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Hence it is, says Callistratus, that I am of an opinion that this nation has that creature in some veneration; and though it be granted that the hog is an ugly and filthy creature, yet it is not quite so vile nor naturally stupid as a beetle, griffin, crocodile, or cat, most of which are worshipped as the most sacred things by some priests amongst the Egyptians. But the reason why the hog is had in so much honor and veneration amongst them is, because, as the report goes, that creature breaking up the earth with its snout showed the way to tillage, and taught them how to use the ploughshare, which instrument for that very reason, as some say, was called hynis from ὗς, a swine. Now the Egyptians inhabiting a country situated low, and whose soil is naturally soft, have no need of the plough; but after the river Nile hath retired from the grounds it overflowed, they presently let all their hogs into the fields, [p. 308] and they with their feet and snouts break up the ground, and cover the sown seed. Nor ought this to seem strange to any one, that there are in the world those who abstain from swine's flesh upon such an account as this; when it is evident that among barbarous nations there are other animals had in greater honor and veneration for lesser, if not altogether ridiculous, reasons. For the field-mouse only for its blindness was worshipped as a God among the Egyptians, because they were of an opinion that darkness was before light, and that the latter had its birth from mice about the fifth generation at the new moon; and moreover that the liver of this creature diminishes in the wane of the moon. But they consecrate the lion to the sun, because the lioness alone, of all clawed quadrupeds, brings forth her young with their eyesight; for they sleep a moment, and when they are asleep their eyes sparkle. Besides, they place gaping lions' heads for the spouts of their fountains, because Nilus overflows the Egyptian fields when the sign is Leo: they give it out that their bird ibis, as soon as hatched, weighs two drachms, which are of the same weight with the heart of a new-born infant; and that its legs being spread with the bill make an exact equilateral triangle. And yet who can find fault with the Egyptians for these trifles, when it is left upon record that the Pythagoreans worshipped a white cock, and of sea creatures abstained especially from the mullet and urtic. The Magi that descended from Zoroaster adored the land hedgehog above other creatures, but had a deadly spite against water-rats, and thought that man was dear in the eyes of the Gods who destroyed most of them. But I should think that if the Jews had such an antipathy against a hog, they would kill it as the magicians do mice; when, on the contrary, they are by their religion as much prohibited to kill as to eat it. And perhaps there may be some reason given for this; for as the ass is worshipped [p. 309] by them as the first discoverer of fountains, so perhaps the hog may be had in like veneration, which first taught them to sow and plough. Nay, some say that the Jews also abstain from hares, as abominable and unclean.
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