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Plutarch - On the delay of the divine justice - Birthmarks

Identifier

021437

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Plutarch - On the delay of the divine justice

"as the warts and birth-stains and freckles of fathers, not appearing in their own children, crop out again in the children of their sons and daughters; as a certain Greek woman, giving birth to a black child, when accused, of adultery, discovered that she was descended in the fourth generation from an Aethiopian; as among the children of Pytho the Nisibian, said to belong to the Sparti,  the one who died lately bore the impress of a spear on his body, — a race-mark after so many ages rising and emerging as from the depths of the sea, — so not infrequently earlier generations conceal and merge ancestral habits and dispositions, while afterward and through later generations the inherited nature comes to flower, and reproduces the family tendency to vice or to virtue.

The armed men that sprang from the teeth of the dragon sown by Cadmus, from whom the oldest families in Thebes — a large part of the Boeotian aristocracy — were said to have descended. Something like this mythical birthmark had probably made its appearance on the body of a member of one of these ancient families. Nisibis was a Syrian city with an extensive commerce, with many Greek, and probably some Boeotian immigrants.

It may be that, in cases where the inheritance of a morbid physical constitution, or of proclivity to moral evil, seems to lapse in the first generation and to reappear in the second, the children of the diseased or depraved father have the physical or moral traits of their father, but are made and kept vigilant and faithful in self-care and self-discipline by the memory of their father's infirmities or sins ; while their children have the inheritance without the warning."

The source of the experience

Plutarch

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Rosie Rock-Evans