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 At Heliopolis we saw large buildings in which the priests lived. For it is said that anciently this was the principal residence of the priests, who studied philosophy and astronomy. But there are no longer either such a body of persons or such pursuits. No one was pointed out to us on the spot, as presiding over these studies, but only persons who performed sacred rites, and who explained to strangers [the peculiarities of] the temples. A person of the name of Chæremon accompanied the governor, Ælius Gallus, in his journey from Alexandreia into Egypt, and pretended to some knowledge of this kind, but he was generally ridiculed for his boasting and ignorance. The houses of the priests, and the residences of Plato and of Eudoxus, were shown to us. Eudoxus came here with Plato, and, according to some writers, lived thirteen years in the society of the priests. For the latter were distinguished for their knowledge of the heavenly bodies, but were mysterious and uncommunicative, yet after a time were prevailed upon by courtesy to acquaint them with some of the principles of their science, but the barbarians concealed the greater part of them. They had, however, communicated the knowledge of the additional portions of the day and night, in the space of 365 days, necessary to complete the annual period; and, at that time, the length of the year was unknown to the Greeks, as were many other things, until later astronomers received them from the persons who translated the records of the priests into the Greek language, and even now derive knowledge from their writings and from those of the Chaldeans.1
1 George (Syncellus, or companion of the Patriarch), a writer of the eighth century, and who had the reputation of being well versed in history, says that "Ptolemy Philadelphus collected all the writings of Greeks, Chaldæans, Egyptians, and Romans, and had such of them as were not Greek translated into that language, and deposited 100,000 volumes at Alexandria. M. Letronne is disposed to think that Hipparchus, Eratosthenes, Ptolemy, and others borrowed from these sources.
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