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But the floor also has a certain concealed aperture, on which the cauldron is laid, having been previously, supplied with a bottom of crystal, while itself is composed of stone. Underneath, however, unnoticed by the spectators , is a compartment, into which the accomplices, assembling, appear invested with the figures of such gods and demons as the magician wishes to exhibit. Now the dupe, beholding these, becomes astonished at the knavery of the magician, and subsequently believes all things that are likely to be stated by him. But the sorcerer produces a burning demon , by tracing on the wall whatever figure he wishes, and then covertly smearing it with a drug mixed according to this manner, viz.

The drug, however, is burned with considerable splendour. And that a fiery Hecate seems to career through air, he contrives in the mode following. Concealing a certain accomplice in a place which he wishes, and taking aside his dupes, he persuades them to believe himself , alleging that he will exhibit a flaming demon riding through the air. Now he exhorts them immediately to keep their eyes fixed until they see the flame in the air, and that then , veiling themselves, they should fall on their face until he himself should call them; and after having given them these instructions, he, on a moonless night, in verses speaks thus:—.

Infernal, and earthy, and supernal Bombo, come! Saint of streets, and brilliant one, that strays by night; Foe of radiance, but friend and mate of gloom; In howl of dogs rejoicing, and in crimson gore, Wading 'mid corpses through tombs of lifeless dust, Panting for blood; with fear convulsing men.

Gorgo, and Mormo, and Luna, and of many shapes, Come, propitious, to our sacrificial rites! And while speaking these words, fire is seen borne through the air; but the spectators being horrified at the strange apparition, and covering their eyes, fling themselves speechless to earth.

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But the success of the artifice is enhanced by the following contrivance. The accomplice whom I have spoken of as being concealed, when he hears the incantation ceasing, holding a kite or hawk enveloped with tow, sets fire to it and releases it. The bird, however, frightened by the flame, is borne aloft, and makes a proportionably quicker flight, which these deluded persons beholding, conceal themselves, as if they had seen something divine.

The winged creature, however, being whirled round by the fire, is borne wherever chance may have it, and burns now the houses, and now the courtyards. Such is the divination of the sorcerers. And they make moon and stars appear on the ceiling after this manner. In the central part of the ceiling, having fastened a mirror, placing a dish full of water equally with the mirror in the central portion of the floor, and setting in a central place likewise a candle, emitting a faint light from a higher position than the dish — in this way, by reflection, the magician causes the moon to appear by the mirror.

But frequently, also, they suspend on high from the ceiling, at a distance, a drum, but which, being covered with some garment, is concealed by the accomplice, in order that the heavenly body may not appear before the proper time.

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And afterwards placing a candle within the drum , when the magician gives the signal to the accomplice, he removes so much of the covering as may be sufficient for effecting an imitation representing the figure of the moon as it is at that particular time.

He smears, however, the luminous parts of the drum with cinnabar and gum; and having pared around the neck and bottom of a flagon of glass ready behind, he puts a candle in it, and places around it some of the requisite contrivances for making the figures shine, which some one of the accomplices has concealed on high; and on receiving the signal, he throws down from above the contrivances, so to make the moon appear descending from the sky.

And the same result is achieved by means of a jar in sylvan localities. For it is by means of a jar that the tricks in a house are performed. For having set up an altar, subsequently is placed upon it the jar, having a lighted lamp; when, however, there are a greater number of lamps, no such sight is displayed.

After then the enchanter invokes the moon, he orders all the lights to be extinguished, yet that one be left faintly burning; and then the light, that which streams from the jar, is reflected on the ceiling, and furnishes to those present a representation of the moon; the mouth of the jar being kept covered for the time which it would seem to require, in order that the representation of full moon should be exhibited on the ceiling. But the scales of fishes — for instance, the seahorse — cause the stars to appear to be; the scales being steeped in a mixture of water and gum, and fastened on the ceiling at intervals.

The sensation of an earthquake they cause in such a way, as that all things seem set in motion; ordure of a weasel burned with a magnet upon coals has this effect. And they exhibit a liver seemingly bearing an inscription in this manner. With the left hand he writes what he wishes, appending it to the question, and the letters are traced with gall juice and strong vinegar. Then taking up the liver, retaining it in the left hand, he makes some delay, and then it draws away the impression, and it is supposed to have, as it were, writing upon it. But putting a skull on the ground, they make it speak in this manner.

The skull itself is made out of the caul of an ox; and when fashioned into the requisite figure, by means of Etruscan wax and prepared gum, and when this membrane is placed around, it presents the appearance of a skull, which seems to all to speak when the contrivance operates; in the same manner as we have explained in the case of the attendant youths, when, having procured the windpipe of a crane, or some such long-necked animal, and attaching it covertly to the skull, the accomplice utters what he wishes.

And when he desires the skull to become invisible, he appears as if burning incense , placing around, for this purpose, a quantity of coals; and when the wax catches the heat of these, it melts, and in this way the skull is supposed to become invisible.

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These are the deeds of the magicians, and innumerable other such tricks there are which work on the credulity of the dupes, by fair balanced words, and the appearance of plausible acts. And the heresiarchs, astonished at the art of these sorcerers , have imitated them, partly by delivering their doctrines in secrecy and darkness, and partly by advancing these tenets as their own. For this reason, being desirous of warning the multitude, we have been the more painstaking, in order not to omit any expedient practised by the magicians, for those who may be disposed to be deceived.

We have been however drawn, not unreasonably, into a detail of some of the secret mysteries of the sorcerers, which are not very requisite, to be sure, in reference to the subject taken in hand; yet, for the purpose of guarding against the villanous and incoherent art of magicians, may be supposed useful. Since, therefore, as far as delineation is feasible, we have explained the opinions of all speculators , exerting special attention towards the elucidation of the opinions introduced as novelties by the heresiarchs; opinions which, as far as piety is concerned, are futile and spurious, and which are not, even among themselves, perhaps deemed worthy of serious consideration.

Having pursued this course of inquiry , it seems expedient that, by means of a compendious discourse, we should recall to the reader's memory statements that have been previously made. Among all those who throughout the earth, as philosophers and theologians, have carried on investigations, has prevailed diversity of opinion concerning the Deity, as to His essence or nature. For some affirm Him to be fire, and some spirit, and some water, while others say that He is earth.


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And each of the elements labours under some deficiency, and one is worsted by the other. To the wise men of the world, this, however, has occurred, which is obvious to persons possessing intelligence; I mean that, beholding the stupendous works of creation, they were confused respecting the substance of existing things, supposing that these were too vast to admit of deriving generation from another, and at the same time asserting that neither the universe itself is God. As far as theology was concerned, they declared, however, a single cause for things that fall under the cognizance of vision, each supposing the cause which he adjudged the most reasonable; and so, when gazing on the objects made by God , and on those which are the most insignificant in comparison with His overpowering majesty, not, however, being able to extend the mind to the magnitude of God as He really is, they deified these works of the external world.

But the Persians , supposing that they had penetrated more within the confines of the truth , asserted that the Deity is luminous, a light contained in air. The Babylonians , however, affirmed that the Deity is dark, which very opinion also appears the consequence of the other; for day follows night, and night day. Do not the Egyptians , however, who suppose themselves more ancient than all, speak of the power of the Deity? This power they estimate by calculating these intervals of the parts of the zodiac; and, as if by a most divine inspiration, they asserted that the Deity is an indivisible monad , both itself generating itself, and that out of this were formed all things.

For this, say they, being unbegotten, produces the succeeding numbers; for instance, the monad , superadded into itself, generates the duad; and in like manner, when superadded into duad, triad, and so forth , produces the triad and tetrad, up to the decade, which is the beginning and end of numbers.

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Wherefore it is that the first and tenth monad is generated, on account of the decade being equipollent, and being reckoned for a monad , and because this multiplied ten times will become a hundred, and again becomes a monad , and the hundred multiplied ten times will produce a thousand, and this will be a monad. In this manner also the thousand multiplied ten times make up the full sum of a myriad; in like manner will it be a monad.

But by a comparison of indivisible quantities, the kindred numbers of the monad comprehend 3, 5, 7, 9. There is also, however, a more natural relation of a different number to the monad , according to the arrangement of the orbit of six days' duration, that is , of the duad, according to the position and division of even numbers. But the kindred number is 4 and 8. These, however, taking from the monad of the numbers an idea of virtue , progressed up to the four elements; I allude , of course, to spirit, and fire, and water, and earth. And out of these having made the world, God framed it an ermaphrodite, and allocated two elements for the upper hemisphere, namely spirit and fire; and this is styled the hemisphere of the monad , a hemisphere beneficent, and ascending, and masculine.

For, being composed of small particles, the monad soars into the most rarified and purest part of the atmosphere; and the other two elements, earth and water, being more gross, he assigned to the duad; and this is termed the descending hemisphere, both feminine and mischievous. And likewise, again, the upper elements themselves, when compared one with another, comprise in one another both male and female for fruitfulness and increase of the whole creation.

And the fire is masculine, and the spirit feminine. And again the water is masculine, and the earth feminine. And so from the beginning fire consorted with spirit, and water with earth. For as the power of spirit is fire, so also that of earth is water; And, again, the ennead is subtracted for this cause , because the three hundred and sixty parts of the entire circle consist of enneads, and for this reason the four regions of the world are circumscribed by ninety perfect parts.

And light has been appropriated to the monad , and darkness to the duad, and life to light, according to nature, and death to the duad. And to life has been appropriated justice ; and to death, injustice. Wherefore everything generated among masculine numbers is beneficent, while that produced among feminine numbers is mischievous.


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For instance, they pursue their calculations thus: monad — that we may commence from this — becomes , which numbers terminate in a monad by the subtraction of the ennead. In like manner, reckon thus: Duad becomes ; take away the enneads, it ends in a duad, and each reverts into its own peculiar function. For the monad , therefore, as being beneficent, they assert that there are consequently names ascending, and beneficent, and masculine, and carefully observed, terminating in an uneven number; whereas that those terminating in the even number have been supposed to be both descending, and feminine and malicious.

For they affirm that nature is made up of contraries, namely bad and good, as right and left, light and darkness, night and day, life and death. And moreover they make this assertion, that they have calculated the word Deity, and found that it reverts into a pentad with an ennead subtracted. Now this name is an even number, and when it is written down on some material they attach it to the body, and accomplish cures by it.

In this manner, likewise, a certain herb, terminating in this number, being similarly fastened around the frame , operates by reason of a similar calculation of the number. Nay, even a doctor cures sickly people by a similar calculation. If, however, the calculation is contrary, it does not heal with facility. Persons attending to these numbers reckon as many as are homogeneous according to this principle; some, however, according to vowels alone; whereas others according to the entire number.

Such also is the wisdom of the Egyptians , by which, as they boast, they suppose that they cognise the divine nature. It appears, then, that these speculations also have been sufficiently explained by us. But since I think that I have omitted no opinion found in this earthly and grovelling Wisdom, I perceive that the solicitude expended by us on these subjects has not been useless. For we observe that our discourse has been serviceable not only for a refutation of heresies , but also in reference to those who entertain these opinions.

Now these, when they encounter the extreme care evinced by us, will even be struck with admiration of our earnestness, and will not despise our industry and condemn Christians as fools when they discern the opinions to which they themselves have stupidly accorded their belief.

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Don't waste your time with the Catholic heresies in SoA.

And furthermore, those who, desirous of learning, addict themselves to the truth , will be assisted by our discourse to become, when they have learned the fundamental principles of the heresies , more intelligent not only for the easy refutation of those who have attempted to deceive them, but that also, when they have ascertained the avowed opinions of the wise men, and have been made acquainted with them, that they shall neither be confused by them as ignorant persons would, nor become the dupes of certain individuals acting as if from some authority; nay, more than this, they shall be on their guard against those that are allowing themselves to become victims to these delusions.

Having sufficiently explained these opinions, let us next pass on to a consideration of the subject taken in hand, in order that, by proving what we have determined concerning heresies , and by compelling their champions to return to these several speculators their peculiar tenets, we may show the heresiarchs destitute of a system ; and by proclaiming the folly of those who are persuaded by these heterodox tenets , we shall prevail on them to retrace their course to the serene haven of the truth.

In order, however, that the statements about to follow may seem more clear to the readers, it is expedient also to declare the opinions advanced by Aratus concerning the disposition of the stars of the heavens. And this is necessary , inasmuch as some persons , assimilating these doctrines to those declared by the Scriptures , convert the holy writings into allegories, and endeavour to seduce the mind of those who give heed to their tenets , drawing them on by plausible words into the admission of whatever opinions they wish, and exhibiting a strange marvel, as if the assertions made by them were fixed among the stars.

They, however, gazing intently on the very extraordinary wonder, admirers as they are of trifles, are fascinated like a bird called the owl, which example it is proper to mention, on account of the statements that are about to follow. The animal I speak of is, however, not very different from an eagle, either in size or figure, and it is captured in the following way:— The hunter of these birds, when he sees a flock of them lighting anywhere, shaking his hands, at a distance pretends to dance, and so little by little draws near the birds.

But they, struck with amazement at the strange sight, are rendered unobservant of everything passing around them. But others of the party, who have come into the country equipped for such a purpose, coming from behind upon the birds, easily lay hold on them as they are gazing on the dancer.

Wherefore I desire that no one, astonished by similar wonders of those who interpret the aspect of heaven, should, like the owl, be taken captive. For the knavery practised by such speculators may be considered dancing and silliness, but not truth. Aratus, therefore, expresses himself thus:—. Just as many are they; here and there they roll Day by day o'er heav'n, endless, ever, that is, every star , Yet this declines not even little; but thus exactly E'er remains with axis fixed and poised in every part Holds earth midway, and heaven itself around conducts.

Aratus says that there are in the sky revolving, that is, gyrating stars, because from east to west, and west to east, they journey perpetually, and in an orbicular figure. And he says that there revolves towards The Bears themselves, like some stream of a river, an enormous and prodigious monster, the Serpent; and that this is what the devil says in the book of Job to the Deity, when Satan uses these words: I have traversed earth under heaven, and have gone around it , that is, that I have been turned around, and thereby have been able to survey the worlds.

For they suppose that towards the North Pole is situated the Dragon, the Serpent, from the highest pole looking upon all the objects , and gazing on all the works of creation, in order that nothing of the things that are being made may escape his notice. For though all the stars in the firmament set, the pole of this luminary alone never sets, but, careering high above the horizon, surveys and beholds all things, and none of the works of creation, he says, can escape his notice.