Augustinus de Civitate Dei, libro decimo octavo. Belus Nemprotides kynge of Babilon, entrede in to Assiria, in the daies of Sarug, conquerenge but lytel þer, whiche diede after that he hade reignede lxv. yere. Whom Ninus his son succedede, begynnenge to reigne in the xxxti yere of Thare fader to Abraham, reignenge in alle Asia, Ynde excepte, liij. yere; in the xliijti of the reigne of whom Abraham was borne, by a ml yere allemoste and ccc. afore the edificacion of the cite of Rome. Orosius, libro primo. In the ml and ccc. yere afore the edifienge of the cite of Rome, Ninus kynge of Assiria, movede thro the luste of domination, Page 277, vol.2 gedrede an hoste, ledenge a cruelle lyfe by lti yere, thro alle Asia, in batelles, begynnenge from the meridien and the redde see, made tame the cruelle peple of Scitia; sleenge also at the laste Zoroastes, kynge of Bactria, and the firste fynder of wicchecrafte. And at the laste Ninus was sleyne with an arowe at the seege of a cite. Petrus, 16o capitulo. Ninus, the son of Belus, after the dethe of his fader opteynede Assiria, and the cite of Niniuen, callede so after his name, and made hit the principalle place of his realme, makenge that cite more large by the iourneye of thre daies, whom Nemproth founded firste, ouercommenge Cham and Zoroastes kynge off Bactria, whiche did write ageyne either grete floode vij. artes liberalle in xiiij. pyllors, vij. of brasse and vij. of tylestones. The bookes of whom Ninus brente also. Isidorus libro octavo. The grete clerke Aristotille wrytethe of Zoroastes, that he made xxti tymes a c.ml versus of wicche crafte, whiche Page 279, vol.2 arte Democritus amplifiede in the tyme of Ypocras. Petrus, tricesimo sexto capitulo. Ydoles toke begynnenge of þis Ninus in this maner. Belus fader to Ninus dedde, Ninus made an ymage to the similitude of his fader in to the*. [Of ydola|trye.] solace of his sorowe. To whom he ȝafe so grete reuerence that he sparede gilty men fleenge to hit. Thro exemple of whom other nowble men made ymages of theire frendes; and lyke as other ydoles toke begynnenge of the ydole of Belus, soe a generalle name of ydoles is deriuate of the name of hym, after diuersite of speches. For men calle somme ydoles Beel, somme Baal, somme Baalim, specifienge somme names, as somme men Beelzabub, somme men Beel|phegor. Alexander in Mythologia. Alle figmentes toke begynnenge allemoste of ydolatry, for when Sirophanes of Egypte hade made an ymage of his son for grete sorowe. worschippede moche of his seruauntes, ordeinede hit to be a refute of gilty men fleenge to hit. Whiche inquirenge a remedy of hevynesse founde a grete place of sorowe, for olde erroure began to be diffudede thro the worschippenge Page 281, vol.2 of ydoles, neuerthelesse that rite was not ordeynede for alle men. For philosophers worschippede oon God, whom thei namede by diuerse names for the monyfolde dispo|sicion thro whom he gouernethe the worlde in diuerse maneres; as Vitumnus,*. [Victimus, Harl. MS.] in that he ȝiffethe life; Sentinus, in that he ȝiffeth wytte and felenge; Iupiter, for he helpethe. Also that grete clerke Plato rehersethe in a boke of his callede Philosophus, that poetes for cause of lucre and of fauore haue chaungede reasones, sciences, and powers to the vse of lyvenge grawntede a fore tyme to the actes and vile operaciones of men, callenge Sereris the science of tyllenge feldes, and Bac[c]hus of vynes, nowmbrenge these symple actes amonge goddes. Isidorus, libro octavo. The goddes, that paganes do worschippe, were men somme tyme, and began to be worschippede after their merites and magnificence in this lyfe; but, thro the persuasion of the deuel, theire successores trawede theyme to be goddes, whom men afore worschippede oonly for a memory; whiche thynges the figmentes of poetes helpede moche. ℞. And as Seynte Austyn semethe to reherse, De Civitate Dei, libro secundo, capitulo undecimo, poetes in wrytenge ȝafe iij. differences and diuersites of ydoles, callenge somme of Page 283, vol.2 theyme goddes, as Iupiter, Mars; somme halfe goddes, as Hercules and Romulus; and somme vertuous as hauenge parte of godhede, as Hector and Achilles. Also diuerse supersticiones began of ydolatry, as Seynte Ierom spekethe on the xviijthe chapitre of Ysay, seyenge that men of Egipte and of the este partes worschippe Fortune. The ydole of whom thei sette in the chiefe place, holdenge an horne in the ryȝhtehonde replete with hony, of whom alle men syttenge aboute do taste in the laste day of Nouember; and if thay fynde the horne fulle at that tyme thei prenosticate grete habundaunce of goodes to comme in that yere foloenge, and if hit be voide thei waile and sorowe. Trogus, libro primo. Ninus dedde, Semiramis his wife, lefte with Ninus other Ninian his son tendre in age, began to reigne, whiche wyllenge not here childe to reigne for infancy, feynede here as a son, beenge the moder. For thei were of an egalle stature, and lyke of speche. Wherefore sche made clothes for here hedde, legges, and armes of purpose, commaundenge the Page 285, vol.2 peple to be clothede in that maner also, whiche consuetude peple of that cuntre vse in to this tyme presente; whiche woman did grete thynges in here reigne. For sche made subiecte Ethioppe, and fauȝhte soore ageynes Ynde, whiche desirenge to haue hade the pleasure of the flesche with here awne son was sleyne by hym. And when Ninus, son to Semiramis, hade reignede xlijti yere, contente with the labores of his fader, [he] was seen but selde of men, drawenge and taryenge moche in the company of women; whose succes|sores vsenge the seide condicion ȝafe answeres to peple by messyngers betwene. ℞. Whiche thynge was obseruede and kepede vn to the tymes of Sardanapallus.