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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

The feasts celebrated by the Sabians to honor the planets

Not only the divisions of the heaven, but the constellations themselves were represented in the temples, and their images consecrated among the religious monuments, and on the medals of the cities. The bright star Capella, in the constellation Auriga, had a statue of brass gilt in the city of the Phliassians. To the constellation Auriga statues and other monuments had been erected in Greece under the names of Myrtile, of Hippolyte, of Spheroeus, of Cillas, of Erectee, etc. There were seen, also, the statues and tombs of the Atlantides. Near Argos was seen a mound, which was said to cover the head of the famous Medusa, whose type is in the heaven, under the feet of Perseus. The moon, or Diana of Ephesus, was adorned with the figure of the Cancer, which is one of the twelve signs, and the mansion of this planet. The Ursa, adored under the name of Calisto, and the Bootes, under that of Arcas, had their tombs on Arcadia, near the altars of the sun. To the same Bootes a statue was erected at Byzantium, and also to Orion, the famous Nembrod of the Assyrians.

The Syrians had consecrated in their temples the images of Pisces, (fishes,) one of the signs. The constellations Nesra, or Eagle, Aiyuk, or Goat, Yagutho, or Pleiades, and Suwaha, or Alhouwoa, and the Serpentarius were objects of idolatry among the ancient Sabians. These names are found even now in Hyde's commentary on Ulug-Beigh. Lucian writes that the whole religious system of the Egyptians was taken from the heaven. The most of the cities were founded and built under the inspection and protection of one of the signs of the Zodiac. Their horoscope was drawn; hence the images of stars on their medals. The medals of Antioch represent the Ram, (Aries) with the crescent of the moon; those of the Mamertines the image of the Bull, (Taurus); those of the kings of Comargene, the image of the Scorpion; and those of Zeugma and of Anazarba, the image of the Goat, (Capricornus). Nearly all the signs are found on the medals of the Antonines. The star Hesperus was on the national seal of the Locrians, of the Ozoles, and of the Opuntians.

Likewise we shall remark that the ancient feasts, or celebrations, were connected with the principal epochs of nature, and with the heavenly system. Everywhere the solsticial and equinoxial celebrations are found; even in our days the Catholics celebrate the beginning of each season of the year by fasting and abstaining from meat. Fohi, one of the most ancient emperors of China, ordered sacrifices to be offered to the gods at the commencement of each season. Four pavilions were erected to the moons of the four seasons. The ancient Chinese, Confucius says, established a sacrifice in honor of Chang-Ty, at the winter solstice, and one in the spring. The emperor alone has the privilege to preside at these two ceremonies, as being the son of heaven. The Greeks and the Romans did the same for like reasons.

The Persians have their Neurouz, or feast of the sun, when this king of the day passes under the Ram, or under the sign of the equinox of the spring. It is even now one of the greatest festivities in Persia. At the winter's solstice the ancient Egyptians led the sacred cow seven times around the temple; and at the equinox of the spring they solemnly celebrated the coming of the sun to once more vivify nature. The celebration of the triumph of fire and light took place in the city of the sun, in Assyria, and was called the celebration of wood-piles. The Catholic Church has borrowed this celebration from the heathen, and has fixed it on the Saturday before Easter.

The feasts celebrated by the Sabians to honor the planets, were fixed under the sign of their exaltation; sometimes under that of their mansion; so the feast of Saturn was celebrated by the Romans in December, under the Capricornus (Goat), mansion of this planet. All the celebrations of the old calendar of the Pontiffs were connected with the rise or setting of some constellation or star, as can be ascertained by reading the _Fastes_ of Ovide. The religious genius of the Romans, and the relations of their celebrations with nature, are more especially seen in the games of the circus. The sun, the moon, the planets, the elements, the universe and its principal parts, were represented with emblems analagous to their nature. In the Hippodrome the sun was seen with steeds which imitated its course in the heavens.

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