The Library of History

Page 172

Page 172 Winds began to rise, the Plague staid. This remarkable change (if it be seriously considered) may justly be wonder'd at; for he who had his Son torn in Pieces with Dogs, allay'd the evil Influences of the Dog-Star (which commonly are pernicious) and at that time restor'd Health to many Thousands.

Afterwards leaving his Children behind him, he went to Lybia, and from thence being furnish'd with Shipping by the Nymph his Mother, he sail'd into Sardinia, where being taken with the pleasantness of the Island, he feated himself, and improved the Ground with Planting and Tillage, and civiliz'd the Inhabitants who were before Rude and Barbarous. Here he begat Two Sons, Carmus and Calaecarpus. Afterwards he sail'd to other Islands, and staid for some time in Sicily, upon the account of its Fruitfulness both in Corn and Cattel, where he imparted several things to the Inhabitants that were of great Benefit and Advantage. Therefore it's said all the Sicilians, and especially those that had Olive-Yards, ador'd Aristaeus as a God.

At last, they say, he went into Thrace to Bacchus, where he learnt the Rites of the Orgia, and through his familiar Converse with that God, was instructed in many other things, both useful and profitable.

After he had liv'd for some time near Mount Haemus, he vanish'd away, and never was seen more; and was afterwards honour'd as a God, not only by the Barbarians in those Parts, but by all the Gracians: But concerning Aristaeus, this shall suffice.

Now to say something concerning Daphne and Eryx; it's reported that Eryx was the Son of Venus and Butes, a Native, a most Famous Prince. This Eryx for the Nobleness of his Birth on the Mothers side, was of great Esteem among the Inhabitants, and became King of part of the Island, and built a City call'd after his own Name, upon a high and lofty Hill, upon the top of which within the City, he built a Temple to Venus, adorn'd with rich Oblations, and all other stately Furniture. The Goddess in reward of the Piety of the Inhabitants, and the devotion of her Son the Founder, exprest a special Love and Kindness for this City, and upon that nam'd her self Venus Erycina.

When any seriously considers the Majesty of this Temple, he cannot but greatly admire it; for all other Sacred Structures, after they have been famous for some time, have often by the adverse Blasts of Fortune, been at length ruin'd and destroyd; but this has been so far (from the very first Dedication of it) from decreasing in its Glory, that it has grown still more and more in Reputation and Esteem. For after the Consecration of it by Eyrx, Aeneas another Son of Venus, when he arriv'd in Sicily in his Voyage to Italy, beautify'd it with many rich Oblations, because it was Consecrated to his Mother; and after him the Sicilians for many Ages together (at great Cost and Expence) ador'd this Goddess with magnificent Sacrifices, and further adorn'd her Temple with many great Oblations. The Carthaginians also in later times, when they conquer'd part of the Island, still continu'd the splendid Worship of this Goddess. And lastly, the Romans, when they became Masters of the whole Island, surpass'd all that were before 'em in the Worship of this Deity; and this they did upon good ground, for they deriv'd their Original from her, and by her means were prosperous in all their Affairs, and therefore in gratitude for so many Benefits, they return'd her the greater Honour and Esteem. For the Consuls and Praetors, and all that came as Governors into this Island, as soon as they came to Eryx, offer'd most magnificent Sacrifices, and dedicated rich Gifts for the beautifying of this Temple; and by little and little laid aside their Austerity, and pleasantly convers'd both with the Women and Children in their Jollity, looking upon this to be the only way to ingratiate themselves into the favour of the Goddess. The Roman Senate likewise out of their singular respect to this Goddess, decreed that Seventeen of the most considing Cities they had in Sicily, should make an Offering in Gold to Venus, and that the Temple should be continually guarded by Two Hundred Soldiers.

And thus though we have treated something largely of Eryx, yet the Account is not impertinent to the History of Venus.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books