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punishment has cease'd : allthough the abstinence from fish lasted down to the times of Menander the comedian.*
Formerly, when men (as we have fay’d) facrifice'd fruit to the gods, but not animals, nor use'd them for food, it is reported, that a publick sacrifice being celebrateed at Athens, one Diomus or Sopater, not a native, but a cultivator, in Attica, when allready the cakes and other things which were to be offer'd, were place'd upon a table in the open air, that he might facrifice them to the gods, these, a certain ox entering the city after his labour, partly devour'd, and partly trampled under-foot, that which had hapen'd bearing in il wil, haveing snatch'd up a certain sharp ax, which lay at hand, kild the ox. Therefor, the ox, being dead, and the anger of Diomus now appease’d, he bethought himself what an action he had perpetrateëd. He bury'd the ox: and takeing spontaneous flight as one guilty of impiety betook himself into Crete. But a drought and prodigious fterility of grain and fruit haveing ariseën, to those who, with common consent, enquire'd of the god, the priestess answer'd, The exile at Crete is to expiate these things : and if they would inflict
* Porphyry, Of abstinence, B. 4, § 15.
punishment on the kiler, and erect a statue of the slain in the place where he fel, this would profit as wel those who had tasteëd, as those who had not touch'd him : whence an enquiry being made, and Sopater afterward found, he, thinking, as one who was allready in a state of expiation, to drive off punishment from himself, if all in common would do this, told them who had come to him, that it behove'd to say an ox from the city. Now those who stood around [asking] who should kil the ox, he promise'd them to do this office, upon condition he should be made free of the city, and they with himself be accompliceës in the slaughter : which being granted, they return'd to the city, where they so order'd the matter, as it even remains among them to this day. They selected the virgins who carry'd water: now these bring the water to sharpen the hatchet and the sword: which when they had sharpen'd, one deliver'd the hatchet, another kild the ox, a third cut his throat; and, afterward, flaying him, all ate him. These things being transacted, they, fewing the skin of the ox, and stuf ing it with hay, set him up, in the like form which he had when alive, and tye a plough to him as if he were to labour in the mil. Now a court of justice being instituteěd concerning the daughter, the partakeërs in it were call'd into judgement, that they might apologise for themselves. When the bearers of water cast the blame upon those who had sharpen'd the ax, those allso who had sharpen'd the ax, upon him who deliver'd it, but he, him who cut the oxes throat, and he, who had done this, accused the weapon, the weapon, because it could not speak, they found guilty of the murder, and threw it into the sea.”*
This species of barbarity prevail'd before the siege of Troy, at which we find that huinan victims were of fer’d by Achilles at the funeral of Patroclus :
" High on the top the manly corse they lay,
* Idem, ibi, B. 2, § 29, 30.
The bear, as we learn from Afleys Voyageës, is treated in a similar manner by a hord of Tartars : “ As soon as they have kild the beast, they pul off įts skin, and hang it, in presence of their idol, on a very high tree, and, afterward, revere it, and amuse themselves with doleful lamentations ; as if they repented of the impious deed. They, ridiculously, plead that it was the arrow, not they, that gave the lethal wound, and that the feather aded wings to its unh apy flight, &c." (III, 355.)
Then last of all, and horrible to tel !
Menelaus, being arrived at Memphis, in search of Helen, was entertain'd by the Aegyptian monarch with great affection, and had his wife, and all his treasures restore'd to him: fayours to which he made the most ungrateful return; for, being long detain’d in the country, by contrary winds, he perpetrateëd a most impious action; takeing two children, natives of the country, and opening their bodys, in order to consult their entrails concerning his departure."
In the remoteër ageës the blood of animals was not shed to propitiate the gods; odours and perfumes were alone use'd in facrificeës. The first Athenians, following the injunction of Triptolemus, to regale the gods with fruits, offer’d them onely the produce of the earth. Af
* Homers sliad, B. 23. The pious Aeneas performs a fimilar ceremony at the funeral of Pallas :
“Four youths, by Sulmo, four by Ufens bred,
Virgils Aeneis, B. 10, + Herodotus, Euterpe.
terward they offer'd animals, and the word Juolal, which originally signify'd to burn perfumes, was now apply'd to the sheding of the blood of victims.* The animals which they facrifice'd were the ox, the hog, the sheep, the kid, the cock, and the goose :t but these were not the onely ones-they allso offer'd up men.I
* Once in the year the under-facrificeër, or rather the sacred butcher, ready toimmolate an ox, fled as seize'd with horrour; to make men remember, that, in times the most wise and most hapy, the gods were onely presented with flowers and fruits, and that the barbarity of immolateing animals, innocent and useful, was not introduced, til there were priests who wish'd to feed upon their blood, and live at the expence the people.
Voltaire, Diction. pbiloso. (Bourbon.) # Boses Antiquities of Greece.
“ As Themistocles was facrificeing on the deck of the admiral galley, three captives were brought to him of uncommon beauty, elegantly attired, and set off with golden ornaments. They were say'd to be the fons of Autavetus and Sandace, sister to Xerxes. Euphrantides, the foothsayer, casting his eye upon them, and at the same time observeing that a bright flame blaze'd out from the victims, while a sneezeing was heard from the right [both fortunate omens), took Themistocles by the hand, and order'd that the three youths should be consecrateëd and sacrifice'd to Bacchus Omestes; for, by this means, the Greeks might be assured not onely of safety, but victory. Themistocles was astonish'd at the strangeness and cruelty of the order; but the multitude, who, in great and pressing difficultys, trust rather to absurd,