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 Herodotus1 truly relates of the Egyptians, that it is a practice peculiar to them to knead clay with their hands, and the dough for making bread with their feet. Caces is a peculiar kind of bread which restrains fluxes. Kiki (the castor-oil bean) is a kind of fruit sowed in furrows. An oil is expressed from it which is used for lamps almost generally throughout the country, but for anointing the body only by the poorer sort of people and labourers, both men and women. The coccina are Egyptian textures made of some plant,2 woven like those made of rushes, or the palm-tree. Barley beet is a preparation peculiar to the Egyptians. It is common among many tribes, but the mode of preparing it differs in each. This, however, of all their usages is most to be admired, that they bring up all children that are born. They circumcise the males, and spay the females, as is the custom also among the Jews, who are of Egyptian origin, as I said when I was treating of them.3 According to Aristobulus, no fishes ascend the Nile from the sea, except the cestreus, the thrissa, and dolphins, on account of the crocodiles; the dolphin, because it can get the better of the crocodile; the cestreus, because it is accompanied by the chœri along the bank, in consequence of some physical affinity subsisting between them. The crocodiles abstain from doing any hurt to the chœri, because they are of a round shape, and have spines on their heads, which are dangerous to them.. The cestreus runs up the river in spring, when in spawn; and descends a little before the setting of the pleiad, in great numbers, when about to cast it, at which time they are taken in shoals, by falling into inclosures (made for catching them). Such also, we may conjecture, is the reason why the thrissa is found there. So much then on the subject of Egypt.
1 Herod. ii. 36.
2 Strabo does not appear to have been acquainted with the plant from which these tissues were made. Their true name seems to have been cucina, and were made from a palm-tree (the Doum palm), called by Theophrastus (Hist. Plant. 4, 2) κουκιοφόοͅον, and by Pliny ‘cuci’ (b. xiii. 9): ‘At e diverse, cuci in magno honore, palmæ similis, quando et ejus foliis utuntur ad textilia.’
3 B. xvi. c. 2. § 34.
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