« PreviousContinue »
eules : from this incident, the Ægyptian statues of Jupiter, represent that divinity with the head of a
This custom was borrowed of the Ægyptians by the Ammonians, who are composed partly of Ægyptians, and partly of Æthiopians, and whose dialect is formed promiscuously of both those languages. The Ægyptians call Jupiter, Ammouns, and I should think this was the reason why the above people named themselves Ammonians. From this however it is, that the Thebans esteem the ram as sacred, and, except on the annual festival of Jupiter, never put one to death. Upon this solemnity they kill a ram, and placing its skin on the image of the god, they introduce before it a figure of Hercules; the assembly afterwards beat the ram, and conclude
80 Call Jupiter, Ammoun.]—Plutarch says, that of all the Ægyptian names which seemed to have any correspondence with the Zeus of Greece, Amoun or Amnion was the most peculiar and adequate: he speaks of many people who were of this opinion.-Bryant.
The following line occurs in the Scholiast to Pindar, Pyth. Ode 4th, v. 28.
Ζευς Λιβυης Αμμων κερατηφορε κεκλυτε μαντι. .
Jupiter was almost as much in fashion amongst the old worshippers of images, as the Virgin amongst the modern: he had temples and different characters almost every where. At Carthage he was called Ammon; in Ægypt, Seraphis; at Athens, the great Jupiter was the Olympian Jupiter; and at Rome, the greatest Jupiter was the Capitolipe.--Spence, Polymetis.-T.
the ceremony, by enclosing the body in a sacred chest.
XLIII. This Hercules*, as I have been informed, is one of the twelve great gods, but of the Grecian Hercules, I could in no part of Ægypt procure any knowledge; that this name was never borrowed by Ægypt from Greece, but certainly communicated by the Ægyptians to the Greeks, and to those in particular who assign it to the son of Amphitryon, is among other arguments sufficiently evident from this, that both the reputed parents of this Hercules, Amphitryon and Alcmena, were of Ægyptian origin. The Ægyptians also disclaim all knowledge both of Neptune and the Dioscurit, neither of whom
* Herodotus speaks of two of this name, the Olympian and Grecian Hercules. Diodorus makes mention of the Cretan, Ægyptian, and Theban Hercules ; Arrian and Eusebius talk of the Grecian, Ægyptian, and Tyrian Hercules. It was the custom among the ancients to give the name of Hercules to every man distinguished by his strength and valour. We have this expression in Tacitus : Quicquid ubique magnificum est in claritatem Herculis referre consensimus. It may
be remarked that the exploits of Theseus and Hercules were often confounded. They were near relations. See the Remarks of Tollius on Palæphalus de Incredibilibus.
+ Herodotus insists that the names of the Dioscuri were unknown to the Ægyptians; but since it is positively asserted in the Paranas that they were venerated on the banks of the
are admitted among the number of their gods: If they had ever borrowed the name of a deity from Greece, the remembrance of these, so far from being less, must have been stronger than of any other; for if they then made voyages, and if as I have great reason to believe, there were at that time Greek sailors, they would rather have been acquainted with the names of the other deities, than with that of Hercules. Hercules is certainly one of the most ancient deities of Ægypt 81; and as they themselves affirm, is one of the twelve, who were produced from the eight gods, seventeen thousand years before the reign of Amasis.
XLIV. From my great desire to obtain information on this subject, I made a voyage to
Nile, they must have been revered I presume in Ægypt under other names. Indeed Harpocrates and Halitomerion, the twin sons of Osiris and Isis, greatly resemble the Dioscuri of the Grecian mythologists.-Wilford.
81 Deities of Ægypt.]The remark, that the Ægyptian is a very distinct personage from the Grecian Hercules, is not peculiar to Herodotus; it is affirmed by all the authors who have had occasion to speak on the subject; Cicero gives him the Nile as his father: Nilo genitus.-Larcher.
According to Cicero, the Ægyptian Hercules was not the most ancient: he calls him the second Hercules. The Her. cules, son of Amphitryon and Alcmena, was the sixth; this last, how er, was the one most known, who is represented in almost all our ancient monuments, and who was wor. shipped by the Greeks and Romans.-T.
Tyre, in Phænicia, where is a temple of Hercules held in great veneration. Among the various offerings which enriched and adorned it, I saw two pillars; the one was of the purest gold, the other of emerald 82, which in the night diffused an extraordinary splendour. I enquired of the priests how long this temple had been erected, but I found that they also differed in their re-, lation from the Greeks. This temple, as they affirmed, had been standing ever since the first building of the city, a period of two thousand three hundred years.
I saw also at Tyre another temple consecrated to the Thasian Hercules. At Thasus*, which I visited, I found a temple erected to this deity by the Phænicians, who built
Of emerald.]-- This pillar, of which Herodotus here speaks, could not, says Mr. Larcher, have been a true emerald, it was probably a pseudosmaragdus. The learned Frenchman agrees in opinion with the authors of the Universal History, that it was of coloured glass illuminated by lamps placed within.
Whether at so early a period they had knowledge of glass, may be disputed; but it is well known, that before the discovery of glass, or the application of it for windows, the rich used transparent stones for this purpose, which will solve the difficulty quite as well.
It may be added that we have specimens of Roman glass, of very great antiquity, preserved as well in other places as in the British Museum.-T.
* Thasus.]-Thasus is an island on the coast of Thrace, and said to have contained rich mines of gold and silver, and to have produced excellent wine. It received its name from Thasus, a son of Neptune. Its modern name is Thuso.
Thasus while they were engaged in search of Europa; an event which happened five generations before Hercules, the son of Amphitryon, was known in Greece. From all these circumstances I was convinced that Hercules must be a very ancient deity. Such therefore of the Greeks as have erected two temples to the deity of this name, have, in my opinion, acted very wisely : to the Olympian Hercules they offer sacrifice as to an immortal being; to the other they pay the rites of an hero.
XLV. Among the many preposterous fables current in Greece, the one concerning Hercules is not the least ridiculous. He arrived, they say, in Ægypt, where the inhabitants bound him with the sacred fillet, and the usual ornaments of a victim*}, and made preparations to sacrifice him to Jupiter. For a while he restrained himself,
$3 Of a victim.]—The gradations by which mankind were led from offering the produce of the earth to the gods, to sacrifice animals, are related by Porphyry, in his second book, de Abstinentiâ. He relates the following story on this subject: “ So abhorrent,” says he, were the antient Athe. nians from the destroying of any kind of animals, that a woman, named Clymene, was deemed guilty of a very criminal act, from her having without design killed a hog. Her husband, from the supposition that she had committed an impiety, went to consult the oracle on the occasion. But as the deity did not consider it in a very heinous light, men were afterwards induced to make light of it also.”. See Porphyr. lib. ii, chap. 9.-T.