The egyptians herodotus and the other greeks understanding of the nile river and its nature

Dough they knead with their feet; but they mix mud, and even take up dirt, with their hands.

Herodotus osiris

The Egyptians differ from the Greeks also in paying no divine honours to heroes. The men too, similarly begirt, beat their breasts separately. I was particularly anxious to learn from them why the Nile, at the commencement of the summer solstice, begins to rise, and continues to increase for a hundred days- and why, as soon as that number is past, it forthwith retires and contracts its stream, continuing low during the whole of the winter until the summer solstice comes round again. My opinion is that Egypt was formerly very much such a gulf as this- one gulf penetrated from the sea that washes Egypt on the north, and extended itself towards Ethiopia; another entered from the southern ocean, and stretched towards Syria; the two gulfs ran into the land so as almost to meet each other, and left between them only a very narrow tract of country. It is that the Nile acts so strangely, because it flows from the ocean, and that the ocean flows all round the earth. Those who live near Thebes, and those who dwell around Lake Moeris, regard them with especial veneration. They wear linen garments, which they are specially careful to have always fresh washed.

Instead of a single priest, each god has the attendance of a college, at the head of which is a chief priest; when one of these dies, his son is appointed in his room. If the animal is pronounced clean in all these various points, the priest marks him by twisting a piece of papyrus round his horns, and attaching thereto some sealing-clay, which he then stamps with his own signet-ring.

The men on the shore haul, and when they have got him to land, the first thing the hunter does is to plaster his eyes with mud. Besides these things the Egyptians have found out also to what god each month and each day belongs, and what fortunes a man will meet with who is born on any particular day, and how he will die, and what kind of a man he will be: and these inventions were taken up by those of the Hellenes who occupied themselves about poesy.

This is the reason why no native of Egypt, whether man or woman, will give a Greek a kiss, or use the knife of a Greek, or his spit, or his cauldron, or taste the flesh of an ox, known to be pure, if it has been cut with a Greek knife. If we now put together the several measurements of the country we shall find that the distance along shore is, as I stated above, furlongs, and the distance from the sea inland to Thebes furlongs.

herodotus egypt quotes

When they write or calculate, instead of going, like the Greeks, from left to right, they move their hand from right to left; and they insist, notwithstanding, that it is they who go to the right, and the Greeks who go to the left. These are regarded as sacred to the Nile, as likewise among birds is the vulpanser, or fox-goose.

It is there that the whole multitude, both of men and women, many thousands in number, beat themselves at the close of the sacrifice, in honour of a god, whose name a religious scruple forbids me to mention.

But those poets who are said to be older than Hesiod and Homer were, to my thinking, of later birth. These are regarded as sacred to the Nile, as likewise among birds is the vulpanser, or fox-goose.

There are many other towns in Prosopitis; that one from which come the boats to gather the bones of the bulls is called Atarbechis; 22 there stands on it a temple of Aphrodite of great sanctity. The Nasamonians could not understand a word of their language, nor had they any acquaintance with the language of the Nasamonians.

herodotus histories
Rated 10/10 based on 13 review
Download
Guide to the classics: The Histories, by Herodotus