Three main forms of human sacrifice existed in this area: (I) the scapegoat; (2) the messenger; and (3) the expiation, but combinations were not infrequent.
OSCILLA, a word applied in Latin usage to small figures, most commonly masks or faces, which were hung up as offerings to various deities, either for propitiation or expiation, and in connexion with festivals and other ceremonies.
It is this ` superfluous' expiation that accumulates in the Treasure of the Church " (Bp. of Newport, p. 166).
Here, again, the theology was further developed, and an attempt made to annul the old dualism by envisaging both Ormuzd and Ahriman as emanations of an original principle of infinite time (Zervan), a doctrine which long enjoyed official validity under the Sassanids till, in the reign of Chosroes I., the sect of Zervanites was pronounced heretical.i But, above all, the ritual and the doctrine of purity were elaborated and expanded, and there was evolved a complete and detailed system of casuistry, dealing with all things allowed and forbidden, the forms of pollution and the expiation for each, &c., which, in its arid and spiritles1 monotony vividly recalls the similar prescriptions in the Pentateuch.
It is probable that Adonis himself was looked upon as incarnate in the swine, so that the sacrifice to him by way of expiation on special occasions of an animal which otherwise was specially sacred, and its consumption by its worshippers, was a sacramental act.