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ANF02. Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire)
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Chapter XXIX.—Proof of the Same from the Poets.

But among the Greeks, also, those who are eminent in poetry and history say the same thing. Thus of Heracles:—

“That lawless wretch, that man of brutal strength,

Deaf to Heaven’s voice, the social rite transgressed.”809809    Hom., Od., xxi. 28. sq.

Such being his nature, deservedly did he go mad, and deservedly did he light the funeral pile and burn himself to death. Of Asklepius, Hesiod says:—

“The mighty father both of gods and men

Was filled with wrath, and from Olympus’ top

With flaming thunderbolt cast down and slew

Latona’s well-lov’d son—such was his ire.”810810    Hesiod, Frag.

And Pindar:—

“But even wisdom is ensnared by gain.

The brilliant bribe of gold seen in the hand

Ev’n him811811    i.e., Æsculapius. perverted: therefore Kronos’ son

With both hands quickly stopp’d his vital breath,

And by a bolt of fire ensured his doom.”812812    Pyth., iii. 96 sq.

Either, therefore, they were gods and did not hanker after gold—

“O gold, the fairest prize to mortal men,

Which neither mother equals in delight,

Nor children dear”813813    Ascribed by Seneca to the Bellerophon of Eurip.

for the Deity is in want of nought, and is superior to carnal desire, nor did they die; or, having been born men, they were wicked by reason of ignorance, and overcome by love of money. What more need I say, or refer to Castor, or Pollux, or Amphiaraus, who, having been born, so to speak, only the other day, men of men, are looked upon as gods, when they imagine even Ino after her madness and its consequent sufferings to have become a goddess?

“Sea-rovers will her name Leucothea.”814814    From the Ino, a lost play of Eurip.

And her son:—

“August Palæmon, sailors will invoke.”


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