Chapter XXVII.—Ham the First Magician.
“For these and some other causes, a flood was brought upon the world, 740 as we have said already, and shall say again; and all who were upon the earth were destroyed, except the family of Noah, who survived, with his three sons and their wives. One of these, by name Ham, unhappily discovered the magical act, and handed down the instruction of it to one of his sons, who was called Mesraim, from whom the race of the Egyptians and Babylonians and Persians are descended. Him the nations who then existed called Zoroaster, 741 admiring him as the first author of the magic art; under whose name also many books on this subject exist. He therefore, being much and frequently intent upon the stars, and wishing to be esteemed a god among them, began to draw forth, as it were, certain sparks from the stars, and to show them to men, in order that the rude and ignorant might be astonished, as with a miracle; and desiring to increase this estimation of him, he attempted these things again and again, until he was set on fire, and consumed by the demon himself, whom he accosted with too great importunity.
[With chaps. 27–31 compare Homily IX. 3–7. The resemblances are quite close. See also book i. 30, 31.—R.]140:741
[With chaps. 27–31 compare Homily IX. 3–7. The resemblances are quite close. See also book i. 30, 31.—R.]