Imágenes de páginas

L'esprit de l'homme, suget a s'egarrer, retomberoit bientot dans les erreurs de l'idolatrie.” Lettr. Juiv. Lett. xxiii.

NOTE H. H. p. 194. THE account which I have given of the rites of Bacchus affords but a faint picture of the enormities which were practised at those celebrities, and which I am unwilling to enumerate in a modern language.

In Italiæ compitis sacra Liberi celebrata cum tantâ licentiâ tur. pitudinis, ut in ejus honorem pudenda virilia colerentur. Nam hoc turpe membrum, per Liberi dies festos cum honore magno plostellis positum, prius rure in compitis, et usque in urbem vectabatur.Uni Liberi totus mensis tribuebatur cujus diebus omnes flagitiosissimis verbis uterentur, donec illud membrum per forum transvectum esset, atque in loco suo quiescerit. Cui membro palam coronam necesse erat imponere. Augustin De Civitate Dei, lib. vii. c. 21. Augustin quotes from Varro.

Illic in orgiis Bacchi, inter ebrias puellas et senos, cum scelerum pompa procederet, alter, nigro aniictu teter, alter ostenso angue terribilis, alter cruentus ore dum viva pecoris membra discerpit. Jul. Firmius. De Error. Profan. Rel.

Bacchanalia pretermittamus immania, quibus nomen omophagiis Græcum est, in quibus sequestrata pectoris sanitate, circumplicatis vos anguibus, atque, ut vos plenos Dei numine ac majestate doceatis, caprorum reclamantium viscera cruentatis oris dissipatis. Arnob. Advers. Gent. lib. v. p. 169. These


be considered as doubtful witnesses, and Livy may be thought more worthy of credit. Yet the purity of his page is violated by details still more disgusting and hideous. In promiscuo sacra sint, et permisti viri feminis, et noctis licentia accesserit; nihil ubi facinoris, nihil flagitii pretermissum. Plura virorum inter sese quam fæminarum esse stupra. Si qui minus patientes dedecoris sint, et pigriores ad facinas, pro victimis immolari nihil nefas ducere. Hanc summam inter eos religionem esse -. In his nobiles quosdam viros, foeminasque --- Biennio proximo institutum esse ne quis major viginti annis initiaretur. Liy. Hist. lib. xxxix

Even Plato, according to Diogenes Laertes, admitted that an extravagant god, like Bacchus, required an extravagant worship. Diog. Laert. lib. iii. segm. 39.

Alexander, says Plutarch, celebrated with some of his friends the feast of Bacchus. During the continuance of the festival the whole army rivalled the mad merriment of their royal leader. The sound of wanton music and obscene songs was every where heard; and every where were beheld the emulous and licentious frolicks of women, who accompanied and heightened the madness of the procession. The whole scene, so disorderly and dissolute, was closed by an open exhibition of indecent figures, representing all the obscenities of the Bacchanalia, &c. Plut. In Alexandr.

In a tragedy of Euripides, the festival of the Bacchanalia is minutely described. The Bacchanals are smitten with a divine fury. A chorus of women adapt their songs to the occasion; and, having poured their execrations on the unhappy Pentheus, who had probibited the rite as immodest and impure, they desire, with very consistent enthusiasm, to be transported to Cyprus, the happy residence of Venus and the loves, or to Paphos or Olympus, where Cupid and the Graces enjoy their sports. There they might more freely celebrate the orgies of their god, and indulge in the kindred delights of love and wine. The whole celebrity is represented in the drama, as a scene of madness, intoxication, fury, murder, and obscenity. Eurip. Bacchant, act i.

Petronius glances at some of the particulars of this hideous celebrity. Curiositas facellum intrare etiam nos impulit, ubique complures, Bacchantum instar, mulieres vidimus, quæ in manu dextra fascinosos Priapinos gestabant. Plus videre non licuit, nam ut nos animadverterunt, tum magnum clamorem sustulère, &c. Petr. Sat. vol. i. p. 106.

See also, Diod. Sicul. lib. i. p. 98; and Strabo, lib. xvii. p. 98, who adverts to the worship in terms which I am unwilling to quote.

Virgil describes these orgies with his usual felicity, and he attributes the origin, or renewal, of them to the instigation of Alecto :

Fama volat : furiisque accensas pectore matres
Idem omnes simul ardor agit nova quærere tecta.
Deseruere domos : ventis dant colla comasque :
Ast aliæ tremulis ululatibus æthera complent.

Æn. vii. 392.
Talem inter sylvas, inter deserta ferarum,
Reginam Alecto stimulis agit undique Bacchi.

Æn. vii. 404.

NOTE I. I. p. 195.

“ THE victims, two goats, being slain, the priests made thongs of the goal skins, which they took in their hands, and ran with them all about the city, stark naked, and so they struck with those thongs all they met in their way. The young wives were contented to be stricken with them,” &c. &c. Godwin, Rom. Antiq. lib. ii. c. 1.

The prudent policy of Augustus was anxious to restrain by law the growing licentiousness of public manners; yet the festival of the Lupercalia, which bad begun, it seems, to decline, was revived with his approbation and by his decree. Sueton. in August.

NOTE K. K. p. 195. THE Aphrodisia were observed in every part of Greece, but espe. cially at Corinth. The votaries of the goddess vowed to consecrate to her a certain number of women, according to the importance of the suit they had to prefer. Athenz. Deiphnosoph. lib. xiii. c. 6. Strabo mentions the number of courtezans dedicated to ber service, lib. viii. p. 581.

These rites had spread widely over the earth. Herudot. lib. i. Lucian, Oper. vol. ii. p. 658; and I quote with reluctance the brief description of them from the work of Julius Firmius. Videre est in ipsis templis, cum publico gemitu, miseranda ludibria, viros muliebria pati, et hanc impuri et impudicis corporis tabem gloriosa ostentatione detegere. Publicant facinora sua, et coutemnati corporis vitium cum maxima delectationes macula confitentur. De Error. Profan. Relig. pp. 10, 11. Ed. 1678. See also Spenser de Leg. Hebr. lib. ii. c. 22, 23.

These monstrous rites were authorized by law, and sanctioned by the assent or practice of sages and philosophers. Quæ omnia sapiens servabit tanquam legibus jussa. Varro apud August. de Civit. Dei. lib. vi. c. 10.

A thousand women, consecrated to Venus by the wanton piety of male and female votaries, sustained the character, and enriched the funds, of the temple of Corinth. Strabo, lib. viii. p. 581; lib. xii. p. 837. Well might Saint Peter exclaim, that “the Gen. tiles walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” i Pet. iv. 3, 4; and even the indignant fervour of Saint Paul has not condemned the rites to which

Saint Peter here adverts, with more than sufficient earnestness. 1 st Epist. to Rom. ch xxiv; and to Ephes. iv. 18, 19.

NOTE L. L. ' p. 203. KALLEE, or the black goddess, presides over these savage rites. Holwel, Fasts and Festivals of the Gentoos, p. 131 ; and the sacrifice is deemed so necessary, that even the daughters of rajahs and kings are not permitted to evade it. Orme, Histor. Frag. 261.

In the code of Gentoo laws, translated by Mr. Halhead, in 1777, there are various passages which recommend and command this oblation of the wife to the manes of her husband ; and in the chapter relative to women, it is expressly stated, “ that it is proper for a woman, after her husband's death, to burn herself in the same fire with his corse ; and that every woman who thus burns herself shall remain in Paradise with her husband three scores and fifty lacks of years."

The sacrifice of the widow has been at all times required and paid. Even at the present period, " the number of widows who are annually burned in the British territories in Hindostan is so great, that it would appear incredible to those who have not inquired into the fact. According to an accurate report, made by persons of the Hindu caste, under the superintendence of the professor of Sanscrit and Bengalee language in the college of Fort William, the number, within a circle of thirty miles diameter round Calcutta, amounted, from the 15th of April to the 15th of October 1804, to one hundred and fifteen; and, in the account taken in 1803, the number amounted in the same district, for a similar period, to three hundred and seventy-five.” Buchan. Christ. Research.

NOTE M. M. p. 205. ONE of tbese females was a venerable lady with white locks, who had been long the object of public respect. She could not walk, and was, therefore, carried in a palanquin to the place of burning, and laid by the attendant Bramins on the funeral pile. The two other ladies were younger; and one of them, especially, of a beautiful and interesting countenance. The old lady was placed on one side by her husband, and the two other widows laid themselves down on the other side. The eldest son of the deceased lighted the pile, and the victims were consumed, amid the shouts of the multitude. Buchan. Christ. Research. 149, 150.

Widows were frequently known to contend with each other for the honours of the pile; and Diodorus Siculus exhibits a beautiful and interesting example of these affecting and affectionate contests, lib. xix.

NOTE N. N. p. 207. “ THE idol is sometimes an irregular pyramidal stone, of about four or five hundred pounds weight, with two rich diamonds near the lop to represent eyes, and the nose and mouth painted with vermillion.” Holwel, Feasts and Fasts of the Gentoos. . Collier, Dict. Art. Narsingi. See also Description of the great Pagoda at Madura, by Mr. Blackadar, Archäolog. vol. x. Sketches of the History, &c. of the Hindus.

Doctor Buchannan was prezent, in the year 1806, at the annual rites of the deity of Juggernaut. “ A poor woman, says he, after having prostrated herself beneath the wheels of the carriage of the god, survived for two miserable hours; and, while she yet breathed, was conveyed to the place appropriated to the dead. In a short time nothing was left of her but the bones. The dogs and vultures fed on the lifeless or expiring victim, for the rites of sepulture were denied.” Buchan. Christ. Research. pp. 139, 140, &c.

Herbert gives the following quaint but accurate account of these solemnities. “ They have a massy, copper, gilded Pagod, mounted upon a triumphant chariot, moved by eight mighty wheels overlaid with gold. The ascent is easy by many steps, on which are placed, upon a solemn day, the priests; and niany girls prostitute their bodies to the libidinous shame of wicked men. The procession follows; happy is that man, rich or poor, great or base, who can fasten a hand to draw the chariot; yea, they account them happiest who, out of a fanatic zeal, temerariously throw their fanatique bodies in the way, that by the ponderousness of the devil and his chariot, their wretched bodies may be crushed in pieces.” Herbert. Some Yeares Travels into Asia, published in 1683.

« AnteriorContinuar »