The Library of History

Page 139

Page 139 great on a suddain, became the Object of the Carthaginians Envy and Fear, lest growing stronger than Carthage it self, it should deprive them of their Sovereignty; and for that Reason they besieg'd it with a mighty Army, and took it by force, and raz'd it to the Ground; of which we shall speak particularly in its proper time.

Hercules having view'd Sicily round, came to the City now call'd Syracuse, where when he came to be inform'd of the Rape of Proserpina; he offer'd magnificent Sacrifices to the Goddesses, and at Cyane sacrific'd the goodliest of his Bulls, and ordered the Inhabitants to sacrifice Yearly to Proserpina, and observe an Anniversary Festival at Cyane. Then travelling through the heart of the Country with his Oxen, he was set upon by the Sicani, with a strong Body of Men; whom after a cruel Battel he routed, and cut off most of them; amongst whom (it's reported) there were Captains of extraordinary Valour, who are honour'd as Demy-Gods to this Day; to wit, Leucaspis, Pedicrates, Buphonas, Caugates, Cygaus and Crytidas: Thence he pass'd through the Country of Leontines, and much admir'd the pleasantness of the Territory, and by reason of the singular respect he found from the Inhabitants, he left there eternal Monuments of his Presence.

Among the Agyrineans something remarkable happened concerning him; for they kept magnificent Festivals, and offered Sacrifices to him as to the Gods themselves; which was the first time he approv'd of such Worship, never before allowing any Sacrifice to himself: But now the Deity it self ratify'd his Divinity; for not far from the City in a Rocky Way, the Oxen made Impressions with their Feet, as if it had been in Wax; and the same thing likewise happening to Hercules himself, caus'd him to conclude that (his Tenth Labour being now perfected) his Immortality was in part sealed to him; and therefore he refus'd not the Yearly Solemnity of Sacrifices instituted in honour of him by the Inhabitants. That he might therefore manifest his gratitude to them for the Honours conferr'd upon him, he caus'd a Pond to be sunk near the City, Four Furlongs in Compass, which he call'd after his own Name. The Impressions likewise made by the Hoofs of his Oxen, he nam'd after himself; and consecrated a Grove to Geryon, as to a Demy-God, whom the Inhabitants religiously worship at this Day. He built likewise there a famous Temple in honour of Iolaus, his Associate in his Expedition, and appointed he should be honour'd with Yearly Sacrifices, which are observ'd at this day: For all the Inhabitants of this City let their Hair grow, without Cutting, from their very Births, in honour of Iolaus; till they make an Offering of them to him, and gain the favour of the God by costly and magnificent Sacrifices. Such is the Holiness and Majesty of this Temple, that whosoever do not observe these holy Rites, they are strucken Dumb, and are like Dead Men: But as soon as any recollects himself, and vows to offer his Sacrifices, and gives a Pledge to the God for that purpose, they are presently restor'd to their former Health. The Inhabitants therefore very fitly call the Gate where these Sacred Solemnities are perform'd Heraclea. They every Year likewise with great earnestness celebrate the Gymnick Sports, and Horse-Races; whither all the People both Bond and Free flocking, they privately taught their Servants how to worship this God, how to celebrate the Solemn Sacrifices, and to perform when they met together the Sacred Rites and Festivals.

After this, Hercules pass'd over his Oxen again into Italy, and in his marching along by the Sea-Coasts, he kill'd one Lacinius that was stealing some of his Oxen. There he buried Croton, and erected a stately Monument over him, whom he had unfortunately slain; and foretold that in time to come there should be built a famous City, call'd after the Name of him that was there bury'd. Having at length marcht round about Adria, and all the Coasts of that Gulf on Foot, he pass'd through Epirus into Peloponesus.

Having finisht his Tenth Labour, Euristheus impos'd another Task upon him, and that was that he should bring Cerberus out of Hell. Preparing himself therefore to perform this, to be better enabled thereunto, he went to Athens to be initiated into the Mysterious Rites of Elusina, where Musaeus the Son of Orpheus was then High Priest.

And because we have now occasion to mention Orpheus, we conceive it will not be amiss here to give a short Account of him. He was the Son of Oeagrus, and by Birth a Thracian, for the Art of Musick and Poetry far excelling all that

Bibliotheca Historica

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