Sol Invictus - the imperial sun cult
Note that the following notes do not pretend to be a work of scholarship, but are purely an amateur compilation. Corrections and additions are most welcome. The amount of hearsay about Sol Invictus online is a nuisance to everyone.
The first problem in discussing Sol Invictus is to work out precisely what this was, and was not. It seems simplest to give all the data about Roman sun worship, and then decide which portions relate to which deity or system of worship. All Greek text is from the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae.
Marcus Terentius Varro, (116 - ca.26 BC), De re rustica, Book 1, 1:5.
|Et quoniam, ut aiunt, dei facientes adiuvant, prius invocabo eos, nec, ut Homerus et Ennius, Musas, sed duodecim deos Consentis; neque tamen eos urbanos, quorum imagines ad forum auratae stant, sex mares et feminae totidem, sed illos XII deos, qui maxime agricolarum duces sunt. Primum, qui omnis fructos agri culturae caelo et terra continent, Iovem et Tellurem: itaque, quod ii parentes, magni dicuntur, Iuppiter pater appellatur, Tellus terra mater. Secundo Solem et Lunam, quorum tempora observantur, cum quaedam seruntur et conduntur. Tertio Cererem... (from The Latin Library)
|And because, so they say, the active gods help, I shall first invoke them, not the Muses, like Homer and Ennius, but the twelve gods together; nor however the urban deities, whose golden images stand in the forum, six male and as many female, but those 12 gods who are the guides of the farmers. First, Jove and Tellus, who sustain every fruit of the cultivation of the fields in heaven and earth: and so, because like parents, they call them great, Jupiter is called father, Tellus mother earth. Secondly the Sun and the Moon, from whom time is observed, whenever anything is planted or started. Thirdly Ceres...
An English translation exists: Varro, Marcus Terentius. On Agriculture. Transl. W.D. Hooper and H.B. Ash. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999; and the Loeb, where it is combined with Cato: Varro, Marcus Terentius. On Agriculture (De Re Rustica), Harvard Univ. Press, 1934.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st century BC), Roman antiquities. Book 2, 50:3
|Book 2, 50, 3. ἱερά τε ἱδρύσαντο καὶ βωμοὺς καθιέρωσαν οἷς ηὔξαντο κατὰ τὰς μάχας θεοῖς͵ Ρωμύλος μὲν ὀρθωσίῳ Διὶ παρὰ ταῖς καλου μέναις Μουγωνίσι πύλαις͵ αἳ φέρουσιν εἰς τὸ Παλά τιον ἐκ τῆς ἱερᾶς ὁδοῦ͵ ὅτι τὴν στρατιὰν αὐτοῦ φυ γοῦσαν ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς ὑπακούσας ταῖς εὐχαῖς στῆναί τε καὶ πρὸς ἀλκὴν τραπέσθαι· Τάτιος δὲ Ἡλίῳ τε καὶ Σελήνῃ καὶ Κρόνῳ καὶ Ρέᾳ͵ πρὸς δὲ τούτοις Ἑστίᾳ καὶ Ἡφαίστῳ καὶ Ἀρτέμιδι καὶ Ἐνυαλίῳ καὶ ἄλλοις θεοῖς͵ ὧν χαλεπὸν ἐξειπεῖν Ἑλλάδι γλώττῃ τὰ ὀνό ματα͵ ...(from the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae)
50. Romulus and Tatius immediately enlarged the city by adding to it two other hills, the Quirinal, as it is called, and the Caelian; and separating their habitations, each of them had his particular place of residence. ...They built temples also and consecrated altars to those gods to whom they had addressed their vows during their battles: Romulus to Jupiter Stator, near the Porta Mugonia, as it is called, which leads to the Palatine hill from the Sacred Way, because this god had heard his vows and had caused his army to stop in its flight and to renew the battle; and Tatius to the Sun and Moon, to Saturn and to Rhea, and, besides these, to Vesta, Vulcan, Diana, Enyalius, and to other gods whose names are difficult to be expressed in the Greek language; and in every curia he dedicated tables to Juno called Quiritis, which remain even to this day. For five years, then, the kings reigned together in perfect harmony,... (From Lacus Curtius)
Publius Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD)
|Annales, xv, 41:1. Domum et insularum et templorum, quae amissa sunt, numerum inire haud promptum fuerit; sed vetustissima religione, quod Servius Tullius Lunae, et magna ara fanumque, quae praesenti Herculi Arcas Evander sacraverat, aedesque Statoris Iovis vota Romulo Numaeque regia et delubrum Vestae cum penatibus populi Romani exusta;...
|Annals, book 15, 41:1. It would not be easy to enter into a computation of the private mansions, the blocks of tenements, and of the temples, which were lost. Those with the oldest ceremonial, as that dedicated by Servius Tullius to Luna, the great altar and shrine raised by the Arcadian Evander to the visibly appearing Hercules, the temple of Jupiter the Stayer, which was vowed by Romulus, Numa's royal palace, and the sanctuary of Vesta, with the tutelary deities of the Roman people, were burnt....
|Annales, xv, 74:1. Tum [decreta] dona et grates deis decernuntur, propriusque honos Soli, cum est vetus aedes apud circum, in quo facinus parabatur, qui occulta coniurationis [suo] numine retexisset; utque circensium Cerialium ludicrum pluribus equorum cursibus celebraretur mensisque Aprilis Neronis cognomentum acciperet;...
|Annals, book 15, 74:1. Then offerings and thanksgivings to the gods were decreed, with special honours to the Sun, who has an ancient temple in the circus where the crime was planned, as having revealed by his power the secrets of the conspiracy. The games too of Ceres in the circus were to be celebrated with more horse-races, and the month of April was to be called after the name of Nero.
|plura ad tertianos, veterum recentiumque
admonens, ut sub M. Antonio Parthos, sub Corbulone Armenios, nuper
Sarmatas pepulissent. ... undique clamor, et orientem solem (ita in Syria
mos est) tertiani salutavere.
|Histories, book 3, 24. The third legion he addressed at greater length, reminding them of old and recent achievements, how under Marcus Antonius they had defeated the Parthians, under Corbulo the Armenians, and had lately discomfited the Sarmatians. ... A shout was raised on all sides, and the soldiers of the third legion saluted, as is the custom in Syria, the rising sun.
L. Apuleius (ca. 125-ca.200). Metamorphoses.
|II, 22. "Iam primum" respondit ille "perpetem noctem eximie vigilandum est exsertis et inconivis oculis semper in cadaver intentis nec acies usquam devertenda, immo ne obliquanda quidem, quippe cum deterrimae versipelles in quodvis animal ore converso latenter adrepant, ut ipsos etiam oculos Solis et Iustitiae facile frustrentur; nam et aves et rursum canes et mures immo vero etiam muscas induunt. (from Forum Romanum)
|III, 7. Cumque iam humanitate commotos misericordia fletuum adfectos omnis satis crederem, Solis et Iustitiae testatus oculos casumque praesentem meum commendans deum providentiae paulo altius aspectu relato conspicio prorsum totum populum risu cachinnabili diffluebant nec secus illum bonum hospitem parentemque meum Milonem risu maximo dissolutum. (from Forum Romanum)
|III, 16. Audivi vesperi, meis his, inquam, auribus audivi, quod non celerius sol caelo ruisset noctique ad exercendas inlecebras magiae maturius cessisset, ipsi soli nubilam caliginem et perpetuas tenebras comminantem. (from Forum Romanum)
|XI, 5. Inde primigenii Phryges Pessinuntiam deum matrem, hinc autochthones Attici Cecropeiam Minervam, illinc fluctuantes Cyprii Paphiam Venerem, Cretes sagittiferi Dictynnam Dianam, Siculi trilingues Stygiam Proserpinam, Eleusinii vetusti Actaeam Cererem, Iunonem alii, Bellonam alii, Hecatam isti, Rhamnusiam illi, et qui nascentis dei Solis <et occidentis inclinantibus> inlustrantur radiis Aethiopes utrique priscaque doctrina pollentes Aegyptii caerimoniis me propriis percolentes appellant vero nomine reginam Isidem. (from Forum Romanum)
|XI, 24. Et umeris dependebat pone tergum talorum tenus pretiosa chlamida. Quaqua tamen viseres, colore vario circumnotatis insignibar animalibus; hinc dracones Indici, inde grypes Hyperborei, quos in speciem pinnatae alitis generat mundus alter. Hanc Olympiacam stolam sacrati nuncupant. At manu dextera gerebam flammis adultam facem et caput decore corona cinxerat palmae candidae foliis in modum radiorum prosistentibus. Sic ad instar Solis exornato me et in vicem simulacri constituto, repente velis reductis, in aspectum populus errabat. Exhinc festissimum celebravi natalem sacrorum, et suaves epulae et faceta convivia. (from Forum Romanum)
|XI, 26. Ecce transcurso signifero circulo Sol magnus annum compleverat, et quietem meam rursus interpellat numinis benefici cura pervigilis et rursus teletae, rursus sacrorum commonet. (from Forum Romanum)
There seems to be no complete English translation of this work online, and only excerpts online from a 16th century version.
Lucian of Samosata (125-195 AD). De Syria Dea (On the Syrian Goddess)
|34. 1-10. Ἐν αὐτῷ δὲ τῷ νηῷ ἐσιόντων ἐν ἀριστερῇ κέα ται πρῶτα μὲν θρόνος Ἠελίου͵ αὐτοῦ δὲ ἕδος οὐκ ἔνι· μούνου γὰρ Ἠελίου καὶ Σεληναίης ξόανα οὐ δεικνύουσιν. ὅτευ δὲ εἵνεκα ὧδε νομί ζουσιν͵ ἐγὼ καὶ τόδε ἔμαθον. λέγουσι τοῖσι μὲν ἄλλοισι θεοῖσιν ὅσιον ἔμμεναι ξόανα ποιέεσθαι͵ οὐ γὰρ σφέων ἐμφανέα πάντεσι τὰ εἴδεα· Ἠέλιος δὲ καὶ Σεληναίη πάμπαν ἐναργέες καὶ σφέας πάν τες ὁρέουσι. κοίη ὦν αἰτίη ξοανουργίης τοῖσι ἐν τῷ ἠέρι φαινομένοισι;
|34. In the temple itself on the left side in entering is first a throne of Helios the Sun, but no image of him sits thereon. For of Sun and Moon only they display no statues, and I learned why they follow this custom. They say it is lawful to make statues of other gods, because their shapes are not visible to all. But Sun and Moon are completely visible and all behold them. So why make statues of things that appear in plain air. (from Qadash Kinahu, adapted from the Harmon Loeb translation)
The work describes the temple of a Syrian goddess in Hierapolis (Mabbug) in Syria.
Pausanias, Perihegesis (Description of Greece).
|VIII, 9:4 (Mantinea). τὸ δὲ χωρίον τοῦτο͵ ἔνθα ὁ τάφος ἐστὶ τοῦ Ἀρκάδος͵ καλοῦσιν Ἡλίου βωμούς. (From the Thesaurus Linguae Graeca)
|This place, where the grave of Arcas is, they call Altars of the Sun. From Perseus)
|VIII, 31:7 δὲ ἀνθρώποις ἀνευρημένα ἐς λόγους ἐστίν. ἑστήκασι δὲ καὶ ἀνδριάντες ἐν οἰκήματι͵ Καλλιγνώτου τε καὶ Μέντα καὶ Σωσιγένους τε καὶ Πώλου· καταστήσασθαι δὲ οὗτοι Μεγαλοπολίταις λέγονται πρῶτον τῶν Μεγά λων θεῶν τὴν τελετήν͵ καὶ τὰ δρώμενα τῶν Ἐλευσῖνί ἐστι μιμήματα. κεῖται δὲ ἐντὸς τοῦ περιβόλου θεῶν τοσάδε ἄλλων ἀγάλματα τὸ τετράγωνον παρεχόμενα σχῆμα͵ Ἑρμῆς τε ἐπίκλησιν Ἀγήτωρ καὶ Ἀπόλλων καὶ Ἀθηνᾶ τε καὶ Ποσειδῶν͵ ἔτι δὲ ῞Ηλιος ἐπωνυμίαν ἔχων Σωτὴρ [δὲ] εἶναι καὶ Ἡρακλῆς. ᾠκοδόμηται δὲ καὶ ἱερόν σφισι μεγέθει μέγα͵ καὶ ἄγουσιν ἐνταῦθα τὴν τελετὴν ταῖς θεαῖς.
|In a building stand statues also, those of Callignotus, Mentas, Sosigenes and Polus. These men are said to have been the first to establish at Megalopolis the mysteries of the Great Goddesses, and the ritual acts are a copy of those at Eleusis. Within the enclosure of the goddesses are the following images, which all have a square shape: Hermes, surnamed Agetor, Apollo, Athena, Poseidon, Sun too, surnamed Saviour, and Heracles. (from Perseus).
Halsberghe lists the latter entry wrongly as for VIII, 30:7 (Megalopolis).
Herodian of Syria (140-240 AD). Ab excessu divi Marci libri VIII.
|V, 5, 3. ὁ δὲ Ἀντωνῖνος ἀπάρας τῆς Συρίας ἐλθών τε ἐς τὴν Νικομήδειαν ἐχείμαζε͵ τῆς ὥρας τοῦ ἔτους οὕτως ἀπαι τούσης.
|Setting out from Syria, Antoninus reached Nicomedia, where he was forced by the season of the year to spend the winter. Straight away he began to practice his ecstatic rites and go through the ridiculous motions of the priestly office belonging to his local god in which he had been trained.
|V, 5, 6-9. ὃ δὲ καταφρονήσας τῶν ὑπὸ τῆς πρεσβύτιδος λεχθέντων͵ μηδ΄ ἄλλῳ τινὶ πεισθείς (οὐδὲ γὰρ προσίετο εἰ μὴ τοὺς ὁμοιοτρόπους τε καὶ κόλακας αὑτοῦ τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων)͵ βουλόμενος ἐν ἔθει γενέσθαι τῆς τοῦ σχήματος ὄψεως τήν τε σύγκλη τον καὶ τὸν δῆμον Ρωμαίων͵ ἀπόντος τε αὑτοῦ πεῖραν δοθῆναι πῶς φέρουσι τὴν ὄψιν τοῦ σχήματος͵ εἰκόνα μεγίστην γράψας παντὸς ἑαυτοῦ͵ οἷος προϊών τε καὶ ἱερουργῶν ἐφαίνετο͵ παραστήσας τε ἐν τῇ γραφῇ τὸν τύπον τοῦ ἐπιχωρίου θεοῦ͵ ᾧ δὴ καλλιερῶν ἐγέγραπτο͵ πέμψας τε ἐς τὴν Ρώμην͵ ἐκέλευσεν ἐν τῷ μεσαιτάτῳ τῆς συγκλήτου τόπῳ ὑψηλοτάτῳ τε τὴν εἰκόνα ἀνατεθῆ ναι ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς τοῦ ἀγάλματος τῆς νίκης͵ ᾧ συνιόν τες ἐς τὸ βουλευτήριον λιβανωτόν τε θυμιῶσιν ἕκαστος καὶ οἴνου σπένδουσι. προσέταξέ τε πάντας τοὺς Ρω μαίων ἄρχοντας͵ καὶ εἴ τινες δημοσίας θυσίας ἐπιτε λοῦσι͵ πρὸ τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν οὓς δὴ καλοῦσιν ἱερουρ γοῦντες͵ ὀνομάζειν τὸν νέον θεὸν Ἐλαιαγάβαλον. ὡς δὲ ἐς τὴν Ρώμην ἀφίκετο τῷ προειρημένῳ σχήματι͵ οὐδὲν παράδοξον εἶδον οἱ Ρωμαῖοι͵ τῇ γραφῇ ἐνειθισμένοι. δοὺς δὲ τὰς συνήθεις τῷ δήμῳ νομὰς ἐπὶ τῇ τῆς βασι λείας διαδοχῇ͵ φιλοτίμως τε καὶ πολυτελῶς ἐπιτελέσας παντοδαπὰς θέας͵ νεών τε μέγιστον καὶ κάλλιστον κατα σκευάσας τῷ θεῷ͵ βωμούς τε πλείστους περὶ τὸν νεὼν ἱδρύσας͵ ἑκάστοτε προϊὼν ἕωθεν ἑκατόμβας τε ταύρων καὶ προβάτων πολὺ πλῆθος κατέσφαττε τοῖς τε βωμοῖς ἐπετίθει͵ παντοδαποῖς ἀρώμασι σωρεύων͵ οἴνου τε τοῦ παλαιοτάτου καὶ καλλίστου πολλοὺς ἀμφορέας τῶν βω μῶν προχέων͵ ὡς ῥεῖθρα φέρεσθαι οἴνου τε καὶ αἵμα τος μεμιγμένου. περί τε τοὺς βωμοὺς ἐχόρευεν ὑπὸ παν τοδαποῖς ἤχοις ὀργάνων͵ γύναιά τε ἐπιχώρια ἐχόρευε σὺν αὐτῷ͵ περιθέοντα τοῖς βωμοῖς͵ κύμβαλα ἢ τύμπανα μετὰ χεῖρας φέροντα· περιειστήκει δὲ πᾶσα ἡ σύγκλη τος καὶ τὸ ἱππικὸν τάγμα ἐν θεάτρου σχήματι.
|However, he was anxious that the senate and people of Rome should get used to seeing his dress, and to test out their reactions to the sight before he arrived. So an enormous picture was painted of him as he appeared in public performing as a priest. Also in the picture was a portrait of the Emesene god, to whom he was represented making a favourable sacrifice. The picture was sent to Rome with orders that it should hang right in the middle of the senate house, very high up over the head of the statue of Victory. This was where all the members, on arrival for meetings at the house, burn an offering of incense and make a libation of wine. Instructions were also issued to every Roman magistrate or person conducting public sacrifices that the new god Elagabalus' name should precede any of the others invoked by the officiating priests. When Antoninus arrived at Rome, dressed as he has been described, the Romans, conditioned by the painting, found nothing strange in the sight. He paid the people the cash bonus normal at the accession of a new emperor, provided lavish and various spectacles to win favour and built an enormous and magnificent temple to his new god, around which he set up many altars. Each day at dawn he came out and slaughtered a hecatomb of cattle and a large number of sheep which were placed upon the altars and loaded with every variety of spices. In front of the altars many jars of the finest and oldest wines were poured out, so that streams of blood and wine flowed together. Around the altars he and some Phoenician women danced to the sounds of many different instruments, circling the altars with cymbals and drums in their hands. The entire senate and the equestrian order stood round them in the order they sat in the theatre. The entrails of the sacrificial victims and spices were carried in golden bowls, not on the heads of household servants or lower-class people, but by military prefects and important officials wearing long tunics in the Phoenician style down to their feet, with long sleeves and a single purple stripe in the middle. They also wore linen shoes of the kind used by local oracle priests in Phoenicia. It was considered a great honour had been done to anyone given a part in the sacrifice.
|V, 6, 1-7. πλὴν καίτοι χορεύειν ἀεὶ καὶ ἱερουργεῖν δοκῶν͵ πλεί στους ἀπέκτεινε τῶν ἐνδόξων τε καὶ πλουσίων͵ διαβλη θέντας αὐτῷ ὡς ἀπαρεσκομένους καὶ σκώπτοντας αὐτοῦ τὸν βίον. ἠγάγετο δὲ γυναῖκα τὴν εὐγενεστάτην Ρω μαίων͵ ἣν Σεβαστὴν ἀναγορεύσας μετ΄ ὀλίγον χρόνον ἀπεπέμψατο͵ ἰδιωτεύειν κελεύσας καὶ τῶν τιμῶν παρελό μενος. μετ΄ ἐκείνην δὲ προσποιησάμενος ἐρᾶν͵ ἵνα δὴ καὶ τὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν πράττειν δοκοίη͵ παρθένου τῇ Ρω μαίων Ἑστίᾳ ἱερωμένης ἁγνεύειν τε πρὸς τῶν ἱερῶν νόμων κελευομένης καὶ μέχρι τέλους τοῦ βίου παρθε νεύεσθαι͵ ἀποσπάσας αὐτὴν τῆς Ἑστίας καὶ τοῦ ἱεροῦ παρθενῶνος γυναῖκα ἔθετο͵ ἐπιστείλας τῇ συγκλήτῳ καὶ παραμυθησάμενος ἀσέβημά τε καὶ ἁμάρτημα τηλικοῦτον͵ φήσας ἀνθρώπινόν τι πεπονθέναι πάθος· ἔρωτι γὰρ τῆς κόρης ἑαλωκέναι͵ ἁρμόζοντά τε καὶ σεβάσμιον εἶναι γάμον ἱερέως τε καὶ ἱερείας. πλὴν καὶ ταύτην αὖ μετ΄ οὐ πολὺ ἀπεπέμψατο͵ τρίτην δὲ πάλιν ἠγάγετο͵ ἀναφέ ρουσαν τὸ γένος ἐς Κόμοδον. ἔπαιζε δὲ γάμους οὐ μόνον ἀνθρωπείους͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ τῷ θεῷ͵ ᾧ ἱεράτευε͵ γυναῖκα ἐζήτει· καὶ τῆς τε Παλλά δος τὸ ἄγαλμα͵ ὃν κρυπτὸν καὶ ἀόρατον σέβουσι Ρωμαῖοι͵ ἐς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ θάλαμον μετήγαγε· καὶ μὴ κινηθὲν ἐξ οὗπερ ἦλθεν ἀπὸ Ἰλίου͵ εἰ μὴ ὅτε πυρὶ κατεφλέχθη ὁ νεώς͵ ἐκίνησεν οὗτος͵ καὶ πρὸς γάμον δὴ ἐς τὴν βασί λειον αὐλὴν τῷ θεῷ ἀνήγαγε. φήσας δὲ ἀπαρέσκεσθαι αὐτὸν ὡς πάντα ἐν ὅπλοις καὶ πολεμικῇ θεῷ͵ τῆς Οὐρα νίας τὸ ἄγαλμα μετεπέμψατο͵ σεβόντων αὐτὸ ὑπερφυῶς Καρχηδονίων τε καὶ τῶν κατὰ τὴν Λιβύην ἀνθρώπων. φασὶ δὲ αὐτὸ Διδὼ τὴν Φοίνισσαν ἱδρύσασθαι͵ ὅτε δὴ τὴν ἀρχαίαν Καρχηδόνα πόλιν ἔκτισε͵ βύρσαν κατατε μοῦσα. Λίβυες μὲν οὖν αὐτὴν Οὐρανίαν καλοῦσι͵ Φοί νικες δὲ Ἀστροάρχην ὀνομάζουσι͵ σελήνην εἶναι θέλον τες. ἁρμόζειν τοίνυν λέγων ὁ Ἀντωνῖνος γάμον ἡλίου καὶ σελήνης τό τε ἄγαλμα μετεπέμψατο καὶ πάντα τὸν ἐκεῖθεν χρυσόν͵ χρήματά τε πάμπλειστα τῇ θεῷ ἐς προῖκα δὴ ἐπιδοῦναι ἐκέλευσε. κομισθέν τε τὸ ἄγαλμα συνῳκισε δὴ τῷ θεῷ͵ κελεύσας πάντας τοὺς κατὰ Ρώμην καὶ Ἰτα λίαν ἀνθρώπους ἑορτάζειν παντοδαπαῖς τε εὐφροσύναις καὶ εὐωχίαις χρῆσθαι δημοσίᾳ τε καὶ ἰδίᾳ ὡς δὴ γαμούν των θεῶν. κατεσκεύασε δὲ καὶ ἐν τῷ προαστείῳ νεὼν μέγιστόν τε καὶ πολυτελέστατον͵ ἐς ὃν ἑκάστου ἔτους κατῆγε τὸν θεὸν ἀκμάζοντος θέρους. πανηγύρεις τε παντοδαπὰς συνεκρότει͵ ἱπποδρόμους τε κατασκευάσας καὶ θέατρα͵ διά τε ἡνιοχείας καὶ πάντων θεαμάτων τε καὶ ἀκροαμά των πλείστων εὐωχούμενον τὸν δῆμον καὶ παννυχίζοντα εὐφραίνειν ᾤετο. τόν τε θεὸν αὐτὸν ἐπιστήσας ἅρματι χρυσῷ τε καὶ λίθοις τιμιωτάτοις πεποικιλμένῳ κατῆγεν ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως ἐπὶ τὸ προάστειον. τὸ δὲ ἅρμα ἦγεν ἑξάπωλον͵ ἵππων λευκῶν μεγίστων τε καὶ ἀσπίλων͵ χρυσῷ πολλῷ καὶ φαλάροις ποικίλοις κεκοσμημένων͵ τάς τε ἡνίας κατεῖχεν οὐδείς͵ οὐδὲ τοῦ ἅρματος ἄνθρωπος ἐπέβαινεν͵ αὐτῷ δὲ περιέκειντο ὡς ἡνιοχοῦντι δὴ τῷ θεῷ.
|It was not just human marriage that he made a
mockery of. In an effort to find a wife for the god he served, he
transferred the statue of Pallas to his own quarters. This statue is
revered by the Romans but kept hidden out of sight and never moved since
it came from Troy (apart from when the temple caught fire). Now the
emperor moved it and conducted it to the imperial palace to be married,
one imagines, to his god. But then he declared that his god was displeased
with such a war-like goddess who was always armed, and sent for the statue
of Urania who is worshipped widely among the Carthaginians and other
people in Libya. Tradition says that Dido the Phoenician set up the statue
at the time, presumably when she founded the ancient city of Carthage,
after cutting up the hide. The name used by Libyans for the goddess is
Urania, by the Phoenicians Astroarche; they would also have it that she is
the moon goddess. A marriage
between the sun and the moon, Antoninus declared, was very appropriate,
and he sent for the statue together with all the gold from her temple. He
also issued orders that a very large sum of money should be contributed,
supposedly as a dowry. When the statue had been brought, he married it to
the god, giving instructions that all the inhabitants of Rome and Italy
should celebrate in public and private with all kinds of festivities and
banquets, as though this were a real marriage of the gods.
In the outlying district of the city he constructed a vast, magnificent temple to which he brought the god each year at mid-summer. He instituted many different festivals and constructed circuses (for horse-racing) and theatres, imagining that, if he provided chariot races and all kinds of spectacles and entertainments, and if he feasted the people all night long, he would be popular. The god was set up in a chariot studded with gold and precious stones and driven from the city to the suburb. The chariot was drawn by a team of six large, pure white horses which had been decorated with lots of gold and ornamented discs. No human person ever sat in the chariot or held the reins, which were fastened to the god as though he were driving himself. Antoninus ran along in front of the chariot, but facing backwards as he ran looking at the god and holding the bridles of the horses. He ran the whole way backwards like this looking up at the front of the god. But to stop him tripping and falling while he was not looking where he was going, lots of sand gleaming like gold was put down, and his bodyguard supported him on either side to make sure he was safe as he ran like this. Along both sides of the route the people ran with a great array of torches, showering wreaths and flowers on him. In the procession, in front of the god, went images of all the other gods and valuable or precious temple dedications and all the imperial standards or costly heirlooms. Also the cavalry and all the army joined in. After the god had been conducted and installed in the temple, the emperor carried out the festival sacrifices described above. Then he climbed on to some very large high towers that had been constructed and threw down on to the crowd, for anyone to catch, gold and silver cups, all kinds of clothes and fine, linen garments and every kind of domestic animal, except pigs, which he did not touch by Phoenician law. In the scramble lots of people were killed, trampled to death by one another or impaled on the spears of the soldiers. Thus the festival of Elagabalus was fatal for many people. The emperor himself was often to be seen driving his chariot or dancing, making no attempt to conceal his vices. He used to go out with painted eyes and rouge on his cheeks, spoiling his natural good looks by using disgusting make-up.
|V, 7, 3-5. ἀποδείκνυται δὴ Καῖσαρ ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος͵ ὕπατός τε σὺν αὐτῷ Ἀντωνίνῳ. κατελθών τε ἐς τὴν σύγκλητον ταῦτα ἐκύρωσε͵ γελοιότατα ψηφισαμένων πάντων ἃ ἐκελεύοντο͵ πατέρα μὲν ἐκεῖνον δοκεῖν ἔτη γεγονότα περί που ἑκ καίδεκα͵ τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον δὲ υἱὸν τοῦ δωδεκάτου ἐπι βαίνοντα. ὡς δὲ Καῖσαρ ὁ Ἀλέξανδρος ἀπεδείχθη͵ ὁ Ἀντωνῖνος αὐτὸν ἐβούλετο τὰ ἑαυτοῦ παιδεύειν ἐπιτη δεύματα͵ ὀρχεῖσθαί τε καὶ χορεύειν τῆς τε ἱερωσύνης κοινωνεῖν καὶ σχήμασι καὶ ἔργοις ὁμοίοις. ἡ δὲ μήτηρ αὐτὸν ἡ Μαμαία ἀπῆγε μὲν τῶν αἰσχρῶν καὶ ἀπρεπῶν βασιλεῦσιν ἔργων͵ διδασκάλους δὲ πάσης παιδείας λάθρᾳ μετεπέμπετο͵ τοῖς τε σώφροσιν αὐτὸν ἤσκει μαθήμασι͵ παλαίστραις τε καὶ τοῖς ἀνδρῶν γυμνασίοις εἴθιζε͵ παι δείαν τε τὴν Ἑλλήνων καὶ Ρωμαίων ἐπαίδευεν.
|Alexander was appointed Caesar and shared the consulship with Antoninus. When the latter entered the senate to have it ratified, everyone made a complete farce of it by voting as they were told and declaring the emperor himself to be a father at his age of about sixteen, and Alexander his son, when now in his twelfth year. After Alexander's appointment as Caesar, Antoninus wanted him to be trained in his own pursuits of leaping and dancing, and to share in his priesthood by wearing the same dress and following the same practices. But his mother, Mamaea, removed him from contact with such activities which were shameful and unbecoming for emperors. In private she summoned teachers of all the arts, and trained him in the exercise of self-control, introducing him to the wrestling schools and manly exercises, and gave him both a Latin and a Greek education.
|V, 8, 6. ὁ δ΄ Ἀντωνῖνος ἐν δέει πολλῷ γενόμενος͵ παραλαβὼν τὸν Ἀλέξανδρον͵ συγκαθεσθεὶς αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ βασιλικῷ φορείῳ͵ ὅπερ διὰ χρυσοῦ πολλοῦ καὶ λίθων τιμίων πεποίκιλτο͵ κατῆλθεν ἐς τὸ στρατόπεδον σὺν τῷ Ἀλεξάν δρῳ.
|V, 8, 9. τὰ δὲ σώματα τοῦ τε Ἀντωνίνου καὶ τῆς Σοαιμί δος παρέδοσαν σύρειν τε καὶ ἐνυβρίζειν τοῖς βουλομέ νοις· ἅπερ ἐπὶ πολὺ διὰ πάσης τῆς πόλεως συρέντα τε καὶ λωβηθέντα ἐς τοὺς ὀχετοὺς ἀπερρίφθη τοὺς ἐς τὸν Θύβριν ποταμὸν ῥέοντας.
|The bodies of Antoninus and Soaemis were handed over to those who wished to drag them around and desecrate them. After being dragged through the city for a long time and mutilated, they were thrown into the sewers which run down to the River Tiber.
|VI, 1, 3. πρῶτον μὲν οὖν τὰ ἀγάλματα τῶν θεῶν͵ ἅπερ ἔτυχεν ἐκεῖνος κινήσας καὶ μεταγαγών͵ ἔπεμψαν ἐς τοὺς ἰδίους καὶ ἀρχαίους ναούς τε καὶ σηκούς·
V, 8, 6 and V, 8, 9 are given as V, 7, 6 and V, 7, 9 in Halsberghe. The English translations are by Whitakker from "http://members.aol.com/heliogabby/bio/herodian.htm" - Heliogabby.
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (ca. 160-230 AD)
De Spectaculis (On the Games)
|VIII,  Ut et de locis secundum propositum exequar, circus Soli principaliter consecratur. cuius aedes in medio spatio et effigies de fastigio aedis emicat, quod non putaverunt sub tecto consecrandum quem in aperto habent.  Qui spectaculum primum a Circa Soli patri suo, ut volunt, editum affirmant, ab ea et circi appellationem argumentantur.
| To follow out my plan in regard to places: the circus is chiefly consecrated to the Sun, whose temple stands in the middle of it, and whose image shines forth from its temple summit; for they have not thought it proper to pay sacred honours underneath a roof to an object they have itself in open space.  Those who assert that the first spectacle was exhibited by Circe, and in honour of the Sun her father, as they will have it, maintain also the name of circus was derived from her.
|VIII, 5. Obelisci enormitas, ut Hermateles affirmat, Soli prostituta. scriptura eius unde eius et census: de Aegypto superstitio est.
| The huge Obelisk, as Hermeteles affirms, is set up in public to the Sun; its inscription, like its origin, belongs to Egyptian superstition.
|IX, 3. De iugo vero Iovi, quadrigas Soli, bigas Lunae sanxerunt.
|In regard to the team, they have consecrated the chariot and four to the sun; the chariot and pair to the moon.
|XX, 2. Novam proxime defensionem suaviludii cuiusdam audivi. sol, inquit, immo ipse etiam deus de caelo spectat nec contaminatur. Sane, sol et in cloacam radios suos defert nec inquinatur.
|I heard lately a novel defence of himself by a certain play-lover. "The sun," said he, "nay, God Himself, looks down from heaven on the show, and no pollution is contracted." Yes, and the sun, too, pours down his rays into the common sewer without being defiled.
|XII, 4. Ungulis deraditis latera Christianorum: At in deos vestros per omnia membra validius incumbunt asciae et runcinae et scobinae. Cervices ponimus: Ante plumbum et glutinum et gomphos sine capite sunt dei vestri. Ad bestias impellimur: Certe quas Libero et Cybele et Caelesti applicatis.
|You tear the sides of Christians with your claws; but in the case of your own gods, axes, and planes, and rasps are put to work more vigorously on every member of the body. We lay our heads upon the block; before the lead, and the glue, and the nails are put in requisition, your deities are headless. We are cast to the wild beasts, while you attach them to Bacchus, and Cybele, and Caelestis.
|XV, 2. Sed et histrionum litterae omnem foeditatem eorum designant. Luget Sol filium de caelo iactatum laetantibus vobis, et Cybele pastorum suspirat fastidiosum non erubescentibus vobis, et sustinetis Iovis elogia cantari, et Iunonem Venerem Minervam a pastore iudicari.
|Your dramatic literature, too, depicts all the vileness of your gods. The Sun mourns his offspring cast down from heaven, and you are full of glee; Cybele sighs after the scornful swain, and you do not blush; you brook the stage recital of Jupiter's misdeeds, and the shepherd judging Juno, Venus, and Minerva.
|XXIII, 6. Ista ipsa Virgo Caelestis, pluviarum pollicitatrix, ipse iste Aesculapius, medicinarum demonstrator, alia die morituris socordio et t<h>anatio et asclepiodoto <vitae> subministrator, nisi se daemones confessi fuerint, Christiano mentiri non audentes, ibidem illius Christiani procacissimi sanguinem fundite!
|Let that same Virgin Caelestis herself the rain-promiser, let Aesculapius discoverer of medicines, ready to prolong the life of Socordius, and Tenatius, and Asclepiodotus, now in the last extremity, if they would not confess, in their fear of lying to a Christian, that they were demons, then and there shed the blood of that most impudent follower of Christ.
|XXIV, 7-8. Atque adeo et Aegyptiis permissa est tam vanae superstitionis potestas avibus et bestiis consecrandis et capite damnandi qui aliquem huiusmodi deum occideri<n>t.  Unicuique etiam provinciae et civitati suus deus est, ut Syriae Atargatis, ut Arabiae Dusares, ut Norici<s> Belenus, ut Africae Caelestis, ut Mauritaniae reguli sui.
|and so the very Egyptians have been permitted the legal use of their ridiculous superstition, liberty to make gods of birds and beasts, nay, to condemn to death any One who kills a god of their sort.  Every province even, and every city, has its god. Syria has Astarte, Arabia has Dusares, the Norici have Belenus, Africa has its Caelestis, Mauritania has its own princes.
Cassius Dio Cocceianus (155-230 AD). Historia Romana.
|LXXVIII (79 in Loeb Ed.), 31,2.
|[Epitome of book 79, 31:2]. And partly persuaded by the Sun-god, whom they call Elagabalus and worship devotedly, and also by some other oracular utterances, he undertook to overthrow Macrinus and to set up as emperor in his stead Avitus, Maesa's grandson, who was still a mere boy. And he accomplished both purposes,... (from Lacus Curtius)
|LXXVIII, 32, 2.
|79, 32. For they carried Avitus, whom they were already styling Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, round about upon the ramparts, and exhibited some likenesses of Caracallus when a child as bearing some resemblance to the boy, at the same time declaring that the latter was truly Caracallus' son, and the only rightful heir to the throne. "Why do you do this, fellow-soldiers?" they exclaimed, "Why do you thus fight against your benefactor's son?" By this means they corrupted all the soldiers who were with Julianus, the more so as these were eager to revolt, so that the assailants slew their commanders, with the exception of Julianus, who escaped in flight, and surrendered themselves and their arms to the False Antoninus. (from Lacus Curtius)
|LXXIX (80 in Loeb Ed.), 3, 3.
|80, 3:3. But, on the other hand, he drifted into all the most shameful, lawless, and cruel practices, with the result that some of them, never before known in Rome, came to have the authority of tradition, while others, that had been attempted by various men at different times, flourished merely for the three years, nine months and four days during which he ruled,---- reckoning from the battle in which he gained the supreme power. (from Lacus Curtius)
|LXXIX, 8, 4.
|LXXIX, 9, 1.
|LXXIX, 9, 3-5.
|LXXIX, 12, 1-2.
|LXXIX, 19, 1-2.
|LXXIX, 20, 1-2.
|LXXIX, 21, 2.
All about Heliogabalus.
Minucius Felix, Octavius
|XXXII, 5-6. In solem adeo, qui videndi omnibus causa est, videre non possumus: radiis acies submovetur, obtutus intuentis hebetatur, et si diutius inspicias, omnis visus extinguitur. Quid? ipsum solis artificem, illum luminis fontem possis sustinere, cum te ab eius fulgoribus avertas, a fulminibus abscondas? (from The Latin Library)
|Thus we cannot look upon the sun, which is the cause of seeing to all creatures: the pupil of the eye is with drawn from his rays, the gaze of the beholder is dimmed; and if you look too long, all power of sight is extinguished. What! can you sustain the Architect of the sun Himself, the very source of light, when you turn yourself away from His lightnings, and hide yourself from His thunderbolts? (from CCEL)
|XXXII, 8. In solem adeo rursus intende: caelo adfixus, sed terris omnibus sparsus est; pariter praesens ubique interest et miscetur omnibus, nusquam eius claritudo violatur. (from The Latin Library)
|Therefore once more look upon the sun: it is fixed fast in the heaven, yet it is diffused over all lands equally; present everywhere, it is associated and mingled with all things; its brightness is never violated. (from CCEL)
Arnobius Siccensis (ca. 300 AD), Adversus Nationes libri VII (Against the Nations)
|I, 2:6. Numquid ipse siderum sol princeps, cuius omnia luce vestiuntur atque animantur calore, exarsit, intepuit atque in contrarios habitus moderaminis soliti temperamenta corrupit?
|Has the sun himself, the chief of the heavenly bodies, with whose light all things are clothed, and by whose heat all things are vivified, blazed forth with increased vehemence? has he become less warm, and has he altered for the worse into opposite conditions that well-regulated temperature by which he is wont to act upon the earth? (From the CCEL)
|I, 29:6-7. Quis, ne fixa pigritiae stupore torpescerent elementa vitalia, solis ignes constituit ad rerum incrementa futuros? Solem deum cum esse credatis, conditorem eius opificemque non quaeritis? Luna cum apud vos dea sit, non similiter scire curatis genitor eius et fabricator quis sit?
|Who has ordained that the fires of the sun should exist for the growth of things, lest elements pregnant with life should be numbed by settling down in the torpor of inactivity? When you believe that the sun is a deity, do you not ask who is his founder, who has fashioned him? Since the moon is a goddess in your estimation, do you in like manner care to know who is her author and framer? (From the CCEL)
|II, 58: 4. Potestis interrogati planum facere scientissimeque monstrare, quid nivem in plumeas subaperiat crustulass quidnam fuerit rationis et causae, ut non ab occiduis partibus dies primus exsurgeret et lucem in oriente finiret quemadmodum sol ipse uno eodemque contactu tam varias res efficiat, quinimmo contrariass quid sit luna?
|Can you, if asked, make it clear, and show most skilfully, what opens out the snow into feathery flakes? what was the reason and cause that day did not, in dawning, arise in the west, and veil its light in the east? how the sun, too, by one and the same influence, produces results so different, nay, even so opposite? what the moon is, what the stars? (From the CCEL)
|III, 30: 1. Nam quid de ipso dicemus Iove, quem solem esse dictitavere sapientes, agitantem pinnatos currus turba consequente divorum, aethera nonnulli flagrantem vi flammea atque ardoris inextinguibili vastitate?
|But what shall we say of Jove himself, whom the wise have repeatedly asserted to be the sun, driving a winged chariot, followed by a crowd of deities; some, the ether, blazing with mighty flames, and wasting fire which cannot be extinguished? (from the CCEL)
|III, 33:2. Quid, cum Liberum Apollinem Solem unum esse contenditis numen vocabulis amplificatum tribus, nonne sententiis vestris deorum imminuitur census et opinio praedicata dilabitur? Nam si verum est, solem eundem Liberum esse eundemque Apollinem, sequitur ut in rerum natura neque Apollo sit aliquis neque Liber, atque ita per vos ipsos aboletur, eraditur Semeleius, Pythius, alter faeculentae hilaritatis dator, Sminthiorum alter pernicies murum.
|What! when you maintain that Bacchus, Apollo, the Sun, are one deity, increased in number by the use of three names, is not the number of the gods lessened, and their vaunted reputation overthrown, by your opinions? For if it is true that the sun is also Bacchus and Apollo, there can consequently be in the universe no Apollo or Bacchus; and thus, by yourselves, the son of Semele and the Pythian god are blotted out and set aside,---one the giver of drunken merriment, the other the destroyer of Sminthian mice. (from the CCEL)
|III, 35:4. Quo constituto ac posito summa omnis illuc redit, ut neque sol deus sit neque luna neque aether, tellus et caetera.
|And this being established and settled, the whole matter comes back to this, that neither Sol, nor Luna, nor Aether, Tellus, and the rest, are gods. (from the CCEL)
|IV, 14:1. Aiunt igitur theologi vestri et vetustatis absconditae conditores, tris in rerum natura Ioves esse, ex quibus unus Aethere sit patre progenitus, alter Caelo, tertius vero Saturno, apud insulam aretam et sepulturae traditus et procreatus: quinque Soles et Mercurios quinque, ex quibus, ut referunt, Sol primus Iovis filius dicitur et Aetheris habetur nepos, secundus aeque Iovis et Hyperiona proditus genetrice, tertius Vulcano, non Lemnio, set Nili qui fuerit filius, quartus Ialysi pater, quem Rhodi peperit heroicis temporibus Acantho, quintus Scythici regis et versipellis habetur Circae.
|Your theologians, then, and authors on unknown antiquity, say that in the universe there are three Joves, one of whom has Aether for his father; another, Coelus; the third, Saturn, born and buried in the island of Crete. They speak of five Suns and vie Mercuries,---of whom, as they relate, the first Sun is called the son of Jupiter, and is regarded as grandson of Aether; the second is also Jupiter's son, and the mother who bore him Hyperiona; the third the son of Vulcan, not Vulcan of Lemnos, but the son of the Nile; the fourth, whom Acantho bore at Rhodes in the heroic age, was the father of Ialysus; while the fifth is regarded as the son of a Scythian king and subtle Circe. (from the CCEL)
|IV, 16-17. ... aut stultitiae crimen incurrat, si id attribuat cunctis quod esse oportebat unius?. Possumus haec eadem de Mercuriis, Solibus, immo de aliis omnibus, quorum numeros tenditis et multiplicatis, expromere.
|...or be charged with folly for yielding to all what should be the property of one? We may say the very same things of the Mercuries, the Suns,---indeed of all the others whose numbers you increase and multiply. (from the CCEL)
|IV, 22:2. "Ex Hyperiona, inquitis, matre et ex Iove iaculatore fulminis Sol aureus et flagrantissimus natus est:...
|"Of Hyperiona, as his mother," you say, "and Jupiter, who wields the thunderbolt, was born the golden and blazing Sun;..." (from the CCEL)
|V, 42:4-6. "Attidem cum nominamus, solem, inquit, significamus et dicimus": sed si Attis sol est, quemadmodum conmemoratis et dicitis, quis erit Attis ille, quem in Phrygia genitum vestrae produnt atque indicant litterae, quem passum esse res certas, fecisse item res certas, quem in spectaculis ludicris theatra universa noverunt, cui inter sacros cultus res videmus fieri specialiter annuas nominatimque divinas? Utrumne ab sole ad hominem an ab homine ad solem vocabuli huius facta translatio est? Si enim nomen istud principali erat ab origine solis, quid tandem de vobis sol aureus meruit, ut ei cum semiviro faceretis vocabulum istud <es> se commune?
|When we name Attis, says my opponent, we mean and speak of the sun; but if Attis is the sun, as you reckon him and say, who will that Attis be whom your books record and declare to have been born in Phrygia, to have suffered certain things, to have done certain things also, whom all the theatres know in the scenic shows, to whom every year we see divine honours paid expressly by name amongst the other religious ceremonies? Whether was this name made to pass from the sun to a man, or from a man to the sun? For if that name is derived in the first instance from the sun, what, pray, has the golden sun done to you, that you should make that name to belong to him in common with an emasculated person? (from the CCEL).
|VI, 10:3. Nam cum omnes homines teretem esse solem indubitabili luminum contemplatione videamus, os illi vos hominis et mortalium corporum liniamenta donastis.
|For while all we men see that the sun is perfectly round by our eyesight, which cannot be doubted, you have given to him the features of a man, and of mortal bodies. (from the CCEL)
|VI, 12:3. Ecce si aliquis vobis nescientibus et ignaris rex urbanus et callidus ex foribus suis Solem tollat et in Mercurii transferat sedem, Mercurium rursus arripiat atque in Solis faciat commigrare delubrum - uterque enim a vobis glaber atque ore compingitur levi - det que huic radios, Solis capiti petasioculum superponat: quibus modis internoscere poteritis, utrumne Sol iste sit an ille Mercurius, cum habitus vobis deos, non oris soleat proprietas indicare?
|Lo, if some witty and cunning king were to remove the Sun from his place before the gate and transfer him to that of Mercury, and again were to carry off Mercury and make him migrate to the shrine of the Sun---for both are made beardless by you, and with smooth faces---and to give to this one rays of light to place a little cap on the Sun's head, how will you be able to distinguish between them, whether this is the Sun, or that Mercury, since dress, not the peculiar appearance of the face, usually points out the gods to you? (from the CCEL)
Latin from The Latin Library.
Scriptores Historiae Augustae (The Augustan History). Date unknown.
|19. 12-13.  Transtulit et colossum stantem atque suspensum per Decrianum architectum de eo loco, in quo nunc templum Urbis est, ingenti molimine, ita ut operi etiam elephantos viginti quattuor exhiberet.  Et cum hoc simulacrum post Neronis vultum, cui antea dicatum fuerat, Soli consecrasset, aliud tale Apollodoro architecto auctore facere Lunae molitus est. (from The Latin Library)
| With the aid of the architect Decrianus he raised the Colossus and, keeping it in an upright position, moved it away from the place in which the Temple of Rome is now, though its weight was so vast that he had to furnish for the work as many as twenty-four elephants.  This statue he then consecrated to the Sun, after removing the features of Nero, to whom it had previously been dedicated, and he also planned, with the assistance of the architect Apollodorus, to make a similar one for the Moon. (from Lacus Curtius)
Heliogabalus (supposedly by 'Aelius Lampridius - 325-337AD')
|1, 4-5. Igitur occiso Macrino eiusque filio Diadumeno, qui pari potestate imperii Antonini etiam nomen acceperat, in Varium Heliogabalum imperium conlatum est, idcirco quod Bassiani filius diceretur. Fuit autem Heliogabali vel Iovis vel Solis sacerdos... (from Lacus Curtius)
|Now when Macrinus had been slain and also his son Diadumenianus, who had been given an equal share of the power and also the name Antoninus, the imperial office was bestowed upon Varius Elagabalus, solely because he was reputed to be the son of Bassianus. As a matter of fact, he was the priest of Elagabalus (sometimes called Jupiter, or the Sun),... (from Lacus Curtius)
|1, 6. Et hic quidem prius dictus est Varius, post Heliogabalus a sacerdotio dei Heliogabali, cui templum Romae in eo loco constituit in quo prius aedes Orci fuit, quem e Syria secum advexit. (from Lacus Curtius)
|Originally, he had the name Varius, but later he was called Elagabalus because he was priest of this god — whom he afterwards brought with him from Syria to Rome, founding a temple for him on the site of an earlier shrine of Orcus. (from Lacus Curtius)
|3, 4-5. Sed ubi primum ingressus est urbem, omissis quae in provincia gerebantur, Heliogabalum in Palatino monte iuxta aedes imperatorias consecravit eique templum fecit, studens et Matris typum et Vestae ignem et Palladium et ancilia et omnia Romanis veneranda in illud transferre templum et id agens, ne quis Romae deus nisi Heliogabalus coleretur. Dicebat praeterea Iudaeorum et Samaritanorum religiones et Christianam devotionem illuc transferendam, ut omnium culturarum secretum Heliogabali sacerdotium teneret. (from Lacus Curtius)
|As soon as he entered the city, however, neglecting all the affairs of the provinces, he established Elagabalus as a god on the Palatine Hill close to the imperial palace; and he built him a temple, to which he desired to transfer the emblem of the Great Mother, the fire of Vesta, the Palladium, the shields of the Salii, and all that the Romans held sacred, purposing that no god might be worshipped at Rome save only Elagabalus. He declared, furthermore, that the religions of the Jews and the Samaritans and the rites of the Christians must also be transferred to this place, in order that the priesthood of Elagabalus might include the mysteries of every form of worship. (from Lacus Curtius)
|5, 1. Ergo cum hibernasset Nicomediae atque omnia sordide ageret inireturque a viris et subigeret, statim milites facti sui paenituit, quod in Macrinum conspiraverant ut hunc principem facerent, atque in consobrinum eiusdem Heliogabali Alexandrum, quem Caesarem senatus Macrino interempto appellaverat, inclinavere animos. (from Lacus Curtius)
|After he had spent the winter in Nicomedia, living in a depraved manner and indulging in unnatural vice with men, the soldiers soon began to regret that they had conspired against Macrinus to make this man emperor, and they turned their thoughts toward his cousin Alexander, who on the murder of Macrinus had been hailed by the senate as Caesar. (from Lacus Curtius)
|7, 1. Matris etiam deum sacra accepit et tauroboliatus est, ut typum eriperet et alia sacra quae penitus habentur condita. (from Lacus Curtius)
|He also adopted the worship of the Great Mother and celebrated the rite of the taurobolium; and he carried off her image and the sacred objects which are kept hidden in a secret place. (from Lacus Curtius)
|7, 4. omnes sane deos sui dei ministros esse aiebat, cum alios eius cubicularios appellaret, alios servos, alios diversarum rerum ministros. (from Lacus Curtius)
|In fact, he asserted that all gods were merely the servants of his god, calling some its chamberlains, others its slaves, and others its attendants for divers purposes. (from Lacus Curtius)
|8, 1. Cecidit et humanas hostias, lectis ad hoc pueris nobilibus et decoris per omnem Italiam patrimis et matrimis, credo ut maior esset utrique parenti dolor. (from Lacus Curtius)
|Elagabalus also sacrificed human victims, and for this purpose he collected from the whole of Italy children of noble birth and beautiful appearance, whose fathers and mothers were alive, intending, I suppose, that the sorrow, if suffered by two parents, should be all the greater. (from Lacus Curtius)
|17, 8. Opera publica ipsius praeter aedem Heliogabali dei, quem Solem alii, alii Iovem dicunt, et Amphitheatri instaurationem post exustionem et lavacrum in vico Sulpicio, quod Antoninus Severi filius coeperat, nulla exstant. (from Lacus Curtius)
|No public works of his are in existence, save the temple of the god Elagabalus (called by some the Sun, by others Jupiter), the Amphitheatre as restored after its destruction by fire, and the public bath in the Vicus Sulpicius, begun by Antoninus, the son of Severus. (from Lacus Curtius)
Halsberghe also references 15.1, 15.4, and 17.1 which merely indicate the determination of Heliogabalus to retain his vices when rebellion began, and his humiliating death, stabbed to death when found hiding in a lavatory. He does not refer to 17.8, despite the evident relevance.
Aurelian (supposedly by 'Flavius Vopiscus - 305-337AD')
|1, 3. Cumque ad Templum Solis venissemus ab Aureliano principe consecratum, quod ipse non nihilum ex eius origine sanguinem duceret, quaesivit a me quis vitam eius in litteras rettulisset. (from Lacus Curtius)
|And when we had reached the Temple of the Sun, consecrated by the Emperor Aurelian, he asked me — for he derived his descent in some degree from him — who had written down the record of the life of that prince. (from Lacus Curtius)
|4, 2. Matrem quidem eius Callicrates Tyrius, Graecorum longe doctissimus scriptor, sacerdotem templi Solis sui in vico eo in quo habitabant parentes fuisse dicit;... (from Lacus Curtius)
|As to his mother, Callicrates of Tyre, by far the most learned writer of the Greeks, says that she was a priestess of the temple of his own Sun-god in the village in which his parents lived; (from Lacus Curtius)
|5, 5. Data est ei praeterea, cum legatus ad Persas isset, patera, qualis solet imperatori dari a rege Persarum, in qua insculptus erat Sol eo habitu quo colebatur ab eo templo in quo mater eius fuerat sacerdos. (from Lacus Curtius)
|Furthermore, when he had gone as envoy to the Persians, he was presented with a sacrificial saucer, of the kind that the king of the Persians is wont to present to the emperor, on which was engraved the Sun-god in the same attire in which he was worshipped in the very temple where the mother of Aurelian had been a priestess. (from Lacus Curtius)
|14, 3. Aurelianus dixit, "... deus faciat, et deus certus, ut et senatus de me sic iudicet." (from Lacus Curtius)
|"You, however, have done more. Therefore, I am grateful for your kindness and I will accept the consulship which you offer me. May a god, and a god in whom we can put our trust, now grant that the senate shall form a like judgement concerning me." (from Lacus Curtius)
|25, 3-6. Cumque Aureliani equites fatigati iam paene discederent ac terga darent, subito vi numinis, quod postea est proditum, hortante quadam divina forma per pedites etiam equites restituti sunt. Fugata est Zenobia cum Zaba, et plenissime parta victoria. Recepto igitur orientis statu Emesam victori Aurelianus ingressus est ac statim ad Templum Heliogabali tetendit, quasi communi officio vota soluturus. Verum illic eam formam numinis repperit quam in bello sibi faventem vidit. Quare et illic templa fundavit donariis ingentibus positis et Romae Soli templum posuit maiore honorificentia consecratum, ut suo dicemus loco. (from Lacus Curtius)
|When Aurelian's horsemen, now exhausted, were on the point of breaking their ranks and turning their backs, suddenly by the power of a supernatural agency, as was afterwards made known, a divine form spread encouragement throughout the foot-soldiers and rallied even the horsemen. Zenobia and Zaba were put to flight, and a victory was won in full. And so, having reduced the East to its former state, Aurelian entered Emesa as a conqueror, and at once made his way to the Temple of Elagabalus, to pay his vows as if by a duty common to all. But there he beheld that same divine form which he had seen supporting his cause in the battle. Wherefore he not only established temples there, dedicating gifts of great value, but he also built a temple to the Sun at Rome, which he consecrated with still greater pomp, as we shall relate in the proper place. (from Lacus Curtius)
|28, 5. Tunc illatae illae vestes, quas in Templo Solis videmus, consertae gemmis, tunc Persici dracones et tiarae, tunc genus purpurae, quod postea nec ulla genus detulit nec Romanus orbis vidit. (from Lacus Curtius)
|Then were brought in those garments, encrusted with jewels, which we now see in the Temple of the Sun, then, too, the Persian dragon-flags and head-dresses, and a species of purple such as of nation ever afterward offered or the Roman world beheld. (from Lacus Curtius)
|31, 7-9. (Aurelianus:) "Templum sane Solis, quod apud Palmyram aquiliferi legionis tertiae cum vexilliferis et draconario et cornicinibus atque liticinibus diripuerunt, ad eam formam volo, quae fuit, reddi. Habes trecentas auri libras de Zenobiae capsulis, habes argenti mille octingenta pondo de Palmyrenorum bonis, habes gemmas regias. Ego ad senatum scribam, petens ut mittat pontificem qui dedicet templum." (from Lacus Curtius)
|(Aurelian:) "Now as to the Temple of the Sun at Palmyra, which has been pillaged by the eagle-bearers of the Third Legion, along with the standard-bearers, the dragon-bearer, and the buglers and trumpeters, I wish there is restored to the condition in which it formerly was. You have three hundred pounds of gold from Zenobia's coffers, you have eighteen hundred pounds of silver from the property of the Palmyrenes, and you have the royal jewels. Use all these to embellish the temple; thus both to me and to the immortal gods you will do a most pleasing service. I will write to the senate and request it to send one of the pontiffs to dedicate the temple." (from Lacus Curtius)
|35, 3. Sacerdotia composuit, Templum Solis fundavit et pontifices roboravit; decrevit emolumenta sartis tectis et ministris. (from Lacus Curtius)
|He set the priesthoods in order, he constructed
the Temple of the Sun, and he founded its college of pontiffs; and he also
allotted funds for making repairs and paying attendants. (from Lacus
The Loeb adds a note: "This temple, in campo Agrippae according to the Notitiae, has been identified with a temple that stood on the western edge of the Quirinal Hill, just above the gardens of the Palazzo Colonna, where some magnificent remains are preserved; but it is perhaps more probable that it was the temple that stood farther north, on the east side of the Corso, where the Via Frattina now enters it. It contained, according to Zosimus, 1.61, statues of Helios and Belos. The latter was the patron-god of Palmyra, and he seems to have been the particular deity in whose honour Aurelian erected the temple, but transformed into a Roman god with the usual national priests and festival and evidently intended to be the centre of worship for the whole Empire, since on coins of Aurelian he is called Sol Dominus Imperii Romani; see Wissowa, Relig. u. Kultus der Römer, p307, and Matt.-Syd. v p301, nos. 319-22."
|39, 2. Templum Solis magnificentissimum constituit. muros urbis Romae sic ampliavit, ut quinquaginta prope milia murorum eius ambitus teneant. (from Lacus Curtius)
|The Temple of the Sun he founded with great magnificence. (from Lacus Curtius)
|48, 4. Argumento est id vere Aurelianum cogitasse, immo etiam facere disposuisse vel ex aliqua parte fecisse, quod in porticibus Templi Solis fiscalia vina ponuntur, non gratuita populo eroganda sed pretio. (from Lacus Curtius)
|There is, indeed, proof that Aurelian really considered this measure, or, rather, made arrangements for carrying it out and even did so to some extent; for wine belonging to the privy-purse is stored in the porticos of the Temple of the Sun, which the people could obtain, not free of cost but at a price. (from Lacus Curtius)
Eutropius (ca. 350 AD), Breviarium ab urbe condita (Epitome of Roman History)
|VIII, 22. Creatus est post hos M. Aurelius Antoninus. Hic Antonini Caracallae filius putabatur, sacerdos autem Heliogabali templi erat. Is cum Romam ingenti et militum et senatus expectatione venisset, probris se omnibus contaminavit. Inpudicissime et obscenissime vixit, biennioque post et octo mensibus tumultu interfectus est militari et cum eo mater Symiasera. (from The Latin Library)
|After these, MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS was made emperor, who was thought to be the son of Antoninus Caracalla. He was however priest of the temple of Heliogabalus. Having come to Rome with high expectations on the part of the army and the senate, he polluted himself with every kind of impurity. He led a life of the utmost shamelessness and obscenity, and was killed at the end of two years and eight months in a tumult of the soldiers. His mother SoÃ«mia, a native of Syria, perished with him. (from the Additional Fathers)
|IX, 15. (Aurelianus) Urbem Romam muris firmioribus cinxit. Templum Soli aedificavit, in quo infinitum auri gemmarumque constituit. (from The Latin Library)
|He surrounded the city of Rome with stronger walls. He built a temple to the Sun, in which he put a vast quantity of gold and precious stones. (from the Additional Fathers)
Julian the Apostate (332-363 AD). Orationes (Speeches), IV: Hymn to King Helios.
|Πρὸ τῆς νουμηνίας͵ εὐθέως μετὰ τὸν τελευταῖον τοῦ Κρόνου μῆνα͵ ποιοῦμεν Ἡλίῳ τὸν περιφανέστατον ἀγῶνα͵ τὴν ἑορτὴν Ἡλίῳ καταφημίσαντες ἀνικήτῳ͵ μεθ΄ ὃν οὐδὲν θέμις ὧν ὁ τελευ ταῖος μὴν ἔχει σκυθρωπῶν μέν͵ ἀναγκαίων δὲ ὅμως͵ ἐπιτελεσθῆναι θεαμάτων͵ ἀλλὰ τοῖς Κρονίοις οὖσι τελευ ταίοις εὐθὺς συνάπτει κατὰ τὸν κύκλον τὰ ῞Ηλια.
|Before the beginning of the year, at the end of the month which is called after Kronos, we celebrate in honour of Helios the most splendid games, and we dedicate the festival to the Invincible Sun. And after this it is not lawful to perform any of the shows that belong to the last month, gloomy as they are, though necessary. But, in the cycle, immediately after the end of the Kronia follow the Heliaia. (Loeb Classical Library, vol. 1, p.429).
Sextus Aurelius Victor (337-379 AD)
De Caesaribus (On the Emperors
|23, 1-3. Accitusque Marcus Antoninus Bassiano genitus, qui patre mortuo in solis sacerdotium, quem Heliogabalum Syri vocant, tamquam asylum insidiarum metu confugerat, hincque Heliogabalus dictus; translatoque Romam dei simulacro in palatii penetralibus altaria constituit. Hoc impurius ne improbae quidem aut petulantes mulieres fuere: quippe orbe toto obscoenissimos perquirebat visendis tractandisve artibus + libidinum ferendarum. Haec cum augerentur in dies ac magis magisque Alexandri, quem comperta Opilii nece Caesarem nobilitas nuncupaverat, amor cumularetur, in castris praetoriis tricesimo regni mense oppressus est.
|Then Marcus Antonius, son of Bassianus, was summoned. After his father's death, fearing treachery, he had fled for asylum, so to speak, into the priesthood of the sun-god, which the Syrians call Heliogabalus, and for this reason he was called Heliogabalus. He transported a statue of the god to Rome and set up an altar in the innermost parts of the palace. Not even shameless and wanton women were more depraved than he; in fact he searched the whole world for the lewdest men so that he might watch them or participate in their practice of filthy obscenities. Since these were multiplying day by day and love for Alexander, whom the nobility had proclaimed Caesar after learning of Opilius' death, was increasing more and more, he (Heliogabalus) was overthrown in the praetorian camp in the thirtieth month of his reign. (Tr. H.W.Bird, p.26. Liverpool University Press, 1994).
Epitome de Caesaribus
|23. 1. Aurelius Antoninus Varius, idem Heliogabalus dictus, Caracallae ex Soemea consobrina occulte stuprata filius, imperavit biennio et mensibus octo. 2 Huius matris Soemeae avus Bassianus nomine fuerat Solis sacerdos; quem Phoenices, unde erat, Heliogabalum nominabant, a quo iste Heliogabalus dictus est. 3 Is cum Romam ingenti militum et senatus exspectatione venisset, probris se omnibus contaminavit. Cupiditatem stupri, quam assequi naturae defectu nondum poterat, in se convertens muliebri nomine Bassianam se pro Bassiano iusserat appellari. Vestalem virginem quasi matrimonio iungens suo abscisisque genitalibus Matri se Magnae sacravit. 4 Hic Marcellum, qui post Alexander dictus est, consobrinum suum Caesarem fecit. 5 Ipse tumultu militari interfectus est. 6 Huius corpus per urbis vias more canini cadaveris a militibus tractum est militari cavillo appellantium indomitae rabidaeque libidinis catulam. Novissime cum angustum foramen cloacae corpus minime reciperet, usque ad Tiberim deductum, adiecto pondere, ne unquam emergeret, in fluvium proiectum est. 7 Vixit annos sedecim, atque ex re, quae acciderat, Tiberinus Tractitiusque appellatus est. (from The Latin Library)
|23. 1. Aurelius Antonius Varius, also called
Heliogabalus, son of Caracalla from a cousin, Soemea, who had been
secretly defiled, ruled two years and eight months. 2. The grandfather of
his mother Soemea, Bassianus by name, had been a priest of Sol, whom the
Phoenicians where he was living used to call Heliogabalus, whence the
infamous Heliogabalus was named. 3. When he had come to Rome in the
accompaniment of an enormous number of soldiers and the expectation of the
senate, he contaminated himself by means of every lewdness. He turned
toward himself a desire for debauchery which, through a defect of nature,
he had not been able to attain, and ordered that he be called by the
feminine name Bassiana, instead of Bassianus. A vestal virgin, as if in
marriage, he joined to himself, and, after self-emasculation, he dedicated
himself to the Great Mother. 4. He made Marcellus, his own cousin, who
afterward was called Alexander, Caesar. 5. He himself was killed in a
military insurrection. 6. His body was dragged through the streets of the
city in the fashion of the corpse of a dog, to the accompanying soldierly
jesting of people calling him a puppy-bitch of unrestrained and crazed
lust. Finally, since the narrow opening of a sewer would hardly
accommodate the body, it was dragged all the way to the Tiber and, after a
weight was attached lest it ever rise again, was tossed into the River. 7.
He lived sixteen years and from what had transpired was called Tiberinus
["the Tiberine"] and Tractitius ["the
Dragged"]. (from Forum
Hieronymus (St. Jerome)(347-420 AD). Chronicon.
|245 e. (1988 Anno Abrahae, 30 BC) Cum ingenti triumphorum pompa Augustus Romam ingressus, et Cleopatrae liberi, Sol et Luna ante currum ejus ducti.
|With a huge pomp of triumphs, Augustus entered Rome, and led before his chariot the children of Cleopatra, the Sun and the Moon.
|296 e. (2235 AA, 219 AD) Marcus Aurelius Antonini Caracallae, ut putabatur, filius, et sacerdos Eliogabali templi, adeo impudice in imperio suo vixit, ut nullum genus obscenitatis omiserit.
|Marcus Aurelius, thought to be the son of Antoninus Caracalla, and priest of the temple of Heliogabalus, during his reign lived shamelessly to such a degree, that he overlooked no kind of obscenity.
|296 g. (2236 AA, 220 AD) Eliogabalum templum Romae aedificatum.
|The temple of Heliogabalus built at Rome.
|305 a. (2291 AA, 275 AD) Aurelianus templum Soli aedificat, et Romam firmioribus muris vallat.
|Aurelian builds a temple to the Sun and surrounds Rome with stronger walls.
|305 b. (2291 AA, 275 AD) Primus agon Solis ab Aureliano constitutus.
|The first games of the sun established by Aurelian.
Latin text and English translation from the Additional Fathers.
Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (contemporary with Diocletian and Constantine). Divinae Institutiones (Divine Institutions)
|I, 12. This also might have been ascribed to Vulcan, who indeed is supposed to be fire, and yet the poets did not mutilate him. It might also have been ascribed to the sun, in whom is the nature and cause of the productive powers. For without the fiery heat of the sun nothing could be born, or have increase; so that no other element has greater need of productive organs than heat, by the nourishment of which all things are conceived, produced, and supported. (from CCEL)
|[unable to find]
|III, 23. Seneca says that there was one among the Stoics who used to deliberate whether he should assign to the sun also its own inhabitants; he acted foolishly in doubting. (from CCEL)
|VI, 2. Or if they would contemplate that heavenly light which we call the sun, they will at once perceive how God has no need of their candles, who has Himself given so clear and bright a light for the use of man.
|II, 5. We in truth firmly deny it; and we prove that you, O philosophers, are not only unlearned and impious, but also blind, foolish, and senseless, who have surpassed in shallowness the ignorance of the uneducated. For they regard as gods only the sun and moon, but you the stars also. (from the CCEL)
Hilary of Poitiers (337-379 AD), De Trinitate (On the Trinity)
|Manichaeus enim abrupti in improbanda lege ac prophetis furioris, et diaboli quantum in se est professus assertor, et Solis sui nescius cultor, id quod in Virgine fuit, prtionem unius substantiae praedicavit, et id Filium intelligi voluit, quod ex Dei substantia parte aliqua deductum apparuerit in carne. (from CSEL 23).
|VI, 10. For Manichaeus, the furious adversary of the Law and Prophets, the strenuous champion of the devil's cause and blind worshipper of the sun, taught that That which was in the Virgin's womb was a portion of the one Divine substance, and that by the Son we must understand a certain piece of God's substance which was cut off, and made its appearance in the flesh. (from CCEL)
Panegyricus Maximiano et Constantino (Panegryic to Maximian and Constantine) (4th century)
Ed. W. A. Baehrens, Leipzig 1911, Pan. VII, p. 169; Reprinted M. D. Pippidi, Studii de Istorie a Religiilor Antice, Bucharest 1969, p. 152, n. 56.
|O felix imperio, et post imperium felicior, dive Constantine, quem curru paene conspicuo, dum vicinos ortus repetit occasu, Sol ipse invecturus caelo excepit.
|O blessed by ruling, and after ruling more blessed, divine Constantine, whom in a distinctive chariot, while it repeats in setting the similar dawns, the Sun itself has driven from the sky those about to rebel. (Attempt by me).
Rufius Festus Avienus (2nd part of the 4th century), Descriptio Orbis Terrae (Periegesis)
Ed. P. van de Woestyne, Bruges, 1961.
|urbs mediis Apamea dehinc consistit in arvis,
et qua Phoebeam procul incunabula lucem
prima fovent, Emesus fastigia celsa renidet. 1075
nam diffusa solo latus explicat, ac subit auras
turribus in caelum nitentibus: incola claris
cor studiis acuit, vitam pius imbuit ordo:
denique flammicomo devoti pectora Soli
vitam agitant: Libanus frondosa cacumina turget, 1080
et tamen his celsi certant fastigia templi. (from The Latin Library)
Chronica Minora I
Chronicon Anni 334
Ed. C. Frick, Leipzig 1892, 118-9.
|Antoninus Eliogabalus imp(eravit) annos VI m(enses) VIII d(ies) XVIII ... Eliogaballium dedicatum est. Occisus Romae.
|Antoninus Eliogabalus reigned 6 years, 8 months and 18 days ... the Eliogaballium was dedicated. Killed at Rome. (Attempt by me).
Chronographia anni 354
Chronica Minora I, ed. T. Mommsen, Berlin 1892, p. 148; = Frick p.120
|Aurelianus imp(eravit) ann(os) V m(enses) IIII d(ies) XX. Hic muro Urbem cinxit, templum Solis et castra in campo Agripp(a)e dedicavit, genium populi Romani aureum in rostra posuit ... Agonem Solis instituit (Aurelianus).
|Aurelian reigned 5 years, 4 months and 20 days. He surrounded the City with a wall, dedicated a temple of the Sun and a fortress in the campus of Agrippa, he set up the genius of the Roman people in gold in the rostra... he instituted games of the Sun. (Attempt by me).
Ambrosius (Ambrose of Milan)( ca. 330-397 AD)
Hexameron libri VI
|IV, 1. Et ideo prius firmamentum coeli aspice, quod ante Solem factum est: terram aspice, quae ante quam Sol procederet, coepit esse visibilis atque composita: germina eius aspice anteriora Solis lumine. ... Noli ergo deum credere, cui vides Dei munera esse praelata. ... Si tam gratus est Sol consors et particeps creaturae, quam bonus est Sol ille iustitiae.
|IV, 1. And so first look at the firmanent of heaven, which was made before the sun: look at the earth, which before the sun could appear began to be visible and ordered: look at its buds, earlier than the light of the sun. ... Therefore do not be unwilling to believe God, whose gifts precede him. ... For if the sun is so welcome as a sharer and partaker in creation, how much more is that Sun of Justice? (=Jesus)
|IV, 2. Deus ergo Pater dicit: fiat sol;
et Filius fecit solem. Dignum enim erat, ut solem mundi faceret Sol
Non ergo Sol aut luna fecunditatis auctores sunt: sed Deus Pater per Dominum Iesum omnibus liberalitatem fertilitas impertit. (CSEL 32, 1-2.)
|IV, 2. Therefore God the father says: let
there be the sun; and the Son has made the sun. For it was
appropriate that the Sun of Justice should make the sun of the world.
Therefore neither the sun nor the moon are the authors of fruitfulness: but God the Father through the Lord Jesus bestows the gift of fertility on all. (Attempt by me).
Augustine (354-430 AD)
De Civitate dei (The City of God)
|IV, 23. Ut quid ergo constituit Romanis deos Ianum, Iovem, Martem, Picum, Faunum, Tiberinum, Herculem et si quos alios? Ut quid Titus Tatius addidit Saturnum, Opem, Solem, Lunam, Vulcanum, Lucem et quoscumque alios addidit, inter quos etiam deam Cloacinam, Felicitate neglecta?
|IV, 23. Why, therefore, did he (Romulus) appoint as gods for the Romans, Janus, Jove, Mars, Picus, Faunus, Tibernus, Hercules, and others, if there were more of them? Why did Titus Tatius add Saturn, Ops, Sun, Moon, Vulcan, Light, and whatever others he added, among whom was even the goddess Cloacina, while Felicity was neglected? (from CCEL)
|VII, 16. Ac per hoc omnes istos selectos deos hunc esse mundum volunt, in quibusdam universum, in quibusdam partes eius; universum sicut Iovem, partes eius, ut Genium, ut Matrem Magnam, ut Solem et Lunam, vel potius Apollinem et Dianam.
|VII, 16. And thus they will have all those select gods to be the world and its parts, ---some of them the whole world, others of them its parts; the whole of it Jupiter,---its parts, Genius, Mater Magna, Sol and Luna, or rather Apollo and Diana, and so on. (from CCEL).
Questionum in Heptateuchum libri septem Book 1: Quaestiones de Genesi 136 (Questions on Genesis)
|136. Sed etiam hic respondetur, duos illum honores habuisse: et sacerdotium Solis, et militiae principatum; ... Deinde non simpliciter dictum est, quod sacerdos Solis esset; sed civitatis Solis, quae vocatur Heliopolis; abesse autem dicitur amplius quam viginti millibus a civitate Memphi, ubi Pharaones, id est reges, maxime commanebant.
|But this is also explained since he (Joseph) held two honours: both the priesthood of the Sun and was a general of soldiers; ... Later it was not simply said that he was a priest of the Sun; but of the community of the Sun, which is called Heliopolis; however it is said that it was 20,000 greater than the community of Memphis, where the Pharaohs, that is the kings, used to usually stay. (Attempt by me)
|11. (Solem adorant manichei tamquam deum.) ... Deinde quaerimus: "Solem istum videt diabolus, an non videt? Si videt, quomodo ergo sol Deus est, quem diabolus videt? Si non videt, mali tamen eum homines vident, quomodo ergo Deus est quem vident qui non puro sunt corde? Aut si ut videri posset etiam ipse mutatus est et non hoc est quod videtur, quid si ergo vos aliud ostenditis et aliud estis, ut imitari etiam solem non tantum adorare possitis?".
|11. (The Manicheans worship the sun like a god). ... Then we ask, "Does the devil see your sun, or not? If he sees it, in what way therefore is the sun god, which the devil sees? If he does not see it, evil men however see it, in what way then is that god which those not pure in heart can see? Or if that which is visible is different and not what it seems, how can you worship so great a sun, if then you show one thing and are another, so as to imitate it?" (Attempt by me)
|12. Sol iste corporeus, quem corpus non esse arbitrantur --- usque adeo nec quid sit corpus intellegunt, qui de spiritalibus disputationibus se fallaciter iactant --- sol ergo iste corporeus, tantum quia caeleste corpus est, illuminat terram nec ab ea ipse obscuratur;...
|12. This corporeal sun, which they observe not to be a body -- ... -- therefore this corporeal sun, just as the heavens is a body, illuminates the earth nor is it darkened by itself.
Contra Faustum Manichaeum (Against Faustus the Manichaean)
|V, 11. Vos autem si spiritalis atque intellegibilis boni caritate, ac non corporalium phantasmatum cupiditate arderetis, ut cito dicam quod de vobis notissimum est, solem istum corporeum, non pro divina substantia, et pro sapientiae luce coleretis.
|Book V, 11. If your affections were set upon spiritual and intellectual good, instead of material forms, you would not pay homage to the material sun as a divine substance, and as the light of wisdom, which every one knows you do, though I now only mention it in passing. (from CCEL).
|IX, 2. Nam quid, nisi oleastrum Gentium sapit, adorare solem et lunam? Nisi forte propterea vos iam non putatis esse in oleastro Gentium, quia spinas novi generis addidistis, et falsum Christum, quem cum sole et luna coleretis, non manu fabrili, sed perverso corde finxistis?
|IX, 2. Your worship of the sun and moon has the true Gentile flavor. You are none the less in the wild olive of the Gentiles, because you have added thorns of a new kind, and worship along with the sun and moon a false Christ, the fabrication not of your hands, but of your perverse heart. (from CCEL).
|XIV, 11. Proinde isti in phantasmatibus fabularum suarum idola et daemonia nescientes colunt: in sole autem et luna noverunt se servire creaturae;...
|XIV, 11. As there is an unconscious worship of idols and devils in the fanciful legends of the Manichaeans, so they knowingly serve the creature in their worship of the sun and moon. (from CCEL)
There are other references in vague terms to sun-worship in this text, all in much the same manner and unspecific.
Contra Secundinum Manichaeum (Against Secundinus the Manichaean) (2 books)
|Book II, 16. Quid, inquam, potius eligam, quam id quod nos ut creaturam laudamus coelestem, vos autem ut portionem ipsius Creatoris adoratis? Quid enim inter cuncta visibilia isto sole praeclarius?
|II, 20. Sed carnalis vestra cogitatio, adeo a locis corporalibus non recedit, ut solem istum visibilem, ac per hoc corporeum, qui contineri nisi corporali loco non potest, et Deum et partem Dei esse dicatis.
Ennaratio in Psalmum 25
|Book II, 3. Sed et aliter bene intellegitur, quia est noster sol iustitiae veritas Christus, non iste sol qui adoratur a Paganis et Manichaeis, et videtur etiam a peccatoribus; sed ille alius cuius veritate humana natura illustratur, ad quem gaudent Angeli,...
|II, 3. But otherwise it is also well understood, because Christ is our true Sun of Justice, not that sun which is worshipped by pagans and Manichaeans, and is seen also by sinners; but that also whose truth is illustrated by human nature, and whom the angels praise, ... (Attempt by me)
Ennaratio in Psalmum 93
|5. Qui dicunt: Christus est sol, mentiuntur de sole. Novit sol Dominum suum esse Christum et Creatorem suum.
|5. Those who say, "Christ is the sun" lie about the sun. The sun knows that Christ is his Lord and Creator. (Attempt by me)
All Latin text from Augustinus.it, PL text.
Paul Orosius (5th century)
|Book VII, 18:5. Hic (Heliogabalus) sacerdos Heliogabali templi nullam sui nisi stuprorum flagitiorum totiusque obscenitatis infamem satis memoriam reliquit. (from Halsberghe)
|VII, 18:5. This priest of the temple of Heliogabalus left nothing of himself behind except a truly infamous memory of every kind of vice, public indecency and obscenity. (Attempt by me)
Acta sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur: (Acts of the Saints).
Part 64: "8th November", p. 765 ff (Paris, 1854-1925). Passio SS. Quattuor Coronatorum, auctore Porphyrio.
|1. Ventum est quodam die, imperante Diocletiano, ut simulacrum Solis cum quadriga ex lapide raso artifices cum omni argumento currum, equos vel omnia ex uno lapide sculptirent.
|1. It came about on a certain day, while Diocletian was reigning, that the craftsmen sculpted a statue of the Sun with a quadriga from polished stone with every art; chariot, horses and all from a single stone.
|4. Nam quem tu dicis deum, quare non cognoscis quia ex nostris manibus sculptitur? Nescis quia et Solem, quem nos per sculptura artis fecimus, et ipsud nihil est?
|4. For whom you call god, why do you not recognise (him), because it is carved by our hands? Because you do not know both the Sun, which we have made by the arts of sculpture, and itself are nothing?
|6. Tum dixit (Simplicius) ad Simpronianum: Adiuro te per deum Solem ut dicas mihi, quis est iste deus qui omnia creavit...
|6. Then said (Simplicius) to Sempronian: I adjure you by the Sun-god to tell me, who is this god who created everything...
|18. Continuo iussit Lampadius tribunus ...: adorate deum Solem, ut destruatis consilium philosophorum... .
|18. Continually the tribune Lampadius ordered...: worship the Sun-god, and reject the advice of the philosophers... .
|18. ... Iratus Diocletianus augustus dixit: Per Solem, quod si non sacrificaverint deo Soli secundum morem antiquum, et monitis non oboedierint, diversis et exquisitis eos tormentis consumam.
|18. In anger the emperor Diocletian said: By the Sun, which if they have not sacrificed to the Sun-god according to the ancient rite, and have not obeyed the warnings, I will destroy them with diverse and exquisite torments.
|19. Mox Lampadius iussit ut alia die in eodem loco ante templum Solis sisterent.
|19. Soon Lampadius ordered that they should be brought to the same place before the temple of the Sun another day.
|19. ... ut sacrificetis deo Soli et antiquis numinibus detis honorem.
|19. ... that you may sacrifice to the Sun-god and give honour to the ancient divinities.
|19. Lampadius dixit: Et quae lux clara quam dei Solis?
|19. Lampadius said: And what light is clearer than of the Sun-god?
|19. (Diocletianus): Amodo si non consenserint et sacrificaverint deo Soli, verberibus scorpionum eos adflige ... .
|19. (Diocletian): Henceforth if they have not conformed and sacrificed to the Sun-god, lash them with whips of scorpions... .
|20 Post dies vero quinque iterum sedit (Lampadius) in eodem loco ante templum Solis ... dicens: Sacrificate deo Soli.
|20. In fact after five days (Lampadius) once again sat in the same place before the temple of the Sun ... saying: Sacrifice to the Sun-god.
Pars 64, Dies octavus Novembris, p. 780 ff. Passio SS. Quattuor Coronatorum, auctore Petro.
|2 ... Quamquam divinitas sacrorum numinum una aedemque sit, et communia nobis beneficia praestent, tamen quia scimus apud omnipotentiam Iovis quosdam gloria et dignitate pollere, sicut est deus Sol, praecipimus ut omni diligentia illius figuram in curru sedentem mirifice construere studeatis, scientes procul dubio quoniam quanto diligenti conanime illum venerari curamus, tanto nos ille suo iuvamine apud caelicolum regem fovere et gubernare dignabitur. ... Hanc itaque culturam Solis ethnica stultitia ideo illum in curru residentem fingebant, quia Eliam prophetam olim in curru igneo ad caelum ascendisse legerant vel audierant.
|7 .... Illi vero praeceptis eius faventes, omnia mirabiliter perfecerunt et Caesari detulerunt, praeter Asclepii statuam, intelligentes quod templum illi vellet construere, sicut simulacrum Solis, ad christocolarum subsannationem.
|9 Igitur Lampadius tribunus iussit consilium praeparari in eodem loco ante Solis templum et praefatos Christi milites cum philosophis simul adduci.... Olim figuram Solis, o iudex, Caesare praecipiente, manibus nostris de lapide praecidimus et operati sumus; ....
10 Mox praefatus iudex Lampadius iussit eos alia die ante templum Solis astare, et dixit: "Quod iussit sacratissimus imperator iam vobis optimo cognitum est, scilicet ut divis numinibus sacrificia offeratis et quam maxime deo Soli".....Et quis tam claram lucem praebere valet, quemadmodum deus Sol, qui in oriente oriens statim in occidente apparet, et totum mundum sua irradiat claritate.
|11 Si vultis esse gloriosi inter amicos sacri imperii, sicut jam praediximus, sacrificate deo Soli; sin autem, omne genus hoc tormentorum in corpore vestro experietur.
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Breviarium Romanum (ed. Romae et Vindobonae, 1919)
Pars aestiva, p. 704.
Romae, anno 250 A.D.
Qui (Abdon et Sennen Persae) cum in Urbe ad simulacra attracti essent, ea detestati conspuerunt. Quam ob rem ursis ac leonibus objecti sunt: quos ferae non audebant attingere. Demum gladiis trucidati, colligatis pedibus tracti sunt ante Solis simulacrum: quorum corpora clam inde asportata, Quirinus diaconus sepelivit in suis aedibus.
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Martyrologium Romanum, 8a Novembris:
|Romae, via Lavicana, tertio ab Urbe milliario, passio sanctorum martyrum Claudii, Nicostrati, Symphoriani, Castorii et Simplicii, qui primo in carcerem missi, deinde scorpionibus gravissime caesi, cum a fide Christi mutare non possent, jussi sunt a Diocletiano in fluvium praecipites dari. Item via Lavicana, natalis sanctorum quattuor Coronatorum fratrum, Severi, Severiani, Carpophori et Victorini, qui sub eodem tempore ictibus plumbarum usque ad mortem ceasi sunt.....
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Breviarium Romanum, pars autumnalis, p. 664.
|Qui eodem imperatore passi erant: quod, cum essent summi sculptores, nullo modo adduci potuerant ut idolorum statuas facerent; et ad Solis simulacrum ducti, numquam comissuros se dixerunt, ut adorarent opera manuum hominum. Quamobrem in carcerem conjecti, cum ibi multos dies in eadem proposito perstitissent, primum scorpionibus caesi, deinde vivi plumbeis loculis inclusi in flumen dejiciuntur. Extat in Urbe ecclesia sub nomine sanctomm Quattuor Coronatorum........
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Passio Sanctorum Abdonis et Senis Martyrum (ed. Mobritius I, 20) rep. I. Lugli, Fontes III, 324.
n° 146 Decius autem iratus iussit sibi editionem in amphitheatro parari. Et factum est. Cum venissent (Abdon et Senen) ad amphitheatrum, voluit Decius introire . . . Et furore repletus (Valerianus) deduxit eos ante simulacrum Solis iuxta amphitheatrum.
|However Decius in anger ordered him to appear in public in the amphitheatre. And it was done. When (Abdon and Senen) had come to the amphitheatre, Decius wanted to enter ... And (Valerianus), filled with confusion, led them before the statue of the Sun at the amphitheatre.
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Passio Sancti Stephani Papae et Martyris (ed. Mobritius II, 498) rep. I. Lugli, Fontes III, 324.
|n° 147 Relicta autem sunt corpora (martyrum) post triumphum ante simulacrum Solis iuxta amphitheatrum.
|However the bodies (of the martyrs) were left after the triumph before the statue of the Sun at the amphitheatre.
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Ambrosius Macrobius Theodosius (Macrobius) (end of 4th, beginning of 5th century AD). Saturnalia.
|Book I, 17:1. Hic Avienus: Hoc equidem mecum multum ac frequenter agitavi, quid sit quod solem modo Apollinem modo Liberum modo sub aliarum appellationum varietate veneremur. Et quia sacrorum omnium praesulem esse te, Vetti Praetextate, divina voluerunt, perge, quaeso, rationem mihi tantae sub uno nomine in nominibus diversitatis aperire. (from Lacus Curtius)
|Avienus: I have likewise considered this much and often myself, whether we should worship the sun as Apollo, or Liber, or under another variety of appelation. And because you are the protector of all the priests, Vettius Praetextatus, the divinities wish me to ask you the reason why so many under one name appear diverse in names.
|I, 17:2-3. ... Nam quod omnes paene deos, dumtaxat qui sub caelo sunt, ad solem referunt, non vana superstitio sed ratio divina commendat. (3) Si enim sol, ut veteribus placuit, dux et moderator est luminum reliquorum, et solus stellis errantibus praestat, ipsarum vero stellarum cursus ordinem rerum humanarum, ut quibusdam videtur, pro potestate disponunt, ut Plotino constat placuisse, significant: necesse est ut solem, qui moderatur nostra moderantes, omnium quae circa nos geruntur fateamur auctorem.(from Lacus Curtius)
|I, 17: 4. ... ita diversae virtutes solis nomina dis dederunt: unde ἕν τὸ πᾶν sapientum principes prodiderunt. (from Lacus Curtius)
|I, 17:66. Hieropolitani praeterea, qui sunt gentis Assyriorum, omnes solis effectus atque virtutes ad unius simulachri barbati speciem redigunt, eumque Apollinem appellant. (from Lacus Curtius)
|I, 18:7. Sed licet illo prius adserto, eundem esse Apollinem ac solem, edoctoque postea ipsum esse Liberum patrem qui Apollo est, nulla ex his dubitatio sit Solem ac Liberum patrem eiusdem numinis habendum: absolute tamen hoc argumentis liquidioribus abstruetur. (from Lacus Curtius)
Leo the Great (5th century AD), Sermons (PL text)
|XXI, 6. Quibus hac dies (25th of dec.) non tam de nativitate Christi quam de novi, ut dicunt Solis ortu honorabilis videtur.
|21, 6. From which this day (25 Dec.) seems honorable not so much for the nativity of Christ as, so they say, of the rising of the new Sun.
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus (ca. 487-583 AD). Chronica.
Ed. Mommsen, MGH; I. Lugli, Fontes I, 204, n° 10.
|(anno p.C. 275): His (Aureliano II et Marcello) consulibus Aurelianus templum Soli aedificavit, Romam firmioribus muris vallat.
|(AD 275:) When these (Aurelian for the second time, and Marcellus) were consuls, Aurelian built the temple of the Sun, and circled Rome with stronger walls.
Latin from Halsberghe, English attempted by me.
John Zonaras (12th century AD). Epitome Historiarum. (Ed. L. Dindorfius, III, Leipzig, 1870)
|Book 12:14 or 3.117.4-3.117.22: καὶ θεὸν δέ τινα ξενικὸν εἰς τὴν Ρώμην εἰσήνεγκεν Ἐλεαγάβαλον καλούμενον͵ καὶ τοῦ Διὸς αὐτὸν προετίμησεν· ὅθεν κἀκεῖνος ἐπωνομάσθη Ἐλεαγάβαλος. ... ἔγημε δὲ πρὸς ταῖς ἄλλαις καὶ ἱερωμένην τῇ Ἑστίᾳ παρθένον͵ ἀσε βήσας περὶ τὰ πάτρια ἀναιδέστατα. καὶ ἔλεγε διὰ τοῦτο γῆμαι τὴν τῆς Ἑστίας ἱέρειαν͵ ἵν΄ ἐξ ἐκείνου ἀρχιερέως ὄντος τοῦ Ἐλεαγαβάλου καὶ τῆς ἱερείας παῖδες γένωνται θεοπρεπεῖς. οὐ μόνον δὲ βαρβαρι κὰς ᾠδὰς ἅμα τῇ μητρὶ καὶ τῇ τήθῃ τῷ ξένῳ θεῷ αὐτοῦ ᾖδε͵ καὶ ἀπορρήτους προσῆγε θυσίας͵ παῖδας σφαγιάζων καὶ γοητεύμασι χρώμενος καὶ περιάπτοις μυρίοις ἑκάστοτε͵ ἀλλὰ καὶ γυναῖκα τῷ θεῷ αὐτοῦ ἐκείνῳ ἐμνήστευσεν ὡς καὶ παίδων δεομένῳ͵ καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα ἐς τὸ παλάτιον καθιδρύσατο͵ καὶ ἕδνα αὐτῇ ἐκ τῶν ὑπηκόων ἐπράξατο. (from the TLG)
[What about Chrysostom in his Christmas sermon, ed. Beth Dunlop]?
Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse.
Written 15th December 2005.
This page has been online since 15th December 2005.
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