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Sallustius' Dodekatheism

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Sallustius' Dodekatheism

Post  Pemphredo on Sun May 26, 2013 6:05 pm


Recently I learned about the role of the Olympians in Neoplatonism, especially by the introductory work "On the gods and the world" (I used a Germand translation (from 1779...) but one might also read it in English here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I'm fascinated by the way how Sallustius turned polytheism more or less in a "dodekatheism":

While these twelve in the primary sense possess the world, we should consider that the other Gods are contained in these. Dionysus in Zeus, for instance, Asklepios in Apollo, the Charites in Aphrodite. (Sallustius, On the gods and the world chapter VI)

So he more or less denies the autonomy of gods others than the twelve Olympians, but he doesn't deny them: he just regard them as being manifestations of the Twelve.

Sallustius only speaks about three other deities (actually five) and how they are to be understood in his theology. What I would wish to propose in this thread is that we, users, might give the other deities a place into this neoplatonic dodekatheism. I'm just curious, what you think about it?
For example: what about Hades and Persephone? Hades is also called "Zeus of the Earth" or Zeus Khthonios (if I'm not wrong), so according to Sallustius and Neoplatonism, Hades might be a manifestation of Zeus. Persephone might be a manifestation of Demeter,
Artemis or even Aphrodite (think about the dualism between the Sumerian goddesses Inanna (Aphrodite) and Ereshkigal (Persephone) who might have been once one and the same.)

So, if some useres here might be interessted to join me in "analysing" the gods, please feel free to comment! (And please, I respect all of your opinions, but if yu totally disagree with this dodekatheism, then just ignore this thread.

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Re: Sallustius' Dodekatheism

Post  Erodius on Sun May 26, 2013 6:46 pm

Later Platonism was increasingly Orpheo-Pythagoreanized, to the point where they all sort of become indistinguishable from each other, unlike 'pure' early Platonism, which, though very influenced by Orpheo-Pythagoreanism, was at least partially a separate tradition.

Our theology is quite consistent with that of Sallustius in most ways. We likewise consider Bacchus an extension of Iupiter/Zefs, Proserpina/Persefoni to be an extension of Her mother, Ceres/Dimitra, and Pluto to be the terrestrial Iupiter/Zefs. We also say that Neptunus/Poseidon is the Middle Zefs, while Iuno/Ira is the Heavenly Ira, Ceres/Dimitra is the Sublunar Ira, and Persefoni is the Terrestrial Ira. Thus we have Zefs with Ira in the heavenly sphere, Poseidon with Dimitra in the sublunar sphere, and Pluto with Persefoni in the terrestrial sphere.

There is likewise a relationship that we recognize linking Persefoni with Diana/Artemis, and, by extension, with Fortune/Tykhi.

"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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