Who and from where are you Dionysus?
Since by the true Bacchus,
I do not recognize you; I know only the son of Zeus.
While he smells like nectar, you smell like a goat.
Can it be then that the Celts because of lack of grapes
Made you from cereals? Therefore one should call you
Demetrius, not Dionysus, rather wheat born and Bromus,
– Emperor Julian in the Greek Anthology
The Greek religion does not yet prosper as I would wish, on account of those who profess it. But the gifts of the gods are great and splendid, better than any prayer or any hope … Indeed, a little while ago no one would have dared even to pray for a such change, and so complete a one in so short a space of time. Why then do we think that this is sufficient and do not observe how the kindness of Christians to strangers, their care for the burial of their dead, and the sobriety of their lifestyle has done the most to advance their cause?
Priests ought to make a point of not doing impure or shameful deeds or saying words or hearing talk of this type. We must therefore get rid of all offensive jokes and licentious associations. What I mean is this: no priest is to read Archilochus or Hipponax or anyone else who writes poetry as they do. They should stay away from the same kind of stuff in Old Comedy. Philosophy alone is appropriate for us priests. Of the philosophers, however, only those who put the gods before them as guides of their intellectual life are acceptable, like Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics . . . only those who make people reverent . . . not the works of Pyrrho and Epicurus . . . We ought to pray often to the gods in private and in public, about three times a day, but if not that often, at least in the morning and at night.
No priest is anywhere to attend shameful theatrical shows or to have one performed at his own house; it is in no way appropriate. Indeed, if it were possible to get rid of such shows altogether from the theater and restore the theaters, purified, to Dionysus as in the olden days, I would certainly have tried to bring this about. But since I thought that this was out of the question, and even if possible would for other reasons be inexpedient, I did not even try. But I do insist that priests stay away from the licentiousness of the theaters and leave them to the people. No priest is to enter a theater, have an actor or a chariot driver as a friend, or allow a dancer or mime into his house. I allow to attend the sacred games those who want to, that is, they may attend only those games from which women are forbidden to attend not only as participants but even as spectators.
– Emperor Julian, Letter to the priest Arsacius
To the liberator of the Roman world, the restorer of the temples, reviver of town councils and of the state, destroyer of the barbarians, our lord Julian ever Augustus, mighty victor over the Almanns, mighty victor over the Franks, mighty victor over the Sarmatians, chief priest, father of his country: the provincial assembly of the Phoenicians ordered this.
-– AE 631