The three principal witch gatherings of the year were held on the days of great pagan festivals, which were afterwards adopted by the Church. Maury supposes the witches' Sabbath to be derived from the rites of Bacchus Sabazius, and accounts in this way for the Devil's taking the shape of a he-goat.
Having to observe silence, he wrote the name of the book to give to the librarian, and if it were a Christian work, he stretched out his hand, making motions with his fingers as if turning over the leaves; but if it were by a pagan author, the monk who asked for it was required to scratch his ear as a dog does, to show his contempt, because, the regulations said, an unbeliever might well be compared to that animal . Taking the book, he copied it in the Scriptorium or library, or took it to his cell, where he wrote all winter without a fire.
In all the time I have resided here I do not know of any Christian who has been present at a pagan sacrifice, although living among so many of them. The corregidor of this town related to me, with surprise, that although he had investigated many cases pertaining to this matter, he had never found any Christian guilty therein.
And he had fought with signal success and unquestionable heroism the most important and most brilliant pitched battle of the age. He was a central figure of the current history of Europe. Pagan nations looked up to him as one of the leading sovereigns of Christendom.
Thinking of the Murge, that shapeless and dismal range of limestone hills whose name suggests its sad monotony, I began to understand the origin of his pagan wistfulness. "Happy foreigners!" such was his constant refrain "happy foreigners, who can always do exactly what they like! Tell me something about other countries," he said. "Something true?" "Anything anything!"
When I first saw the Laocoon in the Vatican, I felt that I saw the symbol of the country; there was Italy writhing in the folds of the great Cobra di Capella, the Papacy. I cannot here go into the ceremonies practised at Rome, and which present so faithful a copy, both in their forms and in their spirit, of the pagan idolatry.
Can Japan really step into the circle of Western nations, without abandoning her pagan religions and pushing onward into Christian monotheism with all its corollaries as to the relations and mutual duties of man?
This is the way Descartes expounds the theory Descartes, that mortal who, if he had lived in pagan times, would have been made a god, and who holds a place between man and the higher spirits, just as some I could name beasts of burden with long ears hold a place between man and the oysters.
The poets of pagan antiquity, on the other hand, excite by their descriptions of divine things our ridicule or disgust. Even the most approved of their order exhibit repulsive images of their deities, and suggest the grossest ideas in connexion with the principles and enjoyments which prevail among the inhabitants of Olympus.
A band of white beads around the head distinguished the christian Indians from the pagan.