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35. I now proceed to give a more particular account of Egypt. It possesses more wonders than any other country, and exhibits works greater than can be described, in comparison with all other regions; therefore more must be said about it. The Egyptians, besides having a climate peculiar to themselves, and a river differing in its nature from all other rivers, have adopted customs and usages in almost every respect different from the rest of mankind. Among them the women attend markets and traffic, but the men stay at home and
Other nations, in weaving, throw the wool upward; the Egyptians, downward. The men carry burdens on their heads; the women, on their shoulders. The women stand up when they make water, but the men sit down. They ease themselves in their houses, but eat out of doors; alleging that whatever is indecent, though necessary, ought to be done in private; but what is not indecent, openly. No woman can serve the office for any god or goddess; but men are employed for both offices. Sons are not compelled to support their parents unless they choose, but daughters are compelled to do so, whether they choose or not. 36. In other countries the priests of the gods wear long hair; in Egypt they have it shaved. With other men it is customary in mourning for the nearest relations to have their heads shorn; the Egyptians, on occasions of death, let the hair grow both on the head and face, though till then used to shave.
Other men live apart from beasts; but the Egyptians live with them. Others feed on wheat and barley, but it is a very great disgrace for an Egyptian to make food of them ; but they make bread from spelt, which some call zea. They knead the dough with their feet, but mix clay and take up dung with their hands. Other men leave their private parts as they are formed by nature, except those who have learned otherwise from them; but the Egyptians are circumcised. Every man wears two garments; the women, but one. Other men fasten the rings and sheets of their sails outside; but the Egyptians, inside. The Grecians write and cipher moving the hand from left to right; but the Egyptians, from right to left; and doing so, they say they do it right-ways, and the Greeks left-ways. They have two sorts of letters, one of which is called sacred, the other common.
37. They are of all men the most excessively attentive to
the worship of the gods, and observe the following ceremonies. They drink from cups of brass, which they scour every day; nor is this custom practiced by some and neglected by others, but all do it. They wear linen garments, constantly fresh washed, and they pay particular attention to this. They are circumcised for the sake of cleanliness, thinking it better to be clean than handsome. The priests shave their whole body every third day, that neither lice nor any other impurity may be found upon them when engaged in the service of the gods. The priests wear linen only, and shoes of byblus, and are not permitted to wear any other garments, or other shoes. They wash themselves in cold water twice every day, and twice every night; and, in a word, they use a number of ceremonies. On the other hand, they enjoy no slight advantages, for they do not consume or expend any of their private property; but sacred food is cooked for them, and a great quantity of beef and geese is allowed each of them every day, and wine' from the grape is given them; but they may not taste of fish. Beans the Egyptians do not sow at all in their country, neither do they eat those that happen to grow there, nor taste them when dressed. The priests, indeed, abhor the sight of that pulse, accounting it impure. The service of each god is performed, not by one, but by many priests, of whom one is chief priest, and when any one of them dies, his son is put in his place. 38. The male kine they deem sacred to Epaphus, and to that end prove them in the following manner. If the examiner finds one black hair upon him, he adjudges him to be unclean; and one of the priests appointed for this purpose makes this examination, both when the animal is standing up and lying down; and he draws out the tongue, to see if it is pure as to the prescribed marks, which I shall mention in another part of my history. He also looks at the hairs of his tail, whether they grow naturally. If the beast is found pure in all these respects, he marks it by rolling a piece of byblus round the horns, and then having put on it some sealing earth, he impresses it with his signet; and so they drive him away. Any one who sacrifices one that is unmarked is punished with death. In this manner the animal is proved. 39. The established mode of sacrifice is this: having led the victim, properly marked, to the altar where they intend to sacrifice, they kindle a fire. Then, having poured
wine upon the altar, near the victim, and having invoked the god, they kill it, and after they have killed it they cut off the head; but they flay the body of the animal; then, having pronounced many imprecations on the head, they who have a market and Grecian merchants dwelling among them carry it there, and having so done, they usually sell it; but they who have no Grecians among them throw it into the river; and they pronounce the following imprecations on the head: “If any evil is about to befall either those that now sacrifice, or Egypt in general, may it be averted on this head." With respect, then, to the heads of beasts that are sacrificed, and to the making libations of wine, all the Egyptians observe the same customs in all sacrifices alike; and, from this custom, no Egyptian will taste of the head of any animal. 40. But a different mode of disemboweling and burning the victims prevails in different sacrifices. I proceed, therefore, to speak of the practice with regard to the goddess whom they consider the greatest, and in whose honor they celebrate the most magnificent festival. When they have flayed the bullocks, having first offered up prayers, they take out all the intestines, and leave the vitals with the fat in the carcass; and they then cut off the legs and the extremity of the hip, with the shoulders and neck, and having done this, they fill the body of the bullock with fine bread, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other perfumes; and after they have filled it with these, they burn it, pouring on it a great quantity of oil. They sacrifice after they have fasted, and while the sacred things are being burned they all beat themselves, and when they have done beating themselves they spread a banquet of what remains of the victims.
41. All the Egyptians, therefore, sacrifice the pure male kine and calves, but they are not allowed to sacrifice the females, for they are sacred to Isis ; for the image of Isis is made in the form of a woman with the horns of a cow, as the Grecians represent Io; and all Egyptians alike pay a far greater reverence to cows than to any other cattle ; so that no Egyptian man or woman will kiss a Grecian on the mouth, or use the knife, spit, or caldron of a Greek, or taste of the flesh of a pure ox that has been divided by a Grecian knife. They bury the kine that die in the following manner: the females they throw into the river, and the males they sever
ally inter in the suburbs, with one horn, or both, appearing above the ground for a mark. When it is putrefied and the appointed time arrives, a raft comes to each city from the island called Prosopitis: this island is in the Delta, and is nine schoni in circumference. Now in this island Prosopitis there are several cities; but that from which the rafts come to take away the bones of the oxen is called Atarbechis; in it a temple of Venus has been erected. From this city, then, many persons go about to other towns; and having dug up the bones, all carry them away, and bury them in one place; and they bury all other cattle that die in the same way that they do the oxen ; for they do not kill any of them. 42. All those who have a temple erected to Theban Jupiter, or belong to the Theban district, abstain from sheep, and sacrifice goats only; for the Egyptians do not all worship the same gods in the same manner, except Isis and Osiris, who, they say, is Bacchus; but these deities they all worship in the
On the other hand, those who frequent the temple of Mendes, and belong to the Mendesian district, abstain from goats, and sacrifice sheep. Now the Thebans, and such as abstain from sheep after their example, say that this custom was established among them in the following way: that Hercules was very desirous of seeing Jupiter, but Jupiter was unwilling to be seen by him; at last, however, as Hercules persisted, Jupiter had recourse to the following contrivance : having flayed a ram, he cut off the head, and held it before himself, and then having put on the fleece, he in that form showed himself to Hercules. From this circumstance the Egyptians make the image of Jupiter with a ram's face; and from the Egyptians the Ammonians, who are a colony of Egyptians and Ethiopians, and who speak a language between both, have adopted the same practice ; and, as I conjecture, the Ammonians from hence derived their name, for the Egyptians call Jupiter, Ammon. The Thebans, then, do not sacrifice rams, but they are for the above reason accounted sacred by them; on one day in the year, however, at the festival of Jupiter, they kill and flay one ram, and put it on the image of Jupiter, and then they bring another image of Hercules to it; when they have done this, all who are in the temple beat themselves in mourning for the ram, and then bury him in a sacred vault.
43. Of this Hercules I have heard this account, that he is one of the twelve gods; but of the other Hercules, who is known to the Grecians, I could never hear in any part of Egypt. And that the Egyptians did not derive the name of Hercules from the Grecians, but rather the Grecians (and especially those who gave the name of Hercules to the son of Amphitryon) from the Egyptians, I have both many other proofs to show, and moreover the following, that the parents of this Hercules, Amphitryon and Alcmene, were both of Egyptian descent, and because the Egyptians say they do not know the names of Neptune and the Dioscuri, and that they have never been admitted into the number of their gods; yet if they had derived the name of any deity from the Grecians, they would certainly have mentioned these above all others, since even at that time they made voyages, and some of the Grecians were sailors, so that I believe, and am persuaded, that the Egyptians must have learned the names of these gods, rather than that of Hercules. But Hercules is one of the ancient gods of the Egyptians; and as they say themselves, it was seventeen thousand years before the reign of Amsais, when the number of their gods was increased from eight to twelve, of whom Hercules was accounted one. 44. And being desirous of obtaining certain information from whatever source I could, I sailed to Tyre in Phænicia, having heard that there was there a temple dedicated to Hercules; and I saw it richly adorned with a great variety of offerings, and in it were two pillars, one of fine gold, the other of emerald stone, both shining exceedingly* at night. Conversing with the priests of this god, I inquired how long this temple had been built, and I found that neither did they agree with the Greeks; for they said that the temple was built at the time when Tyre was founded, and that two thousand three hundred years
had elapsed since the foundation of Tyre. In this city I also saw another temple dedicated to Hercules by the name of Thasian; I went therefore to Thasos, and found there a temple of Hercules built by the Phænicians, who, having set sail in search of Europa, founded Thasos; and this occurred five generations before Hercules, the son of Amphitryon, appeared in Greece. The researches, then, that I have made evidently prove that
* Méyadoç must be here construed as an adverb; but Baehr thinks that the text is corrupt.