BOOK III - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
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Page 119 he could devise, and us'd him with all the Contempt and Disgrace imaginable, he nail'd him to the Cross. Afterwards in Recompence to Tharops for the Kindness shew'd him, he advanc'd him to the Kingdom of Thrace, and taught him the manner of Celebrating the Mysteries of his Solemnities call'd Orgyae.

Oeagrus the Son of Tharops, succeeded his Father in the Kingdom, being instructed by him, in the same mysterious Rites and Ceremonies. Oeagrus afterwards taught them Orpheus his Son, who (being eminent for his Learning and Ingenuity) chang'd many things in the Orgyae. Hence those Rites and Mysteries first instituted by Bacchus were afterwards call'd Orphea.

But some of the Poets, among whom is Antimachus, say, Lycurgus was not King of Thrace, but of Arabia; and that he treacherously set upon Bacchus and his Bacchides in Nysa in Arabia: And further relate that Bacchus having every where punish'd the wicked and rewarded the good, return'd out of India, mounted upon an Elephant, into Thebes; and because he spent three Years in his Expedition, the Grecians celebrate the Festivals call'd Trieteriades. And report that being loaden with the Spoils of so great an Expedition, he was the first that was brought in Triumph into the Country. These are the Genealogies of Bacchus, according to the unanimous Consent of all the Ancients.

But many of the Cities in Greece contend for the Place of his Birth; for the Eleans, Naxians and the Inhabitants of Eleutherae, the Teians and many other, appropriate his Birth each particularly to themselves. And the Teians for Confirmation of what they say, bring this Argument, that there is a Spring in their City, which at some certain times streams forth most rich and fragrant Wine: And as to the rest, some of them shew Parcels of Land dedicated to him; and others (from ancient Tradition) sacred Groves and consecrated Temples. But in Truth since this God has left behind him many Tokens of his Beneficence, and likewise of his personal Presence in most Parts of the World, it's no wonder that every one affirms that his own Country and City, was the Place that was especially dear to Bacchus.

The Poet in his Hymns confirms what we have before declar'd, where speaking of those that doubt the Place of his Birth, brings him in as born at Nysa in Arabia in this manner—

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Some Dracanum, Icarus some, some Naxus name,
Places from which the divine Bacchus came.
From Thebes some, and from thy curling Streams
Alphaeus others say: All silly Dreams.
Thee Father JOVE in secret brought to Light
Fearful of Men's, and his fair Juno's Sight,
On Nysas Mount adorn'd with pleasant Woods
Far from Phoenician Coasts near Egypt's Floods.

Yet I am not ignorant that the Africans inhabiting the Sea-coasts, do themselves challenge the Birth Place of this God, and say that what things are reported to be done by him were done among them, and shew many Marks and Signs to prove what they say, which remain among them to this very day: And in further Confirmation hereof many of the ancient Historians and Poets, and likewise a great Part of the Modern Writers do agree in this thing concerning him.

And that we may not omit any thing that is said of Bacchus, we shall range under distinct Heads what the Africans have related concerning him, and wherein the Grecian Historians have agreed with them, and lastly what Account is given of him by Dionysices, who compos'd a History of the ancient Stories and Fables.



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