The Library of History

Page 171

Page 171
Ʋpon their Shoulders him they bore away,
If that we may believe what Stories say:
From Crete great Jove advanc'd to th' Heavens clear,
And plac'd the Curetes in the Northern Bear.
For that from's Father Saturn him they hid,
When young; and th' Youth out of all danger rid.

It's not fit therefore that we should pass by in silence the piety of these Goddesses, and their Fame and Reputation amongst all Men. For they are not only ador'd by the Inhabitants of this City, but several of the Neighbouring Countries worship them with pompous Sacrifices, and other Religious Services. And the Oracle at Delphos injoyn'd many Cities to give divine Honour to these Goddesses; promising that by this means they should be bless'd both in their private and publick Concerns. And at length these Goddesses grew so Famous, that rich Gifts both of Gold and Silver were dedicated to them by the Inhabitants, and such Offerings are continu'd to the very time of writing this History. For they built to them a most sumptuous Temple, both for greatness of Structure, and Costlyness of Ornament. For in regard there was not Stone in that part of the Country fit for the raising such a Structure, they took care to have it brought from the Agyrinaeans, which was a Hundred Furlongs distance, and the way very rough and craggy, and hard to pass: And therefore to convey the Stones, they provided Wagons, and a Hundred Yoke of Oxen; being the better inabled to bear the Charge, for that the Sacred Treasures were very large. For a little before our time, there were Three Thousand Oxen dedicated to those Goddesses, and so much Land as rais'd a vast Revenue: But having said enough of this, we shall proceed to the History of Aristaeus.

Aristaeus was the Son of Apollo and Cyrene, the Daughter of Gypsaeus, who was the Son of Peneus. Of his Birth some tell this Story: They say that Cyrene was very beautiful, and brought up at Mount Pelion, and that Apollo fell in love with her, and transported her into Lybia, where in later time was built a City, call'd after her Name Cyrene. There Apollo committed his Son Aristaeus, begotten of Cyrene (then a young Infant) to the care of the Nymphs, to be brought up by them; who gave him Three several Names, Norricus, Aristaeus and Agreus. These Nymphs taught him how to curdle Milk, to order and make Bee-Hives, and plant Olive-Yards; and by this means he became the first that directed all other Men in this Art: For which he was so honour'd, that all ador'd him as a God, as much as they did Bacchus.

Afterwards they say, he went to Thebes, where he marry'd Autonoe, one of Cadmus's Daughters, by whom he had Actaeon, torn in Pieces (as the Mythologists say) by his own Dogs. Some give this Reason of his Misfortune, Because that he design'd Nuptial Imbraces with Diana in her Temple, dedicating to her what he got in hunting, for that Solemnity. Others say, because he boasted that in hunting, he excell'd Diana her self. And it is not improbable, but that the Goddess might be incens'd at either of these. For whether for the gratifying of his Lust by his Prey, he abus'd the Goddess, who was ever averse from Marriage, or that he dar'd to prefer himself in the Art of Hunting before her, who by all the Gods themselves was granted to excel all others in that respect, the Goddess was certainly most justly angry: It's therefore very probable, that being transform'd into the likeness of those Beasts he us'd to take, the Dogs when they were in pursuit of other Game, might tear him himself in Pieces.

After the Death of Actaeon, Aristaeus went to his Father the Oracle at Delphos, and there it's said, he was commanded by the Oracle to remove into the Island Coos, who told him that he should be there highly honour'd, and in great esteem with the Coons.

Thither therefore he sail'd; a Plague afterwards raging over all Greece, he sacrific'd to the Gods for the deliverance of the Grecians: When he had perfected his Sacrifice about the rising of the Dog Star, at which time the Etesian

Bibliotheca Historica

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