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THE GENII.

135 The Genii aided men by their private counsels and heir power, and looked after their most secret thoughts. They carefully watched over their voyage of life, attending them from their cradles to their graves. They carried the prayers of men to the gods, and delivered them up to judgment.

Just men, after death, were supposed to become dæmons. They are described as being of superior dignity to man, but of a nature inferior to the gods. They existed in different countries, whence they were called Numen Loci, or the "deities of the place." All houses, doors, stables, and hearths, were consecrated to them. The name of the god of the hearths, was Lateranus. The ancients believed that the whole world was filled with spirits, who ruled its motions. Plato speaks of the Gnomes, Sylphes, and Salamanders. The first inhabited the earth; the second, the air; and the third, the fire.

Some ancient philosophers advanced, that every man had two Genii allotted to him, a Bonus Genius, or a good spirit, and a malus Genius, or a bad spirit. They are also called Genium album et nigrum, or a white and a black dæmon. The former induces men to the practice of virtue; and the latter excites them to the commission of vice. It is reported that, when Cassius fled to Athens after the defeat of Anthony at Actium, a being of gigantic stature, with a black and ghastly visage, a long and gristly beard, appeared to him. Cassius asked him, who he was; and the apparition replied, "I am your evil genius.

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By the Manes, are usually understood, departed souls. They preside over the sepulchral monuments, where the Romans superscribed D. M. that is, Diis Manibus, (To the gods Manes,) and over funeral inscriptions, to intimate that the ashes of the dead could not be molested with impunity.

In the sacrifices offered to them, wine, incense, flowers, parched bread, and salted corn, were brought to their altars.

"To Genius consecrate a cheerful glass."-PERSEUS.
"Their wives, their neighbours, and their prattling boys,
Were call'd; all tasted of their sportive joys:
They drank, they danc'd they sung, made wanton sport,
Enjoy'd themselves, for life they knew was short."

HORACE.

QUESTIONS.

Who were the Genii?

What was the office of the Genii?

Were not just men after death, supposed to become dæmons? Did not some ancient philosophers advance, that every man had two Genii?

How were the Manes distinguished from the Genii?

What sacrifices were offered to the Genii?

PART IV.

OF THE INFERNAL DEITIES.

THE idea of a God who punishes crime and rewards virtue, is as ancient as the world itself. The first man received it from God himself, and transmitted it to his posterity. But in proportion as men forsook the path of virtue, marked out by their progenitors, their ideas were overcast, their traditions became obscured, and idolatry took root; but the difference existing between crime and virtue was so strongly felt by some who were wiser than others, that they endeavoured carefully to preserve this necessary bridle to the passions, which alone can check the progress of general corrup

tion.

The more we examine ancient traditions, the more clearly it appears, that an obscure belief in the immortality of the soul was almost universal. The most guilty only were so hardy as to raise doubts of this important and sublime truth;-a truth, the disbelief of which is so plainly contradicted by the voice of every conscience and every people, that it is useless. for mortality to wrestle with it. In all ages, philosophers have consecrated it, and poets have hymned it.

A fragment of Diodorus Siculus informs us, that the system of the poets on the Infernal Regions, was entirely taken from the customs the Egyptians observed when they buried their dead. "The Greek Mercury,' says he, "the conductor of souls, was the Egyptian priest charged with receiving the body of a dead Apis. He conducted it to a second priest who bore a mask with three

heads, resembling those of the Cerberus of the poets. The second priest passed it over the ocean in quality of ferryman, and transported it to the gates of the city of the Sun, whence it proceeded to delightful plains inhabited by souls." "The ocean," continues Diodorus, "is the Nile, to which river the Egyptians gave that name." "The city of the Sun, is Heliopolis; the delightful plains are fine countries situated in the environs of the Lake Acherusia. It is there that the obsequies are terminated, and the bodies of the Egyptians are buried."

"In funeral ceremonies, they began with designating the day on which the body should be interred. The judges were first informed; and next the relations and friends of the deceased. His name was repeated on every side; and it was given out, that he was going to pass the lake. Soon after forty judges met, and seated themselves in a circle on the shores of the lake. Artificers mended a boat, and the pilot, called Charon by the Egyptians, repaired to the governor. Before the coffin was placed in the boat, the law permitted any one to raise complaints against the deceased. Even kings were not exempted from this ordeal; and if the accusations were proved, the judges passed the sentence which deprived the dead of the honour of burial; but whoever was unable to prove his accusation, suffered severe penalties. When no accuser appeared, the relatives ceased mourning, and began to pass eulogies on the deceased by speaking of his education, and by recounting all the good actions of his life. They extolled his justice, his piety, and his courage; and entreated the gods to receive him into the abode of happiness. The audience applauded, united in eulogizing him, and congratulated the dead on having passed into eternity in peace, there to dwell in glory." Such were the ceremonies which Orpheus witnessed when in Egypt, and upon which, by adding some circumstances which accorded with the customs of the Greeks, he founded his fable of hell.

Diodorus adds, that people frequently kept in their

HELL, CHARON, CERBERUS.

houses their embalmed ancestors, in order to perpetu139 ate the remembrance of their good actions. The respect of the Egyptians for the dead was carried so high, that they often preserved the bodies of even those to whom, on account of crime or debt, the honours of burial had been refused. scendants of the poor became rich or powerful, they When the dedischarged the debts of their ancestors, reinstated their memory, and buried them honourably. Occasionally embalmed bodies were deposited as security in borrowing. Some gave their own bodies as a pledge; and if they failed to meet their engagements, they were devoted to infamy during their lifetime, and were deprived of burial honours.

Notwithstanding the thick darkness of those times, it was generally believed, that, after the material body was reduced to dust or ashes, the soul, or spiritual part of man, ascended to heaven. The Pagans distinguished the soul from the mind. They considered the former as the cover of the latter, and believed it descended to hell. The poets did not agree on the time which souls ought to pass in Elysium. Some fixed it at one thousand years, but all considered the punishments of Tartarus as eternal.

CHAPTER I.

Hell, Charon, Cerberus.

HELL was an eternal prison, with three impenetrable walls, and an iron tower. mant, which no power could demolish. It had five It had gates of adarivers at its entrance. Acheron, whose waters were extremely bitter; Styx, by which the gods used to swear, and which made nine times the circuit of hades; Cocytus, flowing out of Styx, with a horrible groaning noise; Phlegethon, swelling with waves of fire; and Lethe, so called from the forgetfulness which its waters produced; for those who drank of it, imme

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