The Library of History

Page 209

Page 209 To Minerva he committed the Care of Olive-Yards, and planting of Olive-Trees, and extracting of Oyl. For before the Birth of this Goddess, this Tree grew wild, disregarded among other Trees of the Wood. But the use and culture of them (as is now practis'd) was not then known.

The making of Garments likewise and Architecture, and many other Arts was discover'd to Men by this Goddess: She invented Pipes, and the manner of Wind Musick, and many ingenious Tools and Instruments for Handicrafts; whence she was call'd Ergana.

To the Muses, their Father allotted the Invention of Letters, and the Composing of Verses, call'd Poetry.

But there are some who attribute the Invention of Letters to the Syrians, from whom the Phaenicians learnt them, and communicated them to the Grecians when they came along with Cadmus into Europe; whence the Grecians call'd them Phaenician Letters. To these that hold this Opinion, it's answer'd, that the Phaenicians were not the first that found out Letters, but only chang'd the Form and Shape of them into other Characters, which many afterwards using, the Name of Phaenician grew to be common.

Vulcan they say, found out the working of Iron, Brass, Silver and Gold, and all other Metals that require forging by Fire; and that the general use of Fire in all other cases, was found out by him, and discover'd not only to Artificers, but to all other Men; and therefore all the Masters of these Arts, pay their Devotions, and offer their Sacrifices chiefly to this God; and both they and all others, call Fire Vulcan, to the end that this great Good bestow'd upon all Mankind, might be for ever remembred, to his eternal Honour and Praise.

Mars they say, first taught the making of all sorts of Weapons, and how to furnish Soldiers both with offensive and defensive Arms, and to fight with Courage and Resolution, destroying all them that were Enemies to the Gods.

To Apollo is attributed the invention of the Harp, and that sort of Musick; and 'tis said, he discover'd the Art of Physick, which is practis'd by Revelation from him, by which the Sick heretofore were commonly restor'd to Health: He found out likewise the use of the Bow, and taught the Inhabitants to shoot; and therefore the Cretians delight much in Shooting, and call the Bow Scythicus.

Aesculapius was the Son of Apollo and Coronides; he was instructed by his Father in the Art of Physick, and found out Chirurgery, and the making up of Medicines, the Vertues of Roots and Plants, and improv'd to that degree in his Art, that he was reputed the first Founder and Author of it, and likewise the Prince of Physitians.

To Mercury they attribute the Invention of Messages in Times of War, by Trumpets and Heralds, of Truces and Leagues; and as a Sign, they were sent to treat with the Enemy, they carry'd a Rod before them; and therefore were suffered safely to come and go. Hence they were call'd the Common Mercury, because both sides injoy'd the equal benefit of a Peace after a War.

They say, he was the first that invented Weights and Measures, and getting of Wealth by Merchandize, and the way of Cheating and Cozening of others. He was accounted the Herald of the Gods, and the best Messenger, because he was quick and ingenious in declaring particularly every thing he had in Command. Whence he was call'd Hermes.

He was not the Inventer of Names and Words, as some say, but excell'd in clear and eloquent Expression, and delivery of his Message. He was likewise the Author of the Games of Wrestling, and invented the Harp made of a Tortois Shell, after the Contest between Apollo and Marsyas; in which (they say) Apollo was Victor, and reveng'd himself of his Adversary, to a greater degree than was fit; for which he was afterwards so griev'd, that they say, he broke the Strings of his Harp, and for some time forbore to play upon that Instrument.

The Cretians say, that Bacchus found out the use of the Vine, and the manner of planting and pruning of it, and the making of Wine, and the way of laying up the Summer Fruits; by which means they were preserv'd for Mens use and sustenance for a long time.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books