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LXVII. The cats, when dead, are carried to sacred buildings, and after being salted "22 are buried in the city Bubastis. Of the canine species, the females are buried in consecrated chests, wherever they may happen to die, which ceremony is also observed with respect to the ichneumons". The shrew-mice and hawks are always
grading light. “ Am I a dog ?” says the Philistine to David. “What is thy servant a dog?" says Hazael, &c. See Harmer, vol. i. p. 220. It may indeed be observed, that in most countries and languages the word dog is a term of contempt. “ I took by the throat the uncircumcised. dog."-T.
The following whimsical fragment from Anaxandrides, a Greek comic poet, which is preserved in Athenæus, seems to deserve a place here:
“ How can I possibly fight or serve in the same ranks with you, as nothing can possibly be more unlike than our laws and customs. You worship an ox, I sacrifice it to the gods; you think an eеl a very mighty divinity, we esteem it as one of the best dishes that come upon the table ; you worship a dog, I flog the rascal, and particularly when I find him stealing my dinner.”
529 After being salted.]— Diodorus Siculus says the same thing, and he also describes the process used on the occasion.-T.
123 Ichneumon.]—This animal is found both in Upper and Lower Ægypt. It creeps slowly along, as if ready to seize its prey; it feeds on plants, eggs and fowls. In Upper Ægypt it searches for the eggs of the crocodile, which lie hid in the sand, and eats them, thereby preventing the increase of that animal. It may be easily tamed, and goes about the houses like a cat. It makes a growling noise, and barks when it is very angry. The French in Ægypt have called this le rat de
removed to Butos; the ibis to Hermopolis 124; the bears, an animal rarely seen in Ægypt, and the wolves"25, which are not much bigger than foxes, are buried in whatever place they die.
LXVIII. I pro
Pharaon. Alpinus and Bellonius, following this, have called it Mus Pharaonis. The resemblance it has to a mouse in colour and hair, might have induced people ignorant of natural history to call it a mouse ; but why. Pharaoh's mouse? The Ægyptians were in the time of Pharaoh too intelligent to call it a mouse: nor is it at this day called phar by the Arabs, which is the name for mouse; they call it nems. What is related concerning its entering the jaws of the crocodile is fabulous.—Hasselquist.
524 Hermopolis.]—There were in Ægypt two places of this name, Wesseling supposes Herodotus to speak of that in the Thebaid.—T.
Our gallant countryman, Sir Robert Wilson, describes an immense deposit of these birds in the plain between the Pyramids of Sacarah and those of Giza, the site probably of the ancient Memphis. The mummy pits, as he calls them, extend several leagues. The bird pits he thus describes :
In the bird pits, millions of earthen pots lie in the recesses, of which the sacred birds of Ægypt, particularly the Ibis, are enclosed, and occasionally the bones of animals are found: these pots are closed by a strong cement, which no air can penetrate, when broken, there drops out what is apparently a lump of burnt cinders, which proves to be the cloth in which the bodies were preserved. In almost all, the string which bound them remains perfect, and their feathers are preserved with their very shades of colour.—p. 138.
125 Wolves.]–Hasselquist did not meet with either of these animals in Ægypt.'
Wolves were honoured in Ægypt, says Eusebius, probably from their resemblance to the dog. Some relate, that the Æthiopians having made an expedition against Ægypt, were put to flight by a vast number of wolves, which occasioned the place where the incident happened to be called Lycopolis.
· LXVIII, I proceed now to describe the na'ture of the crocodile'26, which during the four
126 of the crocodile.]—The general nature and properties of the crocodile are sufficiently known. I shall therefore be contented with giving the reader, from different authors, such particulars of this extraordinary animal as are less notorious. The circumstance of their eating nothing during the four severe winter inonths seems to be untrue. .
The excrements do not appear to pass through the anus, they pass through the gut into the ventricle, and are vomited up. Under the shoulder of the old crocodile is a folliculus containing a thick matter, which smells like musk, a perfume much esteemed in Ægypt. When the male copulates with the female, he turns her with his snout on her back.
The fat of the crocodile is used by the Ægyptians against the rheumatism. The gall is thought good for the eyes, and for barrenness in women. The eyes are an aphrodisiac, and as Hasselquist affirms, esteemed by the Arabs superior even to ambergris.
When the ancient prophets in the Old Testament speak of a dragon, a crocodile is generally to be understood. “ Am I a sea or a jannin?” See Job, vii. 12; where, according to Harmer, a crocodile alone can be meant. The animal is of most extraordinary strength. “ One of twelve feet,” says Naillet, “ after a long fast threw down with the stroke of his tail five or six men, and a bale of coffee.” They sleep in the sun, but not soundly. They seldom descend below the Thebais, and never below Grand Cairo. Some have been seen fifty feet long. Herodotus says it has no tongue, but it has a fleshy substance like a tongue, which serves it to turn its meat: it is said to move only the upper jaw, and to lay fifty eggs. It is not a little remarkable, that the ancient name being champsa, the Ægyptians now call it timsah.-T.:
The following, which is the latest account of this animal, is taken from Denon :
In my wanderings on the banks of the Nile, I have seen crocodiles of all sizes, from three to twenty-six or twentyeight feet in length: many officers worthy of credit, assured
severer months of winter, eats nothing: it is a quadruped, but amphibious; it is also oviparous, and deposits its eggs in the sand; the greater part of the day it spends on shore, but all the night in the water, as being warmer than the external air 127, whose cold is increased by the dew. No animal that I have seen or known, from being at
nie that they met with one no less than forty feet long. They are by no means so ferocious as is pretended; their favourite resort are the low islands of the river, where they are seen basking in the sun, the most intense heat of which appears highly gratifying to them, by numbers at a time, ásleep and motionless as so many logs of wood, surrounded by birds, who appear totally unmindful of them. What is the food of these large animals? Many stories are related of them, but we have not yet had an opportunity of verifying a single one. Daring even to imprudence, our soldiers set them at defiance; even I myself bathed daily in the Nile, for the tranquil nights that I thus obtained, rendered me regardless of dangers which we had not yet verified by a single fact. If the crocodiles had devoured a few of the carcases which there were left at their disposal, such a food it might be imagined would only excite their appetite, and engage them to pursue when alive, so favourite a prey, and yet we were never once attacked by them, nor did we ever meet a single crocodile at a distance from the water. Hence it appears probable, that they find in the Nile itself, a sufficient quantity of easily procurable food, which they digest slowly, being like the lizard and serpent, cold blooded and of an inactive stomach.
In confirmation of Harman's opinion, that the dragon of the Old Testament was the crocodile, see Mr. Hardis..
Concerning the Hippopotamus, see Paterson's Voyage to the Cape. Pennant quotes Mr. Gordon to the same effect.
127 Warmer than the external air.]—Water exposed to vinlent heat during the day preserves its warmth in the night, and is then much less cold than the external air. - Larcher.
first so remarkably diminutive, grows to so vast a size. The eggs are not larger than those of geese : on leaving the shell the young is proportionably small, but when arrived at its full size it is sometimes more than seventeen cubits in length: it has eyes like a hog'a, teeth large and prominent, in proportion to the dimensions of its body; but, unlike all other animals, it has no tongue. · It is further and most singularly distinguished, by only mnoving its upper jaw. Its feet are armed with strong fangs; the skin is protected by hard scales regularly divided. In the open air its sight is remarkably acute, but it cannot see at all in the water : living in the water its throat is always full of leeches; beasts and birds universally avoid it, the trochilus alone excepted, which, from a sense of gratitude, it treats with kindness. When the crocodile leaves the water, it réclines itself on the sand, and generally
128 Eyes like a hog.]—The leviathan of Job is variously understood by critics for the whale and the crocodile. Both these animals are remarkable for the smallness of their eyes, in proportion to the bulk of their bodies : those of the crocodile are said to be extremely piercing out of the water; in which sense therefore the poet's expression, “ its eyes are like the eye-lids of the morning," can only be applicable, Dr. Young, in his paraphrase on this part of Job, describing the crocodile as the animal intended in the original, has given the image an erroneous reference to the magnitude rather than the brightness of its eye.
Large is his front, and when his burnish'd eyes
Dr. Aikin, Poetical Use of Nat. Hist.