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16. 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 496that pine43754375    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.] 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?43764376    Lit., “for solace of so great a wound.” 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 Ia43774377    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. 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 Galli43784378    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. 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,43794379    Lit., “with wailing.” 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?


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