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in store. Thus these things have been related as they appear to me.
121. The priests also informed me, that Rhampsinitus succeeded Proteus in the kingdom: he left as a monument the portico of the temple of Vulcan, fronting to the west ; and he erected two statues before the portico, twenty-five cubits high. Of these, the one standing to the north the Egyptians call Summer ; and that to the south, Winter : and the one that they call Summer, they worship and do honour to; but the one called Winter, they treat in a quite contrary way.
1. This king, they said, possessed a great quantity of money, such as no one of the succeeding kings was able to surpass, or even nearly come up to ; and he, wishing to treasure up his wealth in safety, built a chamber of stone, of which one of the walls adjoined the outside of the palace. But the builder, forming a plan against it, devised the following contrivance ; he fitted one of the stones so that it might be easily taken out by two men, or even one.
When the chamber was finished, the king laid up his treasures in it; but in course of time the builder, finding his end approaching, called his sods to him, for he had two, and described to them how (providing for them that they might have abundant sustenance) he had contrived when building the king's treasury; and having clearly explained to them every thing relating to the removal of the stone, he gave them its dimensions, and told them, if they would observe his instructions, they would be stewards of the king's riches. He accordingly died, and the sons were not long in applying themselves to the work; but having come by night to the palace, and having found the stone in the building, they easily removed it, and carried off a great quantity of treasure. 2. When the king happened to open the chamber, he was astonished at seeing the vessels deficient in treasure ; but he was not able to accuse any one, as the seals were unbroken, and the chamber well secured. When therefore, on his opening it two or three times, the treasures were always evidently diminished, (for the thieves did not cease plundering, he adopted the following plan ; he ordered traps to be made, and placed them round the vessels in which the treasures were.
But when the thieves came as before, and one of them had entered, as soon as he went near a vessel, he was straightway caught in the trap; perceiving, there
fore, in what a predicament he was, he immediately called to his brother, and told him what had happened, and bade him enter as quick as possible, and cut off his head, lest, if he was seen and recognised, he should ruin him also : the other thought that he spoke well, and did as he was advised ; then, having fitted in the stone, he returned home, taking with him his brother's head. 3. When day came, the king having entered the chamber, was astonished at seeing the body of the thief in the trap without the head, but the chamber secure, and without any means of entrance or exit. In this perplexity he contrived the following plan ; he hung up the body of the thief from the wall, and having placed sentinels there, he ordered them to seize and bring before him whomsoever they should see_weeping or expressing commiseration at the spectacle. The mother was greatly grieved at the body being suspended, and coming to words with her surviving son, commanded him, by any means he could, to contrive how he might take down and bring away the corpse of his brother ; but, should he neglect to do so, she threatened to go to the king, and inform him that he had the treasures. 4. When the mother treated her surviving son harshly, and when with many entreaties he was unable to persuade her, he contrived the following plan ; having got some asses, and having filled some skins with wine, he put them on the asses, and then drove them along ; but when he came near the sentinels that guarded the suspended corpse, having drawn out two or three of the necks of the skins that hung down, he loosened them ; and when the wine ran out, he beat his head, and cried out aloud, as if he knew not to which of the asses he should turn first: but the sentinels, when they saw wine flowing in abundance, ran into the road, with vessels in their hands, caught the wine that was being spilt, thinking it all their own gain ; but the man, feigning anger, railed bitterly against them all ; however, as the sentinels soothed him, he at length pretended to be pacified, and to forego his anger ; at last he drove his asses out of the road, and set them to rights again. When more conversation passed, and one of the sentinels joked with him and moved him to laughter, he gave them another of the skins; and they, just as they were, lay down and set to to drink, and joined him to their party, and invited him to stay and drink with them : he was persuaded, forsooth, and re
mained with them; and as they treated him kindly during the drinking, he gave them another of the skins ; and the sentinels, having taken very copious draughts, became exceedingly drunk, and being overpowered by the wine, fell asleep on the spot where they had been drinking. But he, as the night was far advanced, took down the body of his brother, and by way of insult shaved the right cheeks of all the sentinels; then having laid the corpse on the asses, he drove home, having performed his mother's injunctions. 5. The king, when he was informed that the body of the thief had been stolen, was exceedingly indignant, and, resolving by any means to find out the contriver of this artifice, had recourse, as it is said, to the following plan, a design which to me seems incredible: he placed his own daughter in a brothel, and ordered her to admit all alike to her embraces, but before they had intercourse with her, to compel each one to tell her what he had done during his life most clever and most wicked, and whosoever should tell her the facts relating to the thief, she was to seize, and not suffer him to escape. When, therefore, the daughter did what her father commanded, the thief, having ascertained for what purpose this contrivance was had recourse to, and being desirous to outdo the king in craftiness, did as follows: having cut off the arm of a fresh corpse at the shoulder, he took it with him under his cloak, and having gone in to the king's daughter, and being asked the same questions as all the rest were, he related that he had done the most wicked thing when he cut off his brother's head who was caught in a trap in the king's treasury; and the most clever thing, when, having made the sentinels drunk, he took away the corpse of his brother that was hung up: she, when she heard this, endeavoured to seize him, but the thief in the dark held out to her the dead man's arm, and she seized it and held it fast, imagining that she had got hold of the man's own arm; then the thief, having let it go, made his escape through the door. 6. When this also was reported to the king, he was astonished at the shrewdness and daring of the man; and at last, sending throughout all the cities, he caused a proclamation to be made, offering a free pardon, and promising great reward to the man, if he would discover himself. The thief, relying on this promise, went to the king's palace; and Rhampsinitus greatly admired him, and gave him his daughter in
marriage, accounting him the most knowing of all men; for that the Egyptians are superior to all others, but he was superior to the Egyptians.
122. After this, they said, that this king descended alive into the place which the Greeks call Hades, and there played at dice with Ceres, and sometimes won, and other times lost; and that he came up again and brought with him as à present from her a napkin of gold. On account of the descent of Rhampsinitus, since he came back again they said that the Egyptians celebrated a festival : this I know they observed even in
but whether they held this feast for some other reason, or for that above mentioned, I am unable to say. However, on that same day, the priests, having woven a cloak, bind the eyes of one of their number with a scarf, and having conducted him with the cloak on him to the way that leads to the temple of Ceres, they then return : upon which they say, this priest with his eyes bound is led by two wolves to the temple of Ceres, twenty stades distant from the city, and afterwards the wolves lead him back to the same place. 123. Any person to whom such things appear credible may adopt the accounts given by the Egyptians; it is my object, however, throughout the whole history, to write what I hear from each people. The Egyptians say that Ceres and Bacchus hold the chief sway in the infernal regions ; and the Egyptians also were the first who asserted the doctrine that the soul of man is immortal, and that when the body perishes it enters into some other animal, constantly springing into existence; and when it has passed through the different kinds of terrestrial, marine, and aerial beings, it again enters into the body of a man that is born ; and that this revolution is made in three thousand years.
Some of the Greeks have adopted this opinion, some earlier, others later, as if it were their own; but although I knew their names I do not mention them.
124. Now, they told me, that to the reign of Rhampsinitus there was a perfect distribution of justice, and that all Egypt was in a high state of prosperity ; but that after him Cheops, coming to reign over them, plunged into every kind of wickedness. For at, having shut up all the temples, he first of all forbade them to offer sacrifice, and afterwards he ordered all the Egyptians to work for himself; some, accordingly, were
appointed to draw stones from the quarries in the Arabian mountain down to the Nile, others he ordered to receive the stones when transported in vessels across the river, and to drag them to the mountain called the Libyan. And they worked to the number of a hundred thousand men at a time, each party during three months. The time during which the people were thus harassed by toil, lasted ten years on the road which they constructed, along which they drew the stones, a work, in my opinion, not much less than the pyramid : for its length is five stades, and its width ten orgyæ, and its height, where it is the highest, eight orgyæ ; and it is of polished stone, with figures carved on it: on this road then ten years were expended, and in forming the subterraneous apartments on the hill, on which the pyramids stand, which he had made as a burial vault for himself, in an island, formed by draining a canal from the Nile. Twenty years were spent in erecting the pyramid itself : of this, which is square, each face is eight plethra, and the height is the same; it is composed of polished stones, and jointed with the greatest exactness ; none of the stones are less than thirty feet. 125. This pyramid was built thus ; in the form of steps, which some call crossæ, others bomides. When they had first built it in this manner, they raised the remaining stones by machines made of short pieces of wood : having lifted them from the ground to the first range of steps, when the stone arrived there, it was put on another machine that stood ready on the first range ; and from this it was drawn to the second range on another machine ; for the machines were equal in number to the ranges of steps ; or they removed the machine, which was only one,
. and portable, to each range in succession, whenever they wished to raise the stone higher ; for I should relate it in both ways, as it is related. The highest parts of it, therefore, were first finished, and afterwards they completed the parts next following ; but last of all they finished the parts on the ground, and that were lowest. On the pyramid is shown an inscription, in Egyptian characters, how much was expended in radishes, onions, and garlic, for the workmen ; which the interpreter, as I well remember, reading the inscription, told me amounted to one thousand six hundred talents of silver. And if this be really the case, how much more was probably expended in iron tools, in bread, and in