Front Page Titles (by Subject) Sect. IV.: Fourth system: Worship of two principles, or Dualism. - The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires
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Sect. IV.: Fourth system: Worship of two principles, or Dualism. - Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, marquis de Volney, The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires 
The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires, 3rd ed. (London: J. Johnson, 1796).
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Fourth system: Worship of two principles, or Dualism.
“Meanwhile the astronomical priests, enjoying in their temples peace and abundance, made every day fresh progress in the sciences; and the system of the world gradually displaying itself before their eyes, they started successively various hypotheses as to its agents and effects, which became so many systems of theology.
“The navigators of the maritime nations, and the caravans of the Asiatic and African Nomades, having given them a knowledge of the earth from the Fortunate Islands to Serica, and from the Baltic to the sources of the Nile, they discovered, by a comparison of the different Zones, the rotundity of the globe, which gave rise to a new theory. Observing that all the operations of Nature, during the annual period, were summed up in two principal ones, that of producing and that of destroying; that upon the major part of the globe, each of these operations was equally accomplished from one to the other equinox; that is to say, that during the six months of summer all was in a state of procreation and increase, and during the six months of winter all in a state of languor and nearly dead, they supposed nature to contain two contrary powers always struggling with and resisting each other; and considering in the same light the celestial sphere, they divided the pictures, by which they represented it into two halves or hemispheres, so that those constellations which appeared in the summer heaven formed a direct and superior empire, and those in the winter heaven an opposite and inferior one. Now as the summer constellations were accompanied with the season of long, warm, and unclouded days, together with that of fruits and harvests, they were deemed to be the powers of light, fecundity, and creation; and by transition from a physical to a moral sense, to be Genii, angels of science, beneficence, purity, virtue: in like manner the winter constellations, being attended with long nights and the polar fogs, were regarded as genii of darkness, destruction, death, and, by similar transition, as angels of wickedness, ignorance, sin, vice. By this disposal, heaven was divided into two domains, two factions; and the analogy of human ideas opened already a vast career to the flights of imagination; but a particular circumstance determined, if it did not occasion the mistake and illusion. (Consult Plate II. at the end of the volume.)
“In the projection of the celestial sphere drawn by astronomical priests(58) , the Zodiac and the constellations disposed in a circular order, presented their halves in diametrical opposition: the winter hemisphere was adverse, contrary, opposite to, being the Antipodes of, that of summer. By the continued metaphor these words were converted into a moral sense, and the adverse angels and Genii became rebels and enemies(59) . From that period the whole astronomical history of the constellations was turned into a political history; the heavens became a human state, where every thing happened as it does on earth. Now as the existing states, for the most part despotic, had their monarchs, and as the sun was the apparent sovereign of the skies, the summer hemisphere (empire of light), and its constellations (a nation of white angels), had for king an enlightened, intelligent, creative, benign God; and as every rebellious faction must have its chief, the hemisphere of winter (the subterraneous empire of darkness and woe), together with its stars (a nation of black angels, giants, or demons), had for leader a malignant Genius, whose part was assigned, by the different people of the earth, to that star which appeared to them the most remarkable. In Egypt it was origiginally the Scorpion, the first sign of the Zodiac after the Balance, and the hoary chief of the wintry signs: then it was the bear or the polar ass, called Typhon, that is to say, deluge(60) , on account of the rains which poured down upon the earth during the dominion of that star. In Persia, at a subsequent period(61) , it was the serpent, which, under the name of Ahrimanes, formed the basis of the system of Zoroaster; and it is the same, Christians and Jews, that is become your serpent of Eve (the celestial origin), and that of the cross; in both cases the emblem of Satan, the great adversary of the Ancient of Days, sung by Daniel. In Syria it was the hog or wild boar, enemy of Adonis, because in that country the office of the Northern bear was made to devolve upon the animal whose fondness for mire and dirt is emblematical of winter. And it is for this reason that you, children of Moses and of Mahomet, hold this animal in abhorrence, in imitation of the priests of Memphis and Balbec, who detested him as the murderer of their God the sun. This is likewise, O Indians! the type of your Chib-en, which was once the Pluto of your brethren the Greeks and Romans; your Brama also (God the creator), is only the Persian Ormuzd, and the Osiris of Egypt, whose very name expresses a creative power, producer of forms. And these Gods were worshipped in a manner analogous to their real or fictitious attributes; and this worship, on account of the difference of its objects, was divided into two distinct branches. In one, the benign God received a worship of joy and love; whence are derived all religious acts of a gay nature(62) , festivals, dances, banquets, offerings of flowers, milk, honey, perfumes; in a word, of every thing that delights the senses and the soul. In the other, the malign God, on the contrary, received a worship of fear and pain; whence originated all religious acts of the sombre kind(63) , tears, grief, mourning, self-denial, blood-offerings, and cruel sacrifices.
“From the same source flowed the division of terrestrial beings into pure and impure, sacred or abominable, according as their species was sound among the respective constellations of the two Gods, and made a part of their domains. This produced, on one hand, the superstitions of pollution and purification; and on the other, the pretended efficacious virtues of amulets and talismans.
“You now understand,” continued the orator, addressing himself to the Indians, Persians, Jews, Christians and Mussulmans, “you now understand the origin of those ideas of combats and rebellion, which equally pervade your respective mythology. You perceive what is meant by white and black angels; by the cherubs and seraphs with heads of an eagle, a lion or a bull; the Deus, devils or demons with horns of goats and tails of snakes; the thrones and dominions, ranged in seven orders or gradations, like the seven spheres of the planets; all of them beings acting the same parts, partaking of the same attributes in the Vedas, the Bibles, or the Zendavesta; whether their chief be Ormuzd or Brama, Typhon or Chib-en, Michael or Satan; whether their form be that of giants with a hundred arms and feet of serpents, or that of Gods metamorphosed into lions, storks, bulls and cats, as they appear in the sacred tales of the Greeks and Egyptians: you perceive the successive genealogy of these ideas, and how in proportion to their remoteness from their sources, and as the mind of man became refined, their gross forms were purified, and reduced to a state less shocking and repulsive.
“But, just as the system of two opposite principles or deities originated in that of symbols; in the same manner you will find a new system spring out of this, to which it served in its turn as a foundation and support.”
[Page 255. (58).]In the projection of the celestial sphere. The ancient priests had three kind of spheres, which it may be useful to make known to the reader.
[Page id. (59.)]The adverse Genii. It was for this reason the Persians always wrote the name of Ahrimanes inverted thus: Ahrimanes.
[Page 256. (60).]Typhon, that is to say deluge. Typhon, pronounced Touphon by the Greeks, is precisely the touphan of the Arabs, which signifies deluge; and these deluges in mythology are nothing more than winter and the rains, or the overflowing of the Nile; as their pretended fires which are to destroy the world, are simply the summer season. And it is for this reason that Aristotle (De Meteor. lib. I. c. xiv.), says, that the winter of the great cyclic year is a deluge; and its summer a conflagration. “The Egyptians, says Porphyry, “employ every year a talisman in remembrance of the world: at the summer solstice they mark their houses, flocks and trees with red, supposing that on that day the whole world had been set on fire. It was also at the same period that they celebrated the pyrric or fire dance.” (And this illustrates the origin of purifications by fire and by water: for having denominated the tropic of Cancer the gate of heaven, and of genial heat or celestial fire, and that of Capricorn the gate of deluge or of water, it was imagined that the spirits or souls who passed through these gates in their way to and from heaven, were roasted or bathed: hence the baptism of Mithra, und the passage through flames, observed throughout the East long before Moses).
[Page id. (61).]In Persia in a subsequent period. That is, when the ram became the equinoxial sign, or rather when the alteration of the skies shewed that it was no longer the Bull. See Note 48.
[Page 257. (62).]Whence are derived all religious acts of a gay nature. All the ancient festivals respecting the return and exaltation of the sun were of this description: hence the hilaria of the Roman calendar at the period of the passage (Pascha) of the vernal equinox. The dances were imitations of the march of the planets. Those of the Dervises still represent it to this day.
[Page 258. (63).]All religious acts of the sombre kind. “Sacrifices of blood,” says Porphyry, “were only offered to Demons and evil Genii to avert their wrath. . . Demons are fond of blood, humidity, stench.” Apud. Euseb. Præp. Ev. p. 173.