The Library of History

Page 196

Page 196 Behind this Mount, in other Parts of Panchaea, they say there are abundance of wild Beasts of all kinds, as Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Deer, and many other wonderful Creatures both for Strength and Proportion. In this Island there are Three chief Cities, Hyracia, Dalis and Oceanis. The whole Country is very Fertile, and especially in the production of all sorts of Wine in great Plenty.

The Men are Warlike, and use Chariots in Battles, after the ancient manner. The whole Nation is divided into Three Parts: The First Class is of the Priests, with whom are joyn'd the Artificers. The other Tribe consists of the Husband-men; and the Third are the Militia and the Shepherds.

The Priests govern all, and are the sole Arbitrators in every matter; for they give Judgment in all Controversies, and have the Power and Authority in all publick Transactions of State. The Husbandmen Till the Land, but the Fruit is brought into the Common Treasury, and who is judg'd the most skilful in Husbandry, receives the largest share of the Fruits for a Reward in the First Place; and so the Second, and the rest in order to the Tenth, as every one merits less or more, receives his Reward by the Judgment of the Priests. In the same manner the Shepherds and Herdsmen carefully bring into the publick Stock, the Victims and other things both by number and weight, as the nature of the things are; for it's not lawful for any to appropriate any thing to themselves particularly, except a House and a Garden. For all the young Breed of Cattel, and other things, and all the Revenues, are receiv'd by the Priests, and they justly distribute to every one as their necessity does require; only the Priests have a double Proportion.

They wear soft and fine Garments; for their Sheeps Wooll is much finer here than any where else; both Men and Women likewise deck themselves with Golden Ornaments; for they wear Necklaces of Gold, and Bracelets about their Arms, and like the Persians have Rings hanging in their Ears. Their Shooes are such as others wear, but richly beautify'd with divers sorts of Colours.

Their Soldiers for ordinary Pay, defend the Country, fortifying themselves within Camps and Bulwarks; for there's a part of the Island infested with most daring Thieves and Robbers, who often lurch and surprize the Husband-men.

To conclude, these Priests for Delicacy, State and Purity of Life, far exceed all the rest of the Inhabitants: Their Robes are of white Linen, and sometimes of pure soft Wooll. They wear likewise Miters, imbroider'd with Gold. Their Shoes are Sandals curiously wrought with exquisite Workmanship, and in their Ears hang Golden Ear-rings like to the Womens.

They attend chiefly upon the Service of the Gods, singing melodious Songs in their Praises, setting forth their glorious Acts and Benefits bestow'd upon Men. The Priests say they came originally from Crete, and were brought over into Panchaea by Jupiter, when he was upon Earth, and govern'd all the World; and alledge their Language for a Confirmation of this Assertion, in as much as they retain many Words of the Cretian Speech among them. And further say, that they deriv'd from their Ancestors that Civility and kindness wherewith they entertain the Cretians, the Fame and report of their ancient Consanguinity descending continually in a perpetual Succession to their Posterity: They shew likewise a Record written, as they say, by Jupiter's own Hand, at the time when he was on Earth, and laid the Foundation of the Temple.

There are in this Island likewise Mines of Gold, Silver, Brass and Iron, but not lawful for any to export them. Nay, it's not lawful for any of the Priests to go out of the Verge of the Consecrated Ground; and if any do, it's lawful for any Man that finds 'em to kill 'em. They have under their Charge, innumerable vast Vessels, and other Consecrated things, both of Gold and Silver, which have been laid up there in honour of the Gods for many Ages. The Gates of the Temple are of admirable Workmanship, beautify'd with Gold, Silver, Ivory and Thyne Wood.

The Bed of the God is Six Cubits long, and Four broad, of massy Gold, most curiously wrought in every part; and near adjoyning, stands the Table, as large, and of the like Materials and Workmanship with the other in every respect.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books