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Euterpe   


it myself. After the thought had struck me, I made inquiries on the
subject both in Colchis and in Egypt, and I found that the Colchians
had a more distinct recollection of the Egyptians, than the
Egyptians had of them. Still the Egyptians said that they believed the
Colchians to be descended from the army of Sesostris. My own
conjectures were founded, first, on the fact that they are
black-skinned and have woolly hair, which certainly amounts to but
little, since several other nations are so too; but further and more
especially, on the circumstance that the Colchians, the Egyptians, and
the Ethiopians, are the only nations who have practised circumcision
from the earliest times. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of
Palestine themselves confess that they learnt the custom of the
Egyptians; and the Syrians who dwell about the rivers Thermodon and
Parthenius, as well as their neighbours the Macronians, say that
they have recently adopted it from the Colchians. Now these are the
only nations who use circumcision, and it is plain that they all
imitate herein the Egyptians. With respect to the Ethiopians,
indeed, I cannot decide whether they learnt the practice of the
Egyptians, or the Egyptians of them- it is undoubtedly of very ancient
date in Ethiopia- but that the others derived their knowledge of it
from Egypt is clear to me from the fact that the Phoenicians, when
they come to have commerce with the Greeks, cease to follow the
Egyptians in this custom, and allow their children to remain
uncircumcised.
I will add a further proof to the identity of the Egyptians and
the Colchians. These two nations weave their linen in exactly the same
way, and this is a way entirely unknown to the rest of the world; they
also in their whole mode of life and in their language resemble one
another. The Colchian linen is called by the Greeks Sardinian, while
that which comes from Egypt is known as Egyptian.
The pillars which Sesostris erected in the conquered countries
have for the most part disappeared; but in the part of Syria called
Palestine, I myself saw them still standing, with the writing
above-mentioned, and the emblem distinctly visible. In Ionia also,
there are two representations of this prince engraved upon rocks,
one on the road from Ephesus to Phocaea, the other between Sardis
and Smyrna. In each case the figure is that of a man, four cubits
and a span high, with a spear in his right hand and a bow in his left,
the rest of his costume being likewise half Egyptian, half
Ethiopian. There is an inscription across the breast from shoulder
to shoulder, in the sacred character of Egypt, which says, "With my
own shoulders I conquered this land." The conqueror does not tell
who he is, or whence he comes, though elsewhere Sesostris records
these facts. Hence it has been imagined by some of those who have seen
these forms, that they are figures of Memnon; but such as think so err
very widely from the truth.
This Sesostris, the priests went on to say, upon his return
home, accompanied by vast multitudes of the people whose countries
he had subdued, was received by his brother, whom he had made
viceroy of Egypt on his departure, at Daphnae near Pelusium, and
invited by him to a banquet, which he attended, together with his
sons. Then his brother piled a quantity of wood all round the
building, and having so done set it alight. Sesostris, discovering
what had happened, took counsel instantly with his wife, who had
accompanied him to the feast, and was advised by her to lay two of
their six sons upon the fire, and so make a bridge across the
flames, whereby the rest might effect their escape. Sesostris did as
she recommended, and thus while two of his sons were burnt to death,
he himself and his other children were saved.
The king then returned to his own land and took vengeance upon his
brother, after which he proceeded to make use of the multitudes whom
he had brought with him from the conquered countries, partly to drag
the huge masses of stone which were moved in the course of his reign
to the temple of Vulcan- partly to dig the numerous canals with

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