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 We are now to consider how the names of these people agree together, and the theology, which is contained in their history. Now this is common both to the Greeks and the Barbarians, to perform their religious ceremonies with the observance of a festival, and a relaxation from labour; some are performed with enthusiasm, others without any emotion; some accompanied with music, others without music; some in mysterious privacy, others publicly; and these are the dictates of nature.1 For relaxation from labour withdraws the thoughts from human occupations, and directs the reflecting mind to the divinity: enthusiasm seems to be attended with a certain divine inspiration, and to approach the prophetic character; the mystical concealment of the sacred rites excites veneration for the divinity, and imitates his nature, which shuns human senses and perception; music also, accompanied with the dance, rhythm, and song, for the same reason brings us near the deity by the pleasure which it excites, and by the charms of art. For it has been justly said, that men resemble the gods chiefly in doing good, but it may be said more properly, when they are happy; and this happiness consists in rejoicing, in festivals, in philosophy, and in music.2 For let not the art be blamed, if it should sometimes be abused by the musician employing it to excite voluptuousness in convivial meetings at banquets, on the stage, or under other circum stances, but let the nature of the institutions which are founded on it be examined.3
2 Quam præclare philosophatus sit Strabo, me non monente, unusquisque assequitur; præclarius, utique, quam illi, qui ex nostro ritu religioso omnnem hilaritatem exulare voluere. Heyne, Virg. iii. 130.
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