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These same Chaldaeans say (though I do not believe them) that the god himself is accustomed to visit the shrine and rest on the couch, as in Thebes of Egypt, as the Egyptians say (for there too a woman sleeps in the temple of Theban Zeus,Amon-Api (Greek*)ame/nwfis); cp. Hdt. 2.42. and neither the Egyptian nor the Babylonian woman, it is said, has intercourse with men), and as does the prophetess of the godApollo. at Patara in Lycia, whenever she is appointed; for there is not always a place of divination there; but when she is appointed she is shut up in the temple during the night.
Besides this story of the rearing of the children, I also heard other things at Memphis in conversation with the priests of Hephaestus;Identified by the Greeks with the Egyptian Ptah. and I visited Thebes and Heliopolis, too, for this very purpose, because I wished to know if the people of those places would tell me the same story as the priests at Memphis; for the people of Heliopolis are said to be the most learned of the Egyptians. Now, such stories as I heard about the gods I am not ready to relate, except their names, for I believe that all men are equally knowledgeable about them; and I shall say about them what I am constrained to say by the course of my history.
From Heliopolis to Thebes is nine days' journey by river, and the distance is six hundred and eight miles, or eighty-one schoeni. This, then, is a full statement of all the distances in Egypt: the seaboard is four hundred and fifty miles long; and I will now declare the distance inland from the sea to Thebes : it is seven hundre schoeni. This, then, is a full statement of all the distances in Egypt: the seaboard is four hundred and fifty miles long; and I will now declare the distance inland from the sea to Thebes : it is seven hundred and sixty-five miles. And between Thebes and the city called Elephantine there are two hundred and twenty-five miles. schoeni. This, then, is a full statement of all the distances in Egypt: the seaboard is four hundred and fifty miles long; and I will now declare the distance inland from the sea to Thebes : it is seven hundred and sixty-five miles. And between Thebes and the city called Elephantine there are two hundred and twenty-five miles.
All that have a temple of Zeus of Thebes or are of the Theban district sacrifice goats, but will not touch sheep. For no gods are worshipped by all Egyptians in common except Isis and Osiris, who they say is Dionysus; these are worshipped by all alike. Those who have a temple of MendesMendes, Greek form of Binded, a town in the Delta where Osiris was worshipped in the form of a ram, according to monuments. Here Mendes apparently = Osiris. or are of the Mendesian district sacrifice sheep, but will not touch goats. The Thebans, and those who by the Theban example will not touch sheep, give the following reason for their ordinance:The Greeks identified with Heracles an Egyptian god Shu (called at Thebes Chonsu-Neferhotep,a)agaqodai/mwn). they say that Heracles wanted very much to see Zeus and that Zeus did not want to be seen by him, but that finally, when Heracles prayed, Zeus contrived to show himself displaying the head and wearing the fleece of a ram which he had flayed and beheade
But about the oracles in Hellas, and that one which is in Libya, the Egyptians give the following account. The priests of Zeus of Thebes told me that two priestesses had been carried away from Thebes by Phoenicians; one, they said they had heard was taken away and sold in Libya, the other in Hellas; these women, they said, were the first founders of places of divination in the aforesaid countries. When I asked them how it was that they could speak with such certain knowledge, they said in repestesses had been carried away from Thebes by Phoenicians; one, they said they had heard was taken away and sold in Libya, the other in Hellas; these women, they said, were the first founders of places of divination in the aforesaid countries. When I asked them how it was that they could speak with such certain knowledge, they said in reply that their people had sought diligently for these women, and had never been able to find them, but had learned later the story which they were telling me.
That, then, I heard from the Theban priests; and what follows, the prophetesses of Dodona say: that two black doves had come flying from Thebes in Egypt, one to Libya and one to Dodona; the latter settled on an oak tree, and there uttered human speech, declaring that a place of divination from Zeus must be made there; the people of Dodona understood that the message was divine, and therefore established the oracular shrine. The dove which came to Libya told the Libyans (they say) to make an oracle of Ammon; this also is sacred to Zeus. Such was the story told by the Dodonaean priestesses, the eldest of whom was Promeneia and the next Timarete and the youngest Nicandra; and the rest of the servants of the temple at Dodona similarly held it true.
But my own belief about it is this. If the Phoenicians did in fact carry away the sacred women and sell one in Libya and one in Hellas, then, in my opinion, the place where this woman was sold in what is now Hellas, but was formerly called Pelasgia, was Thesprotia; and then, being a slave there, she established a shrine of Zeus under an oak that was growing there; for it was reasonable that, as she had been a handmaid of the temple of Zeus at Thebes , she would remember that temple in the land to which she had come. After this, as soon as she understood the Greek language, she taught divination; and she said that her sister had been sold in Libya by the same Phoenicians who sold her.
I expect that these women were called “doves” by the people of Dodona because they spoke a strange language, and the people thought it like the cries of birds; then the woman spoke what they could understand, and that is why they say that the dove uttered human speech; as long as she spoke in a foreign tongue, they thought her voice was like the voice of a bird. For how could a dove utter the speech of men? The tale that the dove was black signifies that the woman was EgyptianPerhaps Herodotus' explanation is right. But the name “doves” may be purely symbolic; thus priestesses of Demeter and Artemis were sometimes called Bees.. The fashions of divination at Thebes of Egypt and at Dodona are like one another; moreover, the practice of divining from the sacrificed victim has also come from
Some of the Egyptians consider crocodiles sacred; others do not, but treat them as enemies. Those who live near Thebes and lake Moeris consider them very sacred. Every household raises one crocodile, trained to be tame; they put ornaments of glass and gold on its ears and bracelets on its forefeet, provide special food and offerings for it, and give the creatures the best of treatment while they live; after death, the crocodiles are embalmed and buried in sacred coffins. But around Elephantine they are not held sacred, and are even eaten. The Egyptians do not call them crocodiles, but khampsae. The Ionians named them crocodiles, from their resemblance to the lizards which they have in their wallskroko/deilos is Ionic for a lizard; the commoner word is sau/ra or sau=ros. xa/mya is the Egyptian “em-suh,” a name which survives in the Arabic “timsah,” i.e. em-suh with the feminine article pref