ΠΕΡΙ ΤΗΣ ΣΥΡΙΗΣ ΘΕΟΥ
1Ἔστιν ἐν Συρίῃ πόλις οὐ πολλὸν ἀπὸ τοῦ Εὐφρήτεω ποταμοῦ, καλέεται δὲ Ἱρή, καὶ ἔστιν ἱρὴ τῆς Ἥρης τῆς Ἀσσυρίης. δοκέει δέ μοι, τόδε τὸ οὔνομα οὐκ ἅμα τῇ πόλει οἰκεομένῃ ἐγένετο, ἀλλὰ τὸ μὲν ἀρχαῖον ἄλλο ἦν, μετὰ δὲ σφίσι τῶν ἱρῶν μεγάλων γιγνομένων ἐς τόδε ἡ ἐπωνυμίη ἀπίκετο. περὶ ταύτης ὦν τῆς πόλιος ἔρχομαι ἐρέων ὁκόσα ἐν αὐτῇ ἐστιν· ἐρέω δὲ καὶ νόμους τοῖσιν ἐς τὰ ἱρὰ χρέωνται, καὶ πανηγύριας τὰς ἄγουσιν καὶ θυσίας τὰς ἐπιτελέουσιν. ἐρέω δὲ καὶ ὁκόσα καὶ περὶ τῶν τὸ ἱρὸν εἱσαμένων μυθολογέουσι, καὶ τὸν νηὸν ὅκως ἐγένετο. γράφω δὲ Ἀσσύριος ἐών, καὶ τῶν ἀπηγέομαι τὰ μὲν αὐτοψίῃ μαθών, τὰ δὲ παρὰ τῶν ἱρέων ἐδάην, ὁκόσα ἐόντα ἐμεῦ πρεσβύτερα ἐγὼ ἱστορέω.
2Πρῶτοι μὲν ὦν ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἡμεῖς ἴδμεν Αἰγύπτιοι λέγονται θεῶν τε ἐννοίην λαβεῖν καὶ
The Goddesse of Surrye
In Surrye, not fer fro the Ryvere Eufrate, is a Cytee that Holy highte and holy is in sothe, for it is of Iuno Assurien.1 Yit I wene that the cyteene hadde not this name atte firste, whan that it was founded, but of olden tyme it was other, and after, whan here servys of the Goddesse wex gret, it was their chaunged to this. Touching this cytee I purpos me to seyn alle that is in it, and I schalle speke of the customes that thei folwen in here rytes, and the feste dayes that thei kepen, and the sacrifices that thei perfourmen. And I schalle reherce alle the tales that men tellen of hem that establisschede the holy place, and how that the temple was bylded. And I that write am Assurien,2 and of that that I devyse you, some partie saughe I with mine owne eyen, and some partie I lerned be informacioun fro the prestes, that is to seyn, tho thynges that I descryve that weren beforn min owne tyme.
Of alle peples whereof wee knowen, Egyptyens weren firste, as men seyn, for to taken conceyte of
- 1Hierapolis, or better, in accordance with the coins, Hieropolis. It is N.W. of Aleppo, on the main road into Mesopotamia, 15 Roman miles from the crossing of the Euphrates, and by road about 116 Roman miles from Lucian’s birthplace, Samosata. Its Syrian name was Mabog, (properly Manbog, i.e. “spring,” according to Baudissin, Studien, ii, 159), in Greek, Bambyce. It was dubbed Hieropolis in the time of Seleucus Nicator (Ael. N. H. 12, 2), but the old name persisted (Manbij; le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, p. 500) and still attaches to the ruins, on which see Hogarth, Annual of the British School at Athens, 1907–8, p. 186 sqq; Cumont, Études Syriennes, p. 22 sqq., p. 35 sqq. Lucian does not identify the city with “ancient Ninus,” as do Philostratus and Ammianus.
- 2Confusion between Assyrian and Syrian is not peculiar to this piece nor to Lucian. It goes back to Herodotus, who says that “Syrian” is the Greek equivalent of the barbarian “Assyrian” (7,63; see Macan’s note, and cf. 140).