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As soon as religion began to lose its purity, it degenerated very fast; and, instead of a reverential awe and pleasing sense of duty, there succeeded a fearful gloom and unnatural horror, which were continually augmented as superstition increased. Men repaired in the first ages either to the lonely summits of mountains, or else to caverns in the rocks, and hollows in the bosom of the earth; which they thought were the residence of their Gods. At the entrance of these they raised their altars and performed their vows, Porphyry takes notice how much this mode of worship prevailed among the first nations upon the earth : 'Σπηλαια τοινυν και αντρα των παλαιοτατων, πριν και ναες επινοησαι, θεοις αφοσιεντων και εν Κρητη μεν Κερητων Διε, εν Αρκαδια δε Σεληνη, και Πανι εν Λυκειο και εν Ναξο Διονυσω. When in process of time they began to erect temples, they were still determined in their situation by the vicinity of these objects, which they comprehended within the limits of the sacred inclosure. These melancholy recesses were esteemed the places of the highest sanctity : and so greatly did this notion prevail, that, in aftertimes, when this practice had ceased, still the innermost part of the temple was denominated the cavern. Hence the Scholiast upon Lycophron interprets the words παρ αντρα in the poet, Tες
POWTATES, TOTUS TE vax. The cavern is the innermost place of the temple. Pausanias, speaking of a cavern in Phocis, says, that it was particularly sacred to Aphrodite. , ,4 Appadith on? EXEL Ev Otendatum Tijes. In this cavern divine honours were paid to Aphrodite. Parnassus was rendered holy for nothing more than for these unpromising circumstances. 'IECOTE RETENS ó laparros, EXWw avTpa TE xab anda xwera TouwLLEVO TĖ, xcv, áyıseuquevas. The mountain of Parnassus is a place of great reverence ; having many caverns, and other detached spots, highly honoured and sanctified. At Tænarus was a temple with a fearful aperture, through which it was fabled that Hercules dragged to light the dog of hell. The cave itself seems to have been the temple ; for it is said, 'Eti in axpą Nx05 ElxasMUEVOS sanay. Upon the top of the promontory stands a temple, in appearance like a cavern. The situation of Delphi seems to have been determined
on account of a mighty chasm in the hill, 'OPTOS xarmalos ev TW! TOTW : and Apollo is said to have chosen it for an orácular shrine, on account of the effluvia which from thence proceeded.
$ Ut vidit Pæan vastos telluris hiatus
· Here also was the temple of the Muses, which stood close upon a reeking stream. But, what rendered Delphi more remarkable, and more reverenced, was the Corycian cave, which lay between that hill and Parnassus. It went under ground a great way: and Pausanias, who made it his particular business to visit places of this nature, says, that it was the most extraordinary of any which he ever beheld. "Avtpor Kapuxtor oanaaswv, wv edov, beæs atsov pardosa. There were many caves styled Corycian: one in Cilicia, mentioned by Stephanus Byzantinus from Parthenius, who
Scholia upon Aristophanes : Plutus. v. 9. and Euripides in the Orestes. v. 164.
* Lucan. 1. 5. v. 82.
? Meow yog na 'leçor evtovda Tega Tono araTVONU TP r etos. Plutarch de Pyth. Oracul, vol. 1. p. 402.
10 Pausanias. I. 10. p. 877