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Of Flies held sacred.
But this was not all.. These insects, however incredible it may appear, were in many places worshipped. This reverence seems to have been sometimes shewn, to prevent their being troublesome, at other times, because they were esteemed sacred to the deity. Ælian accordingly tells us, that at Actium, where stood the temple of Apollo, they sacrificed in his time an ox to these objects' (u801 689 ταις μυίαις. .
Clemens also mentions Απολλωνος τε Ακτιε το ιερον, and speaks of the same custom. The same is mentioned by Antiphanes the comedian in Athenæus, as being practised at Olympia in Elis.
Ολυμπιαισι φασι ταις Μυιαις ποιειν Βεν, τους τ' ακλητους προκατακοπτειν πανταχ8. He seems to have introduced a person in his play, who is speaking in favour of Umbræ and parasites: and thinks, that they are a successful body. He compares them to the flies at
" Ælian de Animal. 1. 11. c. 8. 613. • Cohort.
34. 1. 24. 3 L. 1. p. 5. See Casaubon's Notes, p. 17.
Olympia ---to whom, says he, the people, sacrifice an ox: and they always claim the first “ share, though they are never invited.
The worship of ACHOR, and ACORON, the
God-fly; called also ZEBUB.
Nor did they only shew an idolatrous regard to flies in general. There was a deity stiled Deus Musca, who was particularly worshipped under the characteristic of a fly. The god Achor of Cyrene, of whom we before made mention, seems to have been of this denomination : and it is probable, that the word Achor denoted a Fly: or had some relation to it. This may be inferred from the city Acaron or Accoron, which we mistakenly render Ekron: where the same insect was supposed to be worshipped by the name of 3'3?, Zebub, a fly.
We generally join it to the word Baal, and
represent the deity as the Lord of Flies in the plural. But to my apprehension it was not so. And here it is proper to remedy: a mistake, into which we are led by our version, concerning Ahaziah, who is supposed to have enquired of Baal-zebub at the place above mentioned. The fly was probably worshipped at 'Ekron : and the god was called Baalzebub. But neither that place, nor the deity of the place, are referred to in that passage about Ahaziah, where they are supposed to be found. The history alluded to is in the first chapter of the second book of Kings ; where it is said that--- Ahaziah (the son of Ahab) fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber, that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go enquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease. ch. i. v. 2. So it stands in our translation : and the Vulgate is nearly to the same purport. Ite, consulite Baalzebub deum Accaron. This Baalzebub by our commentators is rendered the God of Flies; and they suppose the Ekron in Philistim to be the city here mentioned ; and the place, to which the messengers were sent. But our most early version, the Septuagint, expresses the term Zebub, in the singular, soy Muray; distinct from the title Baal. And at the same time it makes Accaron, instead of a place, to be the proper name of the deity, the Deus Musca, or Fly-God---emignTNOUTe ev τω Βααλ (i. e. εν τω ιερω Βααλ) Μυιαν Θεον Ακnagar. Go, and inquire in the temple of Baal of the Fly-God Accaron. This occurs three times in the same chapter : and these passages all shew that, according to the early interpretation of the Jews in Egypt, the person, to whom the messengers were sent by Ahaziah was Baal, Deus Musca, the deity stiled Accaron, the Fly. Gregory Nazianzen, among other writers, alludes to this passage, when he says, that the people, shall no more put their trust in idols, ' εδε ζητησουσι Μυιάν Θεον Ακκαρων, nor seek, or inquire of, the Fly-God Accaron. The like occurs in Josephus, where he is giving the same history of Ahaziah, as has been afforded above. He says, that the king, after his fall--- νοσησαντα πεμψαι προς τον Ακκαρων
! Whether the author means Ολυμπιαισιν εορταις, Or ΟλυμTEKLOS jelens, may not be certain : but I should think the latter to be the truth. Elian mentions-μυιαι Πισαιαι. 1. 11.. C. 8. p. 615.
* There seems to be a double meaning: and the words may signify, that those who are not invited, are foremost, and fare best-from FgoxOttely, bene succedere.
' A Baal-zebub hæresin format Philastrius musca-Aca caronitarum ; qui (ut verba ejus sunt) muscam colunt in civi, tate Accaron dicta. Selden de Diis Syris, p. 228. All these evidences shew manifestly, that the fly was worshipped.
Contra Julianum, l. 2. p. 102. edit. Etonens.
Θεον Μυιαν, τετο γαρ ην ονομα τω θεω---being ill, sent to inquire of Accaron, the God-Fly: for that ( Accaron) was the name of the deity. It seems, I think, plain, that these writers did not imagine the term Accaron related to a place, the same which we stile Ekron ; but to a deity, worshipped by that name under the symbol of a fly. As to Josephus it is manifest past contradiction, that he speaks determinately of the term Arzagwy, as the proper name of the deity. On this account we may be assured, that the reading in the next page is faulty, where it is made to refer to a place Ekron and its inhabitants---προς δε τον Ακκαρωνιτων επερυπες παρ' αυτε πυνθανομενος. It should be---προς τον Ακκαρων επεμπες, παρ' αυτg πυνθανομενος. p. 475. You sent to Accaron, (the God) to inquire of him, not to the people of Accaron, or Ekron, in Palestine. The ellipsis, as the passage now stands, is too bold: and by no means warrantable.
ence to a place he would have used the word with the Greek inflexion
agos Θεον Μυιαν Ακκαρωνος, as his custom is in other places.
Αρχοντες Ακκαρωνος.-μέχρι πολεως Ακκαρωνος. Αntig. 1. vi. c. 1 and 2. p. 31%, 315,