Heudōn

Simeon Solomon, Night, 1890
Simeon Solomon, Night (1890)

ᾟ μοι δοκοῦσιν εὐφρόνην κεκληκέναι τὴν νύκτα, ἐπειδὴ τηνικάδε ἡ ψυχὴ πεπαυμένη τῶν αἰσθήσεων συννεύει πρὸς αὑτὴν καὶ μᾶλλον μετέχει τῆς φρονήσεως. διὰ ταῦτ’ οὖν καὶ αἱ τελεταὶ γίνονται νυκτὸς μάλιστα, σημαίνουσαι τὴν ἐν νυκτὶ τῆς ψυχῆς συστολὴν  ἀπὸ τοῦ σώματος. ἄρ’ οὖν μὴ καθεύδωμεν ὡς οἱ λοιποί, ἀλλὰ γρηγορῶμεν καὶ νήφωμεν. οἱ γὰρ καθεύδοντες νυκτὸς καθεύδουσι καὶ οἱ μεθυσκόμενοι νυκτὸς μεθύουσιν· ἡμεῖς δὲ ἡμέρας ὄντες νήφωμεν, ἐνδυσάμενοι θώρακα πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης καὶ περικεφαλαίαν ἐλπίδα σωτηρίου. ὅσα δ’ αὖ περὶ ὕπνου λέγουσι, τὰ αὐτὰ χρὴ καὶ περὶ θανάτου ἐξακούειν. ἑκάτερος γὰρ δηλοῖ τὴν ἀπόστασιν τῆς ψυχῆς, ὃ μὲν μᾶλλον, ὃ δὲ ἧττον, ὅπερ ἐστὶ καὶ παρὰ Ἡρακλείτου λαβεῖν· “ἄνθρωπος ἐν εὐφρόνῃ φάος· ἅπτεται ἑαυτῷ ἀποθανών,  ἀποσβεσθεὶς ὄψεις, ζῶν δέ ἅπτεται τεθνεῶτος εὕδων, ἀποσβεσθεὶς ὄψεις· ἐγρηγορὼς ἅπτεται εὕδοντος.” μακάριοι γὰρ οἱ εἰδότες τὸν καιρὸν κατὰ τὸν ἀπόστολον, ὅτι ὥρα ὑμᾶς ἤδη ἐξ ὕπνου ἐγερθῆναι· νῦν γὰρ ἐγγύτερον ἡμῶν ἡ σωτηρία ἢ ὅτε ἐπιστεύσαμεν. ἡ νὺξ προέκοψεν, ἡ δὲ ἡμέρα ἤγγικεν. ἀποθώμεθα οὖν τὰ ἔργα τοῦ σκότους, ἐνδυσώμεθα δὲ τὰ ὅπλα τοῦ φωτός.
(Clement of Alexandria, Strom. 4.140.2-141.5)

And for this reason, as they appear to me, to have called night Euphrone; since then the soul, released from the perceptions of sense, turns in on itself, and has a truer hold of intelligence. Wherefore the mysteries are for the most part celebrated by night, indicating the withdrawal of the soul from the body, which takes place by night. “Let us not then sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as an helmet the hope of salvation.” (Paul, 1 Thess. 5.1-6) And as to what, again, they say of sleep, the very same things are to be understood of death. For each exhibits the departure of the soul, the one more, the other less; as we may also get this in Heraclitus (fr. 122): “Man touches night in himself, when dead and his light quenched; and alive, when he sleeps he touches the dead; and awake, when he shuts his eyes, he touches the sleeper.” “For blessed are those that have seen the Lord,” according to the apostle; “for it is high time to awake out of sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light.” (Paul, Rom. 13.11-12) (tr. Philip Schaff)

Magoi

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Ξάνθος δὲ ἐν τοῖς ἐπιγραφομένοις Μαγικοῖς †, “μίγνυνται δὲ”, φησὶν, “οἱ μάγοι μητράσι καὶ θυγατράσι· καὶ ἀδελφαῖς μίγνυσθαι θεμιτὸν εἶναι· κοινάς τε εἶναι τὰς γυναῖκας, οὐ βίᾳ καὶ λάθρᾳ, ἀλλὰ συναινούντων ἀμφοτέρων, ὅταν θέλῃ γῆμαι ὁ ἕτερος τὴν τοῦ ἑτέρου.
(Clement of Alexandria Strom. 3.2.11 = Xanthus Lydus, FGH 765 F31)

Xanthus says in his book entitled Magica “The mages have sex with their mothers,” and he says that it is customary for them to have sex with their daughters and sisters too, and that the women were held in common. Such unions were not forced or secret, but were readily consented to by both parties, whenever one man wanted to marry the woman of another. (tr. Daniel Ogden)

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)