Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/287

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Griechischen Antiquitäten[1] may be cited. Thus Isocrates writes,[2] "This was all their care, neither to destroy any of the ancestral rites, nor to add aught beyond what was ordained." Clemens Alexandrinus reports that certain Thessalians worshipped storks, "in accordance with use and wont."[3] Plato lays down the very "law of least change" which has been described. "Whether the legislator is establishing a new state or restoring an old and decayed one, in respect of gods and temples, . . . if he be a man of sense, he will make no change in anything which the oracle of Delphi, or Dodona, or Ammon has sanctioned, in whatever manner." In this very passage Plato[4] speaks of rites "derived from Tyrrhenia or Cyprus" as falling within the later period of the Greek Wanderjähre. On the high religious value of things antique, Porphyry wrote in a late age, and when the new religion of Christ was victorious, "Comparing the new sacred images with the old, we see that the old are more simply fashioned, yet are held divine, but the new, admired for their elaborate execution, have less persuasion of divinity,"—a remark anticipated by Pausanias, "The statues Dædalus wrought are quainter to the outward view, yet there shows forth in them somewhat supernatural."[5] So Athenæus[6] reports of a visitor to the shrine of Leto in Delos, that he expected the ancient statue of the mother of Apollo to be something remarkable, but, unlike the pious Porphyry, burst out laughing when he found it a shapeless wooden idol.

  1. Zweiter Theil, 1858.
  2. Arcop., 30.
  3. Clem. Alex., Oxford, 1715, i. 34.
  4. Laws, v. 738.
  5. De Abst., ii. 18; Paus., ii. 4, 5.
  6. xiv. 2.