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connect themselves with women in their temples, nor think it necessary to wash themselves after such connection, previous to their paying their, devotions. In this instance they rank man indiscriminately with other animals; for observing that birds as well as beasts copulate in shrines and temples, they conclude that it cannot be offensive to the deity. Such a mode of reasoning does not by any means obtain my approbation.
LXV. The superstition of the Ægyptians is conspicuous in various instances, but in this more particularly: notwithstanding the vicinity of their country to Libya, the number of beasts is comparatively small, but all of them, both those which are wild and those which are domestic, are regarded as sacred. If I were to explain the reason of this prejudice, I should be led to the discussion of those sacred subjects, which I particularly wish to avoid "2, and which but from necessity, I should not have discussed so fully as I have. Their laws compel them to cherish animals; a certain number of men and women are appointed to this
112 Wish to avoid.}--The ancients were reniarkably scrupulous in every thing which regarded religion; but in the , time of Diodorus Siculus strangers did not pay the same reverence to the religious rites of the Ægyptians. This historian was not afraid to acquaint us with the motives which' induced the Ægy piians to pay divine honours to animals.-Larcher See Diodorus Siculus, lib. i. 21.
office, which is esteemed so honourable"}, that it descends in succession from father to son. In the presence of these animals, the inhabitants of the cities perform their vows. They address themselves as supplicants to the divinity, who is supposed to be represented by the animal in whose presence they are; they then cut off their childrens' hair, sometimes the whole of it, sometimes half, at other times only a third part; this they weigh in a balance against a piece of silver; as soon as the silver preponderates, they give it to the woman who keeps the beast, she in return feeds the beast with pieces of fish, which is their constant food. It is a capital offence designedly to kill any one of these "4 animals; to destroy
113 Esteemed so honourable.]—So far from refusing this employ, or being ashamed publicly to exercise it, they make a vain display of it, as if they participated the greatest honours of the gods. When they travel through the cities, or the country, they make known, by certain marks which they exhibit, the particular animal of which they have the care. They who meet them, as they journey, respect and worship these.—Diodorus Siculus,
114 To kill any one of these.] ---The cat was also held in the extremest veneration by the ancient Ægyptians; and Dio. dorus Siculus relates, that a Roman having by accident killed a cat, the common people instantly surrounded his house with every demonstration of fury. The king's guards were instantly dispatched to rescue him from their rage, but in vain; his authority and the Roman name were equally ineffectual.-In the most extreme necessities of famine, they rather chose to feed on human flesh than on these animals.-T,
one accidentally, is punished by a fine, determined by the priests : but whoever, however involuntarily, kills an ibis ""S or an hawk"• cannot by any means escape death.
LXVI. The number of domestic animals in Ægypt is very great, and would be much greater if the increase of cats '17 were not thus prevented.
115 Ibis.]—The Ægyptians thus venerated the ibis, be. cause they were supposed to devour the serpents which bred in the ground after the ebbing of the Nile.-T.
16 Huwk.]—They have a kind of domestic large brown hawk, with a fine eye. One may see the pigeons and hawks standing close to one another. The Turks never kill them, and seem to have a sort of veneration for these birds and for cats, as well as their ancestors. The ancient Ægyptians in this animal worshipped the sun or Osiris, of which the brightness of its eyes was an emblem.-Pococke.
Osiris was worshipped at Philæ, under the figure of the Æthiopian hawk.--T.
517 If the increase of cats, 8c.]—There occurs, I own, a difficulty in the Ægyptian system of theology. It is evident · from their method of propagation, that a couple of cats in fifty years would stock a whole kingdom. If religious veneration were paid them, it would in twenty more not only be easier in Ægypt to find a god than a man, (which Petronius says was the case in some parts of Italy) but the gods must at last entirely starve the inen, and leave themselves neither priests nor votaries remaining. It is probable, therefore, that this wise nation, the most celebrated in antiquity for prudence and sound policy, foreseeing such dangerous consequences, reserved all their worship for the full-grown divinities, and used the freedom to drown the holy spawn, or little sucking gods, without any scruple or remorse. And thus the practice of warping the tenets of religion, in order to serve
The female cats, when delivered of their young, carefully avoid the company of the males, who to obtain a second commerce with them, contrive and execute this stratagem : they steal the young from the mother, which they destroy, but do not eat. This animal, which is very fond of its young, from its desire to have more, again covets the company of the male. · In every accident of fire, the cats seem to be actuated by some supernatural'18 impulse; for the Ægyptians surrounding the place which is burning, appear to be occupied with no thought but that of preserving their cats. These, however, by stealing between the legs of the spectators, or by leaping over * their heads, endeavour to dart into the flames.
This circumstance, whenever it happens, diffuses universal sorrow. In whatever fanily a cat by accident happens to die, every individual cuts off his eye-brows 120; but on the death of a
temporal interests, is not by any means to be regarded as an invention of these later ages.-Hume. .
In this place Mr. Hume, like the rest of his brethren, overshoots his mark. It was not the Ægyptians, but the male cats, that put a stop to the increase of their kind.
118 Supernatural.]—It is astonishing that Herodotus should see this as a prodigy. The cat is a timid animal, fire makes it more so: the precautions taken to prevent its perishing frighten it still more, and deprive it of its sagacity.—Larcher.
110 Cuts off his eye-brows.] – The custom of cutting off the hair in mourning appears to have obtained in the East in the prophetic times.
dog $21' they shave their heads and every part of their bodies.
Among the ancient Greeks it was sometimes laid upon the dead body, sometimes cast into the funeral pile, and sometimes placed upon the grave. 13!!! sei
Women in the deep mourning of captivity, shaved off their hair. “ Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head and pare her nails." Deuteronomy, xxi. 12.
Maillet says, that in the East the women that attend a corpse to the grave generally have their hair hanging loose about their ears.
121 Death of a dog - In this respect Plutarch differs from Herodotus. He allows that these animals were at one time esteemed holy, but it was before the time of Cambyses. From the æra of his reign they were held in another light; for when this king killed the sacred Apis, the dogs fed so liberally upon his entrails, without making a proper distinction, that they lost all their sanctity. But they were certainly of old looked upon as sacred; and it was perhaps with a view to this, and to prevent the Israelites retaining any notion of this nature, that a dog was not suffered to come within the precincts of the temple of Jerusalem. In the Mosaic law, the price of a dog, and the hire of a harlot, are put upon the same level. See Deuteronomy, xxiii. 18. “ Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore nor the price of a dog into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow, for both these are an aboinination to the Lord thy God.”— Bryant.
It is because the dog was consecrated to Anubis, that this deity was represented with a dog's head. Virgil and Ovid call him Latrator Anubis; Propertius and Prudentius, Latrans Anubis.~Larcher.
At the present day dogs are considered in the East as defiling; they do not suffer them in their houses, and ever with care avoid touching theni in the streets. By the ancient Jews, as remarked before, they were considered in a de- .