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The priests feel such repugnance for things that are of a superfluous nature that they not only eschew most legumes, as well as mutton and pork,1 which leave a large residuum, but they also use no salt2 with their food during their periods of holy living. For this they have various other reasons, but in particular the fact that salt, by sharpening the appetite, makes them more inclined to drinking and eating. To consider salt impure, because, as Aristagoras has said, when it is crystallizing many minute creatures are caught in it and die there, is certainly silly.

It is said also that they water the Apis from a well of his own, and keep him away from the Nile altogether, not that they think the water unclean because of the crocodile, as some believe ; for there is nothing which the Egyptians hold in such honour as the Nile. But the drinking of the Nile water is [p. 17] reputed to be fattening and to cause obesity.3 They do not want Apis to be in this condition, nor themselves either ; but rather they desire that their bodies, the encasement of their souls, shall be well adjusted and light, and shall not oppress and straiten the divine element by the predominance and preponderance of the mortal.

1 Cf. Herodotus, ii. 37, and Moralia, 286 e.

2 Cf. infra, 363 e; Moralia, 684 f, 729 a; and Arrian, Anabasis, iii. 4. 4.

3 Cf. Aelian, De Natura Animalium, xi. 10.

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