introduced through an artificial duct, surrounds an island, where
the body of Cheops is said to lie. Chephren built his pyramid close to
the great pyramid of Cheops, and of the same dimensions, except that
he lowered the height forty feet. For the basement he employed the
many-coloured stone of Ethiopia. These two pyramids stand both on
the same hill, an elevation not far short of a hundred feet in height.
The reign of Chephren lasted fifty-six years.
Thus the affliction of Egypt endured for the space of one
hundred and six years, during the whole of which time the temples were
shut up and never opened. The Egyptians so detest the memory of
these kings that they do not much like even to mention their names.
Hence they commonly call the pyramids after Philition, a shepherd
who at that time fed his flocks about the place.
After Chephren, Mycerinus (they said), son of Cheops, ascended the
throne. This prince disapproved the conduct of his father, re-opened
the temples, and allowed the people, who were ground down to the
lowest point of misery, to return to their occupations, and to
resume the practice of sacrifice. His justice in the decision of
causes was beyond that of all the former kings. The Egyptians praise
him in this respect more highly than any of their other monarchs,
declaring that he not only gave his judgments with fairness, but also,
when any one was dissatisfied with his sentence, made compensation
to him out of his own purse, and thus pacified his anger. Mycerinus
had established his character for mildness, and was acting as I have
described, when the stroke of calamity fell on him. First of all his
daughter died, the only child that he possessed. Experiencing a bitter
grief at this visitation, in his sorrow he conceived the wish to
entomb his child in some unusual way. He therefore caused a cow to
be made of wood, and after the interior had been hollowed out, he
had the whole surface coated with gold; and in this novel tomb laid
the dead body of his daughter.
The cow was not placed under ground, but continued visible to my
times: it was at Sais, in the royal palace, where it occupied a
chamber richly adorned. Every day there are burnt before it
aromatics of every kind; and all night long a lamp is kept burning
in the apartment. In an adjoining chamber are statues which the
priests at Sais, declared to represent the various concubines of
Mycerinus. They are colossal figures in wood, of the number of about
twenty, and are represented naked. Whose images they really are, I
cannot say- I can only repeat the account which was given to me.
Concerning these colossal figures and the sacred cow, there is
also another tale narrated, which runs thus: "Mycerinus was
enamoured of his daughter, and offered her violence- the damsel for
grief hanged herself, and Mycerinus entombed her in the cow. Then
her mother cut off the hands of all her tiring- maids, because they
had sided with the father, and betrayed the child; and so the
statues of the maids have no hands." All this is mere fable in my
judgment, especially what is said about the hands of the colossal
statues. I could plainly see that the figures had only lost their
hands through the effect of time. They had dropped off, and were still
lying on the ground about the feet of the statues.
As for the cow, the greater portion of it is hidden by a scarlet
coverture; the head and neck, however, which are visible, are coated
very thickly with gold, and between the horns there is a
representation in gold of the orb of the sun. The figure is not erect,
but lying down, with the limbs under the body; the dimensions being
fully those of a large animal of the kind. Every year it is taken from
the apartment where it is kept, and exposed to the light of day-
this is done at the season when the Egyptians beat themselves in
honour of one of their gods, whose name I am unwilling to mention in
connection with such a matter. They say that the daughter of Mycerinus
requested her father in her dying moments to allow her once a year
to see the sun.
After the death of his daughter, Mycerinus was visited with a