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Chapter XXXIV.

But, that we may not pass without notice what Celsus has said between these and the preceding paragraphs, let us quote his words:  “We might adduce Herodotus as a witness on this point, for he expresses himself as follows:  ‘For the people of the cities Marea and Apis, who inhabit those parts of Egypt that are adjacent to Libya, and who look upon themselves as Libyans, and not as Egyptians, finding their sacrificial worship oppressive, and wishing not to be excluded from the use of cows’ flesh, sent to the oracle of Jupiter Ammon, saying that there was no relationship between them and the Egyptians, that they dwelt outside the Delta, that there was no community of sentiment between them and the Egyptians, and that they wished to be allowed to partake of all kinds of food.  But the god would not allow them to do as they desired, saying that that country was a part of Egypt, which was watered by the inundation of the Nile, and that those were Egyptians who dwell to the south of the city of Elephantine, and drink of the river Nile.’42024202    Cf. Herodot., ii. 18.  Such is the narrative of Herodotus.  But,” continues Celsus, “Ammon in divine things would not make a worse ambassador than the angels of the Jews,42034203    ὁ δὲ ῎Αμμων οὐδέν τι κακίων διαπρεσβεῦσαι τὰ δαιμόνια, ἢ οἱ ᾽Ιουδαίων ἄγγελοι. so that there is nothing wrong in each nation observing its established method of worship.  Of a truth, we shall find very great differences prevailing among the nations, and yet each seems to deem its own by far the best.  Those inhabitants of Ethiopia who dwell in Meroe worship Jupiter and Bacchus alone; the Arabians, Urania and Bacchus only; all the Egyptians, Osiris and Isis; the Saïtes, Minerva; while the Naucratites have recently classed Serapis among their deities, and the rest according to their respective laws.  And some abstain from the flesh of sheep, and others from that of crocodiles; others, again, from that of cows, while they regard swine’s flesh with loathing.  The Scythians, indeed, regard it as a noble act to banquet upon human beings.  Among the Indians, too, there are some who deem themselves discharging a holy duty in eating their fathers, and this is mentioned in a certain passage by Herodotus.  For the sake of credibility, I shall again quote his very words, for he writes as follows:  ‘For if any one were to make this proposal to all men, viz., to bid him select out of all existing laws the best, each would choose, after examination, those of his own country.  Men each consider their own laws much the best, and therefore it is not likely than any other than a madman would make these things a subject of ridicule.  But that such are the conclusions of all men regarding the laws, may be determined by many other evidences, and especially by the following illustration.  Darius, during his reign, having summoned before him those Greeks who happened to be present at the time, inquired of them for how much they would be willing to eat their deceased fathers? their answer was, that for no consideration would they do such a thing.  After this, Darius summoned those Indians who are called Callatians, who are in the habit of eating their parents, and asked of them in the presence of these Greeks, who learned what passed through an interpreter, for what amount of money they would undertake to burn their deceased fathers with fire? on which they raised a loud shout, and bade the king say no more.’42044204    εὐφημεῖν μιν ἐκέλευον.  Such is the 559way, then, in which these matters are regarded.  And Pindar appears to me to be right in saying that ‘law’ is the king of all things.”42054205    Cf. Herodot., iii. 38.


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