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Euterpe   


If persons wish to avoid expense, and choose the second process,
the following is the method pursued:- Syringes are filled with oil
made from the cedar-tree, which is then, without any incision or
disembowelling, injected into the abdomen. The passage by which it
might be likely to return is stopped, and the body laid in natrum
the prescribed number of days. At the end of the time the cedar-oil is
allowed to make its escape; and such is its power that it brings
with it the whole stomach and intestines in a liquid state. The natrum
meanwhile has dissolved the flesh, and so nothing is left of the
dead body but the skin and the bones. It is returned in this condition
to the relatives, without any further trouble being bestowed upon it.
The third method of embalming, which is practised in the case of
the poorer classes, is to clear out the intestines with a clyster, and
let the body lie in natrum the seventy days, after which it is at once
given to those who come to fetch it away.
The wives of men of rank are not given to be embalmed
immediately after death, nor indeed are any of the more beautiful
and valued women. It is not till they have been dead three or four
days that they are carried to the embalmers. This is done to prevent
indignities from being offered them. It is said that once a case of
this kind occurred: the man was detected by the information of his
fellow-workman.
Whensoever any one, Egyptian or foreigner, has lost his life by
falling a prey to a crocodile, or by drowning in the river, the law
compels the inhabitants of the city near which the body is cast up
to have it embalmed, and to bury it in one of the sacred
repositories with all possible magnificence. No one may touch the
corpse, not even any of the friends or relatives, but only the priests
of the Nile, who prepare it for burial with their own hands- regarding
it as something more than the mere body of a man- and themselves lay
it in the tomb.
The Egyptians are averse to adopt Greek customs, or, in a word,
those of any other nation. This feeling is almost universal among
them. At Chemmis, however, which is a large city in the Thebaic
canton, near Neapolis, there is a square enclosure sacred to
Perseus, son of Danae. Palm trees grow all round the place, which
has a stone gateway of an unusual size, surmounted by two colossal
statues, also in stone. Inside this precinct is a temple, and in the
temple an image of Perseus. The people of Chemmis say that Perseus
often appears to them, sometimes within the sacred enclosure,
sometimes in the open country: one of the sandals which he has worn is
frequently found- two cubits in length, as they affirm- and then all
Egypt flourishes greatly. In the worship of Perseus Greek ceremonies
are used; gymnastic games are celebrated in his honour, comprising
every kind of contest, with prizes of cattle, cloaks, and skins. I
made inquiries of the Chemmites why it was that Perseus appeared to
them and not elsewhere in Egypt, and how they came to celebrate
gymnastic contests unlike the rest of the Egyptians: to which they
answered, "that Perseus belonged to their city by descent. Danans
and Lynceus were Chemmites before they set sail for Greece, and from
them Perseus was descended," they said, tracing the genealogy; "and
he, when he came to Egypt for the purpose" (which the Greeks also
assign) "of bringing away from Libya the Gorgon's head, paid them a
visit, and acknowledged them for his kinsmen- he had heard the name of
their city from his mother before he left Greece- he bade them
institute a gymnastic contest in his honour, and that was the reason
why they observed the practice."
The customs hitherto described are those of the Egyptians who live
above the marsh-country. The inhabitants of the marshes have the
same customs as the rest, as well in those matters which have been
mentioned above as in respect of marriage, each Egyptian taking to
himself, like the Greeks, a single wife; but for greater cheapness
of living the marsh-men practise certain peculiar customs, such as
these following. They gather the blossoms of a certain water-lily,

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