Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

A

crued; or was pointed out. The rising of the sun made wild beasts retire. Hence a wolf and a lion were made emblems of the sun's efficacy: and were sacred to Sol, Mithras, and Osiris. People, who travelled in deserts, were generally much in want of water : and it is said, that they used to follow the asses of the wilderness, or trace their footsteps, in order to arrive at the pools and fountains, with which those animals were acquainted. Hence the ass, and particularly the wild ass, was held by many nations as sacred: and these animals probably upon this account were admitted into the sphere; where of old was the ovw patvar, as we read in Theon upon Aratus. For the very same reason I imagine, that the frog was held in some reverence; as the same discovery must have been made to people in distress by the noise he makes, and the indication he gives of water. When people in a desert were looking out for a pool, or a fountáin, nothing could be a surer guide to the ear than the croaking of these animals, which may be heard at a great distance. There is an elegant epigram to this purpose by an un

! Minucius Felix, p. 260.

known hand; which deserves well to be transcribed. I have alluded to it before.

Αδηλου.
Τον νυμφων θεραποντα, φιλομβριον, υγρον αοιδον,

Τον σαγοσιν κουφαις τερπομενον βατραχον,
Χαλχω στηλωσας τις οδοιπορος, ευχος εθηκεν

Καυματος, εχθροτατην διψαν ακεσσαμενος. Πλαζομενω γαρ εδειξεν ύδωρ, ευκαιρoν αεισας,

Κοιλαδος εκ δροσερης αμφιβιω στοματι. Φωνην ήγητειραν οδοιπορος εκ απολειπων------Εκπιε, και μοιραν διψαλεην εφυγεν.

Antholog. 1. 6. C. 10. p. 447. Steph,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Ch. viii. Ver. 16. And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

And they did so ; for Aaron stretched forth his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast: all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

V. 17.

It has been mentioned that the Egyptians affected great external purity : and were very nice both in their persons, and cloathing : bathing and making ablutions continually. Uncommon care was taken, that they might not harbour any vermine. They were particularly solicitous

upon

this head ; thinking it would be a great profanation of the temple, which they entered, if any animalcule of this sort were concealed in their garments. It would have been well, if their worship had corresponded with their outward

appearance : but, on the contrary, it seems to have been more foul and base than that of any other nation, as far as we can obtain evidence. Their gods were contemptible, and ridiculous: and their rites filthy; and to the last degree bestial and obscene. Yet they were carried on with an appearance of outward purity, and a scrupulous shew of cleanliness ; in which perhaps they may have exceeded all other people. Their delicacy in this respect is taken notice of by Herodotus. EoOnta de Φορεεσι οι ιερεες λινεην μονην.--Again, ειματα δε . λινέα φορεασιν αιει νεοπλυτα, επιτηδευοντες τετο μαhurta. The priests wear raiment of linen only. And the linen garments which they put on, are

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

continually fresh washed: concerning which they take particular care.

Herod. 1. 2. C. 37. p. 120,1.

The people in general wore a woollen garment over another of linen : but they laid aside the former, when they approached their deities, for fear, that it should harbour any vermine. . 1 Ου μεντοι ες γε τα ιρα εσφερεται ειρινεα, ουδε συγκαταθάπτεται σφι. ου γαρ οσιον. They never wear any woollen garment, when they are to enter a temple: nor is any thing of this sort used in their burials: for it would be esteened un impurity. On this account the priests abstained entirely from all woollen raiment, and wore only one covering, which was of linen: and besides bathing continually, they plucked out all hairs and excrescences from their bodies, and were carefully shaved; that they might not incur any impurity. 'Oo de Γρεες ξυρευνται παν το σωμα δια τριτης ημερης, ένα μητε ΦΘΕΙΡ, μητε αλλο μυσαρον μηδεν εγινεται σφι θεραπευεσι τες Θεες. The priests, says

, Herodotus, are shaved, both as to their heads, and

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1 Herod. 1. 2. c. 31.

p.

141. Ενδεδυκασι δε κιθωνας λινεες περι τα σκελεα θυσανωτος, ες καλεσι καλωσιρις.

* Sacerdotes deglabrato corpore. Lactant. de Falsa. Relig. 1. 1. p. 96,

bodies, every third day: to prevent any LOUSE, or any other detestable object, being found upon them, when they are performing their duty to the gods. Herod. l. 2. C. 37. p. 121. The same is mentioned by another author: who adds, that all woollen was foul, and excrementitious, being an animal substance from a perishable being; which they abhorred.

Το δε λινον φυεται εξ αθανατο της γης λιτην δε παρέχει και καθαραν εσθητα-- ηκιστα δε φθειροποιον. But fax is the product of the immortal earth. It affords a delicate and pure covering and is not at all liable to produce LICE. We may from hence see, what an abhorrence the Egyptians shewed towards this sort of vermine ; and what care was taken by the priests to guard against them.

The judgments therefore inflicted by the hands of Moses were adapted to their prejudices, and they were made to suffer for their false delicacy in placing the essence of religion in external cleanliness, to the omission of things of real weight. For with

Plutarch ; who speaks of the priests as-sugapevous xe Attentvousnesopozaws adv to owpict, shaved close, and equably smoothed all over their bodies. De Is. et Osir. v. p. 352. D. Of their wearing linen, ibid.

2.

3 Ibid.

« ZurückWeiter »