Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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CHAPTER III.                                35

lent men have obtained the honour of being reckoned
among the deified beings only for the noble spirit in
which they cultivated the arts, not for their prowess in
wrestling and discus-throwing. F.g. Asclepius and
Dionysos, whether they were originally human beings
in bygone times and afterwards deified, or were divine
beings from the very beginning, deserved in any case
the greatest of honours, because the one taught man- Page 17.
kind the science of medicine, the other the art of the
cultivation of the vine."

Galenus says in his commentary on the aphorisms of
Hippocrates: "As regards the offerings to Asclepius,
we have never heard that anybody offered him a goat,
because the weaving of goat's-hair is not easy, and
much goat's-meat produces epilepsy, since the humours
of the goats are bad. People only offer him a cock,
as also Hippocrates has done. For this divine man
acquired for mankind the art of medicine, which is
much superior to that which Dionysos and Demeter
have invented, i.e. the wine and the cereals whence
bread is prepared. Therefore cereals are called by the
name of Demeter and the vine is called by the name
of Dionysos."

Plato   says  in his  Timceus:   "The  Oeol whom the Piato.
barbarians  call gods, because of their not  dying, are
the So.L[xoves, whilst they call the god the first god."

Further he says : " God spoke to the gods, ' You are
not of yourselves exempt from destruction. Only you
will not perish by death. You have obtained from
ray will at the time when I created you, the firmest

In another passage of the same book he says : "God
is in the single number ; there are no gods in the plural

These quotations prove that the Greeks call in
general god everything that is glorious and noble, and
the like usage exists among many nations.    They go
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