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EXEMPLIFIED IN THE NAMES OF CITIES, LAKES,
As the divine honours paid to the Sun, and the adoration of fire, were at one time almost universal, there will be found in most places a similitude in the terms of worship. And though this mode of idolatry took its rise in one particular part of the world, yet, as it was propagated
to others far remote, the stream, however widely diffused, will still savour of the fountain. Moreover, as people were determined in the choice of their holy places by those præternatural phænomena, of which I have before taken notice; if there be any truth in my system, there will be uniformly found some analogy between the name of the temple, and its rites and situation : so that the etymology may be ascertained by the history of the place. The like will appear in respect to rivers and mountains; especially to those which were esteemed at all sacred, and which were denominated from the Sun and fire. I therefore flatter myself that the etymologies which I shall lay before the reader will not stand single and unsupported; but there will be an apparent analogy throughout the whole. The allusion will not be casual and remote, nor be obtained by undue inflexions and distortions : but, however complicated the name may appear, it will resolve itself easily into the original terms; and, when resolved, the truth of the etymology will be ascertained by the concomitant history. If it be a Deity, or other personage, the truth will appear from his office and department, or with the attributes inputed to himn. To begin, then, with antient Latium. If I should have occasion to speak of the Goddess Feronia, and of the city denominated from her, I should deduce the name from Fer-On, ignis Dei Solis; and suppose the place to have been addicted to the worship of the Sun, and the rites of fire. I accordingly find, from Strabo and Pliny, that rites of this sort were practised here : and one custom, which remained even to the time of Augustus, consisted in a ceremony of the priests, who used to walk barefoot over burning coals: ' Γυμνοις γαρ ποσο Boegscosi av@paxsan, xan otodiav peyaan. The priests, with their feet naked, walked over a large quantity of live coals and cinders. The town stood at the bottom of Mount Soracte, sacred to Apollo; and the priests were styled Hirpi. Aruns, in Virgil, in: his address to Apollo, takes 'notice of this custom : :
: . Summe Deûm, magni custos Soractis, Apollo,
Quem primi colimus; cui pineus ardor acervo
The temple is said to have been founded on account of a pestilential } vapour, which arose
from a cavern; and to which some shepherds were conducted by (Auxos) a wolf. Were I to attempt the decyphering of Ferentum, I should proceed in a manner analogous to that above. I should suppose it to have been named Fer-En, ignis, voel Solis fons, from something peculiar either in its rites or situation. I accordingly find, that there was a sacred fountain, whose waters were styled Aquæ Ferentinæ, -cui numen etiam, et divinus cultus tributus *fuit. Here was a grove, equally sacred, mentioned by s Livy, and others; where the antient Latines used to hold (their chief assemblies. As this grand meeteing used to be in a place denominated from fire, it was the cause of those councils being called Feriæ Latinæ. The fountain, which ran through the grove, arose at the foot of mount Albanus, and afterwards formed many 'pools.
* The antient Cytbites, and the Persians after them, had a great veneration for fountains and streams ; which also prevailed among other nations, so as to have been at one time almost
4 Cluver. Italia. 1. 2. p. 719. ---- Livy. l. 1. c. 49. Pompeius Festus.
Not far from hence was a district called Ager Solonus, SolOn is a compound of the two most common names given to the Sun, to whom the place and waters were sacred.
? Dionysius Halicarnassensis. 1. 3.
universal. Of this regard among the Persians Herodotus takes notice: 8 Lelovis oli motajES TWv nævTW. Malisa : Of all things in nature they reverence rivers most. But if these rivers were attended with any nitrous or saline quality, or with any fiery eruption, they were adjudged to be still more sacred, and ever distinguished with some title of the Deity. The natives of Egypt had the like veneration. Other nations, says 'Athanasius, reverenced rivers and fountains; but, above all people in the world, the Egyptians held them in the highest honour, and esteemed them as divine. Julius Firmicus gives the same account of them. 10 Ægyptii aquæ beneficium percipientes aquam colunt, aquis súpplicant. From hence the custom passed westward to Greece, Italy, and the extremities of Europe. In proof of which the following inscription is to be found in Gruter : ,
9 Αλλοι ποταμος και κρηνας, και παντων μαλισα οι Αιγυπτιοι προτεTrupunxaon, nas 0.85 avayogeudor. Athanasius adversus Gentes. pr 2. .
Αιγυπτιοι υδατι θυεσε" καιτοι μεν άπασι καινον τους Αιγύπτιους: το idag. Lucian. Jupiter Traged. v. 2. p. 223. Edit. Salmurii.
10 Julius Firmicus. p. 1.