Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Contemptor Divum

Apuleius, Apology 56 (tr. H.E. Butler):
For I learn from certain men of Oea who know him, that to this day he has never prayed to any god or frequented any temple, while if he chances to pass any shrine, he regards it as a crime to raise his hand to his lips in token of reverence. He has never given firstfruits of crops or vines or flocks to any of the gods of the farmer, who feed him and clothe him; his farm holds no shrine, no holy place, nor grove. But why do I speak of groves or shrines? Those who have been on his property say they never saw there one stone where offering of oil has been made, one bough where wreaths have been hung. As a result, two nicknames have been given him: he is called Charon, as I have said, on account of his truculence of spirit and of countenance, but he is also—and this is the name he prefers—called Mezentius, because he despises the gods.

nam, ut audio partim Oeensium qui istum novere, nulli deo ad hoc aevi supplicavit, nullum templum frequentavit, si fanum aliquod praetereat, nefas habet adorandi gratiam manum labris admovere. iste vero nec dis rurationis, qui eum pascunt ac vestiunt, segetis ullas aut vitis aut gregis primitias impertit; nullum in villa eius delubrum situm, nullus locus aut lucus consecratus. ecquid ego de luco et delubro loquor? negant vidisse se qui fuere unum saltem in finibus eius aut lapidem unctum aut ramum coronatum. igitur adgnomenta ei duo indita: Charon, ut iam dixi, ob oris et animi diritatem, sed alterum, quod libentius audit, ob deorum contemptum, Mezentius.

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