Chapter XXXIV.—Other Allegories.
“And of Venus they give forth an allegory to this effect. When, say they, the sea was put under the air, and when the brightness of the heavens shone more pleasantly, being reflected from the waters, the loveliness of things, which appeared fairer from the waters, was called Venus; and she, it, being united with the air as with her, its, own brother, so as to produce beauty, which might be the object of desire, is said to have given birth to Cupid. In this way, therefore, as we have said, they teach that Chronos, who is Saturn, is allegorically time; Rhea is matter; Aides—that is, Orcus—is the depth of the infernal regions; Neptune is water; Jupiter is air—that is, the element of heat; Venus is the loveliness of things; Cupid is desire, which is in all things, and by which posterity is propagated, or even the reason of things, which gives delight when wisely looked into. Hera—that is, Juno—is said to be that middle air which descends from heaven to earth. To Diana, whom they call Proserpine, they hand over the air below. They say that Apollo is the Sun himself, which goes round the heaven; that Mercury is speech, by which a reason is rendered for everything; that Mars is unrestrained fire, which consumes all things. But not to delay you by enumerating everything, those who have the more abstruse intelligence concerning such things think that they give fair and just reasons, by applying this sort of allegory to every one of their objects of worship.”