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And so much for the allegories and secret meanings which this head affords us. And now we begin at another head, which is the account of those who seem to offer at something more philosophical; and of these we will first consider the more simple and plain sort. And they are those that tell us that, as the Greeks are used to allegorize Kronos (or Saturn) into chronos (time), and Hera (or Juno) into aer (air) and also to resolve the generation of Vulcan into the change of air into fire, so also among the Egyptians, Osiris is the river Nile, who accompanies with Isis, which is the earth; and Typhon is the sea, into which the Nile falling is thereby destroyed and scattered, excepting [p. 93] only that part of it which the earth receives and drinks up, by means whereof she becomes prolific. There is also a kind of a sacred lamentation used to Saturn, wherein they bemoan him ‘ who was born in the left side of the world, and died in the right.’ For the Egyptians believe the eastern part to be the world's face, and the northern its right hand, and the southern its left. And therefore the river Nile, holding its course from the southern parts towards the northern, may justly be said to have its birth in the left side and its death in the right; for which reason, the priests account the sea abominable, and call salt Typhon's foam. And it is one of the things they look upon as unlawful and prohibited to them, to use salt at their tables. And they use not to salute any pilots, because they have to do with the sea. And this is not the least reason of their so great aversedness to fish. They also make the picture of a fish to denote hatred. And therefore at the temple of Minerva at Sais there was carved in the porch an infant and an old man, and after them a hawk, and then a fish, and after all a hippopotamus, which, in a symbolical manner, contained this sentence: O! ye that are born and that die, God hateth impudence. From whence it is plain, that by a child and an old man they express our being born and our dying; by a hawk, God; by a fish, hatred (by reason of the sea, as hath been before spoken); and by a river-horse, impudence, because (as they say) he killeth his sire and forceth his dam. That also which the Pythagoreans are used to say, that the sea is the tear of Saturn, may seem to hint out to us that it is not pure nor congenial with our race.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1936)
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