Early Church Fathers
3 Pluvia deft, causa Christiani. Similar accusations and similar replies may be seen in the celebrated passage of Tertullian's Apol. c. 40, and in the eloquent exordium of Arnobius, C. Gentes.
4 Augustin is supposed to refer to Symmachus, who similarly accused the Christians in his address to the Emperor Valentinianus in the year 384. At Augustin's request, Paulus Orosius wrote his history in confutation of Symmachus' charges.
5 Tertullian (Apol. c. 24) mentions Coelestis as specially worshipped in Africa. Augustin mentions her again in the 26th chapter of this book, and in other parts of his works.
6 Berecynthia is one of the many names of Rhea or Cybele. Livy (xxix. 11) relates that the image of Cybele was brought to Rome the day before the ides of April, which was accordingly dedicated as her feast-day. The image, it seems, had to be washed in the stream Almon, a tributary of the Tiber, before being placed in the temple of Victory; and each year, as the festival returned, the washing was repeated with much pomp at the same spot. Hence Lucan's line (i. 600), Et latam parva revocant Almone Cybelen, and the elegant verses of Ovid. Fast. iv. 337 et seq.
7 Fercula, dishes or courses.
8 See Cicero, De Nat. Deor, ii. 24.
9 Prov. vi. 26.
10 Fugalia. Vives is uncertain to what feast Augustin refers. Censorinus understands him to refer to a feast celebrating the expulsion of the kings from Rome. This feast, however (celebrated on the 24th of February), was commonly called Regifugium.
11 Persius, Sat. iii. 66-72.
12 See below, books viii.-xii.
13 "Galli," the castrated priests of Cybele, who were named after the river Gallus, in Phrygia, the water of which was supposed to intoxicate or madden those who drank it. According to Vitruvius (viii. 3), there was a similar fountain in Paphlagonia. Apuleius (Golden Ass, viii.) gives a graphic and humorous description of the dress, dancing and imposture of these priests; mentioning, among other things, that they lashed themselves with whips and cut themselves with knives till the ground was wet with blood.
14 Persius, Sat. iii 37.
15 Ter. Eun. iii. 5. 36; and cf. the similar allusion in Aristoph. Clouds, 1033-4. It may be added that the argument of this chapter was largely used by the wiser of the heathen themselves. Dionysius Hal. (ii. 20) and Seneca (De Brev Vit. c. xvi.) make the very same complaint; and it will be remembered that his adoption of this reasoning was one of the grounds on which Euripides was suspected of atheism.
16 This sentence recalls Augustin's own experience as a boy, which he bewails in his Confessions.
17 Labeo, a jurist of the time of Augustus, learned in law and antiquities, and the author of several works much prized by his own and some succeeding ages. The two articles in Smith's Dictionary on Antistius and Cornelius Labeo should be read.
18 Lectisternia, feasts in which the images of the gods were laid on pillows in the streets, and all kinds of food set before them.
19 According to Livy (vii. 2), theatrical exhibitions were introduced in the year 392 A.u.C. Before that time, he says, there had only been the games of the circus. The Romans sent to Etruria for players, who were called histriones, hister being the Tuscan word for a player. Other particulars are added by Livy.
20 See the Republic, book iii.
21 Comp. Tertullian, De Spectac. c. 22.
22 The Egyptian gods represented with dogs' heads, called by Lucan (viii. 832) semicanes deos.
23 The Fever had, according to Vives, three altars in Rome. See Cicero, De Nat. Deor. iii. 25, and Aelian, Var. Hist. xii. 11.
24 Cicero, De Republica, v. Compare the third Tusculan Quaest. c. ii.
25 In the year A.u. 299, three ambassadors were sent from Rome to Athens to copy Solon's laws, and acquire information about the institutions of Greece. On their return the Decemviri were appointed to draw up a code; and finally, after some tragic interruptions, the celebrated twelve tables were accepted as the fundamental statutes of Roman law (fons universal publici privatique juris). These were graven on brass, and hung up for public information. I.ivy, iii. 31-34.
26 Possibly he refers to Plautus' Persa, iv. 4. 11-14.
27 Sallust, Cat. Con. ix. Compare the similar saying of Tacitus regarding the chastity of the Germans: Plusque ibi bond mores valent, quam alibi bonae leges (Germ. xix.).
28 The same collocation of words is used by Cicero with reference to the well-known mode of renewing the appetite in use among the Romans.
29 Aeneid, ii. 351-2.