ePub 版

drank it with particular satisfaction; and enquired • upon what food the Persian monarch subsisted, and

what was the longest period of a Persian's life. The king, they told him, lived chiefly upon bread; and they then described to him the properties of corn: they added, that the longest period of life in Persia was about eighty years. "I am not at all surprized,” said the Æthiopian prince, “that, subsisting on şi dung, the term of life is so short among them; F and unless,” he continued, pointing to the wine, “they mixed it with this liquor, they would not - live so long :” for in this he allowed that they excelled the Æthiopians.

thor XXIII. The Ichthyophagi in their turn quef

tioned the prince concerning the duration of life in *****Æthiopia, and the kind of food there in use:-They

were told, that the majority of the people lived to the age of one hundred and twenty years, but that fome exceeded even that period ; that their meat was baked flesh, their drink milk. When the spies expressed astonishment at the length of life in Æthiopia, they were conducted to a certain fountain, in which having bathed, they became shining as if anointed with oil, and diffused from their bodies the perfume of violets. But they asserted that the water of this fountain was of so insubstantial a na. ture, that neither wood, nor any thing still lighter than wood, would float upon its surface, but every thing instantly sunk to the bottom. If their representation of this water was true, the constant use of it may probably explain the extreme length of life


which the Æthiopians attain. From the fountain they were conducted to the public prison, where all that were confined were secured by chains of gold; for among these Æthiopians brafs is the rarest of all the metals. After visiting the prison they saw allo what is called the table of the sun.

XXIV. Finally they were friewn their coffins 28, which are said to be constructed of crystal, and in this manner :- After all the moisture is exhausted


28 Coffins.]-Coffins, though anciently used in the Eaft, and considered as marks of distinction, are not now there applied to the dead either by Turks or Christianş.

“ With us,” fays Mr. Harmer, in his Observations on Passages. of Scripture, “the poorest people have their coffins: if the relations cannot afford them, the parish is at the expence, In the East, on the contrary, they are not now at all made use of. Turks and Christians, 'Thevenot assures us, agree in this. The ancient Jews probably buried 'their dead in the fame manner : neither was the body of our Lord, it Mould seem, put into a coflin, nor that of Elisha, whose bones were touched by the corpse that was let down a little after into his scpulchre, 2 Kings, xiii. 21. That they, however, were anciently made use of in Ægypt, all agree; and antique coffins, of stone and syeamore wood, are still to be seen in that country, not to mention those fuid to be made of a kind of paste-board, formed by folding and glewing cloth together a great number of times, which were cusiously plaistered, and then painted with hieroglyphics. Its being an ancient Egyptian custom, and its not being used in the neighbouring countries, were doubtless the cause that the sacred histovian expressly observes of Joseph, that he was not only embalm, ed, but put into a coffin too, both being managements peculiar in a manner to the Ægyptians." -Objervations on Palages of Scriptire, vol. ii. 154. Mr. Hariner's observation in the foregoing note is not frictly


from the body, by the Ægyptian or some other process, they cover it totally with a kind of plaiter, which they decorate with various colours, and make it convey as near a resemblance as may be of the person of the deceased. They then inclose it in a hollow pillar of crystal a', which is dug up in great


true. The use of coffins might very probably be unknown in Syria, from whence Joseph came ; but that they were used by all nations contiguous on one side at least to Ægypt, the passage before us praves sufficiently. I have not been able to ascertain at what period the use of coffins was introduced in this country, but it appears from the following passage of our celebrated antiquary Mr. Strutt, that from very remote times our anceitors were interred in some kind of coffin. “It was customary in the Christian burials of the Anglo Saxons to leave the head and shoulders of the corpse uncovered till the time of burial, that relations, &c. might take a last view of their deceased friend.” We have also the following in Durant, “Corpus totum at sudore obvolutum ac locuto conditum veteres in cænaculis, feu tricliniis exponebant."

We learn from a passage in Strabo, that there was a temple at Alexandria, in which the body of Alexander was deposited, in a coffin of gold; it was stolen by Seleucus Cybiofactes, who left a coffin of glass in its place. This is the only author, except Herodotus, in whom I can remember to have seen mention made , of a coffin of glass. The urns of ancient Rome, in which the athes of the dead were deposited, were indifferently made of gold, silver, brass, alabaster, porphyry, and marble; these were externally ornamented according to the rank of the deceased. A minute description of these, with a multitude of specimens, may be seen in Montfaucon.--T.

29 Pillar of crystal.].--"Our glass,” says M. Larcher, “is not the production of the earth, it must be manufactured with much trouble.” According to Ludolf, they find in some parts of Æthiopia large quantities of fossil salt, which is transparent,


abundance, and of a kind that is easily worked. The deceased is very conspicuous through the crystal, has no disagreeable smell, nor any thing else that is offensive. This coffin the nearest relations keep for a twelvemonth in their houses, offering before it different kinds of victims, and the first-fruits of their lands; these are afterwards removed and set up round the city.

XXV. The fpies, after executing their commiffion, returned; and Cambyses was so exasperated at their recital, that he determined instantly to proceed against the Æthiopians, without ever providing for the necessary sustenance of his army, or reflecting that he was about to visit the extremities of the earth. The moment that he heard the report of the Ichthyophagi, like one deprived of all the powers of reason, he commenced his march with the whole body of his infantry, leaving no forces behind but fuch Greeks as had accompanied him to Ægypt. On his arrival at Thebes, he selected from his army about fifty thousand men, whom he ordered to make an incursion against the Ammonians, and to burri the place from whence the oracles of Jupiter were delivered : he himself, with the remainder of his

and which indurates in the air: this is perhaps what they took for glass.

We have the testimony of the Scholiaft on Aristophanes, that vamos, though afterwards used for glass, fignified anciently crystal : as therefore Herodotus informs us that this substance was digged from the earth, why should we hesitate to tranflate it crystal ?--T.


troops, marched against the Æthiopians. Before he had performed a fifth part of his intended expedition, the provisions he had with him were totally consumed. They proceeded to eat the beasts which carried the baggage, till these also failed. If after. these incidents Cambyses had permitted his passions to cool, and had led his army back again, notwithstanding his indiscretion he still might have deserved praise. Instead of this, his infatuation continued, and he proceeded on his march. The soldiers, as long as the earth afforded them any sustenance, were content to feed on vegetables; but as soon as they arrived among the sands and the deserts, some of them were prompted by famine to proceed to the most horrid extremities. They drew lots, and every tenth man was destined to satisfy the hunger of the rest 3. When Cambyses received intelligence of this fact, alarmed at the idea of devouring one another, he abandoned his designs upon

30 Satisfy the hunger of the refl.)- The whole of this narsative is transcribed by Seneca, with some little variation, in his treatise de Irá; who at the conclusion adds, though we know not from what authority, that notwithstanding these dreadful sufferings of his troops, the king's table was served with abundance of delicacies. Servabantur interim illi generosa aves et iustru. menta epularum camelis vehebantur.

Perhaps the most horrid example on record of suffering from famine, is the description given by Josephus of the fiege of Jerusalem. Eleven thousand prisoners were starved to death after the capture of the city, during the storm. Whilst the Romans were engaged in pillage, on entering several houses they found whole families dead, and the houses crammed with starved carcases; but what is still more shocking, it was a notorious fact, that a mother killed, dressed, and eat her own child. -T.


« 上一頁繼續 »