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All unclean persons to be
put out of the camp.
The Israelites are commanded to purify the camp by excluding all lepers, and all diseased and unclean per
sons, 1-3. They do so, 4. Law concerning him who has defrauded another-he shall confess his sin, restore the principal, and add besides one fifth of its value, 5-7. If he have no kinsman io whom the recompense can be made, it shall be given unto the Lord, 8. All the holy things offered to the Lord shall be the priest's portion, 9, 10. The law concerning jealousy,'11-14. The suspected woman's offering, 15. She is lo be brought before the Lord, 16. The priest shall take holy water, and put it in dust from the floor of the tabernacle, 17. Shall put the offering in her hand, and adjure her, 18-20. The form of the oath, 21, 22 ; which is to be written on a book, blotted out in the bitter waters, and these the suspected person shall be obliged to drink, 23, 24. The jealousy-offering shall be waved before the Lord, 25, 26. The effect which shall be produced if the suspected person be guilty, 27. The effect if not guilty, 28. Recapitulation, with the purpose and design of the law, 29, 30. A. M. 2514.
AND the Lord spake unto 4 And the children of Israel A. M. 2514. B. C. 1490. An. Exod. Isr. 2. Moses, saying,
did so, and put them out without An. Exod. Isr. 2. Ijar or Zif. 2 Command the children of the camp: as the Lord spake
Ijar or Zif. Israel, that they put out of the camp every unto Moses, so did the children of Israel. a leper, and every one that hath an issue, and 5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, whosoever is defiled by the dead :
6 Speak unto the children of Israel, . When 3 Both male and female shall ye put out, a man or woman shall commit any sin that without the camp shall ye put them; that they men commit, to do a trespass against the defile not their camps, d in the midst whereof LORD, and that person be guilty; I dwell.
7 * Then they shall confess their sin which
B. C. 1490.
a Lev. xiii. 3, 46; chap. xii. 14.
_b Lev. xv. 2. _c Lev. xxi. l; chap. ix. 6, 10; xix. 11, 13 ; xxxi. 19.
a Lev. xxvi. 11, 12; 2 Cor. vi. 16. Lev. vi. 2, 3. - Lev.
v. 5; xxvi. 40 ; Josh. vii. 19,
NOTES ON CHAP. V.
from the way of truth, he is abandoned by all ; finding Verse 2. Put out of the camp every leper] Ac- his case desperate, he plunges yet deeper into the cording to the preceding plan, it is sufficiently evi- mire of sin, and the man who, with tender treatment, dent that each camp had a space behind it, and on might have been reclaimed, becomes incurably hardenone side, whither the infected might be removed, and ed. One class says, he cannot finally fall, and shall where probably convenient places were erected for the in due time be restored ; another class says, he may accommodation of the infected; for we cannot sup- finally fall and utterly perish. If the unfortunate perpose that they were driven out into the naked wilder- son be restored, his recovery is taken as a proof of
But the expulsion mentioned here was founded, the first doctrine ; if he be not, his wretched end is 1. On a purely physical reason, viz., the diseases were considered a proof of the second. - In the first case contagious, and therefore there was a necessity of put- the person himself may presume on his restoration as ting those afflicted by them apart, that the infection a point infallibly determined in the Divine counsel ; or might not be communicated. 2. There was also a in the second, he may consider his case hopeless, and spiritual reason ; the camp was the habitation of God, so abandon himself to profligacy and desperation. and nothing impure should be permitted to remain Thus both parties leave him, and both opinions (miswhere he dwelt. 3. The camp was an emblem of understood certainly) render him secure or desperate ; the Church, where nothing that is defiled should en- and in either case totally inactive in behalf of his own ter, and in which nothing that is unholy should be soul. Who is he that properly estimates the worth tolerated. All lepers—all persevering impenitent sin- of one immortal spirit ? He who does will at once ners, should be driven from the sacred pale, nor should feel that, in a state of probation, any man may fall any such ever be permitted to enter.
through sin, and any sinner may be renewed again Verse 4. And the children of Israel- put them oul] unto repentance, through the infinitely meritorious sacThis is the earliest account we have of such sepa- rifice, and all powerfully efficacious grace, of Christ. rations; and probably this ordinance gave the first | This truth properly felt equally precludes both preidea of a hospital, where all those who are afflicted sumption and despair, and will induce the followers of with contagious disorders are put into particular wards, God to be active in preserving those who have escaped under medical treatment. Though no mention be from the corruption that is in the world, and make made of the situation, circumstances, &c., of those them diligent to recover those who have turned back expelled persons, we may certainly infer that they to earth and sin. were treated with that humanity which their distressed Verse 7. Shall confess their sin] Without confesstate required. Though sinners must be separated sion or acknowledgment of sin, there was no hope of from the Church of God, yet they should be treated mercy held out. with affectionate regard, because they may be reclaim- He shall recompense) For without restitution, in ed. It is too often the case when a man backslides every possible case, God will not forgive the iniquity
B. C. 1490.
Origin of the law
concerning jealousies. A. M. 2514. they have done : and he shall meal; he shall pour no oil upon
A. M. 2514.
B. C. 1430. An. Exod. Isr. 2. recompense his trespass 6 with it, nor put frankincense thereon ; An. Exod. Ist
. 2. Ijar or Zif. the principal thereof, and add for it is an offering of jealousy,
Ijar or Zif. unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto an offering of memorial, - bringing iniquity to him against whom he hath trespassed. remembrance.
8 But if the man have no kinsman to recom- 16 And the priest shall bring her near, and pense the trespass unto, let the trespass be set her before the LORD: recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest ; 17 And the priest shall take holy water in beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in an atonement shall be made for him.
the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, 9 And every i offering of all the holy and put it into the water : things of the children of Israel, which they 18 And the priest shall set the woman before bring unto the priest, shall be his.
the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and 10 And every man's hallowed things shall put the offering of memorial in her hands, be his : whatsoever any man giveth the priest, which is the jealousy-offering: and the priest it shall be his,
shall have in his hand the bitter water that 11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, causeth the curse :
12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and 19 And the priest shall charge her by an say unto them, If
go aside, and oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have commit a trespass against him,
lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside 13 And a man m lie with her carnally, and to uncleanness with another Pinstead of thy it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and husband, be thou free from this bitter water be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be that causeth the curse : no witness against her, neither she be taken 20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead with the manner ;
of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some 14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, man have lain with thee beside thine husband : and he be jealous of his wife, and she be de- 21 Then the priest shall 9 charge the woman filed : or if the spirit of jealousy come upon with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be say unto the woman, "The Lord make thee not defiled :
a curse and an oath among thy people, when 15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the Lord doth make thy thigh to s rot, and thy the priest, and he shall bring her offering for belly to swell ; her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley 22 And this water that causeth the curse
th Lev. vi. 6, 7; vii. 7.- -i Or, heave-offering. 0 1 Kings xvii. 18; Ezek. xxix. 16.- - Or, being in the power k Exod. xxix. 28; Lev. vi. 17, 18, 26 ; vii. 6, 7, 9, 10, 14; chap. of thy husband ; Rom. vii. 2.- -P Heb. under thy husband. xviii. 8, 9, 19; Deut. xviii. 3, 4; Ezek. xliv. 29, 30, - Lev. x. Josh. vi. 26; Sam. xiv. 24; Neh. x, 29. — Jer. xxix. 22.
s Heb. fall. of a man's sin. How can any person in a case of In an earthen vessel] Supposed by the Jews to be defraud, with his neighbour's property in his posses- such as had never been previously used. sion, expect to receive mercy from the hand of a just Dust that is in the floor) Probably intended to and holy God? See this subject considered in the point out the baseness of the crime of which she was notes on Gen. xlii. at the close.
accused. Verse 8. If the man have no kinsman) The Jews Verse 18. Uncover the woman's head] To take off think that this law respects the stranger and the so- a woman's veil, and expose her to the sight of men, journer only, because every Israelite is in a state of would be considered a very great degradation in the affinity to all the rest ; but there might be a stranger East. To this St. Paul appears to allude, 1 Cor. xi. in the camp who has no relative in any of the tribes 5, 6, 10. of Israel,
Verse 21. The Lord make thee a curse and an oath] Verse 14. The spirit of jealousy) neup n17 ruach Let thy name and punishment be remembered and menkinah, either a supernatural diabolic influence, exciting tioned as an example and terror to all others. Like him to jealousy, or the passion or affection of jealousy, that mentioned Jer. xxix. 22, 23 : “ The Lord make for so the words may be understood.
thee like Zedekiah, and like Ahab, whom the king of • Verse 17. Holy water] Water out of the laver, Babylon roasted in the fire, because they have comcalled holy because consecrated to sacred uses. This mitted villany in Israel, and have committed adultery is the most ancient case of the trial by ordeal, See with their neighbours' wives."-Ainsworth. at the end of the chapter.
Verse 22. Thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rol]
6 Lev. vi. 5.
13. —m Lev. xviii. 20.
A. M. 2514.
B. C. 1490.
The bitter waters of jealousy,
and their effects. + shall go into thy bowels, to water, then it shall come to pass, A. M. 2514. An. Exod. Isr. 2. make thy belly to swell, and thy that, if she be defiled, and have An. Exod. Isr. 2. ljar or Zif.
Ijar or Zif. thigh to rot: "And the woman done trespass against her husshall say, Amen, amen.
band, that the water that causeth the curse 23 And the priest shall write these curses shall enter into her, and become bitter, and in a book, and he shall blot them out with the her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: bitter water :
and the woman * shall be a curse among her 24 And he shall cause the woman to drink people. the bitter water that causeth the curse : and 28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be the water that causeth the curse shall enter clean; then she shall be free, and shall coninto her, and become bitter.
ceive seed. 25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy- 29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife offering out of the woman's hand, and shall goeth aside to another y instead of her husband,
wave the offering before the Lord, and offer and is defiled ; it upon the altar :
30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh 26 w And the priest shall take.a handful of upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and the offering, even the memorial thereof, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall priest shall execute upon her all this law. cause the woman to drink the water.
31 Then shall the man be guiltless from ini27 And when he hath made her to drink the quity, and this woman ? shall bear her iniquity. Psa. cix. 18. u Deut. xxvii. 15.
: - Lev. viii. 27. xxiv. 9; xxix. 18, 22; xlii. 18; Zech. viii. 13. — Ver. 19. w Lev. 11. 2, 9. - Deut. xxviii. 37; Psa. Ixxxiii. 9, 11; Jer. 2 Lev. xx. 17, 19, 20. What is meant by these expressions cannot be easily jealousy was omitted after the Babylonish captivity, ascertained. 77 5035 lanpel yarech signifies literally because adulteries were so frequent amongst them, thy thigh to fall. As the thigh, feet, &c., were used that they were afraid of having the name of the Lord among the Hebrews delicately to express the parts profaned by being so frequently appealed to! This which nature conceals, (see Gen. xlvi. 26,) the ex- is a most humiliating confession. • Though,” says pression here is probably to be understood in this pious Bishop Wilson, “ this judgment is not executed sense; and the falling down of the thigh here must now on adulteresses, yet they have reason from this mean something similar to the prolapsus uleri, or fall- to conclude that a more terrible vengeance will await ing down of the womb, which might be a natural effect them hereaster without a bitter repentance ; these beof the preternatural distension of the abdomen. In ing only a shadow of heavenly things, i. e., of what 1 Cor. xi. 29, St. Paul seems to allude to the case of the Gospel requires of its professors, viz., a strict the guilty woman drinking the bitter cursed waters purity, or a severe repentance.” The pious bishop that caused her destruction : He who eateth and drink- would not preclude the necessity of pardon through eth unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation («plua, the blood of the cross, for without this the severest condemnation or judgment) to himself; and there is repentance would be of no avail. probably a reference to the same thing in Psalm cix. Verse 24. The bitter water that causeth the curse) 18, and in Dan. ix. 11.
Though the rabbins think that the priest put some bitAnd the woman shall say, Amen, amen.) This is ter substance in the water, yet, as nothing of the kind the first place where this word occurs in the common is intimated by Moses, we may consider the word as form of a concluding wish in prayer. The root for used here metaphorically for affliction, death, &c. aman signifies to be steady, true, permanent. And in These waters were afflicting and deadly to her who prayer it signifies 'let it be so—make it steady let it drank them, being guilty. In this sense afflictions are be ratified. Some have supposed that it is composed said to be bitter, Isa. xxxviii. 17; so also is death, of the initial- letters of jox757 378 Adonai melech 1 Sam. xv. 32; Eccles. vii. 26. Neeman, My Lord the faithful King, but this deriva- Verse 29. This is the law of jealousies] And this tion is both far-fetched and unnecessary.
is the most singular law in the whole Pentateuch : a Verse 23. The priest shall write these curses--and law that seems to have been copied by almost all the he shall blot them out] It appears that the curses nations of the earth, whether civilized or barbarian, as which were written down with a kind of ink prepared we find that similar modes of trial for suspected for the purpose, as some of the rabbins think, without offences were used when complete evidence was wantany calx of iron or other material that could make a ing to convict; and where it was expected that the permanent dye, were washed off the parchment into the object of their worship would interfere for the sake water which the woman was obliged to drink, so that of justice, in order that the guilly should be brought she drank the very words of the execration. The ink to punishment, and the innocent be cleared. For used in the East is almost all of this kind—a wet general information on this head see at the end of this sponge will completely efface the finest of their writ. chapter. ings. The rabbins say that the trial by the waters of Verse 31. This woman shall bear her iniquity] General account of the
trial by ordeal. That is, her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot; gate of thie court of Israel, where she was stripped of see on ver. 22. But if not guilty after such a trial, the clothes she wore, and dressed in black before a she had great honour; and, according to the rabbins, number of persons of her own sex. The priest then became strong, healthy, and fruitful; for if she was told her that if she knew herself to be innocent she before barren, she now began to bear children ; if be- had no evil to apprehend; but if she were guilty, she fore she had only daughters, she now began to have might expect to suffer all that the law threatened ; to sons; if before she had hard travail, she now had which she answered, Amen, amen. easy ; in a word, she was blessed in her body, her The priest then wrote the words of the law upon a soul, and her substance : so shall it be done unto the piece of vellum, with ink that had no vitriol in it, that holy and faithful woman, for such the Lord delighteth it might be the more easily blotted out. The words to honour; see I Tim. ii. 15.
written on the vellum were, according to the rabbins,
the following :'On the principal subject of this chapter, I shall here “ If a strange man have not come near thee, and thou introduce a short account of the trial by ordeal, as art not polluted by forsaking the bed of thy husband, practised in different parts of the world, and which is these bitter waters which I have cursed will not hurt supposed to have taken its origin from the waters of thee : but is thou have gone astray from thy husband, jealousy.
and have polluted thyself by coming near to another The trial by what was afterwards called Ordeal is man, may thou be accursed of the Lord, and become certainly of very remote antiquity, and was evidently an example for all his people ; may thy thigh rot, and of Divine appointment. In this place we have an in- thy belly swell till it burst ! may these cursed waters stitution relative to a mode of trial precisely of that enter into thy belly, and, being swelled therewith, may kind which among our ancestors was called ordeal ; thy thigh putrefy !" and from this all similar trials in Asia, Africa, and After this the priest took a new pitcher, filled it Europe, have very probably derived their origin. with water out of the brazen bason that was near the
Ordeal, Latin, ordalium, is, according to Verstegan, altar of burnt-offering, cast some dust into it taken from the Saxon ondæl, ordal and ordel, and is derived from the pavement of the temple, mingled something by some from on, great, and DL, judgment, signify- bitter, as wormwood, with it, and having read the ing the greatest, most solenin, and decisive mode of curses above mentioned to the woman, and received judgment.-Hickes. Others derive it from the Fran- her answer of Amen, he scraped off the curses from cic or Teutonic Urdela, which signifies simply to judge. the vellum into the pitcher of water. During this time But Lye, in his Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, derives the another priest tore her clothes as low as her bosom, term from on, which is often in Anglo-Saxon, a pri- made her head bare, untied the tresses of her hair, vative particle, and dæi, distinction or difference ; and fastened her torn clothes with a girdle below her hence applied to that kind of judgment in which there breasts, and presented her with the tenth part of an was no respect of persons, but every one had absolute ephah, or about three pints of barley-meal, which was justice done him, as the decision of the business was in a frying pan, without oil or incense. supposed to belong to God alone. It always signified The other priest, who had prepared the waters of an appeal to the immediate interposition of God, and jealousy, then gave them to be drank by the accused was therefore called Judicium Dei, God's Judgment; person, and as soon as she had swallowed them, he and we may naturally suppose was never resorted to put the pan with the meal in it into her hand. This but in very important cases, where persons accused of was waved before the Lord, and a part of it thrown great crimes protested their innocence, and there was into the fire of the altar. If the woman was innocent, no sufficient evidence by which they could be cleared she returned with her husband ; and the waters, instead from the accusation, or proved to be guilty of the crime of incommoding her, made her more healthy and Jaid to their charge. Such were the cases of jealousy fruitful than ever : if on the contrary she were guilty, referred to in this chapter.
she was seen immediately to grow pale, her eyes The rabbins who have commented on this text give started out of her head, and, lest the temple should be us the following information : When any man, prompt- defiled with her death, she was carried out, and died ed by the spirit of jealousy, suspected his wife to have instantly with all the ignominious ciccumstances related committed adultery, he brought her first before the in the curses, which the rabbins say had the same judges, and accused her of the crime ; but as she effect on him with whom she had been criminal, though asserted her innocency, and refused to acknowledge he were absent and at a distance. They add, howherself guilty, and as he had no witnesses to produce, ever, that if the husband himself had been guilty with he required that she should be sentenced to drink the another woman, then the waters had no bad effect waters of bitterness which the law had appointed ; that even on his criminal wife; as in that case the transGod, by this means, might discover what she wished gression on the one part was, in a certain sense, to conceal.
After the judges had heard the accusa- balanced by the transgression on the other. tion and the denial, the man and his wife were both There is no instance in the Scriptures of this kind of sent to Jerusalem, to appear before the Sanhedrin, ordeal having ever been resorted to; and probably it who were the sole judges in such matters. The rab- never was during the purer times of the Hebrew rebins say that the judges of the Sanhedrin, at first en- public. God had rendered himself so terrible by his deavoured with threatenings to confound the woman, judgments, that no person would dare to appeal to this and cause her to confess her crime; when she still mode of trial who was conscious of her guilt; and in persisted in her innocence, she was led to the eastern case of simple adultery, where the matter was either
General account of the
trial by ordeal. detected or confessed, the parties were ordered by the Grotius gives many instances of water ordeal in law to be put to death.
Bithynia, Sardinia, and other places. Different speBut other ancient nations have also had their trials cies of fire and water ordeal are said to have prevailed by ordeal.
among the Indians on the coast of Malabar; the We learn from Ferdusi, a Persian poet, whose' au- negroes of Loango, Mosambique, &c., &c., and the thority we have no reason to suspect, that the fire Calmuc Tartars. ordeal was in use at a very early period among the The first formal mention I find of this trial in Euancient Persians. In the famous epic poem called rope is in the laws of King Ina, composed about A. D. the Shah Nameh of this author, who is not improperly 700. See L. 77, entitled, Dom be haten irene and styled the Homer of Persia, under the title Dastan pater, Decision by hot iron and water. I find it also Seeavesh ve Soodabeh, The account of Seeavesh and mentioned in the council of Mentz, A. D. 847; but Soodabeh, he gives a very remarkable and circumstan- Agobard, archbishop of Lyons, wrote against it sixty tial account of a trial of this kind.
years before this time. It is afterwards mentioned in It is very probable that the fire ordeal originated the council of Trevers, A. D. 895. It did not exist among the ancient Persians, for by them fire was not in Normandy till after the Conquest, and was probably only held sacred, but considered as a god, or rather as first introduced into England in the time of Ina, in the visible emblem of the supreme Deity; and indeed whose laws and those of Athelstan and Ethelred, it this kind of trial continues in extensive use among the was afterwards inserted. The ordeal by fire was for Hindoos to the present day. In the code of Gentoo noblemen and women, and such as were free born : laws it is several times referred to under the title of the water ordeal was for husbandmen, and the meaner Purrah Reh, but in the Shah Nameh, the word disyu classes of the people, and was of two sorts ; by cold Svogend is used, which signifies literally an oath, as
water and by hot. See the proceedings in these trials the persons were obliged to declare their innocence
declared particularly in the law of King Ina ; Wilby an oath, and then put their veracity to test by
KINS, Leges Anglo-Saxonicæ, p. 27.
Several popes published edicts against this species passing through the wilder kohi atesh, or fire of trial. Henry III. abolished trials by ordeal in the pile ; see the Shah Nameh in the title Dastan Seea- third year of his reign, 1219. See the act in Rymer, vesh ve Soodabeh, and Halhed's code of Gentoo laws; vol. i., p. 228; and see Dugdale's Origines Juridicales, Preliminary Discourse, p. lviii., and chap. v., sec. fol. 87; Spelman's Glossary, Wilkins, Hickes, Lomiii., pp. 117, &c.
bard, Somner, and Du Cange, art. Ferrum. A circumstantial account of the different kinds of The ordeal or trial by battle or combat is supposed ordeal practised among the Hindoos, communicated by to have come to us from the Lombards, who, leaving Warren Hastings, Esq., who received it from Ali Ibra- Scandinavia, overran Europe : it is thought that this him Khan, chief magistrate at Benares, may be found mode of trial was instituted by Frotha III., king of in the Asiatic Researches, vol. i., p. 389.
Denmark, about the time of the birth of Christ ; for This trial was conducted among this people nine he ordained that every controversy should be deterdifferent ways: first, by the balance; secondly, by mined by the sword. It continued in Holsatia till the fire; thirdly, by water ; fourthly, by poison; fifthly, time of Christian III., king of Denmark, who began by the cosha, or water in which an idol has been his reign in 1535. From these northern nations the washed ; sixthly, by rice; seventhly, by boiling oil; practice of duels was introduced into Great Britain. eighthly, by red hot iron ; ninthly, by images.
I need scarcely add, that this detestable form of There is, perhaps, no mode of judiciary decision trial was the foundation of the no less detestable crime that has been in more common use in ancient times, of duelling, which so much disgraces our age and nathan that of ordeal, in some form or other. We find tion, a practice that is defended only by ignorance, that it was also used by the ancient Greeks 500 years false honour, and injustice: it is a relic of barbarous before the Christian era; for in the Antigone of So- superstition, and was absolutely unknown to those phocles, a person suspected by Creon of a misdemea-brave and generous nations, the Greeks and Romans, nor, declares himself ready "to handle hot iron, and whom it is so much the fashion to admire ; and who, to walk over fire,” in proof of his innocence, which in this particular, so well merit our admiration ! the scholiast tells us was then a very usual purgation. The general practice of duelling is supposed to have Hμεν δ' έτοιμοι και μυδρους αιρειν χερουν,
taken its rise in 1527, at the breaking up of a treaty Kai nup dreptelv, kai beous éprwuotelv. Ver. 270. between the Emperor Charles V. and Francis I. The
former having sent a herald with an insulting message The scholiast on this line informs us that the cuse to Francis
, the king of France sent back the herald tom in binding themselves by the most solemn oath, with a cartel of defiance, in which he gave the empewas this : they took red hot iron in their hands, and ror the lie, and challenged him to single combat : throwing it into the sea, swore that the oath should be Charles accepted it; but after several messages coninviolate till that iron made its appearance again. cerning the arrangement of all the circumstances re
Virgil informs us that the priests of Apollo at lative to the combat, the thoughts of it were entirely Soracle were accustomed to walk over burning coals laid aside. The example of two personages so illusunhurt.
trious drew such general attention, and carried with it Et medium, freli pietate, per ignem so much authority, that it had considerable influence Cullores malta premimus vestigia pruna.
in introducing an important change in manners all over Æn. xi. 787. Europe.