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There is no doubt that this art originated in Persia,1 under Zoroaster,2 this being a point upon which authors are generally agreed; but whether there was only one Zoroaster, or whether in later times there was a second person of that name, is a matter which still remains undecided. Eudoxus,3 who has endeavoured to show that of all branches of philosophy the magic art is the most illustrious and the most beneficial, informs us that this Zoroaster existed six thousand years before the death of Plato, an assertion in which he is supported by Aristotle. Hermippus,4 again, an author who has written with the greatest exactness on all particulars connected with this art, and has commented upon the two millions5 of verses left by Zoroaster, besides completing indexes to his several works, has left a statement, that Agonaces was the name of the master from whom Zoroaster derived his doctrines, and that he lived five thousand years before the time of the Trojan War. The first thing, however, that must strike us with surprise, is the fact that this art, and the traditions connected with it, should have survived for so many ages, all written commentaries thereon having perished in the meanwhile; and this, too, when there was no continuous succession of adepts, no professors of note, to ensure their transmission.

For how few there are, in fact, who know anything, even by hearsay, about the only professors of this art whose names have come down to us, Apusorus6 and Zaratus of Media, Marmarus and Arabantiphocus of Babylonia, and Tarmoendas of Assyria, men who have left not the slightest memorials of their existence. But the most surprising thing of all is, that Homer should be totally silent upon this art in his account7 of the Trojan War, while in his story of the wanderings of Ulysses, so much of the work should be taken up with it, that we may justly conclude that the poem is based upon nothing else; if, indeed, we are willing to grant that his accounts of Proteus and of the songs of the Sirens are to be understood in this sense, and that the stories of Circe and of the summoning up of the shades below,8 bear reference solely to the practices of sorcerers. And then, too, to come to more recent times, no one has told us how the art of sorcery reached Telmessus,9 a city devoted to all the services of religion, or at what period it came over and reached the matrons of Thessaly; whose name10 has long passed, in our part of the world, as the appellation of those who practise an art, originally introduced among themselves even, from foreign lands.11 For in the days of the Trojan War, Thessaly was still contented with such remedies12 as she owed to the skill of Chiron, and her only13 lightnings were the lightnings hurled by Mars.14 Indeed, for my own part, I am surprised that the imputation of magical practices should have so strongly attached to the people once under the sway of Achilles, that Menander even, a man unrivalled for perception in literary knowledge, has entitled one of his Comedies "The Thessalian Matron," and has therein described the devices practised by the females of that country in bringing down the moon from the heavens.15 I should have been inclined to think that Orpheus had been the first to introduce into a country so near his own, certain magical superstitions based upon the practice of medicine, were it not the fact that Thrace, his native land, was at that time totally a stranger to the magic art.

The first person, so far as I can ascertain, who wrote upon magic, and whose works are still in existence, was Osthanes,16 who accompanied Xerxes, the Persian king, in his expedition against Greece. It was he who first17 disseminated, as it were, the germs of this monstrous art, and tainted therewith all parts of the world through which the Persians passed. Authors who have made diligent enquiries into this subject, make mention of a second Zoroaster, a native of Proconnesus, as living a little before the time of Osthanes. That it was this same 'Osthanes, more particularly, that inspired the Greeks, not with a fondness only, but a rage, for the art of magic, is a fact beyond all doubt: though at the same time I would remark, that in the most ancient times, and indeed almost invariably, it was in this18 branch of science, that was sought the highest point of celebrity and of literary renown. At all events, Pythagoras, we find, Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato, crossed the seas, in order to attain a knowledge thereof, submitting, to speak the truth, more to the evils of exile19 than to the mere inconveniences of travel. Returning home, it was upon the praises of this art that they expatiated—it was this that they held as one of their grandest mysteries. It was Democritus, too, who first drew attention to Apollobeches20 of Coptos, to Dardanus,21 and to Phœnix: the works of Dardanus he sought in the tomb of that personage, and his own were composed in accordance with the doctrines there found. That these doctrines should have been received by any portion of mankind, and transmitted to us by the aid of memory, is to me surprising beyond anything I can conceive.22 All the particulars there found are so utterly incredible, so utterly re- volting, that those even who admire Democritus in other respects, are strong in their denial that these works were really written by him. Their denial, however, is in vain; for it was he, beyond all doubt, who had the greatest share in fascinating men's minds with these attractive chimeras.

There is also a marvellous coincidence, in the fact that the two arts—medicine, I mean, and magic—were developed simultaneously: medicine by the writings of Hippocrates, and magic by the works of Democritus, about the period of tile Peloponnesian War, which was waged in Greece in the year of the City of Rome 300.

There is another sect, also, of adepts in the magic art, who derive their origin from Moses,23 Jannes,24 and Lotapea,25 Jews by birth,26 but many thousand years posterior to Zoroaster: and as much more recent, again, is the branch of magic cultivated in Cyprus.27 In the time, too, of Alexander the Great, this profession received no small accession to its credit from the influence of a second Osthanes, who had the honour of accompanying that prince in his expeditions, and who, evidently, beyond all doubt, travelled28 over every part of the world.

1 Or Bactriana, more properly.

2 Magic, no doubt, has been the subject of belief from the earliest times, whatever may have been the age of Zoroaster, the Zaratbustra of the Zend- avesta, and the Zerdusht of the Persians. In the Zendavesta he is represented as living in the reign of Gushtasp, generally identified with Darius Hystaspes. He probably lived at a period anterior to that of the Median and Persian kings. Niebuhr regards him as a purely mythical personage

3 See end of B. ii.

4 See end of this Book.

5 An exaggeration, of Oriental origin, most probably.

6 These names have all, most probably, been transmitted to us in a corrupted form. Ajasson gives some suggestions as to their probable Eastern form and origin.

7 One among the many proofs, Ajasson says, that the Iliad and the Odyssey belong to totally different periods.

8 In reference to the Tenth Book of the Odyssey.

9 See B. v. cc. 28, 29. Cicero mentions a college of Aruspices established at this city.

10 The name "Thessala" was commonly used by the Romans to signify an enchantress, sorceress, or witch. See the story of Apuleius, Books i. and iii.

11 The countries of the East.

12 Purely medicinal remedies.

13 In contradistinction to lightnings elicited by the practice of Magic.

14 A poetical figure, alluding to the "thunderbolts of war," as wielded probably by Achilles and other heroes of Thessaly.

15 See B. ii. c. 9.

16 Ajasson queries whether this is a proper name, or an epithet merely.

17 Ajasson combats this assertion at considerable length, and with good reason. It is quite inadmissible.

18 The mysteries of philosophy, as Ajasson remarks, were not necessarily identical with the magic art.

19 In reality, Pythagoras was an exile from the tyranny of the ruler of Samos, Plato from the court of Dionysius the Younger, and Democritus from the ignorance of his fellow-countrymen of Abdera. There is no doubt that Pythagoras and Democritus made considerable researches into the art of magic as practised in the East.

20 Nothing is known of this writer.

21 Dardanus, the ancestor of the Trojans, if he is the person here meant, is said to have introduced the worship of the gods into Samothrace.

22 The works of Homer were transmitted in a similar manner.

23 Moses, no doubt, was represented by the Egyptian priesthood as a magician, in reference more particularly to the miracles wrought by him before Pharaoh. From them the Greeks would receive the notion.

24 In 2 Tim. iii. 8, we find the words, "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth." Eusebius, in his Prœ paratio Evangeliea, B. ix., states that Jannes and Jambres, or Mambres, were the names of Egyptian writers, who practised Magic, and opposed Moses before Pharaoh. This contest was probably represented by the Egyptian priesthood as merely a dispute between two antagonistic schools of Magic.

25 Of this person nothing is known. The former editions mostly have "Jotapea." "Jotapata" was the name of a town in Syria, the birthplace of Josephus.

26 He is mistaken here as to the nation to which Jannes belonged.

27 By some it has been supposed that this bears reference to Christianity, as introduced into Cyprus by the Apostle Barnabas Owing to the miracles wrought in the infancy of the Church, the religion of the Christians was very generally looked upon as a sort of Magic. The point is very doubtful.

28 His itinerary, Ajasson remarks, would have been a great curiosity.

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