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Euterpe   


after the reign of the priest of Vulcan, unable to continue any
while without a king, they divided Egypt into twelve districts, and
set twelve kings over them. These twelve kings, united together by
intermarriages, ruled Egypt in peace, having entered into
engagements with one another not to depose any of their number, nor to
aim at any aggrandisement of one above the rest, but to dwell together
in perfect amity. Now the reason why they made these stipulations, and
guarded with care against their infraction, was because at the very
first establishment of the twelve kingdoms an oracle had declared-
"That he among them who should pour in Vulcan's temple a libation from
a cup of bronze would become monarch of the whole land of Egypt."
Now the twelve held their meetings at all the temples.
To bind themselves yet more closely together, it seemed good to
them to leave a common monument. In pursuance of this resolution
they made the Labyrinth which lies a little above Lake Moeris, in
the neighbourhood of the place called the city of Crocodiles. I
visited this place, and found it to surpass description; for if all
the walls and other great works of the Greeks could be put together in
one, they would not equal, either for labour or expense, this
Labyrinth; and yet the temple of Ephesus is a building worthy of note,
and so is the temple of Samos. The pyramids likewise surpass
description, and are severally equal to a number of the greatest works
of the Greeks, but the Labyrinth surpasses the pyramids. It has twelve
courts, all of them roofed, with gates exactly opposite one another,
six looking to the north, and six to the south. A single wall
surrounds the entire building. There are two different sorts of
chambers throughout- half under ground, half above ground, the
latter built upon the former; the whole number of these chambers is
three thousand, fifteen hundred of each kind. The upper chambers I
myself passed through and saw, and what I say concerning them is
from my own observation; of the underground chambers I can only
speak from report: for the keepers of the building could not be got to
show them, since they contained (as they said) the sepulchres of the
kings who built the Labyrinth, and also those of the sacred
crocodiles. Thus it is from hearsay only that I can speak of the lower
chambers. The upper chambers, however, I saw with my own eyes, and
found them to excel all other human productions; for the passages
through the houses, and the varied windings of the paths across the
courts excited in me infinite admiration as I passed from the courts
into chambers, and from the chambers into colonnades, and from the
colonnades into fresh houses, and again from these into courts
unseen before. The roof was throughout of stone, like the walls; and
the walls were carved all over with figures; every court was
surrounded with a colonnade which was built of white stones
exquisitely fitted together. At the corner of the Labyrinth stands a
pyramid, forty fathoms high, with large figures engraved on it,
which is entered by a subterranean passage.
Wonderful as is the Labyrinth, the work called the Lake of Moeris,
which is close by the Labyrinth, is yet more astonishing. The
measure of its circumference is sixty schoenes, or three thousand
six hundred furlongs, which is equal to the entire length of Egypt
along the sea-coast. The lake stretches in its longest direction
from north to south, and in its deepest parts is of the depth of fifty
fathoms. It is manifestly an artificial excavation, for nearly in
the centre there stand two pyramids, rising to the height of fifty
fathoms above the surface of the water, and extending as far
beneath, crowned each of them with a colossal statue sitting upon a
throne. Thus these pyramids are one hundred fathoms high, which is
exactly a furlong (stadium) of six hundred feet: the fathom being
six feet in length, or four cubits, which is the same thing, since a
cubit measures six, and a foot four, palms. The water of the lake does
not come out of the ground, which is here excessively dry, but is
introduced by a canal from the Nile. The current sets for six months
into the lake from the river, and for the next six months into the

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