« PoprzedniaDalej »
seems to be the end of introducing Agrius, Latinus, and other names.
Ver. 1394. Le Clerc takes Nausinous to be the inclination which Ulysses had to leave Calypso, and Nausithous the ship in which he sailed from her: both words, indeed, are expressive of such meanings; but as many persons have had names from their dispositions, offices, or some particular circumstance of their lives, or names given them significant of some quality or employment, yet not applicable to those who are so named, we are not certain whether these are designed as real names or not.
Ver. 1403. This concludes the Theogony, as the poem now stands; from which it appears, that the poet writ, or intended to write, of women of renown: but such a work could not come under the title of the Theogony; of which see further in the fifth section of my Discourse on the Writings of Hesiod,
Theology and Mythology of the Ancients.
IN the following Discourse I shall confine myself to the Theology and Mythology of the ancient Greeks, showing their rise and progress, with a view only to the Theogony of Hesiod; intending it but as an appendix to the notes.
The Greeks, doubtless, derived great part of their religion from the Egyptians: and though Herodotus tells us, in one place, that Hesiod, with Homer, was the first who introduced a Theogony among the Grecians, and the first who gave names to the gods,' yet he contradicts that opinion in his second book, where he says, 'Melampus seems to have learned the stories of Bacchus from Cadmus and other Tyrians, which came with him from Phoenicia to the country now called Boeotia.' He must therefore mean, that Hesiod and Homer were the firs: who gave the gods a poetical dress, and who used them with more freedom in their writings than preceding authors.
Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Pausanias, all mention Cadmus settling in Boeotia, and Egyp
tian colonies in other parts of Greece; and Herodotus says, almost all the names of the gods in Greece were from Egypt:' to enforce which, I have translated the following account from Diodorus Siculus.
We learn from the Egyptians that many by nature mortal, were honoured with immortality for their wisdom, and inventions which proved useful to mankind, some of which were kings of Egypt; and to such they gave the names of the celestial deities. Their first prince was called Hελos, from the planet of that name, the sun. We are told that Housos, or Vulcan, was the inventor of fire; that is, the use of it: for seeing a tree on the mountains blasted from heaven, and the wood burning, he received much comfort from the heat, being then winter: from this he fired some combustible matter, and preserved the use of it afterwards to men; for which reason he was made ruler of the people. After this Chronos, or Saturn, reigned, who married his sister Rhea; of whom five deities were born, whose names were Osiris, Isis, Typhon, Apollo, Aphrodite. Osiris is Bacchus; and Isis, Ceres or Demeter. Isis was married to Osiris, and, after she shared the dominion, made many discoveries for the benefit of life; she found the use of corn, which grew before neglected in the fields like other herbs; and Osiris began to cultivate the fruit trees. In remembrance of these persons annual rites were decreed, which are now preserved: in the time of harvest they offer the firstfruits of the corn to Isis, and invoke her. Hermes invented letters and the lyre of three chords; the
first instituted divine worship, and ordained saerifices to the gods.
The same historian proceeds to relate the expedition of Osiris, who was accompanied by his brother Apollo, who is said to be the first that pointed out the laurel. Osiris took great delight in music, for which reason he carried with him a company of musicians, among which were nine virgins eminent for their skill in singing, and in other sciences, whom the Greeks call the Muses, and Apollo they style their president. Osiris at his return was deified, and afterwards murdered by his brother Typhon, a turbulent and impious man. Isis and her son revenged themselves on Typhon and his accomplices.
Thus far Diodorus in his first book: and Plutarch, in his tr tise of Isis nd Osiris, seems to think the Grecian poets, in their stories of Jupiter and the Titans, and of Bacchus and Ceres, indebted to the Egyptians.
Diodorus, in his third book, tells us, Cadmus, who was derived from Egypt, brought letters from Phoenicia, and Linus was the first among the Greeks who invented poetic numbers and melody, and who writ an account of the actions of the first Bacchus : he had many disciples; the most renowned of which were Hercules, Thamyris, and Orpheus. We are told by the same author, that Orpheus, who was let into the theology of the Egyptians, applied the generation of the Osiris of old, to the then modern times, and, being gratified by the Cadmeans, instituted new rites. Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, being deflowered, bore a child of the same likeness,
which they attributed to Osiris of Egypt; Orpheus, who was admitted into the mysteries of the religion, endeavoured to veil her shame, by giving out that Semele conceived by Jove, and brought forth Bacchus. Hence men, partly through ignorance, and partly through the honour which they had for Orpheus, and confidence in him, were deceived.
From these passages we learn, that the religion and gods of Egypt were, in part, translated with the colonies into Greece; but they continued not long without innovations and alterations. Linus first sung the exploits of the first Bacchus or Osiris; he, doubtless, took all the poetical liberty that he could with his subject: Orpheus after him banished the first Bacchus from the theology, and introduced the second with a lie, to conceal the shame of a polluted woman. In short, all the stories which were told in honour of those Egyptians, who had deserved well of their country, were, with their names, applied to other persons. Thus, according to the historian, the divine Orpheus set out with bribery, flattery, and delusion.
Hesiod begins his Theogony with the first principle of the heathen system, that Chaos was the parent of all, and Heaven and Earth the parents of all visible things. That Heaven is the father, says Plutarch, in his Inquiry after God, appears from his pouring down the waters which have the spermatic faculty; and Earth the mother, because she brings forth. This, according to the opinion of Plutarch, and many more, was the origin of the multiplicity of gods, men esteem