“Why died I not from the
womb? Why gave I not up the ghost at my
Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should
For now should I have lain still and been quiet;
I should have slept, and then should I have been at rest;
I should have been with the kings and councillors of the earth,
Who rebuilt for themselves the cities that were desolate.
I should have been with the princes that had much gold,
And that filled their houses with silver . . .
There they that are wicked cease from troubling,
There they that are weary sink to rest;
There the prisoners are in quiet together,
And hear no longer the voice of the oppressor:
There are both the great and small, and the servant is freed from
Still their religion, such as it was, had a great hold upon the Phoenicians. Parents gave to their children, almost always, religious names, recognising each son and daughter as a gift from heaven, or placing them under the special protection of the gods generally, or of some single divinity. It was piety, an earnest but mistaken piety, which so often caused the parent to sacrifice his child—the very apple of his eye and delight of his heart—that so he might make satisfaction for the sins which he felt in his inmost soul that he had committed. It was piety that filled the temples with such throngs, that brought for sacrifice so many victims, that made the worshipper in every difficulty put up a vow to heaven, and caused the payment of the vows in such extraordinary profusion. At Carthage alone there have been found many hundreds of stones, each one of which records the payment of a vow; while other sites have furnished hundreds or even thousands of ex votos—statues, busts, statuettes, figures of animals, cylinders, seals, rings, bracelets, anklets, ear-rings, necklaces, ornaments for the hair, vases, amphorae, oenochoae, paterae, jugs, cups, goblets, bowls, dishes, models of boats and chariots—indicative of an almost unexampled devotion. A single chamber in the treasury of Curium produced more than three hundred articles in silver and silver-gilt; the temple of Golgi yielded 228 votive statues; sites in Sardinia scarcely mentioned in antiquity have sufficed to fill whole museums with statuettes, rings, and scarabs. If the Phoenicians did not give evidence of the depth of their religious feeling by erecting, like most nations, temples of vast size and magnificence, still they left in numerous places unmistakable proof of the reality of their devotion to the unseen powers by the multiplicity, and in many cases the splendour, of their votive offerings.