Imagens das páginas
PDF
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the paternal inheritance with his two brothers, Neptune and Pluto. In fine, he so assisted and obliged all mankind by the great favours which he did, that he not only thence obtained the name of Jupiter, but he

, was advanced also to divine honours, and was esteem•ed the common father both of gods and men. Among

some of his most illustrious actions, we ought to re-
member the story of Lycaon. For when Jupiter
had heard a report concerning the wickedness and
great impiety of men, it is said that he descended
from heaven to the earth, to know the real truth of
it; and that being come into the house of Lycaon,
king of Arcadia, where he declared himself to be a
god, while others were preparing sacrifices for him,
Lycaon derided him : nor did he stop here, but be-
ing desirous to try whether Jupiter was a god, he
kills one of his domestic servants, roasts and boils.
the flesh of him, and sets it on the table as a ban-
quet for Jupiter; who, abhorring the wretch's bar-
barity, fired the palace with lightning, and turned
Lycaon into a wolf. Ovid Met. 1.
With respect to his other exploits, some of them
are absurd ; others are highly criminal, if taken in a
literal sense. But it is supposed by the Abbe Ba-
nier and other learned writers on this subject, that
they are merely allegorical, and conceal some mean-
ing, at present either lost to us or open to conjecture.
1st. Such for instance his having wooed his sister,
Juno, in the shape of a crow; an ill-boding fowl
one would suppose, not very likely to captivate
the heart of a tender maid, but, perhaps, the croak-
ing thing might take very well with a termagant,
such as she has been described to be. 2d. Next,
that he overcame the innocence of Danae, daughter
of Acrisius, king of the Argives; this monarch be-
ing forewarned by the oracle that he would perish
by the hand of his grandson shut up his only child
in a tower; Jupiter, however assumed the shape of

[graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]

a shining metal called gold, (in which no small portion of his divinity has ever since resided,) and descending through the roof, fell into the lady's lap. 3d. At another time he flew into the arms of Leda, the wife of Tyndarus, in the shape of a beautiful swan. 4th. In the likeness of a wild satyr, he behaved like a ruflian to Antiope, the wife of Lycus, king of Thebes. 5th. He imposed upon Alcmena by assuming the figure of her husband Amphitryon. 6th. In the shape of fire he won the heart of Egina, the daughter of Asopus, king of Boetia. 7th. He deceived Calisto by counterfeiting the modesty and countenance of Diana; yet, he shamefully abandoned her to the cruel persecution of Juno, who transformed her into a bear; but, however, commiserating her condition, he placed her and her son Arcas both in the heavens. Calisto is said to be the great bear and Arcas the little. 8th. He sent an eagle to snatch away Ganymede, the son of Tros, as he hunted upon the mountain Ida. Or rather he himself, being changed into an eagle, took him unto his claws, and carried him up to heaven. He offered the same violence to Asteria; the daughter of Coeus, a young lady of the greatest modesty, to whom he appeared in the shape of an eagle, and carried her away in his talons. 9th. Personally attached to Puropa, daughter of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, he ordered Mercury to convey her to the stashore, where, having transformed himself into a bull, he took her upon his back and transported her into Crete. The bull is supposed to have been the ship upon which a bull was painted, in which Europa was carried away. In like manner the horse Pegasus, which was painted upon Bellerophon's ship, and the ram, which was painted on that of Phryxus and Helle, created ample matter of fiction for the poets. But to return to our fable : Agenor immediately or— dered his son Cadmus to travel, and search every where for his sister Europa; which he did, but could nowhere find her. Cadmus dared not return without her, because, by a sentence not less unjust to him than

[graphic]
[graphic]

kind to his sister, his father had banished him for

ever unless he found her. Wherefore he built the city of Thebes, not far from the mountain Parnassus; and as it happened that his companions, who were with him were devoured by a certain serpent, while they went for water; he, to avenge their death, slew that serpent ; whose teeth he took out, and, by the advice of Minerva, sowed them in the ground; and suddenly sprouted up a harvest of armed soldiers, who, quarrelling among themselves, with the same speed that they grew up, mowed one another down, excepting five only, by whom that country was peopled afterward. At length Cadmus and his wife Hermione, after much experience, and many proofs of the inconstancy of fortune, were changed into serpents. He is said to have invented sixteen of the letters of the Greek alphabet; 2, 3, Y, 3, , , x, *, *, *, *, *, *, *, *, v, which, in the time of the judges of Israel, he brought out of Phoenicia into Greece: two hundred and fifty years after this, Palamedes added four more letters, namely, #, 6, 2, x, in the time of the siege of Troy; although some affirm that Epicharmus invented the letters 9 and x: and six hundred and fifty years after the siege of Troy, Simonides invented the other four letters, namely, n, w, &, b. Cadmus is also said to have taught the manner of writing in prose ; and that he was the first among the Greeks who consecrated statues to the honour of the gods,

QUESTION's For EXAMINATION.

Mention some of the exploits of Jupiter 2
How did he derive his name and honours?
What did he to Lycaon, and why?
What is his other exploits 2 **
What happened to Calisto &

s

[graphic]
[graphic]

What circumstance occurred to Ganymede and Asteria &
Explain the fable respecting Europa 2
What did Agenor do to recover his daughter 2
What city did Cadmus build, and what exploit did he perform
on a serpent?

Which of the letters of the Greek alphabet did Cadmus invent?
Who added the others, and when P -
What besides did Cadmus do for the benefit of mankind 2 A

- f - SEC. 4.—THE NAMES OF JUPITER,

Can hardly be numbered; so many did he obtain, either from the places where he lived and was worshipped, or from the things that he did. The most remarkable shall be given alphabetically. The Greeks called him Ammon, or Hammon, which name signifies sandy. He obtained this name first in Lybia, where he was worshipped, under the figure of a ram; because, when Bacchus was athirst in the fabulous deserts of Arabia, and implored the assistance of Jupiter, Jupiter appeared in the form of a ram, opened a fountain with his foot, and discovered it to him. But others give this reason, because Jupiter. in war wore a helmet, whose crest was a ram's head. The Babylonians and Assyrians, whom he governed, called him Belus, who was the impious author of idolatry: and because of the uncertainty of his descent, they believed that he had neither father nor mother; and, therefore, he was thought the first of all gods. In different places, and languages, he was afterwards called Beel, Baal, Beelphegor, Beelzebub, and Belzemen. Jupiter was called Capitolinus, from the Capitoline hill, upon the top of which he had the first temple that ever was built in Rome; this Tarquin the Elder determined to build, Tarquin the Proud did build, and Horatius, the consul, dedicated. He was also called Tarpeius, from the Tarpeian rock, on which this temple was built. He was likewise styled Optimus Maximus, from his power and willingness to profit all men.

[graphic]

He was also called. Custos. There is in Nero's coins an image of him sitting on his throne, which bears in one hand thunder, and in the other a spear, with this inscription, Jupiter Custos. In some forms of oaths he was commonly called. Diespiter, the father of light; as we shall further remark presently under the word Lapis ; and to the same purpose he was by the Cretans called Dies. The title of Dodonaeus was given him from the city Dodona in Chaonia, which was so called from . Dodona, a nymph of the sea. Near to this city there was a grove sacred to Jupiter, which was planted with oaks; and famous, because it was the most ancient oracle of all Greece. Two doves delivered responses there to those who consulted it: or, as others used to say, the leaves of the oaks themselves became vocal, and gave forth oracles. He was named Elicius, because the prayers of men may bring him down from heaven.

Quod celo precibus eliciatur,

“Eliciunt coelo te Jupiter, unde Minores

Nunc quoque te celebrant, Eliciumque vocant.”—
Fast 3,

Jove can't resist the just man's cries,

They bring him down, e'en from the skies;

Hence he's Elicius call’d.

The name Feretrius is given him, because he

smites his enemies, or because he is the giver of peace; for when peace was made, the sceptre by which the ambassadors swore, and the flint-stone on which they confirmed their agreement, were brought out of his temple: or lastly, because, after they had overcome their enemies, they carried the grand spoils (spolia opima) to his temple, Romulus first presented such spoils to Jupiter, after he had slain Acron, king of Caenina; and Cornelius Gallus of sered the same spoils, after he had conquered Tolum

mius, king of Hetruria; and thirdly, M. Marcellus,

[graphic][graphic][graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »