This is part 1 of 3.

Huius pestis initia talia perferuntur. nam dum novitius in ea quisquam recipitur, et perditorum primitus scholas intrat, apparet ei species quaedam ranae, quam bufonem consueverunt aliqui nominare. hanc quidam a posterioribus et quidam in ore damnabiliter osculantes, linguam bestiae intra ora sua recipiunt et salivam. haec apparet interdum indebita quantitate, et quandoque in modum anseris vel anatis; plerumque furni etiam quantitatem assumit. demum novitio procedenti occurrit miri palloris homo, nigerrimos habens oculos, adeo extenuatus et macer, quod consumptis carnibus sola cutis relicta videtur ossibus superducta; hunc novitius osculatur, et sentit frigidum sicut glaciem, et post osculum catholicae fidei memoria de ipsius corde totaliter evanescit.
(Gregory IX, Vox in Rama)

The following rites of this pestilence are carried out: when any novice is to be received among them and enters the sect of the damned for the first time, the shape of a certain frog appears to him, the type that is usually called a toad. Some kiss this creature despicably on the hind quarters and some on the mouth, and they receive the tongue and saliva of the beast inside their mouths. Sometimes it appears unduly large, and sometimes equivalent to a goose or a duck; often it even assumes the size of an oven. At length, when the novice has come forward, he is met by a man of wondrous pallor, who has the blackest eyes and is so emaciated and thin that, since his flesh has been wasted, only his skin seems remain, drawn over his bones. The novice kisses him and feels cold like ice, and after the kiss the memory of the Catholic faith totally disappears from his heart. (tr. Alex October1625, adapted by David Bauwens)



Κἄστι τὸ σύνθημα Ἐλευσινίων μυστηρίων· “ἐνήστευσα, ἔπιον τὸν κυκεῶνα, ἔλαβον ἐκ κίστης, ἐργασάμενος ἀπεθέμην εἰς κάλαθον καὶ ἐκ καλάθου εἰς κίστην.” καλά γε τὰ θεάματα καὶ θεᾷ πρέποντα. ἄξια μὲν οὖν νυκτὸς τὰ τελέσματα καὶ πυρὸς καὶ τοῦ “μεγαλήτορος”, μᾶλλον δὲ ματαιόφρονος Ἐρεχθειδῶν δήμου, πρὸς δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων Ἑλλήνων, οὕστινας “μένει τελευτήσαντας ἅσσα οὐδὲ ἔλπονται.” τίσι δὴ μαντεύεται Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος; “νυκτιπόλοις, μάγοις, βάκχοις, λήναις, μύσταις”, τούτοις ἀπειλεῖ τὰ μετὰ θάνατον, τούτοις μαντεύεται τὸ πῦρ· “τὰ γὰρ νομιζόμενα κατὰ ἀνθρώπους μυστήρια ἀνιερωστὶ μυοῦνται.” νόμος οὖν καὶ ὑπόληψις κενὴ καὶ τοῦ δράκοντος τὰ μυστήρια ἀπάτη τίς ἐστιν θρῃσκευομένη, τὰς ἀμυήτους ὄντως μυήσεις καὶ τὰς ἀνοργιάστους τελετὰς εὐσεβείᾳ νόθῳ προστρεπομένων.
(Clement of Alexandria, Protr. 18-19)

And the formula of the Eleusinian mysteries is as follows: “I fasted; I drank the draught; I took from the chest; having done my task, I placed in the basket, and from the basket into the chest.” Beautiful sights indeed, and fit for a goddess! Yes, such rites are meet for night and torch fires, and for the “great-hearted”—I should rather say empty-headed—people of the Erechtheidae, with the rest of the Greeks as well, “whom after death there await such things as they little expect.” Against whom does Heracleitus of Ephesus utter this prophecy? Against “night-roamers, magicians, Bacchants, Lenaean revellers and devotees of the mysteries.” These are the people whom he threatens with the penalties that follow death; for these he prophesies the fire. “For in unholy fashion are they initiated into the mysteries customary among men.” The mysteries, then, are mere custom and vain opinion, and it is a deceit of the serpent that men worship when, with spurious piety, they return towards these sacred initiations that are really profanities, and solemn rites that are without sanctity. (tr. George William Butterworth)



Ego te per omne quod datum mortalibus
et destinatum saeculum est,
claudente donec continebor corpore,
discernam orbe quolibet,

nec ab orbe longe nec remotum lumine
tenebo fibris insitum,
videbo corde, mente complectar pia
ubique praesentem mihi.

et cum solutus corporali carcere
terraque provolavero,
quo me locarit axe communis pater
illic quoque animo te geram.

neque finis idem qui meo me corpore
et amore laxabit tuo.
mens quippe, lapsis quae superstes artubus
de stirpe durat caeliti,

sensus necesse est simul et affectus suos
retineat ut vitam suam;
et ut mori sic oblivisci non capit,
perenne vivax et memor.

(Paulinus of Nola, Carm. 11.49-68)

Throughout the entire span granted and allotted to humankind, for so long as I am contained by this confining body, I may be separated from you by the length of a world, but you will not be far from my face or removed from my eyes. I shall hold you fast within me. I shall see you with my heart’s eye and embrace you with loving mind. You will be before me everywhere. When I am freed from the prison of my body and fly forth from the earth, whatever the heavenly region where our common Father sets me, even there I shall have you in mind. The death which looses me from my body will not loose me from your love, for the mind survives the limbs which fall away, and lives on because its birth is divine. So it must keep its feeling and affections as it keeps its life, and it admits forgetfulness no more than death. It lives and it remembers forever. (tr. Patrick Gerard Walsh)



Οἱ δὲ μέγα φρονέοντες ἐπὶ πτολέμοιο γεφύρας
ἥατο παννύχιοι, πυρὰ δέ σφισι καίετο πολλά.
ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ’ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ’ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ’ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι οὐρανόθεν δ’ ἄρ’ ὑπερράγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν·
τόσσα μεσηγὺ νεῶν ἠδὲ Ξάνθοιο ῥοάων
Τρώων καιόντων πυρὰ φαίνετο Ἰλιόθι πρό.
χίλι’ ἄρ’ ἐν πεδίῳ πυρὰ καίετο, πὰρ δὲ ἑκάστῳ
ἥατο πεντήκοντα σέλᾳ πυρὸς αἰθομένοιο.
ἵπποι δὲ κρῖ λευκὸν ἐρεπτόμενοι καὶ ὀλύρας
ἑσταότες παρ’ ὄχεσφιν ἐΰθρονον Ἠῶ μίμνον.
(Homer, Il. 8.553-565)

These then with high hearts stayed the whole night through along the lines of war, and thei fires burned in multitudes. Just as in the sky about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear when the air is windless, and into view come all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaks open the infinite air, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his heart; in such multitudes between the ships and the streams of Xanthus shone the fires that the Trojans kindled before Ilios. A thousand fires were burning in the plain and by each sat fifty men in the glow of the blazing fire. And their horses, eating of white barley and spelt, stood beside the chariots and waited for fair-throned Dawn. (tr. Augustus Taber Murray, revised by William F. Wyatt)



Σοὶ μὲν ἐγὼ πτέρ’ ἔδωκα, σὺν οἷς ἐπ’ ἀπείρονα πόντον
πωτήσῃ καὶ γῆν πᾶσαν ἀειρόμενος
ῥηϊδίως· θοίνῃς δὲ καὶ εἰλαπίνῃσι παρέσσῃ
ἐν πάσαις, πολλῶν κείμενος ἐν στόμασιν,
καί σε σὺν αὐλίσκοισι λιγυφθόγγοις νέοι ἄνδρες
εὐκόσμως ἐρατοὶ καλά τε καὶ λιγέα
ᾄσονται. καὶ ὅταν δνοφερῆς ὑπὸ κεύθεσι γαίης
βῇς πολυκωκύτους εἰς Ἀΐδαο δόμους,
οὐδέποτ’ οὐδὲ θανὼν ἀπολεῖς κλέος, ἀλλὰ μελήσεις
ἄφθιτον ἀνθρώποις αἰὲν ἔχων ὄνομα,
Κύρνε, καθ’ Ἑλλάδα γῆν στρωφώμενος ἠδ’ ἀνὰ νήσους
ἰχθυόεντα περῶν πόντον ἐπ’ ἀτρύγετον,
οὐχ ἵππων νώτοισιν ἐφήμενος, ἀλλά σε πέμψει
ἀγλαὰ Μουσάων δῶρα ἰοστεφάνων·
πᾶσι δ’ ὅσοισι μέμηλε καὶ ἐσσομένοισιν ἀοιδὴ
ἔσσῃ ὁμῶς, ὄφρ’ ἂν γῆ τε καὶ ἠέλιος·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὀλίγης παρὰ σεῦ οὐ τυγχάνω αἰδοῦς,
ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ μικρὸν παῖδα λόγοις μ᾽ ἀπατᾷς.
(Theognis, Eleg. 237-254)

I have given you wings with which you will fly, soaring easily, over the boundless sea and all the land. You will be present at every dinner and feast, lying on the lips of many, and lovely youths accompanied by the clear sounds of pipes will sing of you in orderly fashion with beautiful, clear voices. And whenever you go to Hades’ house of wailing, down in the dark earth’s depths, never even in death you will lose your fame, but you will be in men’s thoughts, your name ever immortal, Cyrnus, as you roam throughout the land of Greece and among the islands, crossing over the fish-filled, undraining(?) sea, not riding on the backs of horses, but it is the splendid gifts of the violet-wreathed Muses that will escort you. For all who care about their gifts, even for future generations, you will be alike the subject of song, as long as earth and sun exist. And yet I do not meet with a slight respect from you, but you deceive me with your words, as if I were a small child. (tr. Douglas E. Gerber)



Qualiter ambo simul paucis habitavimus horis
non fugit ex oculis, dum manet ista dies.
misimus o quotiens timidis epigrammata chartis!
et tua, ne recreer, pagina muta silet.
quis, rogo, reddat eas taciti quas perdimus horas?
tempora non revocat lux levis atque fugax.
dic homo note meus: quid agis? quid, amice, recurris?
si tua rura colis, cur mea vota neges?
scribe vacans animo, refer alta poemata versu
et quasi ruris agrum me cole voce, melo.
per thoraca meum ducas, precor, oris aratrum,
ut linguae sulcus sint sata nostra tuus,
pectoris unde seges gravidis animetur aristis,
pullulet et nostrum farra novale ferax.
nam mihi si loqueris, bone vir pietatis opimae
exsuperas labiis dulcia mella favis,
plusque liquore placet quem fert oleagina suco,
suavius et recreat quam quod aroma reflat.
cum Aspasio pariter caris patre, fratre Leone
longa stante die, dulcis amice, vale.
(Venantius Fortunatus 7.12.103-122)

How often we exchanged verses on hesitant paper, yet your page is silent now and unspeaking to give me no refreshment! Who, I ask, is to restore the hours we have lost in silence? Each day’s light is frail and fleeting, never recalling time past. Tell me, my good friend, how are you and how do you spend your time? If you are working the land, why do you refuse my requests? Write when you have the free time, send me fine poems in verse, and work on me too, like a field, with voice and with song. Drive, I pray, through my chest the plow of your words so that my field of grain is the furrow of your tongue, so that the harvest of my heart springs to life with swelling ears, and my fallow teems with fertile crops. For if you speak to me, good sir, rich in kindness, you surpass sweet honey with your honeycomb lips, and that liquor gives more pleasure than the oil the olive tree gives and more sweetly refreshes than the scent of a perfume. Along with dear Aspasius, your father, and your brother Leo, sweet friend, fare well for many a day. (tr. Michael Roberts)



Ἐνδένδε ὁρμηθέντες ἔπλωον ἀκραεί, καὶ διελθόντες σταδίους ἐς πεντακοσίους ὡρμίζοντο πρὸς ποταμῷ χειμαρρόῳ· Τόμηρος οὔνομα ἦν τῷ ποταμῷ. καὶ λίμνη ἦν ἐπὶ τῇσιν ἐκβολῇσι τοῦ ποταμοῦ, τὰ δὲ βραχέα τὰ πρὸς τῷ αἰγιαλῷ ἐπῴκεον ἄνθρωποι ἐν καλύβῃσι πνιγηρῇσι. καὶ οὗτοι ὡς προσπλώοντας εἶδον, ἐθάμβησάν τε καὶ παρατείναντες σφᾶς παρὰ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν ἐτάχθησαν ὡς ἀπομαχεόμενοι πρὸς τοὺς ἐκβαίνοντας. λόγχας δὲ ἐφόρεον παχέας, μέγαθος ὡς ἑξαπήχεας· ἀκωκὴ δὲ οὐκ ἐπῆν σιδηρέη, ἀλλὰ τὸ ὀξὺ αὐτοῖσι πεπυρακτωμένον τωὐτὸ ἐποίεε. πλῆθος δὲ ἦσαν ὡς ἑξακόσιοι. καὶ τούτους Νέαρχος ὡς ὑπομένοντάς τε καὶ παρατεταγμένους κατεῖδε, τὰς μὲν νέας ἀνακωχεύειν κελεύει ἐντὸς βέλεος, ὡς τὰ τοξεύματα ἐς τὴν γῆν ἀπ᾽ αὐτέων ἐξικνέεσθαι· αἱ γὰρ τῶν βαρβάρων λόγχαι ἀγχέμαχοι μὲν ἄφοβοι δὲ ἐς τὸ ἐσακοντίζεσθαι ἦσαν. αὐτὸς δὲ τῶν στρατιωτέων ὅσοι αὐτοὶ τε κουφότατοι καὶ κουφότατα ὡπλισμένοι τοῦ τε νέειν δαημονέστατοι, τούτους δὲ ἐκνήξασθαι κελεύει ἀπὸ συνθήματος. πρόσταγμα δέ σφισιν ἦν, ὅκως τις ἐκνηξάμενος σταίη ἐν τῷ ὕδατι, προσμένειν τὸν παραστάτην οἱ ἐσόμενον, μηδὲ ἐμβάλλειν πρόσθε ἐς τοὺς βαρβάρους, πρὶν ἐπὶ τριῶν ἐς βάθος ταχθῆναι τὴν φάλαγγα· τότε δὲ δρόμῳ ἐπιέναι ἀλαλάζοντας. ἅμα δὲ ἐρρίπτεον ἑωυτοὺς οἱ ἐπὶ τῷδε τεταγμένοι ἐκ τῶν νεῶν ἐς τὸν πόντον, καὶ ἐνήχοντο ὀξέως, καὶ ἵσταντο ἐν κόσμῳ, καὶ φάλαγγα ἐκ σφῶν ποιησάμενοι δρόμῳ ἐπῄεσαν αὐτοὶ τε ἀλαλάζοντες τῷ Ἐνυαλίῳ καὶ οἱ ἐπὶ τῶν νεῶν συνεπήχεον, τοξεύματά τε καὶ ἀπὸ μηχανέων βέλεα ἐφέρετο ἐς τοὺς βαρβάρους. οἳ δὲ τήν τε λαμπρότητα τῶν ὅπλων ἐκπλαγέντες καὶ τῆς ἐφόδου τὴν ὀξύτητα καὶ πρὸς τῶν τοξευμάτων τε καὶ τῶν ἄλλων βελέων βαλλόμενοι, οἷα δὴ ἡμίγυμνοι ἄνθρωποι, οὐδὲ ὀλίγον ἐς ἀλκὴν τραπέντες ἐγκλίνουσι. καὶ οἱ μὲν αὐτοῦ φεύγοντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, οἳ δὲ καὶ ἁλίσκονται· ἔστι δὲ οἳ καὶ διέφυγον ἐς τὰ οὔρεα. ἦσαν δὲ οἱ ἁλόντες τά τε ἄλλα δασέες καὶ τὰς κεφαλάς, καὶ τοὺς ὄνυχας θηριώδεες· τοῖσι γὰρ δὴ ὄνυξιν ὅσα σιδήρῳ διαχρᾶσθαι ἐλέγοντο καὶ τοὺς ἰχθύας τούτοισι παρασχίζοντες κατεργάζεσθαι καὶ τῶν ξύλων ἃσαμαλθακώτερα. τὰ δὲ ἄλλα τοῖαι λίθοισι τοῖσιν ὀξέσιν ἔκοπτον· σίδηρος γὰρ αὐτοῖσιν οὐκ ἦν. ἐσθῆτα δὲ ἐφόρεον δέρματα θηρήια, οἳ δὲ καὶ ἰχθύων τῶν μεγάλων τὰ παχέα.
(Arrian, Ind. 24)

Thence they set sail and progressed with a favouring wind; and after a passage of five hundred stades the anchored by a torrent, which was called Tomerus. There was a lagoon at the mouths of the river, and the depressions near the bank were inhabited by natives in stifling cabins. These seeing the convoy sailing up were astounded, and lining along the shore stood ready to repel any who should attempt a landing. They carried thick spears, about six cubits long; these had no iron tip, but the same result was obtained by hardening the point with fire. They were in number about six hundred. Nearchus observed these evidently standing firm and drawn up in order, and ordered the ships to hold back within range, so that their missiles might reach the shore; for the natives’ spears, which looked stalwart, were good for close fighting, but had no terrors against a volley. Then Nearchus took the lightest and lightest-armed troops, such as were also the best swimmers, and bade them swim off as soon as the word was given. Their orders were that, as soon as any swimmer found bottom, he should await his mate, and not attack the natives till they had their formation three deep; but then they were to raise their battle cry and charge at the double. On the word, those detailed for this service dived from the ships into the sea, and swam smartly, and took up their formation in orderly manner, and having made a phalanx, charged, raising, for their part, their battle cry to the God of War, and those on shipboard raised the cry along with them; and arrows and missiles from the engines were hurled against the natives. They, astounded at the flash of the armour, and the swiftness of the charge, and attacked by showers of arrows and missiles, half naked as they were, never stopped to resist but gave way. Some were killed in flight; others were captured; but some escaped into the hills. Those captured were hairy, not only their heads but the rest of their bodies; their nails were rather like beasts’ claws; they used their nails (according to report) as if they were iron tools; with these they tore asunder their fishes, and even the less solid kinds of wood; everything else they cleft with sharp stones; for iron they did not possess. For clothing they wore skins of animals, some even the thick skins of the larger fishes. (tr. Ernest Iliff Robson)