The Library of History

Page 31

Page 31


The Acts of Sesostris the Second. Of Ammosis, Actisanes, Mendes, Proteus or Cetes, Remphis, Chemmis (the great Pyramids built by him) Cephres, Mycerinus, Bocchoris, Sabach. The Reign of Twelve Kings in Egypt. Psammetichus Saites, one of the Kings, gain'd the whole; Two Hundred Thousand of his Army forsook him, and settle themselves in Ethiopia. Apries succeeds long after. Amasis rebels, and next succeeds; and Apries is strangled by the People. Amasis the last King, to the time of the Conquest of Egypt by Cambyses.

THE Son of Sesostris succeeded his Father in the Kingdom, and took upon him the same Name, yet perform'd nothing remarkable by his Arms; but the Affliction and Misery that befel him was observable; for he became blind, as his Father did before him, deriving the Malady either from his Father in his Birth, or as a Judgment upon him for his Impiety against the River, against which (as its fabulously reported) he threw his Javelin; whereupon falling under this Misfortune, he was forc'd to apply himself for help to the Gods, whom he sought to appease with many Offerings and Sacrifices for a long time together, yet could find no Relief, till at the end of Ten Years he was directed by the Oracle to go and worship the God of Heliopolis, and wash his Face in the Urin of a Woman that never had known any other Man besides her own Husband. Hereupon he began with his own Wife, and made trial of many others, but found none honest except a Gardener's Wife, whom he afterwards marry'd when he was recover'd. All the Adulteresses he caus'd to be burnt in a little Village, which from this Execution the Egyptians call'd the Holy Field, to testify his Gratitude to the God of Heliopolis for this great Benefit. At the Command of the Oracle he erected Two Obelisks, each of one entire Stone, Eight Cubits in breadth, and a hundred in height, and dedicated them to the Deity.

After this Sesostris the Second, were many Successions of Kings in Egypt, of whom there's nothing worth remark to be found. But many Ages after, Ammosis came to the Crown, who carry'd it Tyrannically towards his Subjects. For he put many to Death against all Law and Justice, and as many he stript of all they had, and turn'd them out of their Estates, and carry'd himself haughtily and proudly in every thing towards all Persons he had to deal with. This the poor oppress'd People indur'd for a time, while they had no power to resist those that overpower'd them. But as soon as Actisanes King of Ethiopia invaded him (having now an opportunity to discover their Hatred, and to revenge themselves) most of his Subjects revolted from him, so that he was easily conquer'd, and Egypt became subject to the Kings of Ethiopia.

Actisanes bore his Prosperity with great Moderation, and carried himself kindly and obligingly towards all his Subjects. Against Robbers he contriv'd a notable Device, neither putting them that were guilty to Death, nor wholly acquitting or discharging them from Punishment. For he caus'd all that were guilty, to be brought together from all parts of the Country, and after a just and strict inquiry, and certain Knowledge of their Guilt, he order'd all their Noses to be cut off, and banisht them into the utmost parts of the Desart; and built a City for them, call'd from the cutting off of the Noses of the Inhabitants, Rhinocorura, which is situated in the Confines of Egypt and Syria, in a barren Place, destitute of all manner of Provision. All the Country round about is full of Salt and brackish Ponds, and the Wells within the Walls, afford but very little Water, and that stinking and very bitter. And he sent them to this Place on purpose that they might not for the future do any more hurt, nor lye lurking and unknown among other Men. But being banished to such a barren Place, void almost of all things necessary for the support of Man's Life (Men naturally Contriving all manner of Arts to prevent starving) they wittily found out a way to supply their Wants. For they cut up out of the Neighbouring Fields, Reeds, and flit them in several pieces, and made long Nets of them, and plac'd them several Furlongs all along

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books