And yet How Can You Assert the Falsehood of this Story...
And yet how can you assert the falsehood of this story, when the very rites which you celebrate throughout the year testify that you believe these things to be true, and consider them perfectly trustworthy? For what is the meaning of that pine [4375] which on fixed days you always bring into the sanctuary of the mother of the gods? Is it not in imitation of that tree, beneath which the raging and ill-fated youth laid hands upon himself, and which the parent of the gods consecrated to relieve her sorrow? [4376] What mean the fleeces of wool with which you bind and surround the trunk of the tree? Is it not to recall the wools with which Ia [4377] covered the dying youth, and thought that she could procure some warmth for his limbs fast stiffening with cold? What mean the branches of the tree girt round and decked with wreaths of violets? Do they not mark this, how the Mother adorned with early flowers the pine which indicates and bears witness to the sad mishap? What mean the Galli [4378] with dishevelled hair beating their breasts with their palms? Do they not recall to memory those lamentations with which the tower-bearing Mother, along with the weeping Acdestis, wailing aloud, [4379] followed the boy? What means the abstinence from eating bread which you have named castus? Is it not in imitation of the time when the goddess abstained from Ceres' fruit in her vehement sorrow?


[4375] The festival of Cybele began on the 22d of March, when a pine tree was introduced into the mysteries, and continued until the 27th, which was marked by a general purification (lavatio), as Salmasius observed from a calendar of Constantine the Great. [An equinoctial feast, which the Church deposed by the Paschal observances. March 22 is the prima sedes Paschæ.]

[4376] Lit., "for solace of so great a wound."

[4377] So Stewechius, followed by Orelli and Oehler, reading quibus Ia for the ms. jam, which would refer the action to Cybele, whereas Arnobius expressly says (c. 7) that it was the newly wedded wife who covered the breast of Attis with wools. Jam is, however, received from the ms. by the other edd., except Hild., who asserts that the ms. reads Iam, and Elmenh., who reads Ion.

[4378] i.e., priests of Cybele, their names being derived from the Phrygian river Gallus, whose waters were supposed to bring on frenzy ending in self-mutilation.

[4379] Lit., "with wailing."

15 we might long ago
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