In England neare Salisbury there is a piece of antiquity called Stonehenge which seems to be an ancient Prytanæum. For it is an area compassed circularly with two rows of very great stones with passages on all sides for people to go in and out at. Tis said that there are some pieces of antiquity of the same form & structure in Denmark. For its to be conceived that the Vestal Temples of all nations as well as of the Medes & Persians were at first nothing more then open round areas with a fire in the middle, till towns & cities united under common councils & built them more sumptuously. In Ireland one of these fires was conserved till of late years by the Moncks of Kildare under the name of Brigets fire & the Cænobium was called the house of fire. The same worship was in use also among the Tartars, as William de Rubruquis & Iohn Plancarpinius inform us.[1] And the t[2] Indians still keep this sacred fire & call it Homan. v[3] Benjamin Tudensis found the same fire worshipped in certain Islands of the East Indies which he calls Chenerag. And travellours report the same thing of China ‡ < insertion from f 3v > ‡ And travellors report the same thing of China. And b[4] Bardasanes a Syrian who lived in the reign of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus, writes that amongst the Seres (or inhabitants of China) the worship of Images was then prohibited by a law & that in all that very large region there was not a Temple to be seen. Whence I seem to gather that the Chineses till those days had only open Prytanea without houses such as were in use among the Medes or Persians.

And in general the Vestal worship was of old so common and universal that a[6] it was part of the Theology of the ancient inhabitants of the Island Crete that Vesta found out the building of houses & for this benefit almost all men placed her in their houses & vouchsafed her honours & sacrifices. < text from f 3r resumes > And indeed it seems to me that Temples in all nations had their original from the Prytanea. For when several cities uniting under one common council let their proper fires go out: their Temples still continuing seem to have given a beginning to such Temples as were without a fire. And therefore the Medes & Persians who united without a common standing Council had no other Temples than the Prytanea. So then this religion of conserving a sacred fire for the use of Sacrifices seems to have been as well the most universal as the most ancient of all religions & to have spread into all nations before other religions took place. There are many instances of nations receiving other religions after this but none (that I know) of any nations receiving this after any other Nor did any other religion which sprang up later become so general as this. < insertion from f 3v > See the backside. And tho divers others sprang up after it yet this kept the precedency as a mark of its primogeniture & birthright. ffor b[7] Strabo tells us that when the Persians sacrificed to any God they first prayed to the fire. And Servius in illud 1 Æn. Cana Fides et Vesta: Vestam religionem dicit, quia nullum sacrificium sine igne est, ipsaque in omnibus invocantur, & a[8] Tully: Quod sacrificium tam vetustum quam hoc [Vestalium] quod a Regibus æquale huic urbi accepimus? And c[9] Aristocritus: Of all things which were sacrificed the first fruits were offered to Vesta, & this he represents was granted her by Iupiter in the silver age, so that it was the law of Nations. Whence that of d[10] Aristophenes

ἀλλ᾽ ἱνα

Ἀφ᾽ Ἑστίας ἁρχόμενος ἐπιτρίψω τινά

A Vesta incipiens ut contundam quempiam.

So b[11] Herodotus tells us of the Scythians that they worship first Vesta & then Iupiter & the other Gods. < text from f 3r resumes > And hence I gather these things.

ffirst that this was the religion of Noah & from him spread into all nations at the first peopling of the earth. For so soon as Noah came out of the Ark <4r> {he} built an altar & offered burnt offerings of every clean Beast & every clean ffowl unto the Lord. Gen. 8 & therefore the religion of sacrificing by fire was in use before the flood. ffor it seems to have been the religion of Cain & Abel when they offered the first fruits of their corn & heards, & therefore to have been instituted by God in the beginning. And as they distinguished beasts & ffowls into clean & unclean that is into such as were consecrated or set apart for sacrifices & into others which were rejected as an abomination: so 'tis reasonable to beleive that they sacrificed also with a consecrated fire & in a consecrated place, & accounted it as irreligious to sacrifice with strange or prophane fire as to sacrifice an unclean Beast. And therefore as Noah when he went into the Arck provided for sacrifices by taking in with him a greater number of Clean Beasts & clean ffowls than of unclean ones: so no doubt for the same end he took in with him also the sacred fire with which he was to offer them. And afterwards as a[12] Noah & his sons carried with them the sacred fire from the Tower of Babylon into the land of Shinar as was mentioned above, & Abraham carried it with him to offer Isaac & Æneas carried it with him from Troy & the ancient Kings of Greece & Persia b[13] carried it along with them into the field when they went to make war: so the sons of Noah when they went from him into their several countries took this fire along with their several families & the like was done by their sons & grandsons as oft as they went with their families to live at any considerable distance from one another in a distinct polity. And by this means I conceive it came to pass that the sacred fire at the first plantation of the earth was to be found in every City, as an essential part of the government. ffor in the first ages when the whole world was distinguished into as many kingdoms as cities, I understand not how one and the same religion could so soon spread into them all had it not been propagated with mankind in the beginning. The Mahometan religion tho spread by conquest is not yet grown so universal, the Christian tho spread by the divine assistance & at length backt by the Roman Empire is less universal then the Mahometan. The sacrificing by a sacred fire would be now more hard to propagate then these & yet was spread into all the world without conquest so early that there is no memory of its original in any nation, notwithstanding that the world then consisted of as many kingdoms as cities, which must make a new religion very hard to be spread.

Secondly I gather that the sacrificing clean birds & beasts by a consecrated fire in a consecrated place was the true religion till the nations corrupted it. For it was the religion of Noah, & tis not to be doubted but that the religion which Noah propagated down to his posterity was the true religion. According to <5r> the first constitution of things, the Father of every family did the office of the Priest. When Noah & his three sons came out of the Ark, no doubt it was Noah that sacrificed. Abraham was Priest as well as Prince. ffor he went alone to sacrifice Isaac & took the knife to do it Gen. 22.5. Melchisedeck was both king of Salem & Priest of the most high God, that is, according to the religion received from Noah & till then conserved pure in some of the kingdoms of Canaan. And according to the same religion the care of the Prytanea in the cities of Greece belonged in the first ages to the chief magistrate of the city as you heard above, & therefore the Court in which the Elders of the City sat in Council was in the Prytanæum. And hence it was that the Roman Emperors were Pontifices maximi & in Egypt where all the people were divided into three sorts, Priests, Soldiers & artificers, the Priests were the nobility & if one of the military order was made king he was presently instructed & initiated by the Priests in their sacra. So also when Christ is called a Priest after the order of Melchisedeck the sense is that he is a Priest of a higher order then was Aaron, that is a King as well as a Priest. By what name &c. See the sheet above < insertion from f 3v > See the next sheet. By what name the first nations called the God of nature is uncertain. No doubt they had names for him, & as the Platonists from his nature called him ὁ ὤν so they might call him by names of like signification in their language, such as were Iah & Iehova among the Iews ffor his name Iuba or ιουβα amongst the ancient Moores, Iovis or Ιου-piter among the Latines & Phrygians, ἰαὼ & ιαοὺ among the Greeks & Ιευὼ among the Phœnicians ‡ < insertion from higher up f 3v > < text from f 3v resumes > & , might be borrowed as well from Noah & his sons (at least by some of the nations) as from Moses: especially since Noah calls God by this name Gen. 9.26. And so also might some names taken from his power & dominion, as those of Creator, ffather, Lord & King be given him before the flood.

< text from f 5r resumes >

Thirdly I gather from hence that the religion which Moses taught the Iews was no other then the religion of Noah purged from the corruptions of the nations. ffor Dr Spencer has shewn that Moses retained all the religion of the Egyptians concerning the worship of the true God; & rejected only what belonged to the worship of their fals Gods the Sun Planets & Elements, Iupiter Hammon, Osyris, Isis, Orus & the rest, & that the Mosaical religion concerning the true God conteins little else besides what was then in use amongst the Egyptians. And if so, then its' certain that the old religion of the Egyptians was the true religion tho corrupted before the age of Moses by the mixture of the worship of fals Gods with that of the true one: & by consequence the religion of the Iews was no other then that of Noah propagated down in Egypt till the age of Moses. And that this is so appears further by the consent of the religions of Noah and Moses. For in both there was kept a perpetual sacred fire in a consecrated place for sacrifices. And as there was but one Prytaneum or Temple in the kingdom of the Iews so in the first kingdoms of the Nations so there was but one fire in a kingdom. When every city was a kingdom there was a Prytaneum in every City. When many cities united under one common council & thereby grew into one kingdom, there was in the chief City where the Council met a Prytaneum of a nobler structure common to all the cities & the private Prytanea in time grew out of use. Thus it happened in Greece, Italy, Egypt & perhaps in divers other countrys: but where the cities grew in one kingdome under a king without a common council & by consequence without a common Pyræum there the Pyræa continued in their several cities, & this was the case of the kingdome of the Medes & Persians. The distinction of birds & beasts into clean & unclean & appointing only the first for sacrifices & prohibiting the eating blood & things strangled was as old as Noah, & the offering the first-born of the flocks & the first fruits of the ground was as old as Cain & Abel. ‡ < insertion from f 4v > ‡ & continued in the Prytanea. ffor there was nothing eat or drunk whether Beasts fruits or wines a[14] till the Priests had offered the primiæ or first fruits & those were all offered to Vesta. No b[15] feast was celebrated where they did not first offer wine to Vesta. No sacrifice was made to any God where the primitiæ were not offered to her. And therefore they feign that this law was made at her request by Iupiter in the silver age. When the Titans, saith c[16] Aristocritus, were ejected & Iupiter took the kingdom, he granted Vesta her request of having what she would. She requested first virginity & then that men should offer to her the first fruits of all things which were sacrificed. And so it was thenceforth made a law in sacred things that of all things which were sacrificed they should first offer the first fruits to Vesta. The meaning is that Iupiter Belus then set apart the first fruits to the Vestal fire, as d[17] Ovid thus sings

Ante tuos ortus aræ sine honore fuerunt

Liber, et in gelidis herba reperta focis #

< insertion from higher up f 4v >

# Te memorant, Gange totoque Oriente subacto,

Primitias magno reposuisse Iovi.

Cinnama tu primus, captivaque thura dedisti,

Deque triumphato viscera tosta bove.

Nomine ab autoris ducunt libamina nomen;

Libaque, quod sanctis pars datur inde focis. The use of salt

< text from f 4v resumes > < insertion from higher up f 4v >

The use of salt in all sacrifices as it was commanded by Moses (Levit. 2.13.) so it was generally used by the heathens. For Pythagoras in Symbolis præscribes that salt be used in all sacrifices & oblations & Numa an hundred years before instituted this rite according to the doctrine of the Hetruscans. And Pliny lib. 31 cap.7 testifies this practice. Maxime autem in sacris intelligitur salis authoritas quando nulla conficiuntur sine mola salsa. And Plato in Timæo that salt according to the law of the divine worship is a sacrum very grateful to the Gods: whence he calls it θεοφιλὲς σωμα & thence also Homer calls it divine. < text from f 4v resumes > < text from f 5r resumes > The erecting altars of unhewn stones seems to be conserved by Moses in memory <6r> of the first Altars, when the use of iron was not yet known to shape them. Such Altars once consecrated no doubt continued in use after the working of iron was known & thereby became a president. < insertion from f 5v > The ancient nations built the a[18] front of their Temples toward the East & therefore Moses in doing so retained the religion of his ancestors. < text from f 6r resumes > The placing the fire in the common center of the Priests Court & of the outward court or court of the people in the Tabernacle & in Solomons Temple [& the framing the Tabernacle & Temple so as to make it a symbol of the world] is a part also of the religion which the nations received from Noach. ffor they placed the fire in the middle of the Prytanea. < insertion from f 5v > The paying of tenths to the Priests was also the religion of the nations before the days of Moses. ffor Abraham did it to Melchizedeck & Iacob did it at Bethel & there are [19] instances of its being done by the Heathens to Iupiter, Apollo & Hercules. And lastly as the Tabernacle was contrived by Moses to be a symbol of the heavens (as Saint Paul & Iosephus teach,) so were the Prytanæa amongst the nations. < text from f 6r resumes > And as the Tabernacle was a symbol of the heavens, so were the Prytanæa amongst the nations. The whole heavens they recconed to be the true & real Temple of God & therefore that a Prytanæum might deserve the name of his Temple they framed it so as in the fittest manner to represent the whole systeme of the heavens. A point of religion then which nothing can be more rational. Vniversus mundus Dei templum vocatur a Cicerone propter illos qui æstimant nihil aliud esse Deum nisi cœlum ipsum. Quicquid humano subjicitur aspectui templum ejus vocavit qui sola mente concipitur, ut qui hæc veneratur ut templa, cultum tamen maximum debeat conditori, sciatque quisquis in usum templi hujus inducitur ritu sibi vivendum sacerdotis. Macrob. l. 1 c. 14. From this comparison the fire in the middle of the Prytaneum was taken for a symbol of the center of the world, & thence the generality of the Latines took Vesta for the earth So Dionysius Halicarnasseus [20] Vestæ autem dicatum esse Ignem putant quod cum Dea hæc sit Terra mediumque teneat mundi locum, ignes illos in sublimi ex sese accendat. But those who placed the Sun in the center & particularly Numa & the Persian magi made this fire a symbol of the Sun. So Florus:[21] Imprimis [Numa] focum Vestæ virginibus colendum dedit ut ad simulachrum cœlestium siderum custos imperij flamma vigilaret. And Plutarch:[22] Ferunt Numam ædem Vestæ sacro igni orbicularem circumjecisse ut ibi asservaretur, adumbrans non effigiem terræ quasi ea Vesta sit sed universi mundi cujus in medio ignis sedem locant Pythagorei eamque Vestam nominant & unitatem. Terram vero non putant immobilem neque mediam orbis regionem tenere sed esse in gyrum circa ignem suspensam. Plutarch mentions also this <7r> sanction of Numa. Circumagas te dum Deos adoras, sedeas cum adoraveris, & then subjoyns Conversio adorantium simulachrum orbis mundi dicitur. He who worships, by turning about, becomes a symbol of the earth. Whence the Greeks called a man microcosmus. The same custome is mentioned also by b[24] Pliny. In adorando dextram ad osculum referimus totumque corpus circumagimus, quod in lævum fuisse Galli rectius credunt.

So then twas one designe of the first institution of the true religion to propose to mankind by the frame of the ancient Temples, the study of the frame of the world as the true Temple of the great God they worshipped. And thence it was that the Priests anciently were above other men well skilled in the knowledge of the true frame of Nature & accounted it a great part of their Theology. The learning of the Indians lay in the Brachmans who were their Priests, that of the Persians in the Magi who were their Priests, that of the Babylonians in the Chaldeans who were their Priests. And when the Greeks travelled into Egypt to learn astronomy & philosophy they went to the Priests. And what there was of the true knowledge of Nature amongst the Greeks lay chiefly in the brest of some of their Priests In mysterijs Græcis, saith Clemens,[25] primo loco sunt expiationes, ut et lavacrum apud exteros: post has sunt mysteria parva, quæ fundamentum aliquod habent doctrinæ et præparationis ad futura. Magna autem mysteria versantur circa universum. Non amplius dicendum est sed inspicienda et animo comprehendenda rerum natura. And so Seneca: [26]Eleusinia initiamenta sunt per quæ non municipale sacrum sed ingens omnium Deorum templum, Mundus iste reseratur: Cujus vera simulachra verasque facies cernendas mentibus protulit. Nam ad spectacula tam magna habes visus est. So then the first religion was the most rational of all others till the nations corrupted it. ffor there is no way (without revelation) to come to the knowledge of a Deity but by the frame of Nature.

<8r>

[1] Rubruq. cap. 3 Plancarp. cap. 3

[2] t Vide Rog. Ian. reserat. p. 69, 72. & in nuptijs p 85, 474.

[3] v Vide Vossium Orig. Idol. l. 2. c 64.

[4] b apud Euseb. Prep. Evang. l. 6. c. 10 p 274d & 275a.

[5] c ib.

[6] a Diodor. l. 4. p. 336.

[7] b lib. 17

[8] a Oratione de Haruspicum responsis

[9] c lib. 2

[10] d in Vespis

[11] b in Melpomene

[12] a See above

[13] b Quintus Curtius l. 3. p.     Alexander ab Alexandro l. 1. c. 37. Ammian. Marcelin lib. 23, p.

[14] a Plin. l. 18. c. 2

[15] b Homerus in Hymno

[16] c apud Natalem Comit. l. 8. c. 19

[17] d Fast. l. 3. prope finem.

[18] a See Schedius de Dijs Germanis cap 30. & Natalis Comes

[19] Vide Droughteium in Analectis sacris ad Gen XIV.20, [a Clerico citatis p. 9.] et Goodwini Arch. Attic. l. 2. c. 9. p. 59, 60. Euseb. Præp. Evang. l. 4. c. 16. p. 159. Macrob. Saturn. l. 3. c. 1 Clemens Alexand. Strom. l. 1. p. 349a Dionys Halicarn. l. 1 p 8, 18. Diodor l. 4 p 228.

[20] Dionys. Halyc. l. 2. Antiq

[21] Florus cap. 2

[22] Plutarch in Numa.

[23] Note:The contents of this note are only visible in the diplomatic transcript because they were deleted on the original manuscript

[24] b. Nat. Hist. l. 28 c. 1.

[25] Clemens Strom l. 5. p 582

[26] Seneca Ep. 90

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