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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Plato placed in the Tartarus ferocious tyrants


This triple division, which we naturally find in society, was taught by Plato in his Phaedo, a work in which, writing about the judgment of the dead, he divides them as said before. This same division we also find in Plutarch, treating the same subject, and disserting, in his answer to the Epicureans, about the state of the dead to be judged. Minos used three books in judging the dead; the first was called book of life, it was used for the righteous: the second was called book of death; it was used for the great criminals: the third book was used for those who had been neither righteous nor great criminals. The judge pronounced the sentence only after the severest examination of the virtues and crimes of every one of the dead; and he affixed a seal on their forehead as he judged them.

Social laws and duties were the particular subjects of his judgments. He amply rewarded social virtues, and severely punished social vices. Among the Greeks and the Romans, this great priestly fiction was intended for the maintenance of laws; for stimulating patriotism, national and social virtues by the hope of the rewards of the Elysium; and also to check crime and vice in society, by the fear of terrible sufferings in the Tartarus. Were sentenced to the Tartarus all those who had conspired against the State, or fostered a conspiration; those who had been bribed; those who had delivered up a city to the enemy; those who had provided the foes of the country with weapons, vessels, provisions, etc.; those who had contrived to enslave their fellow-citizens, or had tyrannized over them, etc. This last dogma had been added to the others by the free States.

Afterwards, philosophy turned these fictions against despotism itself, which had invented them. Plato placed in the Tartarus ferocious tyrants, such as Ardiee of Pamphylia, who had murdered his brother, his father, and had committed many other crimes. The soul preserved after death all her stains, and was sentenced accordingly. Plato represented the souls of the kings, and of other rulers, as being the most stained. Tantalus, Tityus, and Sisiphus, who had been kings, were the greatest criminals, and endured in the Tartarus the most excruciating pains. However, kings did not believe those fictions, and were not restrained from oppressing the people.

Virgil enumerates the principal crimes which divine justice punished in the Tartarus. He represents, here, a brother who from hatred has slain his brother; a son who has ill-treated his father; a man who has deceived his patrons; an avaricious man, an egotist, and a selfish man; there, are seen an adulterer, an unfaithful servant, and a citizen who either waged war against his fellow citizens, or sold his country for gold, or was bribed for the enactment of unjust laws. Farther are seen an incestuous father, and wives who have murdered their husbands.

It is to be remarked that the authors, or originators of these fictions, pronounced pains only against crimes which might have injured society, whose progress and happiness was one of the great ends of the initiation to the mysteries of Eleusis and others.

In the Tartarus Minos punished the same crimes which he would have punished on earth according to the wise laws of the Cretenses, supposing that he had in reality reigned over them. If crimes against religion were to be punished in the Tartarus, it was because religion, being considered as a duty, and as the principal bond of society, it necessarily followed that irreligion was to be one of the greatest crimes, which was to be avenged by the gods. Hence the people were taught that the great crime of many of the famous criminals, tortured in the Tartarus, was their disrespect for the mysteries of Eleusis; that the great crime of Salmone was to have tried to imitate Jove's thunder; and that the great crime of Ixion, of Orion, and of Tityus, was to have violated goddesses.


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