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bishops, and without express order of the emperor to that purpose. Of this Libanius complains, and implores the emperor's protection, that the temples may be preserved.
Throughout the whole oration Libanius professeth himself a heathen, and worshipper of the gods, and takes great liberty with a Christian emperor; nevertheless it will be of use to us upon many accounts. We shall see, particularly, the state of Christianity and Gentilism at that time: how the heathens argued against the Christians, and how the Christians defended themselves.
As almost every part of this oration is of some moment to us, and the original is uncommon, I intend to make a literal translation of the whole. a
At the bottom of the pages, under the translation, I shall place some notes, by way of explication, chiefly taken from Gothofred, the editor of it. I shall likewise
I shall likewise put the pages of his edition in the text, that the translation may be the more easily compared with the original, by such of the curious who are possessed of it. And at the end I shall add such remarks as are especially suited to our design.
Having already, O emperor, often offered advice which has been approved by you, even • when others have advised contrary things ; I come to you now upon the same design, and with • the same hopes, that now especially you will be persuaded by me.' p. 6. • But if not, do not * judge the speaker an enemy to your interests, considering, beside other things, the great • honour which you have conferred upon me, and that it is not likely, that he who is under so great obligations, should not love his benefactor. p. 7. • And for that very reason, I think it my duty to advise, where I apprehend I have somewhat to offer, which may be of advantage; • for I have no other way of shewing my gratitude to the emperor, but by orations, and the counsel delivered in thein.'
• I shall, indeed, appear to many to undertake a matter full of danger, in pleading with you • for the temples, that they may suffer no injury, as they now do. But they who have such appre· hensions, seem to me to be very ignorant of your true character.' p.
8. · For I esteem it the * part of an angry and severe disposition, for any one to resent the proposal of counsel, which he does not approve of : but the part of a mild, and gentle, and equitable disposition, such as yours
is, barely to reject counsel not approved of. For when it is in the power of him, to whom the • address is made, to embrace any counsel, or not, it is not reasonable to refuse a hearing which
can do no harm; nor yet to resent and punish the proposal of counsel, if it appear contrary to his own judgment: when the only thing that induced the adviser to mention it, was a per(suasion of its usefulness.'
• I intreat you, therefore, O emperor, to turn your countenance to me while I am speaking, . and not to cast your eyes upon those, who in many things aim to molest both you and me;
'forasmuch as oftentimes a look is of greater effect than all the force of truth. I would farther • insist, that they ought to permit me to deliver my discourse quietly, and without interruption; • and then, afterwards, they may do their best to confute us by what they have to say.' [Here is a small breach in the Oration. But he seems to have begun his argument with an account of the origin of temples, that they were first of all erected in country places.] Men then hav.ing,' as he goes on, at first secured themselves in dens and cottages, and having there expe‘rienced the protection of the gods, they soon perceived how beneficial to mankind their favour . must be: they, therefore, as may be supposed, erected to them statues and temples, such as "they could in those early times. And when they began to build cities, upon the increase of ' arts and sciences, there were many temples on the sides of mountains, and in plains : and in ' every city,' [as they built it,] next to the walls were temples and sacred edifices raised, as the beginning of the rest of the body, p. 9. For from such governors they expected the greatest
* At first I intended to translate the greatest part of the that of Præfectos Prætorio, which Libanius had received by oration, and give an abstract of the rest. But, opon con- a commission or patent from Theodosius. It was the highest sulting my good friend, Dr. Ward, the late learned professor office at that time under the emperor. After the division of of rhetoric at Gresham College, London ; he recommended the empire, there were four of these præfects, two in the a translation of the wbole, and the publication of the original eastern, and two in the western empire, who commanded as Greek with it, as the Oration is very scarce. Accordingly, I vicegerents of the emperor ; but, I suppose, that the honour have followed his advice, so far as to translate the whole. conferred upon Libanius was only the title of an office, withWhich translation was made by me, and then kindly revised out the administration. This mu be what Eunapius meads. and corrected by Dr. Ward, several years before his decease, Vita Libanii. sub fin. Τον γαρ της αυλης επαρχον μεχρι which happened in the year 1758. For this work has been προσημοριας εχειν εκελευον 8κ εδεξαί», φησας, τον σοφισης εινα long in hand; I may say, almost half a century.
μειζονα. p. 135. The honour here referred to, as Gothofred observer, was
• security: and, if you survey the whole Roman empire, you will find this to be the case every • where. For in the city o next to the greatest, there are still some temples, though they are • deprived of their honours; a few indeed out of many, but yet it is not quite destitute. And • with the aid of these gods the Romans fought, and conquered their enemies; and having con· quered them, they improved their condition, and made them happier than they were before • their defeat ; lessening their fears, and making them partners in the privileges of the common• wealth. And when I was a child, he who led the Gallic army overthrew him that had af. • fronted him; they having first prayed to the gods for success before they engaged. But hav• ing prevailed over him, who at that time gave prosperity to the cities, judging it for his • advantage to have another deity, η νσαμενος αυτω λυσίλελειν ετερον τινα νομιζειν Θεον, for the building • of the city, which he then designed, he made use of the sacred money, but made no alte• ration in the legal worship, p. 10. The temples indeed were impoverished, but the rites were • still performed there. But when the empire came to his son, or rather the form of empire, • for the government was really in the hands of others, who from the beginning had been his • masters, and to whom he vouchsafed equal power with himself: he therefore being governed by
them, even when he was emperor, was led into many wrong actions, and among others to forbid • sacrifices. These his cousin, possessed of every virtue, restored : what he did otherwise, or in• tended to do, I omit at present. After his death in Persia, the liberty of sacrificing remained • for some time : but at the instigation of some innovators, sacrifices were forbidden by the two • brothers, but not incense. Which state of things your law has ratified. So that we have not more reason to be uneasy for what is denied us, than to be thankful for what is allowed. You, therefore, have not ordered the temples to be shut up, nor forbidden any to frequent . them: nor have you driven from the temples, or the altars, fire or frankincense, or other • honours of incense. But those black-garbed people," who eat more than elephants, and de* mand a large quantity of liquoro from the people who send them drink for their chantings; .but who hide their luxury by their pale artificial countenances :. p. 11: these men, O emperor,
even whilst your law is in force, run to the temples, bringing with them wood, and stones, and • iron, and when they have not them, hands and feet. Then follows a Mysian prey,' the roofs
επει καν τη μεία της με τιςην πρωτη.
est, reditibus et donariis templorum gentilitiorum : adde et • He means Constantinople, called by Libanius, in other simulacris, quæ templis ab eo detracta, atque in urbis ornatum orations also, the second city after the greatest of all; the translata, • greatest city after Rome,' and the like.
Hence it appears,
Constantius, who, as Gothofred observes, p. 44, often that this Oration was not written or spoken at Constantinople, forbade sacrifices, as his edicts shew. I. iv. v. vi. C. Th. de but at some other place.
Paganis. sacrif. and other writers say.
k Julian. © He means the ancient temples of Byzantium, before ī Valentinian and Valens. Constantine the Great enlarged it, and called it after his own m That law of Theodosius is often mentioned, and insisted name Constantinople.
upon in this Oration by Libanius : a law, in which sacrifices d Libanius seems there to speak of the Licinian war. And, were expressly forbidden, but not incense. Gothofred, p. 45, being born in the year 314, or 315, he must have been a child thinks, that Libanius may refer to several laws of Theodosius at that time, in 323.
to that purpose: as l. vii. and ix, and perhaps xi. C. Th. de e He means Constantine, who came from Gaul, with Gallic paganis. sacrif. And, as he says, in the year 392, after the forces, when he conquered Maxentius in 312. The soldiers composing of this Oration, incense also was forbidden by the of the same country are here supposed by Libanius to have same emperor. l. xii. C. Th. de Paganis. been the strength of Constantine's army when he fought * Οι δε μελανειμονένιες ε7οι, και πλείω μεν των ελεφανίων with Licinius.
εσθιονίες, πονον δε παρεχονίες τα αληθει των εκπαμαιων τοις δι' ' Libanius supposes Constantine not to have been converted ασματων αυτοις παραπεμπασι το ποθον, συσκρυπloντες δε ταυτα to Christianity till after the defeat of Licinius in 323, though wx polyle ty dla TEXyrs avlovs WeTopropery. x. n. p. 10, 11. he really was a Christian many years before. But,' says By black-garbed people,' undoubtedly Libanius means Gothofred in his notes at p. 43, 'I know not how it comes the monks, who wore dark-coloured garments. 'to pass, the Gentile writers pretend, that Constantine was ✓ Thereby, possibly, Libanius ridicules the liberality of 'not a Christian till after the Licinian war. So Zosimus, well-disposed Christians, who made contributions for the sup• lib. ii. p. 685. The reason of which I suspect to be, that if port of the monks. And the ground of charging the monks · Constantine did not so long approve of soothsaying, which with demanding liquor for their hymns, might be the practice ' yet Zosimus says he did, he bore with it, as several of his of some heathen priests. • edicts shew. I. i. Cod Th. de Paganis, l. i. ii. iii. C. Th. de ? It seems unreasonable in Libanius to charge those men "Maleficis et Mathematicis : as also because from that time he with a luxurious life. The paleness of their countenances was
began more earnestly to oppose the Heathen worship, and also a good argument of abstemiousness. I do not believe, that he • left Rome, not without some offence and disgust. See more had as good proof of the contrary, or that they made use of of this in our notes upon Zosimus. & Meaning Constantinople. art to procure paleness.
+ That is true, as Gothofred says in his notes, p. 43. Cæ- r. Demosthenes, in his oration for Ctesiphon, cap. 22, terum verum est, quod Libanius scribit, Constantinum M. in uses this as a proverbial expression. And Harpocration says, condendâ urbe Constantinopolitana, sacris pecuniis usum, id 'it took its rise from the Mysians, who in the absence of their
• are uncovered, walls are pulled down, images, are carried off, and altars are overturned: the
priests all the while must be silent upon pain of death. When they have destroyed one temple, • they run to another, and a third, and trophies are erected upon trophies : which are all contrary • to (“your”) law. This is the practice in cities, but especially in the countries. And there . are many enemies every where. After innumerable mischiefs have been perpetrated, the scat
tered multitude unites and comes together, and they require of each other an account of what they have done ; and he is ashamed, who cannot tell of some great injury which he has been guilty of. They therefore spread themselves over the country like torrents, wasting the coun. • tries together with the temples.: for wherever they demolish the temple of a country, at the • same time the country itself is blinded, declines, and dies. For, O emperor, the temples are • the soul of the country; they have been the first original of the buildings in the country, and
they have subsisted for many, ages to this time, and in them are all the husbandman's hopes, • concerning men, and women, and children, and oxen, and the seeds and plants of the ground,
p. 12. Wherever any country has lost its temples, that country is lost, and the hopes of the • husbandmen, and with them all their alacrity: for they suppose they shall labour in vain, when
they are deprived of the gods who should bless their labours : and the country not being cul• tivated as usual, the tribute is diminished. This being the state of things, the husbandman is
impoverished, and the revenue suffers. For be the will ever so good, impossibilities are not to • be surmounted. Of such mischievous consequence are the arbitrary proceedings of those per• sons in the country, who say, they fight with the temples.” But that war is the gain of those • who oppress the inhabitants, and robbing these miserable people of their goods, and what they • had laid up of the fruits, of the earth for their sustenance, they go off as with the spoils of those * whom they have conquered. Nor are they satisfied with this, p. 13, for they also seize the • lands of some, saying, it is sacred : and many are deprived of their paternal inheritance upon a • false pretence. Thus these men riot upon other people's misfortunes, who say, “ they worship • God with fasting.” And if they who are abused come to the pastor in the city, (for so they *call a man who is not one of the meekest) complaining of the injustice that has been done • them, this pastor commends these, but rejects the others; as if they ought to think themselves * happy that they have suffered no more. Although, O emperor, these also are your subjects, • and so much more profitable than those who injure them, as laborious men are than the idle : • for they are like bees; these like drones. Moreover, if they hear of any land which has any thing that can be plundered, they cry presently: • Such an one sacrificeth, and does abo. minable things, and an army ought to be sent against him.” And presently the reformers are • there : for by this name they call their depredations, if I have not used too soft a word. • Some of these strive to conceal themselves, and deny their proceedings; and if you call them * robbers you affront them. Others glory and boast, and tell their exploits to those who are ig, • norant of them, and say, they are more deserving than the husbandmen, p. 14. Nevertheless,
what is this, but in time of peace to wage war with the husbandmen? For it by no means • lessens these evils that they suffer from their countrymen. But it is really more grievous to
suffer the things, which I have mentioned, in a time of quiet, from those who ought to assist * them in a time of trouble. For you, O emperor, in case of a war, collect an army, give out orders, and do every thing suitable to the emergency. And the new works, which you now carry on, are designed as a farther security against our enemies, that all may be safe in their • habitations, both in the cities and in the country: and then if any enemies should attempt
inroads, they may be sensible they must suffer loss rather than gain any advantage. How is it . then, that some under your government, disturb others equally under your government, and permit • them not to enjoy the common benefits of it? p. 15. How do they not defeat your own care 6 and providence and labours, () emperor? How do they not fight against your law by what they do ?'
• But they say, “We have only punished those who sacrifice, and thereby transgress the law,
• king Telephus, being plundered by their neighbours, made ore scriptisque Libanii, hic, et in Orat. in Julianum Cos. • no resistance. Hence it came to be applied to any persons p. 236, et in Antiocho, p. 335, et in Juliani necem. p. 269.
who were passive under injuries. See likewise Suidas in a Οι δ' εκ των έλερων τρυφωσι κακων, οι τω εινην, ως φασι, νοce. Μυσων λεια. That is a note received from Dr. θεραπευονίες Θεον. Ην δ' οι πεπορθημενοι παρα τον εν αρει Ward before mentioned. I shall add the note of Gothofred ποιμενα (καλεσι γαρ είως ανδρα και πανυ χρησον.) κ. λ. p. 13. from p. 47. Mysorum præda. Frequens illud proverbium in 5 Και παρεισιν οι σωφρο»σαι. p. 13. VOL. IV.
which forbids sacrifices.” O emperor, when they say this they lie. For no one is so audacious, and so ignorant of the proceedings of the courts, as to think himself more powerful than the law. When I say the law, I mean the law against sacrifices. Can it be thought, that they who are not able to bear the sight of a collector's cloak, should despise the power of your go'vernment? This is what they say for themselves. And they have been often alleged to Fla• vian himself, and never have been confuted, no, not yet. For I appeal to the guardians of • this law : 5 who has known any of those whom you have plundered to have sacrificed upon the • altars, so as the law does not permit? What young or old person, what man, what woman? • Who of those inhabiting the same country, and not agreeing with the sacrificers in the worship • of the gods ? p. 16. Who of their neighbours ? For envy and jealousy are common in neigh. • bourhoods. Whence some would gladly come as an evidence, if any such thing had been done : • and yet no one has appeared, neither from the one, nor from the other : [that is, neither from • the country, nor from the neighbourhood.] Nor will there ever appear for fear of perjury, not
the punishment of it. Where then is the truth of this charge, when they accuse those * men of sacrificing contrary to law ?
• But this shall not suffice for an excuse to the emperor: some one therefore may say: «« They have not sacrificed. Let it be granted. But oxen have been killed at feasts and enter• tainments, and merry meetings.” Still there is no altar to receive the blood, nor a part • burned, nor do salt-cakes precede, nor any libation follow. But if some persons meeting toge*ther in some pleasant field, kill a calf, or a sheep, or both, and roasting part, and broiling the
rest, have eat it under a shade, upon the ground, I do not know that they have acted contrary * to any laws. For neither have you, O emperor, forbid these things by your law; but men* tioning one thing, which ought not to be done, you have permitted every thing else. So that
though they should have feasted together with all sorts of incense, they have not transgressed • the law, even though in that feast they should all have sung, and invoked the gods, p. 17. • Unless you think fit to accuse even their private method of eating, by which it has been cus• tomary for the inhabitants of several places in the country, to assemble together in those (places] · which are the more considerable on holidays, and having sacrificed, to feast together. This • they did whilst the law permitted them to do it. Since that, the liberty has continued for all • the rest except sacrificing. When therefore a festival day invited them, they accepted the in• vitation, and with those things which might be done without offence or danger, they have ho
noured both the day and the place. But that they ventured to sacrifice no one has said, nor • heard, nor proved, nor been credited: nor have any of their enemies pretended to affirm it upon the ground of his own sight, or any credible account he has received of it.
They will farther say: “ By this means some have been converted, and brought to embrace • the same religious sentiments with themselves.” Be not deceived by what they say: they only * pretend it, but are not convinced : for they are averse to nothing more than this, though they • say the contrary. For the truth is, they have not changed the objects of their worship, but
only appear to have done so. They join themselves with them in appearance, and outwardly * perform the same things that they do: but when they are in a praying posture, they address to • no one, or else they invoke the gods; not rightly indeed in such a place, but yet they invoke • them, p. 18. Wherefore, as in a tragedy he who acts the part of a king, is not a king, but the
same person he was before he assumed that character; so every one of these keeps himself the * same he was, though he seems to them to be changed. And what advantage have they by this, • when the profession only is the same with theirs, but a real agreement with them is wanting? • for these are things to which men ought to be persuaded, not compelled. And when a man · cannot accomplish that, and yet will practise this, nothing is effected, and he may perceive the • weakness of the attempt. It is said, that this is not permitted by their own laws, which com* mend persuasion, and condemn compulsion. Why then do you run mad against the temples ? • When you cannot persuade, you use force. In this you evidently transgress your own laws.' Bishop of Antioch at that time.
de paganis. But were totally forbidden afterwards, l. xix. 5 Ιδε γαρ δη προκαλεμαι της κηδεμόνας τεδε τα νομα. p. 15. eod. tit as Gothofred observes, p. 51. Libanius here evidently appeals to Christians, whom he calls 4 Λοίος δε μη εν τοις τελων αυτων τε7ο ενειναι νομοις, αλλ ‘guardians of this law.
ευδοκιμείν μεν το πειθειν, κακως δε ακέειν την ανακην. Τι αν μαι© These things were allowed by some edicts of Christian
ερων; Ει το πειθειν μεν εκ εςιν, βιαζεσθε δε, emperors about this time, and somewhat later, l. xvii. C. Th
σαφως μεν είως, και τας υμείερες αν αυτων παραβαινετε νομές.
γεσθε καλα τα
But they say, “ It is for the good of the world, and the men in it, that there should be no • temples." p. 19. • Here, O emperor, I need freedom of speech; for I fear lest I should • offend. Let then any of them tell me, a who have left the tongs and the hammer and the anvil, • and pretend to talk of the heavens, and of them that dwell there, what rites the Romans fol• lowed, who arose from small and mean beginnings, and went on prevailing, and grew great :
theirs, or these, whose are the temples and the altars, from whom they knew by the soothsayers, • what they ought to do, or not to do?'. [Here Libanius instanceth in the successes of Agamemnon against Troy; and of Hercules before, against the same place: and some other things.] • And many other wars might be mentioned, which have been successfully conducted, and after that 'peace obtained, by the favour, and under the direction of the gods, p. 20. But what is the most • considerable of all, they who seemed to despise this way of worship, have honoured it against • their will. Who are they? They who have not ventured to forbid sacrifices at Rome. But • if all this affair of sacrifices be a vain thing, why has not this vain thing been prohibited ? and if • it be hurtful likewise, why not much more? But if in the sacrifices there performed consists the
stability of the empire, it ought to be reckoned beneficial to sacrifice every where;, and to be allowed, that the dæmons at Rome confer greater benefits, these in the country and other cities « less. This is what may be reasonably granted: for in an army all are not equal; yet in a battle • the help of each one is of use: the like may be said of rowers in a vessel. So one (dæmon) de• fends the sceptre of Rome, another protects a city subject to it, another preserves the country, • and gives it felicity: Let there then be temples every where, p. 21. Or let those men confess, • that you are not well affected to Rome in permitting it to do things by which she suffers damage. • But neither is it at Rome only, that the liberty of sacrificing remains, but also in the city of • Serapis, that great and populous city, which has a multitude of temples, by which it renders the
plenty of Egypt common to all men. This [plenty) is the work of the Nile. It therefore • celebrates the Nile, and persuades him to rise and overflow the fields. If those rites were not * performed, when and by whom they ought, he would not do so. Which they themselves seem • to be sensible of, who willingly enough abolish such things, but do not abolish these; but per• mit the river to enjoy his ancient rites, for the sake of the benefit he affords.'
• What then, some will say : “ Since there is not in every country a river to do what the • Nile does for the earth, there is no reason for temples in those places. Let them therefore • suffer what these good people think fit.” Whom I would willingly ask this question: Whether
changing their mind, they will dare to say, Let there be an end of these things done by (or · for) the Nile. Let not the earth partake of his waters, let nothing be sown nor reaped, p. 22. · Let him afford no corn, nor any other product, nor let the mud overflow the whole land, as at
present. If they dare not own this, by what they forbear to say, they confute what they do
say: for they who do not affirm, that the Nile ought to be deprived of his honours, confess, • that the honours paid to the temples are useful.''
* And since they mention him who spoiled the temples (of their revenues and gifts] we a The note of Gothofred upon this place, at p. 53, is this : andriâ) morisque veteris retinentissimis; ubi non tam facile, Commune hoc argumentum et delirium Gentilium hoc ævo certe non simul et semel mores vertuntur, vertive poterant. fuit, quasi religionibus Romanis imperium in eam magnitu. Quod mox tamen effectum. Gothofred, p. 53. dinem excrevisset. Quod refutant passim Christiani. Vide c That is reckoned to be one mark of time in this Oration. vel Tertullianum, Arnobium, Symmachum, Prudentium. Sacrifices were still permitted at Rome: but they were pro
• Libanius must needs mistake, or misrepresent the case ; hibited there by Valentinian the younger, with the advice of and, consequently, he argues upon a wrong foundation. The Theodosius the Great. A. D. 391. l. x. C. Th. de paganis, Christians had no respect for the heathen deities, nor were sacrificiis. So says Gothofred, they apprehensive of any evil from a neglect of them. Vid.
απανταχε δει νομιζειν τελειο το θυειν, και διδοναι τες Euseb. de Vita Constantin. 1. iv. cap. 25. Theodor. H. E. μεν εν Ρωμη δαιμονας τα μειζω, τες δ' εν τοις αίροις, η και τους 1. v. cap. 22, p. 229. A. Libanius owned just now, that they andois ase6w, enarlw. x. 7. p. 20 said, it was for the good of the world, that there should be By the city of Serapis is meant Alexandria. This is ano'no temples:' that is, in other words, that heathen super- ther note of the time of this Oration : for the temple of stition and idolatry should cease, and the true Deity only be Serapis was destroyed in 391. l. xi. C. Th. de paganis, sacrif. worshipped. If therefore they approved, or consented to, et templis. Vid. et Socrat. H. E. I. v. cap. 16, 17. Sozom. the permission of sacrifices, or other heathen rites, in some 1. xvii. c. 5. Theod. I. v. cap. 22. places, it could not be for the reason assigned by Libanius ; | All this argument is vain and trifling. If the heathen but either because they were unwilling to do any thing that priests at Alexandria were still permitted to perform the had the appearance of persecution, or of force and compulsion ; ancient rites, it was not for the sake of any benefit they or because they were apprehensive of tumults of the heathen were of: for every Christian supposed them useless and inpeople, and perhaps more in some places than in others. Cum, significant. They were permitted, therefore, for some such uti dixi, hæc indulgentiæ singularis fuerint, et quidem in reasons as those hinted above. duabus maximis et populosissimis urbibus, [Romà et Alex- & Constantine the Great.