Home About Network of subjects Linked subjects heatmap Book indices included Search by subject Search by reference Browse subjects Browse texts

Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4471
Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 1.69.4


nan For despite the fact that for the reasons mentioned above strangers found it difficult in early times to enter the country, it was nevertheless eagerly visited by Orpheus and the poet Homer in the earliest times and in later times by many others, such as Pythagoras of Samos and Solon the lawgiver.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

4 results
1. Herodotus, Histories, 2.81 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

2.81. They wear linen tunics with fringes hanging about the legs, called “calasiris,” and loose white woolen mantles over these. But nothing woolen is brought into temples, or buried with them: that is impious. ,They agree in this with practices called Orphic and Bacchic, but in fact Egyptian and Pythagorean: for it is impious, too, for one partaking of these rites to be buried in woolen wrappings. There is a sacred legend about this.
2. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 1.13, 1.22.7, 1.23.6-1.23.7, 1.27.1, 1.28-1.29, 1.67.11, 1.69.3, 1.69.6, 1.70-1.71, 1.75-1.76, 1.86-1.90, 1.88.5, 1.96, 4.25.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.13. 1.  And besides these there are other gods, they say, who were terrestrial, having once been mortals, but who, by reason of their sagacity and the good services which they rendered to all men, attained immortality, some of them having even been kings in Egypt.,2.  Their names, when translated, are in some cases the same as those of the celestial gods, while others have a distinct appellation, such as Helius, Cronus, and Rhea, and also the Zeus who is called Ammon by some, and besides these Hera and Hephaestus, also Hestia, and, finally, Hermes. Helius was the first king of the Egyptians, his name being the same as that of the heavenly star.,3.  Some of the priests, however, say that Hephaestus was their first king, since he was the discoverer of fire and received the rule because of this service to mankind; for once, when a tree on the mountains had been struck by lightning and the forest near by was ablaze, Hephaestus went up to it, for it was winter-time, and greatly enjoyed the heat; as the fire died down he kept adding fuel to it, and while keeping the fire going in this way he invited the rest of mankind to enjoy the advantage which came from it.,4.  Then Cronus became the ruler, and upon marrying his sister Rhea he begat Osiris and Isis, according to some writers of mythology, but, according to the majority, Zeus and Hera, whose high achievements gave them dominion over the entire universe. From these last were sprung five gods, one born on each of the five days which the Egyptians intercalate; the names of these children were Osiris and Isis, and also Typhon, Apollo, and Aphroditê;,5.  and Osiris when translated is Dionysus, and Isis is more similar to Demeter than to any other goddess; and after Osiris married Isis and succeeded to the kingship he did many things of service to the social life of man. 1.22.7.  Consequently the Greeks too, inasmuch as they received from Egypt the celebrations of the orgies and the festivals connected with Dionysus, honour this member in both the mysteries and the initiatory rites and sacrifices of this god, giving it the name "phallus. 1.23.6.  The fatherhood of the child he attributed to Zeus, in this way magnifying Osiris and averting slander from his violated daughter; and this is the reason why the tale was given out among the Greeks to the effect that Semelê, the daughter of Cadmus, was the mother of Osiris by Zeus. Now at a later time Orpheus, who was held in high regard among the Greeks for his singing, initiatory rites, and instructions on things divine, was entertained as a guest by the descendants of Cadmus and accorded unusual honours in Thebes. 1.23.7.  And since he had become conversant with the teachings of the Egyptians about the gods, he transferred the birth of the ancient Osiris to more recent times, and, out of regard for the descendants of Cadmus, instituted a new initiation, in the ritual of which the initiates were given the account that Dionysus had been born of Semelê and Zeus. And the people observed these initiatory rites, partly because they were deceived through their ignorance, partly because they were attracted to them by the trustworthiness of Orpheus and his reputation in such matters, and most of all because they were glad to receive the god as a Greek, which, as has been said, is what he was considered to be. 1.27.1.  The Egyptians also made a law, they say, contrary to the general custom of mankind, permitting men to marry their sisters, this being due to the success attained by Isis in this respect; for she had married her brother Osiris, and upon his death, having taken a vow never to marry another man, she both avenged the murder of her husband and reigned all her days over the land with complete respect for the laws, and, in a word, became the cause of more and greater blessings to all men than any other. 1.28. 1.  Now the Egyptians say that also after these events a great number of colonies were spread from Egypt over all the inhabited world. To Babylon, for instance, colonists were led by Belus, who was held to be the son of Poseidon and Libya; and after establishing himself on the Euphrates river he appointed priests, called Chaldaeans by the Babylonians, who were exempt from taxation and free from every kind of service to the state, as are the priests of Egypt; and they also make observations of the stars, following the example of the Egyptian priests, physicists, and astrologers.,2.  They say also that those who set forth with Danaus, likewise from Egypt, settled what is practically the oldest city in Greece, Argos, and that the nation of the Colchi in Pontus and that of the Jews, which lies between Arabia and Syria, were founded as colonies by certain emigrants from their country;,3.  and this is the reason why it is a long-established institution among these two peoples to circumcise their male children, the custom having been brought over from Egypt.,4.  Even the Athenians, they say, are colonists from Saïs in Egypt, and they undertake to offer proofs of such a relationship; for the Athenians are the only Greeks who call their city "Asty," a name brought over from the city Asty in Egypt. Furthermore, their body politic had the same classification and division of the people as found in Egypt, where the citizens have been divided into three orders:,5.  the first Athenian class consisted of the "eupatrids," as they were called, being those who were such as had received the best education and were held worthy of the highest honour, as is the case with the priests of Egypt; the second was that of the "geomoroi," who were expected to possess arms and to serve in defence of the state, like those in Egypt who are known as husbandmen and supply the warriors; and the last class was reckoned to be that of the "demiurgoi," who practise the mechanical arts and render only the most menial services to the state, this class among the Egyptians having a similar function.,6.  Moreover, certain of the rulers of Athens were originally Egyptians, they say. Petes, for instance, the father of that Menestheus who took part in the expedition against Troy, having clearly been an Egyptian, later obtained citizenship at Athens and the kingship. . . .,7.  He was of double form, and yet the Athenians are unable from their own point of view to give the true explanation of this nature of his, although it is patent to all that it was because of his double citizenship, Greek and barbarian, that he was held to be of double form, that is, part animal and part man. 1.29. 1.  In the same way, they continue, Erechtheus also, who was by birth an Egyptian, became king of Athens, and in proof of this they offer the following considerations. Once when there was a great drought, as is generally agreed, which extended over practically all the inhabited earth except Egypt because of the peculiar character of that country, and there followed a destruction both of crops and of men in great numbers, Erechtheus, through his racial connection with Egypt, brought from there to Athens a great supply of grain, and in return those who had enjoyed this aid made their benefactor king.,2.  After he had secured the throne he instituted the initiatory rites of Demeter in Eleusis and established the mysteries, transferring their ritual from Egypt. And the tradition that an advent of the goddess into Attica also took place at that time is reasonable, since it was then that the fruits which are named after her were brought to Athens, and this is why it was thought that the discovery of the seed had been made again, as though Demeter had bestowed the gift.,3.  And the Athenians on their part agree that it was in the reign of Erechtheus, when a lack of rain had wiped out the crops, that Demeter came to them with the gift of grain. Furthermore, the initiatory rites and mysteries of this goddess were instituted at Eleusis at that time.,4.  And their sacrifices as well as their ancient ceremonies are observed by the Athenians in the same way as by the Egyptians; for the Eumolpidae were derived from the priests of Egypt and the Ceryces from the pastophoroi. They are also the only Greeks who swear by Isis, and they closely resemble the Egyptians in both their appearance and manners.,5.  By many other statements like these, spoken more out of a love for glory than with regard for the truth, as I see the matter, they claim Athens as a colony of theirs because of the fame of that city. In general, the Egyptians say that their ancestors sent forth numerous colonies to many parts of the inhabited world, the pre-eminence of their former kings and their excessive population;,6.  but since they offer no precise proof whatsoever for these statements, and since no historian worthy of credence testifies in their support, we have not thought that their accounts merited recording. So far as the ideas of the Egyptians about the gods are concerned, let what we have said suffice, since we are aiming at due proportion in our account, but with regard to the land, the Nile, and everything else worth hearing about we shall endeavour, in each case, to give the several facts in summary. 1.67.11.  Indeed, it was because of the objection to strangers on the part of the people that the impiety of Busiris became a byword among the Greeks, although this impiety was not actually such as it was described, but was made into a fictitious myth because of the exceptional disrespect of the Egyptians for ordinary customs. 1.69.3.  and for that reason those men who have won the greatest repute in intellectual things have been eager to visit Egypt in order to acquaint themselves with its laws and institutions, which they considered to be worthy of note. 1.69.6.  And the best proof of all this, they say, lies in the fact that Egypt for more than four thousand seven hundred years was ruled over by kings of whom the majority were native Egyptians, and that the land was the most prosperous of the whole inhabited world; for these things could never have been true of any people which did not enjoy most excellent customs and laws and the institutions which promote culture of every kind. 1.70. 1.  In the first place, then, the life which the kings of the Egyptians lived was not like that of other men who enjoy autocratic power and do in all matters exactly as they please without being held to account, but all their acts were regulated by prescriptions set forth in laws, not only their administrative acts, but also those that had to do with the way in which they spent their time from day to day, and with the food which they ate.,2.  In the matter of their servants, for instance, not one was a slave, such as had been acquired by purchase or born in the home, but all were sons of the most distinguished priests, over twenty years old and the best educated of their fellow-countrymen, in order that the king, by virtue of his having the noblest men to care for his person and to attend him throughout both day and night, might follow no low practices; for no ruler advances far along the road of evil until he has those about him who will minister to his passions.,3.  And the hours of both the day and night were laid out according to a plan, and at the specified hours it was absolutely required of the king that he should do what the laws stipulated and not what he thought best.,4.  For instance, in the morning, as soon as he was awake, he first of all had to receive the letters which had been sent from all sides, the purpose being that he might be able to despatch all administrative business and perform every act properly, being thus accurately informed about everything that was being done throughout his kingdom. Then, after he had bathed and bedecked his body with rich garments and the insignia of his office, he had to sacrifice to the gods.,5.  When the victims had been brought to the altar it was the custom for the high priest to stand near the king, with the common people of Egypt gathered around, and pray in a loud voice that health and all the other good things of life be given the king if he maintains justice towards his subjects.,6.  And an open confession had also to be made of each and every virtue of the king, the priest saying that towards the gods he was piously disposed and towards men most kindly; for he was self-controlled and just and magimous, truthful, and generous with his possessions, and, in a word, superior to every desire, and that he punished crimes less severely than they deserved and rendered to his benefactors a gratitude exceeding the benefaction.,7.  And after reciting much more in a similar vein he concluded his prayer with a curse concerning things done in error, exempting the king from all blame therefor and asking that both the evil consequences and the punishment should fall upon those who served him and had taught him evil things.,8.  All this he would do, partly to lead the king to fear the gods and live a life pleasing to them, and partly to accustom him to a proper manner of conduct, not by sharp admonitions, but through praises that were agreeable and most conductive to virtue.,9.  After this, when the king had performed the divination from the entrails of a calf and had found the omens good, the sacred scribe read before the assemblage from out of the sacred books some of the edifying counsels and deeds of their most distinguished men, in order that he who held the supreme leadership should first contemplate in his mind the most excellent general principles and then turn to the prescribed administration of the several functions.,10.  For there was a set time not only for his holding audiences or rendering judgments, but even for his taking a walk, bathing, and sleeping with his wife, and, in a word, for every act of his life.,11.  And it was the custom for the kings to partake of delicate food, eating no other meat than veal and duck, and drinking only a prescribed amount of wine, which was not enough to make them unreasonably surfeited or drunken.,12.  And, speaking generally, their whole diet was ordered with such continence that it had the appearance of having been drawn up, not by a lawgiver, but by the most skilled of their physicians, with only their health in view. 1.71. 1.  Strange as it may appear that the king did not have the entire control of his daily fare, far more remarkable still was the fact that kings were not allowed to render any legal decision or transact any business at random or to punish anyone through malice or in anger or for any other unjust reason, but only in accordance with the established laws relative to each offence.,2.  And in following the dictates of custom in these matters, so far were they from being indigt or taking offence in their souls, that, on the contrary, they actually held that they led a most happy life;,3.  for they believed that all other men, in thoughtlessly following their natural passions, commit many acts which bring them injuries and perils, and that oftentimes some who realize that they are about to commit a sin nevertheless do base acts when overpowered by love or hatred or some other passion, while they, on the other hand, by virtue of their having cultivated a manner of life which had been chosen before all others by the most prudent of all men, fell into the fewest mistakes.,4.  And since the kings followed so righteous a course in dealing with their subjects, the people manifested a goodwill towards their rulers which surpassed even the affection they had for their own kinsmen; for not only the order of the priests but, in short, all the inhabitants of Egypt were less concerned for their wives and children and their other cherished possessions than for the safety of their kings.,5.  Consequently, during most of the time covered by the reigns of the kings of whom we have a record, they maintained an orderly civil government and continued to enjoy a most felicitous life, so long as the system of laws described was in force; and, more than that, they conquered more nations and achieved greater wealth than any other people, and adorned their lands with monuments and buildings never to be surpassed, and their cities with costly dedications of every description. 1.75. 1.  In their administration of justice the Egyptians also showed no merely casual interest, holding that the decisions of the courts exercise the greatest influence upon community life, and this in each of their two aspects.,2.  For it was evident to them that if the offenders against the law should be punished and the injured parties should be afforded succour there would be an ideal correction of wrongdoing; but if, on the other hand, the fear which wrongdoers have of the judgments of the courts should be brought to naught by bribery or favour, they saw that the break-up of community life would follow.,3.  Consequently, by appointing the best men from the most important cities as judges over the whole land they did not fall short of the end which they had in mind. For from Heliopolis and Thebes and Memphis they used to choose ten judges from each, and this court was regarded as in no way inferior to that composed of the Areopagites at Athens or of the Elders at Sparta.,4.  And when the thirty assembled they chose the best one of their number and made him chief justice, and in his stead the city sent another judge. Allowances to provide for their needs were supplied by the king, to the judges sufficient for their maintece, and many times as much to the chief justice.,5.  The latter regularly wore suspended from his neck by a golden chain a small image made of precious stones, which they called Truth; the hearings of the pleas commenced whenever the chief justice put on the image of Truth.,6.  The entire body of the laws was written down in eight volumes which lay before the judges, and the custom was that the accuser should present in writing the particulars of his complaint, namely, the charge, how the thing happened, and the amount of injury or damage done, whereupon the defendant would take the document submitted by his opponents in the suit and reply in writing to each charge, to the effect either that he did not commit the deed, or, if he did, that he was not guilty of wrongdoing, or, if he was guilty of wrongdoing, that he should receive a lighter penalty.,7.  After that, the law required that the accuser should reply to this in writing and that the defendant should offer a rebuttal. And after both parties had twice presented their statements in writing to the judges, it was the duty of the thirty at once to declare their opinions among themselves and of the chief justice to place the image of Truth upon one or the other of the two pleas which had been presented. 1.76. 1.  This was the manner, as their account goes, in which the Egyptians conducted all court proceedings, since they believed that if the advocates were allowed to speak they would greatly becloud the justice of a case; for they knew that the clever devices of orators, the cunning witchery of their delivery, and the tears of the accused would influence many to overlook the severity of the laws and the strictness of truth;,2.  at any rate they were aware that men who are highly respected as judges are often carried away by the eloquence of the advocates, either because they are deceived, or because they are won over by the speaker's charm, or because the emotion of pity has been aroused in them; but by having the parties to a suit present their pleas in writing, it was their opinion that the judgments would be strict, only the bare facts being taken into account.,3.  For in that case there would be the least chance that gifted speakers would have an advantage over the slower, or the well-practised over the inexperienced, or the audacious liars over those who were truth-loving and restrained in character, but all would get their just dues on an equal footing, since by the provision of the laws ample time is taken, on the one hand by the disputants for the examination of the arguments of the other side, and, on the other hand, by the judges for the comparison of the allegations of both parties. 1.86. 1.  Since all the practices of the Egyptians in their worship of animals are astonishing and beyond belief, they occasion much difficulty for those who would seek out their origins and causes.,2.  Now their priests have on this subject a teaching which may not be divulged, as we have already stated in connection with their accounts of the gods, but the majority of the Egyptians give the following three causes, the first of which belongs entirely to the realm of fable and is in keeping with the simplicity of primitive times.,3.  They say, namely, that the gods who came into existence in the beginning, being few in number and overpowered by the multitude and the lawlessness of earth-born men, took on the forms of certain animals, and in this way saved themselves from the savagery and violence of mankind; but afterwards, when they had established their power over all things in the universe, out of gratitude to the animals which had been responsible for their salvation at the outset, they made sacred those kinds whose form they had assumed, and instructed mankind to maintain them in a costly fashion while living and to bury them at death.,4.  The second cause which they give is this — that the early Egyptians, after having been defeated by their neighbours in many battles because of the lack of order in their army, conceived the idea of carrying standards before the several divisions.,5.  Consequently, they say, the commanders fashioned figures of the animals which they now worship and carried them fixed on lances, and by this device every man knew where his place was in the array. And since the good order resulting therefrom greatly contributed to victory, they thought that the animals had been responsible for their deliverance; and so the people, wishing to show their gratitude to them, established the custom of not killing any one of the animals whose likeness had been fashioned at that time, but of rendering to them, as objects of worship, the care and honour which we have previously described. 1.87. 1.  The third cause which they adduce in connection with the dispute in question is the service which each one of these animals renders for the benefit of community life and of mankind.,2.  The cow, for example, bears workers and ploughs the lighter soil; the sheep lamb twice in the year and provide by their wool both protection for the body and its decorous covering, while by their milk and cheese they furnish food that is both appetizing and abundant. Again, the dog is useful both for the hunt and for man's protection, and this is why they represent the god whom they call Anubis with a dog's head, showing in this way that he was the bodyguard of Osiris and Isis.,3.  There are some, however, who explain that dogs guided Isis during her search for Osiris and protected her from wild beasts and wayfarers, and that they helped her in her search, because of the affection they bore for her, by baying; and this is the reason why at the Festival of Isis the procession is led by dogs, those who introduced the rite showing forth in this way the kindly service rendered by this animal of old.,4.  The cat is likewise useful against asps with their deadly bite and the other reptiles that sting, while the ichneumon keeps a look-out for the newly-laid seed of the crocodile and crushes the eggs left by the female, doing this carefully and zealously even though it receives no benefit from the act.,5.  Were this not done, the river would have become impassable because of the multitude of beasts that would be born. And the crocodiles themselves are also killed by this animal in an astonishing and quite incredible manner; for the ichneumons roll themselves over and over in the mud, and when the crocodiles go to sleep on the land with their mouths open they jump down their mouths into the centre of their body; then, rapidly gnawing through the bowels, they get out unscathed themselves and at the same time kill their victims instantly.,6.  And of the sacred birds the ibis is useful as a protector against the snakes, the locusts, and the caterpillars, and the hawk against the scorpions, horned serpents, and the small animals of noxious bite which cause the greatest destruction of men.,7.  But some maintain that the hawk is honoured because it is used as a bird of omen by the soothsayers in predicting to the Egyptians events which are to come.,8.  Others, however, say that in primitive times a hawk brought to the priests in Thebes a book wrapped about with a purple band, which contained written directions concerning the worship of gods and the honours due to them; and it is for this reason, they add, that the sacred scribes wear on their heads a purple band and the wing of a hawk.,9.  The eagle also is honoured by the Thebans because it is believed to be a royal animal and worthy of Zeus. 1.88. 1.  They have deified the goat, just as the Greeks are said to have honoured Priapus, because of the generative member; for this animal has a very great propensity for copulation, and it is fitting that honour be shown to that member of the body which is the cause of generation, being, as it were, the primal author of all animal life.,2.  And, in general, not only the Egyptians but not a few other peoples as well have in the rites they observe treated the male member as sacred, on the ground that it is the cause of the generation of all creatures; and the priests in Egypt who have inherited their priestly offices from their fathers are initiated first into the mysteries of this god.,3.  And both the Pans and the Satyrs, they say, are worshipped by men for the same reason; and this is why most peoples set up in their sacred places statues of them showing the phallus erect and resembling a goat's in nature, since according to tradition this animal is most efficient in copulation; consequently, by representing these creatures in such fashion, the dedicants are returning thanks to them for their own numerous offspring.,4.  The sacred bulls — I refer to the Apis and the Mnevis — are honoured like the gods, as Osiris commanded, both because of their use in farming and also because the fame of those who discovered the fruits of the earth is handed down by the labours of these animals to succeeding generations for all time. Red oxen, however, may be sacrificed, because it is thought that this was the colour of Typhon, who plotted against Osiris and was then punished by Isis for the death of her husband.,5.  Men also, if they were of the same colour as Typhon, were sacrificed, they say, in ancient times by the kings at the tomb of Osiris; however, only a few Egyptians are now found red in colour, and but the majority of such are non-Egyptians, and this is why the story spread among the Greeks of the slaying of foreigners by Busiris, although Busiris was not the name of the king but of the tomb of Osiris, which is called that in the language of the land.,6.  The wolves are honoured, they say, because their nature is so much like that of dogs, for the natures of these two animals are little different from each other and hence offspring is produced by their interbreeding. But the Egyptians offer another explanation for the honour accorded this animal, although it pertains more to the realm of myth; for they say that in early times when Isis, aided by her son Horus, was about to commence her struggle with Typhon, Osiris came from Hades to help his son and his wife, having taken on the guise of wolf; and so, upon the death of Typhon, his conquerors commanded men to honour the animal upon whose appearance victory followed.,7.  But some say that once, when the Ethiopians had marched against Egypt, a great number of bands of wolves (lykoi) gathered together and drove the invaders out of the country, pursuing them beyond the city named Elephantine; and therefore that nome was given the name Lycopolite and these animals were granted the honour in question. 1.88.5.  Men also, if they were of the same colour as Typhon, were sacrificed, they say, in ancient times by the kings at the tomb of Osiris; however, only a few Egyptians are now found red in colour, and but the majority of such are non-Egyptians, and this is why the story spread among the Greeks of the slaying of foreigners by Busiris, although Busiris was not the name of the king but of the tomb of Osiris, which is called that in the language of the land. 1.89. 1.  It remains for us to speak of the deification of crocodiles, a subject regarding which most men are entirely at a loss to explain how, when these beasts eat the flesh of men, it ever became the law to honour like the gods creatures of the most revolting habits.,2.  Their reply is, that the security of the country is ensured, not only by the river, but to a much greater degree by the crocodiles in it; that for this reason the robbers that infest both Arabia and Libya do not dare to swim across the Nile, because they fear the beasts, whose number is very great; and that this would never have been the case if war were continually being waged against the animals and they had been utterly destroyed by hunters dragging the river with nets.,3.  But still another account is given of these beasts. For some say that once one of the early kings whose name was Menas, being pursued by his own dogs, came in his flight to the Lake of Moeris, as it is called, where, strange as it may seem, a crocodile took him on his back and carried him to the other side. Wishing to show his gratitude to the beast for saving him, he founded a city near the place and named it City of the Crocodiles; and he commanded the natives of the region to worship these animals as gods and dedicated the lake to them for their sustece; and in that place he also constructed his own tomb, erecting a pyramid with four sides, and built the Labyrinth which is admired by many.,4.  A similar diversity of customs exists, according to their accounts, with regard to everything else, but it would be a long task to set forth the details concerning them. That they have adopted these customs for themselves because of the advantage accruing therefrom to their life is clear to all from the fact that there are those among them who will not touch many particular kinds of food. Some, for instance, abstain entirely from lentils, others from beans, and some from cheese or onions or certain other foods, there being many kinds of food in Egypt, showing in this way that men must be taught to deny themselves things that are useful, and that if all ate of everything the supply of no article of consumption would hold out.,5.  But some adduce other causes and say that, since under the early kings the multitude were often revolting and conspiring against their rulers, one of the kings who was especially wise divided the land into a number of parts and commanded the inhabitants of each to revere a certain animal or else not to eat a certain food, his thought being that, with each group of people revering what was honoured among themselves but despising what was sacred to all the rest, all the inhabitants of Egypt would never be able to be of one mind.,6.  And this purpose, they declare, is clear from the results; for every group of people is at odds with its neighbours, being offended at their violations of the customs mentioned above. 1.90. 1.  Some advance some such reason as the following for their deification of the animals. When men, they say, first ceased living like the beasts and gathered into groups, at the outset they kept devouring each other and warring among themselves, the more powerful ever prevailing over the weaker; but later those who were deficient in strength, taught by expediency, grouped together and took for the device upon their standard one of the animals which was later made sacred; then, when those who were from time to time in fear flocked to this symbol, an organized body was formed which was not to be despised by any who attacked it.,2.  And when everybody else did the same thing, the whole people came to be divided into organized bodies, and in the case of each the animal which had been responsible for its safety was accorded honours like those belonging to the gods, as having rendered to them the greatest service possible; and this is why to this day the several groups of the Egyptians differ from each other in that each group honours the animals which it originally made sacred. In general, they say, the Egyptians surpass all other peoples in showing gratitude for every benefaction, since they hold that the return of gratitude to benefactors is a very great resource in life; for it is clear that all men will want to bestow their benefactions preferably upon those who they see will most honourably treasure up the favours they bestow.,3.  And it is apparently on these grounds that the Egyptians prostrate themselves before their kings and honour them as being in truth very gods, holding, on the one hand, that it was not without the influence of some divine providence that these men have attained to the supreme power, and feeling, also, that such as have the will and the strength to confer the greatest benefactions share in the divine nature.,4.  Now if we have dwelt over-long on the topic of the sacred animals, we have at least thoroughly considered those customs of the Egyptians that men most marvel at. 1.96. 1.  But now that we have examined these matters, we must enumerate what Greeks, who have won fame for their wisdom and learning, visited Egypt in ancient times, in order to become acquainted with its customs and learning.,2.  For the priests of Egypt recount from the records of their sacred books that they were visited in early times by Orpheus, Musaeus, Melampus, and Daedalus, also by the poet Homer and Lycurgus of Sparta, later by Solon of Athens and the philosopher Plato, and that there also came Pythagoras of Samos and the mathematician Eudoxus, as well as Democritus of Abdera and Oenopides of Chios.,3.  As evidence for the visits of all these men they point in some cases to their statues and in others to places or buildings which bear their names, and they offer proofs from the branch of learning which each one of these men pursued, arguing that all the things for which they were admired among the Greeks were transferred from Egypt.,4.  Orpheus, for instance, brought from Egypt most of his mystic ceremonies, the orgiastic rites that accompanied his wanderings, and his fabulous account of his experiences in Hades.,5.  For the rite of Osiris is the same as that of Dionysus and that of Isis very similar to that of Demeter, the names alone having been interchanged; and the punishments in Hades of the unrighteous, the Fields of the Righteous, and the fantastic conceptions, current among the many, which are figments of the imagination — all these were introduced by Orpheus in imitation of the Egyptian funeral customs.,6.  Hermes, for instance, the Conductor of Souls, according to the ancient Egyptian custom, brings up the body of the Apis to a certain point and then gives it over to one who wears the mask of Cerberus. And after Orpheus had introduced this notion among the Greeks, Homer followed it when he wrote: Cyllenian Hermes then did summon forth The suitors's souls, holding his wand in hand. And again a little further on he says: They passed Oceanus' streams, the Gleaming Rock, The Portals of the Sun, the Land of Dreams; And now they reached the Meadow of Asphodel, Where dwell the Souls, the shades of men outworn.,7.  Now he calls the river "Oceanus" because in their language the Egyptians speak of the Nile as Oceanus; the "Portals of the Sun" (Heliopulai) is his name for the city of Heliopolis; and "Meadows," the mythical dwelling of the dead, is his term for the place near the lake which is called Acherousia, which is near Memphis, and around it are fairest meadows, of a marsh-land and lotus and reeds. The same explanation also serves for the statement that the dwelling of the dead is in these regions, since the most and the largest tombs of the Egyptians are situated there, the dead being ferried across both the river and Lake Acherousia and their bodies laid in the vaults situated there.,8.  The other myths about Hades, current among the Greeks, also agree with the customs which are practised even now in Egypt. For the boat which receives the bodies is called baris, and the passenger's fee is given to the boatman, who in the Egyptian tongue is called charon.,9.  And near these regions, they say, are also the "Shades," which is a temple of Hecate, and "portals" of Cocytus and Lethe, which are covered at intervals with bands of bronze. There are, moreover, other portals, namely, those of Truth, and near them stands a headless statue of Justice. 4.25.3.  And after he had devoted his entire time to his education and had learned whatever the myths had to say about the gods, he journeyed to Egypt, where he further increased his knowledge and so became the greatest man among the Greeks both for his knowledge of the gods and for their rites, as well as for his poems and songs.
3. Ammianus Marcellinus, History, 15.9-15.12 (4th cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4. Orphic Hymns., Fragments, 47, 98, 44



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
anti-semitism Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
babylonia Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
democritus Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
diodorus, criticized by photius Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 18
egypt, influence of Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
egypt/egyptian de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
hecataeus of abdera, attitude toward jews Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
hecataeus of abdera, audience of Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
hecataeus of abdera, jewish excursus in appendix of the origo section Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16, 18, 39
hecataeus of abdera, on the egyptians Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16, 18
hecataeus of abdera, on the hyperboreans Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
hecataeus of abdera, structure of ethnographies Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16, 18
homer Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
lycurgus Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
lydda Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 18
misoxenia' Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
moses, hecataeus on Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 18
musaeus Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
orpheus, literary author de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
orpheus, transmitter of mysteries de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
orpheus Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
orphic, see hieros logos de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
osiris de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
photius Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 18
plato Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
priests, priestess de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
protagoras Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
psammeticus, king Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
ptolemy i, as successor of pharaohs Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
ptolemy iv Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
raphia Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 39
rites, ritual de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57
solon Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 16
theology, theologians de Jáuregui, Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity (2010) 57