The Library of History

Page 32

Page 32 upon the Shoar, with which they catcht the Quails (which came flying over Sea in great Flocks) and by that means sufficiently provided for themselves.

After this King's Death the Egyptians recover'd their Liberty, and set up a King of their own Nation to rule over them, Mendes (whom some call Marus) who never undertook any Warlike Design, but made a Sepulcher for himself call'd a Labyrinth, not to be admir'd so much for Its greatness, as it was unimitable for its Workmanship. For he that went in, could not easily come out again, without a very skilful Guide. Some say that Dedalus, who came into Egypt, admir'd the Curiosity of this Work, and made a Labyrinth for Minos King of Creet, like to this in Egypt, in which they fabulously relate the Minotaur was kept. But that in Creet was either ruin'd by some of their Kings, or came to nothing through length of Time, but that in Egypt continu'd whole and entire to our Days.

After the Death of this Mendes, and Five Generations spent (during which time there was an Interregnum) the Egyptians chose one Cetes, of an ignoble Extraction, to be their King, whom the Grecians call Proteus; this fell out in the time of the Trojan War. This Prince, they say, was a Magician, and could transform himself sometimes into the shape of a Beast, other times into a Tree, or Appearance of Fire, or any other Form and Shape whatsoever. And this agrees with the Account the Priests of Egypt give of him; from his daily Converse with the Astrologers, they say, he learnt this Art. The Greeks rais'd this Story of Transformation, from a Custom amongst the Kings; for the Egyptian Princes us'd to wear upon their Heads (as Badges of their Royal Authority) the shapes of Lions, Bulls and Dragons; and sometimes to fix upon their Heads Sprouts of Trees, Fire and strong Perfumes of Frankincense, and other sweet Odours. And with these they both adorn'd themselves, and struck a Terror and Superstitious Awe into the Hearts of their Subjects at one and the same time.

After the Death of Proteus, his Son Remphis succeeded him, who spent all his Time in filling his Coffers, and heaping up Wealth. The poorness of his Spirit, and his sordid Covetousness was such, that they would not suffer him to part with any thing, either for the worship of the Gods, or the good of Mankind; and therefore more like a good Steward than a King, instead of a Name for Valour, and noble Acts, he left vast Heaps of Treasure behind him, greater than any of the Kings that ever were before him: For it's said he had a Treasure of Four Hundred Thousand Talents of Gold and Silver.

After this King's Death, for Seven Generations together, there reign'd successively a Company of Kings, who gave themselves up to Sloath and Idleness, and did nothing but wallow in Pleasures and Luxury; and therefore there's no Record of any great Work, or other thing worthy to be remembred that ever any of them did, except Nile, who call'd the River after his own Name, which was before call'd Egyptus. For being that he cut many Canals and Dikes in convenient Places, and us'd his utmost endeavour to make the River more useful and serviceable, it was therefore call'd Nile.

Chemmis the Eighth King from Remphis, was of Memphis, and reign'd Fifty Years. He built the greatest of the Three Pyramids, which were accounted amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. They stand towards Lybia Hundred and Twenty Furlongs from Memphis, and Five and Forty from Nile. The Greatness of these Works, and the excessive Labour of the Workmen seen in them, do even strike the Beholders with Admiration and Astonishment. The greatest being Four-square, took up on every Square Seven Hundred Foot of Ground in the Basis, and above Six Hundred Foot in height, spiring up narrower by little and little, till it come up to the Point, the Top of which was Six Cubits Square. It's built of solid Marble throughout, of rough Work, but of perpetual Duration: For though it be now a Thousand Years since it was built (some say above Three Thousand and Four Hundred) yet the Stones are as firmly joynted, and the whole Building as intire and without the least decay, as they were at the first laying and Erection. The Stone, they say, was brought a long way off, out of Arabia, and that the Work was rais'd by making Mounts of Earth; Cranes and other Engines being not known at that time. And that which is most to be admir'd at, is to see such a Foundation so imprudently laid, as it seems to be, in a Sandy Place, where there's not the least Sign of any Earth cast up, nor Marks where any Stone was cut and polish'd; so that the whole Pile seems to be rear'd all at once, and fixt in the midst of Heaps of Sand by some God, and not built by

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books