The Library of History

Page 6

Page 6 Kingdom, did much, and perform'd many things for the common Benefit and Advantage of Mankind. For he was the first that forbad Men eating one another; and at the same time Isis found out the way of making of Bread of Wheat and Barley, which before grew here and there in the Fields amongst other common Herbs and Grass, and the use of it unknown: And Osiris teaching the way and manner of Tillage, and well management of the Fruits of the Earth, this change of Food became grateful; both because it was naturally sweet and delicious, and Men were thereby restrain'd from the mutual Butcheries one of another: For an evidence of this first finding out the use of these Fruits, they alledge an antient Custom amongst them: For even at this day, in the time of Harvest, the Inhabitants offer the first Fruits of the Ears of Corn, howling and wailing about the Handfuls they offer, and invoking this Goddess Isis: And this they do in return of due Honour to her for that Invention at the first. In some Cities also, when they celebrate the Feast of Isis in a Pompous Procession, they carry about Vessels of Wheat and Barley, in memory of the first Invention, by the care and industry of this Goddess. They say likewise, that Isis made many Laws for the good of Human Society, whereby Men were restrain'd from lawless Force and Violence one upon another, out of fear of Punishment. And therefore Ceres was call'd by the ancient Greeks, Themophorus (that is) Lawgiver, being the Princess that first constituted Laws for the better Government of her People.

Osiris moreover built Thebes in Egypt, with an Hundred Gates, and call'd it after his Mother's Name: But in following Times, it was call'd Diospolis, and Thebes; of whose first Founder not only Historians, but the Priests of Egypt themselves, are much in doubt. For some say that it was not built by Osiris, but many Years after by a King of Egypt, whose History we shall treat of hereafter in its proper place. They report likewise, that he built Two magnificent Temples, and Dedicated them to his Parents, Jupiter and Juno; and likewise Two Golden Altars, the greater to the great God Jupiter; the other to his Father Jupiter, who had formerly reign'd there, whom they call Ammon. That he also erected Golden Altars to other Gods, and instituted their several Rites of Worship, and appointed Priests to have the Oversight and Care of the Holy things. In the time of Osiris and Isis, Projectors and ingenious Artists were in great Honour and Esteem; and therefore in Thebes there were then Goldsmiths and Braziers, who made Arms and Weapons for the Killing of Wild Beasts, and other Instruments for the husbanding of the Ground, and improvement of Tillage; besides Images of the Gods, and Altars in Gold. They say that Osiris was much given to Husbandry, that he was the Son of Jupiter, brought up in Nisa, a Town of Arabia the Happy, near to Egypt, call'd by the Greeks Dionysus, from his Father, and the Place of his Education. The Poet in his Hymns makes mention of Nysa, as bordering upon Egypt, where he says,

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 .
Far off from Phenice stands the Sacred Nyse,
Where Streams of Eygypt's Nile begin to rise,
On Mountain high with pleasant Woods adorn'd.

Here near unto Nyse, (they say) he found out the use of the Vine, and there planting it, was the first that drank Wine; and taught others how to plant it and use it, and to gather in their Vintage, and to keep and preserve it. Above all others, he most honoured Hermes, one of an admirable Ingenuity, and quick Invention, in finding out what might be useful to Mankind. This Hermes was the first (as they report) that taught how to speak distinctly and articulately, and gave Names to many things that had none before. He found out Letters, and instituted the Worship of the Gods; and was the first that observ'd the Motion of the Stars, and invented Musick; and taught the manner of Wrestling; and invented Arithmetick, and the Art of curious Graving and Cutting of Statues. He first found out the Harp with Three Strings, in resemblance of the Three Seasons of the Year, causing Three several Sounds, the Treble, Base and Mean. The Treble,

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books