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Pages of Euterpe

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his genealogy, traced his descent to a god in the person of his
sixteenth ancestor, the priests of Jupiter did to him exactly as
they afterwards did to me, though I made no boast of my family. They
led me into the inner sanctuary, which is a spacious chamber, and
showed me a multitude of colossal statues, in wood, which they counted
up, and found to amount to the exact number they had said; the
custom being for every high priest during his lifetime to set up his
statue in the temple. As they showed me the figures and reckoned
them up, they assured me that each was the son of the one preceding
him; and this they repeated throughout the whole line, beginning
with the representation of the priest last deceased, and continuing
till they had completed the series. When Hecataeus, in giving his
genealogy, mentioned a god as his sixteenth ancestor, the priests
opposed their genealogy to his, going through this list, and
refusing to allow that any man was ever born of a god. Their
colossal figures were each, they said, a Piromis, born of a Piromis,
and the number of them was three hundred and forty-five; through the
whole series Piromis followed Piromis, and the line did not run up
either to a god or a hero. The word Piromis may be rendered
Of such a nature were, they said, the beings represented by
these images- they were very far indeed from being gods. However, in
the times anterior to them it was otherwise; then Egypt had gods for
its rulers, who dwelt upon the earth with men, one being always
supreme above the rest. The last of these was Horus, the son of
Osiris, called by the Greeks Apollo. He deposed Typhon, and ruled over
Egypt as its last god-king. Osiris is named Dionysus (Bacchus) by
the Greeks.
The Greeks regard Hercules, Bacchus, and Pan as the youngest of
the gods. With the Egyptians, contrariwise, Pan is exceedingly
ancient, and belongs to those whom they call "the eight gods," who
existed before the rest. Hercules is one of the gods of the second
order, who are known as "the twelve"; and Bacchus belongs to the
gods of the third order, whom the twelve produced. I have already
mentioned how many years intervened according to the Egyptians between
the birth of Hercules and the reign of Amasis. From Pan to this period
they count a still longer time; and even from Bacchus, who is the
youngest of the three, they reckon fifteen thousand years to the reign
of that king. In these matters they say they cannot be mistaken, as
they have always kept count of the years, and noted them in their
registers. But from the present day to the time of Bacchus, the
reputed son of Semele, daughter of Cadmus, is a period of not more
than sixteen hundred years; to that of Hercules, son of Alcmena, is
about nine hundred; while to the time of Pan, son of Penelope (Pan,
according to the Greeks, was her child by Mercury), is a shorter space
than to the Trojan war, eight hundred years or thereabouts.
It is open to all to receive whichever he may prefer of these
two traditions; my own opinion about them has been already declared.
If indeed these gods had been publicly known, and had grown old in
Greece, as was the case with Hercules, son of Amphitryon, Bacchus, son
of Semele, and Pan, son of Penelope, it might have been said that
the last-mentioned personages were men who bore the names of certain
previously existing deities. But Bacchus, according to the Greek
tradition, was no sooner born than he was sewn up in Jupiter's
thigh, and carried off to Nysa, above Egypt, in Ethiopia; and as to
Pan, they do not even profess to know what happened to him after his
birth. To me, therefore, it is quite manifest that the names of
these gods became known to the Greeks after those of their other
deities, and that they count their birth from the time when they first
acquired a knowledge of them. Thus far my narrative rests on the
accounts given by the Egyptians.
In what follows I have the authority, not of the Egyptians only,
but of others also who agree with them. I shall speak likewise in part
from my own observation. When the Egyptians regained their liberty

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