Nekuomanteian

Markus Stadlober (elderscroller), Demon summoning
Markus Stadlober, Demon summoning

Ὑπὸ δὲ τὸν αὐτὸν χρόνον καὶ δαίμων τις ἀλάστωρ τῇ τοῦ βασιλέως ὠμότητι ἀπεχρήσατο· ἀνέπεισε γάρ τινας περιεργαζομένους, τίς μετὰ Οὐάλεντα βασιλεύσειεν, νεκυομαντείαν ποιήσασθαι. οἷστισι μαγικῇ τινὶ μαγγανείᾳ χρωμένοις ἀνεῖλεν ὁ δαίμων οὐ φανερὰ, ἀλλὰ συνήθως λοξά· δείξας τέσσαρα γράμματα, θʹ καὶ εʹ καὶ οʹ καὶ δʹ, εἰπὼν, ἐκ τούτων ἄρχεσθαι τοὔνομα τοῦ μετὰ Οὐάλεντα βασιλεύσοντος, εἶναι δὲ αὐτὸ σύνθετον. ἥκει δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκοὰς τοῦ βασιλέως ἡ τῶν γενομένων φήμη. Καὶ γὰρ οὐ παρεχώρει τὸ μέλλον εἰδέναι Θεῷ, καὶ ποιεῖν ὃ ἐδόκει τῷ πάντα διοικοῦντι καλῶς· ἀλλὰ παρεὶς τὰ τοῦ Χριστιανισμοῦ παραγγέλματα, ὧν ζῆλον ἔχειν ἐνόμιζεν, πολλοὺς ἀπώλλυεν, οὓς τυραννήσειν ὑπώπτευεν. ἀπεκτίννυντο οὖν Θεόδωροι καὶ Θεόδοτοι καὶ Θεοδόσιοι καὶ Θεόδουλοι, καὶ ὅσοι τούτοις εἶχον ὀνόματα παραπλήσια. ἐν οἷς καὶ Θεοδοσίολός τις, ἀνὴρ γενναῖος ἐκ τῶν εὐπατριδῶν τῆς Ἱσπανίας καταγόμενος, ἀνῃρεῖτο. ὑπὸ δὲ τοῦ ἐπικειμένου δέους, πολλοὶ τὰ ἑαυτῶν ὀνόματα μετετίθεσαν, ἀπαρνούμενοι ἃ οἱ γονεῖς τεχθεῖσιν ἐπέθεσαν, ὡς κίνδυνον ἔχοντα. περὶ μὲν δὴ τούτου τοσαῦτα εἰρήσθω.
(Socrates Scholasticus, Hist. Eccl. 4.18)

The cruel disposition of the emperor was at this time abused by an execrable demon, who induced certain curious persons to institute an inquiry by means of necromancy as to who should succeed Valens on the throne. To their magical incantations the demon gave responses not distinct and unequivocal, but as the general practice is, full of ambiguity; for displaying the four letters q, e, o, and d, he declared that the name of the successor of Valens began with these; and that it was a compound name. When the emperor was apprised of this oracle, instead of committing to God, who alone can penetrate futurity, the decision of this matter, in contravention of those Christian principles to which he pretended the most zealous adherence, he put to death very many persons of whom he had the suspicion that they aimed at the sovereign power: thus such as were named ‘Theodore,’ ‘Theodotus,’ ‘Theodosius,’ ‘Theodulus,’ and the like, were sacrificed to the emperor’s fears; and among the rest was Theodosiolus, a very brave man, descended from a noble family in Spain. Many persons therefore, to avoid the danger to which they were exposed, changed their names, giving up those which they had received from their parents in infancy as dangerous. This will be enough on that subject. (tr. Edward Walford, revised by Andrew Constantinides Zenos)

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