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 There1 are others more remote from the subject of this work, which have been erroneously placed by historians under one head on account of the sameness of name: for instance, accounts relating to ‘Curetic affairs’ and ‘concerning the Curetes’ have been considered as identical with accounts ‘concerning the people (of the same name) who inhabited Ætolia and Acarnania.’ But the former differ from the latter, and resemble rather the accounts which we have of Satyri and Silenes, Bacchæ and Tityri; for the Curetes are represented as certain dæmons, or ministers of the gods, by those who have handed down the traditions respecting Cretan and Phrygian affairs, and which involve certain religious rites, some mystical, others the contrary, relative to the nurture of Jupiter in Crete; the celebration of orgies in honour of the mother of the gods, in Phrygia, and in the neighbourhood of the Trojan Ida. There is however a very great variety2 in these accounts. According to some, the Corybantes, Cabeiri, Idæan Dactyli, and Telchines are repre- sented as the same persons as the Curetes; according to others, they are related to, yet distinguished from, each other by some slight differences; but to describe them in general terms and more at length, they are inspired with an enthusiastic and Bacchic frenzy, which is exhibited by them as ministers at the celebration of the sacred rites, by inspiring terror with armed dances, accompanied with the tumult and noise of cymbals, drums, and armour, and with the sound of pipes and shouting; so that these sacred ceremonies are nearly the same as those that are performed among the Samothracians in Lemnus, and in many other places; since the ministers of the god are said to be the same.3 The whole of this kind of discussion is of a theological nature, and is not alien to the contemplation of the philosopher.
1 "Cette digression est curieuse, sans doute * * * * Plusieurs critiques ont fait de ce morceau l'objet de leur Étude; néanmoins il demeure hérissé de difficultiés, et dernièrement M. Heyne (quel juge!) a prononcé que tout y restait à éclaircir. Du Theil. The myths relating to the Curetes abound with different statements and confusion. The following are the only points to be borne in mind. The Curetes belong to the most ancient times of Greece, and probably are to be counted among the first inhabitants of Phrygia. They were the authors and expositors of certain religious rites, which they celebrated with dances. According to mythology they played a part at the birth of Jupiter. They were sometimes called Idæan Dactyli. Hence their name was given to the ministers of the worship of the Great Mother among the Phrygians, which was celebrated with a kind of religious frenzy. The Curetes were also called Corybantes. Hence also arose the confusion between the religious rites observed in Crete, Phrygia, and Samothrace. Again, on the other hand, the Curetes have been mistaken for an Ætolian people, bearing the same name. Heyne, Not. ad Virgil. Æn. iii. 130. Religion. et Sacror. cum furore peract. Orig. Comm. Soc. R. Scient. Gotting. vol. viii. Dupuis, origin de tous les cultes, tom. 2. Sainte Croix Mém. pour servir a la religion Secrète, &c., Job. Guberleth. Diss. philol. de Myster. deorum Cabir. 1703. Frèret. Recher. pour servir à l'histoire des Cyclopes, &c. Acad. des Inscript. &c., vol. xxiii. His. pag. 27. 1749.
3 M. de Saint Croix (Recherches sur les Mystères, &c. sect. 2, page 25) is mistaken in asserting that ‘Strabo clearly refutes the statements of those who believed that the Cabeiri, Dactyli, Curetes, Corybantes, and Telchines, were not only the same kind of persons, but ever separate members of the same family.’ It appears to me, on the contrary, that this was the opinion adopted by our author. Du Theil.
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