Collation of Sources and Summaries
Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia
Ancient History of the Embodied Soul - The Ministry of the Ascetics - Essenes, Therapeutae and Asclepius
The Zulus and other primitive races
distrust a medicine man who is not
an ascetic and lean with fasting.
In the Semitic East it is an old belief
that a successful fast in the wilderness
of forty days and nights
gives power over the Djinns.
The Indian yogi fasts till he sees
face to face all the gods of his Pantheon;
the Indian magician fasts twelve days
before producing rain or working any cure.
Iliad: mentions Asclepius as a skillful physician, not a miracle worker.
||Mythological beginnings: son of Apollo
||Enlightenment at the age of 35 years
Buddhist Influence: Therapeutae were sent by Buddha.
Were the ancient Pythagoreans influenced by Indian ideas – vegetarianism, communal property,
'transmigration of souls.' and the principles of Ayurvedic medicine (Pythagoras' four humours).
||(580 - c.490 BCE) Michael Grant, in his well-respected
'The Rise of the Greeks' makes note
that the cult of Thoth/Hermes and its
was the main intellectual belief
during the time of Pythagoras.
||Lyric poet mentions Asclepius performing healings,
miracles and raising people from the dead.
||Life of Sophocles
||served as a priest to Asclepius
||"I swear by Apollo, the healer ...
Alexander (336-323 BC) carried Greek civilization to the east.
But the flow of culture was two way – for example, the Greeks
adopted the Indian war elephant and a great deal of speculative Indian thinking. Greek philosophers, like Anaxarchus and Pyrrho,
had been in the train of Alexander and had mixed with the Indian gymnosophists or 'naked philosophers.' After their conquest
of the Indus valley the Greeks never again returned to the simple
pantheon of their Olympian gods – and founded their first school of Skepticism
Buddhist Influence: Therapeutae were sent by Asoka on an embassy to Pharaoh Ptolemy II (The word 'Therapeutae'
is itself of Buddhist origin, being a Hellenization of the Pali 'Thera-putta'
(literally 'son of the elder' or 'son of the monk'). Ashoka, in his Second Edict refers to philanthropic works (such as medical help for humans and animals, digging wells, planting trees etc.) taken up by his missionaries in the lands ruled by Theos II of Syria (260 to 240 B. C) and his neighbors , including Egypt.
||Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
||governor of Syria, friend of Herod the Great (Pliny's source)
||Strabo tells us that the
Asclepius temples at Cos and Epidaurus were always filled with
patients, and along their walls the tablets were suspended,
upon which were recorded the history and treatment of the
individual cases of disease. One of these tablets has been
found on the island in the Tiber, near Rome, at the site of
an ancient temple - inscribed in Greek: "Lucius was
attacked by the pleurisy, and everyone despaired of his life;
the god ordered that the warm ashes of the altar be mingled
with wine, and applied to his side. He was saved, and gave
thanks to the god before the people."
||Chaeremon the Stoic
||Contemporary of Strabo; system not extinct - source for Porphyry
Philo is often taken as the sole authority for the Therapeutae. When he wrote, the origins of the Therapeutae were already lost in the past, and he was even unsure about the etymology of their name, which he explained as meaning either physicians of souls or servants of God. Philo was employing the familiar polarity in Hellenic philosophy between the active and the contemplative life, exemplifying the active life by the Essenes, another severely ascetic sect, and the contemplative life by the desert-dwelling Therapeutae.
According to Philo, the Therapeutae were widely distributed in the Ancient world, among the Greeks and beyond in the non-Greek world of the "Barbarians", with one of ther major gathering point being in Alexandria, in the area of the Lake Mareotis
||Essenes in Palestine; Therapeutae in Egypt (and everywhere).
The Therapeutae admitted women, the Essenes did not. The Therepeutae practiced annointment with oil
in the usual Oriental manner, whereas oil was regarded as a defilement by the Essenes.
Roman COINS: Coins minted
from the time of Nero in 54 CE through to Licinius in 324 CE
depict Asclepius or Salus -- include a total of forty-six
emperors (listed below). It is notable that the tradition
ceases with the rise to supremacy of the emperor Constantine.
P.Oxy.413: an incomplete manuscript of a Greek mime ( a skit). The scene of action of the skit is India and there are a number of Indian characters who speak dialogue in an Indian language.
Dr. E. Hultzsch (1857-1927), a noted German Indologist, identified some words of the dialogue
as an archaic form of Kannada, one of the four major languages of South India.
||Natural History 5.73
||Natural History 29.1.3
||Pliny the Elder
||Asclepius raised Tyndareus from the dead (Pliny the Elder, Natural History 29.1.3),
Josephus states flatly
that the Essene lifestyle
and the Pythagorean lifestyle
were the same. (Antiquities 15.10.4).
||Apollonius of Tyana
||Pythagorean Sage and Ascetic, adept, cited by Philostratus (Biographer), Eusebius regards as an authority on
abstinence from sacrifice
||See Synesius of Cyrene
||wrote an encyclopedia of medicine
||Aulus Cornelius Celsus
||Greek physician, a disciple of Hippocrates
||Rufus of Ephesus
||Greek anatomist renowned for his investigations of the heart and eye
||Soranus of Ephesus
||Greek physician, who recorded information concerning obstetrics and gynecology, apparently based on human dissection; distinguished among diseases by their symptoms and course.
||Description of Greece
|| Greek traveller and geographer of the 2nd century CE.,
who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He describes ancient
Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical literature
and modern archaeology.
||Sacred Tales 39.5
||"We Asclepius therapeutae "
||Galen of Pergamon
||Student of Hippocrates, physician to
the emperor Marcus Aurelius, therapetae of Ascepius.
P.Oxy. 1381: Dates from later second century CE.
Contains extended prologue and first few lines
of an aretology of Imouthes - Asclepius. The author of P.Oxy 1381 is gravely ill.
Asclepius appears in a dream ---
"someone whose height was more than human,
clothed in shining raiment and carrying
in his left hand a book, who after merely
regarding me two or three times from head
to foot disappeared."
The illness disappeared immediately; but in turn
Ascepius demanded, "though the priest who serves
him in the ceremonies", the fulfilment of the
patient's long-standing undertaking to write a book
||De Abstinentia 4.6
||De Abstinentia 4.6
||Porphyry of Tyre
||curious resemblances to Philo's
description of the Therapeutae,
even down to such details
as their posture and gait
and the eating of hyssop
with their bread
||Life of Pythagoras
||"tells us how he saw at Heliopolis
large buildings belonging to the priests,
which had once been tenanted by men
skilled in philosophy and astronomy,
who had been consulted by Plato and Eudoxus,
but that the Therapeutae (same word used by Philo)
had then fallen into decay ."
Pachomius - writes about his spiritual master Palamon,
with whom he stayed for many years, an anchorite
ascetic, whom he reports says: I have a hard ascesis. In summer I fast daily and in winter
I eat every other day. By the grace of God *** I eat nothing
but bread and salt. I am not in the habit of using oil and
wine. I keep vigil as I was taught, always spending half
the night and often the whole night in prayer and reciting
the words of God. (NB: *** This was not the "christian god")
||Hippolytus of Rome
||Bronze coin of Constantine minted at Constantinople (326-330 CE),
depicting a labarum impaling a serpent.
||Nag Hammadi Codices
||Pachomius the Editor?
||Against the Galilaeans
||Asclepius: the Greatest Gift of the Helenes
||Synesius of Cyrene
Bruno Bauer (1809-1882); Critique of the Gospels and History of Their Origin, noted that in Alexandria, Philo (born c. 10 B.C.) took up Heraclitus' [c. 540 - c. 480 B.C.E.] old idea of the Logos and made it the incorporeal first-born of God, the high priest who stands before God on behalf of the world. He is a personal and enduring mediator between God and man, the bread of life given to man's soul. He is God's cupbearer, who offers himself as refreshing wine--not to the rulers of this word, who are due to be overthrown, but to the lowly wise man, guiding him to a higher word not attainable by flesh and blood. Philo sees the Logos as related to the "word" with which God, in the Jewish scriptures, ordered things on earth, and he interprets these divine ordinances in a highly spiritualized way, as did the Therapeutae, whom he mentions as being numerous in Egypt. They looked for hidden meanings in the scriptures by way of allegorical analysis.
Vivekananda While travelling from England to India in January 1897,
on board the ship Prinz-Regent Luitpold, the venerable sage Vivekananda
told Nivedita about his dream of an old bearded man named Therapeutae,
(Theraputra - son [putra] of an old monk [thera])
who had asked:
"Do ye come to effect our restoration?
I am one of the ancient order
The truths preached by us
have been given out
by Christians as taught by Jesus;
but for the matter of that,
there was no personality
by the name of Jesus ever born". -
Extracted from Vivekananda's autobiography.
Cited by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy; and Narasingha Prosad Sil
Gerald D. Hart - Asclepius, the God of Medicine. Review Notes and data
Esoteric Healing - John Nash:
Healing was practiced in the temples of Asclepius.
The cult of Asclepius, a conspicuous
feature of Greek religion, dated at least from
the fourth century BCE. Asclepius, the son of
Apollo and a mortal woman, was taught a variety
of healing arts, including surgery. Based
on Egyptian antecedents, healing temples,
called asclepieion (asklepieion), are reported
to have treated large numbers of pilgrims. The
Roman physician Galen (131–201), whose
work would dominate western medicine for
1,000 years, is reported to have spent four
years at a temple of Asclepius in Asia Minor.
Sleep temples provided treatments for a variety
of physical and psychological ailments.
Dream analysis played a major role, in which
priests took the place of today’s Freudian and
Jungian psychologists. Other therapies included
fasting, meditation, hypnosis, chanting,
and visits to the baths or gymnasium. Attendants
at the temples were known as therapeutae
(Greek: qerapeuw, “to serve, or heal”)
or therapeutrides, their female counterparts.
The same terms, therapeutae and therapeutrides,
were applied to members of certain
Jewish monastic communities that flourished
at the beginning of the Common Era. These
communities functioned much like communities
of Essenes,4 but a major focus of their
work was healing. Jewish philosopher Philo of
Alexandria (c.10 BCE–50 CE) described a
community of Jewish therapeutae on the shore
of Lake Mareotis, Egypt, in the first century
CE. He was clearly impressed with the work
of its members:
[They] have embraced the contemplation of
nature and its constituent parts, and have
lived in the soul alone, citizens of Heaven
and the universe, truly commended to the
Father and Creator of all by virtue, which
has secured for them God’s friendship.5
Philo spoke enthusiastically about the practitioners’
success, noting that their services were
more effective than were available from physicians
in the cities: “for the latter’s [care] cures
only the body, while [the care of the therapeutae]
treats also souls mastered by grievous and
virtually incurable diseases.”
Asclepia: Temples of Asclepius
Ancient Greco-Roman medicine borrowed a lot from the Egyptian medicine. Egyptian medical men were invited by Greeks to practice medicine in their countries and were highly respected. Michael Grant, in his well-respected 'The Rise of the Greeks' makes note that the cult of Thoth/Hermes and its equivalent 'Imhotep/Asklepios' was the main intellectual belief during the time of Pythagoras.
Apollo was considered the earliest Greek God of medicine. Apollo was born in Delos and brought up in Delphi. Here, as the legend goes, the infant Apollo slew a python or a monster that had plagued the site. Following this, Delphi became a sacred place in Greece, where oracles occured. Apollo is regarded as having taught the art of healing to Achilles, Aesculapius (Asklepius) and Jason.
Asclepius was considered to be the son of Apollo and Coronis a mortal woman. Ancient written sources report (see below) that "he healed many sick whose lives had been despaired of, and... he brought back to life many who had died." Major temples, shrines and healing centers were scattered across the empire according to ancient sources. Perhaps the best resource available on the Asclepius Cult in the empire is located at: http://www.theoi.com/Cult/AsklepiosCult.html THEOI present a discussion of the following 59 Asclepius temples and/or shrines:
Mathematician and a physicist, Pythagoras also had a profound influence on medicine. According to him, diseases were due to disturbances of four humours: (1) Black bile was cold and dry. (2) Yellow bile was hot and dry, (3) Phlegm was cold and moist and (4) Blood was hot and moist. There is a similarity between Pythagoras’ concept of diseases and the Ayurvedic concept enunciated at least two centuries earlier.
The Life tells us that Sophocles served as a priest to Asclepius, god of healing and medicine. In the center of Asclepius' temple lived a great serpent, an embodiment of the god himself. Once, during the relocation of the temple to Athens, the snake lived in Sophocles' house till his new quarters were ready.
Generally considered the “ Father of medicine “ An astute Greek physician who was born on the island of Cos, but probably practised on Rhodes. He was the first to maintain records of his patients complaints and his own observations. It was Hippocrates who enunciated the physician ‘s oath , now known as the “Hippocratic Oath”: “I swear by Apollo, the healer, invoking all the Gods and Goddesses to be my witnesses, that I will fulfil this Oath and this written convenant to the best of my ability and judgment. I will look upon him who shall have taught me this art even as one of my own parents. I will impart this art by precept, by lecture and by every mode of teaching. The regime I adopt shall be for the benefit of the patient according to my ability and judgement, and not for their hurt or for any wrong. In my attendance on the sick or even part therefrom, whatsoever things I see or hear, concerning the life of men, which ought not to be spoken abroad, I will keep silence thereon, counting such things to be as sacred secrets”. His aphorisms are also famous, some of which state : “Life is short and the art long; opportunity is fleeting, experience fallacious, judgement is difficult.” “In every disease, it is a good sign when the patient’s intellect is sound and he enjoys his food; the opposite is a bad sign.”
Nevertheless we must make the endeavor and labor to attain to this virtue; for it is not right that the greatness of the virtue of the men should be a cause of silence to those who do not think it right that anything which is creditable should be suppressed in silence; but the deliberate intention of the philosopher is at once displayed from the appellation given to them: for with strict regard to etymology, they are called therapeutae and therapeutrides, either because they profess an art of medicine more excellent than that in general use in cities (for that only heals bodies, but the other heals souls which are under the mastery of terrible and almost incurable diseases, which pleasures and appetites, fears and griefs, and covetousness, and follies, and injustice, and all the rest of the innumerable multitude of other passions and vices, have inflicted upon them), or else because they have been instructed by nature and the sacred laws to serve the living God, who is superior to the good, and more simple than the one, and more ancient than the unity with whom, however, who is there of those who profess piety that we can possibly compare? Can we compare those who honor the elements, earth, water, air, and fire? to whom different nations have given names, calling fire Hephaestus, I imagine because of its kindling, and the air Hera, I imagine because of its being raised up, and raised aloft to a great height, and water Poseidon, probably because of its being drinkable, and the earth Demeter because it appears to be the mother of all plants and of all animals.
II. But since these men infect not only their fellow countrymen, but all that come near them with folly, let them remain uncovered, being mutilated in the most indispensable of all the outward senses, namely, sight. I am speaking here, not of the sight of the body, but of that of the soul, by which alone truth and falsehood are distinguished from one another. But the therapeutic sect of mankind, being continually taught to see without interruption, may well aim at obtaining a sight of the living God, and may pass by the sun, which is visible to the outward sense, and never leave this order which conducts to perfect happiness. But they who apply themselves to this kind of worship, not because they are influenced to do so by custom, nor by the advice or recommendation of any particular persons, but because they are carried away by a certain heavenly love, give way to enthusiasm, behaving like so many revelers in bacchanalian or corybantian mysteries, until they see the object which they have been earnestly desiring.
Then, because of their anxious desire for an immortal and blessed existence, thinking that their mortal life has already come to an end, they leave their possessions to their sons or daughters, or perhaps to other relations, giving them up their inheritance with willing cheerfulness: and those who know no relations give their property to their companions or friends, for it followed of necessity that those who have acquired the wealth which sees, as if ready prepared for them, should be willing to surrender that wealth which is blind to those who themselves also are still blind in their minds.
When, therefore, men abandon their property without being influenced by any predominant attraction, they flee without even turning their heads back again, deserting their brethren, their children, their wives, their parents, their numerous families, their affectionate bands of companions, their native lands in which they have been born and brought up, though long familiarity is a most attractive bond, and one very well able to allure any one. And they depart, not to another city as those do who entreat to be purchased from those who at present possess them, being either unfortunate or else worthless servants, and as such seeking a change of masters rather than endeavoring to procure freedom (for every city, even that which is under the happiest laws, is full of indescribable tumults, and disorders, and calamities, which no one would submit to who had been even for a moment under the influence of wisdom), but they take up their abode outside of walls, or gardens, or solitary lands, seeking for a desert place, not because of any ill-natured misanthropy to which they have learned to devote themselves, but because of the associations with people of wholly dissimilar dispositions to which they would otherwise be compelled, and which they know to be unprofitable and mischievous.
III. Now this class of persons may be met with in many places, for it was fitting that both Greece and the country of the barbarians should partake of whatever is perfectly good; and there is the greatest number of such men in Egypt, in every one of the districts, or nomes, as they are called, and especially around Alexandria; and from all quarters those who are the best of these therapeutae proceed on their pilgrimage to some most suitable place as if it were their country, which is beyond the Maereotic lake, lying in a somewhat level plain a little raised above the rest, being suitable for their purpose by reason of its safety and also of the fine temperature of the air.
For the houses built in the fields and the villages which surround it on all sides give it safety; and the admirable temperature of the air proceeds from the continual breezes which come from the lake which falls into the sea, and also from the sea itself in the neighborhood, the breezes from the sea being light, and those which proceed from the lake which falls into the sea being heavy, the mixture of which produces a most healthy atmosphere.
But the houses of these men thus congregated together are very plain, just giving shelter in respect of the two things most important to be provided against, the heat of the sun, and the cold from the open air; and they did not live near to one another as men do in cities, for immediate neighborhood to others would be a troublesome and unpleasant thing to men who have conceived an admiration for, and have determined to devote themselves to, solitude; and, on the other hand, they did not live very far from one another on account of the fellowship which they desire to cultivate, and because of the desirableness of being able to assist one another if they should be attacked by robbers.
And in every house there is a sacred shrine which is called the holy place, and the house in which they retire by themselves and perform all the mysteries of a holy life, bringing in nothing, neither meat, nor drink, nor anything else which is indispensable towards supplying the necessities of the body, but studying in that place the laws and the sacred oracles of God enunciated by the holy prophets, and hymns, and psalms, and all kinds of other things by reason of which knowledge and piety are increased and brought to perfection.
Therefore they always retain an imperishable recollection of God, so that not even in their dreams is any other subject ever presented to their eyes except the beauty of the divine virtues and of the divine powers. Therefore many persons speak in their sleep, divulging and publishing the celebrated doctrines of the sacred philosophy. And they are accustomed to pray twice a day, at morning and at evening; when the sun is rising entreating God that the happiness of the coming day may be real happiness, so that their minds may be filled with heavenly light, and when the sun is setting they pray that their soul, being entirely lightened and relieved of the burden of the outward senses, and of the appropriate object of these outward senses, may be able to trace out trust existing in its own consistory and council chamber. And the interval between morning and evening is by them devoted wholly to meditation on and to practice virtue, for they take up the sacred scriptures and philosophy concerning them, investigating the allegories as symbols of some secret meaning of nature, intended to be conveyed in those figurative expressions.
They have also writings of ancient men, who having been the founders of one sect or another, have left behind them many memorials of the allegorical system of writing and explanation, whom they take as a kind of model, and imitate the general fashion of their sect; so that they do not occupy themselves solely in contemplation, but they likewise compose psalms and hymns to God in every kind of meter and melody imaginable, which they of necessity arrange in more dignified rhythm. Therefore, during six days, each of these individuals, retiring into solitude by himself, philosophizes by himself in one of the places called monasteries, never going outside the threshold of the outer court, and indeed never even looking out.
But on the seventh day they all come together as if to meet in a sacred assembly, and they sit down in order according to their ages with all becoming gravity, keeping their hands inside their garments, having their right hand between their chest and their dress, and the left hand down by their side, close to their flank; and then the eldest of them who has the most profound learning in their doctrines comes forward and speaks with steadfast look and with steadfast voice, with great powers of reasoning, and great prudence, not making an exhibition of his oratorical powers like the rhetoricians of old, or the sophists of the present day, but investigating with great pains, and explaining with minute accuracy the precise meaning of the laws, which sits, not indeed at the tips of their ears, but penetrates through their hearing into the soul, and remains there lastingly; and all the rest listen in silence to the praises which he bestows upon the law, showing their assent only by nods of the head, or the eager look of the eyes.
And this common holy place to which they all come together on the seventh day is a twofold circuit, being separated partly into the apartment of the men, and partly into a chamber for the women, for women also, in accordance with the usual fashion there, form a part of the audience, having the same feelings of admiration as the men, and having adopted the same sect with equal deliberation and decision; and the wall which is between the houses rises from the ground three or four cubits upwards, like a battlement, and the upper portion rises upwards to the roof without any opening. on two accounts; first of all, in order that the modesty which is so becoming to the female sex may be preserved, and secondly, that the women may be easily able to comprehend what is said, being seated within earshot, since there is then nothing which can possibly intercept the voice of him who is speaking.
IV. And these expounders of the law, having first of all laid down temperance as a sort of foundation for the soul to rest upon, proceed to build up other virtues on this foundation, and no one of them may take any meat or drink before the setting of the sun, since they judge that the work of philosophizing is one which is worthy of the light, but that the care of the necessities of the body is suitable only to darkness, on which account they appropriate the day to the one occupation, and a brief portion of the night to the other; and some men, in whom there is implanted a more fervent desire of knowledge, can endure to cherish a recollection of their food for three days without even tasting it, and some men are so delighted, and enjoy themselves so exceedingly when regaled by wisdom which supplies them with her doctrines in all possible wealth and abundance, that they can even hold out twice as great a length of time, and will scarcely at the end of six days taste even necessary food, being accustomed, as they say that grasshoppers are, to feed on air, their song as I imagine, making their scarcity tolerable to them.
And they, looking upon the seventh day as one of perfect holiness and a most complete festival, have thought it worthy of a most especial honor, and on it, after taking due care of their soul, they tend their bodies also, giving them, just as they do to their cattle, a complete rest from their continual labors; and they eat nothing of a costly character, but plain bread and a seasoning of salt, which the more luxurious of them do further season with hyssop; and their drink is water from the spring; for they oppose those feelings which nature has made mistresses of the human race, namely, hunger and thirst, giving them nothing to flatter or humor them, but only such useful things as it is not possible to exist without. On this account they eat only so far as not to be hungry, and they drink just enough to escape from thirst, avoiding all satiety, as an enemy of and a plotter against both soul and body.
And there are two kinds of covering, one raiment and the other a house: we have already spoken of their houses, that they are not decorated with any ornaments, but run up in a hurry, being only made to answer such purposes as are absolutely necessary; and in like manner their raiment is of the most ordinary description, just stout enough to ward off cold and heat, being a cloak of some shaggy hide for winter, and a thin mantle or linen shawl in the summer; for in short they practice entire simplicity, looking upon falsehood as the foundation of pride, but truth is the origin of simplicity, and upon truth and falsehood as standing in the light of fountains, for from falsehood proceeds every variety of evil and wickedness, and from truth there flows every imaginable abundance of good things both human and divine.
From: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources
(Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1907),
Vol. III: The Roman World, pp. 355-369.
Indicates that the forty six of the Roman emperor for the period of almost three centuries depicted on their minted coins the figure of Asclepius or Salus. This represents a fairly extensive and persistent tradition. Notably the practice ceases in the year 324 CE, at which time the military supremacist Constantine secured the entire Roman empire as his own.
At this time, Constantine destroyed the temples of Asclepius and had their chief priests executed. For the details, see this article on the The "Council" of Antioch.
The Essens also, as we call a sect of ours, were excused from this imposition.
These men live the same kind of life as do those whom the Greeks call Pythagoreans,
concerning whom I shall discourse more fully elsewhere. However, it is but fit to set down here the reasons wherefore Herod had these Essens in such honor, and thought higher of them than their mortal nature required; nor will this account be unsuitable to the nature of this history, as it will show the opinion men had of these Essens.
5. Now there was one of these Essens, whose name was Manahem, who had this testimony, that he not only conducted his life after an excellent manner, but had the foreknowledge of future events given him by God also. This man once saw Herod when he was a child, and going to school, and saluted him as king of the Jews; but he, thinking that either he did not know him, or that he was in jest, put him in mind that he was but a private man; but Manahem smiled to himself, and clapped him on his backside with his hand, and said," However that be, thou wilt be king, and wilt begin thy reign happily, for God finds thee worthy of it. And do thou remember the blows that Manahem hath given thee, as being a signal of the change of thy fortune. And truly this will be the best reasoning for thee, that thou love justice [towards men], and piety towards God, and clemency towards thy citizens; yet do I know how thy whole conduct will be, that thou wilt not be such a one, for thou wilt excel all men in happiness, and obtain an everlasting reputation, but wilt forget piety and righteousness; and these crimes will not be concealed from God, at the conclusion of thy life, when thou wilt find that he will be mindful of them, and punish time for them." Now at that time Herod did not at all attend to what Manahem said, as having no hopes of such advancement; but a little afterward, when he was so fortunate as to be advanced to the dignity of king, and was in the height of his dominion, he sent for Manahem, and asked him how long he should reign. Manahem did not tell him the full length of his reign; wherefore, upon that silence of his, he asked him further, whether he should reign ten years or not? He replied, "Yes, twenty, nay, thirty years;" but did not assign the just determinate limit of his reign. Herod was satisfied with these replies, and gave Manahem his hand, and dismissed him; and from that time he continued to honor all the Essens. We have thought it proper to relate these facts to our readers, how strange soever they be, and to declare what hath happened among us, because many of these Essens have, by their excellent virtue, been thought worthy of this knowledge of Divine revelations.
[The full title is given by Eudocia, Ionia; ed. Villoison (Venet 1781) p 57] This treatise is mentioned by Philostratus (iii 41; iv 19), who tells us that it set down the proper method of sacrifice to every God, the proper hours of prayer and offering. It was in wide circulation, and Philostratus had come across copies of it in many temples and cities, and in the libraries of philosophers. Several fragments of it have been preserved, [See Zeller, Phil d Griech, v 127] the most important of which is to be found in Eusebius, [Præparat. Evangel., iv 12-13; ed Dindorf (Leipzig 1867), i 176, 177] and is to this effect: “ ‘Tis best to make no sacrifice to God at all, no lighting of a fire, no calling Him by any name that men employ for things to sense. For God is over all, the first; and only after Him do come the other Gods. For He doth stand in need of naught e’en from the Gods, much less from us small men - naught that the earth brings forth, nor any life she nurseth, or even any thing the stainless air contains. The only fitting sacrifice to God is man’s best reason, and not the word that comes from out his mouth. “We men should ask the best of beings through the best thing in us, for what is good - mean by means of mind, for mind needs no material things to make its prayer. So then, to God, the mighty One, who’s over all, no sacrifice should ever be lit up.” Noack [Psyche, I ii.5.] tells us that scholarship is convinced of the genuineness of this fragment. This book, as we have seen, was widely circulated and held in the highest respect, and it said that its rules were engraved on brazen pillars at Byzantium. [Noack, ibid.]
Provides a comprehensive catalogue of temples and shrines in the region, as well as frequent discussions of local myth and cult practice. For the source texts of Pausanias see http://www.theoi.com/Text/Pausanias1A.html His "Descriptions of Ancient Greece" makes a total of 126 separate references to the name of Asclepius, the popular "hero" of physical healing.
Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World By John S. Kloppenborg, Stephen G. Wilson Aelius Aristides at the Asclepieion of Pergamum Archaeological data supplement the literary sources on the Asclepieion of Pergamum, including the most extensive one, Aelius Aristides' (117-180)' "Sacred Tales". Therapeutae Mention of "therapeutae" - "[temple] worshippers or servants" Aelius Aristides writes: "We Asclepius therapeutae must agree with the god that Pergamum is the best of his sanctuaries." --- Sacred Tales (39.5) "Asclepius is the one who guides and rules the universe, the saviour of the whole and the guardian of immortals, or if you wish to put it in the words of a tragic poet, "the steerer of government," he who saves that which always exists and that which is in the state of becoming". --- Aristides, Oratio 17.4 (Edelstein), see also Oratio 23.15-18 Publius Aelius Aristides (c. 129-189) a sophist and rhetorician, educated at Pergamum and Athens. Widely traveled in Egypt and Asia Minor, arriving at Rome in 156. Spend most of his time as a patient at the Asclepieum of Pergamum. A friend of Marcus Aurelius, he became a priest of Asclepius (Aesculapius) at Smyrna. More than fifty of his orations and declamations are extant.
"Galen use of the designation "therapeutae" to secure from Marcus Aurelius exception from military service." In his writings - Galen wrote about 500 books - he often acknowledged his indebtedness to Hippocrates. Galen was the physician to the great philosopher-emperor, Marcus Aurelius. "I know," he said, "that I have often made a diagnosis from dreams; and, guided by two very dear dreams, I once made an incision into the artery between the thumb and index finger of the right hand." Nor, it seems, was this a unique success: "I have saved many people," Galen goes on to say, "by applying a cure prescribed in a dream." --- Galen 16.222 (Kühn). Galen also put great stress on the proper and frequent use of gymnastics (hence the importance and place of gymnasia). Throughout other ancient Greek medical writings special exercises are prescribed as cures for specific diseases, showing the extent to which the Greeks considered health and fitness connected. A gymnasium was equivalent to our idea of a university. A gathering place for scholars and their pupils, complete with a library.
7. It was not lawful for them therefore to meddle with the esculent and potable substances, which were produced out of Egypt, and this contributed much to the exclusion of luxury from these priests. But they abstained from all the fish that was caught in Egypt, and from such quadrupeds as had solid, or many-fissured hoofs, and from such as were not horned; and likewise from all such birds as were carnivorous. Many of them, however, entirely abstained from all animals; and in purifications this abstinence was adopted by all of them, for then they did not even eat an egg. Moreover, they also rejected other things, without being calumniated for so doing. Thus, for instance, of oxen, they rejected the females, and also such of the males as were twins, or were speckled, or of a different color, or alternately varied in their form, or which were now tamed, as having been already consecrated to labors, and resembled animals that are honored, or which were the images of any thing [that is divine], or those that had but one eye, or those that verged to a similitude of the human form. There are also innumerable other observations pertaining to the art of those who stamp calves with a seal, and of which books have been composed. But these observations are still more curious respecting birds; as, for instance, that a turtle should not be eaten; for it is said that a hawk frequently dismisses this bird after he has seized it, and preserves its life, as a reward for having had connection with it. The Egyptian priests, therefore, that they might not ignorantly meddle with a turtle of this kind, avoided the whole species of those birds. And these indeed were certain common religious ceremonies; but there were different ceremonies, which varied according to the class of the priests that used them, and were adapted to the several divinities. But chastity and purifications were common to all the priests. When also the time arrived in which they were to perform something pertaining to the sacred rites of religion, they spent some days in preparatory ceremonies, some indeed forty-two, but others a greater, and others a less number of days; yet never less than seven days; and during this time they abstained from all animals, and likewise from all pot-herbs and leguminous substances, and, above all, from a venereal connection with women; for they never at any time had connection with males. They likewise washed themselves with cold water thrice every day; viz. when they rose from their bed, before dinner, and when they betook themselves to sleep. But if they happened to be polluted in their sleep by the emission of the seed, they immediately purified their body in a bath. They also used cold bathing at other times, but not so frequently as on the above occasion. Their bed was woven from the branches of the palm tree, which they call bais; and their bolster was a smooth semi-cylindric piece of wood. But they exercised themselves in the endurance of hunger and thirst, and were accustomed to paucity of food through the whole of their life.
8. This also is a testimony of their continence, that, though they neither exercised themselves in walking or riding, yet they lived free from disease, and were sufficiently strong for the endurance of modern labors. They bore therefore many burdens in the performance of sacred operations, and accomplished many ministrant works, which required more than common strength. But they divided the night into the observation of the celestial bodies, and sometimes devoted a part of it to offices of purification; and they distributed the day into the worship of the Gods, according to which they celebrated them with hymns thrice or four times, viz. in the morning and evening, when the sun is at his meridian altitude, and when he is declining to the west. The rest of their time they devoted to arithmetical and geometrical speculations, always laboring to effect something, and to make some new discovery, and, in short, continually exercising their skill. In winter nights also they were occupied in the same employments, being vigilantly engaged in literary pursuits, as paying no attention to the acquisition of externals, and being liberated from the servitude of that bad master, excessive expense. Hence their unwearied and incessant labor testifies their endurance, but their continence is manifested by their liberation from the desire of external good. To sail from Egypt likewise, [i.e. to quit Egypt,] was considered by them to be one of the most unholy things, in consequence of their being careful to avoid foreign luxury and pursuits; for this appeared to them to be alone lawful to those who were compelled to do so by regal necessities. Indeed, they were very anxious to continue in the observance of the institutes of their country, and those who were found to have violated them, though but in a small degree were expelled [from the college of the priests]. The true method of philosophizing, likewise, was preserved by the prophets, by the hierostolistae, and the sacred scribes, and also by the horologi, or calculators of nativities. But the rest of the priests, and of the pastophori, curators of temples, and ministers of the Gods, were similarly studious of purity, yet not so accurately, and with such great continence, as the priests of whom we have been speaking. And such are the particulars which are narrated of the Egyptians, by a man who was a lover of truth, and an accurate writer, and who among the Stoics strenuously and solidly philosophized.
9. But the Egyptian priests, through the proficiency which they made by this exercise, and similitude to divinity, knew that divinity does not pervade through man alone, and that soul is not enshrined in man alone on the earth, but that it nearly passes through all animals. On this account, in fashioning the images of the Gods, they assumed every animal, and for this purpose mixed together the human form and the forms of wild beasts, and again the bodies of birds with the body of a man. For a certain deity was represented by them in a human shape as far as to the neck, but the face was that of a bird, or a lion, or of some other animal. And again, another divine resemblance had a human head, but the other parts were those of certain other animals, some of which had an inferior, but others a superior position; through which they manifested, that these [i.e. brutes and men], through the decision of the Gods, communicated with each other, and that tame and savage animals are nurtured together with us, not without the concurrence of a certain divine will. Hence also, a lion is worshipped as a God, and a certain part of Egypt, which is called Nomos, has the surname of Leontopolis [or the city of the lion], and another is denominated Busiris [from an ox], and another Lycopolis [or the city of the wolf]. For they venerated the power of God which extends to all things through animals which are nurtured together, and which each of the Gods imparts. They also reverenced water and fire the most of all the elements, as being the principal causes of our safety. And these things are exhibited by them in temples; for even now, on opening the sanctuary of Serapis, the worship is performed through fire and water; he who sings the hymns making a libation with water, and exhibiting fire, when, standing on the threshold of the temple, he invokes the God in the language of the Egyptians. Venerating, therefore, these elements, they especially reverence those things which largely participate of them, as partaking more abundantly of what is sacred. But after these, they venerate all animals, and in the village Anubis they worship a man, in which place also they sacrifice to him, and victims are there burnt in honor of him on an altar; but he shortly after only eats that which was procured for him as a man. Hence, as it is requisite to abstain from man, so likewise, from other animals. And farther still, the Egyptian priests, from their transcendent wisdom and association with divinity, discovered what animals are more acceptable to the Gods [when dedicated to them] than man. Thus they found that a hawk is dear to the sun, since the whole of its nature consists of blood and spirit. It also commiserates man, and laments over his dead body, and scatters earth on his eyes, in which these priests believe a solar light is resident. They likewise discovered that a hawk lives many years, and that, after it leaves the present life, it possesses a divining power, is most rational and prescient when liberated from the body, and gives perfection to statues, and moves temples. A beetle will be detested by one who is ignorant of and unskilled in divine concerns, but the Egyptians venerate it, as an animated image of the sun. For every beetle is a male, and emitting its genital seed in a muddy place, and having made it spherical, it turns round the seminal sphere in a way similar to that of the sun in the heavens. It likewise receives a period of twenty-eight days, which is a lunar period. In a similar manner, the Egyptians philosophize about the ram, the crocodile, the vulture, and the ibis, and, in short, about every animal; so that, from their wisdom and transcendent knowledge of divine concerns, they came at length to venerate all animals. An unlearned man, however, does not even suspect that they, not being borne along with the stream of the vulgar who know nothing, and not walking in the path of ignorance, but passing beyond the illiterate multitude, and that want of knowledge which befalls every one at first, were led to reverence things which are thought by the vulgar to be of no worth.
10. This also, no less than the above-mentioned particulars, induced them to believe, that animals should be reverenced [as images of the Gods], viz. that the soul of every animal, when liberated from the body, was discovered by them to be rational, to be prescient of futurity, to possess an oracular power, and to be effective of every thing which man is capable of accomplishing when separated from the body. Hence they very properly honored them, and abstained from them as much as possible. Since, however, the cause through which the Egyptians venerated the Gods through animals requires a copious discussion, and which would exceed the limits of the present treatise, what has been unfolded respecting this particular is sufficient for our purpose. Nevertheless, this is not to be omitted, that the Egyptians, when they buried those that were of noble birth, privately took away the belly and placed it in a chest, and together with other things which they performed for the sake of the dead body, they elevated the chest towards the sun, whom they invoked as a witness; an oration for the deceased being at the same time made by one of those to whose care the funeral was committed. But the oration which Euphantus has interpreted from the Egyptian tongue was as follows: “O sovereign Sun, and all ye Gods who impart life to men, receive me, and deliver me to the eternal Gods as a cohabitant. For I have always piously worshipped those divinities which were pointed out to me by my parents as long as I lived in this age, and have likewise always honored those who procreated my body. And, with respect to other men, I have never slain any one, nor defrauded any one of what he deposited with me, nor have I committed any other atrocious deed. If, therefore, during my life I have acted erroneously, by eating or drinking things which it is unlawful to eat or drink, I have not erred through myself, but through these,” pointing to the chest in which the belly was contained. And having thus spoken, he threw the chest into the river [Nile]; but buried the rest of the body as being pure. After this manner, they thought an apology ought to be made to divinity for what they had eaten and drank, and for the insolent conduct which they had been led to through the belly.
11. But among those who are known by us, the Jews, before they first suffered the subversion of their legal institutes under Antiochus, and afterwards under the Romans, when also the temple in Jerusalem was captured, and became accessible to all men to whom, prior to this event, it was inaccessible, and the city itself was destroyed;—before this took place, the Jews always abstained from many animals, but peculiarly, which they even now do, from swine. At that period, therefore, there were three kinds of philosophers among them. And of one kind, indeed, the Pharisees were the leaders, but of another, the Sadducees, and of the third, which appears to have been the most venerable, the Essaeans. The mode of life, therefore, of these third was as follows, as Josephus frequently testifies in many of his writings. For in the second book of his Judaic History, which he has completed in seven books, and in the eighteenth of his Antiquities, which consists of twenty books, and likewise in the second of the two books which he wrote against the Greeks, he speaks of these Essaeans, and says, that they are of the race of the Jews, and are in a greater degree than others friendly to one another. They are averse to pleasures, conceiving them to be vicious, but they are of opinion that continence, and the not yielding to the passions, constitute virtue. And they despise, indeed, wedlock, but receiving the children of other persons, and instructing them in disciplines while they are yet of a tender age, they consider them as their kindred, and form them to their own manners. And they act in this manner, not for the purpose of subverting marriage, and the succession arising from it, but in order to avoid the lasciviousness of women. They are, likewise, despisers of wealth, and the participation of external possessions among them in common is wonderful; nor is any one to be found among them who is richer than the rest. For it is a law with them, that those who wish to belong to their sect, must give up their property to it in common; so that among all of them, there is not to be seen either the abjectness of poverty, or the insolence of wealth; but the possessions of each being mingled with those of the rest, there was one property with all of them, as if they had been brothers. They likewise conceived oil to be a stain to the body, and that if any one, though unwillingly, was anointed, he should [immediately] wipe his body. For it was considered by them as beautiful to be squalid, and to be always clothed in white garments. But curators of the common property were elected by votes, indistinctly for the use of all. They have not, however, one city, but in each city many of them dwell together, and those who come among them from other places, if they are of their sect, equally partake with them of their possessions, as if they were their own. Those, likewise, who first perceive these strangers, behave to them as if they were their intimate acquaintance. Hence, when they travel, they take nothing with them for the sake of expenditure. But they neither change their garments nor their shoes, till they are entirely torn, or destroyed by time. They neither buy nor sell anything, but each of them giving what he possesses to him that is in want, receives in return for it what will be useful to him. Nevertheless, each of them freely imparts to others of their sect what they may be in want of, without any remuneration.
12. Moreover, they are peculiarly pious to divinity. For before the sun rises they speak nothing profane, but they pour forth certain prayers to him which they had received from their ancestors, as if beseeching him to rise. Afterwards, they are sent by their curators to the exercise of the several arts in which they are skilled, and having till the fifth hour strenuously labored in these arts, they are afterwards collected together in one place; and there, being begirt with linen teguments, they wash their bodies with cold water. After this purification, they enter into their own proper habitation, into which no heterodox person is permitted to enter. But they being pure, betake themselves to the dining room, as into a certain sacred fane. In this place, when all of them are seated in silence, the baker places the bread in order, and the cook distributes to each of them one vessel containing one kind of eatables. Prior, however, to their taking the food which is pure and sacred, a priest prays, and it is unlawful for any one prior to the prayer to taste of the food. After dinner, likewise, the priest again prays; so that both when they begin, and when they cease to eat, they venerate divinity. Afterwards, divesting themselves of these garments as sacred, they again betake themselves to their work till the evening; and, returning from thence, they eat and drink in the same manner as before, strangers sitting with them, if they should happen at that time to be present. No clamor or tumult ever defiles the house in which they dwell; but their conversation with each other is performed in an orderly manner; and to those that are out of the house, the silence of those within it appears as if it was some terrific mystery. The cause, however, of this quietness is their constant sobriety, and that with them their meat and drink is measured by what is sufficient [to the wants of nature]. But those who are very desirous of belonging to their sect, are not immediately admitted into it, but they must remain out of it for a year, adopting the same diet, the Essaeans giving them a rake, a girdle, and a white garment. And if, during that time, they have given a sufficient proof of their continence, they proceed to a still greater conformity to the institutes of the sect, and use purer water for the purpose of sanctity; though they are not yet permitted to live with the Essaeans. For after this exhibition of endurance, their manners are tried for two years more, and he who after this period appears to deserve to associate with them, is admitted into their society.
13. Before, however, he who is admitted touches his common food, he takes a terrible oath, in the first place, that he will piously worship divinity; in the next place, that he will preserve justice towards men, and that he will neither designedly, nor when commanded, injure any one; in the third place, that he will always hate the unjust, but strenuously assist the just; and in the fourth place, that he will act faithfully towards all men, but especially towards the rulers of the land, since no one becomes a ruler without the permission of God; in the fifth place, that if he should be a ruler, he will never employ his power to insolently iniquitous purposes, nor will surpass those that are in subjection to him in his dress, or any other more splendid ornament; in the sixth place, that he will always love the truth, and be hostile to liars; in the seventh place, that he will preserve his hands from theft, and his soul pure from unholy gain; and, in the eighth place, that he will conceal nothing from those of his sect, nor divulge any thing to others pertaining to the sect, though some one, in order to compel him, should threaten him with death. In addition to these things, also, they swear, that they will not impart the dogmas of the sect to any one in any other way than that in which they received them; that they will likewise abstain from robbery, and preserve the books of their sect with the same care as the names of the angels. Such, therefore, are their oaths. But those among them that act criminally, and are ejected, perish by an evil destiny. For, being bound by their oaths and their customs, they are not capable of receiving food from others; but feeding on herbs, and having their body emaciated by hunger, they perish. Hence the Essaeans, commiserating many of these unfortunate men, receive them in their last extremities into their society, thinking that they have suffered sufficiently for their offenses in having been punished for them till they were on the brink of the grave. But they give a rake to those who intend to belong to their sect, in order that, when they sit for the purpose of exonerating the belly, they make a trench a foot in depth, and completely cover themselves by their garment, in order that they may not act contumeliously towards the sun by polluting the rays of the God. And so great, indeed, is their simplicity and frugality with respect to diet, that they do not require evacuation till the seventh day after the assumption of food, which day they spend in singing hymns to God, and in resting from labor. But from this exercise they acquire the power of such great endurance, that even when tortured and burnt, and suffering every kind of excruciating pain, they cannot be induced either to blaspheme their legislator, or to eat what they have not been accustomed to. And the truth of this was demonstrated in their war with the Romans. For then they neither flattered their tormentors, nor shed any tears, but smiled in the midst of their torments, and derided those that inflicted them, and cheerfully emitted their souls, as knowing that they should possess them again. For this opinion was firmly established among them, that their bodies were indeed corruptible, and that the matter of which they consisted was not stable, but that their souls were immortal, and would endure for ever, and that, proceeding from the most subtle ether, they were drawn down by a natural flux, and complicated with bodies; but that, when they are no longer detained by the bonds of the flesh, then, as if liberated from a long slavery, they will rejoice, and ascend to the celestial regions. But from this mode of living, and from being thus exercised in truth and piety, there were many among them, as it is reasonable to suppose there would be, who had aforeknowledge of future events, as being conversant from their youth with sacred books, different purifications, and the declarations of the prophets. And such is the order [or sect] of the Essaeans among the Jews.
14. All of them, however, were forbidden to eat the flesh of swine, or fish without scales, which the Greeks call cartilaginous; or to eat any animal that has solid hoofs. They were likewise forbidden not only to refrain from eating, but also from killing animals that fled to their houses as supplicants. Nor did the legislator permit them to slay such animals as were parents together with their young; but ordered them to spare, even in a hostile land, and not put to death brutes that assist us in our labors. Nor was the legislator afraid that the race of animals which are not sacrificed, would, through being spared from slaughter, be so increased in multitude as to produce famine among men; for he knew, in the first place, that multiparous animals live but for a short time; and in the next place, that many of them perish, unless attention is paid to them by men. Moreover, he likewise knew that other animals would attack those that increased excessively; of which this is an indication, that we abstain from many animals, such as lizards, worms, flies, serpents, and dogs, and yet, at the same time, we are not afraid of perishing through hunger by abstaining from them, though their increase is abundant. And in the next place, it is not the same thing to eat and to slay an animal. For we destroy many of the above-mentioned animals, but we do not eat any of them.
15. Farther still, it is likewise related that the Syrians formerly abstained from animals, and, on this account, did not sacrifice them to the Gods; but that afterwards they sacrificed them, for the purpose of averting certain evils; yet they did not at all admit of a fleshly diet. In process of time, however, as Neanthes the Cyzicenean and Asclepiades the Cyprian say, about the era of Pygmalion, who was by birth a Phoenician, but reigned over the Cyprians, the eating of flesh was admitted, from an illegality of the following kind, which Asclepiades, in his treatise concerning Cyprus and Phoenicia, relates as follows:—In the first place, they did not sacrifice anything animated to the Gods; but neither was there any law pertaining to a thing of this kind, because it was prohibited by natural law. They are said, however, on a certain occasion, in which one soul was required for another, to have, for the first time, sacrificed a victim; and this taking place, the whole of the victim was then consumed by fire. But afterwards, when the victim was burnt, a portion of the flesh fell on the earth, which was taken by the priest, who, in so doing, having burnt his fingers, involuntarily moved them to his mouth, as a remedy for the pain which the burning produced. Having, therefore, thus tasted of the roasted flesh, he also desired to eat abundantly of it, and could not refrain from giving some of it to his wife. Pygmalion, however, becoming acquainted with this circumstance, ordered both the priest and his wife to be hurled headlong from a steep rock, and gave the priesthood to another person, who not long after performing the same sacrifice and eating the flesh of the victim, fell into the same calamities as his predecessor. The thing, however, proceeding still farther, and men using the same kind of sacrifice, and through yielding to desire, not abstaining from, but feeding on flesh, the deed was no longer punished. Nevertheless abstinence from fish continued among the Syrians till the time of Menander: for he says,
“The Syrians for example take, since these When by intemperance led of fish they eat, Swoln in their belly and their feet become. With sack then cover’d, in the public way They on a dunghill sit, that by their lowly state, The Goddess may, appeas’d, the crime forgive.”
16. Among the Persians, indeed, those who are wise in divine concerns, and worship divinity, are called Magi; for this is the signification of Magus, in the Persian tongue. But so great and so venerable are these men thought to be by the Persians, that Darius, the son of Hystaspes, had among other things this engraved on his tomb, that he had been the master of the Magi. They are likewise divided into three genera, as we are informed by Eubulus, who wrote the history of Mithra, in a treatise consisting of many books. In this work he says, that the first and most learned class of the Magi neither eat nor slay any thing animated, but adhere to the ancient abstinence from animals. The second class use some animals indeed [for food], but do not slay any that are tame. Nor do those of the third class, similarly with other men, lay their hands on all animals. For the dogma with all of them which ranks as the first is this, that there is a transmigration of souls; and this they also appear to indicate in the mysteries of Mithra. For in these mysteries, obscurely signifying our having something in common with brutes, they are accustomed to call us by the names of different animals. Thus they denominate the males who participate in the same mysteries lions, but the females lionesses, and those who are ministrant to these rites crows. With respect to their fathers also, they adopt the same mode. For these are denominated by them eagles and hawks. And he who is initiated in the Leontic mysteries, is invested with all-various forms of animals; of which particulars, Pallas, in his treatise concerning Mithra, assigning the cause, says, that it is the common opinion that these things are to be referred to the circle of the zodiac, but that truly and accurately speaking, they obscurely signify something pertaining to human souls, which, according to the Persians, are invested with bodies of all-various forms. For the Latins also, says Eubulus, call some men, in their tongue, boars and scorpions, lizards, and blackbirds. After the same manner likewise the Persians denominate the Gods the demiurgic causes of these: for they call Diana a she-wolf; but the sun, a bull, a lion, a dragon, and a hawk; and Hecate, a horse, a bull, a lioness, and a dog. But most theologists say that the name of Proserpine is derived from nourishing a ring-dove; for the ring-dove is sacred to this Goddess. Hence, also the priests of Maia dedicate to her a ring-dove. And Maia is the same with Proserpine, as being obstetric, and a nurse. For this Goddess is terrestrial, and so likewise is Ceres. To this Goddess, also a cock is consecrated; and on this account those that are initiated in her mysteries abstain from domestic birds. In the Eleusian mysteries, likewise, the initiated are ordered to abstain from domestic birds, from fishes and beans, pomegranates and apples; which fruits are as equally defiling to the touch, as a woman recently delivered, and a dead body. But whoever is acquainted with the nature of divinely-luminous appearances knows also on what account it is requisite to abstain from all birds, and especially for him who hastens to be liberated from terrestrial concerns, and to be established with the celestial Gods. Vice, however, as we have frequently said, is sufficiently able to patronize itself, and especially when it pleads its cause among the ignorant. Hence, among those that are moderately vicious, some think that a dehortation of this kind is vain babbling, and, according to the proverb, the nugacity of old women; and others are of opinion that it is superstition. But those who have made greater advances in improbity, are prepared, not only to blaspheme those who exhort to, and demonstrate the propriety of this abstinence, but calumniate purity itself as enchantment and pride. They, however, suffering the punishment of their sins, both from Gods and men, are, in the first place, sufficiently punished by a disposition [i.e. by a depravity] of this kind. We shall, therefore, still farther make mention of another foreign nation, renowned and just, and believed to be pious in divine concerns, and then pass on to other particulars.
17. For the polity of the Indians being distributed into many parts, there is one tribe among them of men divinely wise, whom the Greeks are accustomed to call Gymnosophists. But of these there are two sects, over one of which the Bramins preside, but over the other the Samanaeans. The race of the Bramins, however, receive divine wisdom of this kind by succession, in the same manner as the priesthood. But the Samanaeans are elected, and consist of those who wish to possess divine knowledge. And the particulars respecting them are the following, as the Babylonian Bardesanes narrates, who lived in the times of our fathers, and was familiar with those Indians who, together with Damadamis, were sent to Caesar. All the Bramins originate from one stock; for all of them are derived from one father and one mother. But the Samanaeans are not the offspring of one family, being, as we have said, collected from every nation of Indians. A Bramin, however, is not a subject of any government, nor does he contribute any thing together with others to government. And with respect to those that are philosophers, among these some dwell on mountains, and others about the river Ganges. And those that live on mountains feed on autumnal fruits, and on cows’ milk coagulated with herbs. But those that reside near the Ganges, live also on autumnal fruits, which are produced in abundance about that river. The land likewise nearly always bears new fruit, together with much rice, which grows spontaneously, and which they use when there is a deficiency of autumnal fruits. But to taste of any other nutriment, or, in short, to touch animal food, is considered by them as equivalent to extreme impurity and impiety. And this is one of their dogmas. They also worship divinity with piety and purity. They spend the day, and the greater part of the night, in hymns and prayers to the Gods; each of them having a cottage to himself, and living, as much as possible, alone. For the Bramins cannot endure to remain with others, nor to speak much; but when this happens to take place, they afterwards withdraw themselves, and do not speak for many days. They likewise frequently fast. But the Samanaeans are, as we have said, elected. When, however, any one is desirous of being enrolled in their order, he proceeds to the rulers of the city; but abandons the city or village that he inhabited, and the wealth and all the other property that he possessed. Having likewise the superfluities of his body cut off, he receives a garment, and departs to the Samanaeans, but does not return either to his wife or children, if he happens to have any, nor does he pay any attention to them, or think that they at all pertain to him. And, with respect to his children indeed, the king provides what is necessary for them, and the relatives provide for the wife. And such is the life of the Samanaeans. But they live out of the city, and spend the whole day in conversation pertaining to divinity. They have also houses and temples, built by the king, in which they are stewards, who receive a certain emolument from the king, for the purpose of supplying those that dwell in them with nutriment. But their food consists of rice, bread, autumnal fruits, and pot-herbs. And when they enter into their house, the sound of a bell being the signal of their entrance, those that are not Samanaeans depart from it, and the Samanaeans begin immediately to pray. But having prayed, again, on the bell sounding as a signal, the servants give to each Samanaean a platter, (for two of them do not eat out of the same dish,) and feed them with rice. And to him who is in want of a variety of food, a pot-herb is added, or some autumnal fruit. But having eaten as much as is requisite, without any delay they proceed to their accustomed employments. All of them likewise are unmarried, and have no possessions: and so much are both these and the Bramins venerated by the other Indians, that the king also visits them, and requests them to pray to and supplicate the Gods, when any calamity befalls the country, or to advise him how to act.
18. But they are so disposed with respect to death, that they unwillingly endure the whole time of the present life, as a certain servitude to nature, and therefore they hasten to liberate their souls from the bodies [with which they are connected]. Hence, frequently, when they are seen to be well, and are neither oppressed, nor driven to desperation by any evil, they depart from life. And though they previously announce to others that it is their intention to commit suicide, yet no one impedes them; but, proclaiming all those to be happy who thus quit the present life, they enjoin certain things to the domestics and kindred of the dead: so stable and true do they, and also the multitude, believe the assertion to be, that souls [in another life] associate with each other. But as soon as those to whom they have proclaimed that this is their intention, have heard the mandates given to them, they deliver the body to fire, in order that they may separate the soul from the body in the purest manner, and thus they die celebrated by all the Samanaeans. For these men dismiss their dearest friends to death more easily than others part with their fellow-citizens when going the longest journeys. And they lament themselves, indeed, as still continuing in life; but they proclaim those that are dead to be blessed, in consequence of having now obtained an immortal allotment. Nor is there any sophist, such as there is now amongst the Greeks, either among these Samanaeans, or the above-mentioned Bramins, who would be seen to doubt and to say, if all men should imitate you [i.e. should imitate those Samanaeans who commit suicide] what would become of us? Nor through these are human affairs confused. For neither do all men imitate them, and those who have, may be said to have been rather the causes of equitable legislation, than of confusion to the different nations of men. Moreover, the law did not compel the Samanaeans and Bramins to eat animal food, but, permitting others to feed on flesh, it suffered these to be a law to themselves, and venerated them as being superior to law. Nor did the law subject these men to the punishment which it inflicts, as if they were the primary perpetrators of injustice, but it reserved this for others. Hence, to those who ask, what would be the consequence if all men imitated such characters as these, the saying of Pythagoras must be the answer; that if all men were kings, the passage through life would be difficult, yet regal government is not on this account to be avoided. And [we likewise say] that if all men were worthy, no administration of a polity would be found in which the dignity that probity merits would be preserved. Nevertheless, no one would be so insane as not to think that all men should earnestly endeavor to become worthy characters. Indeed, the law grants to the vulgar many other things [besides a fleshly diet], which, nevertheless, it does not grant to a philosopher, nor even to one who conducts the affairs of government in a proper manner. For it does not receive every artist into the administration, though it does not forbid the exercise of any art, nor yet men of every pursuit. But it excludes those who are occupied in vile and illiberal arts, and, in short, all those who are destitute of justice and the other virtues, from having any thing to do with the management of public affairs. Thus, likewise, the law does not forbid the vulgar from associating with harlots, on whom at the same time it imposes a fine; but thinks that it is disgraceful and base for men that are moderately good to have any connection with them. Moreover, the law does not prohibit a man from spending the whole of his life in a tavern, yet at the same time this is most disgraceful even to a man of moderate worth. It appears, therefore, that the same thing must also be said with respect to diet. For that which is permitted to the multitude, must not likewise be granted to the best of men. For the man who is a philosopher, should especially ordain for himself those sacred laws which the Gods, and men who are followers of the Gods, have instituted. But the sacred laws of nations and cities appear to have ordained for sacred men purity, and to have interdicted them animal food. They have also forbidden the multitude to eat certain animals, either from motives of piety, or on account of some injury which would be produced by the food. So that it is requisite either to imitate priests, or to be obedient to the mandates of all legislators; but, in either way, he who is perfectly legal and pious ought to abstain from all animals. For if some who are only partially pious abstain from certain animals, he who is in every respect pious will abstain from all animals.
19. I had almost, however, forgotten to adduce what is said by Euripides, who asserts, that the prophets of Jupiter in Crete abstained from animals. But what is said by the chorus to Minos on this subject, is as follows:
“Sprung from Phoenicia’s royal line, Son of Europa, nymph divine, And mighty Jove, thy envy’d reign O’er Crete extending, whose domain Is with a hundred cities crown’d— I leave yon consecrated ground, Yon fane, whose beams the artist’s toil With cypress, rooted from the soil, Hath fashion’d. In the mystic rites Initiated, life’s best delights I place in chastity alone, Midst Night’s dread orgies wont to rove, The priest of Zagreus and of Jove; Feasts of crude flesh I now decline, And wave aloof the blazing pine To Cybele, nor fear to claim Her own Curete’s hallow’d name; Clad in a snowy vest I fly Far from the throes of pregnancy, Never amidst the tombs intrude, And slay no animal for food.”
20. For holy men were of opinion that purity consisted in a thing not being mingled with its contrary, and that mixture is defilement. Hence, they thought that nutriment should be assumed from fruits, and not from dead bodies, and that we should not, by introducing that which is animated to our nature, defile what is administered by nature. But they conceived, that the slaughter of animals, as they are sensitive, and the depriving them of their souls, is a defilement to the living; and that the pollution is much greater, to mingle a body which was once sensitive, but is now deprived of sense, with a sensitive and living being. Hence, universally, the purity pertaining to piety consists in rejecting and abstaining from many things, and in an abandonment of such as are of a contrary nature, and the assumption of such as are appropriate and concordant. On this account, venereal connections are attended with defilement. For in these, a conjunction takes place of the female with the male; and the seed, when retained by the woman, and causing her to be pregnant, defiles the soul, through its association with the body; but when it does not produce conception, it pollutes, in consequence of becoming a lifeless mass. The connection also of males with males defiles, because it is an emission of seed as it were into a dead body, and because it is contrary to nature. And, in short, all venery, and emissions of the seed in sleep, pollute, because the soul becomes mingled with the body, and is drawn down to pleasure. The passions of the soul likewise defile, through the complication of the irrational and effeminate part with reason, the internal masculine part. For, in a certain respect, defilement and pollution manifest the mixture of things of an heterogeneous nature, and especially when the abstersion of this mixture is attended with difficulty. Whence, also, in tinctures which are produced through mixture, one species being complicated with another, this mixture is denominated a defilement.
“As when some woman with a lively red Stains the pure iv’ry—” [Homer, Iliad iv. 141]
says Homer. And again painters call the mixtures of colors, corruptions. It is usual, likewise to denominate that which is unmingled and pure, incorruptible, and to call that which is genuine, unpolluted. For water, when mingled with earth, is corrupted, and is not genuine. But water, which is diffluent, and runs with tumultuous rapidity, leaves behind in its course the earth which it carries in its stream.
“When from a limpid and perennial fount It defluous runs—” [Hesiod, Works and Days, 595]
as Hesiod says. For such water is salubrious, because it is uncorrupted and unmixed. The female, likewise, that does not receive into herself the exhalation of seed, is said to be uncorrupted. So that the mixture of contraries is corruption and defilement. For the mixture of dead with living bodies, and the insertion of beings that were once living and sentient into animals, and of dead into living flesh, may be reasonably supposed to introduce defilement and stains to our nature; just, again, as the soul is polluted when it is invested with the body. Hence, he who is born, is polluted by the mixture of his soul with body; and he who dies, defiles his body, through leaving it a corpse, different and foreign from that which possesses life. The soul, likewise, is polluted by anger and desire, and the multitude of passions of which in a certain respect diet is a co-operating cause. But as water which flows through a rock is more uncorrupted than that which runs through marshes, because it does not bring with it much mud; thus, also, the soul which administers its own affairs in a body that is dry, and is not moistened by the juices of foreign flesh, is in a more excellent condition, is more uncorrupted, and is more prompt for intellectual energy. Thus too, it is said, that the thyme which is the driest and the sharpest to the taste, affords the best honey to bees. The dianoëtic, therefore, or discursive power of the soul, is polluted; or rather, he who energizes dianoëtically, when this energy is mingled with the energies of either the imaginative or doxastic power. But purification consists in a separation from all these, and the wisdom which is adapted to divine concerns, is a desertion of every thing of this kind. The proper nutriment likewise, of each thing, is that which essentially preserves it. Thus you may say, that the nutriment of a stone is the cause of its continuing to be a stone, and of firmly remaining in a lapideous form; but the nutriment of a plant is that which preserves it in increase and fructification; and of an animated body, that which preserves its composition. It is one thing, however, to nourish, and another to fatten; and one thing to impart what is necessary, and another to procure what is luxurious. Various, therefore, are the kinds of nutriment, and various also is the nature of the things that are nourished. And it is necessary, indeed, that all things should be nourished, but we should earnestly endeavor to fatten our most principal parts. Hence, the nutriment of the rational soul is that which preserves it in a rational state. But this is intellect; so that it is to be nourished by intellect; and we should earnestly endeavor that it may be fattened through this, rather than that the flesh may become pinguid through esculent substances. For intellect preserves for us eternal life, but the body when fattened causes the soul to be famished, through its hunger after a blessed life not being satisfied, increases our mortal part, since it is of itself insane, and impedes our attainment of an immortal condition of being. It likewise defiles by corporifying the soul, and drawing her down to that which is foreign to her nature. And the magnet, indeed, imparts, as it were, a soul to the iron which is placed near it; and the iron, though most heavy, is elevated, and runs to the spirit of the stone. Should he, therefore, who is suspended from incorporeal and intellectual deity, be anxiously busied in procuring food which fattens the body, that is an impediment to intellectual perception? Ought he not rather, by contracting what is necessary to the flesh into that which is little and easily procured, be himself nourished, by adhering to God more closely than the iron to the magnet? I wish, indeed, that our nature was not so corruptible, and that it were possible we could live free from molestation, even without the nutriment derived from fruits. O that, as Homer [Iliad v. 341] says, we were not in want either of meat or drink, that we might be truly immortal!—the poet in thus speaking beautifully signifying, that food is the auxiliary not only of life, but also of death. If therefore, we were not in want even of vegetable aliment, we should be by so much the more blessed, in proportion as we should be more immortal. But now, being in a mortal condition, we render ourselves, if it be proper so to speak, still more mortal, through becoming ignorant that, by the addition of this mortality, the soul, as Theophrastus says, does not only confer a great benefit on the body by being its inhabitant, but gives herself wholly to it. Hence, it is much to be wished that we could easily obtain the life celebrated in fables, in which hunger and thirst are unknown; so that, by stopping the every-way-flowing river of the body, we might in a very little time be present with the most excellent natures, to which he who accedes, since deity is there, is himself a God. But how is it possible not to lament the condition of the generality of mankind, who are so involved in darkness as to cherish their own evil, and who, in the first place, hate themselves, and him who truly begot them, and afterwards, those who admonish them, and call on them to return from ebriety to a sober condition of being? Hence, dismissing things of this kind, will it not be requisite to pass on to what remains to be discussed?
21. Those then who oppose the Nomads, or Troglodytes, or Ichthyophagi, to the legal institutes of the nations which we have adduced, are ignorant that these people were brought to the necessity of eating animals through the infecundity of the region they inhabit, which is so barren, that it does not even produce herbs, but only shores and sands. And this necessity is indicated by their not being able to make use of fire, through the want of combustible materials; but they dry their fish on rocks, or on the shore. And these indeed live after this manner from necessity. There are, however, certain nations whose manners are rustic, and who are naturally savage; but it is not fit that those who are equitable judges should, from such instances as these, calumniate human nature: For thus we should not only be dubious whether it is proper to eat animals, but also, whether we may not eat men, and adopt all other savage manners. It is related, therefore, that the Massagetae and the Derbices consider those of their kindred to be most miserable who die spontaneously. Hence, preventing their dearest friends from dying naturally, they slay them when they are old, and eat them. The Tibareni hurl from rocks their nearest relatives, even while living, when they are old. And with respect to the Hyrcani and Caspii, the one exposed the living, but the other the dead, to be devoured by birds and dogs. But the Scythians bury the living with the dead, and cut their throats on the pyres of the dead by whom they were especially beloved. The Bactrii likewise cast those among them that are old, even while living, to the dogs. And Stasanor, who was one of Alexander’s prefects, nearly lost his government through endeavoring to destroy this custom. As, however, we do not on account of these examples subvert mildness of conduct towards men, so neither should we imitate those nations that feed on flesh through necessity, but we should rather imitate the pious, and those who consecrate themselves to the Gods. For Democrates says, that to live badly, and not prudently, temperately, and piously, is not to live in reality, but to die for a long time.
22. It now remains that we should adduce a few examples of certain individuals, as testimonies in favor of abstinence from animal food. For the want of these was one of the accusations which were urged against us. We learn, therefore, that Triptolemus was the most ancient of the Athenian legislators; of whom Hermippus, in the second book of his treatise on Legislators, writes as follows: “It is said, that Triptolemus established laws for the Athenians. And the philosopher Xenocrates asserts, that three of his laws still remain in Eleusis, which are these, Honor your parents; Sacrifice to the Gods from the fruits of the earth; Injure not animals.” Two of these, therefore, he says, are properly instituted. For it is necessary that we should as much as possible recompense our parents for the benefits which they have conferred on us; and that we should offer to the Gods the first-fruits of the things useful to our life, which they have imparted to us. But with respect to the third law, he is dubious as to the intention of Triptolemus, in ordering the Athenians to abstain from animals. Was it, says he, because he thought it was a dire thing to slay kindred natures, or because he perceived it would happen, that the most useful animals would be destroyed by men for food? Wishing, therefore to make our life as mild as possible, he endeavored to preserve those animals that associate with men, and which are especially tame. Unless, indeed, because having ordained that men should honor the Gods by offering to them first-fruits, he therefore added this third law, conceiving that this mode of worship would continue for a longer time, if sacrifices through animals were not made to the Gods. But as many other causes, though not very accurate, of the promulgation of these laws, are assigned by Xenocrates, thus much from what has been said is sufficient for our purpose, that abstinence from animals was one of the legal institutes of Triptolemus. Hence, those who afterwards violated this law, being compelled by great necessity, and involuntary errors, fell, as we have shown, into this custom of slaughtering and eating animals. The following, also, is mentioned as a law of Draco: “Let this be an eternal sacred law to the inhabitants of Attica, and let its authority be predominant for ever; viz. that the Gods, and indigenous Heroes, be worshipped publicly, conformably to the laws of the country, delivered by our ancestors; and also, that they be worshipped privately, according to the ability of each individual, in conjunction with auspicious words, the firstlings of fruits, and annual cakes. So that this law ordains, that divinity should be venerated by the first offerings of fruit which are used by men, and cakes, made of the fine flour of wheat.”
6 The same writer [Hegesippus] also records the ancient heresies ] which arose among the Jews, in the following words: "There were, moreover, various opinions in the circumcision, among the children of Israel. The following were those that were opposed to the tribe of Judah and the Christ: Essenes, Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbothaeans, Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees."
2 And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life."
2 And since he describes as accurately as possible the life of our ascetics, it is clear that he not only knew, but that he also approved, while he venerated and extolled, the apostolic men of his time, who were as it seems of the Hebrew race, and hence observed, after the manner of the Jews, the most of the customs of the ancients.
3 In the work to which he gave the title, On a Contemplative Life or on Suppliants, after affirming in the first place that he will add to those things which he is about to relate nothing contrary to truth or of his own invention, he says that these men were called Therapeutae and the women that were with them Therapeutrides. He then adds the reasons for such a name, explaining it from the fact that they applied remedies and healed the souls of those who came to them, by relieving them like physicians, of evil passions, or from the fact that they served and worshiped the Deity in purity and sincerity.
4 Whether Philo himself gave them this name, employing an epithet well suited to their mode of life, or whether the first of them really called themselves so in the beginning, since the name of Christians was not yet everywhere known, we need not discuss here.
5 He bears witness, however, that first of all they renounce their property. When they begin the philosophical168 mode of life, he says, they give up their goods to their relatives, and then, renouncing all the cares of life, they go forth beyond the walls and dwell in lonely fields and gardens, knowing well that intercourse with people of a different character is unprofitable and harmful. They did this at that time, as seems probable, under the influence of a spirited and ardent faith, practicing in emulation the prophets' mode of life.
6 For in the Acts of the Apostles, a work universally acknowledged as authentic, it is recorded that all the companions of the apostles sold their possessions and their property and distributed to all according to the necessity of each one, so that no one among them was in want. "For as many as were possessors of lands or houses," as the account says, "sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet, so that distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."
7 Philo bears witness to facts very much like those here described and then adds the following account: "Everywhere in the world is this race found. For it was fitting that both Greek and Barbarian should share in what is perfectly good. But the race particularly abounds in Egypt, in each of its so-called nomes, and especially about Alexandria.
8 The best men from every quarter emigrate, as if to a colony of the Therapeut's fatherland, to a certain very suitable spot which lies above the lake Maria upon a low hill excellently situated on account of its security and the mildness of the atmosphere."
9 And then a little further on, after describing the kind of houses which they had, he speaks as follows concerning their churches, which were scattered about here and there: "In each house there is a sacred apartment which is called a sanctuary and monastery, where, quite alone, they perform the mysteries of the religious life. They bring nothing into it, neither drink nor food, nor any of the other things which contribute to the necessities of the body, but only the laws, and the inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns and such other things as augment and makeperfect their knowledge and piety."
10 And after some other matters he says: "The whole interval, from morning to evening, is for them a time of exercise. For they read the holy Scriptures, and explain the philosophy of their fathers in an allegorical manner, regarding the written words as symbols of hidden truth which is communicated in obscure figures.
11 They have also writings of ancient men, who were the founders of their sect, and who left many monuments of the allegorical method. These they use as models, and imitate their principles."
12 These things seem to have been stated by a man who had heard them expounding their sacred writings. But it is highly probable that the works of the ancients, which he says they had, were the Gospels and the writings of the apostles, and probably some expositions of the ancient prophets, such as are contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in many others of Paul's Epistles.
13 Then again he writes as follows concerning the new psalms which they composed: "So that they not only spend their time in meditation, but they also compose songs and hymns to God in every variety of metre and melody, though they divide them, of course, into measures of more than common solemnity."
14 The same book contains an account of many other things, but it seemed necessary to select those facts which exhibit the characteristics of the ecclesiastical mode of life.
15 But if any one thinks that what has been said is not peculiar to the Gospel polity, but that it can be applied to others besides those mentioned, let him be convinced by the subsequent words of the same author, in which, if he is unprejudiced, he will find undisputed testimony on this subject. Philo's words are as follows:
16 "Having laid down temperance as a sort of foundation in the soul, they build upon it the other virtues. None of them may take food or drink before sunset, since they regard philosophizing as a work worthy of the light, but attention to the wants of the body as proper only in the darkness, and therefore assign the day to the former, but to the latter a small portion of the night.
17 But some, in whom a great desire for knowledge dwells, forget to take food for three days; and some are so delighted and feast so luxuriously upon wisdom, which furnishes doctrines richly and without stint, that they abstain even twice as long as this, and are accustomed, after six days, scarcely to take necessary food." These statements of Philo we regard as referring clearly and indisputably to those of our communion.
18 But if after these things any one still obstinately persists in denying the reference, let him renounce his incredulity and be convinced by yet more striking examples, which are to be found nowhere else than in the evangelical religion of the Christians.
19 For they say that there were women also with those of whom we are speaking, and that the most of them were aged virgins who had preserved their chastity, not out of necessity, as some of the priestesses among the Greeks, but rather by their own choice, through zeal and a desire for wisdom. And that in their earnest desire to live with it as their companion they paid no attention to the pleasures of the body, seeking not mortal but immortal progeny, which only the pious soul is able to bear of itself.
20 Then after a little he adds still more emphatically: "They expound the Sacred Scriptures figuratively by means of allegories. For the whole law seems to these men to resemble a living organism, of which the spoken words constitute the body, while the hidden sense stored up within the words constitutes the soul. This hidden meaning has first been particularly studied by this sect, which sees, revealed as in a mirror of names, the surpassing beauties of the thoughts."
21 Why is it necessary to add to these things their meetings and the respective occupations of the men and of the women during those meetings, and the practices which are even to the present day habitually observed by us, especially such as we are accustomed to observe at the feast of the Saviour's passion, with fasting and night watching and study of the divine Word.
22 These things the above-mentioned author has related in his own work, indicating a mode of life which has been preserved to the present time by us alone,recording especially the vigils kept in connectionwith the great festival, and the exercises performed during those vigils, and the hymns customarily recited by us, and describing how, while one sings regularly in time, the others listen in silence, and join in chanting only the close of the hymns; and how, on the days referred to they sleep on the ground on beds of straw, andto use his own words, "taste no wine at all, norany flesh, but water is their only drink, and therelish with their bread is salt and hyssop."
23 In addition to this Philo describes the order of dignities which ists among those who carry on the services of the church, mentioning the diaconate, and the office of bishop, which takes the precedence over all the others. But whosoever desires a more accurate knowledge of these matters may get it from the history already cited.
24 But that Philo, when he wrote these things, had in view the first heralds of the Gospel and the customs handed down from the beginning by the apostles, is clear to every one.
I had almost forgotten the greatest of the gifts of Helios and Zeus. But naturally I kept it for the last. And indeed it is not peculiar to us Romans only, but we share it, I think, with the Hellenes our kinsmen. I mean to say that Zeus engendered Asclepius from himself among the intelligible gods, and through the life of generative Helios he revealed him to the earth. Asclepius, having made his visitation to earth from the sky, appeared at Epidaurus singly, in the shape of a man; but afterwards he multiplied himself, and by his visitations stretched out over the whole earth his saving right hand. He came to Pergamon, to Ionia, to Tarentum afterwards; and later he came to Rome. And he travelled to Cos and thence to Aegae. Next he is present everywhere on land and sea. He visits no one of us separately, and yet he raises up souls that are sinful and bodies that are sick.
Read, also, his description of the lives of those amongst the Jews who led a life of contemplative or active philosophy, the Essenes1 and Therapeutae. The latter not only built monasteries and holy places (semneia, to use their own word), but also laid down the rules of monasticism followed by the monks of the present day. They were divided into practici (active), who lived in common, and theoretici (contemplative), who lived alone. In Egypt and Greece the latter were called therapeutae.
Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine, was one of the most popular deities of the ancient world. Literary evidence indicates that he was a real person whose deeds enabled him to become a hero-god and, eventually, an Olympian god. The influence of the basic medical practices and ethics of the physician worshippers of Asclepius was strong enough to survive not only the decline of the ancient Greek and Roman religions, but also the adoption of Christianity. During the Renaissance, the ancient theories relating to the physical factors causing sickness were rediscovered and it was this that effectively reawakened the progress of medical science. The staff of Asclepius remains the symbol of medical care today.
This book is a wide-ranging survey and discussion of the god, Asclepius, in the ancient world of Greece and Rome, based upon first-hand evidence from numismatic, literary and archaeological sources. It reviews Asclepian temple medicine and offers a clinical explanation for its success. It will be of interest to many of those working within or associated with the world of medicine today, as well as to teachers and students of the history of medicine.
Asclepius - from myth to reality; The divine doctors; Serpents, superstition and the gods; Asclepian temples and religious practices; Asclepian temple medicine; Votives and talismans; Rome adopts Asclepius; Medical practice by Greek and Roman physicians; Asclepius everywhere; Asclepius and Christianity; Asclepian heritage; Asclepius and medical practice today. p.177-178 Most academic giants of antiquity proclaimed their esteem for Asclepius and the words of these philosophers, historians, rhetoricians, poets, politicians and physicians are cited in the "Edelstein Testimonies". (See Article 02) 1) Plato recorded the dying words of Socrates: "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Pay it and do not neglect to do so." (Plato, Phaedro) 2) Sophocles accepted Asclepius into his house and set up an altar for him. After his death, the Athenians called Sophacles: "Dexion" [the one who receives] because of his reception of Asclepius. 3) The Neo-Platonists believed that Asclepius was the soul of the world, by which creation was held together and filled with symmetry and balanced union. 4) Pausanius (Descriptio Graeciae, 8:28) that Alexander the Great dedicated his spear and breastplate to Asclepius at Gortys in Arcadia. 5) 23 CE Tacitus recorded that Tiberius confirmed the right of asylum to Cos. 6) Aristides (129-89 CE) ... "the one who is guider and ruler of all things, the saviour of the universe and the guardian of immortals" (Oration 62) "give me as much health as I need for my body to obey that which my soul wishes" (Oration 38) "Here the stern cable of salvation for all is anchored in Ascelpius." (Oration 23) 7) Julian "Asclepius heals our bodies, the Muses train our souls with the help of Asclepius and Apollo and Hermes. (Contra Galilaeos). 8) 53 CE Emperor Claudius granted Coans immunity from taxes and declared their island a place sanctified only to Asclepius. 9) After earthquake at Epidaurus in 1st half of 2nd century CE, Senator Antoninus rebuilt the sanctuary and adorned it with magnificent monuments. 10) Soranus (2nd century) wrote: "Hippocrates, by birth, was a Coan ... who traced his ancestry back to Heracles (Hercules) and Asclepius, the 20th in descent from the former, the 19th to the latter. 11) Galen (129-99 CE) recorded the contemporary building of the temple of Zeus Asclepius at Pergamum. "the ancestral god Asclepius, whose servant I declare myself to be, for he saved me when I was suffering from a deadly condition of an abscess." 12) Epigrammata Graeca 1027 (2nd-3rd century CE) exhorted "Wake, Paeon Asclepius, lord of men ..." 13) Asclepius was everywhere in literature and everyone was familiar with his deeds. In the second century he stood at the peak of his power and influence and was known through the ancient world. 14) He became identified as Imhotep Asclepius in Egypt, Eshmun Asclepius in Phoenicia, Zeus Asclepius at Pergamum and Jupiter Aesculapius in Rome. [47,48] One might have justifiably hailed him as Aesculapius Optimus Maximus. 15) Many of his tenmples occupied prestigious locations such as the Acropolis at Athens, and at the city of Carthage ... 16) p.205 - Asclepian heritage Aristophanes, Plutus 639-40: The chorus in the Greek play 'Plutus' sang: "I shall sing with all my might to Asclepius, Blest with his offspring, he who brings great light to mortals."  Bartlow RM, "The Origins of the caduceus, Aesculapius 1971 The early Egyptian gods, Uzoit, Nikhbet and Thoth were depicted with a single serpent entwining a staff. Were Eshmun-Asclepius and Imhotep-Asclepius a coincidence or a divine circle? Did early Greek traders take the Egyptian concept of healing back to Greece or did the Asclepius cult develop anew in Greece?  Asclepius had numerous other epithets ... * "Soter' or saviour was popular and was even inscribed on some of the coins of Pergamum. * "Philanthropotatos" (the most manloving) * "Euergetes" (benefactor), * "Philolaos" (friend of the people) His religious status was shown in ... * Zeus-Asclepius * Dominus * Deus * Augustus, and * Paeon (who was the original physician to the gods) His medical role is recalled in "Cotyleus" (of the hip joint) The "Castrorum" was a reference to the army doctors (these were called "Asclepiads") revering him and using his services to assist with wounds, illnesses and injuries. Alice Watson lists 55 additional Greek epithets. Perhaps one of these epithets was used to describe his additional role as the veterinary god. p.184 Christ and Asclepius were both prosecuted under the law of the day and died a mortal death ... After their deaths, Christ and Asclepius were resurrected. Christ returned to Earth as part of a heavenly plan and as a sign to his followers. Asclepius was resuscitated to continue the medical care of mankind with the proviso that he would desist from raising the dead. Both were gods who lived among mankind: Christ a divine human and Asclepius a terrestrial divinity. Both possessed "divine hands": Asclepius' were his drugs and light touch in healing (C healed by touch or blessed and consecrated men for service) Strong family associations: Jesus with his mother Mary Asclepius with his daughter Hygieia Each part of a Holy Trinity: Jesus - FSAHG Asclepius - 3rd in descent from Zeus, son of Apollo, who was in turn Zeus' son. "the one who is guide and ruler of all things, p.201 The church at San Bartolomeo, on the island in the Tiber at Rome, is an outstanding monument to the continuity of sanctity betwen Asclepius and Christianity. p.202 Belief in the healing powers of St. Bartholemew's relics was so great that, in the 11th century, the church was renamed after him. The sacred spring of Asclepius became the healing spring of St. Bartholemew and its original locations the center of the nave, at the foot of the chancel steps leading to the altar. p.208: "Many Asclepian healing springs, as well as those of other pagan gods, were adopted by Christianity and renamed after a local saint. p.207 Roman Coins: Asclepius and Salus "Salus, the daughter of Aesculapius, survived the fall of paganism. She is depicted on an early coin of the Christian era that was minted by Fausta, the second wife of Constantine I: this shows on the reverse a "baptised" version of Salus, portrayed without a serpent but holding two children. The users of this coins would receive a cryptic message that the daughter of Aesculapius has repented and been converted to Christianity. p. 208: First HEALING SAINTS: Cosmas and Damian Twins -physicians martyrys death in 287 CE The sick continued to pray to Saints Cosmas and Damian in much the same way as supplicants appealed to Asclepius and Hygieia. The twins became patron saints of physicians and pharmacologists in the fourth century CE until the 16th century. After the reformation, the staff of Asclepius replaced the icons of Saints Cosmas and Damian. ************* ARTICLE 02: ============== http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0801857694/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link Asclepius: Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies Emma J. Edelstein, Ludwig Edelstein, Gary B. Ferngren Book Description Throughout nearly all of antiquity, the legendary Greek physician, Asclepius, son of Apollo and Coronis, was not only the primary representative of divine healing, but also so influential in the religious life of later centuries that, as Emma J. Edelstein and Ludwig Edelstein point out, "in the final stages of paganism, of all genuinely Greek gods, [he] was judged the foremost antagonist of Christ." Providing an overview of all facets of the Asclepius phenomenon, this book, first published in two volumes in 1945, comprises a unique collection of the literary references and inscriptions in ancient texts -- given in both the original and translation -- to the deity, his life, his deeds, his cult, and his temples, as well as an extended analysis of them. ************* ARTICLE 03: ============== Random DYNAMIC DEMOGRAPHIC: 27-MAR-2008 Results 1 - 100 of about 637,000 for "Asklepios" Results 1 - 100 of about 223,000 for "Aesculapius" Results 1 - 100 of about 310,000 for "Asclepius" Results 1 - 100 of about 135,000 for "Asclepios" Results 1 - 62 of 62 for "Asklepiós ************* ARTICLE 04: ============== Review of Hart that appeared in Bull. Hist. Med., 2002 Gerald D. Hart. Asclepius, the God of Medicine. London: Royal Society of Medicine Press, 2000. xx + 262 pp. Ill. £17.50 (paperbound, 1-85315-409-1).Gerald D. Hart is a retired hematologist and an amateur numismatist whose purpose in this volume is “to popularize Asclepius and interpret the present-day use of his staff and serpent symbol by various disciplines of the healthcare team”(p. xvii). Hart makes no claim to originality. He largely reproduces the views of Emma Edelstein and Ludwig Edelstein in their magnum opus, Asclepius: Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies (1945; reprinted 1998). Hart adopts the euhemerist view that Asclepius evolved from a historical figure into a god: on the evidence of his mention in Homer’s Iliad, he believes that Asclepius was a physician who lived before the end of the eighth century b.c. and whose accomplishments led first to heroic status and later to deification. Here as elsewhere, Hart tends (like the Edelsteins) toward rationalistic explanations. Medical training is often helpful for making sense of ancient healing practices, but it does not take the place of a thorough knowledge of the cultural context in which they develop. One of many examples in this regard is Hart’s failure to understand the concept of miasma (ritual pollution) as the basis of the Greek exclusion from sacred precincts of those giving birth or dying (p. 60). And, like the Edelsteins, Hart tends to idealize the temple-healing of Asclepius.
Given that the book is largely derivative, professional historians cannot look for the historical rigor that they would normally expect of a historical monograph that deals with so controversial a figure as Asclepius. Hart often relies on secondary sources for matters of fact, and thereby takes over unexamined their interpretation of the evidence. Thus he seems to be unfamiliar with the historiographic problems surrounding Hippocrates, assuming that the Father of Medicine was the figure described by later legend (pp. 37–38). Other criticisms might be made of Hart’s approach. He makes frequent comparisons between modern medicine, on the one hand, and ancient medical practices or the healing cult of Asclepius, on the other. Thus he calls the family of Asclepius “the divine healthcare team” (p. 33). Priests of asclepieia administered “mind-therapy” (p. 71), as well as music and occupational therapy, to pilgrims who sought healing. The grant of immunities to physicians was an early form of socialized medicine (p. 121). The interchange of ideas among physicians at asclepieia was a form of “continuing medical education” (p. 137).
Assuming presentist and essentialist categories, Hart views modern medicine as a continuation of ancient methods that did not differ markedly from the presuppositions that undergird modern practice. Thus he considers Soranus’s gynecological works “surprisingly modern texts” (p. 159), while alleging that the Hippocratic “theory on the pathogenesis of disease summarizes our present knowledge on the onset of infection” (p. 139). Particularly questionable are assertions that ancient physicians in many cases prescribed what we now know to be medically efficacious treatment (pp. 85 ff.). Nor does Hart avoid that besetting sin of medical historians, retrospective diagnosis (see, e.g., p. 157).
The strength of the volume lies in the attention that the author gives to the numismatic evidence for the cult of Asclepius. Of 513 sites at which the god was worshipped, 267 were connected with coins, and 211 sites are known only through numismatic evidence. This is an area that was conspicuously overlooked by the Edelsteins (who focused on literary rather than on archaeological or numismatic evidence), and Hart provides a popular introduction to the subject illuminated by many coin illustrations. While the professional historian will find much to criticize in this volume, the attention given to numismatic and archaeological evidence (especially from Roman Britain) sheds light on the cult of Asclepius that is missing from the Edelsteins’ study.
Gary B. Ferngren