The Library of History

Page 5

Page 5 Water or Moisture, the Antients call'd Oceanus; which by Interpretation is a nourishing Mother, and so taken by some of the Grecians, of which the Poet says thus,

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 .
The Father of the Gods the Ocean is
Tethys the Mother call'd—

But the Egyptians account their Nile to be Oceanus, at which all the Gods were Born. For in Egypt, only among all the Countries in the World, are many Cities built by the ancient Gods, as by Jupiter, Sol, Mercury, Apollo, Pan, Elithia, and many others.

To the Air they gave the Name of Minerva, signifying something proper to the nature thereof, and call'd her the Daughter of Jupiter, and counted a Virgin, because the Air naturally is not subject to Corruption, and is in the highest part of the Universe; whence rises the Fable, that she was the Issue of Jupiter's Brain: They say she's call'd also Tritogeneia, or Thrice Begotten, because she changes her natural Qualities thrice in the Year, the Spring, Summer and Winter; and that she was call'd Glaucopis, not that she hath Grey Eyes (as some of the Greeks have suppos'd, for that's a weak Conceit) but because the Air seems to be of a Grey Colour, to the view. They report likewise, that these Five Gods travel through the whole World, representing themselves to Men sometimes in the shapes of Sacred living Creatures, and sometimes in the Form of Men, or some other Representation. And this is not a Fable, but very possible, if it be true, that these generate all things; and the Poet who travell'd into Egypt, in some part of his Works, affirms this Appearance, as he learnt it from their Priests,

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 .
The Gods also like Strangers come from far,
In divers Shapes within the Towns appear,
Viewing Mens good and wicked Acts:—

And these are the Stories told by the Egyptians of the Heavenly and Immortal Gods. And besides these, they say there are others that are Terrestrial, which were begotten of these former Gods, and were Originally Mortal Men, but by reason of their Wisdom and Beneficence to all Mankind, have obtain'd Immortality, of which some have been Kings of Egypt. Some of whom by Interpretation, have had the same Names with the Celestial Gods, others have kept their own proper Names. For they report that Sol, Saturn, Rhea, Jupiter, (surnam'd by some Ammon) Juno, Vulcan, Vesta, and lastly, Mercury, reign'd in Egypt; and that Sol was the first King of Egypt, whose Name was the same with the Celestial Planet call'd Sol.

But there are some of the Priests who affirm Vulcan to be the first of their Kings, and that he was advanc'd to that Dignity upon the account of being the first that sound out the use of Fire, which was so beneficial to all Mankind. For a Tree in the Mountains hapning to be set on Fire by Lightning, the Wood next adjoyning was presently all in a Flame; and Vulcan thereupon coming to the Place, was mightily refresht by the heat of it, being then Winter Season; and when the Fire began to fail, he added more combustible Matter to it, and by that means preserving it, call'd in other Men to enjoy the Benefit of that which he himself was the first Inventer, as he gave out.

Afterwards they say Saturn reign'd, and marry'd his Sister Rhea, and that he begat of her Osiris and Isis; but others say, Jupiter and Juno, who for their great Virtues, rul'd over all the World. That of Jupiter and Juno were born Five Gods, one upon every day of the Five Egyptian intercalary Days. The Names of these Gods are Osiris, Isis, Typhon, Apollo and Venus. That Osiris was interpreted Bacchus, and Isis plainly Ceres. That Osiris marry'd Isis, and after he came to the

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books