There were indeed ancient barbarians chargeable with incest, and perhaps some such are still to be found.
Strabo, Lucian, Curtius, Plutarch, and Justin mention savages who were infamous for this crime.
Yet among more polished nations, it was always abhorred; and as the Apostle asserts, 1 Cor. v. 1. there were species of that vice,
not so much as named among the Gentiles. Euripides and others have recorded, as an exception against the
universal detestation of incest among civilized people, that the ancient kings of Persia and Egypt were guilty of it; but these
authors expressly add, that "those kings indulged in it from a principle of pride, as they considered it beneath their dignity
to marry a vassal or a stranger, and therefore connected themselves with their own royal families." Their
subjects however, did not follow the base example of the monarchs.
Suetonius and Tacitus mention a few other instances of the same kind at Rome, and stigmatize them with reproach and infamy.
In Calig Suet. 4. 24. - in Nerone. Suet. 6. 5. - in Claudio. Suet. 5. 26. 43.
- in Aggripina. Tacitus Annal. 14. - But these cases are so far from being an evidence of the
prevailing sense of the world in their favor, that they prove directly the contrary; since they are ennumerated
as isolated and singular prodigies of immorality. As well might it be said, that murder the cruelties of tyrants
were a proof that mankind did not esteem benevolence and mercy; or that instances of theft, robberies and deceit were an
indication that honesty, truth and candour were not respected among men.
The MAROMEDANS who indulge in polygamy, and are promised by their false Prophet a future state
consisting chiefly in sensual enjoyments, are still shocked at the abominable crime of incest. Mahomet expressly forbids it.
In the Alcoran, chapter iv. are these words: "Ye are forbidden to marry your mothers, and your daughters, and your
sisters, and your aunts, both on the father's and on the mother's side; and your brother's daughters, and your sister's
daughters, and your foster sisters, and your wives' mothers, and your daughters in law who are under tuition, and the wives
of your sons; and ye are also forbidden to take to wife two sisters." - It is added by Al-Sharest, "turpissimum
corum qui faciebant Arabes, in tempore ignorantiae