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Witness to this also are the wisest of the Greeks : Solon, Thales, Plato, Eudoxus, Pythagoras, who came to Egypt and consorted with the priests1; and in this number some would include Lycurgus also. Eudoxus, they say, received instruction from Chonuphis of Memphis, Solon from Sonchis of Saïs, and Pythagoras from Oenuphis of Heliopolis. Pythagoras, as it seems, was greatly admired, and he also greatly admired the Egyptian priests, and, copying [p. 27] their symbolism and occult teachings, incorporated his doctrines in enigmas. As a matter of fact most of the Pythagorean precepts2 do not at all fall short of the writings that are called hieroglyphs; such, for example, as these : ‘Do not eat upon a stool’; ‘Do not sit upon a peck measure’; ‘Do not lop off the shoots of a palm-tree3 ’; ‘Do not poke a fire with a sword within the house.’

For my part, I think also that their naming unity Apollo, duality Artemis, the hebdomad Athena, and the first cube Poseidon,4 bears a resemblance to the statues and even to the sculptures and paintings with which their shrines are embellished. For their King and Lord Osiris they portray by means of an eye and a sceptre5; there are even some who explain the meaning of the name as ‘many-eyed’ 6 on the theory that os in the Egyptian language means ‘many’ and iri ‘eye’ ; and the heavens, since they are ageless because of their eternity, they portray by a heart with a censer beneath.7 In Thebes there were set up statues of judges without hands, and the statue of the chief justice had its eyes closed, to indicate that justice is not influenced by gifts or by intercession.8

The military class had their seals engraved with the form of a beetle9; for there is no such thing as a [p. 29] female beetle, but all beetles are male.10 They eject their sperm into a round mass which they construct, since they are no less occupied in arranging for a supply of food11 than in preparing a place to rear their young.

1 Cf. Diodorus, i. 96 and 98; Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, i. 69. 1, chap. 15 (p. 356 Potter); Moralia, 578 f, and Life of Solon, chap. xxvi. (92 e).

2 For these precepts cf. Moralia, 12 e-f, and Life of Numa, chap. xiv. (69 c); Athenaeus, x. 77 (452 d); Iamblichus, Protrepticus, chap. xxi. (pp. 131-160); Diogenes Laeritus, viii. 17-18.

3 Cf. 365 b, infra, and Xenophon, Anabasis, ii. 3. 16.

4 Cf., for example, 381 f and 393 b, infra, and Iamblichus, Comment. in Nichomachi Arithmetica, 14.

5 Occasionally found on the monuments; cf. 371 e, infra.

6 Cf. Diodorus, i. 11.

7 Cf. Horapollo, Hieroglyphics, i. 22.

8 Cf. Diodorus, i. 48. 6.

9 The Egyptian scarab, or sacred beetle. Cf. Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxx. 13 (30).

10 Cf. 381 a, infra. The idea that all beetles are male was very common in antiquity; cf., for example, Aelian, De Natura Animalium, x. 15; Porphyry, De Abstinentia, iv. 9.

11 They are σκατοφάγοι.

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