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pronounced this judgment, saying, "If I did not think it of great moment not to put any stranger to death who, being prevented by the winds from pursuing his course, has come to my territory, I would take vengeance on you on behalf of the Grecian, you basest of men, who, after you had met with hospitable treatment, have committed the most nefarious deed; you seduced the wife of your host, and this did not content you, but, having excited her passions, you have taken her away by stealth.
Nor even did this content you, but you have also robbed the house of your host and come hither with the spoils; now therefore, since I deem it of great moment not to put a stranger to death, I will not suffer you to carry away this woman or this treasure, but I will keep them for your Grecian host until he please to come himself and take them away; as for you and your shipmates, I bid you depart out of my territory to some other within three days; if not, you shall be treated as enemies."
116. The priests gave this account of the arrival of Helen at the court of Proteus. And Homer appears to me to have heard this relation ; but it was not equally suited to epic poetry as the other which he has made use of, wherefore he has rejected it, though he has plainly shown that he was acquainted with this account also. And this is evident, since he has described in the Iliad (and has nowhere else retraced his steps) the wanderings of Paris, how, while he was carrying off Helen, he was driven out of his course, and wandered to other places, and how he arrived at Sidon of Phænicia; and he has mentioned it in the exploits of Diomede; his verses are as follows: “Where were the variegated robes, works of Sidonian women, which god-like Paris himself brought from Sidon, sailing over the wide sea, along the course by which he conveyed high-born Helen." He mentions it also in the Odyssey, in the following lines : “Such well-chosen drugs had the daughter of Jove, of excellent quality, which Polydamna gave her, the Egyptian wife of Thonis, where the fruitful earth . produces many drugs, many excellent when mixed, and many noxious.”2 Menelaus also says the following to Telemachus: “The gods detained me in Egypt,
Literally, “having raised the wings.” · Iliad, vi. 289.
? Odyssey, iv. 227.
though anxious to return hither, because I did not offer perfect hecatombs to them.”3 He shows in these verses that he was acquainted with the wandering of Paris in Egypt; for Syria borders on Egypt, and the Phoenicians, to whom Sidon belongs, inhabit Syria. 117. From these verses, and this first passage especially, it is clear that Homer was not the author of the Cyprian verses, but some other person ; for in the Cyprian verses it is said that Paris reached Ilium from Sparta on the third day, when he carried off Helen, having met with a favorable wind and a smooth sea; whereas Homer, in the Iliad, says that he wandered far, while taking her with him. And now I take my leave of Homer and the Cyprian verses.
118. When I asked the priests whether the Greeks tell an idle story about the Trojan war or not, they gave me the following answer, saying that they knew it by inquiry from Menelaus himself: That, after the rape of Helen, a vast army of Grecians came to the land of Teucria to assist Menelaus; and that, when the army had landed and pitched their camp, they sent embassadors to Ilium, and that Menelaus himself went with them. When they reached the walls, they demanded the restitution of Hélen, and the treasures that Paris had stolen from him, and satisfaction for the injuries done: that the Trojans told the same story then and ever after, both when put to the oath and when not swearing, that they had neither Helen nor the treasures about which they were accused, but that they were all in Egypt; and that they could not with justice be answerable for what Proteus, the Egyptian king, had in his possession. But the Greeks, thinking they were derided by them, therefore besieged them until they took their city. When, however, after they had taken the fortifications, Helen was nowhere found, but they heard the same story as before, then they gave credit to the first account, and sent Menelaus himself to Proteus. 119. When Menelaus reached Egypt, he sailed up to Memphis, and related the real truth. He both met with very hospitable entertainment, and received back Helen unharmed, and, besides, all his treasures. Menelaus, however, though he met with this treatment, behaved very iniquitously to the Egyptians; for, when he was desirous of sailing away, contrary winds detained him; and
when this continued the same for a long time, he had recourse to a nefarious expedient; for having taken two children of the people of the country, he sacrificed them ;4 but afterward, when it was discovered that he had done this deed, he was detested and persecuted by the Egyptians, and fled with his ships to Libya. Whither he bent his course from thence the Egyptians were unable to say; but of the above particulars they said they knew some by inquiry, and others, having taken place among themselves, they were able, from their own knowledge, to speak of with certainty. 120. These things the priests of the Egyptians related, and I myself agree with the account that is given respecting Helen, from the following considerations. If Helen had been in Ilium, she would have been restored to the Grecians, whether Paris were willing or not; for surely Priam could not have been so infatuated, nor the others his relatives, as to be willing to expose their own persons, their children, and the city to danger, in order that Paris might cohabit with Helen. But even if at first they had taken this resolution, yet, seeing that many of the other Trojans perished whenever they engaged with the Greeks, and that on every occasion when a battle took place, two or three, or even more, of Priam's own sons fell, if we may speak on the authority of the epic poets—when such things happened, I think that, if Priam himself were cohabiting with Helen, he would have restored her to the Greeks in order to be delivered from such present evils. Neither would the kingdom devolve upon Paris, so that when Priam was now old, the administration of affairs should fall upon him; but Hector, who was both older and more a man than he was, would succeed to the throne on the death of Priam; nor did it become him to give way to his brother when acting unjustly, and this, too, when through his means so many evils were falling on himself, and on all the rest of the Trojans. But, indeed, they had it not in their power to restore Helen, nor, when they spoke the truth, did the Greeks give credit to them ; Providence ordaining, as I am of opinion, that they, by utterly perishing, should make it clear to all men, that for great crimes great punishments at the hands of the gods are
Literally, “he made victims of them :" by čvroua are meant “victims slain to appease the infernal deities."
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 honor 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 sons 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 recognized, 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 hu dow 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 spilled, 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