Rosenbaum tells us 1 that the very name, Baal Peor, signified among the Hebrews the god, Penis, to whose temple on Mount Peor the young girb repaired regularly to prostitute themselves; where the Midi&nitish woman was "stabbed through the belly" by Phinehas, and where Moses slew twenty-four thousand, as the original reads, of the people, to stay the plague which had been introduced by the Moabitish prostitutes.* Can we wonder, then, in view of the terror which such venereal epidemics naturally inspired, that homosexual practices were so universally adopted?
Likewise in India, as we are informed in the Ayurvedi, a medical treatise at least four thousand years old,* we are given such a fearful picture of the ravages caused by communicable venereal diseases that the escape, which the people are well known to have sought, in contrary sexual practices, seems not only reasonable but, in some measure, at least, both justifiable and proper.
1 "History of Syphilis in Antiquity," Halle, 1845. As it was quite a current belief in antiquity that angels could have carnal copulation with women (see Gen. vi, 2), the custom of offering a girl's virginity to the god, in pagan countries, is not at all remarkable. In early Japan a young girl was brought every month to the idol, Teuchedi, and left in the Jotoqui of the temple to be deflowered, the god being commonly served by a priestly proxy; and Herodotus tells us that in the great temple of Belus, in Babylon, there was a beautiful chapel—xplendide stratus ieetus et appoint a mensa aurea—a fine bed, a table of gold, etc., which were never used except by the women whom the god made choice of, out of the thousands offered daily for his service. The same custom was practised in Thebes, and in Nineveh; in all cases the pleasant duty of accepting these sacrifices of women falling to the priests.