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The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], at

Herodotus Book 2: Euterpe [70]

70. There are many ways in use of catching them and of various kinds: I shall describe that which to me seems the most worthy of being told. A man puts the back of a pig upon a hook as bait, and lets it go into the middle of the river, while he himself upon the bank of the river has a young live pig, which he beats; and the crocodile hearing its cries makes for the direction of the sound, and when he finds the pig's back he swallows it down: then they pull, and when he is drawn out to land, first of all the hunter forthwith plasters up his eyes with mud, and having so done he very easily gets the mastery of him, but if he does not do so he has much trouble.

70. [1] ἄγραι δὲ σφέων πολλαὶ κατεστᾶσι καὶ παντοῖαι· ἣ δ᾽ ὦν ἔμοιγε δοκέει ἀξιωτάτη ἀπηγήσιος εἶναι, ταύτην γράφω. ἐπεὰν νῶτον ὑὸς δελεάσῃ περὶ ἄγκιστρον, μετιεῖ ἐς μέσον τὸν ποταμόν, αὐτὸς δὲ ἐπὶ τοῦ χείλεος τοῦ ποταμοῦ ἔχων δέλφακα ζωὴν ταύτην τύπτει. [2] ἐπακούσας δὲ τῆς φωνῆς ὁ κροκόδειλος ἵεται κατὰ τὴν φωνήν, ἐντυχὼν δὲ τῷ νώτῳ καταπίνει· οἳ δὲ ἕλκουσι. ἐπεὰν δὲ ἐξελκυσθῇ ἐς γῆν, πρῶτον ἁπάντων ὁ θηρευτὴς πηλῷ κατ᾽ ὦν ἔπλασε αὐτοῦ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς· τοῦτο δὲ ποιήσας κάρτα εὐπετέως τὰ λοιπὰ χειροῦται, μὴ ποιήσας δὲ τοῦτο σὺν πόνῳ. 

71. The river-horse is sacred in the district of Papremis, but for the other Egyptians he is not sacred; and this is the appearance which he presents: he is four-footed, cloven-hoofed like an ox, flat-nosed, with a mane like a horse and showing teeth like tusks, with a tail and voice like a horse, and in size as large as the largest ox; and his hide is so exceedingly thick that when it has been dried shafts of javelins are made of it. 71. [1] οἱ δὲ ἵπποι οἱ ποτάμιοι νομῷ μὲν τῷ Παπρημίτῃ ἱροί εἰσι, τοῖσι δὲ ἄλλοισι Αἰγυπτίοισι οὐκ ἱροί. φύσιν δὲ παρέχονται ἰδέης τοιήνδε· τετράπουν ἐστί, δίχηλον, ὁπλαὶ βοός, σιμόν, λοφιὴν ἔχον ἵππου, χαυλιόδοντας φαῖνον, οὐρὴν ἵππου καὶ φωνήν, μέγαθος ὅσον τε βοῦς ὁ μέγιστος· τὸ δέρμα δ᾽ αὐτοῦ οὕτω δή τι παχύ ἐστι ὥστε αὔου γενομένου ξυστὰ ποιέεσθαι ἀκόντια ἐξ αὐτοῦ. 

72. There are moreover otters in the river, which they consider to be sacred; and of fish also they esteem that which is called the lepidotos to be sacred, and also the eel; and these they say are sacred to the Nile: and of birds the fox-goose.

72. [1] γίνονται δὲ καὶ ἐνύδριες ἐν τῷ ποταμῷ, τὰς ἱρὰς ἥγηνται εἶναι. νομίζουσι δὲ καὶ τῶν ἰχθύων τὸν καλεύμενον λεπιδωτὸν ἱρὸν εἶναι καὶ τὴν ἔγχελυν, ἱροὺς δὲ τούτους τοῦ Νείλου φασὶ εἶναι, καὶ τῶν ὀρνίθων τοὺς χηναλώπεκας. 

73. There is also another sacred bird called the phœnix which I did not myself see except in painting, for in truth he comes to them very rarely, at intervals, as the people of Heliopolis say, of five hundred years; and these say that he comes regularly when his father dies; and if he be like the painting, he is of this size and nature, that is to say, some of his feathers are of gold colour and others red, and in outline and size he is as nearly as possible like an eagle. This bird they say (but I cannot believe the story) contrives as follows:-- setting forth from Arabia he conveys his father, they say, to the temple of the Sun (Helios) plastered up in myrrh, and buries him in the temple of the Sun; and he conveys him thus:--he forms first an egg of myrrh as large as he is able to carry, and then he makes trial of carrying it, and when he has made trial sufficiently, then he hollows out the egg and places his father within it and plasters over with other myrrh that part of the egg where he hollowed it out to put his father in, and when his father is laid in it, it proves (they say) to be of the same weight as it was; and after he has plastered it up, he conveys the whole to Egypt to the temple of the Sun. Thus they say that this bird does.

73. [1] ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἄλλος ὄρνις ἱρός, τῷ οὔνομα φοῖνιξ. ἐγὼ μέν μιν οὐκ εἶδον εἰ μὴ ὅσον γραφῇ· καὶ γὰρ δὴ καὶ σπάνιος ἐπιφοιτᾷ σφι, δι᾽ ἐτέων, ὡς Ἡλιοπολῖται λέγουσι, πεντακοσίων· [2] φοιτᾶν δὲ τότε φασὶ ἐπεάν οἱ ἀποθάνῃ ὁ πατήρ. ἔστι δέ, εἰ τῇ γραφῇ παρόμοιος, τοσόσδε καὶ τοιόσδε· τὰ μὲν αὐτοῦ χρυσόκομα τῶν πτερῶν τὰ δὲ ἐρυθρὰ ἐς τὰ μάλιστα· αἰετῷ περιήγησιν ὁμοιότατος καὶ τὸ μέγαθος. [3] τοῦτον δὲ λέγουσι μηχανᾶσθαι τάδε, ἐμοὶ μὲν οὐ πιστὰ λέγοντες· ἐξ Ἀραβίης ὁρμώμενον ἐς τὸ ἱρὸν τοῦ Ἡλίου κομίζειν τὸν πατέρα ἐν σμύρνῃ ἐμπλάσσοντα καὶ θάπτειν ἐν τοῦ Ἡλίου τῷ ἱρῷ, [4] κομίζειν δὲ οὕτω· πρῶτον τῆς σμύρνης ᾠὸν πλάσσειν ὅσον τε δυνατός ἐστι φέρειν, μετὰ δὲ πειρᾶσθαι αὐτὸ φορέοντα, ἐπεὰν δὲ ἀποπειρηθῇ, οὕτω δὴ κοιλήναντα τὸ ᾠὸν τὸν πατέρα ἐς αὐτὸ ἐντιθέναι, σμύρνῃ δὲ ἄλλῃ ἐμπλάσσειν τοῦτο κατ᾽ ὅ τι τοῦ ᾠοῦ ἐκκοιλήνας ἐνέθηκε τὸν πατέρα· ἐσκειμένου δὲ τοῦ πατρὸς γίνεσθαι τὠυτὸ βάρος· ἐμπλάσαντα δὲ κομίζειν μιν ἐπ᾽ Αἰγύπτου ἐς τοῦ Ἡλίου τὸ ἱρόν. ταῦτα μὲν τοῦτον τὸν ὄρνιν λέγουσι ποιέειν. 

74. There are also about Thebes sacred serpents, not at all harmful to men, which are small in size and have two horns growing from the top of the head: these they bury when they die in the temple of Zeus, for to this god they say that they are sacred. 74. [1] εἰσὶ δὲ περὶ Θήβας ἱροὶ ὄφιες, ἀνθρώπων οὐδαμῶς δηλήμονες, οἳ μεγάθεϊ ἐόντες μικροὶ δύο κέρεα φορέουσι πεφυκότα ἐξ ἄκρης τῆς κεφαλῆς· τοὺς θάπτουσι ἀποθανόντας ἐν τῷ ἱρῷ τοῦ Διός· τούτου γὰρ σφέας τοῦ θεοῦ φασι εἶναι ἱρούς. 

75. There is a region moreover in Arabia, situated nearly over against the city of Buto, to which place I came to inquire about the winged serpents: and when I came thither I saw bones of serpents and spines in quantity so great that it is impossible to make report of the number, and there were heaps of spines, some heaps large and others less large and others smaller still than these, and these heaps were many in number. This region in which the spines are scattered upon the ground is of the nature of an entrance from a narrow mountain pass to a great plain, which plain adjoins the plain of Egypt; and the story goes that at the beginning of spring winged serpents from Arabia fly towards Egypt, and the birds called ibises meet them at the entrance to this country and do not suffer the serpents to go by but kill them. On account of this deed it is (say the Arabians) that the ibis has come to be greatly honoured by the Egyptians, and the Egyptians also agree that it is for this reason that they honour these birds. 75. [1] ἔστι δὲ χῶρος τῆς Ἀραβίης κατὰ Βουτοῦν πόλιν μάλιστά κῃ κείμενος, καὶ ἐς τοῦτο τὸ χωρίον ἦλθον πυνθανόμενος περὶ τῶν πτερωτῶν ὀφίων· ἀπικόμενος δὲ εἶδον ὀστέα ὀφίων καὶ ἀκάνθας πλήθεϊ μὲν ἀδύνατα ἀπηγήσασθαι, σωροὶ δὲ ἦσαν ἀκανθέων καὶ μεγάλοι καὶ ὑποδεέστεροι καὶ ἐλάσσονες ἔτι τούτων, πολλοὶ δὲ ἦσαν οὗτοι. [2] ἔστι δὲ ὁ χῶρος οὗτος, ἐν τῷ αἱ ἄκανθαι κατακεχύαται, τοιόσδε τις, ἐσβολὴ ἐξ ὀρέων στεινῶν ἐς πεδίον μέγα, τὸ δὲ πεδίον τοῦτο συνάπτει τῷ Αἰγυπτίῳ πεδίῳ. [3] λόγος δὲ ἐστὶ ἅμα τῷ ἔαρι πτερωτοὺς ὄφις ἐκ τῆς Ἀραβίης πέτεσθαι ἐπ᾽ Αἰγύπτου, τὰς δὲ ἴβις τὰς ὄρνιθας ἀπαντώσας ἐς τὴν ἐσβολὴν ταύτης τῆς χώρης οὐ παριέναι τοὺς ὄφις ἀλλὰ κατακτείνειν. [4] καὶ τὴν ἶβιν διὰ τοῦτο τὸ ἔργον τετιμῆσθαι λέγουσι Ἀράβιοι μεγάλως πρὸς Αἰγυπτίων· ὁμολογέουσι δὲ καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι διὰ ταῦτα τιμᾶν τὰς ὄρνιθας ταύτας.

76. The outward form of the ibis is this:--it is a deep black all over, and has legs like those of a crane and a very curved beak, and in size it is about equal to a rail: this is the appearance of the black kind which fight with the serpents, but of those which most crowd round men's feet (for there are two several kinds of ibises) the head is bare and also the whole of the throat, and it is white in feathering except the head and neck and the extremities of the wings and the rump (in all these parts of which I have spoken it is a deep black), while in legs and in the form of the head it resembles the other. As for the serpent its form is like that of the watersnake; and it has wings not feathered but most nearly resembling the wings of the bat. Let so much suffice as has been said now concerning sacred animals.

76. [1] εἶδος δὲ τῆς μὲν ἴβιος τόδε· μέλαινα δεινῶς πᾶσα, σκέλεα δὲ φορέει γεράνου, πρόσωπον δὲ ἐς τὰ μάλιστα ἐπίγρυπον, μέγαθος ὅσον κρέξ. τῶν μὲν δὴ μελαινέων τῶν μαχομενέων πρὸς τοὺς ὄφις ἥδε ἰδέη, τῶν δ᾽ ἐν ποσὶ μᾶλλον εἱλευμενέων τοῖσι ἀνθρώποισι (διξαὶ γὰρ δή εἰσι ἴβιες) [2] ψιλὴ τὴν κεφαλὴν καὶ τὴν δειρὴν πᾶσαν, λευκὴ πτεροῖσι πλὴν κεφαλῆς καὶ αὐχένος καὶ ἀκρέων τῶν πτερύγων καὶ τοῦ πυγαίου ἄκρου (ταῦτα δὲ τὰ εἶπον πάντα μέλανα ἐστὶ δεινῶς), σκέλεα δὲ καὶ πρόσωπον ἐμφερὴς τῇ ἑτέρῃ. τοῦ δὲ ὄφιος ἡ μορφὴ οἵη περ τῶν ὕδρων, [3] πτίλα δὲ οὐ πτερωτὰ φορέει ἀλλὰ τοῖσι τῆς νυκτερίδος πτεροῖσι μάλιστά κῃ ἐμφερέστατα. τοσαῦτα μὲν θηρίων πέρι ἱρῶν εἰρήσθω. 

77. Of the Egyptians themselves, those who dwell in the part of Egypt which is sown for crops practise memory more than any other men and are the most learned in history by far of all those of whom I have had experience: and their manner of life is as follows:--For three successive days in each month they purge, hunting after health with emetics and clysters, and they think that all the diseases which exist are produced in men by the food on which they live; for the Egyptians are from other causes also the most healthy of all men next after the Libyans (in my opinion on account of the seasons, because the seasons do not change, for by the changes of things generally, and especially of the seasons, diseases are most apt to be produced in men), and as to their diet, it is as follows:--they eat bread, making loaves of maize, which they call kyllestis, and they use habitually a wine made out of barley, for vines they have not in their land. Of their fish some they dry in the sun and then eat them without cooking, others they eat cured in brine. Of birds they eat quails and ducks and small birds without cooking, after first curing them; and everything else which they have belonging to the class of birds or fishes, except such as have been set apart by them as sacred, they eat roasted or boiled. 77. [1] αὐτῶν δὲ δὴ Αἰγυπτίων οἳ μὲν περὶ τὴν σπειρομένην Αἴγυπτον οἰκέουσι, μνήμην ἀνθρώπων πάντων ἐπασκέοντες μάλιστα λογιώτατοι εἰσὶ μακρῷ τῶν ἐγὼ ἐς διάπειραν ἀπικόμην, [2] τρόπῳ δὲ ζόης τοιῷδε διαχρέωνται· συρμαΐζουσι τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἐπεξῆς μηνὸς ἑκάστου, ἐμέτοισι θηρώμενοι τὴν ὑγιείην καὶ κλύσμασι, νομίζοντες ἀπὸ τῶν τρεφόντων σιτίων πάσας τὰς νούσους τοῖσι ἀνθρώποισι γίνεσθαι. [3] εἰσὶ μὲν γὰρ καὶ ἄλλως Αἰγύπτιοι μετὰ Λίβυας ὑγιηρέστατοι πάντων ἀνθρώπων τῶν ὡρέων δοκέειν ἐμοὶ εἵνεκα, ὅτι οὐ μεταλλάσσουσι αἱ ὧραι· ἐν γὰρ τῇσι μεταβολῇσι τοῖσι ἀνθρώποισι αἱ νοῦσοι μάλιστα γίνονται τῶν τε ἄλλων πάντων καὶ δὴ καὶ τῶν ὡρέων μάλιστα. [4] ἀρτοφαγέουσι δὲ ἐκ τῶν ὀλυρέων ποιεῦντες ἄρτους, τοὺς ἐκεῖνοι κυλλήστις ὀνομάζουσι. οἴνῳ δὲ ἐκ κριθέων πεποιημένῳ διαχρέωνται· οὐ γάρ σφι εἰσὶ ἐν τῇ χώρῃ ἄμπελοι. ἰχθύων δὲ τοὺς μὲν πρὸς ἥλιον αὐήναντες ὠμοὺς σιτέονται, τοὺς δὲ ἐξ ἅλμης τεταριχευμένους. [5] ὀρνίθων δὲ τούς τε ὄρτυγας καὶ τὰς νήσσας καὶ τὰ μικρὰ τῶν ὀρνίθων ὠμὰ σιτέονται προταριχεύσαντες. τὰ δὲ ἄλλα ὅσα ἢ ὀρνίθων ἢ ἰχθύων σφι ἐστὶ ἐχόμενα, χωρὶς ἢ ὁκόσοι σφι ἱροὶ ἀποδεδέχαται, τοὺς λοιποὺς ὀπτοὺς καὶ ἑφθοὺς σιτέονται. 

78. In the entertainments of the rich among them, when they have finished eating, a man bears round a wooden figure of a dead body in a coffin, made as like the reality as may be both by painting and carving, and measuring about a cubit or two cubits each way; and this he shows to each of those who are drinking together, saying: "When thou lookest upon this, drink and be merry, for thou shalt be such as this when thou art dead." Thus they do at their carousals. 78. [1] ἐν δὲ τῇσι συνουσίῃσι τοῖσι εὐδαίμοσι αὐτῶν, ἐπεὰν ἀπὸ δείπνου γένωνται, περιφέρει ἀνὴρ νεκρὸν ἐν σορῷ ξύλινον πεποιημένον, μεμιμημένον ἐς τὰ μάλιστα καὶ γραφῇ καὶ ἔργῳ, μέγαθος ὅσον τε πηχυαῖον ἢ δίπηχυν, δεικνὺς δὲ ἑκάστῳ τῶν συμποτέων λέγει «ἐς τοῦτον ὁρέων πῖνέ τε καὶ τέρπευ· ἔσεαι γὰρ ἀποθανὼν τοιοῦτος.» ταῦτα μὲν παρὰ τὰ συμπόσια ποιεῦσι. 

79. The customs which they practise are derived from their fathers and they do not acquire others in addition; but besides other customary things among them which are worthy of mention, they have one song, that of Linos, the same who is sung of both in Phenicia and in Cyprus and elsewhere, having however a name different according to the various nations. This song agrees exactly with that which the Hellenes sing calling on the name of Linos, so that besides many other things about which I wonder among those matters which concern Egypt, I wonder especially about this, namely whence they got the song of Linos. It is evident however that they have sung this song from immemorial time, and in the Egyptian tongue Linos is called Maneros. The Egyptians told me that he was the only son of him who first became king of Egypt, and that he died before his time and was honoured with these lamentations by the Egyptians, and that this was their first and only song. 79. [1] πατρίοισι δὲ χρεώμενοι νόμοισι ἄλλον οὐδένα ἐπικτῶνται· τοῖσι ἄλλα τε ἐπάξια ἐστὶ νόμιμα, καὶ δὴ καὶ ἄεισμα ἕν ἐστι, Λίνος, ὅσπερ ἔν τε Φοινίκῃ ἀοίδιμος ἐστὶ καὶ ἐν Κύπρῳ καὶ ἄλλῃ, κατὰ μέντοι ἔθνεα οὔνομα ἔχει, [2] συμφέρεται δὲ ὡυτὸς εἶναι τὸν οἱ Ἕλληνες Λίνον ὀνομάζοντες ἀείδουσι, ὥστε πολλὰ μὲν καὶ ἄλλα ἀποθωμάζειν με τῶν περὶ Αἴγυπτον ἐόντων, ἐν δὲ δὴ καὶ τὸν Λίνον ὁκόθεν ἔλαβον τὸ οὔνομα· φαίνονται δὲ αἰεί κοτε τοῦτον ἀείδοντες. ἔστι δὲ Αἰγυπτιστὶ ὁ Λίνος καλεύμενος Μανερῶς. [3] ἔφασαν δέ μιν Αἰγύπτιοι τοῦ πρώτου βασιλεύσαντος Αἰγύπτου παῖδα μουνογενέα γενέσθαι, ἀποθανόντα δὲ αὐτὸν ἄνωρον θρήνοισι τούτοισι ὑπὸ Αἰγυπτίων τιμηθῆναι, καὶ ἀοιδήν τε ταύτην πρώτην καὶ μούνην σφίσι γενέσθαι. 

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