Saturday, June 02, 2007


The Worship of Disgraceful Noises

Theophilus, To Autolycus 1.10.1 (tr. Marcus Dods):
Why should I further recount the multitude of animals worshipped by the Egyptians, both reptiles, and cattle, and wild beasts, and birds and river-fishes; and even wash-pots and disgraceful noises?

Τί μοι λοιπὸν καταλέγειν τὸ πλῆθος ὧν σέβονται ζώων Αἰγύπτιοι, ἑρπετῶν τε καὶ κτηνῶν καὶ θηρίων καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ ἐνύδρων νηκτῶν, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ποδόνιπτρα καὶ ἤχους αἰσχύνης;
Minucius Felix, Octavius 28.10 (tr. R.E. Wallis):
These same Egyptians, together with very many of you, are not more afraid of Isis than they are of the pungency of onions, nor of Serapis more than they tremble at the basest noises produced by the foulness of their bodies.

Idem Aegyptii cum plerisque vobis non magis Isidem quam ceparum acrimonias metuunt, nec Serapidem magis quam strepitus per pudenda corporis expressos contremescunt.
Pseudo-Clement, Homilies 10.16.2 (tr. M.B. Riddle):
For some of them taught the worship of an ox called Apis, some that of a he-goat, some of a cat, some of a serpent; yea, even of a fish, and of onions, and rumblings in the stomach, and common sewers, and members of irrational animals, and to myriads of other base abominations they gave the name of god.

οἱ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῶν παρέδοσαν βοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Ἄπιν σέβειν, οἱ δὲ τράγον, οἱ δὲ αἴλουρον, οἱ δὲ ὄφιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἰχθὺν καὶ κρόμμυα καὶ γαστρῶν πνεύματα καὶ ὀχετοὺς καὶ ἀλόγων ζῴων μέλη <σὺν> καὶ ἄλλοις μυρίοις πάνυ αἰσχροῖς ἀτοπήμασιν.
Pseudo-Clement, Recognitions 5.20.3 (tr. Thomas Smith):
For some taught that their ox, which is called Apis, ought to be worshipped; others taught that the he-goat, others that cats, the ibis, a fish also, a serpent, onions, drains, crepitus ventris [farts], ought to be regarded as deities, and innumerable other things, which I am ashamed even to mention.

nam alii eorum bovem, qui Apis dicitur, colendum tradidere, alii hircum, alii cattas, nonnulli ibim, quidam serpentem, piscem quoque et caepas et cloacas, crepitus ventris pro numinibus habendos esse docuerunt et alia innumerabilia quae pudet etiam nominare.
St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 13.46:
For also several of their cities take their names from wild beasts and livestock, Kynopolis from the dog, Leontopolis from the lion, Thmouis from the goat in the Egyptian language, Lykopolis from the wolf, not to mention the dreadful and terrible onion and the noise of a swollen belly, which is an object of veneration in Pelusium.

nam et pleraque oppida eorum ex bestiis et iumentis habent nomina, κυνῶν a cane, λέων a leone, lingua Aegyptia θμοῦϊς ab hirco, λύκων a lupo, ut taceam de formidoloso et horribili coepe, et crepitu ventris inflati, quae Pelusiaca religio est.
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