The Library of History

Page 206

Page 206 But the truth of the Story is, he found out the way how to strike Fire out of Flint or Stone. Mnemosyne they say, found out the Art of Logick, and gave proper Names to every thing, by which, whatever is discours'd of, might be distinctly known and understood: But some attribute this to Mercury. They ascribe likewise to this Goddess every thing conducing to the help of Man's Memory, from whence she has her Name.

Themis taught the Art of Divination, and instructed Men in Holy Rites, and prescrib'd Laws for the Service and Worship of the Gods, and for preservation of Peace and good Government amongst Men; and therefore we call those that keep and take care of the Sacred Laws both of Gods and Men, Thesmophylacae, and Thesmothetae. And when Apollo himself is to give his Answer at the Oracle, we say, Themisteum, because he was the first that practiz'd Divination. These Gods therefore having thus greatly benefited Mankind, were not only ador'd with Divine Honours, but were accounted to be the first that after their Deaths were translated to Heaven. Vesta, Ceres, Juno, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, are said to be the Children of Saturn and Rhea.

Vesta invented the Building of Houses, and upon this account almost every Body sets up her Statue in their Houses, and adore her with Divine Honours.

Ceres was the first that discover'd the use of Bread-Corn, finding it by chance growing of it self amongst other Plants and Herbs; and taught the way of Housing and Baking it, and how to sow it. For she found out Corn before Proserpina was born; after whose Birth and Rape by Pluto, she was so incens'd at Jupiter, and in such grief for the loss of her Daughter, that she set all the Corn on Fire. But when she had found out Proserpina, she was reconciled to Jupiter, and gave Seed-Corn to Triptolemus, with order to impart it to all People, and teach them how to order it, and make use of it.

Some say, she made Laws, to direct Men to deal justly and truly one with another; and from hence she was call'd Thesmophoron: For these great Advantages to Mankind, she was likewise highly honour'd; and not only Grecians, but the Barbarians almost every where, that partook of these Fruits, ador'd and worship'd her with Solemn and Magnificent Festivals and Sacrifices.

There are many Controversies and Differences concerning the first finding out of this Fruit, for some say, this Goddess first saw it, and taught the nature and use of it before any other. For the Egyptians say, that Isis and Ceres were one and the same Person, who first brought Seed-Corn into Egypt, the River Nile watering the Fields, and washing the Country at proper Seasons, much advancing thereby the growth and increase thereof.

But the Athenians say, that although Corn was first found out amongst them, yet it was transported from other Places into Attica. The Place where it was first seen, they call Eleusina, because that Seed-Corn was first brought thither.

The Sicilians likewise who inhabit the Island, specially dedicated to Ceres and Proserpina, say, it's most reasonable to conclude, that this great Gift was first bestow'd upon them who till'd and improv'd that Country which was most belov'd of this Goddess. For it's a most unreasonable thing this Place should be reported the richest Island of the World, and yet to judge it the last in sharing of this great Blessing, as if it had been no part of their Fertility, especially when Ceres resided there her self; and all agree that Proserpina was ravish'd in this Place; and that this Island is a Country most proper for Corn of any other in the World, as the Poet testifies.

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 .
Within this Island all things grow,
Without the help of Seed or Plow,
As Wheat and Barley—
Of Ceres therefore thus they say
In Stories of her—

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books