The Library of History

Page 13

Page 13 They report, that afterwards many Colonies out of Egypt were dispers'd over all parts of the World: That Belus (who was taken to be the Son of Neptune and Lybra) led a Colony into the Province of Babylon, and fixing his Seat at the River Euphrates, Consecrated Priests, and according to the custom of the Egyptians, freed them from all publick Taxes and Impositions. These Priests the Babylonians call Caldeans, who observe the Motions of the Stars, in imitation of the Priests, Naturalists and Astrologers of Egypt. That Danaus likewise took from thence another Colony, and planted them in Argos, the most ancient City almost of all Greece. And that the People of Cholchos, in Pontus, and the Jews lying between Arabia and Syria, were Colonies out of Egypt; and that therefore it is an ancient Custom among these Nations, to Circumcise all their Male Children after the Rites and Customs receiv'd from the Egyptians. That the Athenians likewise are a Colony of the Saits, which came out of Egypt, and are their Kindred, they endeavour to prove by these Arguments; (That is to say) That they only of all the Greeks call the City Astu, from Astu a City among those People of the Saits: And that for the better Government of the Commonwealth, they divide their People into the same Ranks and Degrees as they in Egypt do, to wit, into Three Orders; the first of which are call'd Eupatride, imploy'd for the most part in studying the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and are advanc'd to the highest Offices and Places of Preferment in the State, as the Priests of Egypt are. The Second Order of Men are the Rustick and Country People, who are to be Souldiers, and take up Arms upon all occasions for the Defence of their Country, like to those who are call'd Husbandmen in Egypt, who furnish out Soldiers there. In the Third Rank are reckon'd Tradesmen and Artificers, who commonly bore all the necessary and publick Offices, which agrees exactly with the Orders and Usage among the Egyptians.

They say likewise, that there were some of the Athenian Generals that came out of Egypt. For they affirm, that Peteos the Father of Menestheus, who was a Captain in the Trojan War, was an Egyptian, and afterwards was King of Athens. That the Athenians had not Wit enough to find out the true reason why Two Natures were ascrib'd to him; for every Man knows that he was call'd Half a Beast, that is, half a Man, and half a Beast; and the true ground was, because he was a Member of Two several Commonwealths, a Grecian and a Barbarian.Erechtheus likewise, one of the Kings of Athens, they say was an Egyptian, which they prove by these Arguments, viz. That whereas there was a great Drought (as all confess) almost over all the World, except Egypt only (because of the peculiar property of the Place) which destroy'd both Men and the Fruits of the Earth together, Erechtheus transported a great quantity of Corn to Athens out of Egypt, because they and the Egyptians were of the same Kindred; with which Kindness the Citizens were so affected, that they advanc'd him to the Kingdom. After which, he instituted the Festivals, and taught the Egyptian Rites and Mysteries of Ceres in Eleusina.

They say moreover, that it's reported upon good ground, that the Goddess her self came into Attica at that time when Corn and other goodly Fruit in her Name were transported thither; and that therefore it seem'd as if she had again renew'd the Invention of Seed, as she did at the beginning. Likewise that the Athenians themselves confess, that in the Reign of Erichtheus, when the Drought had burnt up all the Fruits of the Earth, Ceres came thither and gave them Corn. And that the Rites and Mysteries of this Goddess, were then begun in Eleusina, and that the Sacrifices and ancient Ceremonies, both of the Athenians and Egyptians, are one and the same: And that they took the original of their Eumolphide from the Egyptian Priests, and their Heralds from their Pastophori. Further, that only the Grecians swear by the Name of Isis, and that in all their Manners and Customs, they are altogether like the Egyptians. These and many other such like Arguments they bring to maintain this Colony, more (I think) out of Ambition, because of the Glory and Renown of that City, than any ground of Truth they have for their Assertion. To conclude, the Egyptians say, that many Parts of the World were planted by their Ancestors, by Colonies sent from thence, by means of the State and Grandure of their Kings, and the vast number of their People. Which Reports not being supported with sufficient Arguments, nor attested by credible Authors, we think 'em not worthy of any further Account. But thus much we thought fit to say of the Egyptian Theology.