translated by Shlomo Felberbaum

Mediterranean cliff formation
photographs by Shane Solow

Text and photographs Copyright © 1999—2003 Lost Trails
all rights reserved

Installment 10

I am going to lengthen my account about Egypt, because it has the most marvels and possesses works greater of account in comparison with every other country; for that reason more will be said about it. The Egyptians, just like their sky’s being of a different kind and their river’s possessing a nature of a kind other than all the other rivers, established all the greater number of their customs and laws opposite to all the other human beings; among them the women go to the public square and sell merchandise, while the men are at home and weave; further, although all the others weave by thrusting the woof up, Egyptians do by thrusting it down. Burdens men carry on their heads and women on their shoulders. They make water, the women upright and the men sitting down. They defecate in their homes and eat outside in the ways, and explain that the shameful but necessary one must do in concealment and the unshameful openly. No woman is priest either of a male or a female god, but men of all the male and all the female. There’s no necessity for sons, if they do not want to, to maintain their parents, but every necessity for daughters, even if they do not want to.

The priest of gods in every other land have long hair, but in Egypt they shave themselves. For all the other human beings it’s the law in mourning to have their heads shorn whom most it becomes, but the Egyptians at occurrences of death let the hair on their head and their chin grow, although they are shaven until then. Not withstanding all the other human beings’ way of life is separated from beasts, the Egyptians’ way of life is together with beasts. Off wheat and barley all the others live; yet for whoever of the Egyptians maintains his life with that is the greatest reproach, but they make their bread from spelt, which several call “zeiai”. They knead dough with their feet and clay with their hands. Their pudenda all the others leave as they were at birth, except all who have learned from those, as they, the Egyptians, circumcise themselves. As to garments, of the men each has two and of the women one each. All the others attach sails’ rings and ropes on the outside, but the Egyptians on the inside. The Greeks write letters and compute with beads by moving their hand from the left to the right, while the Egyptians do by moving theirs from the right to the left, and although they do that, they say they for their part move rightward and the Greeks leftward. They use two kinds of letters and one of them is called hieratic and the other demotic.

Being excessively reverential to the gods most of all men, they observe laws like these: from bronze cups they drink and rinse them daily, not one man and another not, but all. And they wear linen garments, newly washed on each and every occasion and pursue that most. Additionally their pudenda they circumcise for the sake of cleanliness, as they prefer to be clean rather than comely. Their priests shave all their body every other day, that neither louse nor any other foul thing come on them while they serve the gods; the priests also wear linen clothing and sandals of byblus only; other clothing it is not permitted to them to don nor other sandals; they wash twice each day with cold water and twice each night; in short, they bring to completion the performance of countless other rites, to exaggerate in speech. They also experience no few goods; for they neither wear out nor consume anything of their own, but in fact sacred bread is baked for them and a large multitude of pieces of cow and goose meat accrues to each and wine of the vine also is given them. But fish is not permitted to them to eat and beans the Egyptians both sow nothing at all in their country and, if they grow, they neither eat raw nor boil and eat, and the priests indeed endure not even seeing them, since they consider it not to be a clean legume. There is not one priest for each of the gods, but many, one of which is high-priest, and if any dies, his son is put in his place.

The male cattle they consider to be Epaphus’ and for him examine them this way: if one sees a hair, even one, is on one black, he considers him not to be clean. For one of the priests appointed for it searches for that, when both the victim stands upright and is supine, even pulls out his tongue, to see whether it is free of the ordained marks that I will speak of in another account. He also observes the hairs of the tail, whether he has them grown in accordance with nature. And if he is free of all that, one marks him out by winding with paper round his horns and thereafter plasters on earth for a marking and presses the ring on it; then thus they lead him out. But on whoever sacrifices an unmarked bull, the penalty of death is imposed.

Now, the victim is examined in a manner like this and this is their established way of sacrificing: having led the marked victim to the alter wheresoever they make sacrifices, they kindle a fire and thereafter, on pouring wine on it down over the sacred offering and calling on the god, slit its throat and, after slitting its throat, cut off its head. The body of the victim, then, they flay; then they utter a curse often against that head and carry it away: they whoever have a public square and have their resident Greek merchants, carry it to the public square and then sell it, while they among whom are no Greeks, cast it into the river. And they utter the curse against the head by saying this, that if there is to come about for either themselves the sacrificers or the whole of Egypt any evil, it should make its way to the head there. Now, regarding the heads of the sacrificed victims and the pouring on of the wine, the Egyptians observe the same laws similarly with regard to all the sacred animals and in consequence of that law none of the Egyptians will even taste any other animate being’s head.

But indeed the removal and the burning of the sacred animals is established for them as one way for one sacred animal, another for another. Anyhow, her that they are of the belief is the greatest divinity and for whom they celebrate the greatest festival, I am going to speak of. Whenever they completely flay the bull, while in prayer, they then take out that whole of its intestines, leave its innards and soft fat in the body and cut off its legs, the extreme of its loins, its shoulders and its neck. Having done that, they fill the rest of the body with pure loaves, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh and all the other spices and, after filling it with that, burn it as an offering, as they pour down an unbegrudged amount of olive-oil. They fast beforehand and then sacrifice and, as the sacred animals are burning, all beat themselves; whenever they are finished beating themselves, they put before themselves a banquet of the pieces of the sacred animals that they had left.

Now, the pure male cattle and calves all Egyptians sacrifice, while the female it is not permitted to them to sacrifice, but they are sacred to Isis. For the image of Isis, being that of a woman, is bull-horned, just as the Greeks depict Io, and female cattle all Egyptians alike reverence most of all herd-animals by far. Because of that, neither an Egyptian man nor woman would kiss a Greek man with the mouth nor will use a Greek man’s knife, spits and cauldron nor of a bull’s pure meat cut up with a Greek knife taste. And they bury the dead cattle in this manner: the female they throw away into the river and the male they sink in the ground, each group in their own suburbs, the one horn or both projecting as a marker; whenever it rots and the appointed time advances, a barge comes to each city from the so-called island of Prosopitis. (It is in the Delta and its circumference is nine ropes.) On that island of Prosopitis, then, are numerous other cities and one from which the barges arrive to take up the bulls’ bones; the city’s name is Atarbechis and in it a shrine holy to Aphrodite is set up. From that city wander many variously to various cities and, after digging up the bones, all bring them away and bury them in one place. And after the same fashion as the bulls they bury all the other herd-animals when they die. For in fact concerning them thus it is laid down as law by them, since indeed they do not kill them, too.

All those, then, who have set up a shrine to Theban Zeus or are of the Theban district, keep away from sheep and sacrifice goats, because indeed not the same gods do all Egyptians alike reverence, except for Isis and Osiris, and it’s he whom they say is Dionysus; them all alike reverence. But all those who have acquired a shrine to Mendes or are of the Mendesian district, keep away from sheep, say this law was laid down for them on account of this, that Heracles wished at all events to see Zeus and he refused to be seen by him and finally, when Heracles was persistent, Zeus contrived this: after completely flaying a ram, he held before himself its head, having cut it off the ram, and having put on its fleece, thus displayed himself to him. Because of that, the Egyptians make Zeus’ image ram-faced and following the Egyptians the Ammonians, since they are colonists of the Egyptians and the Ethiopians and customarily use a language between the both of theirs. And, so far as it seems to me, also as for their own name, the Ammonians gave themselves their appellation after this god, in that the Egyptians call Zeus Amoun. So the Thebans usually sacrifice no rams, but they are sacred to them on account of the above. However, one day a year, during Zeus’ festival, after chopping up and flaying entirely one ram in the same fashion, they dress up Zeus’ image and thereafter bring another image, Heracles’, to it. Having done that, all those concerned with the shrine beat themselves for the ram and thereafter bury it in a sacred burial-place.

About the one Heracles I heard this account, that he was one of the twelve gods, but about the other Heracles, whom the Greeks know, nowhere in Egypt was I able to hear. And that at any rate the Egyptians took the name not from the Greeks but the Greeks rather from the Egyptians and of the Greeks those who gave the name Heracles to the child of Amphitryon, many other proofs are mine that was so and moreover this, that both the parents of that Heracles, Amphitryon and Alcmene, by descent had come from Egypt and how the Egyptians assert that they know the names neither of Poseidon nor the Dioscori, and those have not been shown forth by them as gods among all the other gods. And if they had taken any divinity’s name from the Greeks, they were to remember those not least, but most, if in fact then both they made voyages and any of the Greeks were voyagers, as I suppose and my judgement requires. Consequently even more those gods’ names would the Egyptians know full well than Heracles’. Heracles rather is an ancient god of the Egyptians and, as they themselves say, there are seventeen thousand years to Amasis’ becoming king, since the twelve gods, of whom they consider Heracles one, originated from the eight gods.

And so wishing to know something distinct about that from whom I was able, I sailed also to Tyre in Phoenicia, because I had learned by inquiry in that very place was a shrine holy to Heracles, and saw it richly furnished with many other offerings and also in it were two pillars, one of refined gold and the other of emerald stone that shone through the nights for magnitude. I then came into speeches with the priests of the god and asked how long a time there had been since their shrine had been set up. I found they too could not agree with the Greeks, as they asserted at the founding of Tyre was the shrine of the god set up and from when they were settled in Tyre had been two thousand three hundred years. I saw in Tyre there was another shrine of Heracles with the appellation of Thasian and then came to Thasos too, in which I found a shrine of Heracles set up by the Phoenicians, who had sailed out in search of Europe and colonized Thasos and that was five generations of men earlier than Amphitryon’s son Heracles originated in Greece. Now, the results of my inquiry make clear distinctly Heracles was an early god and those of the Greeks seem to me to act most correctly, who set up and have two temples of the Heracles’s and to the one, on the ground that he’s an immortal and under the name of Olympian, make sacrifices and to the other, on the ground that he’s a hero, make offerings.

However, the Greeks make many other statements without investigation and the following myth is a silly one of theirs which they say about Heracles, that on his coming to Egypt, the Egyptians crowned and led him away in procession with the intention of sacrificing him to Zeus, but although he a while was at peace, yet when they began the sacrifice of him near the altar, he turned his attention to resistance and slaughtered all. Now, the Greeks seem to me in saying that to be wholly without knowledge of the Egyptians’ nature and laws; for, to whom it is holy to sacrifice not even herd-animals, except sheep, male cattle and calves, however many are pure, and geese, how could they sacrifice human beings? And further Heracles, being one and further a human being, as indeed they assert, how did he have a nature to kill many myriads? And so for us, who said so much about that, let there be good will both from the gods and from the heroes.

Indeed the abovementioned of the Egyptians for this stated reason sacrifice no she-goats and he-goats. Pan the Mendesians count to be one of the eight gods and those eight gods, they assert, originated earlier than the twelve gods. Their figure-painters and image-makers paint and carve Pan’s image, just as the Greeks, goat-faced and goat-legged, although they in no way consider him to be like that, but similar to all the other gods. And why they paint him like that, is not pleasant for me to say. So the Mendesians reverence all goats and the male more than the female; moreover, among them the goatherds have greater honors and of those there’s one especially who, whenever he dies, is sorrowed for greatly by the whole Mendesian district. The goat and Pan then are called Mendes in Egyptian. There happened in that district in my time that following portent: a goat had intercourse with a woman openly. That came to be displayed to human beings.

The Egyptians are of the opinion that the swine is a polluted beast; indeed on the one hand, if any of them touches, while he goes by, a swine, with his clothes and all he then walks to and dips himself into the river, and on the other, the swineherds, being native Egyptians, may go into no shrine of those in Egypt, alone of all, and everyone refuses to give a daughter in marriage to them and to take one home in marriage from them, but the swineherds give in marriage and take in marriage daughters from one another. Now, to all the other gods the Egyptians think right not to sacrifice swine, but to the Moon and Dionysus alone in the same time, at the same full moon, they sacrifice swine and eat of their meat. Wherefore they have abhorred swine during the other festivals, but during that one they sacrifice them, although an account about that is given by the Egyptians, yet to me, who know it, it is not becoming that the account should be given. This, however, is the manner of sacrificing the swine to the Moon practiced: whenever one makes a sacrifice, he then puts together the tip of the tail, the spleen and the caul and covers them over with all the animal’s soft fat that grows round the belly and thereafter burns that as an offering with fire; all the other parts they consume during whichever full moon they sacrifice the sacred victims, but during another day no longer would they taste of them. Their poor for their part because of lack of strong livelihood, after moulding dough sows and baking them, sacrifice them.

In Dionysus’ honor on the festival’s eve each cuts the throat of a porker before their doorway and gives the porker to any seller among the swineherds to take away. Then the Egyptians celebrate the rest of the festival of Dionysus, except for choruses, in almost entirely the same fashion as the Greeks, but instead of phalluses, other images have been invented by them, approximately a cubit long and drawn by strings, that the women carry round village by village, the pudendum of the images moving up and down, which is not a great deal smaller than the rest of the body—a flute leads in front and the women follow while they sing of Dionysus—and wherefore it has a larger pudendum and moves that alone of its body, there is a sacred account given about that.

Well now, Melampous, the son of Amytheon, seems to me not to be ignorant of that manner of sacrificing, but acquainted with it. For indeed for the Greeks Melampous is he who brought forward Dionysus’ name, the manner of sacrificing to him and the procession of the phallus, although he comprehended not all the account and brought it to light, but the wise men who came after him brought it out to light at greater length. Anyhow, the phallus sent in procession for Dionysus Melampous is he who brought it down and, having learned it from him, the Greeks do what they do. Now, I assert Melampous, proven a wise man, got the art of prophecy for himself and, having learned them by inquiry from Egypt, brought in many other things for the Greeks and those concerned with Dionysus with little change of them; for indeed I will not assert what’s done in Egypt for the god and what among the Greeks coincide at any rate, since that would have been brought up with the Greeks and not recently brought in. And moreover I will not assert that the Egyptians took from the Greeks either that or any other custom surely. Melampous especially seems to me to have learned by inquiry the matters concerning Dionysus from Cadmus the Tyrian and those who came with him from Phoenicia to the country now called Boeotia.

And almost all the gods’ names have gone from Egypt to Greece. For that they have come from the barbarians, I have learned by inquiry and found that it is thus; however, I think they especially have arrived from Egypt, since except for Poseidon and Dioscuri, as they have been said by me before, as well as Hera, Istia, Themis, the Charites and the Nereids, all the other gods’ names in the country on each and every occasion from of old have been the Egyptians’. I have said what the Egyptians themselves say. They, however, deny they knew the gods’ names from them and they seem to me to have been given their names by the Pelasgians, except Poseidon; of that god they learned by inquiry from the Libyans, in that none from the beginning have been in possession of Poseidon’s name except the Libyans and they have been honoring that god on each and every occasion. Anyhow, the Egyptians make common use of no heroes at all.

Now, those following other customs in addition to those preceding, which I will point out, the Greeks have from the Egyptians, but to render Hermes’ images with their pudenda erect they have learned not from the Egyptians, but from the Pelasgians. The Athenians were the first of all Greeks to take that over and out of their hands all the others. For by that very time of the Athenians, who were counted among the Greeks, did the Pelasgians become fellow colonists in the country, since they began to be considered Greeks and that man whoever has been initiated in the rituals of the Cabeiri that the Samothracians have been bringing to completion after taking them over from the Pelasgians, knows what I am saying, because the very Pelasgians who became fellow colonists of the Athenians were previously settled in Samothrace and from them the Samothracians took over their rituals. Therefore, to render for themselves with their pudenda erect the images of Hermes the Athenians were the first of the Greeks, after learning it from the Pelasgians. And the Pelasgians gave a sacred account about that, the details of which has been made clear in the mysteries in Samothrace.

The Pelasgians previously were performing all sacrifices while they called out to the gods in prayer, as I know, since I heard it in Dodona, but gave an epithet or proper name to none of them, since they had not yet heard any. But they did name them “theoi”, gods, after a thought like that following, that they had “the”d, placed, all things and all divisions in order and kept them so. Thereafter, when much time had gone past, they learned by inquiry the gods’ names that had come from Egypt and Dionysus’ far later they learned by inquiry; so after a time they consulted the oracle in Dodona about the names, because indeed that seat of prophecy is considered to be the most ancient of the oracles among the Greeks and was during that time the only one. Then, when the Pelasgians consulted the oracle in Dodona and asked whether they should take up the names that had gone forth from the barbarians, the seat of prophecy ordained they should use them. From that time they have been performing sacrifices and using the gods’ proper names. From the Pelasgians the Greeks received them later.

However, whence each of the gods came into being, whether all had been on each and every occasion and of what sorts they were in their looks, they knew not until yesterday or the day before, to exaggerate in speech, in that Hesiod and Homer, I think, prove four hundred years earlier than me in date and not more and they are the makers of the Greeks’ theogony both by giving epithets and distributing honors and skills to the gods and indicating their looks. The poets said to be born earlier than those men were born later, so far as it seems to me at least. Of the above accounts the Dodonian priestesses give the former and the latter that relate to Hesiod and Homer I give.

About oracles, that among the Greeks and that in Libya, the Egyptians give this account: the priests of Theban Zeus asserted that two women, priestesses, were led out from Thebes by Phoenicians, that one of them, they learned by inquiry, was sold to Libya and the other to the Greeks and that those women were they who first set up seats of prophecy in the said nations. And, when I had asked whence they knew and gave an account thus exactly, thereupon they asserted a great search was made by them for those women and they proved not able to discover them, but they learned by inquiry later those very things about them that I spoke of.

Now, that I heard from the priests in Thebes and this the prophetesses of the Dodonians say, that two black pigeons from Egyptian Thebes flew up and one of them came to Libya and the other to them; then she, sitting in a wild oak, made an utterance in human speech that there must be made right there a seat of Zeus’ prophecy and they assumed the instruction announced to them was divine and on the basis of that made it. The pigeon that had gone to the Libyans also, they say, bade the Libyans make an oracle of Ammon (that, too, then is Zeus’). So the priestesses of the Dodonians of whom the oldest’s name was Promeneia, the one after her’s Timarete and the youngest’s Nicandre, said that and all the others concerned with the shrine spoke similarly to them.

But I have this judgement about the preceding: if the Phoenicians truly brought away the sacred women and sold one of them to Libya and the other to Greece, that woman of that land that’s now Greece, the same that previously was called Pelasgia, seems to me to have been sold to the Thesprotians; thereafter, as a slave, right there to have set up under a grown wild oak Zeus’ shrine, as in fact it was reasonable for one who had been a servant in Thebes of Zeus’ shrine to remember that there, whither she had come. And from there she brought in an oracle, after she had comprehended the Greek tongue. She also seems to have asserted her sister had been sold by the same Phoenicians by whom she herself had been sold.

Moreover, the women seem to me to have been called pigeons by the Dodonians after this thinking, that they were barbarians and seemed to them to make sounds similar to birds, and they said the pigeon made an utterance in human speech, when after a time the woman gave voice to sounds intelligible to them, but as long as she spoke a barbarian language, like a bird she seemed to them to make sounds, since in what manner could a pigeon make an utterance in human speech? Further, by saying the pigeon had been black, they indicated that the woman had been Egyptian. The manner of prophesying in Egyptian Thebes and in Dodona are in fact pretty near to each other. Indeed the art of prophesying from sacred animals’ entrails has come from Egypt.

Now, of festival gatherings, processions and approaches to shrines the Egyptians are the first of human beings to have been the makers and from them the Greeks have learned. And here’s proof of mine for that: the one nation’s rites manifestly have been performed for a long time and the Greeks’ got performed only recently.

The Egyptians hold a festival gathering not once a year, but hold numerous festival gatherings, especially and most eagerly in the city of Boubastis in Artemis’ honor, secondly in the city of Bousiris in Isis’ honor, because indeed in that city is the largest shrine of Isis (that city is set up in Egypt in the middle of the Delta and Isis in the Greeks’ tongue is Demeter). Thirdly, in the city of Sais in Athena’s honor they have a festival gathering, fourthly in the City of the Sun in the Sun’s honor, fifthly in the city of Bouto in Leto’s honor and sixthly in the city of Papremis in Ares’ honor.

Now, when they convey themselves to the city of Boubastis, they act like this: indeed they sail, men together with women, and a large multitude of each in each barge; some of the women with clappers make a clapping sound and some men play the flute during the whole sailing, while the remaining women and men sing and clap their hands. And whenever in their sailing they come to be off any other city, they bring their barge near to the land and act like this: some of the women do the very thing of which I have spoken, some mock with shouts the women in the city, some dance and some stand up and pull up their clothes. That at every city by the river they do. And whenever they come to Boubastis, they observe a festival by celebrating with great sacrificings and more wine from the vine is used up in that festival than in all the year remaining. They come together regularly, whatever is a man or a woman, except young children, even up to seventy myriads, as the natives say.

That, then, in that way is done and in the city of Bousiris, that they celebrate the festival in Isis’ honor, has been previously said by me. For indeed they beat themselves after the sacrificing, all men and all women, very many myriads of human beings, and for whom they beat themselves is not holy for me to say. All those of the Carians who are settlers in Egypt, do still more than those in so far as they strike their foreheads with knives and by that it is clear that they are foreigners and not Egyptians.

In the city of Sais, whenever they are collected for the sacrificings, on a certain night all kindle many lamps in the open air round their houses in a circle. The lamps are saucers filled with salt and olive-oil and on top is the wick by itself and it burns all night; to the festival the name “lampkindling” has been given. And whoever of the Egyptians go not to that festival gathering, all on their own wait for the night of sacrificing and kindle their lamps; thus not in the city of Sais alone is there kindling, but also throughout all Egypt. Why that night gets as its lot light and honor, a sacred account is given about that.

To the City of the Sun and Bouto they go regularly and bring sacrificings alone to completion. In Papremis they perform sacrificings and sacred deeds just precisely as everywhere else, but at whichever time the sun comes to decline, a few of the priests are busy round the image and the greater number of them with clubs of wood stand in the shrine’s entrance, while others, bringing vows to completion, more than a thousand men, each with pieces of wood, they indeed stand gathered together on the other side. The image which is in a small gilded wooden shrine they convey out previously into another sacred building the day before. The few left round the image, then, draw a four-wheeled wagon that carries the temple and the image that is in the temple and the others, standing in the foregates, refuse to allow them to enter, while those under vows lend aid to the god and smite them when they fight back. Then a fierce battle with pieces of wood is waged and men have their heads smashed and, as I think, many even die from their wounds; the Egyptians, however, asserted no one dies. That festival gathering the natives assert they have customarily in consequence of the following: there dwelt in that shrine Ares’ mother and Ares, brought up abroad, came, fully become a man, and wished to commune with his mother; the attendants of his mother, seeing that they had not seen him before, would not allow him to go by, but tried to keep him away, but he, after taking with himself human beings from another city, treated the attendants harshly and went in to his mother. Because of that they assert they hold customarily in Ares’ honor that clubbing during the festival.

Of not having intercourse with women in shrines nor going unbathed from women into shrines they are the first to be observant, in that almost all the other human beings, except the Egyptians and the Greeks, have intercourse in shrines and go from women unbathed to a shrine, since they consider human beings are just precisely as all the other animals; for in fact they see all herd-animals and kinds of birds mounted for intercourse in the temples and in the precincts of the gods; if then that were not dear to the god, the animals too would not do it. Now, they give an explanation like that and do deeds unpleasing to me, whereas the Egyptians are excessively observant of all else concerning the sacred and, especially of, these things mentioned here.

Egypt, being a neighbor of Libya, is not very beast-filled, but all that are theirs are considered sacred, those brought up with them and those not. As to why they are set apart as sacred, if I should speak of it, I would get to in my account the gods’ affairs, which I am trying to flee from relating most. What I have said in touching on them, overtaken by necessity, I said. A law exists concerning the beasts that is as follows: caretakers of the upbringing of each group separately are appointed, both males and females among the Egyptians, among whom son from father inherits the honor, and those in the cities, each group, fulfil their vows as follows: they pray to whichever god the beast belongs, shave either their young children’s whole head or its half or a third part of their head, and weigh the hairs in a scale against silver; that amount whichever it comes to, one gives to the caretaker and she cuts up fish to its value and furnishes it as food for the beasts. An upbringing for them like that, then, has been shown forth and, whenever anyone kills one of those beasts, if willingly, the penalty is death, if unwillingly, he pays off whichever penalty the priests impose, but whoever kills an ibis or a hawk, whether willingly or unwillingly, it’s a necessity for him to be put to death.

Although many beasts are brought up with human beings, still far more would prove so, if calamities like the following were not befalling the cats: whenever the females bring forth, they no longer resort to the males and the males, seeking to have intercourse with them, are not able. Then thereupon they devise this wise course: on seizing and stealthily taking away the offspring from the females, they kill them, but after killing them, eat them not. So the females, bereaved of their offspring and desiring other, just then come to the males, because the beast’s a lover of offspring. And when a conflagration comes about, divine things befall the cats; for the Egyptians stand at intervals and keep guard over the cats, with no care to extinguishing what’s burning, while the cats slip between or leap over the human beings and jump into the fire. That coming about, great sorrow befalls the Egyptians. In whichever house a cat dies naturally, all who live therein shave their brows alone, whereas, at whichever a dog does, their whole body and head.

The cats are carried away on dying to sacred chambers, where they are buried mummified, in the city of Boubastis; the dogs, however, each group buries in their own city in sacred burial-places and in the same way as the dogs the ichneumons are buried. They carry away shrews and hawks to the city of Bouto and ibises to the city of Hermes. Bears, which are rare, and wolves, which are not a great deal larger than foxes, they bury right wherever they are found lying.

(to be continued)

man in Egyptian ruins

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