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Euterpe   


neck; and having so done, they fill the body of the steer with clean
bread, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other aromatics.
Thus filled, they burn the body, pouring over it great quantities of
oil. Before offering the sacrifice they fast, and while the bodies
of the victims are being consumed they beat themselves. Afterwards,
when they have concluded this part of the ceremony, they have the
other parts of the victim served up to them for a repast.
The male kine, therefore, if clean, and the male calves, are
used for sacrifice by the Egyptians universally; but the females
they are not allowed to sacrifice, since they are sacred to Isis.
The statue of this goddess has the form of a woman but with horns like
a cow, resembling thus the Greek representations of Io; and the
Egyptians, one and all, venerate cows much more highly than any
other animal. This is the reason why no native of Egypt, whether man
or woman, will give a Greek a kiss, or use the knife of a Greek, or
his spit, or his cauldron, or taste the flesh of an ox, known to be
pure, if it has been cut with a Greek knife. When kine die, the
following is the manner of their sepulture:- The females are thrown
into the river; the males are buried in the suburbs of the towns, with
one or both of their horns appearing above the surface of the ground
to mark the place. When the bodies are decayed, a boat comes, at an
appointed time, from the island called Prosopitis,- which is a portion
of the Delta, nine schoenes in circumference,- and calls at the
several cities in turn to collect the bones of the oxen. Prosopitis is
a district containing several cities; the name of that from which
the boats come is Atarbechis. Venus has a temple there of much
sanctity. Great numbers of men go forth from this city and proceed
to the other towns, where they dig up the bones, which they take
away with them and bury together in one place. The same practice
prevails with respect to the interment of all other cattle- the law so
determining; they do not slaughter any of them.
Such Egyptians as possess a temple of the Theban Jove, or live
in the Thebaic canton, offer no sheep in sacrifice, but only goats;
for the Egyptians do not all worship the same gods, excepting Isis and
Osiris, the latter of whom they say is the Grecian Bacchus. Those,
on the contrary, who possess a temple dedicated to Mendes, or belong
to the Mendesian canton, abstain from offering goats, and sacrifice
sheep instead. The Thebans, and such as imitate them in their
practice, give the following account of the origin of the custom:-
"Hercules," they say, "wished of all things to see Jove, but Jove
did not choose to be seen of him. At length, when Hercules
persisted, Jove hit on a device- to flay a ram, and, cutting off his
head, hold the head before him, and cover himself with the fleece.
In this guise he showed himself to Hercules." Therefore the
Egyptians give their statues of Jupiter the face of a ram: and from
them the practice has passed to the Ammonians, who are a joint
colony of Egyptians and Ethiopians, speaking a language between the
two; hence also, in my opinion, the latter people took their name of
Ammonians, since the Egyptian name for Jupiter is Amun. Such, then, is
the reason why the Thebans do not sacrifice rams, but consider them
sacred animals. Upon one day in the year, however, at the festival
of Jupiter, they slay a single ram, and stripping off the fleece,
cover with it the statue of that god, as he once covered himself,
and then bring up to the statue of Jove an image of Hercules. When
this has been done, the whole assembly beat their breasts in
mourning for the ram, and afterwards bury him in a holy sepulchre.
The account which I received of this Hercules makes him one of the
twelve gods. Of the other Hercules, with whom the Greeks are familiar,
I could hear nothing in any part of Egypt. That the Greeks, however
(those I mean who gave the son of Amphitryon that name), took the name
from the Egyptians, and not the Egyptians from the Greeks, is I
think clearly proved, among other arguments, by the fact that both the
parents of Hercules, Amphitryon as well as Alcmena, were of Egyptian
origin. Again, the Egyptians disclaim all knowledge of the names of

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