The Library of History

Page 8

Page 8 presented to him, who (as it's reported) were all Hairy down to their Loyns: For Osiris was a Man given to Mirth and Jollity, and took great pleasure in Musick and Dancing; and therefore carry'd along with him a Train of Musicians, of whom Nine were Virgins, most Excellent Singers, and expert in many other things (whom the Greeks call Muses) of whom Apollo was the Captain; and thence call'd the Leader of the Muses: Upon this account the Satyrs, who are natuturally inclin'd to skipping, dancing and singing, and all other sorts of Mirth, were taken in as part of the Army: For Osiris was not for War, nor came to fight Battels, and to decide Controversies by the Sword, every Country receiving him for his Merits and Virtues, as a God. In Ethiopia having instructed the Inhabitants in Husbandry, and Tillage of the Ground, and built several stately Cities among them, he left there behind him some to be Governors of the Country, and others to be Gatherers of his Tribute.

While they were thus imploy'd 'tis said that the River Nile, about the Dog-days (at which time it uses to be the highest) broke down its Banks, and over-flow'd the greatest part of Egypt, and that part especially where Prometheus govern'd, insomuch as almost all the Inhabitants were drown'd; so that Prometheus was near unto Killing of himself for very grief of heart; and from the sudden and violent Eruption of the Waters, the River was call'd Eagle.

Hercules, who was always for high and difficult Enterprizes, and ever of a stout Spirit, presently made up the Breaches, and turn'd the River into its Channel, and kept in within its ancient Banks; and therefore some of the Greek Poets from this fact have forg'd a Fable, That Hercules kill'd the Eagle that fed upon Prometheus his Heart. The most ancient Name of this River was Oceames, which in the Greek pronunciation is Oceanus; afterwards call'd Eagle, upon the violent Eruption. Lastly, it was call'd Egyptus, from the Name of a King that there reign'd; which the Poet attests, who says,

〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 .
In th' River of Egyptus then I plac'd
The Gallies swift—

For near Thonis (as it's call'd) an ancient Mart Town of Egypt, this River empties it self into the Sea.

The last Name which it still retains, it derives from Nileus, a King of those Parts.

Osiris being come to the Borders of Ethiopia, rais'd high Banks on either side of the River, lest in the time of its Inundation it should overflow the Country more than was convenient, and make it marish and boggy; and made Floodgates to let in the Water by degrees, as far as was necessary. Thence he pass'd through Arabia, bordering upon the Red Sea as far as to India, and the utmost Coasts that were inhabited: He built likewise many Cities in India, one of which he call'd Nysa, willing to have a remembrance of that in Egypt where he was brought up. At this Nysa in India, he planted Ivy, which grows and remains here only of all other Places in India, or the Parts adjacent. He left likewise many other Marks of his being in those Parts, by which the latter Inhabitants are induc'd to believe, and do affirm that this God was born in India.

He likewise addicted himself much to hunting of Elephants; and took care to have Statues of himself in every place, as lasting Monuments of his Expedition. Thence passing to the rest of Asia, he transported his Army through the Hellespont into Europe; and in Thrace he kill'd Lycurgus King of the Barbarians, who oppos'd him in his Designs. Then he order'd Maro (at that time an Old Man) to take care of the Planters in that Country, and to build a City, and call it Maronea, after his own Name. Macedon his Son he made King of Macedonia, so calling it after him. To Triptolemus he appointed the Culture and Tillage of the Land in Attica. To conclude, Osiris having travell'd through the whole World, by finding out Food fit and convenient for Man's Body, was a Benefactor to all Mankind. Where Vines would not grow and be fruitful, he taught the Inhabitants to make Drink of Barley, little interiour in strength and pleasant Flavour to Wine it self. He brought back with him into Egypt the most pretious and richest things that ever place did afford; and for the many Benefits and Advantages that he was

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books