Julian and the Goose

goose

In the tenth month, according to your reckoning, — Loos I think you call it — there is a festival founded by your forefathers in honour of this god, and it was your duty to be zealous in visiting Daphne. Accordingly I hastened thither from the temple of Zeus Kasios, thinking that at Daphne, if anywhere, I should enjoy the sight of your wealth and public spirit. And I imagined in my own mind the sort of procession it would be, like a man seeing visions in a dream, beasts for sacrifice, libations, choruses in honour of the god, incense, and the youths of your city there surrounding the shrine, their souls adorned with all holiness and themselves attired in white and splendid raiment. But when I entered the shrine I found there no incense, not so much as a cake, not a single beast for sacrifice. For that moment I was amazed and thought that I was still outside the shrine and that you were waiting the signal from me, doing me that honour because I am supreme pontiff. But when I began to inquire what sacrifice the city intended to offer to celebrate the annual festival in honour of the god, the priest answered, “I have brought with me from my own house a goose as an offering to the god, but the city this time has made no preparations.”

Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus, Misopogon, 363 AD, translated by Wilmer Cave Wright. Cambridge, Mass.: The Loeb Classical Library, 1913

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