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had a notion of rivers being changed and corrupted in this manner; and also, that it often rained blood: and they esteemed these appearances as portents of great consequence. The Decemviri were always summoned upon such occasions; and the Sibylline books consulted : and victims immediately appointed by way of expiation.
The Destruction of the Aquatic Tribes.
It is moreover said, that the fish that were in the river died; and the river stank. ver. 21.
'We have many instances to this purpose recorded in
Mantua stagnum effusum Mincio amni cruentum visum : et Romæ in foro Boario sanguine fluxisse. Vol. 2. 1. 24.
46. p. 621.
Flumen Amiterni cruentum fluxisse. 1. 24. C. 44. p. 392.
Aquas Cærites sanguine mistas fluxisse. 1. 22. c. 1. p. 110.- Many other instances may be found.
-penitus sonuere revulsæ Tarpeiæ rupes, atque atro sanguine flumen Manavit Jovis in templis.
Silius Italicus, 1. 8. v. 645.
The offensive vapour from the waters must have been a great aggravation of the evil to people of such external purity, as the Egyptians, who abhorred - all animal corruption. And what the historian mentions concerning the fish is of consequence : for all the natives of the river were in some degree-esteemed sacred. In many parts the people did not feed upon them. The priests, in particular, never tasted fish; and this on account of their imputed sanctity. For they were sometimes looked upon as sacred emblerns: at other times worshipped as real deities. One species of fish was ştiled Oxurunchus ; and there was a city of the name, built in honour of it, and a temple where this fish was publicly 'worshipped. Nor was the veneration confined to this place, bụt obtained in many other parts
Egypt. A fish called Phagrus was worshipped at Syene: as the. Mæotis was at
'Ixbum de 8 oņi Egest Trecastal. Herod. I. 2. c. 37. p. 121. c. 73. p. 137. * Ixoww sx á FTOVEC. Clemens, 1. 7. p. 850. Οξυρυγχος πολις.-τιμωσι
τον Οξυρυγχον, και εσιν αυτοις ιερων 78 Ogugurne. Strabo, l. 17. p. 1166. 4 Ibid.
Σύσεσι δε αντων, Συηνιται φαγρον τον ιχθυν. Μειωτην δε, (αλλος
Elephantis. The Lepidotus had the like reverence paid to it: as had also the Eel; being each sacred to the god Nilus. This is ridiculed in a passage, which has bi on often quoted, from the ancient comedian 'Antiphanes : who mentions, that an eel by the Egyptians was reverenced equally with their gods. Another comedian says, that they esteemed it as one of their supreme deities: and he, at the same time, exposes their folly with
δυτος ιχθυς) οι την Ελεφαντινην οικοντες. Οξυρυγγιται φερώνυμον της χώρας αυτων ομοιως ιχθυν. Clemens Alexand. Cohort.
Νομιζεσιν δε και παντων ιχθυων τον κάλεμενου Λεπιδωτον ιρον ειναι, και την Εγχελυν.. Ιρες δε τετες είναι το Νείλε φασι, Herod. 1, 2. c. 72. p. 137..
2 Και τ' αλλα δεινες φασι της Αιγυπτιες
θεων γαρ εσι τιμιωτέρα
1.7. p. 299. 3 Anaxandrides.
Ουκ αν δυναιμην συμμαχειν υμιν εγώ,
δε θυω θεοις.
Anaxandrides Comicus εν Πολισι.
apud Athenæum ibid.
A Grecian is made to address himself to an Egyptian: and he accordingly says, “ It is impossible for me to ride in the
same.troop with you : for our notions and manners are diametrically opposite. You pay
adoration to an ox: I kill and sacrifice “ it to the gods. You esteem an eel to be a
very great divinity. I only think it the best “ dish that comes upon table. You worship
a dog. I whip him handsomely; especi" ally if I find the cur purloining my dinner.”
These punishments, brought upon the Egyptians, bore a strict analogy with theircrime. They must therefore have been greatly alarmed when they beheld their sacred stream defiled with blood, their land infected, and themselves almost poisoned with their stinking deities. The evil reached the land of Goshen; for it seemed proper, that the Israelites should partake in it: that the impression might be the stronger on their minds. One great reason for this part of the punishment was to give them a thorough disgust to this worship, that they might not hereafter lapse into this popular idolatry. For it is to be observed, as they were to be conducted to the land of Canaan, and to the confines of Syria, that there
were many nations in those parts, among whom this worship was common.
Of the Compound Deity Atargatis.
And here it is proper to take notice, that tħere was a female deity, called Athor in Egypt : but in Syria' Atar-Cetus, or Atargatis; and abbreviated 'Dercetus and Derceti. This personage was supposed to have been of old preserved by means of a ' fish: and was represented one half under that form; and the other half as a
woman. She was esteemed to be the same as the Aphrodite of the Greeks, and the Venus of the Romans: whose origin
Atar-catus, or cetus, signifies the fish Atar. . Catus and Cetus in many languages signified a fish.
Pliny speaking of Joppa says---colițur illic fabulosa Ceto. l. 5. c. 13. p. 260. This was the same as Derceto
Atayari Thy A dagar. Atargatis was the goddess Athar, Strabo, 1. 16. p. 1182. 3 Ο μέγας καλεμενος ιχθυς-ν λιμνη τινι κατα την Βαμβυκην, εμde
της Δερκατες νυκτος σώσαι αυτην. . Eratosthenis kao Tasiesouos og dus. Some speak of more fishes than one. Schol.
in Arat. p. 32.
4 Ημισεη μεν γυνη: το δε οκοσον εκ μηρων εις ακρες ποδας, ιχθυος συχη αποτεινεται. . Lucian de Syriâ Deâ, p. 884.
At Hierapolis she was represented intirely in the form of a woman, Taru yur.
Ibid. p. 884.