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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 25

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 25.—Of the Temple of Concord, Which Was Erected by a Decree of the Senate on the Scene of These Seditions and Massacres.

A pretty decree of the senate it was, truly, by which the temple of Concord was built on the spot where that disastrous rising had taken place, and where so many citizens of every rank had fallen. 156   I suppose it was that the monument of the Gracchi’s punishment might strike the eye and affect the memory of the pleaders.  But what was this but to deride the gods, by building a temple to that goddess who, had she been in the city, would not have suffered herself to be torn by such dissensions?  Or was it that Concord was chargeable with that bloodshed because she had deserted the minds of the citizens, and was therefore incarcerated in that temple?  For if they had any regard to consistency, why did they not rather erect on that site a temple of Discord?  Or is there a reason for Concord being a goddess while Discord is none?  Does the distinction of Labeo hold here, who would have made the one a good, the other an evil deity?—a distinction which seems to have been suggested to him by the mere fact of his observing at Rome a temple to Fever as well as one to Health.  But, on the same ground, Discord as well as Concord ought to be deified.  A hazardous venture the Romans made in provoking so wicked a goddess, and in forgetting that the destruction of Troy had been occasioned by her taking offence.  For, being indignant that she was not invited with the other gods [to the nuptials of Peleus and Thetis], she created dissension among the three goddesses by sending in the golden apple, which occasioned strife in heaven, victory to Venus, the rape of Helen, and the destruction of Troy.  Wherefore, if she was perhaps offended that the Romans had not thought her worthy of a temple among the other gods in their city, and therefore disturbed the state with such tumults, to how much fiercer passion would she be roused when she saw the temple of her adversary erected on the scene of that massacre, or, in other words, on the scene of her own handiwork! p. 60 Those wise and learned men are enraged at our laughing at these follies; and yet, being worshippers of good and bad divinities alike, they cannot escape this dilemma about Concord and Discord:  either they have neglected the worship of these goddesses, and preferred Fever and War, to whom there are shrines erected of great antiquity, or they have worshipped them, and after all Concord has abandoned them, and Discord has tempestuously hurled them into civil wars.


Footnotes

59:156

Under the inscription on the temple some person wrote the line, “Vecordiæ opus ædem facit Concordiæ.”—The work of discord makes the temple of Concord.


Next: Chapter 26

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