from: The Roman Economy, Studies in Ancient Economic
and Administrative History, A.H.M. Jones, Edited by P.A. Brunt, Rowman and
Littlefield, 1974. [See: #10, 237].
"The greatest change which the Empire underwent in the early
fourth century was, of course, the conversion of
Constantine [see 1267] and the
consequent rise of Christianity [Christianism] to be
the dominant and eventually the sole religion of the Roman world. The change was gradual, and still not quite complete in the
sixth century. John of Ephesus [c. 507
- 586] found many thousands of rustic pagans to baptize in Asia, Lydia, and
Caria, lands where the propagation of Christianity had begun in apostolic days,
and in the highest classes of society at Constantinople itself purges held under
Justinian [Justinian I, Emperor 527 - 565
(483 - 565)] and Tiberius Constantine [Tiberius II Constantinus,
Emperor 578 - 582 (d. 582)] revealed a substantial
number of crypto-pagans,
especially among intellectuals. The city of Carrhae in Mesopotamia was still
predominantly pagan when it passed under Arab rule, and in the coastal mountains
of Syria the sect of Nusairi to this day preserve a faith which is basically
large, however, the Greek East was conquered by a
religion which was in origin and essence oriental. Christianity, it is
true, assimilated many Greek elements in
the course of its early history. From the first it ["Christianity"] adopted the Greek language [my guess:
proto-Christians spoke Greek] [see #5, 157-158; etc. (Greek influence)]: its Old Testament
was the Septuagint [keep in mind: there were versions (how many?) of
the Septuagint (the Septuagint was written in Greek)], and its own holy
books [which books? Apparently, in part, books later included in the
New Testament] were initially written in Greek. In
the development of the theology it made
use of the concepts of Greek philosophy. But it was based on
Jewish monotheism and the teaching of a Jewish Messiah." [108-109].
from: The Oxford Dictionary of the
Christian Church, 1997.
"Cosmas Indicopleustes (...[2 Greek words], i.e.
'Cosmas, the Indian navigator'; mid-6th
cent.), geographer. He was a merchant of Alexandria who may have become
a monk. His 'Christian Topography' (...[2 Greek words]), in 12 books c. 547, attacks
the Ptolemaic system in favour of various fantastic astronomical doctrines
intended to harmonize with a literal understanding of the Bible. The
chief value of the book lies in its geographical information (esp. on Sri Lanka)
and its witness to the spread of the Christian Church at his time. In exegesis
Cosmas follows Theodore of Mopsuestia; he was probably a Nestorian." .
from: The Christian Topography of
Cosmas ["mid-6th cent."], an Egyptian
Monk. Translated from the Greek, and Edited, with Notes and
Introduction by J. W. McCrindle [1825 - 1913], Hakluyt Society: 1st ser., no.
98, Burt Franklin, Publisher, no date ("reprint of the 1897 edition"). ["398"
pages]. [The "Appendix" includes drawings by Cosmas Indicopleustes, and,
"Explanation of the Plates"].
[this reference, thanks to Robert J. Schadewald, "Onslow
Free Thought Society--Newsletter--", March 2000 ("As late as 548 A.D., the Egyptian monk Cosmas
Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book Christian Topography.")
The Christian Topography of Cosmas Indicopleustes is one
of the prodigies of literature. The boldness and perverse ingenuity
with which its author, from a long array of irrelevant scripture texts, seeks to
construct an impossible theory of the universe can scarcely fail to astonish
everyone who reads it. It made its appearance at that period in the world's
history, when Christendom, fast losing the light of Greek learning and culture,
was soon to be shrouded in the long night of mediaeval ignorance and barbarism.
The work reflects with singular distinctness this prominent characteristic of
the age which produced it; for while Cosmas, on the one hand, held the
principles of the Christian faith combined with others pervading the theology
then current which led to the darkening of all true knowledge, he had, on the
other hand, a somewhat considerable, if inexact, acquaintance with the
philosophical and scientific speculations of the Greeks. He [Cosmas Indicopleustes] may thus not inaptly be compared to a two-headed Janus, with one face turned to
the light of departing day, and the other to the shadows of the coming
"Cosmas tells us, in the outset of his work, that
he has inserted notes (...[Greek word])
for the clearer exposition of the text (...[2 Greek words]). These notes he
seems to have placed, not in the margin, but in the
body of the work, after the text to which they refer. In our
translation they appear in a similar position, but printed in a type somewhat
smaller than that of the text." [xi].
Sources of the
The Christian Topography of Cosmas, surnamed
Indicopleustes, or the Indian Navigator, has been preserved in two copies: one a
parchment MS. [Manuscript] of the tenth century belonging to the Laurentian library in Florence, and containing the whole work except
only the last leaf; the other, a very fine uncial MS. of the eighth or ninth
century, belonging to the Vatican library,
and containing sketches drawn by Cosmas
himself, but wanting entirely the twelfth book, which is the last. There is,
besides, in the Imperial library in
Vienna, a Cosmas MS., but this contains
only a few leaves of the Topography." ["i"].
"As Cosmas all through the work keeps harping, with the most provoking
reiteration, on his doctrine that the universe
consists of only two places, namely,
the earth which is below the firmament, and heaven,
which is above it, the term Topography
designates the treatise properly enough; though on turning to peruse it for the
first time, we should from its title expect its contents to be very different
from what they are found to be." [iii].
"Notice of the
Work by Photius, Patriarch of
de Montfaucon 1655 - 1741] does not seem to have been aware that a brief notice
of the Topography is to be found in the Bibliotheka of Photius [c. 810 - c. 895], the Patriarch of Constantinople, who was elected to
that dignity in A.D. 858. Photius states
that the work had for its title...[2 Greek words], and was an exposition
extending to the eighth book. He does not give the author's name, but states
that he flourished in the reign of the Roman
Emperor Justinus [Justinus I, Emperor of the East, 518 - 527; Justinus
II, Emperor of the East, 565 - 578], and dedicated his work to a certain Pamphilus. He condemns it as being below
mediocrity in style, and faulty in its syntax; and at the same time calls in question the author's veracity, saying that he
makes up stories so incredible that he may fairly be regarded as a writer of
fables rather than of facts." [iii].
'Opinions of the
Learned regarding the "Topography."|
The condemnatory verdict of
Photius upon the work of Cosmas has not been endorsed by modern opinion
[?]. The style of the Topography has no doubt the shortcomings which the
Patriarch pointed out; but Cosmas, it is proper to remember, expressly disclaims
all pretensions to the learning of the schools. He pleads that from his early
years he had been so engrossed in business, and had been besides so much abroad,
that he had found no spare time for studying rules of grammar and the art
composition; he could, therefore, only write in a
homely style, without attempting any flights of rhetoric. Rhetoric, moreover
would, he thought, be out of place in his books, since "he wrote for Christians,
who had more need of correct notions than of fine phrases." The style has,
notwithstanding, some redeeming points. Cosmas, in spite of his loose grammar, seldom fails to make his meaning clear, or to put
forward his arguments with sufficient point and force. Some passages, besides,
which give us an insight into the depth and fervour of his faith, rise to an
eloquence which suggests the belief that, had he cultivated the art, he might
have shone in pulpit oratory.'
The Topography was republished at Venice in 1776 in
Gallandi's Bibliotheca veterum Patrum, and its
most valuable sections were printed, along with a French translation, at Paris
in 1855, in Charton's Voyageurs Anciens et
Modernes. Its contents were made use of by Robertson in his Disquisition on Ancient India, and by Gibbon in his History of
the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The latter, referring to the absurd theory of the world held by Cosmas,
remarks that "the nonsense of the Monk
was, nevertheless, mingled with the practical knowledge of the
[Edward Gibbon] devoured travel literature. His appetite was never sated, and
this passion lasted a lifetime.46" (Gibbon and His Roman Empire, David P. Jordan, c1971
[see 1252], 52)].
"The System of
the World According to
"The Pagan theory which Cosmas especially detested, and made
most frequently the subject of his scornful and violent invective, was that
which maintained that the heavens were spherical and in constant
revolution. He heaps text upon text to confute the advocates of this
most pestilent doctrine, which, if admitted, would, he contended, abolish the
future state and make the resurrection of Christ of no account.
Cosmas regarded as impious the doctrine that the heavens revolve, he admitted
the revolution of the celestial luminaries, which, he held, were propelled in
their courses by the angels, who do not live in heaven but are restricted to the
a๋rial spaces below the firmament, until the resurrection.
and other views no less absurd, though interesting, Cosmas states and re-states
with the most wearisome pertinacity, and holding them to be most vital verities,
sanctioned alike by common sense and the paramount authority of divine
Scripture, denounces again and again those REPROBATE CHRISTIANS who, instead of accepting
them, prefer, through their perverse folly or downright wickedness, to adopt the miserable Pagan belief that earth and heaven are
spherical, and that there are Antipodes [see (Augustine): #25, 553;
Addition 20, 1068] on whom the rain must fall up."
"The Place of Cosmas in
Beazley [Sir Raymond Beazley 1868 - 1955,
in The Dawn of Modern Geography] concludes his
long notice of the great Christian Cosmographer in these terms: "He felt himself
to be the apostle of full supernatural theory in science. He knew that his work
was unique. And such it has always been recognised--by some with rapture, by
others with consternation, by most with derision. At least it is a monument of infinite, because
quite unconscious, humour. 'For neither
before him was any like unto him, neither shall be after.'"' [xxvi-xxvii] [End
"Book I of Cosmas, A
[footnote 1, pertains
to "Ptolemaic System of Astronomy" ("epicycles", etc.)]
Against those who, while wishing to profess
and imagine like the pagans that the
As many as
ardently desire true knowledge and are lovers of the true light, and earnestly
endeavour to become fellow-citizens of the saints in the age to come, who regard
the Old and New Testament as in reality divine scripture, who are obedient to
Moses and the Christ, who follow out to the end the principles they have
adopted, who acknowledge that the world was produced by God out of mere nothing,
and who believe that there is a resurrection of men and a judgment, and that the
righteous shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven; all these carefully examine the
divine scriptures all throughout, to see whether in Moses, who wrote the account
of the Creation, and in the other Prophets, they contain descriptions of the
places and figures of the whole creation, among which is indicated also the
position of the Kingdom of Heaven, which the Lord Christ promises God will give
to righteous men. And when they find the Old and New Testaments to be in mutual
harmony, they abide therein firmly grounded and immovable, in nothing confounded
by their adversaries. But THOSE on the
other hand WHO PRANK THEMSELVES OUT IN THE WISDOM
OF THIS WORLD, and are self-confident that by scholastic reasonings
they can comprehend its figure and position, SCOFF
AT ALL DIVINE SCRIPTURE AS A MASS OF FABLES, STIGMATISING MOSES AND THE
PROPHETS, THE LORD CHRIST AND THE APOSTLES AS IDLE [FICTIONAL] BABBLERS,1 are
given over to vain delusions; while with supercilious airs, as if they far
surpassed in wisdom the rest of mankind, they
attribute to the heavens a spherical figure and a circular motion, and
by geometrical methods and calculations applied to the heavenly bodies, as well
as by the abuse of words and by worldly craft, endeavour to grasp the position and figure of the
world by means of the solar and lunar
eclipses, leading others into error while they are in error themselves
in maintaining that such phenomena could not
present themselves if the figure was other than spherical...." ["7"-9].
from: Dictionary of all Scriptures
and Myths, G.A. Gaskell, 1960 (1923).
ambitious work indeed! Endeavours to explicate the symbolism underlying all
religions. Perhaps its greatest lasting value is the rich abundance of
quotations from a wide-ranging selection of religious writings. Chthonios Books"
learn to understand this metaphorical or hieroglyphic language of the ancient
world, we shall look upon the Upanishads
and on most of the Sacred Books of the
East as mere childish twaddle [are they?]."
|Max Mueller [commonly, Muller (1823 - 1900)]'.
"Flesh of Jesus as Bread from Heaven"
symbol was as much a metaphor in the historical ages of Egyptian history as are
the metaphors of our own language. When the Egyptian spoke of 'eating' his god,
he meant no more than we do when we speak of 'absorbing' a subject."--Sayce [A.H. Sayce 1845 - 1933], Rel. of Anc. Egypt. and Babyl., p.
'"The Gospel narrative, while related,--in Scripture
fashion,--as of an actual particular person, and in terms derived from the
physical plane,--is a mystical history
only, of any person, and implies the spiritual possibilities of all
persons. And hence, while using terms implying or
derived from actual times, places, persons and events [like most
does not really refer to these or make pretense to
historical precision."--Ibid., p. 230.'
["Kingsford [Anna (Bonus) Kingsford [1846
- 1888], M.D.] and Maitland [Edward
Maitland 1824 - 1897], The Perfect Way"]. .
and universal symbol of the Higher Self,--God manifest,--the central source of
Light and Life within the soul.
no visible thing in all the world more worthy to serve as a type of God than the
Sun, which illuminates with visible light itself first, and then all the
celestial and elemental bodies."--Dante
Alighieri [1265 - 1321], The Banquet,
III. 12.' .
quotation (not presented) that follows the preceding 3 lines, is credited to the
Emperor Julian. The first portion (prior to 4 ellipses) appears principally
concocted, the remaining portion appears to be a "loose" translation].
'"Later Manicheans taught expressly that MANI, BUDDAS, ZOROASTER, CHRIST, AND THE SUN, ARE THE
SAME."--Neander [Johann August
Wilhelm Neander 1789 - 1850], Church History, Vol.
II. p. 198.' .
Psycho-Analysis and the
Myths and Scriptures
bear a close resemblance to dreams, as comparison between them will
|"Some dreams are very short; others are peculiarly
rich in content, enact entire romances and seem to last a very long time. There are dreams as distinct as actual experiences, so
distinct that for some time after waking we do not
realise that they were dreams at all; others, which are ineffably
faint, shadowy and blurred: in one
and the same dream, even, there may be some parts of extraordinary
vividness alternating with others so indistinct as to be almost wholly elusive. Again, dreams may be quite
consistent or at any rate coherent,
or even witty or fantastically beautiful; others again are confused, apparently imbecile, absurd or mad."
S. Freud [1856
- 1939], Lectures on Psycho-analysis, p. 73.
|"Some Scriptures are very short, others are
peculiarly rich in content, enact entire romances (Esther) and seem to last a very long time (Pentateuch). There are Scriptures as distinct as actual
experiences, and therefore are mistaken
for history (Gospels); others which are
faint, shadowy and blurred (Psalms). In one and the same Scripture there may
be some parts of extraordinary vividness alternating with others so
indistinct as to be almost wholly
elusive (Isaiah). Again, Scriptures
may be quite consistent or at any rate coherent (Kings), or even witty or fantastically beautiful (Job); others again are confused, apparently imbecile, absurd or mad (Daniel,
Compared by present writer [G.A.
Gaskell 1844? -
] with Freud's statement....'
[last page of book].