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able to bear them, they would not be excluded from religious offices; and so there were in time twelve flamens elected from the commons, and twelve Salii were added to Numa's twelve by Tullus Hostillius. Tarquinius Superbus appointed two officers to be the keepers of Sibyline oracles; and their number was after 'wards encreased to ten, and bySylla to fifteen, and in later ages they had particular flamens for particular deities. But take an estimate of the Roman religion, when their priests were most numerous, at any time from the building of the city to Julius Cæsar; and it will appear that ancient Rome was not overburdened with either the number or expence of the religious orders. Let us in the next place look into Greece.-Dionysius of Halicarnassus frequently remarks concerning Romulus' religious institutions, that they were formed according to the Greek plans; so that we may guess in general, that the Greeks were not more burthened in these matters, than he burthened the Romans; especially if we consider what he remarks upon Numa's institutions, that' no foreign city whatever, whether Grecian or of any other country, had so many religious institutions as the Romans,' a remark he had before made, even when Romulus settled the first orders. The writers of the Greek antiquities are pretty much at a loss to enumerate the several orders of their priests;" they name but few, and these were rather the assistants
than the priests who offered the sacrifices. And I imagine that the true reason why we have no account of them, is, because there were in the most ancient times no particular persons set apart for these offices in the Grecian states ; but the kings and rulers performed the public offices of religion for their people; and every master of a family sacrificed in private for his children and servants. If we look over Homer's poem's, we shall find this observation verified by many instances. After Agamemnon was constituted the head of the Grecian army; we find him every where at the public sacrifices performing the priest?s' office ;' and the other Grecian kings and heroes had their parts under bim in the ministration. Thus Peleus the father of Achilles performed the office of priest in his own kingdom, when Nestor and Ulysses went to see him, and Patroclus, Achilles and Menæetius ministered ;P and Achilles offered the sacrifices, and performed the funeral rites for Patroclus. 9 Thus again in the Odyssey, when Nestor made a sacrifice to Minerva, Stratius and the noble Echephron led the bull to the altar, Aretus brought the water, and canisters of corn, Perseus brought the vessel to receive the blood ; but Nestor himself made the libations and began the ceremony with prayers.
The magnanimous Thrasymedes, son of Nestor, knocked down the ox; then the wife of Nestor, his daughters, and his sons' wives offered their prayers; then Pisistratus opyalos xvògwv, perhaps the captain of the host, an officer in such a post as Phichol under Abimelech," stabbed the beast. Then they all joined in cutting it in pieces, and disposing it upon the altar, and after all was ready
Tiad. n. et in al. loc.
» Il. a
y 1 II. .
Καιε δ' επι σχιζης ο γερων, επι δ' αιθοπα οινος Λειβε.
Nestor himself was the priest and offered the sacrifice." Many instances of this sort might be brought from both Iliad and Odyssey. If we examine the accounts which the best historians give us, they all tend to confirm this point. Lycurgus was remarkably frugal in the sacrifices he appointed ;! and the Lacedemonians had no public priests in his days, nor for some time after, but their kings. Plutarch tells us, that when they went to battle, the king performed the sacrifice;" and Xenophon says, that the king performed the public sacrifices before the city ;* and that in the army his chief business was, to have the supreme command of the forces, and to be their priest in the offices of religion. This was the practice when Agesilaus was chosen king of Sparta ; for after he was made king, he offered the usual sacrifices for the city. And in his expedition against the Persians, he would have sacrificed at Aulis, a town of Bæotia, as
1 Gen. xxvi. 26.
Odyss. y. ver. 430, &c. : Plutarch, in Lycurgo, p. 52. Ibid.
53. , Xenoph. lib. de Repub. Lacedæm. * Id. ibid.
• Xcnoph. Hellenic. I. 3.
Agamemnon did upon undertaking the Trojan war; but the Thebans, not being well affected to him or to the Lacedemonians, would not permit him." In a word, we have no reason to think, from any thing we can find in the Greek history, that the ancient Greeks, until some ages after Ilomer, had any other public ministers of religion, than those who were the kings and governors of the state. Fathers of families (even though they were in reality but servants) were priests to those who lived under their direction ; and offered all sorts of sacrifices for them, and performed all the ministrations of religion at their domestic altars ; and thus the practice of religious offices was performed in the several parts of every kingdom amongst the several families that inhabited it. The public or national religion appeared at the head of their armies, or at the court only; where the king was personally present, and performed the offices of it for himself and all his people. There are some persons mentioned by Ilomer, and
segees, or priests; who offered the sacrifices, even when kings and the greatest commanders attended at the altars. Thus Chryses, the priest of Apollo, burnt the sacrifice, which Ulysses and his companions went to offer at Chrysa, when they restored Briseis to her father ;' but this is so far from contradicting what I have mentioned, that it entirely coincides with and confirms it. Chrysa was a little isle in the Egean sea, of which Chryses was priest and governor ; and when
* Xenoph, Hellenic. lib. 3.
► Homer. II. 1.
Ulysses was come into his dominions, it was Chryses
' place to offer the sacrifice, and not Ulysses'. There were in ancient times many little islands, and small tracts of land, where civil government was not set up in form ; but the inhabitants lived together in peace and quiet, by and under the direction of some very eminent person, who ruled them by wise admonitions, and by teaching them religion ; and the governors of these countries affected rather the name of priests than kings. Thus Jethro is called by Moses not the king, but the priest of Midian ; and thus Chryses is called the priest of Apollo, at Chrysa, and not the king of Chrysa ; though both he and Jethro were the governors of the countries where they lived. If at any time they and their people came to form a political society, upon more express terms and conditions ; then we find these sort of persons called both priests and kings; and in this manner Melchisedec was king of Salem, and priest of the most high God, and Anius was king of Delos, and priest of Apollo. These small states could have but little power to support themselves against the incroachment of their neighbours. Their religion was their greatest strength; and it was their happiest circumstance, that their kings or governors were conspicuous for their religion, and thought sacred by their neighbours, being reputed in an eminent sense to be high in the favour of the God, whom they particularly worshipped ; so as to render it dangerous for any to violate their rights, or to injure the people
* Gen. xiv. 18.
Virgil. Æn. 3, ver. 80.