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the black with the white, as to form a representation of the Moon's gibbosity." "The space be
tween its legs while walking was observed to form an equilateral triangle;" and "the medicinal use it makes of its beak" was thought to be connected with the office of Thoth, who taught mankind the art of curing diseases, and communicated all intellectual gifts from the Deity to man.
Such was the respect paid to this bird, from its destroying the venomous reptiles which infested the country, that any person killing one was punished with instant death t; and "those priests who were most punctual in the performance of their sacred rites, fetched the water they used in their purifications from some place where the Ibis had been seen to drink." ‡
According to Plutarch§, a sow was sacrificed "to Typho once a year at the full Moon:" and the animal is sometimes represented in a boat, in the paintings of the tombs, accompanied by one or more monkeys. This appears to connect it with Thoth, or the God Lunus; and if, as I suppose, the subject refers to the commencement of a new period, being the beginning of the future state of a soul condemned for its sins to migrate into the body of a pig, the relation it bears to the office of Thoth is readily accounted for. The impression that the animal was offered to Typho may proceed from its
*Plut. de Is. s. 75.
+ Diodor. i. 83. Cic. Tusc. Quæst. v. 27. The same motive induced the Thessalians to protect the Stork. Plin. x. 23.
Plut. de Is. s. 75.
Plut. de Is. s. 8.
having been chosen as an emblem of sin.
says, they sacrifice a sow to the Moon once a year;" which statement is confirmed by Herodotus, who asserts, that "the only Deities to whom the Egyptians are permitted to offer the pig are the Moon and Bacchus (Osiris)." But he makes no mention of Typho; and the supposed "discovery of the body of Osiris by Typho, while hunting a wild boar at the full Moon*," would rather lead them to offer it to Osiris than to Typho. For as Plutarch himself confesses, "the opinion of the Egyptians. was that sacrifices ought not to be of things in themselves agreeable to the Gods, but, on the contrary, of creatures into which the souls of the wicked have passed†;" and the pig was an emblem of Evil.
I have observed that Thoth, in one of his characters, corresponded to the Moon, in the other to Mercury. In the former, he was the beneficent property of that luminary, the regulator and dispenser of time, who presided over the fate of man, and the events of his life: in the latter, the God of letters and the patron of learning, and the means of communication between the Gods and mankind. It was through him that all mental gifts were imparted to man. He was, in short, a deification of the abstract idea of the intellect, or a personification of the intellect of the Deity. This accords well with a remark of Iamblichus, that Hermes was the God of all celestial knowledge, which being communicated by him to the priests, † Plut. de Is. s. 31.
*Plut. de Is. s. 18.
authorised them to inscribe their own commentaries with the name of Hermes. He may also be considered analogous to the "septenary intellectual agents" of modern philosophers. "These are called by Hesiod guardians of mankind, bestowers of wealth, and royal demons; are described by Plato as a middle order of beings between the Gods and men, ministering to their wants, carrying the prayers of mortals to heaven, and bringing down in return oracles and all other blessings of life."
According to the fabulous account of the Egyptian Mercury, "he was reported to have invented letters, regulated the language, given names to many things, and taught men the proper mode of approaching the Deity with prayers and sacrifice. He instructed them in the system of the stars, and the harmony and nature of voices. He was the inventor of the palestra, and of the lyre, to which he gave three strings, in accordance with the three seasons of the Egyptian year; the treble to correspond to summer, the bass to winter, the tenor to spring. He was the patron of elocution, whence called Hermes, the interpreter,' by the Greeks. In the sacred rites of Osiris he was represented as the scribe of the Deity, and his counsellor; and it was to him that the Egyptians supposed mankind indebted for the olive, and not to Minerva, as is the opinion of the Greeks."‡ He was distinct from the Mercury, who ushered the souls of the dead into the region of Hades, answering to the Anubis of Egypt, as already stated;
*Plut. s. 26.; suprà, Vol. I. (2d Series) p. 222. + Conf. Plato, Phileb. p. 374.
Diodor. i. 16.
and also from Hermes Trismegistus, whom I shall have occasion to mention presently.
The circumstance of the God Lunus being the dispenser of time, and represented noting off years upon the palm branch, appears to argue that the Egyptians, in former times, calculated by lunar instead of solar years; and the hieroglyphic of a month, which is a lunar crescent, shows their months to have been originally regulated by the course of the moon. *
I have once met with the figure of an Ibis-headed Deity as a female†, but I am uncertain respecting the character and office of that Goddess, nor is it certain that the name of Thoth was applied to her. Thoth at the temple of Samneh appears to be styled the son of Neph.
According to Cicero ‡, the Greeks reckoned in their mythology five Mercuries; "one the son of Heaven and the Day . . . Another of Valens
and Phoronis, the same who is beneath the Earth, and called Trophonius. A third the son of the third Jupiter and Maia, and who is said to have begotten Pan by Penelope. A fourth the son of the Nile, whom the Egyptians consider it unlawful to name. A fifth, worshipped by the Pheneatæ, who is said to have slain Argus, and on that account to have fled to Egypt, and to have given laws and letters to the Egyptians. He was styled by them Thoyth, and bore the same name as the first month of their
* Vide suprà, Vol. I. (2d Series) p. 13.
A green porcelain figure in the possession of Chevalier Kestner, the Hanoverian minister at Rome.
year." Of the two last, the former was probably Anubis, whom, in his mysterious office connected with Osiris and the final judgment of the dead, it may have been unlawful to mention; and the latter, the Ibis-headed Deity Thoth, in his character of the dispenser of intellectual gifts to man, and the God of Letters.
The epithet Trismegistus, "thrice great," has been applied by some to Thoth; but the Deity here represented is shown by numerous Greek inscriptions upon his temple at Pselcis to have been distinguished from the God of Letters by this name, with the additional title, "Lord of Pautnouphis."
Much confusion has arisen in consequence of these two Deities having the name Hermes; many having ascribed to Trismegistus the honour of inventing letters, which in reality belongs to Thoth alone, as the monuments of Egypt prove beyond the possibility of doubt.
The temple of Pselcist, now Dakkeh, in Nubia, was erected by the Ethiopian king Ergamun, a contemporary of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and completed by the Lagidæ, in honour of this Hermes. On the towers of the area, and in the portico,
numerous Greek inscriptions; the general
* Or even Thoth, as scribe of Amenti. Vide suprà, Vol. I. (2d Series) p. 441.
+ Pselcis was probably called
from the Goddess Selk, if we may judge from a legend given
in pl. 15. of M. Champollion's No. 457. "The temple of the land of P-Selk.”