Page images




Theogony. ly allowed: and though the learned president of the A. settled in India. To him who is not satisfied with our Theogony.

siatic Society has laboured to prove, that the Egyptians reasoning on this subject, we beg leave to recommend
derived all that wisdom for which they were famed, as an attentive perusal of Maurice's Indian Antiquities,
well as the rudiments of their religious system, from the where he will find many facts brought together, which
natives of Hindostan, he does not appear to us to have tend to prove that Egypt has a just claim to a higher
Jaboured with success. To examine his arguments at antiquity than India.
length would swell this article beyond its due propor- Having thus traced the rise and progress of poly-Polytheists
tion; and we have noticed some of them elsewhere (see theism and idolatry as they prevailed in the most cele- acknown

ledged one
PHILOLOGY, N° 33 and 39). At present we shall on- brated nations of antiquity, we now proceed to inquire supreme
ly observe, that Sesostris undoubtedly made an inroad into the real opinions of those nations concerning the God,
into India, and conquered part of the country, whilst we nature of the gods wbom they adored. And here it is
nowhere read of the Hindoos having at any time con- evident from the writings of Homer, Hesiod, and the
quered the kingdom of Egypt. Now, though the vic- other poets, who were the principal theologians among
tors have sometimes adopted the religion of the van- the Greeks and Romans, that though heaven, carth,
quished, the contrary has happened so much more fre- hell

, and all the elements, were filled with divinities, quently, and is in itself a process so much more natu- there was yet one who, whether called Jove, Osiris, Orral, that this single circumstance affords a strong pre- muxd, or by any other title, was considered as supreme sumption that the Egyptian monarch would rather im- over all the rest. 5. Whence each of the gods was gepose his gods upon the Hindoos than adopt theirs and nerated (says Herodotus *), or whether they have all * Lib ii. carry them with bim to Egypt. Brute-worship might existed from eternity, and what are their forms, is a likewise be introduced into Hindostan by those vast co- thing that was not known till very lately; for Hesiod lonies of Egyptians who took refuge in that country and Homer were, as I suppose, not above four hundred from the tyranny and oppression of the shepherd kings. years my seniors; and these were they who introduced That such colonies did settle on some occasion or other the theogony among the Greeks, and gave the gods in India, seems undeniable from monuments still remain- their several names.” Now Hesiod t, towards the be- + Vers. ing in that country, of forms which could hardly have ginning of bis theogony, expressly invokes his muse to 104-112. occurred to a native of Asia, though they are very na- celebrate in suitable numbers the generation of the imtural as the workmanship of Africans. But we need mortal gods who had sprung from the earth, the dark not reason in this manner. We have seen a manuscript night, the starry heavens, and the salt sea. He calls up- from letter from Mr Burt, a learned surgeon in Bengal, and on her likewise to say, “ in what manner the gods, the whom the

other divia member of the Asiatic Society, which puts it beyond earth, the rivers, ocean, stars, and firmament, were ge

nities were a doubt that great numbers of Egyptians bad at a very nerated, and what divine intelligences had sprung from early period not only settled in Hindostan, but also them of benevolent dispositions towards mankind." generated :

” brought with them writings relating to the history of From this invocation, it is evident that the poet did their country. As the shepherd-kings were enemies to not consider the gods of Greece as self-existent beings : the arts and to literature, it is probable that this settle- neither could he look upon them as creatures; for of ment took place on their conquest of Egypt. Mr creation the ancient Greeks bad no conception (see Burt's words are : “ Mr Wilford, lieutenant of engi- METAPHYSICS, N° 264.); but he considered them as neers, has extracted most wonderful discoveries from the emanations coeval with the earth and heavens, from Shanscrit records : such as the origin and history of the some superior principles ; and by the divine intelligenEgyptian pyramids, and even the account of the ex- ces sprung from them, there cannot be a doubt but that pence in their building." Upon our hypothesis there he understood benevolent dæmons. The first principles is nothing incredible in this account; upon the hypo- of all things, according to the same Hesiod, were Chaos, thesis of Sir William Jones, it is not easy to be con- and Tartarus and Love ; of which only the last being ceived how the history of Egyptian pyramids could have active, must undoubtedly have been conceived by this found a place in the Shanscrit records.

father of Grecian polytheism to be the greatest and on-
We may

admit that the Hindoos have never adopted ly self-existing god. This we say must undoubtedly
from the Persians or Egyptians the worship of an inde- have been Hesiod's belief, unless by Tartarus we here
pendent principle of evil, and yet dispose of the other understand a self-existent principle of evil ; and in that
part of the objection with very little difficulty. It will case bis creed will be the same with that of the ancient
be seen by and bye, that the bramios believe a kind of Persians, who, as we have seen, believed in the self-ex-
triad of hypostases in the divine nature, of which one is istence as well of Ahraman as of Ormuxd.
viewed as the destroyer, and known by several names, Hesiod is supposed to have taken his theology from
such as Siva and Iswara. When brute-worship was in- Orpheus ; and it is evident that his doctrine concerning
troduced into Hindostan, it was not unnatural to con- the generation of the gods is the same with that taught
sider the alligator as emblematical of Iswara; and bence in certain verses

in certain verses * usually attributed to Orpheus, in * Argo

in all probability it is that the Hindoos believe that a which Love and Chaos are thus brought together.

naut. p 17

edit. Steph. man cannot depart more happily from this world than “ We will first sing (says the poet) a pleasant and deby falling into the Ganges, and being devoured by one lightful song concerning the ancient Chaos, how the of those sacred animals. Upon the whole, the brute heavens, earth, and seas, were formed ont of it; as also worship of the Hindoos, instead of militating against concerning that all-wise Love, the oldest and self-perour account of that monstrous superstition as it prevail- fect principle, which actively produced all these things, ed in Egypt, seems to lend no smallTsupport to that ac- separating one from another.” In the original passage, count, as there was unquestionably an early intercourse Love is said not only to be ponupeatis, of much wisdom or between the two nations, and as colonies of Egyptians sagacity, and therefore a real intelligent substance; but Vol. XVII. Part I.




[ocr errors]


Theogony. also to be aceroutatos and autotirns, the oldest and self- all the gods, both those who move visibly round the Theogony.

perfect, and therefore a being of superior order to the heavens, and those who appear to us as often as they
other divinities who were generated together with the please, were generated, that God who made the whole
elements over which they were conceived to preside. universe, spoke to them after this manner: Ye gods of

With the theology of Honier our readers of all de- gods, of whom I myself am father, attend." Cicero
scriptions are so well acquainted, that we need not teaches the very same doctrine with Plato concerning

+ Tusc. swell the article with quotations, to prove that the father the gods t; and Maximus Tyrius, who seems to have

Quest lib. of epic poetry held Jove to be the father of gods and understood the genius of polytheism as thoroughly as ;. c. 29. ct men. But the doctrine of the poets was the creed of any man, gives us the following clear account of that de sal. the vulgar Greeks and Romans; and therefore we may system as received by the philosophers.

Deorum, conclude, that those nations, though they worshipped “ I will now more plainly declare my sense I hy this passim. gods and lords innumerable, admitted but one, or at the similitude : Imagine a great and powerful kingdom or Düserl. 1, most tivo (D), self-existent principles; the one good principality, in which all agree freely and with one

and the other evil. It does not indeed appear, that in consent to direct their actions according to the will and 34 the system of vulgar paganism the subordinate gods were command of one supreme king, the oldest and the best; though

accountable to their chief for any part of their conduct, and then suppose the bounds and limits of this empire each was by the vul- except when they transgressed the limits of the pro- not to be the river Halys, nor the Hellespont, nor the gar consi- vinces assigned them. Venus might conduct the amours Meotian lake, nor the shores of the ocean ; but heaven dered as of heaven and earth in whatever manner she pleased; above, and the earth beneath. Here then let that great unaccount- Minerva might communicate or with bold wisdom from king sit immoveable, prescribing to all his subjects laws, able his

any individual with or without reason; and we find, that in the observance of which consist their safety and hapvince.

in Homer's battles the gods were permitted to separate piness: the partakers of his empire being many, both into parties, and to support the Greeks or Trojans ac- visible and invisible gods ; some of which that are nearcording as they favoured the one or the other nation. est, and immediately attending on him, are in the bighJove indeed sometimes called them to order ; but bis est regal dignity, feasting as it were at the same table; interference was thought partial, and an instance of ty- others again are their ministers and attendants; and a rannical force rather than of just authority. The vul. third sort are inferior to them both: and thus you see gar Greeks, therefore, although they admitted but one, how the order and chain of this government descends or at most two, self-existent principles, did not consider down by steps and degrees from the supreme god to the inferior divinities as mediators between them and the earth and men.” In this passage we have a plain

the supreme, but as gods to whom their worship was on acknowledgement of one supreme God, the sovereign of 35 certain occasions to be ultimately directed.

the universe, and of three inferior orders of gods, wbo Creed of The creed of the philosophers seems to have been were his ministers in the government of the world : and the philoso- different. Such of them as were theists, and believed it is worthy of observation, that the same writer calls phers and in the administration of Providence, admitted of but one these intelligences θεους, θεου παιδας και φιλους, gods, the

God, to whom worsbip was ultimately due ; and they sons and friends of gods. He likewise affirms, that all adored the subordinate divinities as his children and mi- ranks of men, and all nations on earth, whether barbanisters, by whom the course of Providence was carried rous or civilized, held the same opinions respecting one

With respect to the origin of those divinities, supreme Numen and the generation of the other gods. * T'imæus. Plato is very explicit; where he tells us *, that " when “ If there were a meeting (says he *) called of all * Ibid.


own pro


[ocr errors]

(D) Plutarch is commonly supposed, and we think justly supposed, to have been a believer in two self-existent principles, a good and an evil. His own opinion, whatever it was, he declares (de Iside et Osiride) to have been most ancient and universal, and derived from theologers and lawgivers, by poets and pbilosophers.“ Though the first author of it be unknown, yet (says he) it hath been so firmly believed everywhere, that traces of it are to be found in the sacrifices and mysteries both of the barbarians and the Greeks. There is a confused mixture of good and evil in every thing, and nothing is produced by nature pure. Wherefore it is not one only dispenser of things, who, as it were, out of several vessels distributeth these several liquors of good and evil, mingling them togetber, and dashing them as he pleases; but there are two distinct and contrary powers or principles in the world, one of them always leading, as it were, to the right hand, but the other tugging the contrary way. For if nothing can be made without a cause, and that which is good cannot be the cause of evil, there must needs be a distinct principle in nature for the production of evil as well as good.”

That this is palpable manicheism (see MANICHEISM), appears to us so very evident as' to admit of no debate. It appeared in the same light to the learned Cudworth ; but that author labours to prove that Plutarch mistook the sense of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, and Plato. when he attributed to them the same opinions which were held by himself. Mosheim, on the other hand, has put it beyond a doubt, that whatever was Plutarch's belief respecting the origin of evil, and the existence of two independent principles, it was taken impl citly from the writings of Plato. But the pious chancellor of Gottingen, actuated hy the sanie motives with Cudworth, wishes to persuade his readers, that by Plato and Plutarch nothing active was understood by their evil principle, but only that tendency to confusion which was then deemed inseparable from matter. But that something more was meant seems undeniable: for immediately after the words which we have quoted, Plutarch proceeds to affirm that the wisest men declare Blous uvar duo xabarię cev?lexuous, that there are two gods, as it were, of contrary trades or crafts, of which one is the author of all good and the other of all evil. See Mosheim. ed. Cudworth, System. Intellect. lib. i. cap. 4. 5 13.


Theogony, these several professions, a painter, a statuary, a poet, Numen, that all the philosophers of Greece, who were Thcogony.

and a philosopher, and all of them were required to de- not atheists, worshipped many divinities, though they
clare their sense concerning the God; do you think that either openly condemned or secretly despised the tradi-
the painter would say one thing, the statuary another, tions of the poets respecting the amours and villanies
the poet a third, and the philosopher a fourth ? No; of Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and the rest of the tribe.

nor the Scythian neither ; nor the Greek, nor the Hy. It was the same principle sincerely admitted, and not an
perborean. In other things we find men speaking very ill-timed jest, as has been absurdly supposed, that made
discordantly, all men as it were differing from all. But Socrates, atter he bad swallowed the poison, request his
amidst this war, contention, and discord, you may find friend to offer a votive cock for him to Esculapius.
everywhere, throughout the whole world, one unitorm But a theogony was not peculiar to the Greeks, Ro-
law and opinion, that there is ONE GOD, THE KING mans, and the Hindoos ; it made part of every system
AND FATHER OF ALL, and many gods, the sons OF of polytheism. Even the Egyptians themselves, the
God, who reign with God. These things both the grossest of all idolaters, believed in one self-existing God,
Greek and Barbarian affirm, both the inhabitants of the from whom all their other divinities descended by gene-

continent and of the sea-coast, both the wise and the ration. This appears probable from the writings of Ho36 upwise."

rus Apollo, Jamblicus, Porphyry, and many other anIndisn BraThis account of philosophical polytheism receives no cient authors; but if the inscription on the gates of the

small support from the Asiatic Researches of Sir Wil- temple of Neith in Sais, as we have it from Plutarch
liam Jones. “It must always be remembered (says and Proclus, be genuine, it will admit of no doubt.
that accomplished scholar), that the learned Indians, as This fainous inscription, according to the last of these

they are instructed by their own books, acknowledge writers, was to this pnrpose : "I am whatever is, whatPlate only one supreme Being, whom they call BRAHME, or ever shall be, and whatever hath been. My veil no man SECCXXIV. THE GREAT ONE, in the neuter gender. They believe hath removed. The offspring which I brought forth

bis essence to be infinitely removed from the compre- was the sun (E).”
bension of any mind but his own ; and they suppose The Persian magi, as we have seen, believed in two
him to manifest his power by the operation of his di- self existent principles, a good and an evil: but if Die-

vine spirit, whom they name Vishnou the pervader, and genes Laertius deserves to be credited, they held that
NE'RA'YAN or moving on the waters, both in the mas- fire, earth, and water, which they called gods, were ge-
culive gender; whence he is often denominated the first nerated of these two. It was observed in the beginning
male. When they consider the divine power as exerted in of this article, that the first object of idolatrous worship
creating or giving existence to that which existed not be- was probably the sun, and that this species of idolatry
fore, they call the deity BrahmA'; when they view took its rise in Chaldea or Persia. But when it became
him in the light of destroyer, or rather changer of forms, the practice of eastern monarchs to conceal themselves
they give him a thousand names, of which Siva, Is- wholly from their people, the custom, as implying dig-
WARA, and MAHADEVA, are the most common; and nity, was supposed to prevail as well in heaven as on
when they consider him as the preserver of created earth; and Zoroaster, the reformer of the Persian theo-
things, they give him the name of Vishnou. As the logy, taught*, that “Ormuzd was as far removed from * Plutarch,
soul of the world, or the pervading mind, so finely de- the sun as the sun is removed from the earth.” Accord- de Iside et
scribed by Virgil, we see Jove represented by several ing to this modification of magianism, the sun was one Osiride.
Roman poets, and with great sublimity by Lucan in of the generated gods, and held the office of prime mi-
the well-known speech of Cato concerning the Ammo- nister or vicegerent to the invisible fountain of light and
nian oracle, “ Jupiter is wherever we look, wherever we good. Still, however, a self-existent principle of evil
move.' This is precisely the Indian idea of Vishnou: was admitted ; but though he could not be destroyed or
for since the power of preserving created things by a annihilated by any power, it was believed that he would
zuperintending providence belongs eminently to the god. at last be completely vanquished by Ormuzd and his
head, they hold that power to exist transcendently in ministers, and rendered thenceforward incapable of
the preserving member of the triad, whom the sup- producing any mischief.
pose to be EVERYWHERE ALWAYS, not in substance, From this short view of polytheism, as we find it de-
but in spirit and energy.” This supreme god BRAH lineated by the best writers of antiquity, we think our-
ME, in his triple form, is the only self-existent divinity selves warranted to conclude, that the wbole pagan
acknowledged by the philosophica! Hindoos, The world believed in but one, or at most two, SELF-EXIST-
other divinities GENESA, INDRA, CIVERA, &c. are ENT GODS, from whom they conceived all the other di-
all looked upon either as his creatures or his children ; vinities to have descended in a manner analogous to hu-

and of course are worshipped only with inferior adora- man generation. It appears, however, that the vulgar 37 tion.

pagans considered each divinity as supreme and unacphilosoo

It was upon this principle of the generation of the countable within his own province, and therefore intitphers wor- gods, and of their acting as ministers to the supreme Jed to worship, which rested ultimately in himself. The sbipped the




Why the

inferior divinilies.

(E) Τα ούλα, και τα εσομενα και τα γεγονοτα, εγω ειμι. Τον εμον χιτωνα ουδεις απικαλυψεν. 'Ο, Eye vagxwv,

ήλιος ενενείο. The antiquity of this inscription is admitted hy Cudworth, denied by Moshe in, and doubtedly Jablunkski. The reader who wishes to know their arguments may consult Mosheim's edition of the Intellectual System, and Jablonski's Pantheon Ægyptiorum.

Theogony. philosophers, on the other hand, seem to have viewed things which, thougle false, it was yet expedient that Theogons.

the inferior gods as accountable for every part of their they should believe. The polytheism and idolatry of 38

conduct to him who was their sire and sovereign, and to the vulgar, therefore, was their misfortune rather than Vulgar po- have paid to them only that inferior kind of devotion lytheists

their fault. But the philosophers were wholly "withless cul. which the church of Rome pays to departed saints. The out excuse * ; because that when they knew God, they * Rom. i. pable than vulgar pagans were suok in the grossest ignorance, from glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but 20, 21, 22 the philoso- which statesmen, priests, and poets, exerted their utmost became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish beart 25. phers.

influence to keep them from emerging ; for it was a was darkened. Professing themselves wise, they became

maxim which, however absurd, was universally received, fools, and worshipped and served the creature more than * Varro

that "there were many things true in religion *, which the Creator, who is God blessed for ever.” apud D.

it was not convenient for the vulgar to know; and some August. de Civ. Dei,

Polytri. chom

ll Polyxo.





M POLYTRICHUM, a genus of plants belonging to husbands. There was another Polyxo, a native of Ar- Polyzo the cryptogamia class. See BOTANY Index. The an- gos, who married Tlepolemus son of Hercules. She fol- 0 thera is opereulated, and placed upon a very small apo- lowed him to Rhodes after the murder of his uncle Liphysis or articulation ; the calyptra villous ; the star of cymnius; and when he departed for the Trojan war with the female is on a distinct individual. There are 16 the rest of the Greek princes, she became the sole mistress species; the most remarkable of which, natives of Bri- of the kingdom. After the Trojan war, Helen fled from tain, is the commune, or great golden maiden-hair, fre. Peloponnesus to Rhodes, where Polyxo reigned. Polyxo quently to be met with in bogs and wet places. It grows detained her; and to punish her as being the cause of a in patches; the stalks erect, generally single and un- war in which Tlepolemus had perished, sbe ordered her branched, from three inches to a foot or even a yard to be hanged on a tree by her female servants, disguised high. The leaves are numerous, stiff, lanceolate, acute, in the babit of Furies. growing round the stalk without order, and, if viewed POMACEÆ, (pomum,“ an apple,”') the name of with a microscope, appear to have their edges finely ser- the 36th order in Linnæus's Fragments of a Natural rated. There are two varieties of this moss: the first Method, the genera of which have a pulpy esculent fruit, has much shorter stalks than the preceding, and often of the apple, berry, and a cherry kind." See BOTANY, branched; the leaves stiffer, erect, and more crowded; Natural Orders. in other respects the same. The other has a stalk scarce- POMATUM, an unguent generally used in dressing ly more than half an inch bigh, terminated with a clus- the hair. It is also employed as a medicine. ter of linear, erect, rigid leaves, for the most part entire POMEGRANATE. See Punica, BOTANY Index. on the edges, and tipped each with a white hair. The POMERANIA, a province in Germany, in the filament is about an inch high, and the capsule quad- circle of Upper Saxony, baving formerly the title of a rangular. The female flower, or gem, is of a bright duchy. It is bounded on the north by the Baltic sea, red colour.

on the east by Prussia and Poland, on the south by the The first kind, when it grows long enongh for the marquisate of Brandenburg, and on the west by the purpose, is sometimes used in England and Holland to duchy of Mecklenburg; and is about 250 miles in make brooms or brushes. Of the female sort the Lap- length, and in some places 75 miles and in others so in landers, when obliged to sleep in desert places, frequent- breadth. It is watered by several rivers, the most cona ly make a speedy and convenient bed, in the following siderable of which are the Oder, the Pene, the Rega, manner : Where the moss grows thick together, they the Persant, the Wipper, the Stolp, the Lupo, and the

: mark out, with a knife, a piece of ground, about two Lobo. The air is cold; but the soil abounds in pas. yards square, or of the size of a common blanket; then tures, and produces corn, of which a great deal is exbeginning at one corner, they gently sever the turf from ported. It is a flat country, containing many lakes, the ground, and as the roots of the moss are closely in- woods, and forests, and has several good harbours

. It is terwoven and matted together, they by degrees strip off divided into the Hither and Farther Pomerania. The the whole circumscribed turf in one entire piece ; after- small part of this province held by Sweden, was given wards they mark and draw up another piece, exactly to Denmark in exchange for Norway, and by Denmark corresponding with the first ; then, shaking them both was ceded to Prussia, in 1814. with their hands, they lay one upon the ground, with POMFRET, John, an English poet, son of the recthe moss uppermost, instead of a matress, and the other tor of Luton in Bedfordshire, was born in 1667, and over it, with the moss downwards, instead of a rug; educated at Cambridge; after which he took orders, and between the two pieces they enjoy a comfortable and was presented to the living of Malden in Bedfordsleep.

shire. About 1703 he went to London for institution POLYXÆNUS, or POLYÆNUS, See POLYENUS. . to a larger and very considerable living ; but was stop

POLYXO, a priestess of Apollo's temple in Lempos, ped some time by Compton, then bishop of London, on She was likewise nurse to Queen Hypsipyle. It was by account of these four lines of his poem, entitled the her advice that the Lempian women murdered all their Choice :


« PreviousContinue »