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of the corpse without making any incision or taking out the bowels, but inject it at the fundament; and having prevented the injection from escaping, they steep the body in natrum for the prescribed number of days, and on the last day they let out from the abdomen the oil of cedar which they had before injected, and it has such power that it brings away the intestines and vitals in a state of dissolution; the natrum dissolves the flesh, and nothing of the body remains but the skin and the bones. When they have done this they return the body without any further operation. 88. The third method of embalming is this, which is used only for the poorer sort : having thoroughly rinsed the abdomen in syrmaea, they steep it with natrum for the seventy days, and then deliver it to be carried away. 89. But the wives of considerable persons, when they die, they do not immediately deliver to be embalmed, nor such women as are very beautiful and of celebrity, but when they have been dead three or four days they then deliver them to the embalmers; and they do this for the following reason, that the embalmers may not abuse the bodies of such women; for they say that one man was detected in abusing a body that was fresh, and that a fellow-workman informed against him. 90. Should any person, whether Egyptian or stranger, no matter which, be found to have been seized by a crocodile, or drowned in the river, to whatever city the body may be carried, the inhabitants are by law compelled to have the body embalmed, and having adorned it in the handsomest manner, to bury it in the sacred vaults. Nor is it lawful for any one else, whether relations or friends, to touch him ; but the priests of the Nile bury the corpse with their own hands, as being something more than human. 91. They avoid using Grecian customs; and, in a word, the customs of all other people whatsoever. All the other Egyptians are particular in this. But there is a large city called Chemmis, situate in the Thebaic district, near Neapolis, in which is a quadrangular temple dedicated to Perseus the son of Danae; palm trees grow round it, and the portico is of stone, very spacious, and over it are placed two large stone statues. In this enclosure is a temple, and in it is placed a statue of Perseus. The Chemmitae affirm, that Perseus has frequently appeared to them on earth, and frequently within the temple, and that a sandal worn by him is sometimes found, which is two cubits in length; and that after its appearance, all Egypt flourishes. This they affirm. They adopt the following Grecian customs in honour of Perseus: they celebrate gymnastic games, embracing every kind of contest; and they give as prizes, cattle, cloaks, and skins. When I inquired why Perseus appeared only to them, and why they differed from the rest of the Egyptians, in holding gymnastic games; they answered, “that Perseus derived his origin from their city; for that Danaus and Lynceus, who were both natives of Chemmis, sailed from them into Greece ;” and tracing the descent down from them, they came to Perseus; “ and that he coming to Egypt, for the same reason as the Greeks allege, in order to bring away the Gorgon's head from Libya, they affirmed that he came to them also and acknowledged all his kindred ; and that when he came to Egypt he was well acquainted with the name of Chemmis, having heard it from his mother: they add, that by his order they instituted gymnastic games in honour of him.” 92. The Egyptians who dwell above the morasses, observe all these customs ; but those who live in the morasses, have the same customs as the rest of the Egyptians, and as in other things, so in this, that each man has but one wife, like the Greeks. But to obtain food more easily, they have the following inventions: when the river is full, and has made the plains like a sea, great numbers of lilies, which the Egyptians call lotus, spring up in the water : these they gather and dry in the sun; then having pounded the middle of the lotus, which resembles a poppy, they make bread of it and bake it. The root also of this lotus is fit for food, and is tolerably sweet ; and is round, and of the size of an apple. There are also other lilies, like roses, that grow in the river, the fruit of which is contained in a separate pod, that springs up from the root in form very like a wasp's nest; in this there are many berries fit to be eaten, of the size of an olive stone, and they are eaten both fresh and dried. The byblus, which is an annual plant, when they have pulled it up in the fens, they cut off the top of it and put to some other uses, but the lower part that is left, to the length of a cubit, they eat and sell. Those who are anxious to eat the byblus dressed in the most delicate manner, stew it in a hot pan and then eat it. Some of them live entirely on fish, which they catch, and and dry in the sun, and then eat them dried. 93. Fishes that are gregal us are seldom found in the rivers, but being bred in the lakes, they proceed as follows: when the desire of engendering comes upon them, they swim out in shoals to the sea; the males lead the way, scattering the sperm ; and the females following swallow it, and are thus impregnated. When they find themselves full in the sea, they swim back, each to their accustomed haunts; however, the males no longer take the lead, but this is done by females: they, leading the way in shoals, do as the males did before ; for they scatter their spawn by degrees, and the males following devour them; but from the spawn that escapes and is not devoured, the fish that grow up are engendered. Any of these fish that happen to be taken in their passage towards the sea, are found bruised on the left side of the head; but those that are taken on their return, are bruised on the right; and this proceeds from the following cause: they swim out to the sea keeping close to the land on the left side, and when they swim back again, they keep to the same shore, hugging it and touching it as much as possible, for fear of losing their way by the stream. When the Nile begins to overflow, the hollow parts of the land and the marshes near the river first begin to be filled by the water oozing through from the river; and as soon as they are full, they are immediately filled with little fishes; the reason of which, as I conjecture, is this: in the preceding year, when the Nile retreated, the fish that had deposited their eggs in the marshy ground, went away with the last of the waters; but when, as the time came round, the water has risen again, fishes are immediately produced from these eggs. Thus it happens with respect to the fishes. 94. The Egyptians who live about the fens use an oil drawn from the fruit of the sillicypria, which they call cici; and they make it in the following manner: they plant these sillicypria, which in Greece grow spontaneous and wild, on the banks of the rivers and lakes: these, when planted in Egypt, bear abundance of fruit, though of an offensive smell. When they have gathered it, some bruise it and press out the oil; others boil and stew it, and collect the liquid that flows from it; this is fat, and no less suited for lamps than olive oil ; but it emits an offensive smell. 95. They have the following contrivance K
to protect themselves from the musquitoes, which abound very much. The towers are of great service to those who inhabit the upper parts of the marshes; for the musquitoes are prevented by the winds from flying high: but those who live round the marshes have contrived another expedient instead of the towers. Every man has a net, with which in the day he takes fish, and at night uses it in the following manner: in whatever bed he sleeps, he throws the net around it, and then getting in, sleeps under it: if he should wrap himself up in his clothes or in linen, the musquitoes would bite through them, but they never attempt to bite through the net. 96. Their ships in which they convey merchandise are made of the acacia, which in shape is very like the Cyrenaean lotus, and its exudation is gum. From this acacia they cut planks about two cubits in length, and join them together like bricks, building their ships in the following manner. They fasten the planks of two cubits length round stout and long ties: when they have thus built the hulls, they lay benches across them. They make no use of ribs, but caulk the seams inside with byblus. They make only one rudder, and that is driven through the keel. They use a mast of acacia, and sails of byblus. These vessels are unable to sail up the stream unless a fair wind prevails, but are towed from the shore. They are thus carried down the stream : there is a hurdle made of tamarisk, wattled with a band of reeds, and a stone bored through the middle, of about two talents in weight; of these two, the hurdle is fastened to a cable, and let down at the prow of the vessel to be carried on by the stream ; and the stone by another cable at the stern ; and by this means the hurdle, by the stream bearing hard upon it, moves quickly and draws along “the baris,” (for this is the name given to these vessels,) but the stone being dragged at the stern, and sunk to the bottom, keeps the vessel in its course. They have very many of these vessels, and some of them carry many thousand talents. 97. When the Nile inundates the country, the cities alone are seen above its surface, very like the islands in the AEgean Sea; for all the rest of Egypt becomes a sea, and the cities alone are above the surface. When this happens, they navigate no longer by the channel of the river, but across the plain. To a person sailing from Naucratis to Memphis, the passage is by the pyramids; this, however, is not the usual course, but by the point of the Delta and the city of Cercasorus; and in sailing from the sea and Canopus to Naucratis across the plain, you will pass by the city of Anthylla and that called Archandropolis. 98. Of these, Anthylla, which is a city of importance, is assigned to purchase shoes for the wife of the reigning king of Egypt; and this has been so as long as Egypt has been subject to the Persians. The other city appears to me to derive its name from the son-in-law of Danaus, Archander, son of Phthius, and grandson of Achaeus; for it is called Archandropolis. There may indeed have been another Archander; but the name is certainly not Egyptian.
99. Hitherto I have related what I have seen, what I have thought, and what I have learnt by inquiry: but from this point I proceed to give the Egyptian account according to what I heard; and there is added to it something also of my own observation. The priests informed me, that Menes, who first ruled over Egypt, in the first place protected Memphis by a mound; for the whole river formerly ran close to the sandy mountain on the side of Libya; but Menes, beginning about a hundred stades above Memphis, filled in the elbow towards the south, dried up the old channel, and conducted the river into a canal, so as to make it flow between the mountains :” this bend of the Nile, which flows excluded from its ancient course, is still carefully upheld by the Persians, being made secure every year; for if the river should break through and overflow in this part, there would be danger lest all Memphis should be flooded. When the part cut off had been made firm land by this Menes, who was first king, he in the first place built on it the city that is now called Memphis ; for Memphis is situate in the narrow part of Egypt; and outside of it he excavated a lake from the river towards the north and the west; for the Nile itself bounds it towards the east. In the next place, they relate that he built in it the temple of Vulcan, which is vast and well worthy of mention. 100. After this the priests enumerated from a book the names of three hundred and thirty other kings. In so many generations of men, there were eighteen Ethiopians and one native queen, the rest were Egyptians. The name of this woman who reigned, was the same as that of the Babylonian queen, Nitocris: they said that she avenged her brother,
* That is, those of Arabia and Libya.