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In the Old Testament,* there are various ordinances of ceremonial purification, by bathing or ablution, in which it may be supposed by some, that immersion would take place. We have already seen that the supposition is questionable. But what we would remark at present is, that such purification was always performed by the unclean person himself, (and indeed decency required this, because this kind of purification never appears to have been the immersing of persons with their clothes on,) whereas the mode was always different, when the purification was administered by another.
Among the rites of the hospitality of the heathens indeed, we find even female attendants on Strangers of the other sex, when they received the refreshment of the bath.
Τόφρα δε Τηλέμαχον λούσαν καλή Πολυκάστη,
or your posts by his posts; but your sacrament, your sign, call it
Book II. Chap. ii.
* Lev. xv. 5, 8, 11, 13, 21, 22, 27. and xvi, 26, 28. and xvii. 15. and Num. xix. 7, 8, 19.
"Εκ τ' άσαμίνθου βη, δέμας αθανάτοισι ομοίως.
'oa. r. 464-469.
Odyssey III. 583—588. On this custom I have no objection to the remarks of Cowper, who says in a Note on the preceding passage : “ The strict morality and modesty of the ancients may be fairly enough inferred from the custom of employing young women, to perform this office for strangers young as themselves. Had the consequences been such as we should have reason to apprehend from the same practice here, it would either never have obtained so universally as it did in Greece, or would quickly have been discontinued.” -It appears, however, that this custom, if it really existed as is here supposed, did not receive the sanction of the wise Ulysses.
'Αμφίπολοι, στήθ ούτω απόπροθεν, όφρ' εγώ αυτός
Nay, there is reason to doubt whether the hospitable attention shown by female attendants to strangers ever implied personal attendance, and service, during the whole operation, or ever extended further than to the washing of their feet. When Nausicaa, in the passage from which the preceding quotation is taken said to her Maidens concerning Ulysses,
Λούσατε δ' εν ποταμώ, 89' επί σκέπας έστ' ανέμοιο. 210.
And lave him where the stream is shelter'd most, 258.
they understood her to mean, carry him to a proper place, and furnish him with the means of bathing himself. Accordingly, when they had done so, it is said,
"Ηνωγον δ' άρα μιν λούσθαι ποταμοίο ροήσι. 216.
They EXHORTED him to bathe in the river's stream.
Ernesti's note on the 210 line is
novoare 8. Non lavate ipsum : turpe hoc: et ipse se lavat, ver. 219. nec vult præsentibus ipsis lavari. Sensus est: Facite ut lavari possit : suppeditando oleo, et locum ostendendo. Not bathe him, that would be shameful: he both bathes himself, ver. 219, and refuses to do it, in their presence. The meaning is : do what may be necessary for his bathing, by supplying him with oil, and pointing out a proper place.
When Ulysses recites all this kindness of Nausicaa to her Father Alcinous, he uses the same general language, but evidently in the same restricted meaning,
Kal novo v TOTAM —H'. 296. Literally “bathed me in the river." Cowper renders it-taught me where to bathe." And Ernesti's Note is, “ Non, et lavit in flumine ; quomodo virgini et veritati, 8.219. conveniat ? Et lavandi copiam fecit. Vid. ad %. 210." Not and bathed me in the river ; how would that suit the character of a virgin, and the truth of the fact as stated vi. 219. and gave him an opportunity of bathing. See note on vi, 210. In like manner, when Penelope desires her maidens to give the bath to Ulysses, still known to her only as a stranger; although she uses general terms, such as αλλά μιν, άμφίπολοι, απονίψατε, “ give him the bath, my maidens," and nūdev o Wita ng héocai ts krioaitt," "at early dayspring also serve him well with bath and unction;" yet he understands her as meaning nothing more than the washing of his feet ; and it is worthy of particular notice that, even in that case, he declines the service unless it should be performed by one that was aged, which agrees exactly with the practice as sanctioned by the holy scriptures.
Ουδέ τί μοι ΠΟΔΑΝΙΠΤΡΑ ποδών επιήρανα θυμώ
'OA. T. 343_-348.
Nor me the FOOT BATH pleases more; my foot
Odyssey XIX. 416-421.
Compare this with 1 Tim, v. 9, 10. “Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, IF SHE HAVE WASHED THE SAINTS' FEET, IF SHE HAVE RELIEVED THE AFFLICTED, if she have diligently followed every good work.”
The only decisive instance of any further female service in bathing the body, and to which even Ulysses is represented as submitting, was in the sensual palace of Circe. I quote it for the sake of acknowledging the exception, and also to show the Reader a Bath, not by immersion, but effusion.
“Η δε τετάρτη ύδωρ εφόροι, και πυρ ανίκαια Πολλών υπό τρίποδι μεγάλα μαίνετο δ' ύδωρ. Αυταρ επειδή ζέσσεν ύδωρ ενι ήνοπι χαλκό, "Ες τ' ασάμινθον έσασα, λό” έκ τρίποδος μεγάλοιο, θυμήρες. ΚΕΡΑ'ΣΑΣΑ ΚΑΤΑ' ΚΡΑΤΟΣ ΤΕ ΚΑΙ ΩΜΩΝ, "ΟΦρά μοι εκ κάματον, θυμορφθόρον είλισο γυίων, Αύταρ, έπει λουσίν τε, και έχρισεν λίπ’ ελαίω, 'Αμφί δε με χλαίναν καλήν βάλεν, ήδε χιτώνα: Είσα δε μεισαγαγούσα επί θρόνου άργυροήλου Καλού, δαιδαλέου υπό δέ θρήνες ποσίν ήεν. ΧΕΡΝΙΒΑ.δ' άμφίπολος. προχόω 'ΕΠΕ'ΧΕΥΕ φέρουσα Καλή, κρυσείη, υπέρ αργυρέoιο λέβητος, Νίψασθαι παρά δε ξεστην ετάχυσσε τράπεζας, ΟΑ. Κ', 358-370.
The fourth brought water, which she warm’d within
Sang in the tripod, led me to a bath,
+ Compare this warm bath of Homer with the cold bath of Livy I. 45. as quoted in page 41,