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Chapter 12: The Worship of the Sun Among the Aryan Peoples of Antiquity

§ 1. The Worship of the Sun in general

The worship of the Sun not so widely diffused as is commonly supposed.

A. Bastian on the rarity of Sun-worship.

Sun-worship in ancient Egypt, Mexico, and Peru.

As one of the most conspicuous and powerful objects in the physical world the sun has naturally attracted the attention and obtained the homage of many races, who have personified and worshipped it as a god. Yet the worship of the sun has been by no means so widely diffused among primitive peoples as, on purely abstract grounds, we might at first sight be tempted to suppose. If we were to draw a map of the world showing in colour the regions where sun-worship is known to have prevailed, we might be surprised at the many large blanks in the chart, blanks which would probably be particularly numerous and extensive in countries occupied by the most backward races. In Africa, for example, while sun-worship was a most important element in the religion of ancient Egypt, it is on the whole conspicuously absent among the black races of that continent, though we have noted some evidence of its occurrence in many tribes of Northern Nigeria and in certain tribes of East Africa.1 The same paucity of sun-worship, or at all events of any trustworthy evidence of its existence, is characteristic of the indigenous Australian, Melanesian,2 Polynesian,3 and Micronesian races, who together occupy a considerable portion of the globe. On the limited diffusion of this form of religion in the world the most learned and far-travelled of ethnologists, Adolf Bastian, long ago remarked that sun-worship, which people used to go sniffing about to discover everywhere, is found on the contrary only in very exceptional regions, or on lofty table-lands of equatorial latitude.4 Subsequent research has confirmed this weighty judgment. Whatever the reason may be, a solar religion appears to flourish best among nations which have attained to a certain degree of civilization, such as the ancient Egyptians and the Indians of Mexico and Peru at the time when they were discovered by the Spaniards. Perhaps the regular and peaceful movement of the sun in the heavens, by lacking the element of the sudden, the terrible, and the unforeseen, disqualifies it for being an object of interest to the simple savage, whose attention is excited and whose emotions are stirred rather by those events which occur at irregular intervals, which threaten his existence, and which no means at his disposal enable him to predict. A higher degree, of intelligence and reflection is needed to ask whence comes the marvellous uniformity of those operations of nature whereof the courses of the heavenly bodies are at once the most easily observable and the most splendid examples.

§ 2. The Worship of the Sun among the Vedic Indians

The Sun worshipped by the Vedic Indians under the names of Surya and Savitri or Savitar.

Among peoples of the Aryan stock solar worship has not been unknown, but the Sun has never occupied the leading place in their pantheon. The Indians of the Vedic age personified and to some extent worshipped the sun under various names, of which the chief were Surya and Savitri or Savitar.5 It is under these two different appellations that the sun is chiefly celebrated in the Rig-veda, though it is sometimes difficult to perceive why in any particular case the one name should be employed rather than the other. Yet different sets of hymns are devoted to the worship of the deity under each of these names, and the epithets applied to him in each of these characters are for the most part distinct. In a few passages both these names, and occasionally certain others, appear to be applied to the solar divinity indiscriminately; but in most cases the distinction between them is at least nominally preserved.6

Surya the more concrete of the two solar deities

Surya the son of Dyaus and the husband or son of the Dawn (Ushas).

Of the two solar deities, Surya and Savitri or Savitar, the former is the more concrete; he remains closer to the physical object which he personifies; his connexion with the great luminary is never lost sight of. His name indeed of Surya designates the solar orb; hence in many passages it is impossible to say whether the word denotes the physical sun simply or the personification of it as a god.7 The difficulty of discriminating the physical from the divine aspect of Surya is all the greater, because in his case the personification is never carried far; mythical fancy has hardly played about him; indeed, the only myth of which he is the subject relates how the great god Indra vanquished him8 and carried off one of the wheels of his chariot.9 The allusion may be to the obscuration of the sun by a thundercloud or to a solar eclipse. However, Surya is so far personified that, like other sun-gods, he is described as driving across the sky in a car drawn either by one or several or seven fleet and ruddy horses or mares.10 He is said to be the son of the great sky-god Dyaus.11 The Dawn (Ushas) is spoken of as his wife in one passage,12 while in another she is said to have brought him forth.13 Thus in the fancy of the Vedic poet the two great natural phenomena, the Sun and the Dawn, were not yet crystallized into sharply defined figures, but floated vaguely in a golden or rosy haze. The eye of Surya is mentioned several times in the hymns, but he is himself equally often called the eye of Mitra and Varuna or of Agni (the Fire-god).14 In the Atharva-veda he is called the Lord of Eyes, and is said to be the one eye of created beings, and to see beyond the sky, the earth, and the waters. He is described as farseeing, all-seeing, the spy of the whole world, he who beholds all beings and the good and bad deeds of mortals. He is the preserver and soul of all things, both stationary and moving, the vivifier of men and common to them all. Enlivened by him men pursue their ends and perform their work.15 He shines for all the world, for men and gods. He dispels the darkness with his light. He rolls up the darkness as a skin. His beams throw off the darkness as a skin into the waters. He triumphs over beings of darkness and witches.16 It is said that “truth is the base that bears the earth; by Surya are the heavens sustained “.17

Surya sometimes spoken of as an inanimate object.

Yet elsewhere Surya is occasionally spoken of as an inanimate object, as a gem of the sky, a variegated stone placed in the midst of heaven, a brilliant weapon which Mitra and Varuna conceal with cloud and rain.18 Hence he is said to have been produced, or caused to shine or to rise, or to have his path prepared by various gods. Thus we are told that Indra generated him, caused him to shine, or raised him to heaven; that Indra-Soma brought him up with light; that Soma placed light in the Sun, caused him to shine, or raised him in heaven; that Agni (the Fire-god) established the brightness of the sun on high, and made him ascend to heaven; that Dhatri, the creator, fashioned the sun as well as the moon. In these and other passages relating to the creation of the sun the notion of the simple luminary doubtless predominates.19 The ancient hymns, composed perhaps before the descent of the Aryans into the sweltering plains of Northern India, contain only two or three allusions to the sun's burning heat; in the Rig-veda the luminary is not a maleficent power; for that aspect of his nature we must turn to the later Atharva-veda and the literature of the Brahmanas.20

Hymn to Surya, the Sun.

Ten entire hymns of the Rig-veda may be said to be devoted to the celebration of the Sun under the name of Surya.21 The following may serve as specimens.

His heralds bear him up aloft, the god who knoweth all that lives,

Surya, that all may look on him,

The constellations pass away, like thieves, together with their beams,

Before the all-beholding Sun.

His herald rays are seen afar refulgent o’ er the world of men,

Like flames of fire that burn and blaze.

Swift and all beautiful art thou, O Surya, maker of the light,

Illuming all the radiant realm.

Thou goest to the host of gods, thou comest hither to mankind,

Hither all light to be beheld.

With that same eye wherewith thou look'st, O purifying Varuna,

Upon the busy race of men,

Traversing sky and wide mid-air, thou metest with thy beams our days,

Sun, seeing all things that have birth.

Seven bay steeds harnessed to thy car bear thee, O thou far-seeing one,

God, Surya, with the radiant hair…

Looking upon the loftier light above the darkness we have come

To Surya, god among the gods, the light that is most excellent.

Rising this day, O rich in friends, ascending to the loftier heaven,

Surya, remove my heart's disease, take from me this my yellow hue.

To parrots and to starlings let us give away my yellowness,

Or this my yellowness let us transfer to Haritâla trees.”22

Prayer to the Sun for the cure of jaundice.

Charm for the cure of jaundice.

In these last lines the poet prays the Sun to remove his jaundice on the principle of homœopathic magic, in accordance with which the yellowness of the disease can be transferred to yellow objects, such as the sun and yellow parrots. Similar cures for jaundice were known to the ancient Greeks and Romans and are not unknown in modern Europe.23 That this was indeed the notion which prompted the old Vedic prayer to the Sun is certain; for the same cure is recorded in unambiguous terms as a simple charm in the Atharva-veda. The charm is as follows:

Up to the sun shall go thy heart-ache and thy jaundice: in the colour of the red bull do we envelop thee!

We envelop thee in red tints, unto long life. May this person go unscathed, and be free of yellow colour!

The cows whose divinity is Rohinî, they who, moreover, are themselves red (rohinih)—in their every form and every strength we do envelop thee.

Into the parrots, into the thrush do we put thy jaundice, and, furthermore, into the yellow wagtail (hâridravas) do we put thy jaundice.”24

In this charm the word (hâridrava) translated “yellow wagtail” occurs in the hymn of the Rig-veda quoted above, where it is translated “Haritâla trees”. The translator (Mr. R. T. H. Griffith) in a note says that the word hâridrava is understood by the commentator Sâyana to mean a haritâla tree, but that there seems to be no tree of that name. He further remarks that haritâla usually signifies yellow orpiment, which is a yellow crystalline metal, and that hâridrava generally means a yellow vegetable powder; and he adds that “the word hâridrava is explained in the Petersburg Lexicon as a certain yellow bird”. In any case the essential point is that the objects to which the jaundice is to be transferred must be either yellow or red; for on the principles of homoeopathic magic or medicine yellow objects naturally absorb the yellow disease, while red objects are similarly calculated to infuse into the sallow patient the rosy hue of health. To this day the Mehtars of the Central Provinces of India hang the flesh of a yellow snake or of a fish with yellowish scales about the neck of a child who is suffering from jaundice; or they catch a small frog alive, tie it up in a yellow cloth, and hang it by a blue thread till it dies on the neck of the little sufferer. Of course the yellow snake, the yellow fish, and the yellow cloth all possess the valuable property of absorbing the jaundice and thereby relieving the patient.25 On similar grounds anybody can see for himself that the Sun is a natural recipient of the jaundice.

Hymn to Surya the Sun.

A higher note is struck by another Vedic poet in a hymn addressed to Surya the sun:

Do homage unto Varuna's and Mitra's eye: offer this solemn worship to the mighty god,

Who seeth far away, the ensign, burn of gods. Sing praises unto Surya, to the son of Dyaus.

May this my truthful speech guard me on every side, wherever heaven and earth and days are spread abroad.

All else that is in motion finds a place of rest: the waters ever flow and ever mounts the sun…

O Surya, with the light whereby thou scatterest gloom, and with thy ray impellest every moving thing,

Keep far from us all feeble, worthless sacrifice, and drive away disease and every evil dream.

Sent forth thou guardest well the path of every man, and in thy wonted way arisest free from wrath.

When, Surya, we address our prayers to thee to-day, may the gods favour this our purpose and desire.

This invocation, these our words may Heaven and Earth, and Indra and the Waters and the Maruts hear.

Ne'er may we suffer want in presence of the Sun, and, living happy lives, may we attain old age.

Cheerful in spirit, evermore, and keen of sight, with store of children, free from sickness and from sin,

Long-living, may we look, O Surya, upon thee uprising day by day, thou who art rich in friends!

Surya, may we live long and look upon thee still, thee, O far-seeing one, bringing the glorious light,

The radiant god, the spring of joy to every eye, as thou art mounting up o'er the high shining flood.

Thou by whose lustre all the world comes forth, and by thy beams again returns unto its rest,

O Surya with the golden hair, ascend for us day after day, still bringing purer innocence.

Bless us with shine, bless us with perfect daylight, bless us with cold, with fervent heat and lustre.

Bestow on us, O Surya, varied riches, to bless us in our home, and when we travel.”26

The Vedic Sun-god Savitri or Savitar.

The Golden God.

The other Vedic personification of the sun is Savitri or Savitar, who, as we have seen, is sometimes distinguished from and sometimes identified with Surya. In him the personal element is more prominent and the physical element less conspicuous than in his divine colleague or double.27 The name appears to be derived from a root meaning to stimulate, arouse, vivify, and in nearly half its occurrences it is accompanied by the noun deva, “god”, so that it would seem not to have lost its adjectival force. Hence we may conclude that Savitri or Savitar was originally an epithet applied to the sun as the great stimulator of life and motion in the world.28 He is celebrated in eleven whole hymns of the Rig-veda as well as in parts of others. Above all other deities, he is the golden god: the poets describe him as golden-eyed, golden-handed, and golden-tongued: he puts on golden or tawny mail: he mounts a golden car with a golden pole drawn by two radiant steeds, or by two or more brown, white-footed horses.29 Mighty golden splendour is his and his alone. He illumines the air, the earth, the world, and the vault of heaven. He lifts up his strong golden arms, wherewith he blesses and arouses all beings: his arms extend even to the ends of the earth. He rides in his golden car, beholding all creatures both on an upward and on a downward path. He shines after the path of the dawn. He has measured out the earthly spaces: he goes to the three bright realms of heaven and is united with the rays of the sun. His ancient paths in the sky are dustless and easy to traverse. He supports the whole world. He fixed the earth with bonds and made firm the sky in the rafterless space of air. He bestows length of days on man and immortality on the gods. He drives away bad spirits and sorcerers; he is implored to deliver men from evil dreams and sin, and to waft the parting soul to the land where dwell the righteous who have gone before.30

Evening hymn to Savitri, the Sun-god.

According to the commentator Sâyana, the sun is called Savitri before his rising, but from his rising to his setting his name is Surya. Yet Savitri is sometimes spoken of as lulling to sleep; hence he would seem to be associated with the evening as well as with the morning. Indeed, in one hymn he is extolled as the setting sun, and there are indications that most of the hymns addressed to him are designed for either a morning or an evening sacrifice. He is said to lull to rest all two-footed and four-footed beings: he unyokes his steeds in the gloaming: he brings the wanderer to rest: at his command the night comes on: the weaver rolls up her web, and the man of skill lays down his work unfinished: then every bird seeks his nest and every beast his lodging.31

Mitra sometimes regarded as another solar deity in the Vedic pantheon.

But his solar character is dim and doubtful.

Besides these two great personifications of the sun, mythologists sometimes distinguish three other solar deities in the Vedic pantheon, namely Mitra, Pushan, and Vishnu.32 Of all the solar divinities of the Rig-veda the oldest perhaps is Mitra, the “Friend”, the personification of the sun's beneficent agency. Surviving from an earlier period, his individuality is almost merged in that of the great god Varuna, with whom he is nearly always invoked. Indeed, only a single hymn of the Rig-veda is addressed to him alone.33 The great antiquity of Mitra is vouched for by the occurrence of his name under the form Mithra in the old Persian pantheon, which seems to show that he dates from a period before the separation of the Indian and Iranian peoples.34 However, it must be admitted that the solar character of Mitra is but dimly adumbrated in the Rig-veda; indeed, some high authorities believe that he, like his Iranian counterpart Mithra, was originally a personification of the celestial light rather than of the sun, though in later times, like Mithra, he came to be identified with the great luminary.35 Others think that the primary character of Mitra was moral rather than physical; according to them, he personified the virtue of good faith and strict regard for the sanctity of compacts.36

Pushan, another solar deity of the Vedic pantheon.

Another Vedic deity in whom mythologists detect a personification of the solar orb is Pushan, the “Prosperer”. He is said to exhibit the genial aspect of the sun, manifested chiefly as a pastoral deity, the protector and multiplier of cattle. In this respect he reminds us of the Greek Sun-god Helios, who kept herds of kine, as Ulysses and his companions learned to their cost. But the individuality of Pushan is vague and his human traits are scanty. He is called the best charioteer: his car is drawn by goats instead of horses; and he subsists on a low diet of gruel. As a cowherd he carries an ox-goad: he follows and protects the cattle: he preserves them from falling into a pit, brings them home unhurt, seeks and drives back the lost. He beholds all creatures clearly, and he is the lord of all things, both moving and stationary. He is said to have been the wooer of his mother or the lover of his sister: the gods gave him in marriage to the sun-maiden Surya. The epithet “glowing” is often applied to him. Born on the far path of heaven and the far path of earth, he goes to and returns from both the beloved abodes, which well he knows. Hence he conducts the dead on the path to the fathers who have gone before; and, knowing the paths, he is a guardian of roads, and is besought to protect the wayfarer from the perils of wolves and robbers.37

In all this there is not much to show that Pushan personifies any natural phenomenon. However, we are told that a large number of passages point to a connexion between him and the sun. One Indian commentator, Yaska, explains Pushan to be “the sun, the preserver of all beings”, and in post-Vedic literature Pushan occasionally occurs as a name of the sun.38

Vishnu, another solar deity of the Vedic pantheon.

The last of the solar deities in Vedic literature is Vishnu. Though less often invoked than the others, he is historically by far the most important, since he developed into one of the three persons of the Hindoo trinity. In the Rig-veda his most characteristic trait is that he takes three strides, which are often referred to in the hymns. Scholars are almost unanimous in interpreting the three strides with reference to the course of the sun, but they differ as to the application of the myth, some understanding the three steps to mean the rising, culminating, and setting of the sun, while others regard them as descriptive of the sun's passage through the three realms of the universe. The former view is favoured by most European scholars; the latter is supported by a practically unbroken tradition in India from the later Vedic period onward. Whichever interpretation be adopted, the highest step of Vishnu is heaven, where the gods and the fathers dwell. In several passages he is said to have taken his three steps for the benefit of mankind. According to a myth of the Brahmanas, Vishnu rescued the earth for man from the demons by taking his three strides after that he had assumed the form of a dwarf. In this we have a transition to the later mythology, in which Vishnu's benevolent character is further developed in the doctrine of Avatars or incarnations for the good of humanity.39

Ushas, the Dawn.

Her mythical relationship to Night and the Sun.

The chariot of Dawn.

Closely connected with the solar gods is Ushas, the Dawn. Her name, derived from the root vas, “to shine”, means the dawn, and is etymologically identical with the Latin aurora and the Greek ēōs, both signifying “dawn”.40 Hence, conceived as a goddess, she always betrays her physical basis through a transparent veil of mythical fancy. In her graceful figure the personification is but slight: in addressing her the poet never forgets the radiant glory and the gorgeous hues of the sky at break of day.41 She is said to have been born in the sky, and is constantly called the daughter of heaven. She is the sister, or the elder sister, of Night, and the names of Dawn and Night are often conjoined as a dual compound. She is said to have opened the paths for Surya, the Sun-god, to travel in: she shines with the light of the sun. In one passage the Sun-god Surya is spoken of as following her as a young man follows a maiden, but in another she is described as the wife of Surya, and elsewhere the Dawns are called the wives of the Sun; for recollecting the multitude of dawns that have succeeded each other, the poet often speaks of Dawn in the plural. Thus, as followed in space by the sun, the Dawn is conceived of as his spouse or mistress; but as preceding the sun in time she is occasionally thought of as his mother.42 Born anew every morning, she is always young; yet at the same time she is old, nay immortal; she wears out the lives of the generations of men, which vanish away one after another, while she continues undecaying.43 As she shone in former days, so she shines now and will shine in days to come, never ageing, immortal. Arraying herself in gay attire, like a dancer, she displays her bosom: like a maiden decked by her mother, she shows her form. Effulgent in peerless beauty, she withholds her radiance from neither small nor great: rising resplendent as from a bath, revealing her charms, she comes with light, driving the shadows away. She dispels the darkness: she removes the black robe of night: she wards off evil spirits and evil dreams. She discloses the treasures which the shadows of night had concealed: she distributes them bountifully. When she awakes, she illumines the utmost borders of the sky: she opens the gates of heaven: she unbars the doors of darkness as the cows throw open their stall: her radiant beams appear like herds of cattle. The ruddy beams fly up: the ruddy cows yoke themselves: the ruddy Dawns weave their web of light as of old. Thus Dawn comes to be called Mother of Kine.44 She is borne on a shining chariot: she is said to arrive on a hundred chariots. She is drawn by ruddy horses or by ruddy cows or bulls. Both the horses and the cows probably represent the red rays of morning, though the cows are often explained as the rosy clouds of daybreak.45

Among the many hymns specially dedicated to Ushas or the Dawn,46 it will suffice to quote one: its pensive beauty needs no words to commend it to the attention of the reader:

Hymn to the Dawn.

This light is come, amid all lights the fairest; born is the brilliant, far-extending brightness.

Night, sent away for Savitar's uprising, hath yielded up a birth-place for the morning.

The fair, the bright is come with her white offspring; to her the dark one hath resigned her dwelling.

Akin, immortal, following each other, changing their colours both the heavens move onward.

Common, unending is the sisters’ pathway; taught by the gods, alternately they travel.

Fair-formed, of different hues and yet one-minded, Night and Dawn clash not, neither do they tarry.

Bright leader of glad sounds, our eyes behold her, splendid in hue she hath unclosed the portals.

She, stirring up the world, hath shown us riches: Dawn hath awakened every living creature.

Rich Dawn, she sets afoot the coiled-up sleeper, one for enjoyment, one for wealth or worship,

Those who saw little for extended vision; all living creatures hath the Dawn awakened.

One to high sway, one to exalted glory, one to pursue his gain, and one his labour;

All to regard their different vocations, all moving creatures hath the Dawn awakened.

We see her there, the child of Heaven, apparent, the young maid flushing in her shining raiment.

Thou sovran lady of all earthly treasure, flush on us here, auspicious Dawn, this morning.

She, first of endless morns to come hereafter, follows the path of morns that have departed.

Dawn, at her rising, urges forth the living: him who is dead she wakes not from his slumber…

How long a time, and they shall be together,—dawns that have shone and dawns to shine hereafter?

She yearns for former dawns with eager longing, and goes forth gladly shining with the others.

Gone are the men who in the days before us looked on the rising of the earlier morning.

We, we the living, now behold her brightness, and they come nigh who shall hereafter see her.

Foe-chaser, born of Law, and Law's protector, joy-giver, maker of all pleasant voices,

Auspicious, bringing food for gods’ enjoyment, shine on us here, as best, O Dawn, this morning.

From days eternal hath Dawn shone, the goddess, and shows this light to-day, endowed with riches.

So will she shine on days to come; immortal she moves on in her own strength, undecaying.

In the sky's borders hath she shone in splendour: the goddess hath thrown off the veil of darkness.

Awakening the world with purple horses, on her well-harnessed chariot Dawn approaches.

Bringing all life-sustaining blessings with her, showing herself she sends forth brilliant lustre.

Last of the countless mornings that have vanished, first of bright morns to come hath Dawn arisen.

Arise! the breath, the life, again hath reached us: darkness hath passed away, and light approacheth.

She for the Sun hath left a path to travel: we have arrived where men prolong existence.

Singing the praises of refulgent mornings with his hymn's web the priest, the poet, rises.

Shine then to-day, rich maid, on him who lands thee, shine down on us the gift of life and offspring…

Mother of gods, Aditi's form of glory, ensign of sacrifice, shine forth exalted.

Rise up, bestowing praise on our devotion: all-bounteous, make us chief among the people.

Whatever splendid wealth the Dawns bring with them to bless the man who offers praise and worship,

Even that may Mitra, Varuna vouchsafe us, and Aditi and Sindhu, Earth and Heaven.” 47

§ 3. The Worship of the Sun among the Ancient Persians

Herodotus on the Persian worship of the Sun.

The prayer and offering of Xerxes before crossing the Hellespont.

The chariot of the Sun.

We have learned on the authority of Herodotus that the ancient Persians worshipped the whole circle of the sky, which they called by a name equivalent to Zeus, and to which they offered sacrifices on the tops of the highest mountains.48 In the same passage the old historian, who appears to have been accurately acquainted with the Persian religion, informs us that the Persians also sacrificed to the sun and moon and earth and fire and water and the winds. They thought that leprosy was a punishment inflicted on the sufferer for a sin which he had committed against the sun; hence the leper was strictly secluded and forbidden to mix with his fellows.49 When Xerxes was about to march out of Sardes at the head of his mighty host for the invasion of Greece, the sun was suddenly eclipsed in a clear sky, and the shadows of night replaced the splendour of the day. Alarmed at the portent, the King inquired of the Magians what it meant. But they reassured him and encouraged him to proceed on the fatal and ill-omened expedition by declaring that the eclipse portended the evacuation or desolation of the Greek cities, since it was the function of the sun to give omens to the Greeks, but of the moon to give omens to the Persians.50 When he had reached the Hellespont, and the bridges were all ready for the passage of the army, the monarch tarried on the Asiatic shore till sunrise. Meantime, while the host waited in solemn silence for the order to march, myrtle boughs were strewed all over the ground on which they were to tread, and incense was burned on the bridges; the long line of fires might be seen glimmering in the morning twilight far away to the European shore, the shore from which so many thousands were to return no more. At the moment when the sun appeared above the horizon, Xerxes poured a libation from a golden cup into the sea, and looking towards the orb of day he prayed that no reverse might befall him which should prevent him from carrying his victorious arms to the utmost bounds of Europe. Having so prayed, he cast the golden cup, together with a golden bowl and a Persian scimitar, into the Hellespont; but the careful historian adds that he could not say whether the King offered these things to the sun or to the sea; for a short time before the despot had caused the sea to be scourged for destroying the first bridge over the Hellespont, and he might naturally wish, as a measure of prudence, to propitiate the sea-god, whose feelings might still be hurt and his back still sore from the beating.51 The army was accompanied on the march by a chariot drawn by eight white horses in which no man was allowed to ride because it was sacred to the god whom Herodotus calls Zeus;52 the deity may have been either the Sky-god or the Supreme God Ahura Mazda, whom Xerxes is known from the cuneiform inscriptions to have worshipped under the name of Auramazda. In one of these inscriptions Xerxes declares that “Auramazda is a powerful god; he is the greatest of the gods”.53 This chariot sacred to Zeus is mentioned also by Xenophon in the historical romance which he devoted to the glorification of Cyrus the Elder, and he tells us that it was followed by a chariot of the Sun, also drawn by white horses and wreathed with garlands like the chariot of Zeus.54

Xenophon on Persian religion.

Horses sacrificed to the Sun by the Persians.

Horses sacrificed to the Sun by the Massagetae.

The evidence of Xenophon on all points of Persian religion and life is to be received with great caution, for curiously enough he saw through a sort of magnifying haze of glory the Persians whom he had fought under a Persian captain. Yet on his long march and retreat through the Persian empire he had many opportunities of acquainting himself with the character and customs of his gallant enemies, and we cannot afford to dismiss all his statements on the subject as a soldier's dream. In the same passage in which he describes the chariot of the Sun he tells us that horses were led along to be sacrificed to the solar deity,55 and later on he relates how the animals were burned entire in honour of the luminary.56 The statement that the Persians sacrificed horses to the Sun is confirmed by other ancient writers.57 Indeed, Xenophon had personal reasons for being acquainted with the custom; for marching through the snow on the mountains of Armenia he came to a village where horses were being bred as tribute for the king of Persia; and in return for the hospitality which he and his men received from the villagers he gave the headman of the village a horse to fatten up and sacrifice to the Sun. The gift was not so liberal as his host perhaps imagined; for the shrewd Greek soldier observes that the charger was old and damaged by the march, and he feared it would die if pressed to go farther; moreover, he took care to replace it by a colt which was being bred for his enemy the Persian king.58 Another people, possibly Iranian, who used to sacrifice horses to the Sun were the Massagetae, a people of Turkestan, to the east of the Caspian. They alleged as the ground for the sacrifice that the swiftest of the gods ought to receive for his share the fleetest of mortal animals.59 We shall see presently that in like manner horses were sacrificed to the Sun by the Lacedaemonians and the Rhodians.60

Persian sacrifices to the Sun.

Vine-dressers sacred to Apollo.

Further, in the imaginary picture which he draws of the last days of Cyrus, his Greek panegyrist represents him offering sacrifices and praying to Zeus, the Sun, and all the other gods on the tops of the mountains in gratitude for the favours they had bestowed on him in his long career of glory.61 A later Greek historian, Agatharchides of Samos, speaks of Xerxes in Greece sacrificing oxen on an altar of the Sun.62 In a Greek letter of Darius the First, which was found engraved on a stone near Magnesia in Asia Minor, the monarch praises his vassal Gadates for transplanting certain fruits from beyond the Euphrates to Lower Asia, but threatens him with punishment for his impiety in taking tribute of the vinedressers, who were sacred to Apollo, and compelling these holy men to dig unhallowed ground.63 Here Apollo is probably equivalent to the Sun, who would accordingly seem to have had vineyards and vinedressers of his own in the time of Darius, just as he had cattle in the time of Homer.

Invocations of the Sun in the Zend-Avesta.

In the Zend-Avesta the Sun is invoked not unfrequently, but it cannot be said that he is the object of fervent worship; the references to him are mostly incidental; the benefits which he confers on mankind are rather left to be inferred than expressly enumerated in the texts.64 It would almost appear as if the prophet, lost in the rapturous contemplation of the spiritual Creator, were indifferent to the gross realities of the material universe. In the Zend-Avesta the name of the Sun is hvare, which is verbally equivalent to the Sanscrit svar, of which Surya, the name for the sun and the Sun-god, is a derivative. The Greek helios, “the sun”, comes from the same root.65 The sun is called the eye of Ahura Mazda;66 and he is often spoken of as “swift-horsed”,67 which seems to imply that, like his Vedic counterpart and namesake Surya, he was supposed to be driven across the sky in a chariot drawn by horses. Thus in a hymn to the Sun we read:

Hymn to the Sun in the Zend-Avesta.

“Unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun be propitiation, with sacrifice, prayer, propitiation, and glorification. We sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun. When the light of the sun waxes warmer, when the brightness of the sun waxes warmer, then up stand the angels (Yazatas),68 by hundreds and thousands: they gather together its Glory, they make its Glory pass down, they pour its Glory upon the earth made by Ahura, for the increase of the world of holiness, for the increase of the creatures of holiness, for the increase of the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.

“And when the sun rises up, then the earth, made by Ahura, becomes clean; the running waters become clean, the waters of the wells become clean, the waters of the sea become clean, the standing waters become clean; all the holy creatures, the creatures of the Good Spirit, become clean.

“Should not the sun rise up, then the demons (daévas) would destroy all the things that are in the seven quarters of the earth (Karshvares),69 nor would the heavenly angels (Yazatas) find any way of withstanding or repelling them in the material world.

“He who offers up a sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun—to withstand darkness, to withstand the demons (daévas) born of darkness, to withstand the robbers and bandits, to withstand the sorcerers (Yâtus)70 and the peris (Pairikas),71 to withstand death that creeps in unseen—offers it up to Ahura Mazda, offers it up to the archangels (Amesha-Spentas),72 offers it up to his own soul. He rejoices all the heavenly and worldly angels (Yazatas), who offers up a sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun…I bless the sacrifice and the invocation, and the strength and vigour of the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.”73

Daily prayer to the Sun.

And every layman over eight years old was bound to recite a prayer to the Sun, thrice a day, namely at sunrise, at noon, and at three o'clock in the afternoon: he recited it standing and girt with his sacred cord (kosti). He prayed, saying among other things:

“Hail to Ahura Mazda! Hail to the lesser deities (Amesha-Spentas)! Hail to Mithra, the lord of wide pastures! Hail to the Sun, the swift-horsed!…We sacrifice unto the bright, undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun. We sacrifice unto Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, who is truth-speaking, a chief in assemblies, with a thousand ears, well-shapen, with ten thousand eyes, high, with full knowledge, strong, sleepless, and ever awake. We sacrifice unto Mithra, the lord of all countries, whom Ahura Mazda made the most glorious of all the gods in the world unseen. So may Mithra and Ahura, the two great gods, come to us for help! We sacrifice unto the bright, undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.”74

Mithra distinguished from the Sun.

This prayer suffices to prove that at the date of its composition Mithra was regarded as a god distinct from the Sun; he was not yet identified or confused with the solar deity, as he came to be in later times. To that confusion we shall return presently.75

§ 4. The Worship of the Sun among the Ancient Greeks76

Greek worship of Helios, the Sun.

Homeric hymn to the Sun.

The chariot and horses of the Sun-god.

The Greeks personified and worshipped the Sun under his proper name of Helios, but in general they paid little attention to him. To this rule the Rhodians were an exception, for they deemed their island sacred to the Sun-god and elevated him to a high, if not to the principal, place in their pantheon. But on the whole the solar deity under his proper name plays a very subordinate part in the religion, the mythology, and the art of ancient Greece. In the hymn-book which goes by the name of Homer, a short and not very enthusiastic piece is devoted to his praise. In it we read that his father was Hyperion, that is, He who goes on high; that his mother was Euryphaesia, that is, She who shines far and wide; and that his sisters were the rosy-armed Dawn and the fair-tressed Moon. He himself is spoken of as splendid, unwearied, like the immortals; mounted on his golden-reined chariot, drawn by horses, he shines on mortals and the immortal gods. He wears a golden helmet; bright rays flash from him; bright hair floats about his temples and enframes his lovely beaming face; a glistering garment, finely spun, wraps him about and streams upon the wind.77

The chariot and horses of the Sun in a metope of a temple.

Demeter's appeal to the Sun-god in his chariot.

This description of the resplendent Sun-god in human form, riding his horse-drawn car, answers to the general, conception of him which the Greeks formed and embodied in works both of literature and art. We see him, for example, exactly so portrayed in a fine metope which once adorned a temple at New Ilium. The god stands erect in the chariot, which, however, is hidden by the four prancing steeds: one arm is raised over the heads of the horses as if holding the reins: his face is turned full to the right and to the spectator: the features of his face are noble: ample curling locks enframe his brow and cheeks: broad sunbeams radiate from his head; and behind him his flowing robe streams on the wind.78 Yet it is remarkable that no mention of the chariot and horses of the Sun occurs in the Iliad or Odyssey, though the car and the steeds are repeatedly mentioned in the Homeric hymns. Thus, to take another instance, when Demeter was searching the world over for her daughter Persephone, ravished by gloomy Dis, she appealed to the Sun to help her to find the loved and lost one. She took her stand in front of the chariot and horses and prayed, saying: “O Sun, have pity on me, since from the divine ether thou lookest down with thy rays on all the earth and sea, tell me true if thou didst see what god or mortal man has snatched far from me my darling child”. The god informed the sorrowful goddess that Hades (Pluto) had carried her daughter off on his chariot to be his bride in the gloomy infernal world. Then, after comforting her as well as he could by dwelling on the splendid match which her daughter was making, he called to his horses, and they swept away his chariot, like birds upon the wing.79

The all-seeing Sun invoked as witness.

This conception of the Sun as knowing all that happens upon earth, because he looks down on it from the sky, is familiar to Homer, for both in the Iliad and the Odyssey the Sun is said to see and hear all things, and in one passage Agamemnon appeals to him, along with Zeus, and the Rivers, and Earth, and the gods of the nether world, to be the witnesses of his oath,80 and elsewhere the King swears by Zeus, Earth, Sun, and the Avenging Furies.81 Euripides makes Medea, on her arrival in Athens, exact from King Aegeus an oath by the Earth and the Sun that he will protect her;82 and Apollonius Rhodius represents her swearing to Arete, wife of Alcinous, by the light of the Sun and Hecate.83 In a letter to a certain philosopher named Maximus the Emperor Julian calls Zeus, the great Sun, Athene, and all the gods and goddesses to witness that he had trembled for the safety of his philosophic friend.84 We have seen that in Greek-speaking lands the custom of attesting fidelity by a solemn appeal to Zeus, the Sun, and the Earth persisted down to Imperial times; such oaths are often recorded in inscriptions.85

The personification of the Sun as a righteous deity in Greek tragedy.

This personification of the Sun as a deity who knows everything and stands for righteousness is sometimes employed with fine effect by the Greek tragedians. Thus in Aeschylus, when Prometheus is nailed to a crag on the snowy Caucasus as a punishment for the benefits which he had conferred on mankind, he appeals to “the all-seeing circle of the Sun”, to the divine ether and swift-winged breezes, to the springs of rivers and the unnumbered dimpling smile of ocean waves, and to Earth the Universal Mother, calling on them to witness the wrongs which he, himself a god, suffers at the hand of the gods.86 Again, going to her death, Cassandra prays to the Sun for vengeance on her murderers.87 And when the matricide Orestes feels his brain beginning to reel at the approach of the Furies of his murdered mother, he bids them spread out the gory garment which his father wore in his last hour, that in it the all-seeing Sun may behold the unhallowed handiwork of his mother and may at his trial bear witness that he was indeed the man to visit on her the blood of his dead sire.88

Sophocles also introduces the Sun as the unwilling witness of unrighteous deeds and as their appropriate avenger. Thus in the palace at Mycenae, polluted by the murder of the rightful king and the triumph of his murderers, the chorus asks passionately where are the thunderbolts of Zeus and where the bright Sun, if they behold these deeds and sit with folded hands nor smite the guilty pair.89

At Thebes, when the full horror of the crimes committed by the unwitting Oedipus had been brought to light, Creon drove him into the house on the plea that the pure Sun ought not to look upon so defiled a wretch.90 Afterwards at Colonus, in Attica, on a bright day in early spring, while snow still crowned the distant hills and the nightingales were singing in the neighbouring grove, the blind and banished Oedipus retorted on his persecutor Creon, cursing him and all his house, and saying, “May the all-seeing Sun give thee and thine even such a sad old age as mine”.91 Again, in Euripides, when the witch Medea announces that she has steeled her heart to slay her children, the horror-struck chorus prays to Earth and to the Sun's resplendent glory to look down upon the abandoned woman before she lays a ruthless hand upon her offspring.92

The appeal of the dying Ajax to the Sun.

But nowhere perhaps has a Greek poet yoked, so to say, the chariot of the Sun in his service with finer effect than in the pathetic passage wherein the gallant Ajax, about to fall upon his sword, looks up at the Sun and bids him, in his bright chariot carry the message of his sorrows and his death to his far home in Greece, across the rolling sea. “O Sun,” he cries, “who in thy car dost ride heaven's steep, when thou lookest upon my fatherland, O draw thy golden reins and tell my sorrows and my fate to my old sire and to the hapless dame, my mother; all the town will ring with her sad wail when she shall hear thy tidings. And thou, O present radiance of the shining day, and thou the Sun, the charioteer, I hail ye for the last time, and then no more for ever.”93

The golden goblet of the Sun.

But while the Sun was thus supposed to drive across the sky in a chariot by day, it was imagined that after plunging into the sea in the west he returned by night to his starting-point in the east, floating over the subterranean ocean in a golden goblet. In a beautiful poem Mimnermus has described the tired god, after his day's toil, sleeping in his lovely bed, while the winged goblet, wrought of beaten gold by the hands of Hephaestus, wafts him lightly over the waves from the far western land of the Hesperides to the far eastern land of the Ethiopians, where his chariot and horses stand waiting for him, till his herald, the rosy-fingered Dawn, shall mount the sky and the great god shall begin his weary, never-ending journey afresh.94 According to Pherecydes, the horses of the Sun were also ferried across the sea by night in the golden goblet;95 and this seems only reasonable, else how could they have crossed all that stretch of water and been ready to start again next morning in the east? When Hercules went to lift the cattle of Geryon in his far western island of Erythea, beyond the Straits of Gibraltar, he needed a vessel of some sort in which to sail across the sea. So he asked the Sun for the loan of his golden goblet, and bending his bow at the solar orb, threatened to shoot the deity, if he did not comply with his request. The frightened Sun implored him not to shoot, and lent him the precious goblet. So Hercules embarked in it and sailed away westward. And when he came out on the open Atlantic, and saw the coasts of Spain and Africa stretching away behind him and fading into the blue distance, the god of Ocean, to try his courage, caused the goblet to rock and heave on the swell of the great billows. But, nothing daunted, the truculent hero threatened to shoot the Sea-god also; and the deity, in alarm, begged him to hold his hand, so there was a great calm.96 Thus bully Hercules sailed to Erythea, stole the kine of Geryon, embarked them on the goblet, and landed them safely on the coast of Spain; after which, he restored the goblet to the Sun.97

The humanity of the Sun-god.

The sacred flocks and herds of the Sun in Thrinacia.

How the companions of Ulysses impiously killed and ate the sacred kine.

How Zeus punished the sinners and avenged the Sun-god.

These accounts suffice to prove how very human the Sun-god was supposed to be; for in them we see him at one time driving his team across the sky, at another time reining them up and stopping to deliver the last message of the dying Ajax to his parents in Salamis, and yet again cowed by the threats of Hercules and lending his precious goblet on compulsion to the swaggering hero. In Homer the deity also figures as a successful cattle-breeder; for in the Odyssey we read how in the island of Thrinacia he had seven herds of cows and seven flocks of sheep, fifty cows in every herd and fifty sheep in every flock; neither herd nor flock ever multiplied or diminished; their numbers remained for ever the same. They were tended by two fair-tressed nymphs, Phaethusa and Lampetia, whom Neaera bore to the Sun.98 These goodly herds and flocks the Sun-god loved to behold, both at his rising and at his setting.99 The witch Circe in her magic isle, and the ghost of the prophet Tiresias in the nether world, had bidden Ulysses beware of molesting the sacred herds and flocks, warning him that, if he slaughtered them, his ship and all his comrades would perish, and that if he himself ever reached home it would be after long delay and in evil plight.100 So when the ship, after threading the perilous passage between Scylla and Charybdis, was off the Thrinacian isle, the mariners could hear afar off the lowing of the cows and the bleating of the sheep. Weary with the voyage they landed on the island for rest and refreshment beside a spring of sweet water. After partaking of supper and lamenting for the comrades whom Scylla had snatched from the ship and devoured, the night closed in upon them, and they wept themselves to sleep. But when the night was waning and the stars had crossed the zenith, the wind rose and blew a hurricane. For a whole month it blew, and the mariners dared not put out upon the angry sea. For a time, warned by Ulysses, they subsisted on the corn and wine they had brought with them in the ship; but when these were exhausted, one evil day, while Ulysses had wandered away and fallen fast asleep, they yielded to the pangs of hunger and slew the finest of the oxen of the Sun and roasted the flesh on spits over the fire. Waking from sleep and retracing his steps to the ship, Ulysses smelt the sweet savour of the roast meat and groaned aloud. Word of the sacrilege was carried by Lampetia to the Sun; for in spite of his sharp sight the outrage appears to have escaped his notice. The indignant deity at once appealed to Zeus and the other immortal gods, demanding vengeance on the sinners, and threatening that, if this reasonable demand were not granted, he would go down to Hades and shine among the dead. In great agitation, Zeus implored him not to carry out this dreadful threat and promised to hurl a thunderbolt at the ship and smash it in the middle of the sea. Reckless of their doom, the sinners feasted on the finest of the oxen for six whole days. Then on the seventh day, when the wind had dropped, they put off from shore, stepped the mast, and hoisted the white sails. But when they were out of sight of land, black clouds gathered overhead and the sea grew dark beneath them. The wind came down out of the west with a roar and snapped the rigging, so that the mast fell with a crash, striking the helmsman's head and sweeping him overboard. Then Zeus kept his word to the Sun; for he hurled a thunderbolt and smote the ship, which staggered under the blow and was filled with sulphur. All the wicked men who had partaken of the sacred roast beef tumbled into the sea and were drowned; but the pious Ulysses was saved on a floating spar. Thus were the sinners punished and the Sun-god avenged.101

The cows and sheep of the Sun interpreted as the days and nights of a lunar year.

The cattle and sheep of the Sun-god have been variously interpreted in ancient and modern times. Homer clearly thought of them as very substantial animals, whose flesh could furnish a hearty meal. But this interpretation is too gross and palpable to satisfy some mythologists, with whom it is a first principle that in mythology nothing is what it seems or what its name seems to imply. From observing that the total number of the cows was three hundred and fifty, since seven herds of fifty head apiece amount precisely to that sum, the sagacious Aristotle concluded that the cows stood for the days of a lunar year, which he appears to have calculated at three hundred and fifty and which, like the cows of the Sun, never vary in number but remain perpetually the same.102 An ingenious scholiast on Homer clinches the interpretation by explaining the corresponding three hundred and fifty sheep to be the nights of the lunar year.103 The Aristotelian explanation of the three hundred and fifty cows was accepted by Lucian in antiquity 104 and by F. G. Welcker in modern times.105 Apollonius Rhodius perhaps favoured the same interpretation, for in describing the cattle of the Sun, which the Argonauts saw in passing the island, and of which the lowing of the cows and the bleating of the sheep were wafted to their ears out at sea, he tells us that not one of the cows was dark, every one was white as milk with golden horns.106 The picture might pass in mythology for a description of a bright day touched with the gold of sunrise and sunset. Certainly Homer would seem to have had a definite idea in his mind when he fixed the number of the Sun's cows and sheep at precisely three hundred and fifty each, adding that the numbers never varied. The idea corresponds fairly to the number of days and nights in a year composed of twelve lunar months; for though the true number of the days in such a year is not three hundred and fifty but three hundred and fifty-four, we may allow the poet the licence of a round number without tying him down to mathematical exactness.

The cows of the Sun interpreted as clouds.

Others would see in the cows of the Sun the white and golden or red clouds that gather round the great luminary at his rising and setting. In favour of this view it might be alleged that the Sun himself in his appeal to Zeus and the gods declares that he loved to look on his cattle both when he mounted up into the starry sky and when he returned again from heaven to earth.107 Further, it has been pointed out that according to one account the kine in the island of Erythea were the cows of the Sun,108 that these kine are expressly said to have been red or purple,109 and that Erythea is the Red Island in the far west.110 All this would fit very well into a myth of the red, purple, and golden clouds of sunrise and sunset; but it leaves the fixing of their number at three hundred and fifty quite unexplained.

Herds of cows and flocks of sheep dedicated to the Sun.

However, many of the ancients, rejecting or ignoring both the astronomical and the nebular hypothesis, appear to have acquiesced in the plain view that the cows and sheep of the Sun were cows and sheep and nothing else. In Sicily the very place was pointed out, near the little town of Artemisium, where the cows of the Sun had pastured, and where Ulysses slept while his comrades committed the fatal sacrilege.111 At Cape Taenarum, in Laconia, there used to be kept flocks of fleecy sheep which were deemed sacred to the Sun;112 and we are told that formerly there were herds of the Sun at Gortyn in Crete.113

Flock of sheep sacred to the Sun at Apollonia in Epirus.

How the somnolent shepherd became a great diviner.

At Apollonia in Epirus, down apparently to the time of Herodotus in the fifth century before Christ, there were sheep sacred to the Sun, which pastured by day on the banks of a river, but were folded at night in a cave far from the city, where they were guarded during the hours of darkness by men of the richest and noblest families in Apollonia. Each of these guardians held office for a year. On one occasion it chanced that the guardian, Evenius by name, fell asleep on his watch, and while he slept wolves attacked the sheep and devoured sixty of them. For thus sleeping on his watch and allowing the sacred flock to be ravaged, Evenius was punished by having both his eyes put out. But after he had been thus mutilated, the sacred sheep ceased to lamb and the land to bear fruit as usual. So the people of Apollonia consulted the oracles of Delphi and Dodona, and the prophets at these holy places informed them that the gods were angry with the people for wrongfully blinding the shepherd of the sacred sheep, because it was the gods themselves who had instigated the wolves to worry the sheep, and that they would never cease avenging the wrong done to that innocent man until the people atoned for it by granting him whatever satisfaction he might demand; moreover, they said that as soon as this satisfaction was made they would themselves bestow on the blind shepherd such a gift as would make many persons account him blessed. When these oracles were reported, the people of Apollonia kept them quiet and commissioned some of their number to see the blind man and try to make the best bargain they could with him. The commissioners found him sitting on a bench in the market-place; so they sat down beside him and entered into conversation. From general topics they led the talk to the subject of his misfortune, and after expressing their sympathy with him they asked, in a casual sort of way, what compensation would satisfy him, supposing that his fellow-citizens were willing to make him amends for the wrong they had done him. To this the blind man, knowing nothing of the oracle, replied in the innocence of his heart, that if they gave him the two best estates in the country and the finest house in the city he would be perfectly satisfied and would owe them no grudge for what they had done to him. The commissioners took him at his word and divulged the secret by saying that the people would give him this compensation in obedience to the oracles. The blind man fumed and stormed, feeling that he had been outwitted, and thinking how very much higher he would have pitched his demands if only he had known that the gods had, so to say, given him a blank cheque to draw on the bank of Apollonia. However, it was all to no purpose; the estates and the house were purchased by the town and handed over to him, and he had to make the best of the bargain. But the gods were as good as their word; for no sooner had he thus come into his fortune than they endowed him with the gift of prophecy, and he became a famous diviner.114

Suggested explanation of the sacred cattle of the Sun.

This story has all the air of being authentic, and it is of interest as illustrating the eminent degree of sanctity which in historical times the inhabitants of Apollonia attached to the sheep of the Sun, since they set a man of the highest birth and fortune to watch over the sheep every night in their cave, and punished the watchman severely for any neglect of duty. Here the sheep were undoubtedly sheep and not clouds of the rosy dawn or golden sunset; hence the cows of the Sun, which the companions of Ulysses devoured in the isle of Thrinacia may very well have been likewise creatures of flesh and blood and not pale abstractions of the mythical fancy. Perhaps we may suppose that real herds of cows and flocks of sheep were actually dedicated to the Sun-god, and that the number both of the cows and of the sheep was fixed at three hundred and fifty, or perhaps at three hundred and fifty-four, because, in the imperfect state of the calendar, that was reckoned the number of days in the year, and people thought that a daily allowance of one cow and one sheep should suffice to support the deity in the discharge of his arduous duties. If we adopt this view, we need not necessarily assume that the animals were sacrificed daily; like many other divinities, the Sun-god may have been imagined to content himself with the spiritual essence of the sacred kine without insisting on their slaughter.

The wife and children of the Sun.

In accordance with his character as a personal being the Sun was supposed to be married. The name of his wife is commonly given as Perse, or Perseis, daughter of Ocean,115 but many other goddesses, nymphs, or women are mentioned by ancient authors as the partners of the Sun-god in love or marriage and as the mothers of his numerous offspring.116 Among them we might naturally expect to find the Moon, and there are some grounds for holding that the Greeks did associate her with the Sun as his wedded wife, but the mythical marriage of the two great luminaries is rather a matter of inference than of direct attestation.117 Of the children of the Sun the most celebrated were Aeëtes118 Circe,119 and Pasiphae.120 It is remarkable that all three of them, as well as some of their offspring, such as Medea and Phaedra, were famed for their wickedness and crimes; in particular the women were notorious witches. Why there should have been this taint in the blood of the Sun is not manifest.

Aeëtes, the son of the Sun.

Aeëtes is called baleful by Homer;121 and Diodorus Siculus says that Aeëtes and his brother Perses, both children of the Sun, were exceedingly cruel.122 Aeëtes was king of Colchis, and being warned by an oracle that he would die whenever strangers should land in his country and carry off the Golden Fleece, which Phrixus had dedicated in the temple of Ares, he gave orders that all strangers were to be sacrificed. This, says Diodorus, he did not only to escape the threatened danger but also out of sheer natural cruelty, in order that, the report of the savagery of the Colchians getting abroad, no foreigner might dare to set foot in their land. Moreover, lest anybody should make off with the Golden Fleece, he built a wall round the temple of Ares in which the precious fleece was kept, and he set watchmen to watch it, whom rumour magnified into a dragon and fire-breathing bulls.123

Circe, the daughter of the Sun.

As for Circe, the daughter of the Sun, it is said that she was a past-mistress of drugs and poisons of all sorts. Being married to the king of the Sarmatians, she began operations by taking him off by poison, and then, having succeeded to the throne, she committed so many crimes of cruelty and violence against her people that they drove her out of the country. Afterwards, according to some mythologists, she took refuge with her attendant women in a remote and desert isle of ocean; but certain historians will have it that she settled at the headland of Italy which was called Circeii after her.124 Every one knows how by her baleful drugs she turned the companions of Ulysses into swine, after that by her enchantments she had transformed other men into wolves and lions, which stood on their hind legs, wagged their tails, and fawned upon human beings.125

Pasiphae, the daughter of the Sun.

As for Pasiphae, daughter of the Sun, to say nothing of her unnatural love for a bull,126 she bewitched her husband Minos so that he was affected by a strange malady which proved fatal to any woman whom he approached.127 This wicked woman had a wicked daughter Phaedra,128 whose criminal passion for her stepson Hippolytus led to the tragic death of that slandered but virtuous young man.129 Thus Phaedra, as a daughter of Pasiphae, was a granddaughter of the Sun.

Medea, a granddaughter of the Sun, her long career of crime.

Medea in Colchis.

Medea in Iolcus

Medea om Corinth.

Still more flagrant and notorious, if possible, were the crimes of Medea, who, as a daughter of Aeëtes, was likewise a granddaughter of the Sun.130 Having made a thorough study of all the properties of drugs,131 this bad woman became a profound adept in witchcraft and, armed with that deadly weapon and with a heart steeled against every emotion of pity, perpetrated such a series of atrocious crimes as is calculated to fill the mind with horror. By her drugs she lulled to sleep the watchful dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece, thus enabling her lover Jason to purloin that talisman on which depended the life, or at all events the reign, of her aged father. Then with her paramour she fled the country, and being pursued by her injured sire she did not scruple to cut her young brother Apsyrtus limb from limb and scatter the pieces in the sea in order to stay pursuit, while her father engaged in the melancholy task of gathering up the mangled remains of his murdered son.132 Having reached Iolcus, the home of Jason, she repaired to the palace of Pelias, the king of the country, and persuaded the king's daughters to make mince meat of their old father and boil him in a cauldron, promising that by the help of her enchantments he would issue from the cauldron alive and young. To demonstrate the truth of her prediction she actually did thus restore to life and youth an aged ram which she had carved and boiled. But naturally Pelias remained as dead as a door-nail, and Iolcus became too hot to hold Medea.133 So she and her husband sought refuge in Corinth. There Jason divorced her and would have married Glauce, daughter of Creon, the king of the country. But the witch Medea sent the bride a wedding robe steeped in poison, and, when the hapless bride put it on, she was consumed with fire, she and her father, who had rushed to extinguish the conflagration. After that, the ruthless Medea murdered the children whom she had by Jason and fled away to Athens on a chariot borne by dragons which she had received from her grandfather the Sun.134 After other adventures she is said, according to one account, to have returned to Colchis and closed a long career of crime by murdering her paternal uncle Perses; though some say that the murder was perpetrated, not by her, but by her hopeful son Medus, who would seem to have been a chip of the old block.135

Such in brief was the discreditable career of some children of the Sun.

The worship of the Sun in Greece.

Plato on the custom of saluting the Sun.

Plutarch on the worship of the Sun.

Of a direct worship of the Sun there are comparatively few records in Greek literature. In one passage Homer speaks of a white ram to be offered by the Trojans to the Sun, along with a black ewe to be offered to the Earth, the sex of the victim being clearly adapted to that of the deity, while a similar adaptation of colour is indicated by assigning a white victim to the Sun and a black one to the Earth.136 Elsewhere we read in Homer of a boar being sacrificed to Zeus and the Sun in confirmation of an oath.137 In a passage of the Laws, where Plato sets himself seriously to combat the shocking impiety of those who denied the existence of the gods, he seems to say that the habit of praying and doing obeisance to the rising and setting Sun and Moon was practically universal among Greeks and barbarians alike, though, like the recitation of the spells which they had heard from their nurses and sucked in with their mother's milk, the good old custom had apparently gone out of fashion with the pert young jackanapes who presumed to question the fundamental truths of religion. These scapegraces and ne'er - do - weels the philosopher proceeds to admonish in fatherly style, telling them that they are by no means the first, as they imagine, to hold these pestilent opinions, and that they will certainly know better when they are older, for that there was no such thing as an aged atheist.138 These sound principles the senile philosopher might have illustrated by the practice of his master Socrates; for elsewhere he has described how on one occasion, after standing a whole day and night plunged in profound meditation, Socrates was seen at sunrise to pray to the rising luminary and then to go on his way.139 The ordinary Greek mode of saluting the rising Sun was to kiss the hand to it.140 In the beautiful essay In praise of Fatherland, which passes under the name of Lucian, though it breathes a warmer spirit and strikes a deeper note than we expect to find in the writings of that cold, though brilliant, wit and sceptic, we read that every man must look on the Sun as his own paternal deity because he saw it for the first time from his own fatherland.141 And referring to the preposterous notion that the Sun and Moon are mere lifeless bodies, the pious Plutarch informs us that all men worship these luminaries and offer prayer and sacrifice to them.142 One of the articles in the accusation of Socrates was that he did not believe in the divinity of the Sun and Moon, and that he inculcated on the minds of the youth of Athens the damnable doctrine that the Sun was nothing but a stone and the Moon nothing but earth. In his defence the philosopher did not directly deny the charge but parried it by declaring that the heresy in question was to be found in the writings of Anaxagoras, which any young man could buy at a bookstall for a shilling.143

Local cults of the Sun in Greece.

Worship of the Sun in Laconia.

Certainly the Sun was worshipped in various parts of Greece, but for the most part these cults appear to have been of only subordinate importance. We have seen that, according to tradition, flocks of sheep sacred to the Sun used always to pasture on the promontory of Taenarum in Laconia, and that flocks of sheep dedicated to the solar deity were kept by the people of Apollonia in Epirus down at least to the time of Herodotus.144 Sacred to the Sun was a peak of Taygetus, the splendid range of mountains which dominates the vale of Sparta and from its long line of glistering snow-capped crests reflects at morning the beams of the rising sun, while the deep purple shadows still brood on the slopes below. On this holy pinnacle the Spartans used to sacrifice horses to the bright orb of day.145 Perhaps they thought that at noon, passing over the mountains, the deity used to rein in his weary steeds and yoke these fresh horses to his golden car, before he drove down the slope of heaven and plunged at evening into the waves of the incarnadined sea. On the other side of the range, in the bleak and savage country which intervenes between the mountains and the sea, there was a place called Thalamae, where the sea-goddess I no had an oracular sanctuary. In the open part of the sanctuary stood a bronze image of the Sun and another of Pasiphae, whom the Greek traveller Pausanias understood to be the Moon, an interpretation according well with the name Pasiphae which means “She who shines on all”.146 The interpretation derives some support from an inscription which proves that at Gytheum, the port of Sparta, there was a joint cult of the Sun and Moon and other deities, and that a priest officiated in the worship.147

Worship of the Sun in Arcadia.

In Arcadia the traces of Sun-worship are few. But in Mantinea, situated in a flat and now marshy plain surrounded by mountains, they showed the grave of Arcas, the mythical hero who gave his name to Arcadia, and near the grave was a place called the Altars of the Sun.148 At Megalopolis, in the great western plain of Arcadia, there was an image of the Sun which bore the surnames of Saviour and Hercules.149

Images of the Sun and Moon at Elis.

In the market-place of Elis stood two marble images of the Sun and Moon; horns projected from the head of the Moon and beams from the head of the Sun.150 The legend of Augeas, King of Elis, lord of multitudinous herds of cattle, also points to a worship of the Sun in Elis; for according to one account he was himself a child of the Sun,151 and his father the Sun had bestowed on him these wondrous herds, that he might be rich beyond all other men in cattle, and the god himself looked to it that the kine throve and multiplied from year to year, free from murrain and wasting sickness.152 The poet Theocritus has given us a graphic description of the cows and the sheep of Augeas as they came home at sunset, trooping in their thousands and filling all the plain with their jostling multitudes and all the air with their lowing.153 Among them, he tells us, were twelve bulls, white as swans, and sacred to the Sun.154 On a certain day, when the sun was low in the west, the women of Elis used to lament for Achilles;155 but this does not imply that they identified the dead hero with the setting sun, for it was a rule of Greek religion to sacrifice to the dead at sunset, but to the heavenly gods at sunrise.156 At Olympia there was a common altar of the Sun and Cronus.157

Temple and altars of the Sun in Argolis.

Sacrifice to the rising Sun.

At Hermion, on the coast of Argolis, there was a temple of the Sun:158 at Troezen, on the same coast, an altar of the Sun of Freedom stood near a temple of Wolfish Artemis;159 and in the Argolic plain, on the way from Mycenae to Argos, there was another altar of the Sun.160 At Sicyon, also, an altar of white marble dedicated to the Sun stood near a sanctuary of Hera.161 When the people of Cleonae, a little town to the south-west of Corinth, were afflicted by a pestilence, the Delphic oracle advised them to sacrifice a he goat to the rising Sun. They did so, and the plague was stayed. In gratitude for their deliverance they sent a bronze he-goat as a thank-offering to the Delphic Apollo, whom, like many people in ancient and modern times, they seem to have identified with the Sun.162

Worship of the Sun at Corinth.

Images and altars of the Sun at Corinth.

The city of Corinth was associated in a particular manner with the myth and worship of the Sun; indeed one of its names was Helioupolis, that is, the City of the Sun.163 It is said that the Sun disputed the possession of the country with the Sea-god Poseidon, and that, the dispute being submitted to the arbitrament of Briareus, he assigned the isthmus to Poseidon, while he awarded to the Sun the precipitous and lofty height which towers above the isthmus and became in later ages the citadel of the city.164 Yet afterwards, according to the Corinthians, the Sun resigned this imposing stronghold to the goddess of love, Aphrodite.165 Hence on the summit, which commands magnificent views over the blue Saronic Gulf on the one side and the blue Gulf of Corinth on the other, with the lilac-tinted mountains of Attica and Boeotia looming sharp and clear through the crystalline air in the distance, there stood a temple of Aphrodite and an image of the Sun.166 Lower down the steep slope were altars of the Sun;167 and in the city itself there was a portal surmounted by two gilded chariots, one bearing an image of the Sun and the other an image of Phaethon, the ill-fated child of the Sun.168 On some Corinthian coins of the Imperial age the portal is represented, with a four-horse chariot or chariots above it; on others we see the Sun-god driving his car.169 Another legend which connected Corinth with the Sun was that the Sun-god had bestowed the land, under its ancient name of Ephyraea, on his son Aeëtes, who reigned over it before he departed to assume the kingdom of Colchis.170

Worship of the Sun at Athens.

The priest of the Sun.

Procession in honour of the Sun and of the Season.

Wineless sacrifices to the Sun and Moon.

At Athens inscriptions prove that there was a regular worship of the Sun, conducted by a priestess who had a special seat in the theatre of Dionysus.171 There was also a priest of the Sun at Athens. On the twelfth day of the month Scirophorion, which seems to have fallen about Midsummer Day, a festival called Scira was celebrated, at which the priest of the Sun, the priest of Poseidon-Erechtheus, and the priestess of Athene went in procession from the Acropolis to a place called Scirum, situated at a short distance from Athens on the road to Eleusis. In this procession the priest of Poseidon-Erechtheus carried a large white umbrella, perhaps as a protection against the heat of the midsummer sun, which beats down fiercely from the cloudless Attic heaven.172 Again, at the Attic festivals of the Pyanepsia and Thargelia the Athenians performed ceremonies in honour of the Sun and the Seasons. On these occasions boys carried in procession branches of olive or laurel wreathed with wool and loaded with ripe fruits of the season, and they hung the branches over the doors of houses as a charm to avert dearth and ensure plenty.173 This procession in honour of the Sun and the Seasons used regularly to wind through the streets of Athens down to the time of Porphyry in the third century of our era; for that advocate of vegetarianism and adversary of Christianity, in speaking of the bloodless sacrifices of the olden time, cites with approval this same Athenian procession in honour of the Sun and the Seasons as still to be witnessed in his day; and he enumerates the various sorts of vegetable produce which were carried in it, including barley, wheat, and acorns or branches of oak.174 The ancient antiquary Polemo tells us that the sacrifices which the Athenians offered to the Sun and Moon, to Memory and various other deities, were “sober”, that is wineless;175 and though he assigns no motive for the rule we may reasonably suppose that it was intended to guard against the intoxication of these deities, for it requires no great stretch of imagination to picture to ourselves the catastrophes which would inevitably ensue if the Sun and Moon were tipsy when they drove their chariots across the sky. Indeed, this very explanation of the custom was given by the ancients themselves; for the historian Phylarchus tells us that “among the Greeks persons who sacrifice to the Sun pour libations of honey, but do not bring wine to the altars, alleging that the god who holds together and controls the universe ought to keep strictly sober”.176 The rule is illustrated and confirmed by an inscription which refers to the sacrifices to be offered in the temple of Aesculapius at the Piraeus. In it we read of honeycombs sacrificed to the Sun and to Memory, and the altars at which these “sober” sacrifices were offered are themselves called “sober”,177 doubtless because no libations of wine were poured upon them.

Altars of the Sun in Cos and Cyprus.

Worship of the Sun at Pergamum.

In the island of Cos we hear of an altar dedicated to the Sun;178 and in the island of Cyprus there were altars and precincts consecrated in common to the Sun and Zeus.179 At Mopsuestia in Cilicia an inscription records a dedication to the Sun and the people.180 At Pergamum there would seem to have been a regular worship of the Sun, for there was an altar to that deity in the sanctuary of Demeter, and an inscription records a dedication to “the Sun, the Highest God”.181 Another Pergamene inscription commemorates the dedication of an image of the Sun on horseback, with a suppliant standing beside the horse. This mode of representing the Sun riding a horse instead of mounted in a chariot is proved by many sculptured reliefs to have been common in Asia Minor, though it was foreign to purely Greek art.182

Worship of the Sun in Rhodes.

Myths of the relation of the Sun to Rhodes.

The island of Rhodes was deemed sacred to the Sun, and its inhabitants worshipped the Sun above all the other gods, looking upon him as the ancestor and founder of their race. The myth ran that the Sun fell in love with the nymph or goddess Rhodes and named the island and the people after her. But the truth, according to the rationalistic historian Diodorus Siculus, was this. In the beginning the island was marshy; but the rays of the sun dried up the superfluous moisture, and the plastic soil produced, by a sort of spontaneous generation, seven men known as the Heliades or Children of the Sun, who became the ancestors of the Rhodians. These seven Children of the Sun had a sister named Electryone, but she died a maid and so left no posterity behind her; however, the Rhodians accorded her heroic honours.183 One of the Seven, whose name Actis means Beam of Light, is said to have migrated to Egypt and there founded Heliopolis, or the City of the Sun, which he named after his father.184 A more poetical account of the association of the Sun with Rhodes is given by Pindar. According to him, while Zeus and the other gods were parcelling out the earth among themselves, the Sun was absent and the island of Rhodes had not yet appeared, being still buried at the bottom of the sea. When the Sun remonstrated with Zeus on being thus left out in the cold, Zeus offered to draw the lots over again, but the Sun refused, declaring that he could discern a goodly and a fruitful land growing up from the depths of the green water, and he desired that it might be granted to him as his share. His request was granted; the island of Rhodes emerged from the waves, and was made over as a possession to the Sun-god, the lord of fire-breathing steeds. There the bright deity met the nymph or goddess Rhodos in love's dalliance and begot on her his seven sons, the wisest of the men of old.185

Inscriptional evidence of the worship of the Sun at Rhodes.

But of the actual worship of the Sun in Rhodes very few details have come down to us, and these mostly brief notices in inscriptions. A sacred precinct of the Sun is mentioned in a Rhodian inscription dating from about 51 A.D.186 Another inscription of the Roman period records the dedication of an offering to the Sun in fulfilment of a vow made after an earthquake;187 another commemorates the sacrifice of a white or red kid to the Sun.188 The priests of the Sun are often mentioned in the inscriptions.189 One inscription records a decree of the Rhodians that “prayers should be offered by the priests and the sacrificers to the Sun and Rhodos and all the other gods and goddesses and to the founders and the heroes, who have in their keeping the city and the country of the Rhodians”.190 From the inscriptions we learn that the priests did not hold office for life; indeed the tenure of the priesthood was only for one year, and the year was named after the priest.191

Halieia, the festival of the Sun at Rhodes.

Chariot and horses thrown into the sea as a sacrifice to the Sun.

The principal festival of the Sun in Rhodes was called the Halieia or Haleia, from halios, the Doric form of the name for the sun. It is occasionally mentioned by classical writers,192 and oftener in inscriptions. In one of these inscriptions mention is made of the Great Halieia and the Little Halieia,193 and it is probable that the Little Halieia was an annual celebration, and that the Great Halieia is to be identified with the Dipanamia Halieia, which is known to have been a quadrennial festival held every fourth year, so that three years intervened between two successive celebrations.194 The quadrennial festival is believed to have been called Dipanamia because it was celebrated in the intercalary month Panamus, which was inserted every fourth year immediately after the ordinary month of the same name, so that in that year there were two months named Panamus and the festival was held in the second of them.195 It included athletic contests, and from the inscriptions which record victories in the contests we learn that among the games were wrestling matches and chariot races.196 From another source we gather that every year the Rhodians used to throw into the sea a chariot drawn by four horses as an offering to the Sun, because the Sun-god was supposed to drive round the world in such a car.197 No doubt the ceremony was observed at the annual festival of the Halieia, and the chariot and horses were intended to furnish the Sun-god with a new car and a fresh team to replace those which had been worn out by the daily journey across the sky. May not the chariot and horses thus cast into the sea have been those which had just won the victory in the racecourse? Their superior swiftness would naturally mark them out for the service of the Sun. So at Rome it was a horse of the victorious team which was specially selected for sacrifice to Mars.198

Foundation of the city of Rhodes.

In or about the year 408 B.C. the three ancient and formerly independent Rhodian cities of Camirus, Ialysus, and Lindus united to found the new city of Rhodes, near the extreme northern point of the island.199 This union of the three cities in a single State marks the beginning of what we may call the Golden Age of Rhodes, which by virtue of its strong insular position, extensive commerce, and powerful navy acquired, in the declining age of Greek independence, a position of political importance comparable to that of Venice in the middle ages. The analogy is rendered all the closer by the oligarchical constitution of the Rhodian State and the architectural and artistic splendour of the capital, which was laid out by the same architect, Hippodamus, who had planned the Piraeus, and which survived in all its glory to the reign of Augustus when the Piraeus lay in ruins.200

The Sun and the Rose, the emblems of Rhodes.

With the foundation of the new city of Rhodes the Rhodians started a new coinage, of which the principal types were the Head of the Sun-god and the Rose; for the Greek word for rose (rhodon) being almost identical with the name of the island (Rhodos), the flower naturally suggested itself as a fitting emblem of the State. Thus Rhodes was the island at once of the Sun and the Rose. On the coins the full face of the Sun-god is portrayed beardless, with strong and noble features, his ample locks curling about his forehead and sometimes encircled by rays. The rose is represented less full blown than modern roses at their prime and often with a rosebud beside it.201

The colossal image of the Sun-god at Rhodes.

But the great pride of Rhodes was the huge bronze statue of the Sun-god, which was executed by the sculptor Chares, a native of Lindus in Rhodes and a pupil of Lysippus. He spent twelve years in constructing it. The cost amounted to three hundred talents and was defrayed by the sale of the siege engines which Demetrius Poliorcetes left behind after his memorable but unsuccessful siege of Rhodes. The height of the statue is stated by Pliny to have been seventy cubits. Sixty-six years after its erection the statue was thrown down by an earthquake and remained prostrate in the time of Pliny, who, to give us an idea of its immense size, says that few men could encircle the thumb with their arms, and that the fingers were larger than most statues. Through the yawning crevasses in the enormous figure the spectator could see in the interior the great rocks by which the sculptor had sought to impart stability to the image.202 Another estimate of the height of the statue was one hundred and five feet.203 In falling, the Colossus broke off at the knees, and the Rhodians, in consequence of an oracle, refrained from attempting to set it up again,204 although Ptolemy, King of Egypt, promised to contribute no less than three thousand talents to its restoration.205 The image, popularly known as the Colossus, was reckoned one of the Seven Wonders of the World.206 The date of its erection is believed to have been about 284 B.C.207

Lucian on the Colossus of Rhodes.

Often as the Colossus is mentioned by ancient writers, not one of them has told us where exactly the image stood or in what attitude the Sun-god was represented. The story that the image bestrode the mouth of the harbour, and that ships sailed under its straddling legs, is a modern fancy.208 But from a passage of Lucian we may infer with some probability that the god was represented, not in his chariot, but as a single standing figure, as indeed is almost implied by the statement of Strabo that, in falling, the image broke off at the knees. In the passage of Lucian the Colossus of Rhodes is introduced speaking in his own person. It appears that Zeus had been greatly perturbed by a public discussion held the day before between a Stoic and an Epicurean philosopher, in which the Epicurean had roundly declared that the gods did not exist, and though the Stoic had put in a plea for their existence, no conclusion had been reached and the meeting had broken up in disorder. Smarting under the reflection thus cast on the divine nature, Zeus summoned an assembly of the gods in order to determine what was to be done in this emergency. The deities answered to the call, and arrangements were made for seating them in the order of merit according to the fineness of the material of which they were wrought and the degree of artistic finish bestowed upon them by the sculptor. The front row of seats was naturally reserved for the golden gods; the second row was assigned to the silver gods, and the third to the ivory gods; the bronze and marble gods had to take what seats they could find in the fourth row, the order of precedence between them not being settled; while the riff-raff of deities, made of wood, earthenware, or such like base material, were left to scuffle among themselves for places in the rear. Now according to this arrangement the Colossus would have to take a back seat in the fourth row, since he was made of bronze. But against the slight thus put on him the burly deity entered an indignant protest, arguing that with the money spent in making him the Rhodians could have made sixteen golden gods of the usual size; so that on the simple ground of weight, to say nothing of the fineness of his workmanship, he was fully entitled to sit with the best of the gods in the front row of the stalls. To this plea Zeus demurred. In an aside to Hermes, who was acting as usher, he observed rather testily, “Why does the fellow come here to make a disturbance in the stalls and cast a slur on the rest of us for not being so big as he?” Then turning to the Colossus, with a forced air of politeness he pointed out to him the serious practical difficulty involved in his proposal. “If you sit down in the front row,” he said, “all the other gods will have to stand up, since one half of your person would cover the whole place of popular assembly at Athens. So you had much better just keep standing, and stoop over the assembly when you want to see what is going on.”209

The Identification of Apollo with the Sun a result of philosophic speculation.

The great Greek god Apollo has often been identified with the Sun-god both in ancient and modern times, but the identification would appear to have been the fruit of philosophic thought rather than an article of popular faith. Thus the early philosophers Parmenides and Empedocles seem to have explained Apollo as equivalent to the Sun.210 It is said that Orpheus did not honour Dionysus, but that he regarded the Sun, which he identified with Apollo, as the greatest of the gods, and he used to rise by night and ascend Mount Pangaeum that he might catch the first glimpse of the rising luminary. Hence Dionysus was angry with him, and sent the Bacchanals, who tore him limb from limb and scattered his mangled remains.211 The Cynic philosopher Crates also identified Apollo with the Sun.212 The speculative poet Euripides, who loved to resolve the traditional Greek gods into natural phenomena, puts into the mouth of Clymena the saying, that he who knows the secret names of the deities is aware that the true name of the Sun is Apollo, in the sense of the Destroyer (Apollyon) since he had been the undoing of her and of Phaethon, the ill-fated son whom she had borne to the Sun-god.213 The philosopher Cornutus, who wrote a compendium of Greek mythology in the first century of our era, announced, without hesitation or beating about the bush, that Apollo was the sun and Artemis the moon.214

Apollo identified with the Sun-god by late Greek writers.

The identification of Apollo with the Sun-god is repeatedly mentioned by Plutarch as an ancient and popular doctrine; in a passage of a dialogue he reports a remark that “all the Greeks, so to say, hold Apollo to be identical with the Sun”.215 A contemporary of Plutarch, the eloquent rhetorician Dio Chrysostom, in a speech addressed to the Rhodians, remarks that “some people say that Apollo and the Sun and Dionysus are the same, and you think so too”.216 In the dreary welter of confused thought and mystical aspiration which passed under the name of Orphism in later ages the identification of Apollo with the Sun was inevitable, and the solar deity might even be thankful if he did not find himself in worse company. One poet of this rhapsodical school declares that Apollo is a name of the Sun, and that the Sun is all the same with the leach Aesculapius.217

Pausanias on the identification of Apollo with the Sun.

In the second century of our era the Greek antiquary and traveller Pausanias tells us that in the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Aegium in Achaia he met a Phoenician from Sidon who engaged him in a theological discussion. The stranger maintained that his countrymen the Phoenicians had juster views of the divine nature than the Greeks, and as a case in point he cited the Phoenician legend that Aesculapius had Apollo for his father, but no mortal woman for his mother. “For Aesculapius”, said he, “is the air, and as such he is favourable to the health, not only of mankind, but of every living thing; and Apollo is the sun, and most rightly is he called the father of Aesculapius, since by ordering his course with due regard to the seasons he imparts to the air its wholesomeness.” “Agreed,” replied Pausanias, “but that is just what the Greeks say too. For at Titane, in the land of Sicyon, the same image is named both Health and Aesculapius, clearly because the sun's course over the earth is the source of health to mankind.”218 The conversation is probably typical of much crude rationalism which, in the later ages of classical antiquity, sought to find a basis for the traditional religion in natural philosophy or in what passed for such. From loose and vague speculations of that sort no inference can be drawn as to an original identity of Apollo with the Sun.

The identity of Apollo with the Sun variously affirmed and denied by modern scholars.

Yet in modern times that identity has been maintained by some mythologists of repute, such as F. G. Welcker,219 L. Preller,220 and W. H. Roscher.221 On the other hand it was denied by the brilliant antiquary and historian, K. O. Müller,222 whose too early death was one of the heaviest losses suffered by Greek studies in the nineteenth century. Labouring with consuming zeal and tireless energy at the excavation, decipherment, and copying of inscriptions, in front of the temple of Apollo at Delphi, bare-headed under the fierce blaze of a July sun, this great scholar was suddenly struck down in the height of his intellectual powers and carried back unconscious to Athens to die.223 In his death superstitious fancy might be tempted to see the vengeance of the archer Apollo, shooting down at his own temple the impious mortal who had dared to deny his identity with the Sun.

However, the tragic end of Karl Otfried Müller has not deterred later scholars from following in his footsteps and rejecting the solar myth of Apollo. Among these bold spirits are numbered Wernicke in Germany,224 and Dr. Farnell225 and Dr. Rendel Harris in England. In an essay by the last of these learned men Apollo appears, not only shorn of his sunbeams, but reduced to the level of a common apple-tree and bearing in his name to the last the unmistakeable trace of his humble origin.226 But we are not here concerned with the intricate problem of detecting the original nucleus out of which the fertile Greek imagination evolved the complex but splendid figure of Apollo; it is enough for our present purpose to conclude that his fusion with the Sun came rather at the end than at the beginning of his long mythical career.227

§ 5. The Worship of the Sun among the Ancient Romans228

Little evidence of Sun-worship in ancient Rome.

Sacrifice to the Sun on the Quirinal on August 9th.

Worship of the sun in the old Roman family of the Aurelii.

The traces of a native worship of the Sun are even fewer and fainter among the ancient Romans than among the ancient Greeks. In Latin calendars of the Augustan age, there is recorded, under the date of August the ninth, a public sacrifice to the Sun (Sol Indiges) on the Quirinal Hill.229 The meaning of the epithet Indiges here applied to the Sun is ambiguous and has been variously interpreted by modern scholars. If it implies that the Sun was reckoned among the ancient native gods known as Di indigetes, which we may render as Indigenous Gods, it proves that among the Romans the worship of the Sun was of immemorial antiquity, for the Di indigetes belong to the oldest stratum of Roman religion.230 On this interpretation, which is the most obvious and natural one, the Indigenous Sun (Sol Indiges) is analogous to the Indigenous Jupiter (Jupiter Indiges), who had a sacred grove in Latium near the river Numicius,231 and whom Roman mythologists afterwards identified with the deified Aeneas.232 The view of the great antiquity of the worship of the Sun at Rome has the support of the learned Roman antiquary Varro, who tells us that the Roman annals recorded the dedication of altars to the Sun and Moon by the old Sabine King Titus Tatius, the adversary and afterwards the colleague of Romulus.233 Moreover, the ancient Roman family of the Aurelii, who are said to have been of Sabine origin, were believed by the ancients to take their name from the sun, which in the Sabine language appears to have been called ausel: hence the original name of the family was not Aurelii but Auselii. On account of their worship of the Sun the family were granted by the Roman State a place in which they could sacrifice to the luminary.234

As part of the original Aryan religion, Sun-worship was probably ancient in Rome.

Varro, on the Twelve Gods of the farmer.

We have seen that the worship of the Sun was shared by other great branches of the Aryan stock, the Vedic Indians, the ancient Persians, and the ancient Greeks,235 and it appears to have been common to their northern kinsfolk in Europe, the Lithuanians and the Germans;236 hence we may reasonably infer that Sun-worship was part, though apparently a subordinate part, of the original Aryan religion, which the various branches of the family after their dispersal carried with them to their new homes. Hence we need not suppose, with some modern mythologists, that the Romans were reduced to the necessity of borrowing the worship from the Greeks,237 in whose religion it had never played an important part. It is more probable, as Franz Cumont has rightly observed, that the adoration of the heavenly bodies, which serve to mark the seasons and exert so great an influence on agriculture, existed from the beginning in the rustic population of Italy, as in the other branches of the Indo-European family.238 In favour of this view it may be noted that Varro, an eminent authority on agriculture as well as on mythology, at the outset of his book on farming tells us that he will invoke the twelve gods, not the city gods, male and female, whose gilded images stand in the Forum at Rome, but the twelve gods who are the best guides of husbandmen, and among them he mentions the Sun and Moon, “whose seasons are observed at seed-time and harvest”, immediately after Father Jupiter and Mother Earth, and immediately before such genuine old Italian deities as Ceres, Liber, Flora, and Robigus, the god of Mildew.239 So learned an antiquary was not likely to interpolate new-fangled Greek gods in the list of the divinities who were to serve as guides to the Italian farmer.

Temples of the Sun at Rome.

On the Quirinal Hill there was a temple or shrine of the Sun, in which couches were decked out for the accommodation of the god and his divine colleagues who feasted with him; on these sacred couches a place was reserved for the Evening Star under his genuine old Latin name of Vesperug. The name does not savour of Greek influence, and the temple or shrine stood near the temple of the good old Sabine god Quirinus.240 It may well have been the shrine which in bygone days the Roman State had assigned to the Sabine family of the Aurelii or Auselii as a place where they could sacrifice to the Sun, from whom they took their name. Further, there was an ancient temple of the Sun in or near the Circus Maximus. When a plot to assassinate Nero in the Circus had been detected, special honours were paid to the Sun in this his old sanctuary, because he was supposed to have revealed the designs of the conspirators. On the gable of the temple there was an image of the Sun, for it was not thought right that the image of the god who traverses the open sky should be placed under a roof.241 In the topographical descriptions of Rome dating from the reign of Constantine the temple is called the temple of the Sun and Moon.242

Obelisks of the Sun transported from Egypt to Rome.

When Augustus conquered Egypt he brought two obelisks away from Heliopolis to Rome, where he set them up, one of them in the Circus Maximus, the other in the Field of Mars.243 The obelisks still stand in Rome, though not in their original positions; the one which Augustus placed in the Circus Maximus is now in the Piazza del Popolo; the other, which graced the Field of Mars, now stands in the Piazza di Monte Citorio. Each of them bears an inscription which records that, after reducing Egypt to the condition of a Roman province, Augustus in his eleventh consulship (10 B.C.) dedicated the obelisk as a gift to the Sun.244 Thus these monuments of Egyptian piety, which in their original home at Heliopolis had been consecrated to the Sun,245 continued in Rome to be sacred to the solar deity. Indeed, the one which Augustus set up in the Field of Mars was turned to appropriate use, being converted into the gnomon of a colossal sun-dial, the face of which consisted of a pavement with lines inlaid in bronze and radiating from the obelisk as a centre, which was crowned with a gilt ball. The hieroglyphic inscription on the obelisk proves that it was originally set up by King Psammetichus (not, as Pliny thought, by Sesostris) about the middle of the seventh century before our era. In Pliny's time the gigantic gnomon had ceased to mark the true solar time, which the philosopher attributed to a slight displacement of the obelisk either by an earthquake or by floods.246

Worship of the Sun-god introduced into the Roman Empire from the East.

If the worship of the Sun played but an insignificant part in the genuine old Roman religion, it was far otherwise in later times when, under the Empire, at the height of its power or hastening to its fall, the ancient Italian gods were driven into the background by an invading host of foreign and especially of Oriental deities, among whom the Sun-god was one of the most popular. The missionaries of the foreign faiths which, in the decline of paganism, the masses of mankind eagerly embraced as substitutes for the outworn creeds and faded gods of Greece and Rome, were in great measure merchants and soldiers travelling about in pursuit of trade or shifted in regiments on military duty from one end of the Empire to the other. These men brought with them, so to say, in their bales and knapsacks the religious beliefs and practices which they had picked up in distant lands, and which they now unfolded to eager listeners as a new gospel, the latest message to poor trembling mortals from the world beyond the grave.247 A striking instance of Sun-worship imported by soldiers into Italy from the East was witnessed at the second battle of Bedriacum, fought in 69 A.D. between the forces of the rival Emperors Vitellius and Vespasian. The two armies met and grappled in the darkness of night. For hours the combat swayed to and fro, and still the issue hung in suspense. At last the moon rose and turned the trembling balance in favour of the army of Vespasian; for shining behind them and full on the faces of the enemy it confused the sight of the one side and presented them as a visible target to the missiles of the other. The commander of the army of Vespasian seized the opportune moment to urge his men, and especially the Guards, to a desperate charge. Just then, by a fortunate coincidence, the sun rose,; and the men of the third legion, who had their backs to the east, at once faced round and saluted it; for having recently served in Syria they had learned the habit of thus greeting the rising orb of day. The effect was instantaneous and decisive; for the enemy, believing that they were saluting reinforcements coming, like the Prussians at Waterloo, to turn the tide of battle, wavered, broke, and fled.248 Thus the Sun-god crowned with victory the arms of Vespasian.

Worship of Elagabalus, identified with the Sun, at Emesa in Syria.

The worship of Elagabalus introduced at Rome by his namesake the Roman Emperor.

The cool-headed Vespasian so far yielded to popular superstition as to consult the oracle of God on Mount Carmel and to heal a blind man by spitting on his eyes;249 but he seems never to have testified his gratitude to the Sun-god for his opportune help at the most critical moment of his career. However, if he failed in respect for the solar deity, several of his successors on the throne made ample amends for his deficiency. At Emesa in Syria there was a large black conical stone which was said to have fallen from the sky and bore the Phoenician name of Elagabalus. It was popularly supposed to be an image of the Sun, and was lodged in a great temple resplendent with gold and silver and precious stones. The god received the homage not only of the natives but of distant peoples, whose governors and kings sent costly offerings every year to the shrine. Among the rest the soldiers of a great Roman camp pitched in the neighbourhood used to visit the temple and admire the handsome young priest when, wearing a jewelled crown and arrayed in gorgeous robes of purple and gold, he tripped gracefully in the dance round the altar to the melody of pipes and flutes and other musical instruments.250 This dainty priest of the Sun, then in the full bloom of youth and beauty, and resembling, we are told, the ideal portraits of the youthful Bacchus, was the future Emperor Elagabalus, the most abandoned reprobate who ever sat upon a throne. On being elevated, at the age of fourteen, to the imperial dignity by the intrigues of his artful grandmother and the favour of the soldiers, the stripling, whose original name was Bassianus, assumed the style of his barbarous god Elagabalus or Heliogabalus, as the name was also pronounced in order to suggest to Greek ears the name of the Sun (Helios).251 Further, the young fanatic caused the rude fetish of the deity to be transported from Emesa to Rome, where he built a great and stately temple for it on the Palatine beside the imperial palace. The site had formerly been occupied by the genuine old Roman god Orcus.252 Round about the temple were set up many altars, on which every morning hecatombs of bulls and sheep were slaughtered, incense of all sorts was piled, and jars of the oldest and finest wines were poured, so that streams of mingled blood and wine flooded the pavement. And round the altar on the ensanguined pavement danced the emperor and a choir of Syrian damsels with clashing cymbals and droning drums, while the knights and senators stood looking on in a great circle, and the entrails of the sacrificial victims and the perfumes were carried in golden jars on the heads, not of menials and servitors, but of captains of armies and ministers of state, arrayed in the long loose-sleeved robes and linen shoes of Syrian prophets; for among these degenerate nobles it was deemed the highest honour to be allowed to participate in the sacrifice.253

The Sun-god summer holidays.

And in the height of summer, lest the Sun-god should suffer from the excess of his own heat, the considerate emperor escorted him to an agreeable suburb, where he had built another vast and costly temple in which the deity might while away the sultry months till the refreshing coolness of autumn should permit of his return to Rome. On these annual excursions to and from the country the god, or rather the stone, was conveyed in a chariot glittering with gold and jewels and drawn by six superb white horses, themselves resplendent in trappings of gold. No man might share the sacred chariot with the deity. But the emperor himself held the reins and went before, walking the whole way backward out of respect to the god, upon whom he kept his eyes fixed, and supported on either side by his guards lest he should stumble and fall. The whole road was thickly strewed with gold dust, and on either side ran crowds waving torches and flinging garlands and flowers on the path. On reaching the summer quarters of his deity the emperor used to ascend certain towers which he had erected for the purpose, and from which he showered on the multitude largess in the shape of golden and silver cups, fine raiment, and all sorts of beasts, both wild and tame, except pigs, for by a law of the Phoenician religion the pious Phoenician emperor was bound to refrain from contact with these unclean animals. In the wild struggle of the crowd to profit by the imperial bounty many persons perished, either trampled under foot by their fellows or pushed by them on the levelled spears of the guards.254

Intention of Elagabalus to supersede the worship of all the gods by the worship of the Sun.

Marriage of the Sun-god to the Carthaginian Astarte.

It was the intention of this eminently religious but crack-brained despot to supersede the worship of all the gods, not only at Rome but throughout the world, by the single worship of Elagabalus or the Sun. In particular he aimed, we are told, at concentrating the religion of the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Christians in his new temple on the Palatine, which was to be the Zion of the future. In pursuance apparently of this policy he began operations, after a truly Puritanical fashion, by defiling the temple of Vesta and attempting to extinguish her eternal fire.255 But this religious reformer and champion of monotheism, whose infamous orgies far outdid the wildest excesses of Caligula and Nero, was no believer in celibacy even for the Supreme Being, who could not, in his opinion, reasonably be expected to do without a wife. It was at once the duty and the pleasure of the emperor to select a consort for the deity, and to this delicate task he devoted as much thought and attention as it was in his nature to devote to anything. His first choice fell on Minerva, whose sacred image, known as the Palladium, was popularly supposed to have been rescued by Aeneas from the flames of Troy and transplanted to Rome, where the goddess was established in a temple, from which she had never since stirred except on a single occasion when she had been forced temporarily to quit the building by a fire. But the emperor was not a man to stand on ceremony. The hallowed image was transported to the palace and the divine wedding was about to be celebrated, when it occurred to the imperial lunatic that his soft Syrian god might be frightened in the nuptial bower by the formidable aspect of a bride in armour; for Minerva could not be expected to lay aside her shield and spear even for the honeymoon. So on second thoughts he sent to Africa for the image of Astarte, the great goddess of love, which Dido was said to have set up in Carthage when she founded the city of old, and which was held in great reverence by the Libyans as well as by the Carthaginians. Her Phoenician worshippers identified her with the Moon, from which, as well as from her affectionate nature, the emperor concluded that she would be a most suitable mate for his Sun-god. So she came, and much treasure with her, and all the subjects of the empire were bidden to contribute to the dowry of the bride. The divine union was consummated, and all Rome and Italy were compelled to hold high revelry in honour of the wedding.256

Assassination of the Emperor Elagabalus and expulsion of the Sun-god Elagabalus.

But even the patience of the degenerate Romans, long schooled to submission, could not for ever put up with the freaks and follies, the extravagances and outrages of their dissolute and crazy emperor. They rose in rebellion, slew him in the sordid den in which he had sought to conceal himself from their fury, dragged his body through the streets, and flung it into a sewer; and when it choked the sewer they fished it out and carried it, dripping and stinking, to the Tiber, where they heaved it into the river, weighted with a stone, that the vile body might never come to the surface and never receive the rites of burial.257 Such was the miserable end of the religious reformer who would have established solar monotheism throughout the Roman empire. Monuments of the attempted reformation and of the ill-starred reformer are extant in the shape of contemporary inscriptions which record dedications to the Sun-god Elagabalus,258 and make mention of the emperor in his capacity of priest of that deity.259 As for the sacred black stone, of which so much had been made, on the death of its namesake the emperor it was expelled from the city,260 and found its way back to Emesa; for there the Emperor Aurelian saw it in the temple when he entered the city after his victory over Zenobia.261

Scheme of the Emperor Aurelian to establish the worship of the Sun at Rome.

The temple of the Sun at Palmyra restored by Aurelian.

Some fifty years after the disastrous attempt of Elagabalus to establish the worship of the Sun at Rome on a new and more solid basis, the scheme was revived by the Emperor Aurelian, a man of a very different character, in whom the stern inflexible temper and military genius of ancient Rome shone bright for a brief time, like the flicker of an expiring candle, in the gloomy evening of the Roman empire. From his youth fortune would seem to have marked him out as the natural champion of the Sun-god. His family name linked him with the Aurelii, the noble old Roman house who bore the name of the Sun and may have deemed themselves his offspring.262 His mother is said to have been a priestess of the temple of the Sun in the village where he was born.263 Being sent on a mission to Persia, he received from the Persian king the gift of a cup on which the Sun was represented in the familiar garb and attitude which the future Emperor of Rome had so often beheld in the temple where his mother ministered.264 When Zenobia, the rebel Queen of the East, was defeated and captured, her people massacred, and Palmyra, her once stately and beautiful capital, reduced to a heap of bloodstained ruins, the temple of the Sun in the city shared the fate of the other buildings; but Aurelian ordered that it should be completely restored. The despatch in which he conveyed the order to the officer commanding the troops at Palmyra has been preserved by the emperor's biographer; it runs as follows: “Aurelian Augustus to Cerronius Bassus: The swords of the soldiers must be stayed. Enough of the people of Palmyra have been slain and cut to pieces. We spared not the women: we killed the children: we slaughtered the old men: we destroyed the peasants. To whom shall we leave hereafter the country and the city? The survivors are to be spared. For we think that so few have been sufficiently chastised by the condign punishment of so many. As for the temple of the Sun in Palmyra, which was sacked by the eagle-bearers of the third legion, along with the standard-bearers, the dragon-bearer, the hornblowers, and the trumpeters, it is my will that it be restored to its original state. You have three hundred pounds of gold from the coffers of Zenobia: you have eighteen hundred pounds of silver from the plunder of Palmyra: you have the royal jewels. Out of all these see that the temple is beautified: in doing so you will oblige me and the immortal gods. I will write to the Senate requesting them to send a pontiff to dedicate the temple.”265

Temple of the Sun built by Aurelian at Rome.

The Sun-god on the Imperial coins.

Annual sacrifice to the Sun on November 18th.

Not content with restoring the temple of the Sun among the ruins of Palmyra, the conqueror built a magnificent temple of the Sun at Rome and adorned it with the spoil of the captured city. In it he set up images of the Sun and of Bel, of whom no doubt the latter was the Semitic Baal.266 Among the votive offerings which it contained were masses of gold and jewellery and fine robes studded with gems.267 A silver statue and a painted portrait of Aurelian himself were afterwards to be seen within the walls.268 The splendour of the temple was enhanced by colonnades, in which wines belonging to the imperial treasury were stored.269 The service of the temple was entrusted to a new college of priests called Pontiffs of the Sun, or Pontiffs of the Sun-god, or Pontiffs of the Unconquered Sun-God,270 but of the ritual observed in the temple we know nothing. The coins of Aurelian also attest his devotion to the solar deity. On one of them the Sun is seen offering to the emperor a globe as a symbol of the empire of the world, with a captive lying at their feet; some of the inscriptions on the coins proclaim the Sun-god to be the Preserver or Restorer of the World or even Lord of the Roman Empire. Such legends seem to announce the intention of the emperor to set the Sun-god at the head of the pantheon. It is remarkable that on all these coins the type of the god, in spite of his Oriental origin, is purely Greek, being clearly derived from that of Apollo. On some we see a young man wearing a crown with the solar rays and carrying in his left hand a globe or a whip; his right hand is raised; he is naked except for a light cloak which floats on his back. Sometimes he is represented driving a four-horse car.271 In the reign of Probus the intimate relation of the emperor to the Sun was signified by a legend on the coins, “To the Unconquered Sun, the Companion of Augustus”, and the reorganization of the empire by Diocletian did not affect the now traditional types and inscriptions on the coins which referred to the solar worship.272 An inscription found at Aquileia records a dedication to the Sun-god by the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian.273 The armies of Licinius marched to fight the armies of Constantine under the protection of the Sun-god, and a curious inscription informs us that Licinius established in his camp at Salvosia in Moesia an annual sacrifice in honour of the Sun on the eighteenth of November, which was the first day of the year according to the calendar of Antioch.274 Constantine himself, during the first quarter of his reign, struck many pieces with figures or busts of the Sun-god and legends, “The Unconquered Sun”, “To the Unconquered Sun, the Companion of Our Augustus”, and so forth.275

Spread of a solar religion in the Roman Empire.

Popularity of the worship of Mithra; the old Persian god identified with the Unconquered Sun.

The imperial patronage thus accorded to Sun-worship for at least half a century before the establishment of Christianity was little more than an official recognition of a universal solar religion which had long been spreading in the empire under the combined influence of philosophic thought, astrological speculation, and Oriental mysteries.276 Among these mysteries none were more popular, none proved more dangerous rivals to Christianity, than the worship of the old Persian god Mithra, who was now definitely identified with the Sun-god under the title of the Unconquered Sun.277 About the beginning of our era Strabo affirms without hesitation or ambiguity that the Persian deity Mithra was the Sun.278 Yet in the opinion of some good modern scholars Mithra originally personified the light, not of the Sun, but of the luminous heaven in general. As to the mode, place, and date of the process which transformed him from a god of light in general into a god of the Sun in particular we have no information. The change perhaps took place in Babylonia, where, under the powerful influence of Chaldean theology and astrology, the Iranian deities were assimilated to their nearest Semitic counterparts, the Supreme God Ahura Mazda being identified with the Sky-god Bel, while the goddess Anahita was confused with Ishtar (Astarte), the goddess of the planet Venus, and Mithra was equated with the Sun-god Shamash.279

Spread of the worship of Mithra from Babylonia westward.

The Persian colonization of Anatolia.

The Magian religion in Cappadocia and Lydia.

But Babylonia was only a stage in the triumphal march of Mithra westward. Even under the early kings of the Achemenidian dynasty Persian colonists seem to have settled in Armenia, where, according to Strabo, all the Persian deities were worshipped.280 It is said that the governor of Armenia used to send no less than twenty thousand colts a year to the Persian king for use at the Mithrakana or festival of Mithra.281 Of the mode of celebrating the festival at the Persian court we know little or nothing except that the only day on which the king was allowed to be drunk was the day on which sacrifices were offered to Mithra, and on that day he also danced a Persian dance.282 But the wave of Persian colonization rolled westward beyond the boundaries of Armenia. In its climate, as in its natural products, the tableland of Anatolia resembles that of Iran, and lent itself particularly to the breeding of horses, and hence to the formation of a native cavalry, the arm in which the Persians always excelled. Under the sway of Persia the nobility who owned the land appear to have belonged to the conquering race in Cappadocia and Pontus as well as in Armenia, and despite all the changes of government which followed the death of Alexander these noble lords remained the real masters of the country, ruling each the particular canton in which his domains were situated and, on the borders of Armenia at least, preserving through all political vicissitudes down to the time of Justinian the hereditary title of satrap which recalled their Iranian origin.283 This military and feudal aristocracy furnished Mithridates Eupator with many of the officers by whose help he was so long able to set the power of Rome at defiance, and still later it offered a stout resistance to the efforts of the Roman emperors to subjugate Armenia. Now these warlike grandees worshipped Mithra as the patron-saint of chivalry; hence it was natural enough that even in the Latin world Mithra always passed for the “Invincible”, the guardian of armies, the soldier's god.284 In the time of Strabo the Magians were still to be found in large numbers, scattered over Cappadocia, where they maintained the perpetual fires in their chapels, intoning the liturgy with the regular Persian ritual.285 A century and a half later the same sacred fires still blazed to the drone of the same liturgy in certain cities of Lydia: for Pausanias tells us that “the Lydians have sanctuaries of the Persian goddess, as she is called, in the cities of Hierocaesarea and Hypaepa, and in each of the sanctuaries is a chapel, and in the chapel there are ashes on an altar, but the colour of the ashes is not that of ordinary ashes. A magician, after entering the chapel and piling dry wood on the altar, first claps a tiara on his head, and next chants an invocation of some god in a barbarous and, to a Greek, utterly unintelligible tongue: he chants the words from a book. Then without the application of fire the wood must needs kindle and a bright blaze shoot up from it.”286

The worship of Mithra among the Cilician pirates.

Outside of the Anatolian tableland the first to observe the rites of Mithra are said to have been the Cilician pirates. During the civil wars which distracted the attention and absorbed the energies of the Romans in the first century of our era, these daring rovers seized the opportunity to issue from the secret creeks and winding rivers of Cilicia and scour the seas, landing from time to time, harrying islands, holding cities to ransom, and carrying off from some of the most famous sanctuaries the wealth which had been accumulated there by the piety of ages. Gorged with plunder and elated by the impunity which they long enjoyed, the corsairs rose to an extraordinary pitch of audacity and effrontery, marching up the highroads of Italy, plundering villas, and abducting Roman magistrates in their robes of office; while at sea they displayed a pomp and pageantry proportioned to the riches which they had amassed by their successful forays. Their galleys flaunted gilded sails and purple awnings, and glided along to the measured plash of silvered oars, while the sounds of music and revelry, wafted across the water, told to the trembling inhabitants of the neighbouring coasts the riot and debauchery of the buccaneers.287 The worship of Mithra, which these sanctified ruffians practised in their fastnesses among the wild Cilician mountains, may have been learned by them from Mithridates Eupator, King of Pontus, whom they assisted in his wars with the Romans.288

Statius and his scholiast on the worship of Mithra.

By the end of the first century of our era the worship of Mithra and his identification with the Sun appear to have been familiar to the Romans; for in an address to Apollo the poet Statius, enumerating the titles by which that deity was called, suggests that the god might prefer to be known as “Mithra, who under the rocks of the Persian cave twists the bull's struggling horns”.289 The allusion is plainly to the most widespread and familiar monument of Mithraism, the sculpture which represents Mithra in a cave, kneeling on the back of a bull and twisting its head back with one hand, while with the other he plunges a knife into its flank.290 The ancient scholiast Lactantius Placidus, commenting on this passage of Statius, not only explains Mithra as the Sun whom the Persians worshipped in caves, but completes the solar interpretation by adding that the horned bull is the horned Moon, and that the scene is laid in a cave to signify an eclipse of the sun by the interposition of the moon. In the group of Mithra and the bull, as the scholiast correctly observes, Mithra is regularly portrayed in Persian costume wearing the usual tiara or peaked Phrygian cap; but the scholiast proceeds to say that Mithra was also represented with the head of a lion, and he explains this representation either with reference to the constellation of the Lion which the Sun enters in his course through the zodiac, or as a symbol of the superiority of the Sun-god over all the other gods, like the superiority of the lion over the other beasts.291 In this interpretation the scholiast appears to have erred. The figure of a lion-headed god, standing with a serpent twined round his body and holding one or two keys in his hands, is explained with greater probability as a personification of Time, answering to the Persian divinity Zervan Akarana, Infinite Time, which from the period of the Achemenides was deemed by a Magian sect to be the origin of all things and the begetter both of Ormuzd and Ahriman.292

Long seclusion of the worship of Mithra in the highlands of Anatolian.

Compared to other Oriental deities, such as the Phrygian Great Mother, the Carthaginian Astarte, and the Egyptian Isis and Scrapis, the Phrygian god Mithra was a late arrival in Rome. The nature of the Anatolian plateau explains in some measure the long seclusion of the deity from the western world. It is a bleak upland region of steppes and forests and precipices, which offers few attractions to the stranger; and there, in the solitude of the mountains or the dreary expanse of the unending plains, Mithra remained for ages isolated amid natural surroundings which formed a not unsuitable setting for his stern and soldierly religion. Even during the Alexandrian age, after the victorious Greek armies had swept over the country, Mithra never descended from his highland home to the soft skies and blue seas of Ionia. A single late dedication to the Sun Mithra, found at the Piraeus, is the only monument of his worship on the coasts of the Aegean. The Greeks never welcomed this god of their ancient enemies to their hospitable pantheon.293

Rapid diffusion of the worship of Mithra by Roman soldiers, merchants, and slaves.

But no sooner was the Anatolian tableland overrun by Roman armies and annexed to the Roman empire than the worship of Mithra spread like wildfire to the remotest regions of the west and south. The soldiers adopted it with enthusiasm, and from about the end of the first century of our era they carried it with them to their distant camps on the Danube and the Rhine, on the coast of France, among the mountains of Wales and Scotland, in the valleys of the Asturias, and even on the edge of the Sahara, where a line of military posts guarded the southern frontier of the empire. In all these widely separated quarters of the globe they left memorials of their devotion to Mithra in the shape of monuments dedicated to his worship. At the same time merchants of Asia introduced the religion into the ports of the Mediterranean and carried it far into the interior by waterways or roadways to all the important trading cities and marts of commerce. In our own country Mithraic monuments have been found in London, York, and Chester. Finally, among the apostles of the new faith must be reckoned the Oriental slaves, who were everywhere and had a hand in everything, being employed in the public services as well as in private families, whether they toiled as labourers in the fields and the mines, or as clerks and book-keepers in counting-houses and government offices, where their number was legion.294

The worship of Mithra favoured by Commodus and later Roman Emperors.

At last the foreign deity wormed his way into the favour of the high officials and even of the emperor. Towards the close of the second century of our era an immense impulse was given to the propagation of the religion by the attention bestowed on it by the Emperor Commodus, who, in keeping with his brutal and cruel character, is said to have polluted the rites by human sacrifice.295 The dedications, “to. The Unconquered Sun Mithra for the safety of Commodus Antoninus Augustus, our Lord”,296 and numerous other Mithraic dedications dating from the reign of Commodus, attest the popularity which the worship attained in the sunshine of imperial favour.297 From the early years of the third century the religion was served by a domestic chaplain in the palace of the Caesars, and inscriptions record the vows and offerings of its devotees for the prosperity of the Emperors Septimius and Alexander Severus and afterwards of Philip. Still later the Emperor Aurelian, who, as we have seen, established an official cult of the Sun at Rome, could not but sympathize with Mithra, the god who was himself now regularly identified with the Sun. By the beginning of the fourth century the Mithraic faith had spread so widely and struck its roots so deep, that for a moment it seemed as if it would overshadow all its rivals and dominate the Roman world from end to end. In the year 307 A.D. Diocletian, Galerius, and Licinius had a solemn meeting at Carnuntum on the Danube, and there consecrated together a sanctuary “to the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra, the favourer of their empire”.298 So near did Mithra come to being the Supreme God of the Roman empire. Yet a few years later and that same empire bowed its neck to the yoke of another Oriental god, and the Sun, the Unconquered Sun, of Mithra set for ever.

Popular identification of Mithra with the Sun.

Mithra and the Sun represented by separate figures on the monuments.

The scene of the banquet

The popular identification of Mithra with the Sun in the later times of classical antiquity is placed beyond the reach of doubt by a multitude of inscriptions, found in all parts of the Roman empire, which directly qualify Mithra as the Sun or more usually as Mithra the Unconquered Sun.299 Nevertheless on many monuments of the worship Mithra and the Sun are represented by separate figures as if they were distinct deities. In one scene we see Mithra standing in his usual Oriental costume opposite a young man, naked or clad in a simple cloak, who is either standing or kneeling at the feet of Mithra. In some reliefs Mithra is putting on his companion's head or removing from it a large curved object which sometimes resembles a horn or a deflated leathern bottle. The kneeling personage is usually passive, but sometimes he lifts his arms, whether in supplication or to put aside or retain the mysterious object which is being placed on his head or removed from it. In some reliefs the scene is more complicated: Mithra is displacing the enigmatical object with his right hand, while with his left he places on his companion's head a radiant crown. In one scene of a great relief found at Osterburken we see Mithra holding the same object over the head of the kneeling figure with his right hand, while he puts his left hand to the hilt of his sword at his belt, and the radiant crown lies on the ground between them. The exact significance of the scene is uncertain, but the standing or kneeling figure who receives or loses the radiant crown is interpreted as the Sun, towards whom Mithra seems to adopt an attitude of superiority by conferring upon him or removing from him the crown of rays which is the emblem of his solar character. Perhaps the scene refers to a contest between the two deities in which Mithra remained the victor. It has also been suggested that Mithra is pouring oil or other liquid from a horn on the head of the Sun as a solemn form of baptism or investiture in sign of the powers which that deity will wield when he is crowned with the diadem of rays.300 In another scene of a great relief found at Heddernheim we see Mithra holding out his hand to the kneeling Sun as if helping him to rise: the head of the Sun is surrounded by a nimbus.301 On several monuments the two gods are represented standing opposite each other and shaking hands. Mithra wears his usual costume: the Sun is either naked with a nimbus round his head, or he wears a cloak and the radiant crown and carries a whip. The meaning of the scene is obvious. The two deities have concluded a treaty of alliance, and peace and harmony will henceforth reign between them. In the relief at Osterburken, as if to give a religious consecration to the union of the two gods, they are represented shaking hands over an altar.302 Further, the peace between Mithra and the Sun is sealed by a banquet, at which they are portrayed reclining side by side at the festive board and holding up goblets in their right hands, while about the table are gathered a number of guests as partakers of the sacred feast. The importance attached to this divine banquet is attested both by the number of the monuments on which it is figured and by the important place assigned to it in the series of subsidiary scenes arranged round the central piece, the sacrifice of the bull by Mithra.303 Often, especially in the great sculptured reliefs which have been found in the valley of the Rhine, the relief representing the banquet is the last of the whole series, as if it formed the concluding act in the history of the god's exploits, the Last Supper of which he partook before quitting the scene of his earthly labours.304

The banquet a ritual of commemoration.

The mystic hierarchy.

Sacred masquerades.

Remembering that according to the Christian Fathers a sort of communion was celebrated in the Mithraic mysteries305, we can understand why the devotees of the religion set so high a value on this last feast of Mithra and his companions, or should we say his disciples? The sacramental act which the liturgy appears to have prescribed was accomplished in memory of the example set by the Divine Master. This relation between the legend and the ritual is established by a fragmentary relief discovered in Bosnia. It represents two devotees reclining at a table on which loaves are set out: one of them holds a drinking horn: both are in the attitude in which Mithra and the Sun are regularly represented on the other monuments. Round about the two devotees, or rather communicants, are grouped the initiated of various grades in the mystic hierarchy, including the Raven, the Persian, the Soldier, and the Lion, wearing the masks which are appropriate to their names and which they are known from other sources to have worn in the sacred rites.306 A text of St. Jerome, confirmed by a series of inscriptions, informs us that there were seven degrees of initiation in the Mithraic mysteries, and that the initiated took successively the names of the Raven, the Occult, the Soldier, the Lion, the Persian, the Courier of the Sun (heliodromus), and the Father. These strange names were not simply honorary titles. On certain occasions the officiants disguised themselves in costumes appropriate to the names which they bore. These sacred masquerades were variously interpreted by the ancients with reference either to the signs of the zodiac or to the theory of transmigration. Such differences of opinion only prove that the original meaning of the disguises was forgotten. Probably the masquerade was a survival from a time when the gods were supposed to wear or assume the form of animals, and when the worshipper attempted to identify himself with his deity by dressing in the skin and other trappings of the divine creature. Similar survivals in ritual are common in many religions.307

The ascension of Mithra to heaven in the chariot of the Sun.

To complete the history of Mithra we must notice the monuments on which the Sun is represented driving in his chariot, which is drawn by four horses at full gallop. With the left hand he grasps the reins, while he holds out his right hand to Mithra, who approaches to take his place beside the Sun in the chariot: sometimes, indeed, Mithra clings to the arm of the Sun-god as if preparing to leap into the whirling car. Sometimes the Ocean, into which the Sun's chariot descends at night, is indicated by the figure of a bearded man reclining on the ground and leaning on an urn or holding a reed.308 Yet the daily disappearance of the Sun setting in the sea does not suffice to explain this scene nor the part which Mithra plays in it. To understand it we must compare the scenes carved on some Christian sarcophaguses, which present so striking a resemblance to the Mithraic sculptures that the two series can hardly be independent of each other. On the Christian sarcophaguses it is the prophet Elijah who stands erect in his car drawn by four galloping steeds. He grasps the reins with his left hand, while with his right he holds out his mantle to the prophet Elisha, who stands on the ground behind the car. In front of the car, and beneath the rearing steeds, the figure of a bearded man is stretched, leaning with his left arm on an urn from which water is flowing. The reclining figure represents the Jordan, from whose banks the prophet Elijah was swept away to heaven on the chariot and horses of fire. In the light of this parallel we may suppose that Mithra, like the prophet of Israel, his earthly labours over, was believed to have ascended up to heaven in the Sun's bright chariot, though doubtless he was thought still to look down upon and protect the faithful worshippers whom he left behind him on earth. Sic itur ad astra.309

The figures of the two torch-bearers, Cautes and Cautopates, on the Mithraic monuments.

It remains to mention among the Mithraic sculptures two figures which are commonly supposed to be connected with the solar character of Mithra. The great scene of the sacrifice of the bull, which occupied the central place in Mithraic art and probably in Mithraic religion, is regularly flanked by two youthful male figures dressed like Mithra and wearing the usual peaked Phrygian cap. Each of them grasps a burning torch, but one of them holds the burning end of the torch up, while the other turns it down towards the earth. Though they are most commonly represented in the scene of the sacrifice, where they are in a sense the acolytes or satellites of Mithra, yet they also occur in large numbers as detached sculptures. For example, they are found in couples as votive offerings in the usual subterranean sanctuaries. In the scene of the sacrifice they are portrayed as smaller than Mithra, but not disproportionately so, and they are always dressed exactly like him. For the most part they take no part in the sacrifice, but stand motionless as statues, gazing into space or absorbed in the contemplation of the flame of their torch. Sometimes, however, the torch-bearer who stands behind the bull grips the animal's tail below the bunch of ears of corn in which the tail terminates: the gesture seems to indicate that he is about to detach the bunch of cars from the tail.310 Two pairs of statues of these torch-bearers are accompanied by inscriptions, from which we learn that the one who held up his torch was called Cautes, and that the one who held down his torch was called Cautopates. Elsewhere the same names have been found on inscribed pairs of pedestals, though the statues which stood on the pedestals are lost. The addition of the words deus (“god”) to the names in some of the inscriptions proves that both Cautes and Cautopates were regarded as divine.311

The triple Mithra, or the Mithraic Trinity.

The meaning and etymology of these two barbarous names are uncertain, attempts to derive them from the Persian appear to have hitherto failed;312 but from some of the inscriptions in which they occur it seems indubitable that both names are merely epithets of Mithra himself. One of these inscriptions reads, d(eo) i(nvicto) M(ithrae)Cautopati, that is, “To the Unconquered god Mithra Cautopates”, and a certain number of dedications ought to be read similarly.313 Another inscription runs, deo M(ithrae)C(autopati) S(oli) i(nvicto) that is, “To the god Mithra Cautopates, the Unconquered Sun”.314 Hence it would seem that in the great scene of the sacrifice of the bull, which occurs so often in Mithraic art, Mithra is represented thrice over. Now we are told by the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite that the Magians celebrated a festival of the Triple Mithra; and this statement, which has been much discussed, is illustrated by the monuments in question, which represent Mithra in three distinct forms, namely, the central figure of Mithra slaying the bull, flanked by the two torch-bearers Cautes and Cautopates. Hence apparently we are driven to conclude that the sculptor meant to portray a triune god or a single deity at three different moments of his existence.315

Cautes and Cautopates interpreted as the rising and the setting Sun.

This Mithraic trinity has nothing to correspond to it in the religion of Zoroaster, but it may well be of Babylonian origin. Now according to Semitic astrology Mithra is a solar god; hence the two torch-bearers must also be the Sun, but they must represent him under different aspects or at different moments of his course. Perhaps the two youths stand for the brightening or the fading glow of the morning or evening twilight, while the god stabbing the bull between them may represent the splendour of noon. Long ago the learned French antiquary Montfaucon interpreted the three figures of these reliefs as the rising sun, the mid-day sun, and the setting sun. This would explain why in many reliefs the figure of Cautes, who holds up his torch, is accompanied by a cock, the herald of the dawn. So in Greek mythology the cock was regarded as the herald of the Sun and was accounted sacred to him; and Plutarch speaks of an image of Apollo holding a cock in his hand, which he naturally interprets as a symbol of the dawn and sunrise. Similarly in two Mithraic monuments the torch-bearer who holds up his torch in one hand supports a cock on the other. Hence we infer that this youth, named Cautes, was regarded as an emblem of the rising sun, and we may suppose that in the daily liturgy Cautes was invoked at sunrise, the bull-slaying god at noon, and Cautopates at sunset.316

Cautes and Cautopates interpreted as the vernal and the autumnal Sun.

A more recondite theory would explain the two torch-bearers as symbols of the vernal and the autumnal sun respectively, the one waxing and the other waning in power and splendour. In favour of this interpretation it is pointed out that Cautes and Cautopates are sometimes represented holding in their hands, the one the head of a bull, and the other a scorpion; or a bull is seen browsing or resting beside Cautes, while a scorpion crawls at the feet of Cautopates. Now at a very remote date the Bull and the Scorpion were the signs of the zodiac which the sun occupied at the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes respectively, although in classical times, as a consequence of the precession of the equinoxes, the sun had long retrograded to the signs of the Ram and the Balance. It is tempting to conjecture that the traditional emblems of the constellations which once marked the beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn were transmitted from Chaldea to the west and preserved in the symbolism of the mysteries long after they had ceased to correspond with the facts of astronomy.317

Significance of the two torch-bearers.

Be that as it may, we may be fairly certain as to the general significance of the two torch-bearers in Mithraic art. The one who lifts his torch is a personification either of the matutinal or of the vernal sun which mounts higher and higher in the sky and by its growing light and strength imparts fertility to the earth. The other who depresses his torch personifies the declining sun, whether the great luminary appears to haste at evening to his setting, or to sink day by day lower and lower in the autumnal and wintry sky.318

The great scene of the Sacrifice of the Bull on the Mithraic monuments.

Far more obscure and difficult to interpret is the scene of the sacrifice of the bull, which, as we have seen, occupies the central place in Mithraic art, as the sacrifice itself doubtless formed the supreme act in the Mithraic religion. In the crypts, which constituted the Mithraic temples, a sculptured group representing Mithra in the act of slaying the bull was regularly placed at the far end, facing the entrance, in a position corresponding to that which is occupied by the altar in Christian churches. Not only so, but reduced copies of the group were placed, like crucifixes with Christians, in domestic oratories and no doubt in the private apartments of the faithful. The number of reproductions of it which have come down to us is enormous,319 comparable to the number of crucifixes which would be found in the ruins of Europe by the hordes of infidel and iconoclastic invaders which may one day lay the whole fabric of western civilization in the dust.

The ears of corn issuing from the dying bull.

A possible clue to the meaning of the mysterious sacrifice is furnished by certain curious details of the sculptures which represent it. On almost all the monuments the tail of the dying bull ends in a bunch of ears of corn, and on the most ancient of the Italian monuments three ears of corn are distinctly represented issuing instead of blood from the wound in the bull's side.320 The inference seems inevitable that the bull was supposed to contain in itself certain powers of vegetable fertility, which were liberated by its death.

In Avestan cosmogony the slaughter of the primeval ox by Ahriman is the source of all life, both vegetable and animal.

Now according to the ancient Avestan system of cosmogony the primeval ox, created by the Supreme God Ahura Mazda, contained in itself the seeds of all plants and of all animals except man; it was slain by the evil demon Ahriman, but in its death it gave birth to the whole vegetable and animal creation, always with the exception of the human species, which was supposed to have had a different origin. Thus in the Bundahish, an ancient Pahlavi work on cosmology, mythology, and legendary history, we read: “On the nature of the five classes of animals it says in revelation, that, when the primeval ox passed away, there where the marrow came out grain grew up of fifty and five species, and twelve species of medicinal plants grew; as it says that out of the marrow is every separate creature, every single thing whose lodgment is in the marrow. From the horns arose peas, from the nose the leek, from the blood the grape-vine from which they make wine—on this account wine abounds with blood—from the lungs the rue-like herbs, from the middle of the heart thyme for keeping away stench, and every one of the others as revealed in the Avesta. The seed of the ox was carried up to the moon station; there it was thoroughly purified, and produced the manifold species of animals. First, two oxen, one male and one female, and, afterwards, one pair of every single species was let go into the earth.”321 Again, in another passage of the same treatise we read: “As it (the primeval ox) passed away, owing to the vegetable principle proceeding from every limb of the ox, fifty and five species of grain and twelve species of medicinal plants grew forth from the earth, and their splendour and strength were the seminal energy of the ox. Delivered to the moon station, that seed was thoroughly purified by the light of the moon, fully prepared in every way, and produced life in a body. Thence arose two oxen, one male and one female; and, afterwards, two hundred and eighty-two species of each kind became manifest upon the earth.”322

The sacrifice of the bull on the Mithraic monuments may represent the slaughter of the primeval ox.

Hence it seems highly probable that the Mithraic sculpture of the sacrifice of the bull represents the slaughter of the primeval ox, which in dying produced from the various parts of its body the whole vegetable and animal creation, always with the exception of humankind.323 We can now understand why, in the Mithraic group of the slaughter of the bull, the animal is always represented fallen with its head to the right, never to the left. The reason is given in the Bundahish, which tells us that “when the primeval ox passed away it fell to the right hand”.324 Thus we may fairly conclude that in the belief of the Mithraic devotees the slaughter of the primeval ox was a creative act to which plants and animals alike owed their origin. We can therefore understand why the priests should have transferred that beneficent, though painful, act from Ahriman, the evil spirit, to Mithra, the good and beneficent god. In this way Mithra apparently came to be deemed the creator and source of life, as indeed he is described in a passage of Porphyry.325 Thus the sad and solemn scene which always met the eyes of Mithraic worshippers in the apse at the far end of their temples commemorated the consummation of the great sacrifice which in ages gone by had given life and fertility to the world.326

Mazdean doctrine of the future resurrection of all the dead to be accomplished by a Saviour of Redeemer by means of the slaughter of an ox and a magic potion.

The Last Judgment.

But perhaps the sight of the tragic group in the religious gloom of the vaulted temple awakened in the minds of the worshippers other thoughts which moved them still more deeply.327 For it is probable, we are told, that in the Mithraic religion the cosmogonic myths were correlated with the ideas entertained by the Magians as to the end of the world. In fact, the two sets of beliefs present a resemblance which is naturally explained by the identity of their origin, if we suppose that both narratives are variants of a single primitive theme. We know, both from Greek writers and the Mazdean scriptures, that the ancient Persians believed in a resurrection of the dead at the end of this present world. Thus the Greek historian. Theopompus recorded that according to the Magians men would come to life again and be immortal.328 According to Aeneas of Gaza, in his treatise on the immortality of the soul, “Zoroaster predicts that a time will come in which there will be a resurrection of all the dead”.329 The statements of these Greek writers are amply confirmed by the sacred books of the ancient Persian religion, which explicitly teach the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, good and bad alike, at the end of the present dispensation. They predict that in these last days there will arise a Redeemer or Saviour named Soshyans or Saoshyant, who will be the agent of the resurrection.330 He it is, we are told, “who makes the evil spirit impotent, and causes the resurrection and future existence”.331 In the task of bringing the dead to life the Redeemer will be assisted by fifteen men and fifteen damsels, and their labours will last for seven and fifty years. Now the way in which they will bring about the resurrection is this. They will slay an ox called Hadhayos, and from the fat of that ox and the sacred white hom or haoma (the equivalent of the Sanscrit soma) they will prepare an ambrosia (hûsh), and they will give it to all men, and all men will drink of it and become immortal for ever and ever. Then will all men stand up, the righteous and the wicked alike. Every human creature will arise, each on the spot where he died. The souls of the dead will resume their former bodies and they will gather in one place, and they will know those whom they knew formerly in life. They will say, “This is my father, and this is mother, and this is my brother, and this is my wife, and these are some other of my nearest relations”. They will come together with the greatest affection, father and son and brother and friend, and they will ask one another, saying, “Where hast thou been these many years? and what was the judgment upon thy soul? hast thou been righteous or wicked?” And all will join with one voice and praise aloud the Lord God Almighty (Ahura Mazda) and the archangels. There in that assembly, which no man can number, all men will stand together, and every man will see his own good deeds and his own evil deeds, and in that assembly a wicked man will be as plain to see as a white sheep among black. In that day the wicked man who was a friend of a righteous man will make his moan, saying, “Why, when he was in the world, did he not make me acquainted with the good deeds which he practised himself?” Afterwards they will separate the righteous from the wicked, and the righteous will be carried up to heaven, but the wicked will be cast down into hell. For at the bidding of the Lord God Almighty (Ahura Mazda), the Redeemer and his assistants will give to every man the reward and recompense of his deeds.332

Mithra as the Saviour, and the sacrifice of the bull as the supreme event in the history of the world.

Hence it would seem that Mithra succeeded to the place which in the old Persian religion had been occupied by Soshyans or Saoshyant, the Redeemer or Saviour. Thus in the belief of his worshippers “the sacrifice of the divine bull was in truth the great event in the history of the world, the event which stands alike at the beginning of the ages and at the consummation of time, the event which is the source at once of the earthly life and of the life eternal. We can therefore understand why among all the sacred imagery of the mysteries the place of honour was reserved for the representation of this supreme sacrifice, and why always and everywhere it was exposed in the apse of the temples to the adoration of the worshippers.”333 On the minds of worshippers, seated in the religious gloom of the subterranean temple, the mournful scene of the slaughter of the bull, dimly discerned at the far end of the sanctuary, was doubtless well fitted to impress solemn thoughts, not only of the great sacrifice which in days long gone by had been the source of life on earth, but also of that other great sacrifice, still to come, on which depended all their hopes of a blissful immortality.

The taurobolium or baptism of bull's blood for the washing away of sins and the rebirth to eternal life.

The rite was no part of the regular Mithraic worship, but was often observed by Mithraic devotees.

A rite which presents a superficial resemblance to the sacrifice of the bull in the Mithraic religion was the ceremony known as a taurobolium. This strange sacrament consisted essentially in a baptism or bath of bull's blood, which was believed to wash away sin, and from which the devotee was supposed to emerge born again to eternal life. Crowned with gold and wreathed with fillets, the candidate for the new birth descended into a pit, the mouth of which was covered with a wooden grating. A bull, adorned with garlands off lowers, its forehead plastered with gold leaf, was then driver on to the grating and there slaughtered with a sacred spear. Its hot reeking blood poured through the grating on the worshipper in the pit, who received it with devout eagerness on every part of his person and garments, till at last he emerged gory from head to foot, and received the homage, nay, the adoration, of his fellows as one who had been born again to eternal life and had washed away his sins in the blood of the bull.334 It does not appear that this baptism of blood ever formed part of the regular Mithraic ritual. The many inscriptions which mention it, with the exception of one which appears to be forged, explicitly refer the rite to the worship of the Great Mother and Attis.335 Yet worshippers of Mithra are known to have some times submitted to the repulsive rite; for we possess the dedication of an altar to the Mother of the Gods and Attis by a certain Sextilius Agesilaus Aedesius, who describes himself as Father of Fathers in the religion of the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra, and at the same time claims to have been “born again to eternal life by the sacrifice of a bull and a ram”.336 But the Father of Fathers ranked as the highest dignitary, a sort of little pope, in the Mithraic hierarchy;337 accordingly we can hardly doubt that the example set by so exalted a prelate was often followed by the inferior clergy. In fact, we hear of another Father of Fathers who boasted, with honest pride, that not only he himself but his wife also, with whom he lived for forty years, had been washed in the blood of the bull.338 Another high dignitary of the Mithraic church was the Father of the Sacred Rites, though presumably he ranked below the supreme pontiff, the Father of Fathers.339 Two of these Fathers of Sacred Rites similarly bragged of having been regenerated by the application of bull's blood.340 Again, one of the inferior clergy, a simple Father and Sacred Herald of the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra, records that he too had partaken of the sacrament of the bull. This last prelate would seem to have mixed up his religions in a very liberal spirit, for, apart from the preferments which he held in the Mithraic communion, he informs us that he was priest of Isis, hierophant of Hecate, and arch-cowkeeper of the god Liber, who apparently laid himself out for cattle-breeding. And far from being ashamed of having been drenched with the blood of the slaughtered bull, this reverend pluralist prayed that he might live to repeat the performance twenty years later;341 for though in theory the blood was supposed to regenerate the votary for ever, it seems that in practice its saving efficacy could not safely be trusted to last longer than twenty years at the most, after which the sacrament had to be repeated.342 Thus we may conclude that the worshippers of Mithra were often glad to practise a barbarous rite which, though it formed no part of their own religious service, yet served to remind them of that supreme sacrifice to which they attached the deepest importance as being nothing less than the great central fact in the history of the world.

The Christian Fathers of the similarities between Mithraism and Christianity.

Tertullian on the Soldier's Crown.

The striking similarities which may be traced in certain points between Mithraism and Christianity were clearly perceived by the Christian Fathers; indeed we are indebted to their writings for our knowledge of some of the parallels which otherwise might have been forgotten. In accordance with their general theory of the world, they explained the resemblances as wiles of the devil, who sought to beguile poor souls by a spurious imitation of the true faith. Thus Justin Martyr tells us that in the mysteries of Mithra the evil spirits mimicked the eucharist by setting before the initiates a loaf of bread and a cup of water with certain forms of words.343 But the Father who appears to have possessed the most intimate knowledge of Satan and the greatest skill in unmasking him under all his disguises, was Tertullian, and to his ruthless exposure of the great Enemy of Mankind we are indebted for certain particulars which, but for his scathing denunciation, might long have been consigned to the peaceful limbo of oblivion. Thus in his essay on The Soldier's Crown he reveals some points in the curious ritual observed when a Mithraic votary was promoted to the rank of soldier in the sacred hierarchy, for Mithraism had its Salvation Army. The ceremony took place in one of the crypts which formed the regular Mithraic temples. There a crown was offered to the candidate on the point of a sword, and a pretence was made of placing it on his head; but he was instructed to wave it aside and to say that his crown was Mithra. Thus was his constancy put to the proof, and he was counted a true soldier of Mithra if he cast down the crown and said that his crown was his god.344 This, according to Tertullian, was a diabolic counterfeit of the conduct of a true Christian who should learn to despise the glories of this frail fleeting world in the prospect of a better world that will last for ever. “What hast thou to do,” asks the Father in a glow of religious emotion, “what hast thou to do with flowers that fade? Thou hast a flower from the rod of Jesse, a flower on which hath rested the whole grace of the Holy Spirit, a flower incorruptible, unfading, eternal.” He reminds the Christian soldier of the Spirit's promise: “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life”;345 and he recalls the boast of the great Apostle of the Gentiles uttered when the time of his departure was at hand: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”346

The Mithraic rites of baptism and the eucharist.

The Mithraic rite of the resurrection.

Further, we learn from Tertullian that among the Mithraic rites there was a species of baptism at which remission of sins was promised to the initiate at the baptismal font. This also, according to Tertullian, was a device of Satan, whose cue it is to invert the truth by aping the holy sacraments in the mysteries of idols.347 In further proof of the craft and subtlety of the devil Tertullian adds: “And if I remember aright, Mithra marks his soldiers on their foreheads: he celebrates the offering of bread: he enacts a parody of the resurrection; and he redeems the crown at the point of the sword. Nay more, he enacts that his high priest shall marry but once, and he has his virgins and celibates.”348 Here “the offering of bread” obviously refers to the same sacrament of bread and water which Justin Martyr stigmatizes as a diabolic imitation of the eucharist. The virgins and celibates of Mithra appear to have anticipated the nuns and monks of Christianity. It is not so certain what “the parody of the resurrection” alludes to. But from the words which Lampridius uses in describing the profanation of the mysteries by Commodus, it seems clearly to follow that the death of a man by violence was dramatically represented in the mysteries. For the historian says that Commodus “polluted the Mithraic rites with a real homicide, whereas the custom in them is only to say or to pretend something that creates an appearance of fright”.349 Again, Zacharias the Scholiast, in a life of the Patriarch Severus of Antioch, which must have been written about 514 A.D., asks, “Why in the mysteries of the Sun do the pretended gods reveal themselves to the initiates only at the moment when the priest produces a sword stained with the blood of a man who has died by violence? It is because they only consent to impart their revelations when they see a man put violently to death by their machinations.”350 The mysteries of the Sun here referred to are probably those of Mithra, but the writer appears to be mistaken in supposing that human sacrifices ever formed part of the Mithraic ritual.351 All that we can safely infer from his testimony, confirmed by that of Lampridius, is that one of the scenes acted in the mysteries was the pretended killing of a man, and that a bloody sword was produced in proof that the slaughter had actually been perpetrated. We may conjecture that the supposed dead man was afterwards brought to life, and that this was the parody of the resurrection which Tertullian denounced as a device of the devil.

The date of Christ's Nativity shifted by the Church from January 6th (Old Christmas) to December 25th, the old pagan festival of the Birth of the Sun.

If the Mithraic mysteries were indeed a Satanic copy of a divine original, we are driven to conclude that Christianity took a leaf out of the devil's book when it fixed the birth of the Saviour on the twenty-fifth of December; for there can be no doubt that the day in question was celebrated as the birthday of the Sun by the heathen before the Church, by an afterthought, arbitrarily transferred the Nativity of its Founder from the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December.352 From the calendar of Philocalus, which was drawn up at Rome about 354 A.D., we learn that the twenty-fifth of December was celebrated as the birthday of the Unconquered Sun by games in the circus.353 These games are mentioned by the Emperor Julian, who tells us that they were performed with great magnificence in honour of the Unconquered Sun immediately after the end of the Saturnalia in December.354 The motives which induced the ecclesiastical authorities to transfer the festival of Christmas from the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December are explained with great frankness by a Syrian scholiast on Bar Salibi. He says: “The reason why the fathers transferred the celebration of the sixth of January to the twenty-fifth of December was this. It was a custom of the heathen to celebrate on the same twenty-fifth of December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and festivities the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day and the festival of the Epiphany on the sixth of January. Accordingly, along with this custom, the practice has prevailed of kindling fires until the sixth.”355 The custom of holding a festival of the Sun on the twenty-fifth of December persisted in Syria among the pagans down at least to the first half of the sixth century, for a Syriac writer of that period, Thomas of Edessa, in a treatise on the Nativity of Christ, informs us that at the winter solstice “the heathen, the worshippers of the elements, to this day everywhere celebrate annually a great festival, for the reason that then the sun begins to conquer and to extend his kingdom”. But the pious writer adds that, though the power of the Sun waxes from that day, it will afterwards wane again; whereas, “Holy Church celebrates the festival of the Nativity of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who begins to conquer error and Satan, and will never wane”.356 This opposition between the natural Sun of the heathen and the metaphorical Sun of Righteousness of the Christians is a rhetorical commonplace of ecclesiastical writers, who make use of it particularly with reference to the Nativity.357 The pagan origin of Christmas is plainly hinted at, if not tacitly admitted, by St. Augustine in a sermon wherein he exhorts his Christian brethren not to solemnize that day like the heathen on account of the sun, but on account of Him who made the sun.358 Similarly Leo the Great rebuked the pestilent belief of those who thought that Christmas was to be observed for the sake of the birth of the new sun, as it was called, and not for the sake of the Nativity of Christ.359

Worship of the Sun embraced by the Emperor Julian.

The last stand for the worship of the Sun in antiquity was made by the Emperor Julian. In a rhapsody addressed to the orb of day the grave and philosophic emperor professes himself a follower of King Sun.360 He declares that the Sun is the common Father of all men, since he begat us and feeds us and gives us all good things;361 there is no single blessing in our lives which we do not receive from him, either perfect from him alone, or at the hand of the other gods perfected by him.362 And Julian concludes his enthusiastic panegyric with a prayer that the Sun, the King of the Universe, would be gracious to him, granting him, as a reward for his pious zeal, a virtuous life and more perfect wisdom, and in due time an easy and peaceful departure from this life, that he might ascend to his God in heaven, there to dwell with him for ever.363 However the deity to whom he prayed may have granted him a virtuous life, he withheld from his worshipper the boon of an easy and peaceful end. It was in the press of battle that this last imperial votary of the Sun received his mortal wound and met a most painful death with the fortitude of a hero and the serenity of a saint.364 With him the sun of pagan and imperial Rome set not ingloriously.

  • 1.

    See above, p. 315, with the references.

  • 2.

    Speaking of the Melanesian religion, Dr. Codrington, our highest authority on the subject, observes that “there is no appearance of a belief that any heavenly bodies are living beings; in the Banks Islands the Sun and Moon are thought to be rocks or islands” (The Melanesians, Oxford, 1891, p. 348). In San Cristoval, one of the Solomon Islands, Mr. C. E. Fox has recently recorded some connexions supposed to exist between the clan of the chiefs and the sun, and in these connexions he finds “many traces of sun-worship”; but, so far as I have observed, he has reported no case of actual sun-worship, that is, of prayer and sacrifice offered to the great luminary. See C. F. Fox, The Threshold of the Pacific, (London, 1924), pp. 239 sq 363.

  • 3.

    Speaking of the Tahitians, a typical Polynesian people, William Ellis, who knew them well at a time when they were still but little modified by European influence, remarked, “I am not aware that they rendered divine homage either to the sun or moon” (Polynesian Researches, Second Edition, London, 1832–1836, iii. 171). Mr. Elsdon Best, a high authority on Maori religion and lore, believes that a worship of the sun formerly existed in Polynesia, though he admits that “there is but little direct evidence” of its former existence, and indeed that the Maoris “did not practise a direct worship of the sun”. His theory of a former prevalence of sun-worship in Polynesia is based on his view of the god Tane, whom he interprets as a personification of the sun. But this interpretation seems not to be generally accepted by the Maoris; for Mr. Best tells us that “apparently the people on the whole were not aware that Tane represents the sun, and it was only when we gained a closer knowledge of native myths that we recognised in him a personified form of the sun…Fornander, of Hawaii, gave many proofs in his work on the Polynesian race that Tane represents the sun, yet he makes in that work the statement that solar worship had faded from the Polynesian mind since the race entered the Pacific.” See Elsdon Best, The Maori (Wellington, N. Z., 1924), i. 275 sq. The late Dr. Rivers, indeed, propounded a far-reaching theory of a secret sun-worship in the Pacific, but the theory rested on the extremely doubtful evidence of a single writer (J. A. Moerenhout). See The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, ii. 119, 266, note4, 286, note5 If the Polynesians ever had a secret worship of the sun, the secret was so well kept that it has never leaked out.

  • 4.

    Adolf Bastian, Die Voelker des Oestlichen Asien, iv. (Jena, 1868) p. 175.

  • 5.

    A. Barth, The Religions of India (London, 1882), pp. 20, 165 sq.; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 (London, 1884) pp. 155 sqq.; A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology (Strassburg, 1897), pp. 30-35; E. W. Hopkins, The Religions of India (London, 1896), pp. 40-50; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda (London, etc., 1923), pp. 266-278.

  • 6.

    J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 155 sq.

  • 7.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 30.

  • 8.

    Rig-veda, x. 43. 5.

  • 9.

    Rig-veda, i. 175. 4, iv. 28. 2, iv. 30. 4, v. 29. 10; A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 31; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 159.

  • 10.

    J. Muir, op. cit. V.3 156; A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 30.

  • 11.

    Rig-veda, x. 37. 1.

  • 12.

    Rig-veda, vii. 75. 5.

  • 13.

    Rig-veda, vii. 78. 3.

  • 14.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 30; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 157.

  • 15.

    J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 157.

  • 16.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 31.

  • 17.

    Rig-veda, x. 85. 1.

  • 18.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 31.

  • 19.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 31.

  • 20.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 31.

  • 21.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 30.

  • 22.

    Rig-veda, i. 50; Hymns of the Rigveda, translated with a popular commentary by R. T. H. Griffith (Benares, 1889–1892), vol. i. pp. 88 sq.

  • 23.

    The Golden Bough, Part I. The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, i. 79 sqq.

  • 24.

    Atharva-veda, i. 22 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xlii., Hymns of the Atharva-veda, translated by M. Bloomfield, Oxford, 1897, pp. 7 sq., with the commentary, pp. 263-265).

  • 25.

    R. V. Russell, Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India (London, 1916), iv. 224.

  • 26.

    Rig-veda, x. 37 (Hymns of the Rigveda, translated by R. T. H. Griffith, vol. iv. pp. 176 sq.).

  • 27.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 34. The god's name is spelled Savitr by Macdonell, Savitri by A. Barth (Religions of India, p. 20) and J. Muir (Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 162), and Savitar by R. T. H. Griffith (Hymns of the Rigveda, vol. i. p. 64). A. Kaegi (Der Rigveda2, Leipzig, 1881, p. 40), E. W. Hopkins (Religions of India, p. 46), and H. D. Griswold (The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 270 sqq.).

  • 28.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 34; A. Kaegi, Der Rigveda2, p. 79; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 275-277.

  • 29.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 32; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 162; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, p. 273.

  • 30.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 32 sq.; compare J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 162-164; E. W. Hopkins, Religions of India, pp. 46-50.

  • 31.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 33 sq.; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 273 sq. The evening hymn, as we may call it, to the Sun-god Savitri is Rig-veda, ii. 38. In the text I have borrowed some touches from it.

  • 32.

    A. A. Macdonell, “Sanskrit Literature”, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1909) pp. 213 sq.

  • 33.

    A. A. Macdonell, “Sanskrit Literature”, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1909), p. 213; id., Vedic Mythology, p. 29. For the hymn to Mitra, see Rig-veda, iii. 59. On Mitra as a Sun-god, see H. Oldenberg, Religion des Veda, pp. 185 sqq.; L. von Schroeder, Arische Religion, I. Einleitung. Der altarische Himmelsgott (Leipzig, 1923), pp. 367 sqq. (who rejects the view, which he formerly accepted, that Mitra was originally a Sun-god); H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 114-121.

  • 34.

    F. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde (Leipzig, 1871–1878), ii. 86; J. Darmestetes, Ormazd et Ahriman (Paris, 1877), pp. 67 sq.; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 71; E. W. Hopkins, The Religions of India, pp. 57 sq.; Franz Cumont, Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra (Bruxelles, 1896–1899, i. 223 sq.; L. von Schroeder, Arische Religion, I. Einleitung. Der altarische Himmelsgott, pp. 367 sqq.; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rig-veda, pp. 114 sqq.

  • 35.

    This is the view of Fr. Spiegel (Erânische Allerthumskunde, ii. 77 sqq.), A. Barth (The Religions of India, p. 19), J. Darmesteter (Ormazd et. Ahriman, pp. 62 sqq., 72 sq.), and F. Cumont (Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra, i. 223 sqq.).

  • 36.

    L. von Schroeder, Arische Religion, I. Einleitung. Der altarische Himmelsgott, pp. 372 sq.; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 116 sq.

  • 37.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 35-37; id., “Sanskrit Literature”, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1909), p. 214; A. Barth, The Religions of India, p. 20; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 171 sqq.; A. Kaegi, Der Rigveda2, pp. 77 sq.; E. W. Hopkins, The Religions of India, pp. 50 sqq.; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 278-282. As to the Greek Sun-god Helios and his cattle, see below, pp. 466 sqq.

  • 38.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 37.

  • 39.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 37-39; id., “Sanskrit Literature”, The Imperial Gazetteer of India, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1909), p. 214. Compare E. W. Hopkins, The Religions of India, pp. 56 sq.; A. Kaegi, Der Rigveda2, pp. 78 sq.; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 282-285.

  • 40.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 49.

  • 41.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 46; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, p. 244.

  • 42.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 48; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 190 sq.

  • 43.

    J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 195; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 249 sq.

  • 44.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 46 sq.; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rig-veda, p. 247.

  • 45.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, p. 47; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V.3 194. As to Dawn (Ushas), see also A. Kaegi, Der Rigveda2, pp. 73-76; J. W. Hopkins, The Religions of India, pp. 73-80; H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 244-254.

  • 46.

    Rig-veda, i. hymns 48, 49, 92, 113, 124; iii. hymn 61; iv. hymns 51, 52; v. hymns 79, 80; vi. hymns 64, 65; vii. hymns 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81; x. hymn 172.

  • 47.

    Rig-veda, i. 113 (Hymns of the Rigveda, translated with a popular commentary by R. T. H. Griffith, vol. i. pp. 195-198). Portions of this and of other two hymns, addressed to Ushas, the Dawn, are translated by J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, vol. V.3 pp. 181-190, and by H. D. Griswold, The Religion of the Rigveda, pp. 244 sqq.

  • 48.

    Herodotus, i. 131. See above, p. 32.

  • 49.

    Herodotus, i. 138.

  • 50.

    Herodotus, vii. 37.

  • 51.

    Herodotus, vii. 54. As to the scourging of the Hellespont, see id. vii. 35.

  • 52.

    Herodotus, vii. 40, 55.

  • 53.

    J. Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman (Paris, 1877), p. 25.

  • 54.

    Xenophon, Cyropaedia, viii. 3. 12. According to Quintus Curtius (iii. 3. 7) the sacred chariot of Jupiter (Zeus) was followed by a great horse called the horse of the Sun.

  • 55.

    Xenophon, l.c.

  • 56.

    Xenophon, Cyropaedia, viii. 3. 24.

  • 57.

    Pausanias, iii. 20. 4; Philostratus, Vit. Apollon. i. 31. 2; Ovid, Fasti, i. 385 sq.

  • 58.

    Xenophon, Anabasis, iv. 5. 34 sq.

  • 59.

    Herodotus, i. 216; Strabo, xi. 8. 6. As to the ethnical affinities of the Massagetae, see (Sir) E. H. Bunbury, History of Ancient Geography.2 (London, 1883). ii. 224 note9. Humboldt was of opinion that the Massagetae belonged to the Indo-European family. If he was right, they may have been Iranians.

  • 60.

    See below, pp. 476, 484.

  • 61.

    Xenophon, Cyropaedia, viii. 7. 3.

  • 62.

    Agatharchides Samius, in Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, ed. C. Müller, iii. 197.

  • 63.

    G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 22 (vol. i. pp. 20 sq.); Ch. Michel, Recueil d’ Inscriptions Grecques (Bruxelles, 1900), No. 32, p. 39.

  • 64.

    Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 66 sq.

  • 65.

    A. A. Macdonell, Vedic Mythology, pp. 31 sq.

  • 66.

    Zend-Avesta, Part III. translated by L. H. Mills (Oxford, 1887), p. 199 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxxi.).

  • 67.

    A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische Religion”, in W. Geiger und E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. (Strassburg, 1896–1904), p. 649.

  • 68.

    Yazatas are an inferior order of divinities or angels. See Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 41; A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische Religion”, in W. Geiger and E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. p. 632; J. H. Moulton, Early Zoro-astrianism, p. 432.

  • 69.

    The old Iranians divided the earth into seven or three quarters or regions (karshvares). See Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, i. 189.

  • 70.

    The Yâtus include both human sorcerers and demon sorcerers. See Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 146-148; J. Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman, pp. 174 sq.; A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische Religion”, in W. Geiger and E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. 665; J. H. Moulton, Early Zoro-astrianism, p. 209.

  • 71.

    The Pairikas are wicked fairy women who seduce men by their beauty. See Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 138 sq.; J. Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman, pp. 174 sq.; A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische Religion”, in W. Geiger und E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. 665.

  • 72.

    The Amesha-Spentas or Amsha-spands, as they are called in later Persian, whose name signifies “the Immortal Holy Ones”, are the deities who rank below Ahura Mazda; they may be described as archangels. Their number is six or, if Ahura Mazda is included among them, seven. They are deified abstractions and therefore of comparatively late origin rather than ancient deities of nature. See Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 28 sqq.; A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische Religion”, in W. Geiger und E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. 633 sq. Plutarch tells us that Oromasdes (Ahura Mazda), created six gods, who are doubtless the Amesha-Spentas, though Plutarch does not name them so. See Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, 47.

  • 73.

    Zend-Avesta, Part II. translated by James Darmesteter, pp. 85-87 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxiii.).

  • 74.

    Zend-Avesta, Part II. translated by James Darmesteter, pp. 349-351 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xxiii.). The kosti, as the modern Parsees call it, was the sacred cord with which, at about the age of fifteen, every worshipper of Ahura Mazda was solemnly girt as a token of his membership of the religious community. It was worn constantly both by men and women during the day and only laid aside at night. In later times the investiture with the sacred cord took place earlier than in the fifteenth year. See Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, iii. 578, 700 sq.: W. Geiger, Ostiranische Kultur im Altertum (Erlangen, 1882), pp. 238 sq.

  • 75.

    See below, pp. 503 sqq.

  • 76.

    On this subject see F. G. Welcker, Griechische Götterlehre (Göttingen, 1857–1863), i. 400-413; L. Preller, Griechische Mythologie, i.4, ed. C. Robert, pp. 429-440; Rapp, s.v. “Helios”, in W. H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, i. coll. 1993-2026; E. Cahen, s.v. “Sol”, in Daremberg et Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 2, pp. 1373-1381; Jessen, s.v. “Helios”, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, viii. 1, coll. 58-93; L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, v. (Oxford, 1909) pp. 417-420.

  • 77.

    Homeric Hymn, xxxi. In line 11 I accept Pierson's emendation, πϵρὶ κροτάΦοισί τ᾽ ἔθϵιραι for the manuscript reading παρὰ κροτͱΦων τϵ παρϵιαί.

  • 78.

    A. Baumeister, Denkmäler des klassischen Altertums, i. 639, fig. 710; W. H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und romischen Mythologie, i. 2005-2006. For evidence of the chariot and horses of the Sun in Greek literature and art, see further Rapp, op. cit. coll. 1998 sq., 2005-2009; Jessen, op. cit. coll. 88-90.

  • 79.

    Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 62-89. The chariot and horses of the Sun are also mentioned in Homeric Hymn to Hermes, 68 sq.

  • 80.

    Homer, Iliad, iii. 275-280; Odyssey, xi. 109, xii. 323.

  • 81.

    Homer, Iliad, xix. 257 sqq.

  • 82.

    Euripides, Medea, 745-753.

  • 83.

    Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, iv. 1019 sq.

  • 84.

    Julian, Epist. 38, vol. ii. p. 536 ed. Hertlein.

  • 85.

    See above, pp. 325-327.

  • 86.

    Aeschylus, Prometheus, 88-92.

  • 87.

    Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1323-1326.

  • 88.

    Aeschylus, Choephor. 983-989.

  • 89.

    Sophocles, Electra, 825 sq.

  • 90.

    Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, 1424-1431.

  • 91.

    Sophocles, Oedipus Coloneus, 868-870. For the scene and time of the play, see Jebb's Introduction to his edition (Cambridge, 1900), p. xii.

  • 92.

    Euripides, Medea, 1251-1254.

  • 93.

    Sophocles, Ajax, 845-857. I have shortened the passage.

  • 94.

    Athenaeus, xi. 38-39, pp. 469-470, quoting Pisander, Panyasis, Stesichorus, Antimachus, Aeschylus, and Mimnermus. The poem of Mimnermus is given also by Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci, ii.3 p. 412, frag. 12.

  • 95.

    Pherecydes, quoted by Athenaeus, xi. 39, p. 470 C.

  • 96.

    Pherecydes, quoted by Athenaeus, xi. 39. p. 470 C-D; compare Apollodorus, ii. 5. 10; Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Argon. iv. 1396.

    In a late vase-painting the Sun and the Dawn, mounted on a four-horse car, are seen transported across the sea in a ship, not a goblet. See F. G. Welcker, Antike Denkmäler, iii. taf. x. 1; E. Gerhard, Gesammelte akademische Abhandlungen (Berlin, 1866–1868), taf. vii. 3.

  • 97.

    Apollodorus, ii. 5. 10.

  • 98.

    Homer, Od. xii. 127-136. Compare Apollonios Rhodius, Argon, iv. 964-979. According to the historian Timaeus (quoted by a scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Argon. iv. 965), the island of Thrinacia was Sicily, which was so called on account of its triangular shape. But more probably the island was purely mythical.

  • 99.

    Homer, Od. xii. 379 sq.

  • 100.

    Homer, Od. xi. 104-115, xii. 127-141.

  • 101.

    Homer, Od. xii. 260-425; compare Apollodorus, Epit. vii. 22 sq.

  • 102.

    Scholiast on Homer, Od. xii. 129; Eustathius on Homer, Od. xii. 130, p. 1717.

  • 103.

    Scholiast on Homer, Od. xii. 129.

  • 104.

    Lucian, De astrologia, 22.

  • 105.

    F. G. Welcker, Griechische Götterlehre (Göttingen, 1857–1862), i. 404-406.

  • 106.

    Apollonius Rhodius, Argon. iv. 964-978.

  • 107.

    Homer, Od. xii. 379 sq.

  • 108.

    Apollodorus, i. 6. 1.

  • 109.

    Apollodorus, ii. 5. 10 ϵῑχϵ δϵ` Φοινικα̂ς βЬας.

  • 110.

    W. H. Roscher, Hermes der Windgott (Leipzig, 1878), p. 44; Rapp, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, i. 2018 sq.

  • 111.

    Appian, Bell. Civ. v. 116.

  • 112.

    Homeric Hymn to the Pythian Apollo, 233-235.

  • 113.

    Servius, on Virgil, Ecl. vi. 60.

  • 114.

    Herodotus, ix. 93-94.

  • 115.

    Homer, Od. x. 139 sq.; Hesiod, Theog. 956 sq.; Apollodorus, i. 9. 1, iii. 1. 2, Epit. vii. 14; Apollonius Rhodius, Argon. iv. 591; Hyginus, Fab. 156 and preface p. 31 ed. Bunte.

  • 116.

    Rapp, s.v. “Helios”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, i. 2016 sq.; Jessen, s.v. “Helios”, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, viii. 1. coll. 78-80.

  • 117.

    That the Sun (Helios) and Moon (Selene) were regarded as husband and wife has been maintained, for example, by W. H. Roscher. See his Selene und Verwandtes (Leipzig, 1890), pp. 75 sqq.; id., s.v. “Mondgöttin”, in Ausführ. Lexikon der griech. und röm. Mythologie, ii. coll. 3157 sqq. Compare The Golden Bough, Part III. The Dying God, pp. 87 sqq.; and especially A. B. Cook, Zeus, i. (Cambridge, 1914) pp. 521 sqq.

  • 118.

    Homer, Od. x. 137-139; Hesiod, Theog. 956 sq.; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 45. 1; Apollodorus, i. 9. 1; Hyginus, Fab. 156 and p. 31 ed. Bunte.

  • 119.

    Homer, Od. x. 135-139; Hesiod, Theog. 956 sq.; Apollodorus, i. 9. 1, Epit. vii. 14; Hyginus, Fab. 156 and p. 31 ed. Bunte. According to Diodorus Siculus (iv. 45. 3), Circe was a daughter of Aeëtes and therefore granddaughter of the Sun.

  • 120.

    Apollonius Rhodius, Argon. iii. 999; Apollodorus, i. 9. 1, iii. 1. 2; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 60. 4; Pausanias, v. 25. 9; Hyginus, Fab. 40 and 156.

  • 121.

    Homer, Od. x. 137.

  • 122.

    Diodorus Siculus, iv. 45. 1.

  • 123.

    Diodoros Siculus, iv. 46-47. According to Hyginus (Fab. 22), Aeëtes had received an oracle that he would reign as long as the Golden Fleece, which Phrixus had dedicated, should remain in the temple of Mars.

  • 124.

    Diodorus Siculus, iv. 45. 3-5. The Italian home of Circe naturally found favour with Italian poets (Virgil, Aen. vii. 10 sqq.; Ovid, Metamorph. xiv. 8-10).

  • 125.

    Homer, Od. x. 210-243; Ovid, Metamorph. xiv. 245-307. According to Apollodorus (Epit. vii. 15), she turned some of the comrades of Ulysses into swine, some into wolves, some into asses, and some into lions.

  • 126.

    Apollodorus, iii. 15. 8; Ovid, Metamorph. ix. 735-740.

  • 127.

    Apollodorus, iii. 15. 1; Antoninus Liberalis, Transform. 41.

  • 128.

    Apollodorus, iii. 1. 2.

  • 129.

    Apollodorus, Epit. i. 17-19; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 62; Pausanias, i. 22. 1 sq., ii. 1-4; Hyginus, Fab. 47; Ovid, Metamorph. xv. 497 sqq.

  • 130.

    Hesiod, Theog. 958-962; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 45. 3; Apollodorus, i. 9. 23; Hyginus, Fab. 25.

  • 131.

    Diodorus Siculus, iv. 46. 1.

  • 132.

    Apollodorus, i. 9. 23 sq. The murder of Apsyrtus is otherwise related by Apollonius Rhodius (Argon. iv. 224 sq., 303-481), the Orphic poet (Argonautica, 1027 sqq.), and Hyginus (Fab. 23). See my note on Apollo, dorus, l.c.

  • 133.

    Apollodorus, i. 9. 27; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 50-52; Pausanias, viii. 11. 2 sq.; Hyginus, Fab. 24; Ovid, Metamorph. vii. 297-349.

  • 134.

    Apollodorus, i. 9. 28; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 54; Hyginus, Fab. 25. These events are the subject of Euripides’ great tragedy, Medea.

  • 135.

    Apollodorus, i. 9. 28; Diodorus Siculus, iv. 56. 1; Hyginus, Fab. 27.

  • 136.

    Homer, Il. iii. 103 sq.

  • 137.

    Homer, Il. xix. 196 sq., 249-268.

  • 138.

    Plato, Laws, x. 3, pp. 887 C. 888 D.

  • 139.

    Plato, Symposium, 36, p. 220 C D.

  • 140.

    Lucian, De saltatione, 17.

  • 141.

    Lucian, Patriae encomium, 6.

  • 142.

    Plutarch, Adversus Coloten, 27.

  • 143.

    Plato, Apolog. 14, p. 26 C-E.

  • 144.

    See above; p. 469.

  • 145.

    Pausanias, iii. 20. 4. According to Festus (s.v. “October equus”, p. 190 ed. Lindsay), the Lacedaemonians sacrificed a horse on Mount Taygetus to the winds and burned the body of the animal, in order that the winds should carry the ashes all over the country. This is probably the sacrifice mentioned by Pausanias, though the interpretation of it is different.

  • 146.

    Pausanias, iii. 26. 1.

  • 147.

    Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 1392 (vol. i. p. 671). The other deities associated with the Sun and Moon are Zeus the Counsellor, Aesculapius, and Health. The inscription is of the Imperial age. Compare S. Wide, Lakonische Kulte (Leipzig, 1893), p. 215.

  • 148.

    Pausanias, viii. 9. 4.

  • 149.

    Pausanias, viii. 31. 7.

  • 150.

    Pausanias, vi. 24. 6.

  • 151.

    Pausanias, v. 1. 9; Apollodorus, ii. 5. 5; Theocritus, xxv. 54; J. Tzetzes, Chiliades, ii. 279 sq.; Hyginus, Fab. 14, p. 42, ed. Bunte.

  • 152.

    Theocritus, xxv. 118 sqq.

  • 153.

    Theocritus, xxv. 85 sqq.

  • 154.

    Theocritus, xxv. 129-131.

  • 155.

    Pausanias. vi. 23. 3.

  • 156.

    Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Argon. i. 587.

  • 157.

    Etymologicum Magnum, s.v.λις, p. 426, lines 17 sqq.

  • 158.

    Pausanias, ii. 34. 10.

  • 159.

    Pausanias, ii. 31. 5.

  • 160.

    Pausanias, ii. 18. 3.

  • 161.

    Pausanias, ii. 11. 1.

  • 162.

    Pausanias, x. 11. 5.

  • 163.

    Stephanus Byzantius, s.vv. ᾽Ηλιούπολις and Κόρινθος.

  • 164.

    Pausanias, ii. 1. 6.

  • 165.

    Pausanias, ii. 4. 6.

  • 166.

    Pausanias, ii. 5. 1.

  • 167.

    Pausanias, ii. 4. 6.

  • 168.

    Pausanias, ii. 3. 2.

  • 169.

    F. Imhoof-Blumer and Percy Gardner, A Numismatic Commentary on Pausanias, p. 22, with Plate F xcvii, xcviii, xcix, c, ci, cii.

  • 170.

    Eumelus, cited by Pausanias, ii. 3. 10.

  • 171.

    Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, iii. Nos. 202, 313; Δελτίον ἀρχαιολογικόν 1889, pp. 19 sq.

  • 172.

    Harpocration, s.v. Σκίρον; Suidas and Photius, Lexicon, s.vv. Σκίρον and Σκίρος; Scholiast on Aristophanes, Knights, 18. As to the festival, compare Aug. Mommsen, Feste der Stadt Athen (Leipzig, 1898), pp. 504 sqq.; and my note on Pausanias, i. 36. 4 (vol. ii. pp. 488 sq.).

  • 173.

    Scholiast on Aristophanes, Knights, 729, and Plutus, 1054. The scholiasts hesitate as usual between λιμός (“dearth”) and λοιμός (”pestilence”) as the motive for the festival. The ripe fruits of the season appear to be decisive in favour of the former interpretation. Compare Aug. Mommsen, Feste der Stadt Athen, pp. 279, 480 sq.

  • 174.

    Porphyry, De abstinentia, ii. 7.

  • 175.

    Polemo, quoted by the Scholiast on Sophocles, Oedipus Coloneus, 100.

  • 176.

    Phylarchus, quoted by Athenaeus, xv. 48, p. 693 E F.

  • 177.

    ᾽Εϕημϵρὶς ἀρχαιολογική, 1885, p. 88; Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, iii. No. 1651; G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 1040; Ch. Michel, Recueil d’ Inscriptions Grecques, No. 672; E. S. Roberts and E. A. Gardner, Introduction to Greek Epigraphy, Part II. (Cambridge, 1905) p. 379, No. 133; J. de Prott et L. Ziehen, Leges Graecorum Sacrae e titulis collectae, p. 71, No. 18.

  • 178.

    W. R. Paton and E. L. Hicks, Inscriptions of Cos (Oxford, 1891), p. 116, No. 64.

  • 179.

    Julian, Or. iv. pp. 135 D, 143 D.

  • 180.

    W. Froehner, Les Inscriptions Grecques du Louvre (Paris, 1880), p. 30, No. 17.

  • 181.

    Jessen, s.v. “Helios”, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, viii. 1. col. 69, referring for the inscription to Fränkel, Inschriften von Pergamon, 330.

  • 182.

    G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum2, No. 754, with Dittenberger's note.

  • 183.

    Diodorus Siculus, v. 56. 3-5. Compare Aristides, Or. xliv. vol. i. p. 840, ed. Dindorf.

  • 184.

    Diodorus Siculus, v. 57. 2.

  • 185.

    Pindar, Olymp. vii. 54-73. Compare Aristides, Or. xliii. vol. i. p. 807 ed. Dindorf.

  • 186.

    Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi Chalces Carpathi cum Saro Casi, ed. F. Hiller de Gaertringen (Berlin, 1895), No. 2, pp. 2 sq.; H. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, No. 3753 (vol. iii. 1. p. 420). Compare Xenophon Ephesius, Ephesiac. v. 10.

  • 187.

    Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi, etc., No. 22, p. 14.

  • 188.

    Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi, etc., No. 892, p. 146; H. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Dialekt-Inschriften, No. 4226 (vol. iii. 1. p. 564); J. de Prott et L. Ziehen, Leges Graecorum Sacrae e titulis collectae, Pars Altera, No. 149, p. 365.

  • 189.

    Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi, etc., Nos. 65, 833 (pp. 32, 132); H. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, Nos. 3756, 3798, 3799, 3800, 3801, 4190 (vol. iii. 1. pp. 422 sq., 460 sq., 552); G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 723 (vol. ii. p. 380).

  • 190.

    P. Cauer, Delectus Inscriptionum Graecarum propter dialectum memorabilium1 (Leipzig, 1883), No. 181, p. 123; Ch. Michel, Recueil d’ Inscriptions Grecques, No. 21, p. 24; H. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, No. 3749 (vol. iii. 1. p. 412).

  • 191.

    G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 723 (vol. ii. p. 380); Ch. Michel, Recueil d’ Inscriptions Gracques, No. 874, pp. 715 sq.; J. de Prott et L. Ziehen, Leges Graecorum Sacrae e titulis collectae, Pars Altera, No. 147, p. 362; Chr. Blinkenberg, La Chronique du Temple Lindien (Copenhagen, 1912), pp. 340, 341; Jessen, s.v. “Helios”, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, viii. 1. coll. 66 sq.

  • 192.

    Athenaeus, xiii. 12, p. 561 E; Aristides, Or. xliii. vol. i. p. 808, ed. Dindorf. Compare Xenophon Ephesius, Ephesiac. v. 11, who mentions a magnificent public festival at Rhodes, including a procession and a sacrifice and attended by a multitude of people. This was no doubt the Halieia. As to the festival compare M. P. Nilsson, Griechische Feste von religiöser Bedeutung mit Ausschluss der attischen (Leipzig, 1906), pp. 427 sq.

  • 193.

    G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 1067 (vol. iii. pp. 222 sq.).

  • 194.

    G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 724 (vol. ii. p. 381); Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi, etc., No. 730, pp. 106 sq.; Ch. Michel, Recueil d’ Inscriptions Grecques, No. 875, pp. 716 sq.; H. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, No. 4135 (vol. iii. 1. p. 530).

  • 195.

    This is the explanation of the name suggested by F. Hiller von Gaertringen (G. Dittenberger, Sylloge2, No. 609 = Sylloge3, No. 724) and accepted by P. Stengel (Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, v. 1. coll. 1151 s.q., s.v. Διπανάμια). Compare G. F. Schoemann, Griechische Alterthümer4 (Berlin, 1897-1902), ii. 557.

  • 196.

    Inscriptiones Graecae Insularum Rhodi, etc., Nos. 72, 73, 74, 75 (pp. 34 sq.); H. Collitz und F. Bechtel, Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, Nos. 3807, 3808, 3809, 3810 (vol. iii. 1. pp. 462-464).

  • 197.

    Festus, s.v. “October equus”, p. 190 ed. Lindsay.

  • 198.

    Festus, l.c.

  • 199.

    Diodorus Siculus, xiii. 75. 1.

  • 200.

    Strabo, xiv. 2. 5 and 9; Harpocration, s.v.Ιπποδάμϵια (as to the name of the architect).

  • 201.

    B. V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1887), pp. 538-542.

  • 202.

    Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxiv. 41. Pliny does not mention the material of which the statue was made; but that the material was bronze is mentioned a poet of the Greek Anthology (Anthologia Palatina, vi. 171), Lucian (Iupiter Tragoedus, 11), Suidas (s.v. Κολοσσαϵι̑ς), a scholiast on Lucian (Icarom. 12), and Hyginus (Fab. 223). The scholiast on Lucian (l.c.) agrees with Pliny in giving the height as sixty cubits, but he erroneously states that the statue was a work of Lysippus. The passages of ancient writers referring to the image are collected by J. Overbeck, Die antiken Schriftquellen zur Geschichte der bildenden Künste bie den Griechen (Leipzig, 1868), Nos. 1539-1554, pp. 291-294.

  • 203.

    Festus, s.v. “Colossus”, p. 50 ed. Lindsay. But according to Hyginus (Fab. 223), the height was ninety feet, which agrees closely with the estimate of sixty cubits.

  • 204.

    Strabo, xiv. 2. 5.

  • 205.

    Polybius, v. 89.

  • 206.

    Strabo, xiv. 2. 5; Hyginus, Fab. 223.

  • 207.

    J. Overbeck, Geschichte der griechischen Plastik4 (Leipzig, 1893-1894), ii. 175.

  • 208.

    J. Overbeck, l.c.

  • 209.

    Lucian, Iupiter Tragoedus, 1-11.

  • 210.

    H. Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker2, i. (Berlin, 1906) p. 108, frag. 20, p. 157, frag. 23.

  • 211.

    Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Cataster. 24, pp. 28 sq. ed. Olivier; scholiast on Caesar Germanicus, Aratca, 273, pp. 404 sq. ed. Eyssenhardt (appended to his edition of Martianus Capella).

  • 212.

    Scholiast on Homer, Il. xviii. 239.

  • 213.

    Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, ed. A. Nauck2, p. 608.

  • 214.

    Cornutus, Theologiae Graecae Compendium, 32.

  • 215.

    Plutarch, De E apud Delphos, 4. Compare id., De defectu oraculorum, 42; id., De latenter vivendo, vi. 3.

  • 216.

    Dio Chrysostom, Or. xxxi. vol. i. p. 347 ed. Dindolf.

  • 217.

    Orphica, ed. E. Abel, p. 217.

  • 218.

    Pausanias, vii. 23. 7 sq. As to the sanctuary of Aesculapius at Titane see Pausanias, ii. 11. 5 sq. For more evidence of the identification, or confusion, of Apollo and the Sun, see Macrobius, Saturn. i. 17. 7 sqq.

  • 219.

    F. G. Welcker, Griechische Götterlehre, i. 457 sqq.

  • 220.

    L. Preller, Griechische Mythologie4, i. 230 sqq.

  • 221.

    W. H. Roscher, Apollon und Mars (Leipzig, 1873), pp. 16 sqq.; id., s.v. “Apollon”, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, i. 422 sqq.

  • 222.

    K. O. Müller, Die Dorier2 (Breslau, 1844), i. 286-293.

  • 223.

    See the Memoir by his brother, Eduard Müller, prefixed to K. O. Müller's Kleine deutsche Schriften (Breslau, 1847-1848), i. p. lxviii.

  • 224.

    Wernicke, s.v. “Apollon”, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopadie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, ii. 1. coll. 19-21.

  • 225.

    L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, iv. (Oxford, 1907) pp. 136-144.

  • 226.

    Rendel Harris, The Ascent of Olympus (Manchester, 1917), pp. 19-15.

  • 227.

    It is true that in some cities of Asia Minor the Sun was identified with Apollo in later times, as we learn from inscriptions and coins. Thus at Patara, in Lycia, the name Sun Apollo (Helios Apollon) occurs in an inscription. See Journal of Hellenic Studies, x. (1889) p. 81. At Smyrna there was a worship of Sun Apollo Kisauloddenus. See G. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum3, No. 996 (vol. iii. p. 127), where the editor remarks that the confusion of Apollo with the Sun betrays, as always, the late date of the inscription. And on coins of Tralles, of the Imperial age, there appears a bust of the Sun with the inscription “Apollo Sun” (Apollon Helios). See B. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1887), p. 555. But these late identifications on Asiatic soil prove nothing as to the original identity of Apollo and the Sun in the genuine ancient religion of Greece. See further on this point L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, iv. 138, 366; Jessen, s.v. “Helios”, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, viii. 1. coll. 70, 76; A. B. Cook, Zeus, ii. (Cambridge, 1925) p. 500.

  • 228.

    On this subject see L. Preller, Römische Mythologie3, i. 324-327; G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultus der Romer2, pp. 315-317; Franz Cumont, s.v. “Sol”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 1381-1386; Fr. Richter, s.v. “Sol”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, iii. 1137-1152.

  • 229.

    Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. i. Pars Prior2 (Berlin, 1893), pp. 240, 324.

  • 230.

    L. Preller, Römische Mythologie3 i. 90 sqq.; J. Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung, iii.2 (Leipzig, 1885), pp. 7 sqq.; G. Wissowa, “De dis Romanorum indigetibus et novensidibus”, Gesammelte Abhandlungen sur römischen Religions- und Stadtgeschichte (Munich, 1904), pp. 175 sqq.; id.; R. Peter, s.v. “Indigitamenta”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, ii. 129-233.

  • 231.

    Pliny, Nat. Hist. iii. 56.

  • 232.

    Livy, i. 2. 6; Servius, on Virgil, Aen. i. 259.

  • 233.

    Varro, De lingua Latina, v. 74. Compare Dionysius Halicarnasensis, Antiquit. Rom. ii. 50. 3; Augustine, De civitate Dei, iv. 23.

  • 234.

    Festus, s.v. “Aureliam familiam”, p. 22 ed. Lindsay. The name ausel should probably be read in Varro, De lingua Latina, v. 68, “Sol ausel quod ita Sabini”, instead of with the MSS. “Sola vel quod ita Sabini”. The correction is due to Wissowa, Religion und Kultus der Römer2, p. 315, note3. On the etymology of the word, which is connected with aurora, see G. Curtius, Grundzüge der griechischen Etymologie5 (Leipzig, 1879), pp. 399 sq. P. Kretschmer Einleitung in die Geschischte der griechischen Sparche (Göttingen, 1896), p. 83.

  • 235.

    Above, pp. 443, 456, 461.

  • 236.

    Caesar, Bell. Gall. vi. 21; O. Schrader, Reallexikon der indogermanischen Altertumskunde (Strassburg, 1901), p. 472; id., Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte3, i. (Jena, 1906) pp. 439 sq.; R. M. Meyer, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (Leipzig, 1910), pp. 104 sq.

  • 237.

    This is the view of G. Wissowa (Religion und Kultus der Römer2, pp. 315 sqq.) and of Fr. Richter, s.v. “Sol”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, iii. 1138. Wissowa would explain the epithet Indiges, applied to the Sun, not as an ancient title classing him with the old Di Indigetes, but as bestowed on him in the Augustan age in order to distinguish him as a native Sun-gods whose worship became popular in Imperial times. See Wissowa, op. cit. p. 317; id., Gesammelte Abhandlungen, pp. 180 sq. But the explanation seems somewhat forced and improbable, though it is accepted by Fr. Richter (s.v. “Sol”, in W. H. Roscher's Lexikon, iii. 1141) and W. Warde Fowler (Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic, p. 193).

  • 238.

    Franz Cumont, s.v. “Sol”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 1318.

  • 239.

    Varro, Rerum rusticarum libri, i. 1. 4-6.

  • 240.

    Quintilian, Inst. Orat. i. 7. 12.

  • 241.

    Tertullian, De spectaculis, 8; Tacitus, Annales, xv. 74. Tacitus seems to say that the temple was near the Circus, whereas Tertullian appears to affirm that it stood in the middle of the Circus. Huelsen attempted to reconcile both statements by supposing that the temple stood originally outside the Circus, but was afterwards included within it, when the Circus was extended. See H. Jordan, Topographic der Stadt Rom im Alterthum, i. 3, bearbeitet von Ch. Huelsen (Berlin, 1907), p. 115. But this explanation is not generally accepted. Compare O. Richter, Topographic der Stadt Rom2 (Munich, 1901), p. 179.

  • 242.

    F. Cumont, s.v. “Sol”, in Daremberg et Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 1382; Notitia xi., Topographie der Stadt Rom im Alterthum, ii. (Berlin, 1871) p. 558.

  • 243.

    Ammianus Marcellinus, xvii. 4. 12. For a full account of the obelisks and their transportation to Rome, see Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 64-73. The removal of the two obelisks from Heliopolis to Rome is mentioned also by Strabo (xvii. 1. 27).

  • 244.

    H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 91 (vol. i. p. 25); H. Jordan, Topographie der Stadt Rom im Alterthum, i. 3, bearbeitet von Ch. Huelsen, pp. 124, 610-612.

  • 245.

    Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 64.

  • 246.

    Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 71-73; H. Jordan, Topographic der Stadt Rom im Alterthum, i. 3, bearbeitet von Ch. Huelsen, pp. 610 sq.

  • 247.

    As to the part played by merchants and soldiers in this religious propaganda, see below, pp. 507 sq.

  • 248.

    Tacitus, Hist. iii. 22-25. Herodian has similarly described how, in a desperate battle between the Parthians and the Romans, the Parthians saluted the rising sun, “according to their custom”, and then charged the Romans with a great cheer. See Herodian, iv. 15.

  • 249.

    Suetonius, Vespasian, v. 6, vii. 2 sq.

  • 250.

    Herodian, v. 3. 4-9. As to the identification of Elagabalus with the Sun, compare Dio Cassius, lxxviii. 31. 1.

    On the god Elagabalus see E. Meyer, s.v. “Elagabal”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, i. 1229-1231; F. Lenormant, s.v. “Elagabalus”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, ii. 1. pp. 529-531; L. Preller, Römische Mythologie3, ii. 399-402; G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultus der Römer2, pp. 365 sq.

  • 251.

    Lampridius, Heliogabalus, i. 4-6; Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus, 23. The intrigues by which his grandmother Maesa contrived to win for him the allegiance of the soldiers and hence the empire, are described by Herodian (v. 3. 10-12).

  • 252.

    Lampridius, Heliogabalus, i. 6, iii. 4; Herodian, v. 5. 8.

  • 253.

    Herodian, v. 5. 8-10.

  • 254.

    Herodian, v. 6. 6-10.

  • 255.

    Lampridius, Heliogabalus, iii. 4 sq., vi. 7.

  • 256.

    Herodian, v. 6. 3-5; Dio Cassius, lxxix. 12.

  • 257.

    Lampridius, Heliogabalus, xvii. 1. 1-3; Herodian, xv. 8. 8; Dio Cassius, lxxix. 20; Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus, 23.

  • 258.

    H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, vol. ii. 1. p. 172, No. 4329 Soli Alagabalo, No. 4330 Sol. Elagabali, No. 4332 deo Soli Alagabal. Ammudati.

  • 259.

    H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 473 [sa]cerd, amp[l.] invicti Solis Elagaba[li]; No. 475 sacerdos amplissi[mus dei invicti Solis] Elagabali; No. 2008 sacerdos am[plis]simus invicti Solis Elagabali; No. 9058. sacerdos [amplissimus dei invi]cti Solis Elagabali.

  • 260.

    Dio Cassius, lxxix. 21, δ τϵ ᾽Ελϵγάβαλος αὐτὸς ἐκ τη̑ς ᾽Ρώμης παντάπασιν ἐξέπϵσϵ.

  • 261.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, xxv. 4.

  • 262.

    See above, p. 491.

  • 263.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, iv. 2.

  • 264.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, v. 5.

  • 265.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, xxxi. 5-9.

  • 266.

    Zosimus, i. 61; Vopiscus, Aurelianus, xxv. 6, xxxix. 2.

  • 267.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, xxviii. 5, xxxix. 6.

  • 268.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, x. 2; id., Tacitus, ix. 2.

  • 269.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, xxxv. 3, xlviii. 4. The situation of the temple is not described by ancient authors, but it seems to have been in the Field of Mars, on or near the site of the present monastery of S. Silvestro. Eight costly columns of red porphyry were afterwards removed from the temple and conveyed to Constantinople, where they were employed in the construction of the Church of St. Sophia. See H. Jordan, Topographie der Stadt Rom im Alterthum, i. 3, bearbeitet von Ch. Huelsen, pp. 453-456; O. Richter, Topographie der Stadt Rom2 (Munich, 1901), pp. 263-265.

  • 270.

    Vopiscus, Aurelianus, xxxv. 3, sacerdotia composuit. For the inscriptions see H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, Nos. 1203, 1210, 1211, 1217, 1243, 1259, 2941, 4149, 4413, 6185; F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra, ii. 109-111; compare id., s.v. “Sol”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 2, p. 1384.

  • 271.

    F. Cumont, s.v. “Sol”, in E. Saglio et E. Daremberg, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 2. p. 1384; Fr. Richter, s.v. “Sol”, in W. H. Roscher, Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, iii. 1148 sq.; H. Usener, Das Weihnachtsfest, Kapitel I bis III2 (Bonn, 1911), pp. 358 sq. (“Sol Invictus”).

  • 272.

    F. Cumont, op. cit. pp. 1348 sq.

  • 273.

    H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 624.

  • 274.

    F. Cumont, op. cit. p. 1385; Fr. Richter, op. cit. iii. 1148.

  • 275.

    F. Cumont, op. cit. p. 1385; H. Usener, op. cit. p. 363.

  • 276.

    F. Cumont, s.v. “Sol”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iv. 2, pp. 1385 sq.

  • 277.

    The standard work on the later worship of Mithra is the masterly treatise, in two volumes, of Franz Cumont, Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra (Bruxelles, 1896-1899). Elsewhere the same scholar has treated the subject in a more summary but always authoritative manner. See his article “Mithras”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, ii. 3026-3071; his article “Mithra”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iii. 2, pp. 1944-1954; and his excellent book Les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme romain2 (Paris, 1909), pp. 200-239. For other treatments of the topic see G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultus der Römer2, pp. 368-373; S. Reinach, “La Morale du Mithraisme”, Cultes, Mythes et Religions, ii. (Paris, 1906) pp. 220-233; S. Dill, Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius (London, 1920), pp. 584-626; J. Toutain, Les Cultes païens dans l’ Empire Romain, Première Partie, ii. (Paris, 1911) pp. 121-177.

  • 278.

    Strabo, xv. 3. 13. Compare Lactantius Placidus, on Statius, Theb. i. 718, “Apud Persas Sol proprio nomine Mithra dicitur”; id. on Statius, Theb. i. 720, “Persae in spelaeis Solem colunt. Et hic Sol proprio nomine vocatur Mithra”.

  • 279.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra, i. 230 sq.; id., Les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme romain2, pp. 216 sq., 384 sq. See also above, pp. 30, 461.

  • 280.

    Strabo, xi. 14. 16.

  • 281.

    Strabo, xi. 14. 16. As to the Mithrakana see F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra, i. 230.

  • 282.

    Athenaeus, x. 45, p. 434 E, quoting the historians Ctesias and Duris.

  • 283.

    F. Cumont, Les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme romain2, p. 213.

  • 284.

    F. Cumont, Les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme romain2 pp. 213 sq.

  • 285.

    Strabo, xv. 3. 15.

  • 286.

    Pausanias, v. 27. 5 sq. At Hierocaesarea a goddess was worshipped whom the Romans called the Persian Diana: she was probably Anahita (Anaitis); and there was also a chapel which was said to have bee dedicated in the reign of Cyrus. See Tacitus, Annales, iii. 62. On coins of the city Artemis is represented with the legend ΠΕΡΣΙΚΗ. See B. V. Head, Historia Numorum (Oxford, 1887), p. 550. The goddess is also mentioned under that name in an inscription which may have been found at Hierocaesarea. See W. Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 333 (vol. i. pp. 519 sq.). Hence, as Dittenberger remarks on that inscription, it is highly probable that in the passage of Pausanias (v. 27. 5), cited above, we should read Πϵρσικη̑ς with some MSS. for the vulgate Πϵρσικοι̑ς. Elsewhere (vii. 6. 6) Pausanias speaks of a sanctuary of the Persian Artemis in Lydia, and it is probable that the sanctuary in question is the one at Hierocaesarea. This makes the proposed correction of the text of Pausanias v. 27. 5. practically certain. I have adopted it in the text.

  • 287.

    As to the Cilician pirates see Strabo, xiv. 5. 2, pp. 668 sq.; Plutarch, Pompeius, 24; Appian, Bellum Mithridat. 92 sq.; Dio Cassius, xxxvi. 20-23; Cicero, De imperio Cn. Pompeii, 11 sq.

  • 288.

    Plutarch, Pompey, 24.

  • 289.

    Statius, Theb. i. 719 sq.

  • 290.

    Many of these monuments are extant in many parts of Europe. See F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments figurés relatifs aux Mystères de Mithra, ii. 209 sqq.

  • 291.

    Lactantius Placidus on Statius, Theb. i. 720.

  • 292.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 74-85. This scholar suggests (p. 79) that the lion-headed god in Oriental art is the last heir of a lion-totem.

  • 293.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 241-243, ii. 469. Inscription No. 220 A, τῳ̑ Ηλίωι τῳ̑ Μίτραι.

  • 294.

    F. Cumont, Les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme romain2, pp. 220 sq. For details as to the diffusion of the religion and the monuments, see id., Textes et Monuments, i. 241 sqq.; id., s.v. “Mithras”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, ii. 3030-3037; id., s.v. “Mithra”, in E. Daremberg et E. Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines, iii. 2. pp. 1945-1947; and especially J. Toutain, Les Cultes païens dans l’ Empire Romain, Première Partie, ii. 144-159. For the Mithraic monuments in Britain, see F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, ii. pp. 389-396. From a careful analysis of the geographical diffusion and character of the monuments, Monsieur J. Toutain concludes that Mithraism was mainly a religion of the soldiers, that it was never popular with the bulk of the middle classes, and that its adherents were never so numerous as to constitute a serious rivalry with Christianity.

  • 295.

    Lampridius, Commodus, 9 (Scriptores Historiae Augustae, vol. i. p. 105, ed. H. Peter).

  • 296.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, ii. pp. 99, 170, Inscriptions 34 and 541. The two inscriptions vary slightly in the wording.

  • 297.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 281, with the references to the inscriptions in vol. ii. pp. 540 sq.

  • 298.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 281, ii. 146, Inscription 367; id., Les Religions Orientales dans le Paganisme romain2, pp. 221 sq.

  • 299.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. Inscriptions Nos. 2, 28, 29, 30, 34, 49, 50, 51, 53, 56, 58, 61, 62, 66, 67, 72, 74, 75, 131, 135, 141, 144, 149, 151, 156, 157, 159, 161, 163, 172, 235, 258, 287, 295, 320, 354, 355, 360, 423, 430, 461, 479, 509, 526, 541, 542 (Mithra the Unconquered Sun), Nos. 76, 134, 150, 193, 485 (Mithra the Sun, or Mithra the Sun-god). All these inscriptions are in Latin, except Nos. 75, 149, and 150, which are in Greek. In this list I have omitted many inscriptions in which the title “Mithra the Unconquered Sun” is indicated only by abbreviations, such as D(eo) S(oli) I(nvicto) M(ithrae) in the inscription of Diocletian, Galerius, and Licinius (No. 367). For inscriptions which describe Mithra as the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus Mithras) or the Unconquered Sun-god Mithra (deus Sol invictus Mithras), see H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, Nos. 659 (= Cumont, No. 367), 1661, 4152, 4191, 4194, 4198, 4200, 4202, 4203, 4204, 4205, 4213, 4215, 4223, 4226, 4227, 4229, 4237, 4238.

  • 300.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 172 sq. For the relief at Osterburken, see id., vol. ii. pp. 348-351, with Plate VI. Compare F. Cumont, s.v. “Mithras”, in W. H. Roscher's Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie, ii. 3047.

  • 301.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 173. For the relief at Heddernheim, see id., vol. ii. pp. 362 sqq., with Place VII.

  • 302.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 173.

  • 303.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 173.

  • 304.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 174 sq.

  • 305.

    See below, pp. 524, 525.

  • 306.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 176.

  • 307.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 314-317. For the passage of St. Jerome (Epistle, cvii. ad Laetam Migne, Palrologia Latina, xxii. p. 869), quoted by Cumont, see id. ii. 18. As to the degrees of initiation in the Mithraic mysteries see also Prophyry,De abstinentia, iv. 16, who mentions the titles of Eagles and Hawks in addition to those of Ravens and Lions Porphyry notices the zodiacal explanation of the titles, but prefers the theory of the transmigration of human souls into animal bodies.

  • 308.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 176 sq.

  • 309.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 178, 306.

  • 310.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 203-205.

  • 311.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 207, ii. p. 122, Inscription 165 p. 142, Inscriptions 329, 330; 11 Dessau, Inscriptions Latinae Selectae, Nos 4250, 4252a, 4252b, 4253a, 4253b, 4254, 4255, 4256, 4258, 4259, 9280.

  • 312.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 208.

  • 313.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 208, ii. 533; H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 4256.

  • 314.

    H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 4257.

  • 315.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 208 sq. The passage of the Pseudo-Dionysius (Epist. vii., Migne, Patrologia Graeca, vol. iii. p. 1082) is quoted by F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 11, ϵἰσέτι Μάγοι τὰ μνημόσσυνα του̑ τριπλασίου Μίθρου τέλοσιν.

  • 316.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 209 sq. As for the sanctity of the cock and its dedication to the Sun in Greek mythology, see Pausanias, v. 25. 9; Jamblichus, De Pythagorica vita, xxviii. 147. For the image of Apollo with the cock on his hand see Plutarch, De Pythiae oraculis, 12.

  • 317.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 210.

  • 318.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 211.

  • 319.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 63, 179.

  • 320.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 186 sq., ii. 228, with fig. 10. The remarkable monument showing the ears of corn instead of blood is now in the British Museum. It was formerly in Rome.

  • 321.

    Bundahish, xiv. 1-3, in E. W. West's Pahlavi Texts, Part I. (Oxford 1880) pp. 45 sq. (Sacred Books of the East, vol. v.). Compare J. Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman, pp. 144 sqq.; A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische religion”, in W. Geiger und E. Kuhn, Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, ii. 669, 673 sq.; F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 186 sq.

  • 322.

    Bundahish, x. 1-3; compare xxvii. 2, in E. W. West's Pahlavi Texts, Part I. pp. 31 sq., 99 sq.

  • 323.

    This is the view of F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 186 sq., whose explanation of the sacrifice I have adopted.

  • 324.

    Bundahish, iv. 1, in E. W. West's Pahlavi Texts, Part I. p. 20.

  • 325.

    Porphyry, De antro nympharum, 24, ἐποχϵι̑ταα δὲ [Scil. Μίθρας] ταύρῳ ᾽Αϕροδίτης, ὡς καὶ ὀ ταυ̑ρος δημιουργὸς ων ὀ Μίθρας γϵνέσϵως δϵσπότης. In this passage the words Μίθρας are perhaps an interpolation, as F. Cumont has seen (Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 41). If that is so, all that Porphyry expressly affirms is that “the bull is also a creator and master of generation”, with the implication that Mithra is a creator and master of life as well as the bull. But in that case the sentence is ungrammatical, for instead of the nominatives (ὀ ταυ̑ρος, κ.τ.λ.) we ought to have genitives (του̑ ταύρου, κτλ).

  • 326.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 187.

  • 327.

    Here I again follow the suggestions of F. Cumont (Textes et Monuments, i. 187 sq.).

  • 328.

    Theopompus, cited by Diogenes Laertius, Vit. philosoph., Prooemium, 9, p. 3, ed. Cobet. Diogenes adds that the same statement was made by Eudemus the Rhodian.

  • 329.

    Aeneas of Gaza. Dial. de immort. animae, ed. Boissonade, 1836, p. 77, ᾽Ο δὲ Ζωροάστρης προλέγϵι ὡς ἔσται ποτϵ χρόνος ἐν ῳ͒ πάντων νϵκρω̑ν ἀνάστασις ἔσται οἰ̑δϵν ὀ Θέοπομπος (quoted by F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 187, note7). However, Herodotus (iii. 62) reports the saying of a Persian nobleman which implies a complete scepticism as to the resurrection of the dead. But even if the saying is authentic, it does not follow that the scepticism was universal among the Persians, though the speaker appears to assume that it was shared by Cambyses.

  • 330.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 187 sq. On the doctrine of the Redeemer and the resurrection from the dead in the Mazdean religion, see Fr. spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 158 sqq.; A. V. Williams Jackson, “Die iranische Religion”, in W. Geiger und E. Kuhn, Grundriss deriranischen Philologie, ii. 69 sq., 685 sq. The principal passage on the subject in the sacred books is Bundahish, xxx. (E. W. West, Pahlavi Texts, Part I. pp. 120-130).

  • 331.

    Bundahish, xi. 6 (E. W. West, Pahlavi Texts, Part 1. p. 33).

  • 332.

    Bundahish, xxx. 1-27 (E. W. West, Pahlavi Texts, Part I. pp. 120-127). Compare Fr. Spiegel, Erânische Alterthumskunde, ii. 160 sq.; F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 187 sq.

  • 333.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 188.

  • 334.

    Prudentius, Peristephan. x 1006-1050. Compare Firmicus Maternus, De errore profanarum religione, xxvii. 8, “Neminem aput idola profusus sanguis munit, et ne cruor pecudum miseros homines aut decipial aul perdat, polluit sanguis iste, non redimit, et per varios casus homines premit in mortem: miseri sunt qui profusione sacrilegi sanguinis cruentantur. Tauribolium quid vel criobolium scelerata te sanguinis labe perfundit? Laventer itaque sordes istae quae colligis.” The pious apologist naturally seizes the opportunity to exhort his readers to wash in the blood of the lamb (agnus dei), which he assures them is a great deal more efficacious than bull's blood for the purging of sin.

  • 335.

    H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, Nos. 4118-4159 (vol. ii. Part I. pp. 140-147). For the forged dedication, which professes to record the dedication of a taurobolium “to the great god Mithra”, by a man who had been born again to eternal life by secret washing (“arcanis perfusionibus in aeternum renatus”), see F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 179, Inscription No. 584. I follow F. Cumont and J. Toutain in thinking that the taurobolium formed no part of the Mithraic ritual. See F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 334 sq.; J. Toutian, Les Cultes païens dans l’ Empire Romain, Première Partie, ii. p. 138. I have described the taurobolium elsewhere. See The Golden Bough, Part IV., Adonis, Attis, Osiris, i. 274 sqq., with the references.

  • 336.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 96, Inscription No. 17; H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 4152, “taurobolio criobolioq. in aeternum renatus”.

  • 337.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 317 sq., vol. ii. pp. 93-96, 98, 118, 163, Inscriptions Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 26, 27, 141, 494; H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, Nos. 4213, 4254, 9279.

  • 338.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 95, Inscription No. 15, “tauroboliatus, pater patrum…tauroboliata”.

  • 339.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 317.

  • 340.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, pp. 95, 98, Inscriptions No. 14 (“tauroboliato…patri sacrorum”), No. 23 (“pater sacrorum dei invicti Mithrae, taurobolio criobolioque percepto”).

  • 341.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. pp. 96 sq., Inscription No. 20; H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 4153.

  • 342.

    Compare H. Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae, No. 4154, “iterato, viginti annis expletis taurobolii sui”, may be a stonemason's mistake for taurobolio suo.

  • 343.

    Justin Martyr, Apolog. i. 66 (vol. i. p. 268 ed. Otto); F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 20.

  • 344.

    Tertullian, De corona militis, 15 (Migne, Patrologia Latina, ii. 101 sq.); F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, ii. 50.

  • 345.

    Revelation ii. 10.

  • 346.

    2 Timothy iv. 7-8. The two texts are briefly referred to by Tertullian (l.c.) in the words; “Esto et tu fidelis ad mortem: decerta et tu bonum agonem, cujus coronam et Apostolus repositam sibi merito confidit”.

  • 347.

    Tertullian, De praescriptionibus adversus haereticos, 40 (Migne, Patrologia Latina, ii. 54 sq.); F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, vol. ii. p. 51.

  • 348.

    Tertullian, De praescriptionibus adversus haereticos, 40.

  • 349.

    Lampridius, Commodus, ix. 6, “Sacra Mithriaca homicidio vero polluit, cum illic aliquid ad speciem timoris vel dici vel fingi soleat”.

  • 350.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 361, quoting and translating a passage of a Syriac version of the Life of the Patriarch Severus of Antioch by Zacharias the Scholiast, Das Leben des Severus von Antiochien, published by Spanuth, Göttingen, 1893.

  • 351.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 69 sq., 322.

  • 352.

    F. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 325 sq., 339, 342, 355 sq.; Th. Mommsen, in Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, i.2 Pars prior (Berlin, 1893), pp. 338 sq.; H. Usener, Das Weihnachtsfest2, Kapitel i. iii. (Bonn, 1911) pp. 348 sqq.; L. Duchesne, Origines du Culte Chrétien5 (Paris, 1920), pp. 271-279; The Golden Bough, Part IV., Adonis, Attis, Osiris, i. 302-305.

  • 353.

    Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, i.2 Pars prior, pp. 278, 338. The calendar of Philocalus is assigned to the year 354 A.D. by Th. Mommsen (op. cit. p. 254) and H. Usener (Das Weihnachtsfest2, p. 348), but to 336 A.D. by L. Duchesne (Origines du Culte Chrétien6, p. 272).

  • 354.

    Julian, Or. iv. p. 156 ed. Spanheim (vol. i. pp. 202 sq. ed. Hertlein).

  • 355.

    C. A. Credner, “De natalitiorum Christi origine”, Zeitschrift für die historische Theologie, iii. 2. (1833), p. 239, note46; Th. Mommsen, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, i.2 Pars prior, pp. 338 sq.; H. Usener, Das Weihnachtsfest2, pp. 349 sq.

  • 356.

    Fr. Cumont, “La Célébration du ‘Natalis Invicti’en Orient”, Revue de l’ Histoire des Religions, lxxxii. (1920) pp. 85 sq., quoting Thomae Edesseni, Tractatus de Nativitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi, textum syriacum edidit, notis illustravit, latine reddidit, Simon Joseph Carr, Romae, 1898.

  • 357.

    Fr. Cumont, Textes et Monuments, i. 355 sq.

  • 358.

    Augustine, Serm. cxc. 1 (Migne's Patrologia Latina, xxxviii. 1007).

  • 359.

    Leo the Great, Serm, xxii. (al. xxi.) 6 (Migne's Patrologia Latina, liv. 198).

  • 360.

    Julian, Or. iv. p. 130 ed. Spanheim.

  • 361.

    Julian, Or. iv. pp. 131, 152 ed. Spanheim.

  • 362.

    Julian, Or. iv. p. 153 ed. Spanheim.

  • 363.

    Julian, Or. iv. p. 158 ed. Spanheim.

  • 364.

    Ammianus Marcellinus, xxv. 3.

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