Hekate - Section D

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Quotations

V. Attributions

Animals

Weasel, Polecat

1. Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 29 (trans. Celoria) : "At Thebes Proitos had a daughter Galinthias. This maiden was playmate and companion of Alkmene, daughter of Elektryon. As the birth throes for Herakles were pressing on Alkmene, the Moirai (Fates) and Eileithyia (Birth-Goddess), as a favour to Hera, kept Alkmene in continuous birth pangs. They remained seated, each keeping their arms crossed. Galinthias, fearing that the pains of her labour would drive Alkmene mad, ran to the Moirai and Eleithyia and announced that by desire of Zeus a boy had been born to Alkmene and that their prerogatives had been abolished. At all this, consternation of course overcame the Moirai and they immediately let go their arms. Alkmene’s pangs ceased at once and Herakles was born. The Moirai were aggrieved at this and took away the womanly parts of Galinthias since, being but a mortal, she had deceived the gods. They turned her into a deceitful weasel (or polecat), making her live in crannies and gave her a grotesque way of mating. She is mounted through the ears and gives birth by bringing forth her young through the throat. Hekate felt sorry for this transformation of her appearance and appointed her a sacred servant of herself."

2. Aelian, On Animals 12. 5 (trans. Scholfield) : "The inhabitants of Thebes, although Greeks, worship a marten [Galanthis], so I hear, and allege that it was the nurse of Herakles, or if it was not the nurse, yet when Alkmene was in labour and unable to bring her child to birth, the marten ran by her and loosed the bonds of her womb, so that Herakles was delivered and at once began to crawl."

3. Aelian, On Animals 15. 11 (trans. Scholfield) : "I have heard that the land-marten (or polecat) was once a human being. It has also reached my hearing that Gale was her name then; that she was a dealer in spells and a sorceress (Pharmakis); that she was extremely incontinent, and that she was afflicted with abnormal sexual desires. Nor has it escaped my notice that the anger of the goddess Hekate transformed it into this evil creature. May the goddess be gracious to me: fables and their telling I leave to others."


Dog

1. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.1194 : "Hekate Brimo ... hearing his words from the abyss, came up ... and hounds of the underworld (kunes khthonioi) barked shrilly all around her."

2. Lycophron, Alexandra 74 : "Zerynthos [in Samothrake], cave of the goddess to whom dogs are slain [Hekate]."

3. Lycophron, Alexandra 1174 : "[Dogs] terrifying with thy baying in the night all mortals who worship not with torches the images of Zerynthia [Hekate]."

4. Pausanias, Guide to Greece 3.14.9-10 : "I know of no other Greeks who are accustomed to sacrifice puppies except the people of Kolophon; these too sacrifice a puppy, a black bitch, to Enodia (of the Wayside) [Hekate] ... at night."

5. Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.403 : "She ... out of Erebos and Chaos called Nox (Night) and the Di Nocti (Gods of Night) ... stones brayed and bellowed, dogs began to bark."

6. Ovid, Fasti 1.389 : "Sapaeans [a Thrakian tribe] ... offer the guts of dogs to Trivia [Hekate]."

7. Virgil, Aeneid 6.257 : "A baying of hounds was heard through the half-light: the goddess was coming, Hecate."

8. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 6.110 : "Baying [of Hounds] loud as that which rings at the grim gate of Dis [Haides] or from Hecate’s escort [of black hounds] to the world above."

9. Apuleius, Golden Ass 11.218 : "At another time you [Egyptian Isis] are Proserpina [Persephone or Hekate], whose howls at night inspire dread."

10. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3.61 : "Hekate, divine friend of dogs."

11. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44.198 : "Hekate... nightwandering, nurse of puppies because the nightly sound of the hurrying dogs is thy delight with their mournful whimpering."

12. Suidas s.v. All' ei tis humôn en Samothraikei memuemenos esti : "Hekate and the Zerinthian cave, where they sacrificed dogs."


Snake

1. Sophokles, The Root Cutters, (Transl. by Robert Von Rudloff) : "Lord Helios and the sacred flames, weapon of Hekate Enodia, which she bears when leading in Olympos and in her haunts by the sacred three-ways on Earth crowning herself with oak leaves and twisting coils of wild serpents."


Fish

1. Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, b. VII. Transl. By C. D. Yonge : 92. : "There is a fish, too, called the msenis, or sprat; and Icesius says that they are more juicy than the tench, but that they are inferior in delicacy of flavour, and also in the extent to which they facilitate the secretions of the stomach. But Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Things similar to one another, says that both the boax and the smaris resemble the sprat; and these two fishes are mentioned by Epioharmus, in his Earth and Sea, in the following manner : - “When you see many boaces and smarides.” And Epsenetus, in his Cookery Book, says, "The smaris, which some people call cynoseuna." But Antiphanes in his Countryman, or Butalion, calls the sprats the food of Hecate, on account of their diminutive size; and the following is the passage: - “A: Why, I did think that all these monstrous fish were cannibals.” - “B: What can you mean, my friend ?” – “A: Why, cannibals : so how would any man eat them ?” – “B: That's true. But these are food of Hecate, which he is speaking of, just sprats and mullets.”

2. Athenaeus, The Deipnosophists, b. VII. Transl. By C. D. Yonge : [126.] But Plato, in his Phaon,. Says: “The mullet is not wholesome for the nerves. For it is sacred to the chaste Diana, And all excitement hates.” But the mullet is attributed to Hecate as her fish, on account of the common derivation of their names ; for Hecate is called τριοδῖτις, as presiding over places where three roads meet, and τρίγληνος, as having three eyes ; and also they provide her a banquet on the thirtieth day of each month (ταῖς τριακάσι). And, on similar principles, they assign to Apollo the fish κίθαρος, from κιθάρα (the harp) ; and the βόαξ to Mercury, from βοάω (to speak) ; and the κιττός to Bacchus, from κισσός (ivy) and the φάλαρις to Venus, as Aristophanes in his Birds says, from the similarity of its name to the word φαλλός. And so the bird called the νῆσσα (or duck), they call Neptune's bird; and the sea production which we call ἀφυά, and others ἀφρύα, and which is more generally called αφρός (foam), they also give to him ; though they say that this also is very dear to Venus, because she herself was born of foam. But Apollodorus, in his books concerning the Gods, says that the mullet is sacrificed to Hecate on account of the resemblance of their names; for that the goddess is τρίμορφος, of a triple form. But Melanthus, in his treatise on the Eleusinian Mysteries, says that both the τρίγλη and the μαινίς (or sprat), are sacred to Hecate, because Hecate is also a goddess of the sea. But Hegesander the Delphian says that the mullet is accustomed to be carried about in the Artemisia, because it is accustomed diligently to hunt out and destroy the sea-hares, which are poisonous animals ; on which account, as it does this to the great benefit of mankind, the mullet as a huntress is considered sacred to the goddess who is also a huntress. And Sophron has called the mullet " bearded," because those which have beards are better flavoured than those which have not. And there is a place at Athens called Τρίγλα, and there there is a shrine to Ἑκάτη Τριγλανθίνη; on which account Chariclides, in his Chain, says: - “Μistress Hecate, Trioditis, With three forms (τρίμορφε) and three faces (τριπρόσωπη), Propitiated with mullets (τρίγλαις).”


Plants

1. Suidas s.v. Asphodelos (Asphodel) : ”A bulbous plant, having long leaves and an edible stem; and its seed when roasted and the root chopped up with figs fetches a high price. [It is] sacred to Persephone and the underworld [deities]. Also Rhodians wreath Kore [Persephone] and Artemis [Hekate] with asphodel."

2. Sophokles, The Root Cutters, (Transl. by Robert Von Rudloff) : "Lord Helios and the sacred flames, weapon of Hekate Enodia, which she bears when leading in Olympos and in her haunts by the sacred three-ways on Earth crowning herself with oak leaves and twisting coils of wild serpents."

3. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 4.45.1 : "We are told that Helios (the Sun) had two sons, Aeetes and Perses, Aeetes being the king of Kolkhis and the other king of the Tauric Chersonese, and that both of them were exceedingly cruel. And Perses had a daughter Hekate, who surpassed her father in boldness and lawlessness; she was also fond of hunting, and when she had no luck she would turn her arrows upon human beings instead of the beasts. Being likewise ingenious in the mixing of deadly poisons she discovered the drug called aconite and tired out the strength of each poison by mixing it with food given to the strangers. And since she possessed great experience in such matters she first of all poisoned her father, and so succeeded to the throne, and then, founding a temple of Artemis and commanding that strangers who landed there should be sacrificed to the goddess, she became know far and wide for her cruelty. After this she married Aeetes and bore two daughters, Kirke and Medea, and a son Aigialeus ... Aeetes, partly because of his own natural cruelty and partly because he was under the influence of his wife Hekate, had given his approval to the custom of slaying strangers."

Goddness of Night

1. Hesiod, Theogony 404 : "Asteria (Starry One) ... conceived and bare Hekate."

2. Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 19 : "Queenly Deo [Demeter] wandered over the earth with flaming torches in her hands [after the abduction of Persephone] ... But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hekate, with a torch in her hands, met her ... [and] sped swiftly with her, holding flaming torches in her hands. So they came to Helios (the Sun), ... and stood in front of his horses"

3. Sappho or Alcaeus, Frag 23 : "[Hekate] the golden-shining attendant of Aphrodite."

4. Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides, Frag 1B : "Torch-bearing Hekate holy daughter of great-bosomed Nyx (Night)."

5. Orphic Hymn 1 to Hecate : "Hekate ... pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade ... nightly seen."

6. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.840 : "Propitiating the only-begotten Maiden (Koure mounogeneia) [Hekate] with a midnight offering ... Brimo [Hekate], nurse of youth (kourotrophos), Brimo, night-wanderer of the underworld (nyktipolis khthonie), Queen of the dead (anassa eneroi)."

7. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.1194 : "Hekate Brimo ... hearing his words from the abyss, came up... She was garlanded by fearsome snakes that coiled themselves round twigs of oak; the twinkle of a thousand torches lit the scene; and hounds of the underworld barked shrilly all around her."

8. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4.55 : "[Selene the Moon cries:] `How many times... have you [the witchMedea ] disorbed me with your incantations, making the night moonless so that you might practise your beloved witchcraft undisturbed."

9. Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.162 : "In the deep stillness of the midnight hour ... she [Medea] stretched her arms to the stars ... O Nox [Nyx the Night], Mother of Mysteries, and all ye golden Astra (Stars) who with Luna [Selene the Moon] succeed the fires of day, and thou, divine triceps (three-formed) Hecate, who knowest all my enterprises and dost fortify the arts of magic."

10. Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.403 : "Out of Erebos and Chaos she called Nox (Night) and the Di Nocti (Gods of Night) and poured a prayer with long-drawn wailing cries to Hecate."

11. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 7.515 : "Hecate, queen of the night."

12. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 44.198 : "Dionysos waited for darksome night, and appealed in these words to circle Mene (Moon) in heaven: 'O daughter of Helios (Sun), Mene (Moon) of many turnings, nurse of all! O Selene (Moon), driver of the silver car! If thou art Hekate of many names, if in the night thou doest shake thy mystic torch in brandcarrying hand, come nightwanderer, nurse of puppies because the nightly sound of the hurrying dogs is thy delight with their mournful whimpering."


VI. Cult

1. Pindar, Paean 2 (trans. Sandys) : "It was the first of the month when this befell, and the gracious Hekata, the maid of the ruddy feet, was thereby sending us a message that was longing for fulfilment."

2. Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 18 (trans. Rackham) : "If you think Latona [Leto] a goddess, how can you not think that Hecate is one, who is the daughter of Latona’s sister Asteria? Is Hecate a goddess too? We have seen altars and shrines belonging to her in Greece."


Shrines

Household Shrines

1. Aeschylus, Fragment 216 (from Scholiast on Theocritus, Idyll 2. 36) (trans. Weir Smyth) : "Lady (despoina) Hekate, before the portal of the royal halls." [i.e. her shrine by the gates.]

2. Euripides, Medea 396 ff (trans. Vellacott) : "My chosen helper Hekate, who dwells in the inner chamber of my house [i.e. at the household shrine]."

3. Aristophanes, Plutus 410 ff (trans. O'Neill) : "Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month [i.e. food placed inside her door-front shrines] and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served."

4. Aristophanes, Wasps 804 ff : "I have heard it foretold, that one day the Athenians would dispense justice in their own houses, that each citizen would have himself a little tribunal constructed in his porch similar to the altars of Hekate (Hekataion), and that there would be such before every door."


Crossroad Shrines

1. Aristophanes, Frogs 440 ff (trans. O'Neill) : "The Lady Hekate's wayside shrine."

2. Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 2 (trans. Jones) : "It was Alkamenes [of Athens], in my opinion, who first made three images of Hekate attached to one another."

3. Ovid, Fasti 1. 141 ff (trans.Boyle) : "You see Hecate’s faces turned in three directions so she can protect the triple crossroads."

4. Virgil, Aeneid 4. 609 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) : "Hecate whose name is howled by night at the city cross-roads."


Centers of Worship

1. Aristophanes, Wasps 799 ff (trans. O'Neill) : ”Athenians… in their own houses… constructed in the porch… altars of Hecate… before every door."

2. Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 2 (trans. Jones) : "It was Alkamenes, in my opinion, who first made three images of Hekate attached to one another, a figure called by the Athenians Epipurgidia (on the Tower); it stands beside the temple of Nike Apteron (Wingless Victory) [on the Akropolis]."

3. Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 280 ff (trans. O'Neill) : "[The Thesmophoria festival was held in honour of Demeter and Persephone:] Woman Herald : Silence! Silence! Pray to the Thesmophorai, Demeter and Koura [Persephone]; pray to Ploutos, Kalligeneia, Kourotrophos [Hekate], Ge (the Earth), Hermes and the Kharites (Graces), that all may happen for the best at this gathering, both for the greatest advantage of Athens and for our own personal happiness! May the award be given her who, by both deeds and words, has most deserved it from the Athenian people and from the women! Address these prayers to heaven and demand happiness for yourselves. Io Paean! Io Paean! Let us rejoice!"

4. Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 30. 2 (trans. Jones) : "Of the gods, the Aiginetans worship most Hekate, in whose honour every year they celebrate mystic rites which, they say, Orpheus the Thrakian established among them. Within the enclosure is a temple; its wooden image is the work of Myron, and it has one face and one body. It was Alkamenes, in my opinion, who first made three images of Hekate attached to one another [in Athens]."

5. Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 11. 8 : "In the portico [of the temple of Askepios at Titane, Sikyonia] are dedicated images of Dionysos and Hekate, with Aphrodite, the Mater Theon (Mother of the Gods), and Tykhe (Fortune). These are wooden."

6. Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 12. 1 : "In Titane there is also a sanctuary of Athena, into which they bring up the image of Koronis [mother of Asklepios]… The sanctuary is built upon a hill, at the bottom of which is an Altar of the Winds, and on it the priest sacrifices to the winds one night in every year. He also performs other secret rites [of Hekate] at four pits, taming the fierceness of the blasts [of the winds], and he is said to chant as well the charms of Medea."

7. Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 22. 7 : "[In Argos] near the Lords [shrine of the Dioskouroi] is a sanctuary of Eilethyia, dedicated by Helene when, Theseus having gone away with Peirithoos to Thesprotia, Aphidna had been captured by the Dioskouroi and Helene was being brought to Lakedaimon. For it is said that she was with child, was delivered In Argos, and founded there the sanctuary of Eilethyia, giving the daughter she bore [Iphigeneia] to Klytaimnestra, who was already wedded to Agamemnon, while she herself subsequently married Menelaos… Over against the sanctuary of Eilethyia is a temple of Hekate [the goddess probably here identified with the apotheosed Iphigeneia], and the image is a work of Skopas. This one is of stone, while the bronze images opposite, also of Hekate, were made respectively by Polykleitos and his brother Naukydes."

8. Lycophron, Alexandra 1174 ff (trans. Mair) : "Brimo Trimorphos [Hekate] . . . appeasing the goddess of Pherai with sacrifice."

9. Lycophron, Alexandra 1174 ff (trans. Mair) : "Brimo Trimorphos [Hekate] . . . queen of Strymon (a river in Thrake).". (A case of identification with Bendis.)

10. Ovid, Fasti 1. 389 ff (trans.Boyle) : "I have seen Sapaeans [a Thrakian tribe] and your snow dwellers, Haemus [mountain in Thrake], offer the guts of dogs to Trivia [Hekate]." (A case of identification with Bendis.)

11. Lycophron, Alexandra 74 ff (trans. Mair) : "Zerynthos [on the island of Samothrake], cave of the goddess to whom dogs are slain [Hekate]."

12. Lycophron, Alexandra 1174 ff : "The maiden daughter of Perseus, Brimo Trimorphos (Three-formed), shall make thee [Hekabe queen of Troy] her attendant [Hekabe was transformed into a dog], terrifying with thy baying in the night all mortals who worship not with torches the images of Zerynthia [Hekate] queen of Strymon, appeasing the goddess of Pherai with sacrifice."

13. Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 20 (trans. Jones) : "Some, however, believe that the Kouretes were the same as the Korybantes and were ministers of Hekate [in the Mysteries of Samothrake]."

14. Strabo, Geography 10. 3. 10 : "Now most of the Greeks assigned to Dionysos, Apollon, Hekate, the Mousai, and above all to Demeter, everything of an orgiastic or Bakkhic or choral nature, as well as the mystic element in initiations… And branch-bearing, choral dancing, and initiations are common elements in the worship of these gods."

15. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 3. 61 ff (trans. Rouse) : "Already the bird of morning was cutting the air with loud cries [on the island of Samothrake]; already the helmeted bands of desert-haunting Korybantes were beating on their shields in the Knossian dance, and leaping with rhythmic steps, and the oxhides thudded under the blows of the iron as they whirled them about in rivalry, while the double pipe made music, and quickened the dancers with its rollicking tune in time to the bounding steps. Aye, and the trees whispered, the rocks boomed, the forests held jubilee with their intelligent movings and shakings, and the Dryades did sing. Packs of bears joined the dance, skipping and wheeling face to face; lions with a roar from emulous throats mimicked the triumphant cry of the priests of the Kabeiroi, sane in their madness; the revelling pipes rang out a tune to honour of Hekate, divine friend of dogs, those single pipes, which the horn-polisher’s art invented in Kronos’s days."

16. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4. 184 ff : "Grottoes of the Kabeiroi and Korybantian cliffs [on the island of Samothrake]… the revelling companies of my mother’s [Elektra, queen of the island of Samothrake,] Hekate with their torches in the night."

17. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 400 ff : ”Zerynthos [on the island of Samothrake] of the unresting Korybantes, the foundation of renowned Perseis [Hekate], where the rocks are thronged with torchbearing mystics of the Maid."

18. Nonnus, Dionysiaca 29. 213 ff : "[The Kabeiros] Alkon grasped a fiery bolt in one hand, and swung about a festal torch of Hekate from his own country [i.e. Samothrake]."

19. Suidas s.v. Zerynthia (trans. Suda On Line) : "Zerynthia : …Also Zerinthian cave, where they used to sacrifice dogs. There the mysteries of the Korybantes [Kabeiroi] and of Hekate took place."

20. Suidas s.v. All' ei tis humôn en Samothraikei memuemenos esti : "In Samothrake there were certain initiation-rites, which they supposed efficacious as a charm against certain dangers. In that place were also the mysteries of the Korybantes [Kabeiroi] and those of Hekate and the Zerinthian cave, where they sacrificed dogs. The initiates supposed that these things save [them] from terrors and from storms."

21. Suidas s.v. Hekates nesou : [Hekate was worshipped on Psamite an islet in the vicinity of Delos. In some accounts this island was the metamorphosed body of her mother Asteria.] "Hekates nesou (of the island of Hekate) : On the approach to Delos lies a certain islet, which some call Psamite. They say that it is called this because the goddess is honoured with psamita. A psamiton is a particular kind of cake."

22. Suidas s.v. Asphodelos : Asphodelos (Asphodel) : A bulbous plant, having long leaves and an edible stem; and its seed when roasted and the root chopped up with figs fetches a high price. [It is] sacred to Persephone and the underworld [deities]. Also Rhodians wreath Kore [Persephone] and Artemis [Hekate] with asphodel."

23. Strabo, Geography 14. 1. 23 (trans. Jones) : "They [the priests of the temple of Artemis at Ephesos] showed me also some of the works of Thrason, who made the Hekatesion (Shrine of Hekate)."

24. Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 14. 9 (trans. Jones) : "I know of no other Greeks [than the Spartans sacrifices to Enyalios] who are accustomed to sacrifice puppies except the people of Kolophon; these too sacrifice a puppy, a black bitch, to Enodia (of the Wayside) [Hekate]. Both the sacrifice of the Kolophonians and that of the youths at Sparta are appointed to take place at night."

25. Strabo, Geography 14. 2. 15 (trans. Jones) : "Stratonikeia [in Karia, Asia Minor] is a settlement of Makedonians... There are two temples in the country of the Stratonikeians, of which the most famous, that of Hekate, is at Lagina; and it draws great festal assemblies every year."

26. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 245 ff (trans. Rieu) : "They [the Argonauts] made fast their stern cables on the Paphlagonian coast at the mouth of the River Halys. Medea had told them to land there and propitiate Hekate with a sacrifice. But with what ritual she prepared the offering, no one must hear. Nor must I let myself be tempted to describe it; my lips are sealed by awe. But the altar they built for the goddess on the beach is still there for men of a later age to see."

27. Lycophron, Alexandra 1174 ff (trans. Mair) : "[The goddess Hekate] shall make thee [Hekabe queen of Troy] her attendant [after her transformation into a dog]... And the island spur of Pakhynos [town in Sikelia] shall hold thine [Hekabe’s] awful cenotaph, piled by the hands of thy master [Odysseus], prompted by dreams when thou hast gotten the rites of death in front of the streams of Heloros. He [Odysseus] shall pour on the shore offerings for thee, unhappy one, fearing the anger of the three-necked goddess [Hekate], for that he shall hurl the first stone at thy stoning and begin the dark sacrifice to Haides."


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