Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

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Mercury was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Maia, daughter of Atlas. Cyllene, in Arcadia, is said to have been the scene of his birth and education, and a magnificent temple was erected to him there.[125:2]

Æolus, king of the Lipari Islands, near Sicily, was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Acasta.[125:3]

Apollo was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother, Latona.[125:4] Like Buddha and Lao-Kiun, Apollo, so the Ephesians said, was born under a tree; Latona, taking shelter under an olive-tree, was delivered there.[125:5] Then there was joy among the undying gods in Olympus, and the Earth laughed beneath the smile of Heaven.[125:6]

Aethlius, who is said to have been one of the institutors of the Orphic games, was the son of Jupiter by a mortal mother, Protogenia.[125:7]

Arcas was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother.[125:8]

Aroclus was the son of Jupiter and a mortal mother.[125:9]

We might continue and give the names of many more sons of Jove, but sufficient has been seen, we believe, to show, in the words of Justin, that Jove had a great "parcel of sons." "The images of self-restraint, of power used for the good of others, are prominent in the lives of all or almost all the Zeus-born heroes."[125:10]

This Jupiter, who begat so many sons, was the supreme god of the Pagans. In the words of Orpheus:

"Jupiter is omnipotent; the first and the last, the head and the midst; Jupiter, the giver of all things, the foundation of the earth, and the starry heavens."[125:11]

The ancient Romans were in the habit of deifying their living and departed emperors, and gave to them the title of Divus, or the Divine One. It was required throughout the whole empire that divine honors should be paid to the emperors.[125:12] They had a ceremony [Pg 126]called Apotheosis, or deification. After this ceremony, temples, altars, and images, with attributes of divinity, were erected to the new deity. It is related by Eusebius, Tertullian, and Chrysostom, that Tiberius proposed to the Roman Senate the Apotheosis or deification of Jesus Christ.[126:1] Ælius Lampridius, in his Life of Alexander Severus (who reigned A. D. 222-235), says:

"This emperor had two private chapels, one more honorable than the other; and in the former were placed the deified emperors, and also some eminent good men, among them Abraham, Christ, and Orpheus."[126:2]

Romulus, who is said to have been the founder of Rome, was believed to have been the son of God by a pure virgin, Rhea-Sylvia.[126:3] One Julius Proculus took a solemn oath, that Romulus himself appeared to him and ordered him to inform the Senate of his being called up to the assembly of the gods, under the name of Quirinus.[126:4]

Julius Cæsar was supposed to have had a god for a father.[126:5]

Augustus Cæsar was also believed to have been of celestial origin, and had all the honors paid to him as to a divine person.[126:6] His divinity is expressed by Virgil, in the following lines:

"——Turn, turn thine eyes, see here thy race divine,
Behold thy own imperial Roman Sine:
Cæsar, with all the Julian name survey;
See where the glorious ranks ascend to-day!—
This—this is he—the chief so long foretold,
To bless the land where Saturn ruled of old,
And give the Learnean realms a second eye of gold!
The promised prince, Augustus the divine,
Of Cæsar's race, and Jove's immortal line."[126:7]

"The honors due to the gods," says Tacitus, "were no longer sacred: Augustus claimed equal worship. Temples were built, and statues were erected, to him; a mortal man was adored, and priests and pontiffs were appointed to pay him impious homage."[126:8]

Divine honors were declared to the memory of Claudius, after his death, and he was added to the number of the gods. The titles "Our Lord," "Our Master," and "Our God," were given to the Emperors of Rome, even while living.[126:9]

[Pg 127]

In the deification of the Cæsars, a testimony upon oath, of an eagle's flying out of the funeral pile, toward heaven, which was supposed to convey the soul of the deceased, was the established proof of their divinity.[127:1]

Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia (born 356 B. C.), whom genius and uncommon success had raised above ordinary men, was believed to have been a god upon earth.[127:2] He was believed to have been the son of Jupiter by a mortal mother, Olympias.

Alexander at one time visited the temple of Jupiter Ammon, which was situated in an oasis in the Libyan desert, and the Oracle there declared him to be a son of the god. He afterwards issued his orders, letters, decrees, &c., styling himself "Alexander, son of Jupiter Ammon."[127:3]

The words of the oracle which declared him to be divine were as follows, says Socrates:

"Let altars burn and incense pour, please Jove Minerva eke;
The potent Prince though nature frail, his favor you must seek,
For Jove from heaven to earth him sent, lo! Alexander king,
As God he comes the earth to rule, and just laws for to bring."[127:4]

Ptolemy, who was one of Alexander's generals in his Eastern campaigns, and into whose hands Egypt fell at the death of Alexander, was also believed to have been of divine origin. At the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy had been of such signal service to its citizens that in gratitude they paid divine honors to him, and saluted him with the title of Soter, i. e., Saviour. By that designation, "Ptolemy Soter," he is distinguished from the succeeding kings of the Macedonian dynasty in Egypt.[127:5]

Cyrus, King of Persia, was believed to have been of divine origin; he was called the "Christ," or the "Anointed of God," and God's messenger.[127:6]

Plato, born at Athens 429 B. C., was believed to have been the son of God by a pure virgin, called Perictione.[127:7]

The reputed father of Plato (Aris) was admonished in a dream to respect the person of his wife until after the birth of the child of which she was then pregnant by a god.[127:8]

Prof. Draper, speaking of Plato, says:

[Pg 128]

"The Egyptian disciples of Plato would have looked with anger on those who rejected the legend that Perictione, the mother of that great philosopher, a pure virgin, had suffered an immaculate conception through the influences of (the god) Apollo, and that the god had declared to Aris, to whom she was betrothed, the parentage of the child."[128:1]

Here we have the legend of the angel appearing to Joseph—to whom Mary was betrothed—believed in by the disciples of Plato for centuries before the time of Christ Jesus, the only difference being that the virgin's name was Perictione instead of Mary, and the confiding husband's name Aris instead of Joseph. We have another similar case.

The mother of Apollonius (B. C. 41) was informed by a god, who appeared to her, that he himself should be born of her.[128:2] In the course of time she gave birth to Apollonius, who became a great religious teacher, and performer of miracles.[128:3]

Pythagoras, born about 570 B. C., had divine honors paid him. His mother is said to have become impregnated through a spectre, or Holy Ghost. His father—or foster-father—was also informed that his wife should bring forth a son, who should be a benefactor to mankind.[128:4]

Æsculapius, the great performer of miracles,[128:5] was supposed to be the son of a god and a worldly mother, Coronis. The Messenians, who consulted the oracle at Delphi to know where Æsculapius was born, and of what parents, were informed that a god was his father, Coronis his mother, and that their son was born at Epidaurus.