The Orphic vegetarian lifestyle in ancient Greece, Frugivore civilizations unknown, and new perspectives on the “history” of the religious murder of nonhumans

Greek goddesses of revenge, the Erinyes, in a painting by Farangis “raise themselves in a threatening way over the meddling of war, the killing of nonhuman animals, the destruction of the forests and of the life within the waters, they observe life in the big cities.”

Three Snippets

The Orphic vegetarian lifestyle in ancient Greece, Frugivore civilizations unknown, and new perspectives on the “history” of the religious murder of nonhumans

“The importance placed on the next life encouraged Orphics and Christians alike to defer their pleasures in this one. Both groups sought to live a life of chastity and abstinence (the Orphics were vegetarians) that was incongruous with the society around them. It was also cause for surprise that both practiced friendship to strangers, not merely to people of their own race and creed, as the Greeks and Jews tended to do. But this was a natural conclusion from the principle that each person was in essence divine. Consequently Orphism was the first religion in Europe, and perhaps the first anywhere, to preach what we think of as “Christian” virtues, to promise an afterlife whose quality depended on their practice, and to institute mysteries as a foretaste of the soul’s future destiny. The Orphics had been the first philosophers of Greece and the spiritual ancestors of the Pythagorean and Platonic schools, renowned for asceticism and for belief in the immortality of the soul. Now, in the Orphic revival, they stamped their principles on the new religion. Through numerical coding of key words and phrases in the Greek (New) Testament, Christianity was linked with the Pythagorean tradition, in which music and number were the first principles of the universe.”

Joscelyn Godwin: The Orphic Mysteries (acc 20.09.2017, see also this link otherwise)

See also International Vegetarian Union (IVU) Info on Orphic communities.


Plato, The Laws, reference to civilizations that rejected or did not practice animal sacrifice:

Of course. [782c]

The custom of men sacrificing one another is, in fact, one that survives even now among many peoples; whereas amongst others we hear of how the opposite custom existed, when they were forbidden so much as to eat an ox, and their offerings to the gods consisted, not of animals, but of cakes of meal and grain steeped in honey, and other such bloodless sacrifices, and from flesh they abstained as though it were unholy to eat it or to stain with blood the altars of the gods; instead of that, those of us men who then existed lived what is called an “Orphic life,” keeping wholly to inanimate food and, [782d] contrariwise, abstaining wholly from things animate.

Certainly what you say is widely reported and easy to credit.

Someone might ask us— “For what purpose have you now said all this?”

A correct surmise, Stranger.

So I will try, if I can, Clinias, to explain the subject which comes next in order.

Say on.

I observe that with men all things depend on a threefold need and desire, wherein if they proceed rightly, [782e] the result is goodness, if badly, the opposite. Of these desires they possess those for food and drink as soon as they are born; and about the whole sphere of food every creature has an instinctive lust, and is full of craving, and quite deaf to any suggestion that they ought to do anything else than satisfy their tastes and desires for all such objects, and thus rid themselves entirely of all pain.

1 Or Persephone, daughter of the Earth-mother, Demeter. Triptolemus was a mythical hero of EIeusis, worshipped as the inventor and patron of agriculture.

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 10 & 11 translated by R.G. Bury. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1967 & 1968.


Animal sacrifice not central to Greek and Roman religious cults, thesis

“Jaś Elsner, whose paper I found the meatiest, so to speak, and most striking of the collection, shows that imagery of animal sacrifice on Roman monuments in many parts (but, importantly, not all) of the Roman world appears to be in decline from around 200 CE, being replaced by imagery related to “vegetarian” (here libation and incense burning) sacrifice. How to interpret this? An actual reflection of a change on the ground in sacrificial practice? A reflection of a change in ideology? If so, it would mean that animal sacrifice was in fact already in decline before the great Christian polemics against it, which seized on bloody sacrifice as a central image of all that was cruel and misguided about pagan practice. Elsner has grave suspicions that the modern theories that insist on this centrality of animal sacrifice are strongly influenced by the ideological claims of both Christian polemic and the official Roman reaction to Christianity and that we have been duped by this ancient propaganda into overrating the importance of animal sacrifice in actual practice and demoting other forms of offering such as libation and incense burning (see esp. 163; cf. Scheid 95).”

From: Christopher A. Faraone, F.S. Naiden (ed.), Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice: Ancient Victims, Modern Observers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. xiv, 209. ISBN 9781107011120. $95.00. Reviewed by Alexander Hollmann, University of Washington. (acc 28.06.2013)

A thought about religious slaughter

Ban religious slaughter in the European Union – Occupy for AnimalsPETITION

What upsets me specifically about religious slaughter is that it’s done on behalf of a religion, on behalf of a god. When our messed up society, our morally derailed society craves for dead corpses of tortured nonhumans I can say, well of course, our society is totally unethical, they don’t respect animals and basically also not humans, and not nature. What counts in our society is good old greed and profit.

But when a religion teaches its adherents that you ought to slaughter, then that what should stand for the sanctity of phenomena – the act of religion / being religious, having created religion – turns into the total negation, and really the TOTAL negation of life and of the value of life.

If people can’t respect other animals because the natural sciences have designed an explanatory model that puts humans of top of everything biologically, then that’s one thing, but if religion degrades life and tries to sell its lies of “love” then the world stands upside down.

I don’t understand why some people respect religion more than life.


Normally religious beliefs are incompatible with Animal Rights, Earth Rights, and individual rights overall

Religions and the sacrifice of nonhuman animals , some links ( all accessed 21th Oct 2012 )

Animal slaughter in Islam is ritualisticNo human behavior is more hidden or misunderstood than offering sacrifice, both animal and humanAnimal Sacrifice … in the 21st century!Unethical Practice of ANIMAL SACRIFICEOver 100 million animals are slaughtered annually during Eid ul-Adha across the Islamic world within a 48 hour period

Buddhism banned animal sacrifice in the regions where it predominantly occured. However on Buddha’s birthday animal sacrifices take place, an gruesome mass killing carried out by various Hindu sects …

“China: Buddhism and Taoism generally prohibit killing of animals; some animal offerings, such as fowl, pigs, goats, fish, or other livestock, are accepted in some Taoism sects and beliefs in Chinese folk religion. In Kaohsiung, animal sacrifices are banned in Taoist temples” says Wikipedia, this however is not totally true, there is a Buddhist temple where a horrific form of animal sacrifice take place, as I mentioned in this blog post about the murder of pigs in the Sanhsia Tzushi Temple.

The majority of pagans today in the Western societies are supposedly vegetarian or vegan

Vegan Pagans , , , Animal Rights: My Pagan Value

Overall I want to note: Most religions are incompatible with Animal Rights and Earth Rights, simply because they put a god or gods, a divine concept, on top of all existence in a hierarchical manner. Paganism and some religions stand inbetween, depending on the features of their god/gods. The best is to let your reason speak, and not any contractualist and homoncentrically driven collectivist selfishness.

To argue that our secular societies also kills nonhuman animals, on an industrial scale, does not take anything away from the moral blindness that religions display in regard to other than human life, individual life and justice based on ‘common sense’ reasoning; after all religions falsely claim they have something to do with “love” and “the creation”. Any society has to face the consequences of the factul atrocities it commits – be it in the name of progress or a religious belief held.

The incapacity of humans to relate to the world and the universe in a co-creative, mutually respectful and sensitive way, brings with it an undesired incapacity to deal with one another as humans in a peaceful way. You can’t have the one without the other, you can’t arbitrarily draw a line between all the factors that matter for a morally sound coexistence … . But try to convince people of that … the things that never seemed to matter morally so much, someone might think, how could these things matter now? Well, welcome to the 21 Century!

What if you don’t have the right to free speech?

Can you imagine being put in prison for your right to speak freely? If I lived right now somewhere else, I could be put into prison just for writing my thoughts on a blog. This is reality.

Omid-Reza Mir-Siafi has died as a consequence of the torture he endured in the Evin Prison in Iran. He was imprisoned for speaking his opinion, for free speech as a blogger.

Iranian Blogger Dies in Prison. By Robert Mackey (

Arrest and Transfer of Two Political Prisoners to General Section of Evin Prison (

See also:

English News at The Human Rights Activits in Iran site (

Iran: Appel à une enquête internationale sur le meurtre par empoisonnement de prisonniers politiques.  À la suite de la mort suspecte d’un prisonnier politique (

This ought not to have happened. But it happens, all the time.

In connection with this, see also:

The price paid for blogging Iran. By Clark Boyd (BBC)

Iran jails blogger for 14 years (BBC)