cubits in height.
Pheron, they said, was succeeded by a man of Memphis, whose
name, in the language of the Greeks, was Proteus. There is a sacred
precinct of this king in Memphis, which is very beautiful, and
richly adorned, situated south of the great temple of Vulcan.
Phoenicians from the city of Tyre dwell all round this precinct, and
the whole place is known by the name of "the camp of the Tyrians."
Within the enclosure stands a temple, which is called that of Venus
the Stranger. I conjecture the building to have been erected to Helen,
the daughter of Tyndarus; first, because she, as I have heard say,
passed some time at the court of Proteus; and secondly, because the
temple is dedicated to Venus the Stranger; for among all the many
temples of Venus there is no other where the goddess bears this title.
The priests, in answer to my inquiries on the subject of Helen,
informed me of the following particulars. When Alexander had carried
off Helen from Sparta, he took ship and sailed homewards. On his way
across the Egean a gale arose, which drove him from his course and
took him down to the sea of Egypt; hence, as the wind did not abate,
he was carried on to the coast, when he went ashore, landing at the
Salt-Pans, in that mouth of the Nile which is now called the
Canobic. At this place there stood upon the shore a temple, which
still exists, dedicated to Hercules. If a slave runs away from his
master, and taking sanctuary at this shrine gives himself up to the
god, and receives certain sacred marks upon his person, whosoever
his master may be, he cannot lay hand on him. This law still
remained unchanged to my time. Hearing, therefore, of the custom of
the place, the attendants of Alexander deserted him, and fled to the
temple, where they sat as suppliants. While there, wishing to damage
their master, they accused him to the Egyptians, narrating all the
circumstances of the rape of Helen and the wrong done to Menelaus.
These charges they brought, not only before the priests, but also
before the warden of that mouth of the river, whose name was Thonis.
As soon as he received the intelligence, Thonis sent a message
to Proteus, who was at Memphis, to this effect: "A stranger is arrived
from Greece; he is by race a Teucrian, and has done a wicked deed in
the country from which he is come. Having beguiled the wife of the man
whose guest he was, he carried her away with him, and much treasure
also. Compelled by stress of weather, he has now put in here. Are we
to let him depart as he came, or shall we seize what he has
brought?" Proteus replied, "Seize the man, be he who he may, that
has dealt thus wickedly with his friend, and bring him before me, that
I may hear what he will say for himself."
Thonis, on receiving these orders, arrested Alexander, and stopped
the departure of his ships; then, taking with him Alexander, Helen,
the treasures, and also the fugitive slaves, he went up to Memphis.
When all were arrived, Proteus asked Alexander, "who he was, and
whence he had come?" Alexander replied by giving his descent, the name
of his country, and a true account of his late voyage. Then Proteus
questioned him as to how he got possession of Helen. In his reply
Alexander became confused, and diverged from the truth, whereon the
slaves interposed, confuted his statements, and told the whole history
of the crime. Finally, Proteus delivered judgment as follows: "Did I
not regard it as a matter of the utmost consequence that no stranger
driven to my country by adverse winds should ever be put to death, I
would certainly have avenged the Greek by slaying thee. Thou basest of
men,- after accepting hospitality, to do so wicked a deed! First, thou
didst seduce the wife of thy own host- then, not content therewith,
thou must violently excite her mind, and steal her away from her
husband. Nay, even so thou wert not satisfied, but on leaving, thou
must plunder the house in which thou hadst been a guest. Now then,
as I think it of the greatest importance to put no stranger to
death, I suffer thee to depart; but the woman and the treasures I
shall not permit to be carried away. Here they must stay, till the
Greek stranger comes in person and takes them back with him. For