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Thrice-Greatest Hermes, Vol. 1, by G.R.S. Mead, [1906], at

p. 267


V. 1. And the priests handle so hardly 1 the nature of superfluities, that they not only deprecate the many kinds of pulse, and of meats the sheep-flesh 2 kinds and swine-flesh kinds, as making much superfluity, but also at their times of purification they remove the salts from the grains, 3 having other further reasons as well as the fact that it makes the more thirsty and more hungry sharpen their desire the more.

2. For to argue that salts are not pure owing to the multitude of small lives 4 that are caught 5 and die in them when they solidify themselves, as Aristagoras said, 6 is naïve.

3. They are, moreover, said to water the Apis also from a special well, and by all means to keep him from the Nile,—not that they think His 7 water stained with blood because of the Crocodile, 8 as some think (for nothing is so precious to Egyptians as the Nile),

p. 268

but that the water of Nile’s superfluity 1 on being drunk seems to make fat, nay, rather to make much too much of flesh.

4. And [so] they do not wish the Apis to be so nor yet themselves, but [wish] to wear their bodies on their souls compact and light, and neither to com-press nor op-press them by the mortal part prevailing and its weighing down of the divine.


267:1 Vulg., “endure with such difficulty” or “feel such disgust at.”

267:2 Referring usually to small animals of the sheep and goat kind, and more generally to all sacrificial animals.

267:3 Or, perhaps, more generally, “the salt from their food.” It more probably refers to mineral and not to vegetable salts.

267:4 That is animalculæ.

267:5 ἁλισκόμενα—probably a word-play on ἅλας (salts).

267:6 Müller, ii. 99. Aristagoras was a Greek writer on Egypt, who flourished about the last quarter of the 4th century B.C.

267:7 Namely the Nile, as Osiris, or the Great Deep.

267:8 Mystically the “Leviathan” (e.g. of the “Ophites”) who lived in the Great Deep. Cf. also Ps. civ. 26, where, speaking of the Great Sea (25), it is written: “There go the ships [the barides, boats, or vehicles of souls], and there is that Leviathan [LXX. Dragon] whom thou hast fashioned to take his pastime [LXX. sport or mock] therein.”

268:1 τὸ Νειλῷον ὕδωρ—τὰ Νειλῷα was the Feast of the Overflowing of the Nile.

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