A complete dictionary of the Greek and Roman antiquities explaining the obscure places in classic authors and ancient historians relating to the religion, mythology, history, geography and chronology of the ancient Greeks and Romans, their ... rites and customs, laws, polity, arts and engines of war : also an account of their navigations, arts and sciences and the inventors of them : with the lives and opinions of their philosophers
Danet, Pierre, ca. 1650-1709.


Excom∣munication, excluding Men from participating of the Mysteries, and cutting them off from Communicating with Men of the same Reli∣gion. The Excommunication was practiced among Pagans, and was declared by their Priests, with the usual Ceremonies in such cases. The Excommunicated Persons were forbid to be present at the Sacrifices, and to enter in the Temples in the presence of the Gods; then they were delivered to the De∣vilish Spirits and the Furies of Hell, with some Imprecations expressed by these words, Sacris interdicere, Diris devovere, Exsecrare: And because this was a dreadful Punishment, therefore it was inflicted only upon wicked Men hardned in Crimes. And the She-Priest Theana the Daughter of Menon was highly commended, for refusing to excommunicate Alcibiades at Athens, tho' the People had or∣dered her to do it. And the Priests called Eumolpides, on the contrary, were blamed for the performance of the same. Plato l. 7. of the Laws, forbids all Priests of both Sexes to excommunicate any body, but after a dili∣gent enquiry into the case, and to do it but at the last extremity, and according to the Laws.

Page  [unnumbered] We have an illustrious Example of an Ex∣communication among the Romans, in the person of M. Crassus, as 'tis related by Plutarch in his Life; for Atteius Tribune of the Peo∣ple, not being able to stop his Journey into Syria against the Parthians, he run to the Gate, out of which Crassus was to go out of the City, and set in the middle of the way, a Cahfing-dish with a great fire in it, and when Crassus drew near, he threw some Perfumes in it, and pronounced Curses against him, with dreadful Imprecations, and called upon some Gods, whose names only served to fright Men, and so Excommunicated him.

The Romans, says Plutarch, did hold this Ceremony of Imprecation to be very anci∣ent, but they put it in practice but very sel∣dom.

The most rigorous punishment inflicted by the Druides among the Gauls, was the Excom∣munication, as we learn of Caesar, l. 6.

When a Man, says he, speaking of the Druides, won't submit to their judgment, they ex∣clude him from partaking of their Mysle∣ries. And those who are struck with that Thunderbolt, are accounted wicked and im∣pious Men; every one shuns their meeting and conversation; if they have any busi∣ness, they have no justice done them; they are not allowed to possess any Office or Dig∣nity, and dye without Honour and Reputa∣tion.

When an excommunicated Man came to repent, and had his Wickedness in horrour, and beg pardon of the Gods for the same, he went to the Priests to be restored again, then the Priests, after a strict Examination re∣stored him to his former condition. And this Action was called Resacrare, or sacris re∣stituere qui execratus fuerat.

But if a Man died during the time of his Excommunication, and before he had repent∣ed of his Crime, and was restored again, after his death the Priests made a solemn service to the Gods called Manes, to beg of them that his Soul might be set at rest in Hell.