BOOK I - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
The first five books
BOOK I
BOOK II
BOOK III
BOOK IV
BOOK V







Page 46 The Sacred Bulls Apis and Mnevis (they say) they honour as Gods by the Command of Osiris, both for their Usefulness in Husbandry, and likewise to keep up an honourable and lasting Memory of those that first found out Bread-corn and other Fruits of the EARTH.

But however, its lawful to sacrifice red Oxen, because Typhon seem'd to be of that Colour, who treacherously murder'd Osiris, and was himself put to Death by Isis for the Murther of her Husband. They report likewise, that anciently Men that had red Hair, like Typhon, were sacrifis'd by the Kings at the Sepulcher of Osiris. And indeed, there are very few Egyptians that are red, but many that are Strangers: And hence arose the Fable of Busiris his Cruelty towards Strangers amongst the Greeks, not that there ever was any King call'd Busiris; but Osiris his Sepulcher was so call'd in the Egyptian Language. They say they pay divine Honour to Wolves, because they come so near in their Nature to Dogs, for they are very little different, and mutually ingender and bring forth Whelps.

They give likewise another Reason for their Adoration, but most fabulous of all other; for they say, that when Isis and her Son Orus were ready to joyn Battle with Typhon, Osiris came up from the Shades below in the form of a Wolf, and assisted them, and therefore when Typhon was kill'd, the Conquerors commanded that Beast to be worshipp'd, because the Day was won presently upon his Appearing.

Some affirm, that at the time of the Irruption of the Ethiopians into Egypt, a great Number of Wolves flockt together, and drove the invading Enemy beyond the City Elaphantina, and therefore that Province is call'd Lycopolitana; and for these Reasons came these Beasts before mention'd, to be thus ador'd and worshipped.

CHAP. VII.

Why the Crocodile is Worship'd. Some sorts of Herbs and Roots not Eaten. Why other Creatures are Worship'd. The manner of their Burials. The Lawmakers in Egypt. Learned Men of Greece made Journeys into Egypt, as Orpheus, Homer, Plato, Solon, Pythagoras, &c. Several Proofs of this, as their Religious Rites, Fables, &c. in Greece, of Egyptian Extraction. The exquisit Art of the Stone-Carvers in Egypt.

NOW it remains, that we speak of the Deifying the Crocodile, of which many have inquir'd what might be the Reason; being that these Beasts devour Men, and yet are ador'd as Gods, who in the mean time are pernicious Instruments of many cruel Accidents. To this they answer, that their Country is not only defended by the River, but much more by the Crocodiles; and therefore the Theeves out of Arabia and Africa being affraid of the great number of these Creatures, dare not pass over the River Nile, which protection they should be depriv'd of, if these Beasts should be fallen upon; and utterly destroy'd by the Hunters.

But there's another Account given of these Things: For one of the Ancient Kings, call'd Menas, being set upon and pursu'd by his own Dogs, was forc'd into the Lake of Miris, where a Crocodile (a Wonder to be told) took him up and carri'd him over to the other side, where in Gratitude to the Beast he built a City, and call'd it Crocodile; and commanded Crocodiles to be Ador'd as Gods, and Dedicated the Lake to them for a place to Feed and Breed in. Where he built a Sepulcher for himself with a foursquare Pyramid, and a Labyrinth greatly admir'd by every Body. In the same manner they relate Stories of other Things, which would be too tedious here to recite. For some conceive it to be very clear and evident (by several of them not Eating many of the Fruits of the Earth) that Gain and Profit by sparing has infected them with this Superstition: for some never Taste Lentils, nor other Beans; and some never eat either Cheese or Onions or such like Food, although Egypt abounds with these Things. Thereby signifying that all should learn to be temperate; and whatsoever any feed upon, they should not



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