain only that which is
     good. May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none. May I
     never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged
     me. . . . When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never
     wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until
     I make amends. . . . May I win no victory that harms either me
     or my opponent. . . . May I reconcile friends who are wroth
     with one another. May I, to the extent of my power, give all
     needful help to my friends and to all who are in want. May I
     never fail a friend in danger. When visiting those in grief
     may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their
     pain. . . . May I respect myself. . . . May I always keep tame
     that which rages within me. . . . May I accustom myself to be
     gentle, and never be angry with people because of
     circumstances. May I never discuss who is wicked and what
     wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in
     their footsteps.'

There is more of it. How unpretending it is and yet how searching! And
in the whole there is no petition for any material blessing, and--most
striking of all--it is addressed to no personal god. It is pure prayer.
Of course, to some it will feel thin and cold. Most men demand of their
religion more outward and personal help, more physical ecstasy, a more
heady atmosphere of illusion. No one man's attitude towards the
Uncharted can be quite the same as his neighbour's. In part
instinctively, in part superficially and self-consciously, each
generation of mankind reacts against the last. The grown man turns from
the lights that were thrust upon his eyes in childhood. The son shrugs
his shoulders at the watchwords that thrilled his father, and with
varying degrees of sensitiveness or dullness, of fuller or more
fragmentary experience, writes out for himself the manuscript of his
creed. Yet, even for the wildest or bravest rebel, that manuscript is
only a palimpsest. On the surface all is new writing, clean and
self-assertive. Underneath, dim but indelible in the very fibres of the
parchment, lie the characters of many ancient aspirations and raptures
and battles which his conscious mind has rejected or utterly forgotten.
And forgotten things, if there be real life in them, will sometimes
return out of the dust, vivid to help still in the forward groping of
humanity. A religious system like that of Eusebius or Marcus, or even
Sallustius, was not built up without much noble life and strenuous
thought and a steady passion for the knowledge of God. Things of that
make do not, as a rule, die for ever.


[177:1] _De Vit. Contempl._, p. 477 M.

[177:2] _Conf._ ix. 9.

[178:1] Gibbon, chap. xxi, notes 161, 162.

[178:2] _Rise of the Greek Epic_, chap. i.

[180:1] ἄδολος καὶ καθαρὰ παρρησία.

[181:1] 'Many of his sections come straight from Plotinus: xiv and xv
perhaps from Porphyry's _Letter to Marcella_, an invaluable document for
the religious side of Neo-Platonism. A few things (prayer to the souls
of the dead in iv, to the Cosmos in xvii, the doctrine of τύχη, in ix)
are definitely un-Plotinian: probably concessions to popular
religion.'--_E. R. D._

[188:1] S. Reinach, _Orpheus_, p. 273 (Engl. trans., p. 185).

[188:2] See Ammianus, xxii. 12, on the bad effect of Julian's
sacrifices. Sacrifice was finally forbidden by the emperor Theodosius in
391. It was condemned by Theophrastus, and is said by Porphyry (_De
Abstinentia_, ii. 11) simply λαβεῖν τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐξ ἀδικίας.

[189:1] Sallustius's view of sacrifice is curiously like the
illuminating theory of MM. Hubert and Mauss, in which they define
primitive sacrifice as a medium, a bridge or lightning-conductor,
between the profane and the sacred. 'Essai sur la Nature et la Fonction
du Sacrifice' (_Année Sociologique_, ii. 1897-8), since republished in
the _Mélanges d'Histoire des Religions_, 1909.

[190:1] Cf. Minucius Felix, _Octavius_, p. 96, Ouzel (chap. 11, Boenig).
'Quid quod toti orbi et ipsi mundo cum sideribus suis minantur
incendium, ruinam moliuntur?' The doctrine in their mouths became a very
different thing from the Stoic theory of the periodic re-absorption of
the universe in the Divine Element. Ibid., pp. 322 ff. (34 Boenig).

[192:1] Even Epicurus himself held κὰν στρεβλώθῃ ὁ σοφός, εἶναι αὐτὸν
εὐδαίμονα. Diog. La. x. 118. See above, end of chap. iii.

[196:1] Geffcken in the _Neue Jahrbücher_, xxi. 162 f.

[197:1] Mullach, _Fragmenta Philosophorum_, iii. 7, from Stob. _Flor._
i. 85.


I. _What the Disciple should be; and concerning Common Conceptions._

Those who wish to hear about the Gods should have been well guided from
childhood, and not habituated to foolish beliefs. They should also be in
disposition good and sensible, that they may properly attend to the

They ought also to know the Common Conceptions. Common Conceptions are
those to which all men agree as soon as they are asked; for instance,
that all God is good, free from passion, free from change. For whatever
suffers change does so for the worse or the better: if for the worse, it
is made bad; if for the better, it must have been bad at first.

II. _That God is unchanging, unbegotten, eternal, incorporeal, and not
in space._

Let the disciple be thus. Let the teachings be of the following sort.
The essences of the Gods never came into existence (for that which
always is never comes into existence; and that exists for ever which
possesses primary force and by nature suffers nothing): neither do they
consist of bodies; for even in bodies the powers are incorporeal.
Neither are they contained by space; for that is a property of bodies.
Neither are they separate from the First Cause nor from one another,
just as thoughts are not separate from mind nor acts of knowledge from
the soul.

III. _Concerning myths; that they are divine, and why._

We may well inquire, then, why the ancients forsook these doctrines and
made use of myths. There is this first benefit from myths, that we have
to search and do not have our minds idle.

_That_ the myths are divine can be seen from those who have used them.
Myths have been used by inspired poets, by the best of philosophers, by
those who established the mysteries, and by the Gods themselves in
oracles. But _why_ the myths are divine it is the duty of Philosophy to
inquire. Since all existing things rejoice in that which is like them
and reject that which is unlike, the stories about the Gods ought to be
like the Gods, so that they may both be worthy of the divine essence and
make the Gods well disposed to those who speak of them: which could only
be done by means of myths.

Now the myths represent the Gods themselves and the goodness of the
Gods--subject always to the distinction of the speakable and the
unspeakable, the revealed and the unrevealed, that which is clear and
that which is hidden: since, just as the Gods have made the goods of
sense common to all, but those of intellect only to the wise, so the
myths state the existence of Gods to all, but who and what they are only
to those who can understand.

They also represent the activities of the Gods. For one may call the
World a Myth, in which bodies and things are visible, but souls and
minds hidden. Besides, to wish to teach the whole truth about the Gods
to all produces contempt in the foolish, because they cannot understand,
and lack of zeal in the good; whereas to conceal the truth by myths
prevents the contempt of the foolish, and compels the good to practise

But why have they put in the myths stories of adultery, robbery,
father-binding, and all the other absurdity? Is not that perhaps a thing
worthy of admiration, done so that by means of the visible absurdity the
Soul may immediately feel that the words are veils and believe the truth
to be a mystery?

IV. _That the species of Myth are five, with examples of each._

Of myths some are theological, some physical, some psychic, and again
some material, and some mixed from these last two. The theological are
those myths which use no bodily form but contemplate the very essences
of the Gods: e. g. Kronos swallowing his children. Since God is
intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses
in allegory the essence of God.

Myths may be regarded physically when they express the activities of the
Gods in the world: e. g. people before now have regarded Kronos as Time,
and calling the divisions of Time his sons say that the sons are
swallowed by the father.

The psychic way is to regard the activities of the Soul itself: the
Soul's acts of thought, though they pass on to other objects,
nevertheless remain inside their begetters.

The material and last is that which the Egyptians have mostly used,
owing to their ignorance, believing material objects actually to be
Gods, and so calling them: e. g. they call the Earth Isis, moisture
Osiris, heat Typhon, or again, water Kronos, the fruits of the earth
Adonis, and wine Dionysus.

To say that these objects are sacred to the Gods, like various herbs and
stones and animals, is possible to sensible men, but to say that they
are gods is the notion of madmen--except, perhaps, in the sense in which
both the orb of the sun and the ray which comes from the orb are
colloquially called 'the Sun'.[203:1]

The mixed kind of myth may be seen in many instances: for example they
say that in a banquet of the Gods Discord threw down a golden apple; the
goddesses contended for it, and were sent by Zeus to Paris to be judged;
Paris saw Aphrodite to be beautiful and gave her the apple. Here the
banquet signifies the hyper-cosmic powers of the Gods; that is why they
are all together. The golden apple is the world, which, being formed out
of opposites, is naturally said to be 'thrown by Discord'. The different
Gods bestow different gifts upon the world and are thus said to 'contend
for the apple'. And the soul which lives according to sense--for that
is what Paris is--not seeing the other powers in the world but only
beauty, declares that the apple belongs to Aphrodite.

Theological myths suit philosophers, physical and psychic suit poets,
mixed suit religious initiations, since every initiation aims at uniting
us with the World and the Gods.

To take another myth, they say that the Mother of the Gods seeing Attis
lying by the river Gallus fell in love with him, took him, crowned him
with her cap of stars, and thereafter kept him with her. He fell in love
with a nymph and left the Mother to live with her. For this the Mother
of the Gods made Attis go mad and cut off his genital organs and leave
them with the Nymph, and then return and dwell with her.

Now the Mother of the Gods is the principle that generates life; that is
why she is called Mother. Attis is the creator of all things which are
born and die; that is why he is said to have been found by the river
Gallus. For Gallus signifies the Galaxy, or Milky Way, the point at
which body subject to passion begins.[204:1] Now as the primary gods
make perfect the secondary, the Mother loves Attis and gives him
celestial powers. That is what the cap means. Attis loves a nymph: the
nymphs preside over generation, since all that is generated is fluid.
But since the process of generation must be stopped somewhere, and not
allowed to generate something worse than the worst, the Creator who
makes these things casts away his generative powers into the creation
and is joined to the gods again. Now these things never happened, but
always are. And Mind sees all things at once, but Reason (or Speech)
expresses some first and others after. Thus, as the myth is in accord
with the Cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the
Cosmos, for how could we attain higher order?

And at first we ourselves, having fallen from heaven and living with the
Nymph, are in despondency, and abstain from corn and all rich and
unclean food, for both are hostile to the soul. Then comes the cutting
of the tree and the fast, as though we also were cutting off the further
process of generation. After that the feeding on milk, as though we were
being born again; after which come rejoicings and garlands and, as it
were, a return up to the Gods.

The season of the ritual is evidence to the truth of these explanations.
The rites are performed about the Vernal Equinox, when the fruits of the
earth are ceasing to be produced, and day is becoming longer than night,
which applies well to Spirits rising higher. (At least, the other
equinox is in mythology the time of the Rape of Korê, which is the
descent of the souls.)

May these explanations of the myths find favour in the eyes of the Gods
themselves and the souls of those who wrote the myths.

V. _On the First Cause._

Next in order comes knowledge of the First Cause and the subsequent
orders of the gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of
intellect and of soul, then Providence, Fate, and Fortune, then to see
Virtue and Vice and the various forms of social constitution good and
bad that are formed from them, and from what possible source Evil came
into the world.

Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps
no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be
completely ignorant about them.

It is proper to the First Cause to be One--for unity precedes
multitude--and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently
all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can
hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart.

If the First Cause were Soul, all things would possess Soul. If it were
Mind, all things would possess Mind. If it were Being, all things would
partake of Being. And seeing this quality (i. e. Being) in all things,
some men have thought that it was Being. Now if things simply _were_,
without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are
_are_ because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the First
thing must needs be both beyond-Being and good. It is strong evidence of
this that noble souls despise Being for the sake of the good, when they
face death for their country or friends or for the sake of
virtue.--After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods.

VI. _On Gods Cosmic and Hypercosmic._

Of the Gods some are of the world, Cosmic, and some above the world,
Hypercosmic. By the Cosmic I mean those who make the Cosmos. Of the
Hypercosmic Gods some create Essence, some Mind, and some Soul. Thus
they have three orders; all of which may be found in treatises on the

Of the Cosmic Gods some make the World _be_, others animate it, others
harmonize it, consisting as it does of different elements; the fourth
class keep it when harmonized.

These are four actions, each of which has a beginning, middle, and end,
consequently there must be twelve gods governing the world.

Those who make the world are Zeus, Poseidon, and Hephaistos; those who
animate it are Demeter, Hera, and Artemis; those who harmonize it are
Apollo, Aphrodite, and Hermes; those who watch over it are Hestia,
Athena, and Ares.

One can see secret suggestions of this in their images. Apollo tunes a
lyre; Athena is armed; Aphrodite is naked (because harmony creates
beauty, and beauty in things seen is not covered).

While these twelve in the primary sense possess the world, we should
consider that the other gods are contained in these. Dionysus in Zeus,
for instance, Asklepios in Apollo, the Charites in Aphrodite.

We can also discern their various spheres: to Hestia belongs the Earth,
to Poseidon water, to Hera air, to Hephaistos fire. And the six superior
spheres to the gods to whom they are usually attributed. For Apollo and
Artemis are to be taken for the Sun and Moon, the sphere of Kronos
should be attributed to Demeter, the ether to Athena, while the heaven
is common to all. Thus the orders, powers, and spheres of the Twelve
Gods have been explained and celebrated in hymns.

VII. _On the Nature of the World and its Eternity._

The Cosmos itself must of necessity be indestructible and uncreated.
Indestructible because, suppose it destroyed: the only possibility is to
make one better than this or worse or the same or a chaos. If worse, the
power which out of the better makes the worse must be bad. If better,
the maker who did not make the better at first must be imperfect in
power. If the same, there will be no use in making it; if a chaos . . .
it is impious even to hear such a thing suggested. These reasons would
suffice to show that the World is also uncreated: for if not destroyed,
neither is it created. Everything that is created is subject to
destruction. And further, since the Cosmos exists by the goodness of God
it follows that God must always be good and the world exist. Just as
light coexists with the Sun and with fire, and shadow coexists with a

Of the bodies in the Cosmos, some imitate Mind and move in orbits; some
imitate Soul and move in a straight line, fire and air upward, earth and
water downward. Of those that move in orbits the fixed sphere goes from
the east, the Seven from the west. (This is so for various causes,
especially lest the creation should be imperfect owing to the rapid
circuit of the spheres.[208:1])

The movement being different, the nature of the bodies must also be
different; hence the celestial body does not burn or freeze what it
touches, or do anything else that pertains to the four elements.[209:1]

And since the Cosmos is a sphere--the zodiac proves that--and in every
sphere 'down' means 'towards the centre', for the centre is farthest
distant from every point, and heavy things fall 'down' and fall to the
earth .

All these things are made by the Gods, ordered by Mind, moved by Soul.
About the Gods we have spoken already.

VIII. _On Mind and Soul, and that the latter is immortal._

There is a certain force,[209:2] less primary than Being but more
primary than the Soul, which draws its existence from Being and
completes the Soul as the Sun completes the eyes. Of Souls some are
rational and immortal, some irrational and mortal. The former are
derived from the first Gods, the latter from the secondary.

First, we must consider what soul is. It is, then, that by which the
animate differs from the inanimate. The difference lies in motion,
sensation, imagination, intelligence. Soul, therefore, when irrational,
is the life of sense and imagination; when rational, it is the life
which controls sense and imagination and uses reason.

The irrational soul depends on the affections of the body; it feels
desire and anger irrationally. The rational soul both, with the help of
reason, despises the body, and, fighting against the irrational soul,
produces either virtue or vice, according as it is victorious or

It must be immortal, both because it knows the gods (and nothing mortal
knows[210:1] what is immortal), it looks down upon human affairs as
though it stood outside them, and, like an unbodied thing, it is
affected in the opposite way to the body. For while the body is young
and fine, the soul blunders, but as the body grows old it attains its
highest power. Again, every good soul uses mind; but no body can produce
mind: for how should that which is without mind produce mind? Again,
while Soul uses the body as an instrument, it is not in it; just as the
engineer is not in his engines (although many engines move without being
touched by any one). And if the Soul is often made to err by the body,
that is not surprising. For the arts cannot perform their work when
their instruments are spoilt.

IX. _On Providence, Fate, and Fortune._

This is enough to show the Providence of the Gods. For whence comes the
ordering of the world, if there is no ordering power? And whence comes
the fact that all things are for a purpose: e. g. irrational soul that
there may be sensation, and rational that the earth may be set in order?

But one can deduce the same result from the evidences of Providence in
nature: e. g. the eyes have been made transparent with a view to seeing;
the nostrils are above the mouth to distinguish bad-smelling foods; the
front teeth are sharp to cut food, the back teeth broad to grind it. And
we find every part of every object arranged on a similar principle. It
is impossible that there should be so much providence in the last
details, and none in the first principles. Then the arts of prophecy and
of healing, which are part of the Cosmos, come of the good providence of
the Gods.

All this care for the world, we must believe, is taken by the Gods
without any act of will or labour. As bodies which possess some power
produce their effects by merely existing: e. g. the sun gives light and
heat by merely existing; so, and far more so, the Providence of the Gods
acts without effort to itself and for the good of the objects of its
forethought. This solves the problems of the Epicureans, who argue that
what is Divine neither has trouble itself nor gives trouble to others.

The incorporeal providence of the Gods, both for bodies and for souls,
is of this sort; but that which is of bodies and in bodies is different
from this, and is called Fate, Heimarmenê, because the chain of causes
(Heirmos) is more visible in the case of bodies; and it is for dealing
with this Fate that the science of 'Mathematic' has been

Therefore, to believe that human things, especially their material
constitution, are ordered not only by celestial beings but by the
Celestial Bodies, is a reasonable and true belief. Reason shows that
health and sickness, good fortune and bad fortune, arise according to
our deserts from that source. But to attribute men's acts of injustice
and lust to Fate, is to make ourselves good and the Gods bad. Unless by
chance a man meant by such a statement that in general all things are
for the good of the world and for those who are in a natural state, but
that bad education or weakness of nature changes the goods of Fate for
the worse. Just as it happens that the Sun, which is good for all, may
be injurious to persons with ophthalmia or fever. Else why do the
Massagetae eat their fathers, the Hebrews practise circumcision, and the
Persians preserve rules of rank?[212:1] Why do astrologers, while
calling Saturn and Mars 'malignant', proceed to make them good,
attributing to them philosophy and royalty, generalships and treasures?
And if they are going to talk of triangles and squares, it is absurd
that gods should change their natures according to their position in
space, while human virtue remains the same everywhere. Also the fact
that the stars predict high or low rank for the father of the person
whose horoscope is taken, teaches that they do not always make things
happen but sometimes only indicate things. For how could things which
preceded the birth depend upon the birth?

Further, as there is Providence and Fate concerned with nations and
cities, and also concerned with each individual, so there is also
Fortune, which should next be treated. That power of the gods which
orders for the good things which are not uniform, and which happen
contrary to expectation, is commonly called Fortune, and it is for this
reason that the goddess is especially worshipped in public by cities;
for every city consists of elements which are not uniform. Fortune has
power beneath the moon, since above the moon no single thing can happen
by fortune.

If Fortune makes a wicked man prosperous and a good man poor, there is
no need to wonder. For the wicked regard wealth as everything, the good
as nothing. And the good fortune of the bad cannot take away their
badness, while virtue alone will be enough for the good.

X. _Concerning Virtue and Vice._

The doctrine of Virtue and Vice depends on that of the Soul. When the
irrational soul enters into the body and immediately produces Fight and
Desire, the rational soul, put in authority over all these, makes the
soul tripartite, composed of Reason, Fight, and Desire. Virtue in the
region of Reason is Wisdom, in the region of Fight is Courage, in the
region of Desire it is Temperance: the virtue of the whole Soul is
Righteousness. It is for Reason to judge what is right, for Fight in
obedience to Reason to despise things that appear terrible, for Desire
to pursue not the apparently desirable, but, that which is with Reason
desirable. When these things are so, we have a righteous life; for
righteousness in matters of property is but a small part of virtue. And
thus we shall find all four virtues in properly trained men, but among
the untrained one may be brave and unjust, another temperate and stupid,
another prudent and unprincipled. Indeed these qualities should not be
called Virtues when they are devoid of Reason and imperfect and found in
irrational beings. Vice should be regarded as consisting of the opposite
elements. In Reason it is Folly, in Fight, Cowardice, in Desire,
Intemperance, in the whole soul, Unrighteousness.

The virtues are produced by the right social organization and by good
rearing and education, the vices by the opposite.

XI. _Concerning right and wrong Social Organization._[214:1]

Constitutions also depend on the tripartite nature of the Soul. The
rulers are analogous to Reason, the soldiers to Fight, the common folk
to Desires.

Where all things are done according to Reason and the best man in the
nation rules, it is a Kingdom; where more than one rule according to
Reason and Fight, it is an Aristocracy; where the government is
according to Desire and offices depend on money, that constitution is
called a Timocracy. The contraries are: to Kingdom tyranny, for Kingdom
does all things with the guidance of reason and tyranny nothing; to
Aristocracy oligarchy, when not the best people but a few of the worst
are rulers; to Timocracy democracy, when not the rich but the common
folk possess the whole power.

XII. _The origin of evil things; and that there is no positive evil._

The Gods being good and making all things, how do evils exist in the
world? Or perhaps it is better first to state the fact that, the Gods
being good and making all things, there is no positive evil, it only
comes by absence of good; just as darkness itself does not exist, but
only comes about by absence of light.

If Evil exists it must exist either in Gods or minds or souls or bodies.
It does not exist in any god, for all god is good. If any one speaks of
a 'bad mind' he means a mind without mind. If of a bad soul, he will
make soul inferior to body, for no body in itself is evil. If he says
that Evil is made up of soul and body together, it is absurd that
separately they should not be evil, but joined should create evil.

Suppose it is said that there are evil spirits:--if they have their
power from the gods, they cannot be evil; if from elsewhere, the gods do
not make all things. If they do not make all things, then either they
wish to and cannot, or they can and do not wish; neither of which is
consistent with the idea of God. We may see, therefore, from these
arguments, that there is no positive evil in the world.

It is in the activities of men that the evils appear, and that not of
all men nor always. And as to these, if men sinned for the sake of evil,
Nature itself would be evil. But if the adulterer thinks his adultery
bad but his pleasure good, and the murderer thinks the murder bad but
the money he gets by it good, and the man who does evil to an enemy
thinks that to do evil is bad but to punish his enemy good, and if the
soul commits all its sins in that way, then the evils are done for the
sake of goodness. (In the same way, because in a given place light does
not exist, there comes darkness, which has no positive existence.) The
soul sins therefore because, while aiming at good, it makes mistakes
about the good, because it is not Primary Essence. And we see many
things done by the Gods to prevent it from making mistakes and to heal
it when it has made them. Arts and sciences, curses and prayers,
sacrifices and initiations, laws and constitutions, judgements and
punishments, all came into existence for the sake of preventing souls
from sinning; and when they are gone forth from the body gods and
spirits of purification cleanse them of their sins.

XIII. _How things eternal are said to 'be made' (γίγνεσθαι)._

Concerning the Gods and the World and human things this account will
suffice for those who are not able to go through the whole course of
philosophy but yet have not souls beyond help.

It remains to explain how these objects were never made and are never
separated one from another, since we ourselves have said above that the
secondary substances were 'made' by the first.

Everything made is made either by art or by a physical process or
according to some power.[216:1] Now in art or nature the maker must
needs be prior to the made: but the maker, according to power,
constitutes the made absolutely together with itself, since its power is
inseparable from it; as the sun makes light, fire makes heat, snow makes

Now if the Gods make the world by art, they do not make it _be_, they
make it _be such as it is_. For all art makes the form of the object.
What therefore makes it to be?

If by a physical process, how in that case can the maker help giving
part of himself to the made? As the Gods are incorporeal, the World
ought to be incorporeal too. If it were argued that the Gods were
bodies, then where would the power of incorporeal things come from? And
if we were to admit it, it would follow that when the world decays, its
maker must be decaying too, if he is a maker by physical process.

If the Gods make the world neither by art nor by physical process, it
only remains that they make it by power. Everything so made subsists
together with that which possesses the power. Neither can things so made
be destroyed, except the power of the maker be taken away: so that those
who believe in the destruction of the world, either deny the existence
of the gods, or, while admitting it, deny God's power.

Therefore he who makes all things by his own power makes all things
subsist together with himself. And since his power is the greatest power
he must needs be the maker not only of men and animals, but of Gods,
men, and spirits.[217:1] And the further removed the First God is from
our nature, the more powers there must be between us and him. For all
things that are very far apart have many intermediate points between

XIV. _In what sense, though the Gods never change, they are said to be
made angry and appeased._

If any one thinks the doctrine of the unchangeableness of the Gods is
reasonable and true, and then wonders how it is that they rejoice in the
good and reject the bad, are angry with sinners and become propitious
when appeased, the answer is as follows: God does not rejoice--for that
which rejoices also grieves; nor is he angered--for to be angered is a
passion; nor is he appeased by gifts--if he were, he would be conquered
by pleasure.

It is impious to suppose that the Divine is affected for good or ill by
human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never
harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth
simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our
likeness to them; when bad, we are separated from them by our
unlikeness. And when we live according to virtue we cling to the gods,
and when we become evil we make the gods our enemies--not because they
are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the
gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of
punishment. And if by prayers and sacrifices we find forgiveness of
sins, we do not appease or change the gods, but by what we do and by our
turning towards the Divine we heal our own badness and so enjoy again
the goodness of the gods. To say that God turns away from the evil is
like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind.

XV. _Why we give worship to the Gods when they need nothing._

This solves the question about sacrifices and other rites performed to
the Gods. The Divine itself is without needs, and the worship is paid
for our own benefit. The providence of the Gods reaches everywhere and
needs only some congruity[218:1] for its reception. All congruity comes
about by representation and likeness; for which reason the temples are
made in representation of heaven, the altar of earth, the images of life
(that is why they are made like living things), the prayers of the
element of thought, the mystic letters[219:1] of the unspeakable
celestial forces, the herbs and stones of matter, and the sacrificial
animals of the irrational life in us.

From all these things the Gods gain nothing; what gain could there be to
God? It is we who gain some communion with them.

XVI. _Concerning sacrifices and other worships, that we benefit man by
them, but not the gods._

I think it well to add some remarks about sacrifices. In the first
place, since we have received everything from the gods, and it is right
to pay the giver some tithe of his gifts, we pay such a tithe of
possessions in votive offerings, of bodies in gifts of 
adornment, and of life in sacrifices. Then secondly, prayers without
sacrifices are only words, with sacrifices they are live words; the word
gives meaning to the life, while the life animates the word. Thirdly,
the happiness of every object is its own perfection; and perfection for
each is communion with its own cause. For this reason we pray for
communion with the Gods. Since, therefore, the first life is the life of
the gods, but human life is also life of a kind, and human life wishes
for communion with divine life, a mean term is needed. For things very
far apart cannot have communion without a mean term, and the mean term
must be like the things joined; therefore the mean term between life
and life must be life. That is why men sacrifice animals; only the rich
do so now, but in old days everybody did, and that not indiscriminately,
but giving the suitable offerings to each god together with a great deal
of other worship. Enough of this subject.

XVII. _That the World is by nature Eternal._

We have shown above that the gods will not destroy the world. It remains
to show that its nature is indestructible.

Everything that is destroyed is either destroyed by itself or by
something else. If the world is destroyed by itself, fire must needs
burn itself and water dry itself. If by something else, it must be
either by a body or by something incorporeal. By something incorporeal
is impossible; for incorporeal things preserve bodies--nature, for
instance, and soul--and nothing is destroyed by a cause whose nature is
to preserve it. If it is destroyed by some body, it must be either by
those which exist or by others.

If by those which exist: then either those moving in a straight line
must be destroyed by those that revolve, or vice versa. But those that
revolve have no destructive nature; else, why do we never see anything
destroyed from that cause? Nor yet can those which are moving straight
touch the others; else, why have they never been able to do so yet?

But neither can those moving straight be destroyed by one another: for
the destruction of one is the creation of another; and that is not to be
destroyed but to change.

But if the World is to be destroyed by other bodies than these it is
impossible to say where such bodies are or whence they are to arise.

Again, everything destroyed is destroyed either in form or matter. (Form
is the shape of a thing, matter the body.) Now if the form is destroyed
and the matter remains, we see other things come into being. If matter
is destroyed, how is it that the supply has not failed in all these

If when matter is destroyed other matter takes its place, the new matter
must come either from something that is or from something that is not.
If from that-which-is, as long as that-which-is always remains, matter
always remains. But if that-which-is is destroyed, such a theory means
that not the World only but everything in the universe is destroyed.

If again matter comes from that-which-is-not: in the first place, it is
impossible for anything to come from that which is not; but suppose it
to happen, and that matter did arise from that which is not; then, as
long as there are things which are not, matter will exist. For I presume
there can never be an end of things which are not.

If they say that matter  formless: in the first place, why
does this happen to the world as a whole when it does not happen to any
part? Secondly, by this hypothesis they do not destroy the being of
bodies, but only their beauty.

Further, everything destroyed is either resolved into the elements from
which it came, or else vanishes into not-being. If things are resolved
into the elements from which they came, then there will be others: else
how did they come into being at all? If that-which-is is to depart into
not-being, what prevents that happening to God himself? (Which is
absurd.) Or if God's power prevents that, it is not a mark of power to
be able to save nothing but oneself. And it is equally impossible for
that-which-is to come out of nothing and to depart into nothing.

Again, if the World is destroyed, it must needs either be destroyed
according to Nature or against Nature. Against Nature is impossible, for
that which is against nature is not stronger than Nature.[222:1] If
according to Nature, there must be another Nature which changes the
Nature of the World: which does not appear.

Again, anything that is naturally destructible we can ourselves destroy.
But no one has ever destroyed or altered the round body of the World.
And the elements, though they can be changed, cannot be destroyed.
Again, everything destructible is changed by time and grows old. But the
world through all these years has remained utterly unchanged.

Having said so much for the help of those who feel the need of very
strong demonstrations, I pray the World himself to be gracious to me.

XVIII. _Why there are rejections of God, and that God is not injured._

Nor need the fact that rejections of God have taken place in certain
parts of the earth and will often take place hereafter, disturb the mind
of the wise: both because these things do not affect the gods, just as
we saw that worship did not benefit them; and because the soul, being of
middle essence, cannot be always right; and because the whole world
cannot enjoy the providence of the gods equally, but some parts may
partake of it eternally, some at certain times, some in the primal
manner, some in the secondary. Just as the head enjoys all the senses,
but the rest of the body only one.

For this reason, it seems, those who ordained Festivals ordained also
Forbidden Days, in which some temples lay idle, some were shut, some had
their adornment removed, in expiation of the weakness of our nature.

It is not unlikely, too, that the rejection of God is a kind of
punishment: we may well believe that those who knew the gods and
neglected them in one life may in another life be deprived of the
knowledge of them altogether. Also those who have worshipped their own
kings as gods have deserved as their punishment to lose all knowledge of

XIX. _Why sinners are not punished at once._

There is no need to be surprised if neither these sins nor yet others
bring immediate punishment upon sinners. For it is not only
Spirits[223:1] who punish the soul, the Soul brings itself to judgement:
and also it is not right for those who endure for ever to attain
everything in a short time: and also, there is need of human virtue. If
punishment followed instantly upon sin, men would act justly from fear
and have no virtue.

Souls are punished when they have gone forth from the body, some
wandering among us, some going to hot or cold places of the earth, some
harassed by Spirits. Under all circumstances they suffer with the
irrational part of their nature, with which they also sinned. For its
sake[224:1] there subsist that shadowy body which is seen about graves,
especially the graves of evil livers.

XX. _On Transmigration of Souls, and how Souls are said to migrate into
brute beasts._

If the transmigration of a soul takes place into a rational being, it
simply becomes the soul of that body. But if the soul migrates into a
brute beast, it follows the body outside, as a guardian spirit follows a
man. For there could never be a rational soul in an irrational being.

The transmigration of souls can be proved from the congenital
afflictions of persons. For why are some born blind, others paralytic,
others with some sickness in the soul itself? Again, it is the natural
duty of Souls to do their work in the body; are we to suppose that when
once they leave the body they spend all eternity in idleness?

Again, if the souls did not again enter into bodies, they must either be
infinite in number or God must constantly be making new ones. But there
is nothing infinite in the world; for in a finite whole there cannot be
an infinite part. Neither can others be made; for everything in which
something new goes on being created, must be imperfect. And the World,
being made by a perfect author, ought naturally to be perfect.

XXI. _That the Good are happy, both living and dead._

Souls that have lived in virtue are in general happy,[224:2] and when
separated from the irrational part of their nature, and made clean from
all matter, have communion with the gods and join them in the governing
of the whole world. Yet even if none of this happiness fell to their
lot, virtue itself, and the joy and glory of virtue, and the life that
is subject to no grief and no master are enough to make happy those who
have set themselves to live according to virtue and have achieved it.


[200:1] I translate κόσμος generally as 'World', sometimes as 'Cosmos'.
It always has the connotation of 'divine order'; ψυχή always 'Soul', to
keep it distinct from ζωή, 'physical life', though often 'Life' would be
a more natural English equivalent; ἐμψυχοῦν 'to animate'; οὐσία
sometimes 'essence', sometimes 'being' (never 'substance' or 'nature');
φύσις 'nature'; σῶμα sometimes 'body', sometimes 'matter'.

[203:1] e. g. when we say 'The sun is coming in through the window', or
in Greek ἐξαίφνης ἥκων ἐκ τοῦ ἡλίου, Plat. _Rep._ 516 E. This appears to
mean that you can loosely apply the term 'Osiris' both to (i) the real
Osiris and (ii) the corn which comes from him, as you can apply the name
'Sun' both to (i) the real orb and (ii) the ray that comes from the orb.
However, Julian, _Or._ v, on the Sun suggests a different view--that
both the orb and the ray are mere effects and symbols of the true
spiritual Sun, as corn is of Osiris.

[204:1] ἄρχεσθαι Mr. L. W. Hunter, ἔρχεσθαι MS. Above the Milky Way
there is no such body, only σῶμα ἀπαθές. Cf. Macrob. in _Somn. Scip._ i.

[208:1] i. e. if the Firmament or Fixed Sphere moved in the same
direction as the seven Planets, the speed would become too great. On the
circular movement cf. Plot. _Eun._ ii. 2.

[209:1] The fire of which the heavenly bodies are made is the πέμπτον
σῶμα, matter, but different from earthly matter. See p. 137.

[209:2] Proclus, _Elem. Theol._ xx, calls it ἡ νοερὰ φύσις, _Natura
Intellectualis_. There are four degrees of existence: lowest of all,
Bodies; above that, Soul; above all Souls, this 'Intellectual Nature';
above that, The One.

[210:1] i. e. in the full sense of Gnôsis.

[211:1] i. e. Astrology, dealing with the 'Celestial Bodies'.

[212:1] Cf. Hdt. i. 134.

[214:1] [This section is a meagre reminiscence of Plato's discussion in
_Repub._ viii. The interest in politics and government had died out with
the loss of political freedom.]

[216:1] κατὰ δύναμιν, secundum potentiam quandam; i. e. in accordance
with some indwelling 'virtue' or quality.

[217:1] The repetition of ἀνθρώπους in this sentence seems to be a

[218:1] ἐπιτηδειότης.

[219:1] On the mystic letters see above, p. 142.

[222:1] The text here is imperfect: I have followed Mullach's

[223:1] δαίμονες.

[224:1] i. e. that it may continue to exist and satisfy justice.

[224:2] εὐδαιμονοῦσι.


   Achaioi, 45, 49

   Acropolis, 71, 72

   Aeschylus, [12:4], 43

   Affection, 104, 109

   Agesilaus, 86

   Agriculture, Religion in, 5 f.

   Alexander the Great, 92, 93, 94, 115, 159

   Allegory, in Hellenistic philosophy, 165 ff.;
     in Olympian religion, 74

   ἀλληλοφαγία, [98:1]

   Alpha and Omega, God as, 148

   Anaximander, [33:1]

   Angel = Megethos, 142;
     star, 144

   Animal sacrifice, 188 f.

   Anthesteria, 16-18, 34

   _Anthister_, [18:2]

   Anthropomorphism, 10 ff., 140

   Antigonus Gonatas, [152:1]

   Antiochus I, 144

   Anti-semitism, 162

   Antisthenes, 87, 89 f., 96

   Apathy, [103:1], 109

   _Apellôn_ = Apollôn, 51

   _Aphiktor_, 28

   Aphrodite, 57

   Apollo, 50, 72

   Apotheosis of Hellenistic kings, [152:1]

   Apparitions, primitive belief in, 27

   Apuleius, 148

   Aquinas, 3

   Archontes, 164

   Ares, 57

   _Aretê_, 89, 96, 99, 104 f.

   Aristarchus of Samos, 141

   Aristophanes, [20:3], [22:1], [62:1]

   Aristotle, 3, 114 f., 117, 120, 127, 136, 153, [154:3]

   Ark of Israel, 68

   Arnim, von, [129:1], 172

   Arnold, Professor E. V., [100:1]

   Asceticism in antiquity, 196

   Astrology, 143 f., [211:1]

   Astronomy, 97

   Ἀθάνα (Ἀθήνη), [53:1]

   Atheism, 181 f., 190

   Athena, [53:1], 71, 72, 74;
     = Athenaia Korê, 52;
     Pallas, 52

   Athens, effect of defeat of, 79 f.

   Atomic Theory of Democritus, 101;
     of Ionia, 105

   Attis, 185

   'Attributes', animals as, 20

   Augustine, St., 175, 177

   Aurelius, Marcus, religion of, 175 f.

   Bacchos, 161

   Bacon, Professor, 172

   'Barbaroi' as opposed to Hellenes, 39;
     βαρβαρόφωνοι, [42:2]

   Bardesanes, [164:1]

   Barnabas, St., 161

   Beast-mask, 23-5

   Bendis, 151

   Bethe, E., [150:1]

   Bevan, E., xvi, [39:1], [100:1], [154:2], 172

   Birth-rate, its effect on early Christian sects, 194

   Blessedness, Epicurus on, 106

   Body, Fifth, 137

   βοῶπις, 24

   Bousset, W., xv, 126, [150:3], 162, 172

   Buddhism, 10

   Bull, blood of, 20;
     in pre-Hellenic ritual, 19-21

   Bury, Professor J. B., xv

   Carpenter, Dr. E., 172

   Cauer, P., [49:1]

   Centaurs, 60

   Chadwick, H. M., xv, 46 _n._, [57:3], 59

   Chaldaeans, 144, 151

   Chance, 131, 147

   Charles, Dr., 172

   χρᾶν, 37

   χρεία, 90

   Christianity, 88, 90, 96, 109, 115, 119, 123-5, 173, 181 f., 192-5

   Christmas, Father, 15

   Christos, 163

   Chrysippus, 115, [145:1], [145:3], [145:4], 146, 166

   Chthonioi, as oracles, 37

   Cicero, [27:2]

   Circular movement, [208:1]

   _Circumcelliones_, 36 _n._

   City of gods and men, world as, 76;
     of Refuge, in the _Laws_, 83;
     of Righteousness, in the _Republic_, 83:
     _see_ Polis

   Cleanthes, 135, 141, 165

   Clemen, Carl, 172

   Coinage, deface of, 90

   'Collective Desire', God defined as the, 26, 29

   Colotes, [111:1]

   _Comitatus_, 46

   Commagene, 144

   Conceptions, Common, 200

   Constantine, 194

   Constantius, 179

   Convention, 91

   Conybeare, F. C., 172

   Cook, A. B., [16:1], 23, [24:1], 49 f., [56:3], 66 _n._

   Copernicus, 97

   Corinna, 43

   Cornford, F. M., [33:1]

   Cornutus, 166

   _Cosmopolîtes_, 92

   Cosmos, 97-100, 208

   Crates, [95:1], 166

   Creeds, 173 f., 178, 183

   Crucifixion, [163:1]

   Cumont, F., [35:1], 126, 172

   Cynics, 3, 90-2, 93-5, 104;
     women among, [95:1]

   _Cyropaedeia_, 85

   Cyrus, 85

   Daemon = Stoicheion, 142

   Dance, religious, 27 f.

   Davenport, F. M., [26:1]

   Davy, G., 7 _n._

   Dead, worship of, 62

   Deification, E. Bevan on, [154:2]

   Deliverer, the, 108

   Delos, 51

   _Delusio_, 169

   Demeter, 72

   Democritus, Atomic Theory of, 101

   Demos, 82

   Demosthenes, 82

   Destiny, Hymn to, 135:
     _see_ Fate

   _Dharma_, 10

   _Diadochi_, 155

   Diasia, 14-15

   διατριβή, 90

   Dicaearchus, 121 f.

   _Didascaliae_, 121

   Diels, [33:1], [129:1], 172

   Dieterich, A., [17:1], [23:1], [29:2], 126, 146, [150:3], 172

   Dio Cassius, 142

   Diocletian, 194 f.

   Diodorus, 144 f.

   Diogenes, 90-3, 95;
     his 'tub,' 92

   Diogenes of Oenoanda, [101:1], 114, 169 f.

   Dione, 56

   Dionysius, 17, 20, 72, 84, 159

   δίοπτρα, 122

   Disciples, qualifications and conduct of, 200

   Discouragement due to collapse of the Polis, 81

   Dittenberger. W., [16:1], [156:1]

   Divine Mother, 164;
     'Divine Wisdom', personified, 165

   Dodds, E. R., [181:1]

   Doutté, E., 26 f.

   Dramaturge, 97

   _Drômenon_, spring, 32 f.

   Dümmler, [87:1]

   Durkheim, Professor Émile, [6:1]

   Earth, divinity of, 137;
     Earth-mother, 29

   ἡδονή, 106

   Education, [113:3]

   _Ekstasis_, 150

   Elements, Apuleius on, 148;
     divinity of, 137;
     in the Kosmos, 142

   ἐμψυχοῦν, [200:1]

   _Enthousiasmos_, 150

   Eôs, 53

   Epictetus, morals of, 176

   Epicureans, 3, 110 f., 113, 119, 130, 145 f., 181

   Epicurus, 101-11, 113, 129 f., 135, 140 f., 170, [192:1]

   _Epiphanês_, 155

   Epiphanius, 172

   ἥρωες, 37

   Euergetês, 156

   _Euhemerus_, 160

   Euripides, [12:4], [54:3], _passim_, 143, 152

   Eusebius, [27:4], 197

   Evans, Sir A., 20, 66 _n._

   Evil, existence of, 215;
     origin of, 186, 214-16

   Expurgation of mythology, 75 f.;
     Olympian, 61 f., 67 f.

   _Eye of Bel_, 143

   Failure, Great, 82

   Farnell, Dr. L. R., [18:1], [20:1], 44

   Fate, 132, 134, 145, 146 f., 211 f.

   Federations, 80

   Ferguson, W. S., [152:1]

   First Cause, 185, 205 f.

   Fortune, 91, 131 f., 212 f.

   Fourth Century, Movements of, 3, 79-122

   Frazer, Sir J. G., [16:1], [18:1], [35:1], [154:1]

   Gaertringen, Hiller von, [18:2]

   Galaxy, 204

   Games, Roman gladiatorial, 94

   Garden, 107 f., 114

   Gardner. P., [57:2], [149:1]

   Gennep, A. Van., [31:1]

   γέρων, 31

   _Gerontes_, 36

   Ghosts, 221

   Giants, 60

   γίγνεσθαι, forms of, 216 f.

   γλαυκῶπις, 24

   Gnostics, 3, 123, 128, 137 f., 148, 162

   God, as the 'collective desire', 26, 29;
     conception of, in savage tribes, 9;
     does not rejoice, nor is angered, 218;
     essence of, 158;
     home of, 148;
     of the Jews, 163;
     rejections of, 222 f.;
     unchangeable, 187;
     Union with, 147

   God-Man, as King, 152 f.

   Gods, communion with, 188;
     Cosmic and Hypercosmic, 206 f.;
     men as, 136;
     nature of, 200 f.;
     Twelve, 207;
     unchangeable, 217;
     why worshipped, 218

   Good, the, 88 f., 110, 185 f., 206;
     happiness of, 224 f.;
     Idea of, as Sun of the spiritual universe, 94

   γραῦς, 31

   Gruppe, Dr., [18:1], [50:3], [52:1], [56:3], 172

   Hagia Triada, sarcophagus of, 20

   Halliday, W. R., [32:2]

   Happiness, Natural, 104

   Harnack, A., 193

   Harrison, Miss J. E., xiv, 13-30, _passim_, [148:1]

   Hartland, E. S., 9

   Haverfield, Professor F. J., 127

   Heath, Sir T., [141:1]

   Heaven, Third, 149

   Hebrews, 125

   Hecataeus, 143

   _Heimarmenê_, 134, 145, 211

   Helen, Korê as, 138

   Hellenes, conquered tribes took name of, 42;
     no tribe of, existing in ancient times, 41;
     same as Achaioi, 40

   Hellenism, as standard of culture, 41

   Hellenistic Age, 3 f., 114, 117, 125, 131, 144, 161, 167;
     culture, 125;
     philosophy, 165;
     revival, 40 f.;
     spirit, 152

   Hera, 56

   Heraclitus of Ephesus, 167

   Herakles, 56, 89

   Hermes, 55, 151

   Hermetica, 148, 151

   Hermetic communities, 146

   Hermias, [116:1]

   Herodotus, [27:3], 39, 41, [42:1], 44;
     religion of, 175

   Heroes, philosophers as, 153

   Heroic Age, 48 f., 57

   Heroism, religious, of antiquity, 192

   Hesiod, 44, 64 f.

   Hipparchia, [95:1]

   Hippolytus, 172

   Hoffmann, Dr. O., [43:1], [52:1]

   Hogarth, D. G., [24:1]

   Holocaust, 14

   Homer, 9, 44 f., 48 f., [54:3], _passim_, 64 f.

   _Hosiôtêr_, bull as, 20 f.

   Hubert and Mauss, MM., [189:1]

   Idealists, 82

   Idols, defence of, [77:1]

   Illusion, 112, 119

   Impalement, [163:1]

   Infanticide, 177

   Initiations, Hellenistic, 148-52

   Instinct, 100

   Interpreters, Planets as, 144

   Ionia, 59 f.

   Ionian tradition, 101, 104

   Ionians, 51

   Iphigenia, [61:1]

   _Iranes_, 32

   Irenaeus, 172

   Iris, 55

   Isis, 151, 166

   Isocrates, 81

   Jacoby, [160:1]

   Jaldabaoth = Saturn, 147

   Javan, sons of, 42

   Jews, 125, 151, 188;
     God of, 163

   Judaism, 193

   Julian, xvi, 4, 179 ff., 184 f., 197

   Justin, [64:1]

   Kaibel, [61:1]

   Kant, 136

   Keraunos, 155

   _Kêres_, 34

   Kern, O., [21:2]

   King, I., [29:1]

   Kings, as gods, 191;
     divine, titles of, 155 ff.;
     predictions concerning, by Planets, 144;
     worship of, 156

   Koios, 166

   Korê, 63 f.;
     as fallen Virgin, 138;
     Earth, 30;
     Earth Maiden and Mother, 137

   Kosmokratores, 146, 148, 164

   Kosmos, 147, [200:1];
     Moon as origin of, 169;
     planets as Elements in, 142

   Kourê, Zeus, 150

   Kourêtes, 150;
     Spring-song of, 30

   Kouroi, 30;
     dance of, 28

   Kouros, 63 f., 71;
     _Megistos_, 28;
     Sun as, 30;
     Year-Daemon, 32

   Kourotrophos, Earth, 30

   κράτος and βία, 25, [157:1]

   Kronos, 45

   κτίσαντα, 23

   κτίσιν, 23

   Kynosarges, 89

   Lampsacus, 107

   Lang, Andrew, xiii, [16:2], [23:2]

   Λάθε βιώσας, 110

   Leaf, W., [40:1], [49:1]

   Leagues, 80

   Leontion, 108

   Life, inward, 119 f.

   Λόγος, 135

   Lucian, _Icaro-Menippos_, [15:1]

   Lucretius, 38, 105, [106:1], 114

   Lysander, 155

   Lysias, 81

   McDougall, W., 125 _n._

   Macedon, 81, 127

   Macedonians, 93, 116, 122

   Mackail, Professor J. W., 42

   Man, First, 164;
     Righteous, of Plato, 163;
     Second, 163 f.;
     Son of Man, 163

   Man-God, worship of, 156 ff.

   _Mana_, 19, 21, 24, 34, [157:1]

   Marett, R. R., [124:1]

   Margoliouth, Professor, [167:1]

   Markos the Gnostic, 150

   Marriage, Sacred, 17 f.

   Maximus of Tyre, [77:1]

   Mayer, M., 46 _n._

   Meade, G. R. S., 172

   Mediator between God and worshipper, 189;
     Mithras as, 151;
     Saviour as, 162

   Medicine-king, as θεός, 25, 152;
     powers of, 25

   Megethos, 142

   Meilichios, in the Diasia, 14-15, 19

   Meister, R., [53:1]

   Meyer, Ed., [154:3]

   Mind, nature of, 209

   Mithraic communities, 146

   Mithraism, 148

   Mithras, 123, 139, 152;
     as Mediator, 151;
     Liturgy, 146, 148;
     religion of, 21

   Mommsen, August, [14:1], [17:1], [18:1]

   Monotheism, 69 f.

   Moon, as Kourotrophos, 30;
     as origin of Kosmos, 169;
     divinity of, 136 ff.

   Morals, minor, 177;
     of antiquity, 177 f.;
     of Christians, 178

   Moret, [23:2]

   Mother, Divine, 164;
     Great, 185

   Mülder, D., [53:1], [57:1]

   Mullach, 172

   Müller, H. D., [57:1]

   Music of the Spheres, 142

   Myres, J. L., 40

   Mysteries, 93

   Mystic letters, 219

   Mysticism, 169

   Mythology, Olympian, 75

   Myths, Sallustius' treatment of, 221 f.;
     why divine, 201;
     five species, 202;
     explanation of examples, 203-5

   Naassenes, 146, 162

   Nature, the return to, as salvation for man, 91

   Nausiphanes, 101

   Neo-Platonism, 181

   Nerve, failure of, chap. iv.

   Nikator, 155

   Nilsson, M. P., [18:2], [21:2], [31:1], [32:1]

   Nilus, St., 21

   Norden, [159:1]

   _Octavius_, 164, 182, [190:1]

   Odin, 59

   Ogdoas, 147

   _Oimôgê_, 79, 116

   Olympian expurgation, 61 f., 67 ff.;
     family, 11;
     reformation, 58, 61 ff.;
     stage, 2;
     theology, 4

   Olympian Gods, brought by Northern invaders, 45;
     character of, 46-58;
     coming of, 43;
     why so called, 44 f.

   Olympian religion, achievements of, 72 ff.;
     beauty of, 73;
     conception of, 131;
     failure of, 67-72

   Olympians, origin of, 39 ff.

   Olympus, Mount, 46

   Optimism, 193

   Oracles, 37-8

   Oreibasius, 27

   Oreibates, 27

   Organization, social, 214

   Origins, Religious, 1

   Orphic Hymns, [30:1];
     literature, [64:1]

   Orphism, 148

   _Orthia_, 32

   Osiris, 166

   Othin, [50:1]

   οὐσία, [200:1]

   Ovid, [52:2]

   Ozymandia, 144

   Pagan prayer, a, 197 f.;
     reaction, 173 f.

   Paganism, final development of, 192 f.;
     struggle with Christianity, 195 f.

   Palimpsest, manuscript of man's creed as, 199

   Palladion, 52

   Pallas, Athena as, 52, 71

   Panaetius, 145

   Paribeni, R., [20:2]

   Parker, Mrs. Langloh, 12

   Parmenides, 12, [113:2]

   πάτρια, τὰ, 37

   Paul. St., 2 f., 7, 23, 33, 60, 124, 137, 149, 158 _n._, 161, 164

   Pauly-Wissowa, [14:1]

   Pausanias, [27:3], [54:2], _passim_

   Payne, E. J., [29:1], [30:1]

   Pelasgians, 42, 44

   πέμπτον σῶμα, 137

   Periclean Age, 87, 89

   Peripatetic School, 114 f., 116;
     spirit, 122

   _Peripatos_, 114

   Persecution of the Christians, 181

   Persephone, 74 f.

   φαρμακός, 34

   Pheidias, 50

   φιλανθρωπία, 156, 158

   φιλία, 104, 109

   Philo, 172, 177

   _Phusis_, 99, 134, [200:1]

   Pindar, [31:3], 43, [52:2]

   Pisistratus, 43, 53

   πίστις, 7

   Planets, seven, history and worship of, 140 ff.

   Plato, 3, 13 _n._, 82-4, 109, 126, 129, 163

   Pleasure, pursuit of, 110

   Plotinus, 2, 4, [10:2], 135;
     his union with God, 149

   Plutarch, [27:3] 32{1}, [34:2], [54:2], _passim_

   Poimandres, 162

   Πολιάς, ἡ, or Πολιεύς, ὁ, 71

   _Poliouchoi_, 67

   Polis, collapse of, 80, 127 f.;
     projection of, 71;
     religion of, 71, 75 f.;
     replaces Tribe, 66 f.

   Polybius, 80

   Porch, 114

   Porphyry, [149:2], [188:2]

   Poseidon, 54

   Posidonius, 146, 159

   Predestination, 145

   Preuss, Dr., 2

   Proclus, [209:2]

   Proletariates, 194

   Pronoia _or_ Providence, Stoic belief in, 90, 135

   Providence, 210 f.

   ψυχή, [200:1]

   Ptah, 151

   Ptolemaios Epiphanês, 156 f.

   Punishment, eternal, 9;
     why not immediate, 223

   Purpose of Dramaturge, 97-100

   Pythagoras, 167

   Pythias, 116

   Rack, martyrs happy on the, 192

   Reason, as combatant of passion, 91

   Redeemer, of the Gnostics, 162 f.;
     Son of the Korê, 138

   Redemption, mystery of, 163

   Reformation, Olympian, 61 ff.

   Refuge, City of, in the _Laws_, 83

   Refugees, sufferings of, 102

   Reinach, A. J., [25:1]

   Reinach, S., [25:1], [68:1], 172

   Reisch, E., [11:1]

   Reitzenstein, xv, 126, [150:3], 172

   Religion, description of, 5-9;
     eternal punishment for error in, 9;
     falseness of, 7 ff.;
     Greek, extensive study of, xiii;
     traditional, 127;
     significance of, 1

   Religious Origins, 1

   _Republic_, 94

   Retribution, 33

   Reuterskiold, [21:3]

   Revelations, divine, 171;
     series of, to worshippers, 151

   Revival, Hellenistic, 40 ff.

   Ridgeway, Professor, [40:1], [54:1]

   Righteousness, City of, in the _Republic_, 83

   Rivers, Dr., [31:2]

   Robertson Smith, Dr., 21 f.

   Rome, a Polis, 127

   Ruah, 138

   Sacraments, 148

   Sacrifice, human, 35, [61:1];
     condemned by Theophrastus, [188:2];
     Porphyry on, [188:2];
     reason for, 219 f.

   Sallustius, xvi, 165, 179-81, 183-5, 193

   Saturn, 147

   Saviour, as Son of God and Mediator, 161 f.;
     dying, 35 f.;
     Third One, 33

   Sceptics, _jeux d'esprit_ of, 87

   Schultz, W., 172

   Schurtz, Ed., [31:1]

   Schwartz, [159:1]

   Scott, W., 172

   Seeck, O., [53:1], 172

   Sky, phenomena of, as origin of man's idea, 136

   Snake, supernatural, 19

   Social structure of worshippers, 151

   Solon, 43

   σῶμα, [200:1]

   Sophocles, 123

   _Sophrosynê_, 73, 83, 114, 152, 197

   _Sors_: _see_ Fortune.

   Sôtêr, 155

   Soul, divinity of, 153-65;
     human, as origin of man's idea, 136;
     immortal, 186;
     nature of, 209 f.;
     salvation of, 164

   Sparta, Athens defeated by, 80;
     constitution of, 87;
     power of, 81

   Spirit, Holy, 137;
     personified, 165

   Stars, divinity of, 136 ff., [153:1]

   Steiner, von H., _Mutaziliten_, [10:2]

   Stoicism, 117, 146

   Stoics, 3, 76, 95-7, 104, 109 f., 119, 128, 130, 145, 160, 165

   Συμπάθεια τῶν ὅλων, 145

   Sun, 187;
     as Kouros, 30;
     = both orb and ray, [203:1];
     divinity of, 137 ff.;
     worship of, 139

   _Sunoikismos_, 63

   Superstition, 130

   Sweetness, Epicurus on, 106

   Swine, sacred, 19

   _Tabu_, 34 ff.

   Tarn, W. W., [80:1], [152:2]

   _Teletai_, 32

   Thales, 2

   θαρρεῖν, 95, 103 f.

   Themis, 36, 37

   Theodoret, 181

   Theoi Adelphoi, 154

   Theophrastus, 143, [188:2]

   θεός = θεσός, 24;
     use of the word by poets, 12

   Thera, [18:2]

   θεσμοί, derivation of, [16:1]

   Thesmophoria, 16

   Thespis, 43

   Third One _or_ Saviour, 33

   Thomson, J. A. K., 46 _n._

   Thoth, 151

   Thought, subjective, 128

   Thracians, 150 f.

   Thucydides, 41;
     religion of, 175

   Thumb, A., [43:1], [45:2]

   Transmigration of souls, 224

   Trigonometry, 122

   Trinity, 164

   Tritos Sôtêr, 163

   Τύχη: _see_ Fortune

   'Tyrants, Thirty', 84

   Uncharted region of experience, 5 ff., 171, 198

   _Urdummheit_, 2, 44, 72

   Usener, [101:1], [113:2], [129:1], 172

   Uzzah, 68

   Vandal, [40:2]

   Vegetarianism, [8:1]

   Vegetation-spirit, 32

   Verrall, A. W., [16:1]

   Vice, definition of, 213 f.

   Virgin, fallen, Korê as, 138

   Virtue, definition of, 213 f.

   Vision, 104

   Warde Fowler, W., [17:1]

   Webster, H., [31:1]

   Week of seven days, established, 142 f.

   Wendland, P., xvi, 126, 156, 172

   Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. von, [43:1], 59

   Wisdom, Divine, personified, 165;
     Wisdom-Teachers, 2

   Woodward, A. M., [32:1]

   Word, the, personified, 165

   World, ancient and modern, 120;
     blessedness of, 168;
     end of, by fire, Christian belief in, 190;
     eternal and indestructible, 186 f., 189, 208-9, 220-2

   Xenophanes, 12

   Xenophon, 79, 85, 86

   Ξύνεσις, 73

   Year-Daemon, 32 f.

   Zeller, E., 128

   Zeno, 96 f., 98, 109, 128

   Zeus, Aphiktor, 28;
     in Magnesia bull-ritual, 21;
     Kourês, 150;
     Meilichios, 14-15;
     origin and character of, 49 f.;
     watchdog of, 93

   Zodiac, 144

Transcriber's Notes

The following corrections have been made to the text.

     Page 99: if[original has is] he a governor, it is his function

     Page 139: some more full-blooded and less critical
     element[original has critica lelement]

     Page 166: ('holy' and '[opening quote missing in
     original]sacred', or perhaps more exactly 'lawful' and

     Page 184: proceeds straight to the traditional[original has

     Page 227: Antigonus Gonatas[original has Gonatus], [152:1]

     Page 228: Chaldaeans[original has Chaldeans], 144, 151

     Page 230: Kronos, 45[original has [43:2]]

     Page 231: Mommsen, August, [14:1], [17:1],[comma missing in
     original] [18:1]

     Page 232: Pausanias, [27:3], [54:2], _passim_[original has
     extraneous period]

     Page 233: Plutarch, [27:3], [32:1], [34:2], [54:2],
     _passim_[original has extraneous period]

     Page 234: _Urdummheit_,[comma missing in original] 2, 44, 72

     Footnote [16:2] A. B. Cook, _J. H. S._ xiv,[comma missing in
     original] pp. 153-4

     Footnote [28:1] Ἱκταῖος[smooth breathing mark missing in
     original] are common

     Footnote [33:2] Rom. vi.[period missing in original]
     generally, 3-11

     Footnote [53:1] Αθηναία[original has Ἁθηναία] is of course
     simply 'Athenian'

     Footnote [53:1] ἁ ϝ[original has capital digamma--source
     document has small digamma]άνασσα;--ἁ θιὸς ἁ Γολγία

     Footnote [90:1] see _Life_ in Diog.[original has Diorg.]

     Footnote [95:1] Diog.[original has Diorg.] Laert. vi. 96 ff.

     Footnote [113:3] φεῦγε τὸ ἀκάτιον[original has κἀάτιον]

     Footnote [152:2] Ferguson's _Hellenistic Athens_, e. g.[period
     missing in original] p. 108 f.

     Footnote [164:3] Gal. iv.[period missing in original] 9

     Footnote [197:1] Mullach, _Fragmenta Philosophorum_,
     iii.[period missing in original] 7

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