Meteōroleschai

Alexios_I_Komnenos

This is part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here.

Οὐ μὴν διὰ τοῦτο αὐχμός τις ἦν ἀστρολόγων τὸ τηνικάδε, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ εἰρημένος Σὴθ κατ’ ἐκεῖνο καιροῦ ἐξήνθησε, καὶ ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ἐκεῖνος Ἀλεξανδρεὺς πολὺς ἦν τὰ τῆς ἀστρολογίας ἐμφαίνων ὄργια. ὃς καὶ παρὰ πολλῶν ἐρωτώμενος ἀκριβέστατα προεμαντεύετο· ἐν ἐνίοις δὲ οὐδὲ ἀστρολάβου δεόμενος, ἀλλὰ διά τινος ψηφηφορίας τὰς προρρήσεις ἐπεποίητο. ἦν δ’ ἄρα καὶ τοῦτο μαγικὸν μὲν οὐδαμῶς, ἀλλὰ τέχνη τις Ἀλεξανδρέως λογική. ὁρῶν δὲ ὁ αὐτοκράτωρ τὴν νεότητα συρρέουσαν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν καὶ ὥσπερ τινὰ προφήτην τὸν ἄνδρα λογιζομένην, δὶς καὶ αὐτὸς τοῦτον ἐπηρωτήκει, καὶ τοσαυτάκις καὶ ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεὺς εὐστοχήκει τῆς ἐπερωτήσεως· δειλιάσας δὲ ἵνα μὴ πολλῶν βλάβη γένηται, καὶ πρὸς τὴν ματαιότητα τῆς ἀστρολογίας ἀποκλίνωσιν ἅπαντες, κατὰ τὴν Ῥαιδεστὸν τούτῳ τὰς διατριβὰς ἀφώρισε τῆς πόλεως ἀπελάσας, πολλὴν τὴν περὶ αὐτὸν προμήθειαν ἐνδειξάμενος, ὥστε δαψιλῶς αὐτῷ τὰ πρὸς χρῆσιν ἐκ τῶν βασιλικῶν ταμιείων ἐπιχορηγεῖσθαι. ναὶ μὴν καὶ ὁ διαλεκτικώτατος Ἐλευθέριος, Αἰγύπτιος καὶ οὗτος ἀνήρ, τὰ τῆς ἐπιστήμης ταύτης πρεσβεύων εἰς ἄκρον ἤλαυνεν εὐφυΐας, μηδενὶ μηδαμῶς τῶν πρωτείων παραχωρῶν. ἐν ὑστέροις δὲ καὶ ὁ καλούμενος Κατανάγκης Ἀθήνηθεν εἰς τὴν μεγαλόπολιν καταλαβὼν, τὰ πρωτεῖα τῶν πρὸ αὐτοῦ φιλονεικῶν φέρειν, ἐπερωτηθεὶς παρά τινων περὶ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος, πότε τεθνήξοιτο, καὶ τὸν θάνατον αὐτοῦ προκαταγγείλας, ὡς ᾤετο, ἐψεύσθη τοῦ στοχασμοῦ. συνέβη δὲ τηνικαῦτα τὸν θῆρα λέοντα ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις διαιτώμενον ἐπὶ τέσσαρσιν ἡμέραις πυρέξαντα τὴν ψυχὴν ἐξερεύξασθαι· εἰς ὃ τοῖς πολλοῖς ἔδοξεν ἡ τοῦ Κατανάγκη πρόρρησις τελευτῆσαι. καιροῦ δὲ παρερρυηκότος ἱκανοῦ, αὖθις τὸν τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος θάνατον προὐμαντεύσατο καὶ διεψεύσθη· ἐτεθνήκει δ’ ὅμως ἡ βασιλὶς Ἄννα καὶ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην, ἣν ὁ Κατανάγκης προεῖπεν. ὁ δὲ βασιλεύς, ἐπεὶ περὶ αὐτοῦ πολλάκις προμαντευσάμενος τοσαυτάκις διήμαρτε, τῆς πόλεως τοῦτον μεταστῆσαι οὐκ ἤθελεν αὐτέλεγκτον γενόμενον, ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἵνα μὴ δι’ ἐμπάθειαν δόξῃ τοῦτον ἐκεῖθεν ἀπελαύνειν. ἀλλ’ ἡμεῖς γε ἐντεῦθεν πάλιν ὅθεν ἐξεληλύθειμεν ἀναστρέψωμεν, ἵνα μὴ δοκοίημεν μετεωρολέσχαι τινὲς καὶ ἐξ ἀστρολογίας ὀνόμασι τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἱστορίας καταζοφοῦντες.
(Anna Comnena, Alex. 6.7.4-6)

Yet in spite of this there was no dearth of astrologers at that time, for the Seth I have mentioned flourished then, and there was also a famous Egyptian, Alexandreus, who was a strong exponent of the mysteries of astrology. He was consulted by many and used to give most accurate forecasts in many cases, not even using the astrolabe, but made his prophecies by a certain casting of dice. There was nothing magical about that either, it was an art practised by the Alexandrians (or by Alexandreus). When the Emperor saw how the young people flocked to him and regarded the man as a species of prophet, he himself consulted him twice and each time Alexandreus gave very correct answers. But the Emperor was afraid that harm might come to many from it and that all, would be led away to the vain pursuit of astrology, so he banished him from the capital, assigned Raedestus as his dwelling-place and showed great consideration for him, and his means of living were amply supplied from the imperial treasury. Nay more, the great dialectician, Eleutherius, also an Egyptian by birth, cultivated this art too and carried it to such perfection that he yielded the palm to no one. Later again, a man called Catanances from Athens came to the capital, anxious to carry off the first prize among astrologers and when questioned by some about the date of the Emperor’s death, he foretold it as he thought, but was proved wrong in his prognostication. It happened, however, that the lion which was kept in the palace died that day, after four days’ fever, so the vulgar considered that the prophecy of Catanances had been accomplished. After some considerable time he again foretold the date of the Emperor’s death and was mistaken; yet the Emperor’s mother, the Empress Anna, died on the very day Catanances had foretold. Because Catanances had made repeated mistakes in his predictions about him, the Emperor did not like to banish him as he was self-convicted, and also it might seem that he banished him in anger. But now let us return to the point in our history where we abandoned it, otherwise we shall be thought to be star gazers, obscuring the main theme of our history with the names of astrologers. (tr. Elizabeth Dawes)

Astrologias

 

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This is part 1 of 2. Part 2 is here.

Τὴν δὲ τοῦ Ῥομπέρτου τελευτὴν μαθηματικός τις Σὴθ καλούμενος μεγάλα ἐπ’ ἀστρολογίᾳ αὐχῶν, μετὰ τὴν εἰς τὸ Ἰλλυρικὸν αὐτοῦ διαπεραίωσιν προειρήκει διὰ χρησμοῦ, ὃν ἐν χάρτῃ ἐκθέμενος καὶ σφραγίσας, τισὶ τῶν τοῦ βασιλέως οἰκειοτάτων ἐνεχείρισε, παραγγείλας κατέχειν αὐτὸν μέχρι τινός. εἶτα τοῦ Ῥομπέρτου τετελευτηκότος, ἐξ ἐπιταγῆς αὐτοῦ λύουσι τὸν χάρτην. εἶχε δὲ ὁ χρησμὸς οὕτως· “μέγας ἐχθρὸς ἐξ ἑσπέρας πολλὰ κυκήσας ἄφνω πεσεῖται.” ἐθαύμασαν μὲν οὖν πάντες τὴν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἐπιστήμην· ἦν γὰρ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ σοφίᾳ εἰς ἄκρον ἐληλακώς. καὶ ἵνα τι βραχὺ παραδράμωμεν, τοῦ λόγου τῆς ἱστορίας μικρὸν ἀποστάντες, οὕτως ἔχει τὰ κατὰ τοὺς χρησμούς. νεώτερον μὲν τὸ ἐφεύρεμα, καὶ οὐκ οἶδε ταύτην τὴν ἐπιστήμην ὁ πάλαι χρόνος. οὔτε γὰρ ἐπ’ Εὐδόξου τοῦ ἀστρονομικωτάτου ἡ τῶν χρησμῶν μέθοδος ἦν, οὔτε ὁ Πλάτων τὴν σύνεσιν ταύτην ᾔδει, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ Μανέθων ὁ ἀποτελεσματικὸς περὶ ταύτης ἠκρίβωκεν. ἀλλὰ λῆψις ἦν ἐκείνοις ὡροσκόπου, ἐν οἷς προὐμαντεύοντο, καὶ πῆξις τῶν κέντρων καὶ τοῦ ὅλου διαθέματος ἐπιτήρησις καὶ ὁπόσα ἄλλα ὁ τὴν μέθοδον ταύτην εὑρηκὼς τοῖς ἐς ὕστερον παρέδωκεν, ἅπερ ξυνετὰ τοῖς περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ματαιάζουσιν. ἡμεῖς δὲ ἐκεῖθέν ποτε ὀλίγον τι τῆς ἐπιστήμης ταύτης ἡψάμεθα, οὐχ ἵνα τι τοιοῦτον διαπραξαίμεθα (μὴ γένοιτο), ἀλλ’ ἵνα τῆς ματαιολογίας ταύτης ἀκριβέστερον καταγνόντες, καὶ τῶν περὶ αὐτὴν ἠσχολημένων καταγινώσκοιμεν. ταῦτα δὲ γράφω οὐκ ἐπιδείξεως ἕνεκα, ἀλλ’ ἵνα ἐνδειξαίμην ὅτι ἐπὶ τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος τούτου πολλαὶ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν εἰς ἐπίδοσιν ἐληλύθεισαν, τιμῶντος τοὺς φιλοσόφους καὶ φιλοσοφίαν αὐτήν, εἰ καὶ πρὸς τὸ μάθημα τοῦτο τῆς ἀστρολογίας δυσχεραίνων πως κατεφαίνετο, οἶμαι, διότι τοὺς πολλοὺς τῶν ἀκεραιοτέρων ἀφίστασθαι ἀνέπειθε τῶν ἄνωθεν ἐλπίδων καὶ κεχηνέναι τοῖς ἀστράσιν. αὕτη αἰτία γέγονε πόλεμον ἔχειν τὸν αὐτοκράτορα πρὸς τὸ μάθημα τῆς ἀστρολογίας.
(Anna Comnena, Alex. 6.7.4-5)

A certain mathematician named Seth who boasted much of his knowledge of astrology had forecast Robert’s fate by an oracle, after his crossing to Illyria, written this forecast on a paper, sealed it and entrusted it to some of the Duke’s intimates, bidding them keep it till a certain time. After Robert’s death they opened it by the astrologer’s order and the prophecy was as follows: “A great enemy from the west shall fall suddenly after having stirred up great confusion.” This caused everybody to marvel at the man’s knowledge; and in truth he had delved very deeply into this branch of science, and if I may be allowed to make a short break in the course of my history, the following are the facts about astrological prophecies. The discovery is fairly recent, and the science of it was not known to the ancients. For this method of divination did not exist in the time of Eudoxus, the greatest of all astronomers, neither did Plato have any knowledge of it, and even the astrologer, Manetho, had not brought it to perfection. Now these (astrologers) observe the hour of the birth of the persons about whom they intend to prophesy, and fix the cardinal points and carefully note the disposition of all the stars, in short they do everything that the inventor of this science bequeathed to posterity and which those who trouble about such trifles understand. We, also, at one time dabbled a little in this science, not in order to cast horoscopes (God forbid!), but by gaining a more accurate idea of this vain study to be able to pass judgment upon its devotees. I do not mention this for the sake of boasting, but to prove that during my father’s reign many of the sciences made great progress, as he honoured both philosophers and philosophy itself, but towards this teaching of astrology he showed some hostility, I believe because it tended to make people of a guileless nature reject their faith in God and gape at the stars. This was the cause of the Emperor’s waging war against the teaching of astrology. (tr. Elizabeth Dawes)

Pertaesumst

roman-carriage

Si possent homines, proinde ac sentire videntur
pondus inesse animo quod se gravitate fatiget,
e quibus id fiat causis quoque noscere et unde
tanta mali tamquam moles in pectore constet,
haud ita vitam agerent, ut nunc plerumque videmus
quid sibi quisque velit nescire et quaerere semper
commutare locum, quasi onus deponere possit.
exit saepe foras magnis ex aedibus ille,
esse domi quem pertaesumst, subitoque revertit,
quippe foris nilo melius qui sentiat esse.
currit agens mannos ad villam praecipitanter,
auxilium tectis quasi ferre ardentibus instans;
oscitat extemplo, tetigit cum limina villae,
aut abit in somnum gravis atque oblivia quaerit,
aut etiam properans urbem petit atque revisit.
hoc se quisque modo fugit, at quem scilicet, ut fit,
effugere haud potis est, ingratis haeret et odit,
propterea morbi quia causam non tenet aeger;
quam bene si videat, iam rebus quisque relictis
naturam primum studeat cognoscere rerum,
temporis aeterni quoniam, non unius horae,
ambigitur status, in quo sit mortalibus omnis
aetas, post mortem quae restat cumque, manenda.
(Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 3.1053-1075)

If men, who clearly sense the weight that rests
upon their souls and drags them weary down,
could also know what causes this, and whence
this pain that lies like lead upon their hearts,
they would not live as commonly now we see them,
not knowing what they want, in endless quest
of change, as if by this to slough their burden.
Day after day, the great man leaves his palace,
bored sick with home, yet comes right back again
because he finds no better world outside.
He drives his nags top-speed out to his villa,
as if it were burning, and he to put out the fire;
he’s yawning before his foot has passed the door;
in weary search for oblivion, he sleeps,
or turns and gallops away to town again.
Thus each man runs from himself—the self, of course,
he can’t escape but must hold close; he hates it
because, being sick, he can’t know why he’s sick.
If he could see this clear, he’d drop all else
and plunge into learning the nature of the world,
for through eternity, not one hour, extends
the state we’re questioning in which all men,
once they have died, must be, time without end.
(tr. Frank O. Copley)

Luciferum

a0016105078b665dcdfb637d861553ab--dark-angels-fallen-angels

This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Completo vero tam nefandissimo scelere et candelis iterum reaccensis singulisque in suo ordine constitutis, de obscuro scholarum angulo, quo non carent perditissimi homines, quidam homo procedit a renibus sursum fulgens et sole clarior, sicut dicunt, et deorsum hispidus sicut gattus, cuius fulgor illuminat totum locum. tunc magister excerpens quid de veste novitii, fulgido illi dicit: ‘magister, hoc mihi datum tibi do’, illo fulgido respondente: ‘bene mihi servivisti; pluries et melius servies; tuae committo custodiae quod dedisti.’ et his dictis protinus evanescit. corpus etiam Domini singulis annis in Pascha de manu recipiunt sacerdotis, et illud ad domos suas ore portantes in latrinam proiciunt in contumeliam redemptoris. ad haec infelicissimi omnium miserorum gubernantem caelestia pollutis labiis blasphemantes, asserunt delirando, caelorum Dominum violenter, contra iustitiam, et dolose Luciferum in inferos detrusisse. in hunc etiam credunt miseri, et ipsum affirmant caelestium conditorem, et adhuc ad suam gloriam, praecipitato Domino, rediturum, per quem, cum eodem, et non ante ipsum se sperant aeternam beatitudinem habituros. omnia Deo placita non agenda fatentur, et potius agenda quae odit. proh dolor! quis umquam audivit talia?
(Gregory IX, Vox in Rama)

When these abnormal sins have been completed, the candles are lit again and each resumes his place. Then from a dark corner of the room a man comes forward. From the loins upward he shines brighter than the sun, as they say, but his lower part is shaggy like a cat. His brilliance illuminates the entire place. Then the master plucks off something from the novice’s clothing, and says to that radiant figure: “Master, this has been given to me; I in turn give it to you.” The shining one then answers: “You have served me well; and in the future you will often serve me again, and even better. I entrust to your care that which you have given me.” And with these words he vanishes instantly. They even receive the body of the Lord every year at Easter from the hand of the priest, and, carrying it home in their mouths, they throw it into the latrine in contempt of our Saviour. These most wretched of men, who blaspheme the divine ruler with their polluted lips, also claim in their madness that the lord of heavens has acted violently, unjustly and guilefully in casting Lucifer down into hell. These wretches even worship him, they declare that he is the creator of all heavenly bodies, and that after the downfall of God he will return to his former glory. Through him, and with him, and not before him they hope to reach eternal bliss. They profess that all deeds that are pleasing to God should not be done, and one should rather do what God hates. Lord have mercy, who has ever heard of such things? (tr. Alex October1625, adapted and expanded by David Bauwens)

Damnabiliter

93

This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here.

Ad convivium postmodum discumbentibus, et surgentibus completo ipso convivio, per quandam statuam, quae in scholis huiusmodi esse solet, descendit retrorsum ad modum canis mediocris gattus niger, retorta cauda; quem a posterioribus primo novitius, post magister, deinde singuli per ordinem osculantur, qui tamen digni sunt et perfecti. imperfecti vero, qui se dignos non reputant, pacem recipiunt a magistro, et tunc singulis per loca sua positis, dictisque quibusdam carminibus, ac versus gattum capitibus inclinatis, ‘parce nobis’ dicit magister, et proximo cuique hoc praecipit, respondente tertio ac dicente, ‘scimus, magister’; quartus ait: ‘et nos oboedire debemus’. et his ita peractis exstinguuntur candelae et proceditur ad fetidissimum opus luxuriae, nulla discretione habita inter extraneas et propinquas. quod si forte virilis sexus supersunt aliqui ultra numerum mulierum, traditi in passiones ignominiae, in desideriis suis invicem exardentes, masculi in masculos turpitudinem operantur, similiter et feminae immutant naturalem usum in eum, qui est contra naturam, hoc ipsum inter se damnabiliter facientes.
(Gregory IX, Vox in Rama)

Afterwards, they sit down to a meal and when they have arisen from it, from a kind of statue that is usually present in a sect of this kind, a black cat, the size of an average dog, descends backwards, with its tail erect. First the novice, next the master, then all those who are worthy and perfect, kiss the cat on its buttocks, each one waiting his turn. To those who have not yet reached perfection, however, and are considered undeserving, the master wishes peace. Then each returns to his place and they recite certain verse, their heads inclined toward to cat. “Forgive us!” then says the master, and the one next to him repeats this, and a third one says in reply: “We know, master!” A fourth says: “We too must obey.” When this has been done, they put out the candles, and turn to the practice of the most disgusting lechery. They make no distinction between strangers and family. And if by chance those of the male sex exceed the number of women, surrendering to their despicable passions, they satisfy their lust among themselves: men engage in depravity with men, and likewise women change their natural function to one that is against nature, and most offensively do these things to each other. (tr. Alex October1625, adapted by David Bauwens)

Osculantes

stufftoblowyourmind-23-2015-04-devilkiss

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)

Nuktipolois

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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)