Imagens da página

got twenty-six horses in his court-yard, and that a child must first creep, and then stand upright and walk, enjoining this to his servants beyond all things, that they should take heed that in his new state he be not scandalized by a lack of meat and drink, but rather that they in all things should anxiously provide for the hospitality of the house. In ordering and appointing these and all other things, fully relying upon God's providence and his own understanding, he judged it beneath him to require counsel at another's hand, as if he was not able to look after his own affairs. The Monks marvelled, the Knights were discontented, condemning him of arrogance, and in some measure scandalizing him at the King's court, and saying that he refused to govern according to the advice of his own free men. He indeed suppressed his own private counsel from the heads of the abbey, lay as well as Clerks, indeed from all those without whose advice and assistance the abbey as it seemed could not be governed; and by reason of this circumstance, Ranulf de Glanville, Justiciar of England, at first held him in distrust, and was less gracious to him than was decent, until it was made fully appear, by good evidence, that the Abbot had been acting with due caution and prudence in respect of indoors as well as of external matters.

A general court having being summoned, all the Barons, Knights, and freemen appear to make their homage on the fourth day of Easter; when, behold, Thomas of Hastings, with a great multitude of Knights, came introducing Henry, his nephew, not yet a Knight, claiming the stewartry with its perquisites, according to the tenor of his charter. To whom the Abbot replied, “I do not refuse Henry his right, nor do I even wish so to do. If he is competent to serve me in his own person, I will assign him necessaries for ten men and eight horses in my own court-lodge, according to the tenor of his charter : if ye present to me a steward, his deputy, who is competent and able to perform the duty of steward, I will receive him in the same manner as my predecessor retained him at the time of his decease, to wit, with four horses and their appurtenances. And if this does not content ye, I shall remove the plaint before the King or his Chief Justice." Hereupon the business was deferred; ultimately there was presented to him a simple and foolish steward, Gilbert by name, whom after he had received into his own household, he spoke of to his friends as follows:-“ If there be a default in the administration of the King's justice through the unskilfulness of the steward, he will be in mercy of the King, and not I, for this, that he claimeth the stewardship by hereditary right; and therefore I had much rather receive him than a sharper-witted man to deceive me. By God's assistance I trust I shall be my own steward.” After receipt of the homages, the Abbot sued for an aid from the Knights, who promised from each twenty shillings; but upon the instant they took counsel together, and withheld twelve pounds in respect of twelve Knights, alleging, that those twelve ought to assist the other forty in keeping their castle-guards, and for their escuages, as well as in respect of the Abbot's aid. The Abbot, hearing this, waxed wroth, and said to his intimate friends, that if he lived long enough, he would give them turn for turn and wrong for wrong.


No. IV.


In order to take a correct view of the religious services of the early Greeks, it is necessary to fix our attention particularly on the sacrifices which they offered up, and to which they were taught to assign the highest importance. The history of that people, like that of many other Pagan nations, leads us back in thought to the primitive institution of sacrifice immediately after the fall, and shows us, that the rite was retained when the knowledge of the true God had faded from the mind, and when the great event which it was designed to shadow forth, had ceased to be understood.

Some of the sacrifices which the early Greeks offered, were expressly intended to appease the wrath of an offended deity. Thus, in the first book of the Iliad, we find that the Greeks were required by Calchas, to send a “sacred hecatomb" to the Priest of Apollo, that they might thus avert his displeasure, with its terrible effects. (Il., i., 99, 100.) That hecatomb was sent; and as the sacrifice was proceeding, the Priest Chryses interceded with the god that he would removed the pestilence with which he had afflicted the Grecian camp. (Il., i., 446–456.) The propitiatory nature of some sacrifices is clearly marked in the address of Phoenix to Achilles, recorded in the ninth book of the same poem :

“But, 0 Achilles, repress your great anger: it does not become you To have an implacable heart: for even the gods themselves may

be appeased ;
Whose virtue, and glory, and power are superior to yours.
Them, indeed, with sacrifices, and conciliatory vows,
With a libation, and the smell of burning fat, suppliant men
Appease when any one has transgressed and sinned."

Il., ix., 492–497.

The offering of sacrifices was not, however, restricted to these cases.

When the early Greeks solicited the favour or protection of some deity, they frequently burned in sacrifice the thighs of some choice victim, and presented their petitions in connexion with the grateful savour.

Sacrifices were likewise made in fulfilment of vows, so as to involve a thankful acknowledgment of past blessings. And before almost every entertainment, when an animal was slaughtered, part of it was consumed as a sacrifice to the gods.

The animals chiefly used in sacrifice were bulls and heifers, rams and lambs, and goats. In some cases, swine also were offered up. Thus Ulysses is represented, in Od., xi., 130, as sacrificing to Neptune a boar, as well as a ram and a bull. It will readily occur to the youthful student, that the ancient people of God were taught to regard swine as unclean, and that the offering of them in sacrifices would have been an abomination and insult to Jehovah. (See Isaiah Ixvi. 3.)

It was a general rule that the best animals should be selected for a sacrifice to the gods. They were to be perfect in every member, well proportioned, and not more than five


years old. Heifers of a year old were deemed peculiarly acceptable; and it was requisite that they should never have been under the yoke. (11., vi., 308; X., 292.)

In the Homeric poems mention is repeatedly made of hecatombs. The etymological import of this word is, sacrifice of one hundred oxen;" but it is often used with greater latitude, so as to be applicable to any solemn sacrifice, whatever the kind of the animals, or whatever their number. Thus it is said of the Greeks, “ They sacrificed to Apollo perfect hecatombs, Of bulls and goats, by the shore of the immeasurable ocean."

Il., i., 315, 316. Peleus, likewise, is represented as vowing an “hecatomb” of fifty rams to the river Sperchius, if his son should return in safety. (11., xxiii., 146.) Thus also Hector applies the term “hecatombs” to a sacrifice of twelve heifers. (Il., vi., 114, collated with Il., vi., 308.)

The rites observed in sacrificing are detailed by the poet with great minuteness. In many cases the early Greeks decorated an heifer or bull about to be immolated, by overlaying its horns with gold. This practice is distinctly recognised in the passage about to be cited from the Odyssey ; and it is referred to, likewise, in Il., X., 294, where Diomede, having vowed a young heifer to Minerva, concludes his address to the goddess by saying, “ Her will I sacrifice to thee, having poured gold round her horns.” The victim thus prepared, was led to the altar, and was there sprinkled with the water of purification. The persons about to engage in the sacrifice then surrounded the altar, and washed their hands. They next held over the head of the victim cakes made of flour and salt, which were brought in a basket for that purpose. Then prayer was offered; and one or more of the cakes broken and sprinkled on the head of the victim. Some hair, likewise, was cut from its forehead, and thrown into the fire. The victim, having its neck bent backwards, was then struck with an axe; and the parties engaged in the sacrifice, raising it from the ground, killed it

by cutting its throat with a large knife. The blood which issued from the wounds was caught in a vessel brought specially for that end. They next proceeded to take off its skin, and to separate the thighs from the other parts. In order that the most fragrant odour might ascend from them to heaven, they covered the thighs with the caul, and with pieces of flesh cut from all the other parts of the animal, and then sprinkled them with salt and flour, and placed them on the fire. While they were burning, a libation of wine was poured out on them, in order to complete the sacrifice. Generally, the young men who were present stood near with large forks having five prongs; and with these they kept the burning flesh in one heap, and replaced any pieces that might accidently roll off. While the thighs were being consumed, the parties engaged in the sacrifice tasted of the entrails of the victim; and afterwards they cut up the remainder of the animal into convenient portions, roasted them on spits, and then sat down to the repast. The particulars now described are found in a copious account of a sacrifice offered by Nestor and his sons to Minerva, soon after the arrival of Telemachus on a visit to the aged Chief. The passage is rather long, but it contains so vivid and accurate a representation of the usages which we are now considering, that we shall insert it entire :

“ Thus he spake; but they all exerted themselves diligently, And a heifer was brought from the plain; and there came from

the swift equal ship The companions of the noble-minded Telemachus; and there

came the smith, Having in his hand his brazen instruments, the implements of

his art,

An anvil, and hammer, and well-made tongs,
With which he wrought the gold; and there came Minerva
To be present at the sacrifice: and the aged equestrian, Nestor,
Gave the gold; but he then poured it on the horns of the heifer,
Having washed it, that the goddess beholding the ornament

might rejoice. But Stratius and the divine Echephron led the heifer by the


« AnteriorContinuar »