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necessary in the law-courts, but whose power is otherwise vague and was probably rather honorific than real; and certain officials, sometimes called episcopi, sometimes epimelétæ, who in some places had the right of convoking the assembly, and in others shared the functions of the treasurer or the secretary. All these officials were, so to speak, civil officers, and were elected by the votes of the assembly. The religious functions were discharged by a priest, priestess, or sacrificers, who were chosen by lot-a recognised mode of consulting the divine will. The duties of the priest (or priestess) were to conduct the sacrifices and the rites, to open and close the temple at the proper times, to preside over the purification and initiation of members, and to celebrate the mysteries, for the performance of which the society existed. The funds of the society were devoted, first to the purchase and maintenance of a sanctuary, or sacred enclosure, containing a temple, a hall in which to hold the sacred banquet, and other buildings; next, to defraying the cost of the monthly sacrifices; third, to the payment of salaries; and last, not unfrequently to the burial of deceased members. These societies were usually in debt or in danger of it, and the treasurer (who was, when the society could so contrive it, a man of means and generosity) not uncommonly came to the rescue of the society with his private purse. When the poorer members were assisted by the society, it was not as a matter of charity but on the principle of a mutual benefit society: the money was advanced on security, and had to be repaid by the borrower. On the other hand, an inscription recently published shows that the poorer members of a society were sometimes charitably assisted by the wealthier.
The constitution of these societies, as described in the last paragraph, is obviously modelled on the republican institutions which prevailed in many of the Greek states of the fourth century B.C., and cannot be earlier than that period. In previous times it must have been different, and
1 επίσκοποι, επιμεληται, also σύνδικοι οι λογισται.
* Corp. Inscr. Auicarum, iv. ii. 6246, 12: dopbvTiO eV de roll kal Tous ônuotiKOUS METEXELV TWY dedouévwv ÚTÒ Tv ópyeu'vwv pilar purwy. The inscription is not later than b.c. 159.
naturally much simpler. Probably in the beginning there was only one official, the priest: the finances of the society were not so great as to require a treasurer, nor its archives so extensive as to call for a secretary. It was only with the growth of the society, if it did grow (for many of these associations probably never got beyond a rudimentary stage of existence), that the number of members increased, the revenues swelled, and the expenses of the ritual developed so much that the priest became unable to manage the whole, and that a division of labour became necessary between a secretary, treasurer, president, and priest. The ease and simplicity with which an agyrtes could found one of these associations in their simplest form may be seen from an inscription, which, though it is in date as late as the second century of our era, is yet probably in spirit and essentials true to its type. The inscription was discovered in 1868 near the silver mines of Laureion in Attica, and it shows how the worship of an Oriental deity, in this case Mên Tyrannos (i.e. the Sovereign Moon), might be introduced into Greece. The worship of Mên was widely spread over Asia Minor: the image of the god figures on the coins of nearly all the towns of Phrygia, Lydia, and Pisidia, as well as on some of the monuments of Pamphylia, Caria, and Thrace. The author of the inscription was a Lycian slave, working in the mines for his owner, a Roman proprietor ; and it was the od Mên himself, who, in a vision or dream, bade Xanthos establish his cult: “I, Xanthos, a Lycian, belonging to Caius Orbius, have consecrated the temple of Mên Tyrannos, in conformity with the will of the god.” To erect a temple was an undertaking beyond the resources which Xanthos had at his disposal, so he simply appropriated a deserted heroön and adapted it to his own purposes. As founder and priest of the cult, he himself composed and engraved (as the style and spelling sufficiently show) the “law” of the new cult. In it he laid down the conditions under which the temple might be used, sacrifices offered, and crani or banquets held: no one who was “unclean " might approach the temple, sacrifices might not be offered without the co-operation of the founder, Xanthos, and in 1 Foucart, 26.
2 No. 38 in Foucart, op. cit.
case of his death or absence his functions could only be discharged by someone nominated by him in person.
The “law” thus laid down by Xanthos was probably somewhat simpler than that which formed the basis of the earliest thiasi. Plato talks of the piles of books which itinerant agyrtoe carried about with them, and they were doubtless handed down by the original founder of a thiasus to his successors. These books contained, as we learn from Plato, instructions as to the ritual to be observed in sacrifice; and, according to Demosthenes, it was from such sacred books, belonging to the thiasus of Sabazios, that Æschines read the formulæ which had to be recited during the purification and initiation of those who wished to be admitted to these mysteries.
In these private mysteries, as in the public mysteries which we shall have to describe hereafter, we have to distinguish between the preliminary ceremonies of purification and preparation and the actual rite for the celebration of which the religious organisation, public or private, existed. For the private mysteries we get our information mainly from the passage of Demosthenes already referred to. The exact order of proceedings, the precise acts to be performed by the novice, his very attitude and gesture at each stage of the proceedings, seem to have been prescribed in the ritualbook; and the function of the youthful Æschines was to read out these instructions so that the novice might know what next to do. The first step in the preliminary ceremony was to place the candidate under the protection of the god, and this was done by throwing a fawn-skin round him. In this act we note the survival or revival of one of the oldest beliefs connected with animal-worship, namely, that the animal god may reside in the skin of the animal just as a tree-god may reside in the bough of a tree. In this faith, totem tribes on solemn occasions clothe themselves in the skin of the totem animal, and more advanced peoples made idols of animal-gods by stuffing the hide, or later (as in Greece) clothed a human-shaped idol with the skin. When the candidate had been thus commended to the god, the next thing was that he should be purified. To this end, he was stripped and made to crouch down upon the ground, and then bowls of water were poured over him. In some mysteries this purification by water was such a prominent and important feature in the ceremony, that those who practised it took their name from it, and were known (and derided) as Baptæ. In others, however, a more startling and paradoxical mode of purification was in vogue : the novice was cleansed with a mixture of clay and bran. When these ceremonies, which were made the more aweinspiring by ecstatic ejaculations from the attendants, were completed, the candidate was bidden to rise from his kneeling, crouching position, and to cry out, Bad have I escaped and better have I found—words which were intended to express the conviction that he was now purified in heart and spiritually prepared for the actual mystery, uvotýplov, the solemn rite by which he was to be admitted into fellowship with the god and his worshippers. That this rite was in the nature of a sacramental meal, is obvious. The main expenses of these private religious associations are shown by the inscriptions to have consisted in the sacrifices and sacred banquets, and in the building and maintenance of the edifices in which to celebrate them. The leading characteristic of the religious revival of the sixth century B.C., both in the Semitic area and as transplanted into Greece, is a reaction against the gift theory of sacrifice, and a reversion to the earlier sacramental conception of the offering and the sacrificial meal as affording actual communion with the god whose flesh and blood were consumed by his worshippers. To try to discover anything else in the case of the more respectable of the private mysteries, to seek for something secret and mysterious, is chercher midi à quatorze heures. That sacrifices were offered and eaten was a fact about which there was no concealment. The feeling of reverential awe with which the worshipper partook of the sacrament doubtless could not be conveyed in words : so far, indeed, there may have been secrecy, though not concealment.
i Foucart, 119 ff. ? BIBAWD dd Öpadov napé xorta. . . . kad' as Ontoloûoi, Rep. 364 E. 3 De Cor. $ 259,
* Paus. viii. c. 37.
After participation in the sacred meal, the candidate was a novice no longer, but a member of the religious con
fraternity, united by a mystic bond with his fellow-worshippers. As such it became his duty to promote the interests of the association, to gain new members for it, and to extend its influence. He therefore took part in the procession of the society which paraded the streets in order to attract fresh followers, and wearing a garland of fennel or poplar, and bearing the sacred cist or the mystic winnowing fan, or carrying a tame serpent in both hands above his head, he danced wildly along, testifying to his membership by shrieking the words, Evoe Sabæ! Hyês Attês ! Attes Hyês! But this method of proselytising was probably limited to the poorer and more struggling associations, which could not afford to build temples, but met in the private house of one of the wealthier members, or of the promoter of the organisation, and did not offer sacrifice of animals, but partook of sacred wafers or cakes, such as came to furnish forth the sacramental meal both in the New World and the Old, when cereal gods took their place by the side of animal gods.1
In spite of the fact not only that these “private” mysteries were open to all, but also that the most strenuous efforts were made by the members to obtain the largest possible number of adherents, these associations at the best were sects, and narrow ones; and as such they were exposed to the same dangers as are all sects, that is to say, being withdrawn, by the nature of the case, from the sane and healthy action of public opinion, they were liable to run into extravagance and excess. The danger was in this case all the greater, because the essence and the attraction of the rites which these associations were formed to celebrate lay in the fact that the ritual was different from that of the ordinary cult, was strange, unusual, mysterious, and therefore more
1 The passage of the De Corona (259, 260) on which the above account is based runs as follows : ανήρ δε γενόμενος τη μητρι τελούση τας βίβλους ανεγίγνωσκες και τάλλα συνεσκευωρού, την μεν νύκτα νεβρίδων και κρατηρίων και καθαίρων τους τελουμένους και απομάττων το πηλό και τους πιτύροις και ανιστάς από του καθαρμού κελεύων λέγειν: "Έφυγον κακόν, εύρον άμεινον, επί το μηδένα πώποτε τηλικούτ' ολολύξαι σεμνυνόμενος... εν δε ταϊς ημέραις τους καλούς θιάσους άγων διά των οδών τους έστεφανωμένους το μαράθω και τη λεύκη, τους όφεις τους παρείας θλίβων και υπέρ της κεφαλής αιωρών, και βοών: Ευοι σαβοί, και επορχούμενος "Της άττης, άττης ύης, έξαρχος και προηγεμών και κιστοφόρος και λικνοφόρος και τοιαύτα υπό των γραδίων προσαγορευόμενος, μισθών λαμβάνων τούτων ένθρυπτα και στρεπ. τους και νεήλατα.