Clement of Alexandria

CAP. II καὶ Φόβῳ θύουσιν, οὓς καὶ αὐτοὺς μετὰ τῶν ἀμφὶ τὸν Ἡρακλέα ἐγγράφουσιν. ἐῶ δὲ Ἀργείους· Ἀφροδίτην Τυμβωρύχον θρῃσκεύουσιν Ἀργεῖοι καὶ Λάκωνες,1 καὶ Χελύτιδα δὲ Ἄρτεμιν Σπαρτιᾶται σέβουσιν· ἐπεὶ τὸ βήττειν χελύττειν καλοῦσιν.

Οἴει ποθὲν παρέγγραπτα2 ταῦτά σοι κομίζεσθαι τὰ ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν παρατιθέμενα; οὐδὲ τοὺς σοὺς γνωρίζειν ἔοικας συγγραφεῖς, οὓς ἐγὼ μάρτυρας ἐπὶ τὴν σὴν ἀπιστίαν καλῶ, ἀθέου χλεύης, ὦ δείλαιοι, τὸν πάντα ὑμῶν ἀβίωτον ὄντως βίον ἐμπεπληκότας.3 οὐχὶ μέντοι Ζεὺς φαλακρὸς ἐν Ἄργει, τιμωρὸς δὲ ἄλλος ἐν Κύπρῳ τετίμησθον4; οὐχὶ δὲ Ἀφροδίτῃ περιβασοῖ5 μὲν Ἀργεῖοι, ἑταίρᾳ δὲ Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ καλλιπύγῳ6 θύουσιν Συρακούσσιοι, ἣν Νίκανδρος ὁ ποιητὴς “καλλίγλουτόν” που κέκληκεν; Διόνυσον δὲ ἤδη σιωπῶ τὸν χοιροψάλαν· Σικυώνιοι τοῦτον προσκυνοῦσιν ἐπὶ τῶν γυναικείων τάξαντες τὸν Διόνυσον μορίων, ἔφορον αἴσχους τὸν ὕβρεως σεβάζοντες ἀρχηγόν. τοιοίδε μὲν αὐτοῖς οἱ θεοί, τοιοίδε καὶ αὐτοί, παίζοντες ἐν θεοῖς, μᾶλλον δὲ ἐμπαίζοντες καὶ ἐνυβρίζοντες σφίσιν αὐτοῖς. καὶ πόσῳ βελτίους Αἰγύπτιοι κωμηδὸν καὶ κατὰ πόλεις τὰ ἄλογα τῶν ζῴων ἐκτετιμηκότες ἤπερ Ἕλληνες τοιούτους προσκυνοῦντες θεούς; τὰ μὲν γὰρ εἰ καὶ θηρία, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ μοιχικά, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ μάχλα, παρὰ φύσιν δὲ θηρεύει ἡδονὴν οὐδὲ ἕν. οἱ δὲ ὁποῖοι,


Exhortation to the Greeks

as well as to “Fever” and “Fear” which they evenchap. II enroll among the companions of Heracles. I pass by the Argives; Aphrodite the “grave-robber” is worshipped by them, as well as by the Laconians. Furthermore, Spartans venerate Artemis Chelytis or the “coughing” Artemis, since the verb corresponding to Chelytis is their word for “to cough.”

Do you think that the examples which I amFurther examples from Greek writers adducing are brought to you from some improper source? Why, it seems as if you do not recognize your own authors, whom I call as witnesses against your unbelief. Alas for you! They have filled your whole life with godless foolery, until life has become truly intolerable. Tell me, is there not a “bald” Zeus honoured in Argos, and another, an “avenger,” in Cyprus? Do not Argives sacrifice to Aphrodite divancatrix, Athenians to her as “courtesan,” and Syracusans to her “of the beautiful buttocks,” whom the poet Nicandera has somewhere called “of the beautiful rump”? I will be silent about Dionysus choiropsalas. The Sicyonians worship this Dionysus as the god who presides over the woman’s secret parts; thus they reverence the originator of licentiousness, as overseer of what is shameful. Such, then, is the character of the Greek gods; such, too, are the worshippers, who make a mockery of the divine, or rather, who mock and insult themselves. How much better are Egyptians, when inEven Egyptian animal gods are better than these cities and villages they hold in great honour the irrational animals, than Greeks who worship such gods as these? For though the Egyptian gods are beasts, still they are not adulterous, they are not lewd, and not one of them seeks for pleasure contrary to its own nature. But as for the character of the

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.clement_alexandria-exhortation_greeks.1919