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AN ACCOUNT OF EGYPT
     

AN ACCOUNT OF EGYPT

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by Herodotus
 

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AN ACCOUNT OF EGYPT

BY HERODOTUS




BEING THE SECOND BOOK OF HIS HISTORIES CALLED EUTERPE


When Cyrus had brought his life to an end, Cambyses received the royal
power in succession, being the son of Cyrus and of Cassandane the
daughter of Pharnaspes, for whose death, which came about before his
own, Cyrus had

Overview

AN ACCOUNT OF EGYPT

BY HERODOTUS




BEING THE SECOND BOOK OF HIS HISTORIES CALLED EUTERPE


When Cyrus had brought his life to an end, Cambyses received the royal
power in succession, being the son of Cyrus and of Cassandane the
daughter of Pharnaspes, for whose death, which came about before his
own, Cyrus had made great mourning himself and also had proclaimed to
all those over whom he bore rule that they should make mourning for her:
Cambyses, I say, being the son of this woman and of Cyrus, regarded
the Ionians and Aiolians as slaves inherited from his father; and he
proceeded to march an army against Egypt, taking with him as helpers not
only other nations of which he was ruler, but also those of the Hellenes
over whom he had power besides.


Now the Egyptians, before the time when Psammetichos became king over
them, were wont to suppose that they had come into being first of all
men; but since the time when Psammetichos having become king desired to
know what men had come into being first, they suppose that the Phrygians
came into being before themselves, but they themselves before all other
men. Now Psammetichos, when he was not able by inquiry to find out any
means of knowing who had come into being first of all men, contrived a
device of the following kind:--Taking two newborn children belonging to
persons of the common sort he gave them to a shepherd to bring up at
the place where his flocks were, with a manner of bringing up such as
I shall say, charging him namely that no man should utter any word in
their presence, and that they should be placed by themselves in a room
where none might come, and at the proper time he should bring them
she-goats, and when he had satisfied them with milk he should do for
them whatever else was needed. These things Psammetichos did and gave
him this charge wishing to hear what word the children would let break
forth first after they had ceased from wailings without sense. And
accordingly it came to pass; for after a space of two years had gone by,
during which the shepherd went on acting so, at length, when he opened
the door and entered, both children fell before him in entreaty and
uttered the word _bekos_, stretching forth their hands. At first when
he heard this the shepherd kept silence; but since this word was often
repeated, as he visited them constantly and attended to them, at last
he declared the matter to his master, and at his command he brought the
children before his face. Then Psammetichos having himself also heard
it, began to inquire what nation of men named anything _bekos_, and
inquiring he found that the Phrygians had this name for bread. In this
manner and guided by an indication such as this, the Egyptians were
brought to allow that the Phrygians were a more ancient people than
themselves. That so it came to pass I heard from the priests of that
Hephaistos who dwells at Memphis; but the Hellenes relate, besides many
other idle tales, that Psammetichos cut out the tongues of certain women
and then caused the children to live with these women.

With regard then to the rearing of the children they related so much as
I have said: and I heard also other things at Memphis when I had speech
with the priests of Hephaistos. Moreover I visited both Thebes and
Heliopolis for this very cause, namely because I wished to know whether
the priests at these places would agree in their accounts with those at
Memphis; for the men of Heliopolis are said to be the most learned in
records of the Egyptians. Those of their narrations which I heard with
regard to the gods I am not earnest to relate in full, but I shall name
them only because I consider that all men are equally ignorant of these
matters: and whatever things of them I may record I shall record only
because I am compelled by the course of the story. But as to those
matters which concern men, the priests agreed with one another in saying
that the Egyptians were the first of all men on earth to find out the
course of the year, having divided the seasons into twelve parts to make
up the whole; and this they said they found out from the stars: and they
reckon to this extent more wisely than the Hellenes, as it seems to
me, inasmuch as the Hellenes throw in an intercalated month every other
year, to make the seasons right, whereas the Egyptians, reckoning the
twelve months at thirty days each, bring in also every year five days
beyond number, and thus the circle of their season is completed and
comes round to the same point whence it set out.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940012678812
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
04/12/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
88 KB

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AN ACCOUNT OF EGYPT 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*his body suddenly goes rigid and he screams*