« AnteriorContinuar »
DIVISION INTO HOURS.
dotus asserts, these people alone can contest with the ancient Hindoos the limitation and arrangement of the week; and the question between the two nations probably depends only on a more or less simple combination. In the first place it is most remarkable that the Hindoos arrived at their week-days in the very same way—by the division into hours—as Colebrooke has pointed out from Sanscrit writings*, and, naturally in a Sabæan religion, they began with the Sunday; and thus their computation depended not on periods of twenty-four hours, but of sixty muhurtas, or hours, from the division of which results the backward reckoning of the days. Among other designations for the hour (nâdika, ghatika), the Hindoos are acquainted with the word horat; although this may perhaps be derived from hod or hor, to go; and őpa, the etymology of which is uncertain, appears to have been first used by the later Greek astronomers, “when the sundials had been perfected at Alexandrias.” We might nevertheless be inclined to regard the word as a foreign one in India, since it appears first in later books, which in other points also are connected with the West by the horoscopical divination theory$, and remind us of the Yavanas as astrologers. The Hindoo hour (muhúrta), on the contrary, is known to the Ramayana, and also to the book of laws ||; but whilst here the civil day consists of thirty hours, the astronomical day comprises sixty hours of sixty minutes each, the minutes consisting of sixty seconds: and this very number in the arrangement of the week might carry considerable weight in favour of the Hindoos, as it enters in so many ways into the division of time. Moreover in early times the week was attributed to the Hindoos. Philostratus manifestly does so, even if the story is fictitious that a Brahmin gave
* Colebrooke, Asiat. Res. v. p. 107; vii. p. 286. + Asiat. Res. v. pp. 105, 109; Transact. ii. p. 62, Appendix. | Ideler, Handb. der Chronol. i. p. 238. § Colebr., Algebra of the Hindus, Dissert. pp. 24, 80. || Râmây. i. 60, 10; Manu i. 64.
Apollonius seven rings, on which were inscribed the names of the planets, and of which he was daily to wear a fresh one on his finger according to the name of the day* These magic rings (δακτύλιοι φαρμακίται in Ηesychius), into which the powers of the stars had with certain forms of consecration been transferred, were thought to confer the power of destroying the influence of the hurtful planetst, and securing the assistance of the good planetary spirits, and to enable a person by their aid to become invisible: a belief which, from the ring of Gyges in Herodotus to that in Lucian in the Lie-fancier, and the stories in the Thousand and One Nights, has remained unchangeably the same,—the same astrological belief which appears in another form in the seven-coloured walls of Ecbatana and the metallic gates of the Mithra's cavern, and later in the alchemists who stamped the metals.
DECRETALS OF ISIDORE.
2. Account of the composition, in the eighth century after
Christ, of the Decretals of Isidore, designed to give authority and support to the Papacy*.
(From Gibbon’s ‘History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' vol. vii. chap. 49, p. 34, relating to the time of Charlemagne.)
The Vatican and Lateran were an arsenal and manufacture, which, according to the occasion, have produced or concealed a various collection of false or genuine, of corrupt or suspicious acts, as they tended to promote the interest of the Roman
lical scribe, perhaps the notorious Isidore, composed the Decretals and the donation of Constantine, the two magic pillars of the spiritual and temporal monarchy of the Popes.
This memorable donation was introduced to the world by an epistle of Pope Adrian the first, who exhorts Charlemagne to imitate the liberality and revive the name of the great Constantinet.
According to the legend, Constantine, the first of the Christian emperors, was healed of leprosy, and purified in the waters of baptism, by St. Sylvester, the Roman bishop; and
* See above, in this work, vol. i. p. 269.
† “The holy Roman Church has been elevated and exalted by the liberality of the most pious Constantine the Great, who vouchsafed to bestow power on these Western parts. . . . Behold a new Constantine in these times, etc.” (Codex Carolin., epist. 49, tom. iii. pars ii. p. 195). Pagi (Critica, A.D. 324, No. 16) ascribes these Decretals and the donation to an impostor of the eighth century, who borrowed the name of St. Isidore ; his humble title of sinner, “Peccator," was ignorantly, but aptly, turned into “Mercator.” His merchandise was indeed profitable, and a few sheets of paper were sold for much wealth and power.
never was physician more gloriously recompensed. His royal proselyte withdrew from the seat and patrimony of St. Peter, declared his resolution of founding a new capital in the East, and resigned to the Popes the free and perpetual sovereignty of Rome, Italy, and the provinces of the West*
This fiction was productive of the most beneficial effects.
The Greek princes were convicted of the guilt of usurpation, and the revolt of Gregory was the claim of his lawful inheritance. The Popes were delivered from their debt of gratitude, and the nominal gifts of the Carlovingians were no more than the just and irrevocable restitution of a scanty portion of the ecclesiastical state.
The sovereignty of Rome no longer depended on the choice of a fickle people'; and the successors of St. Peter and Constantine were invested with the purple and prerogatives of the Cæsars.
So deep was the ignorance and credulity of the times, that the most absurd of fables was received with equal reverence, in Greece and in France, and is still enrolled among the decrees of the Canon Lawt.
The Emperors and the Romans were incapable of discerning a forgery that subverted their rights and freedom ; and the only opposition proceeded from a Sabine monastery, which, in the beginning of the twelfth century, disputed the truth and validity of the donation of Constantinef.
* Fabricius (Bibliot. Græc. tom. vi. pp. 4-7) has enumerated the several editions of this Act in Greek and Latin. The copy which Laurentius Valla recites and refutes appears to have been taken either from the spurious acts of St. Sylvester, or from Gratian's decree, to which, according to him and others, it had been surreptitiously tacked.
+ In the year 1059, it was believed (was it believed ?) by Pope Leo IX., Cardinal Peter Damianus, etc. Muratori places (Annali d'Italia, tom. ix. pp. 23, 24) the fictitious donations of Lewis the Pious, the Othos, etc., de Donatione Constantini. See a dissertation of Natalis Alexander, seculum iv., diss. xxv. pp. 335-350.
I See a large account of the controversy (A.D. 1105), which arose from a
In the revival of letters and liberty, this fictitious deed was transpierced by the pen of Laurentius Valla,—the pen of an eloquent critic and a Roman patriot*.
His contemporaries of the fifteenth century were astonished at his sacrilegious boldness; yet such is the silent and irresistible progress of reason, that, before the end of the next age, the fable was rejected by the contempt of historianst and poetsI, and the tacit or modest censure of the advocates of the Roman Church
private lawsuit, in the Chronicon Farsense' (Script. Rerum Italicarum, tom. i. pars üi. p. 637, etc.), a copious extract from the archives of that Benedictine abbey. They were formerly accessible to curious foreigners (Le Blanc and Mabillon), and would have enriched the first volume of the
Historia Monastica Italiæ,' of Quirini, but they are now imprisoned (Muratori, Scriptores R. I. tom. ii. pars ü. p. 269) by the timid policy of the Court of Rome; and the future Cardinal yielded to the voice of authority and the whispers of ambition (Quirini, Comment. pars ü. pp. 123–136).
* I have read in the collection of Schardius (De Potestate Imperiali Ecclesiastica, pp. 734–780) this animated discourse, which was composed by the author A.D. 1440, six years after the flight of Pope Eugenius IV. It is a most vehement party pamphlet. Valla justifies and animates the revolt of the Romans, and would even approve the use of a dagger against their sacerdotal tyrant. Such a critic might expect the persecution of the clergy ; yet he made his peace, and is buried in the Lateran. (Bayle, Dictionnaire Critique, Valla; Vossius, de Historicis Latinis, p. 580.)
of See Guicciardini, a servant of the Popes, in that long and valuable digression, which has resumed its place in the last edition, correctly published from the author's MS., and printed in four volumes in quarto, under the name of Friburgo, 1775. (Istoria d'Italia, tom. i. pp. 385-395.)
I The Paladin Astolfo found it in the moon, among the things that were lost upon earth (Orlando Furioso, xxxiv. 80) :
Di vari fiori ad un gran monte passa,
Che Constantino al buon Silvestro fece.
§ See Baronius, A.D. 324, No. 117-123 ; A.D. 1191, No. 51, etc. The Cardinal wishes to suppose that Rome was offered Constantine, and refused by Sylvester. The act of donation he considers, strangely enough, as a forgery of the Greeks.