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his forces as a colony in this district, or whether some of his men, fatigued with their laborious service, remained here of their own accord.
CIV. The Colchians certainly appear to be of Ægyptian origin; which indeed, before I had conversed with any one on the subject, I had always believed. But as I was desirous of being satisfied, I interrogated the people of both countries : the result was, that the Colchians seemed to have better remembrance of the Ægyptians, than the Egyptians had of the Colchians. The Ægyptians were of opinion, that the Colchians were descended from part of the troops of Sesostris. To this I myself was also inclined, because they are black, and have short and curling hair 183 ; which latter circumstance may not, however, be insisted upon as evidence, because it is common to many other nations. But a second and better argument is, that the inhabitants of Colchos, Ægypt, and Æthiopia, are the only people who from time immemorial have used circumcision. The Phoenicians and the Syrians of
183 Short and curling hair.]——“That is,” says Volney, in his remark on this passage, “ that the ancient Ægyptians were real negroes, of the same species with all the natives of Africa; and though, as might be expected, after mixing for so many ages with the Greeks and Romans, they have lost the intensity of their first colour, yet they still retain strong marks of their original conformation."
Palestine* 184 acknowledge that they borrowed this custom from Ægypt. Those Syrians who live
* The following note from Shaw deserves attention; p. 390.
Herodotus, always too credulous with regard to these boasted antiquities of the Ægyptians, insists likewise that circumcision was much earlier received by them than by the Syrians of Palestine, i. e. the llebrews or Israelites; for the Philistines themselves, who were originally Ægyptians, and gave name to the country, were uncircumcised. Now by considering Gen. xlv. ver. 12, in the original text, agreeably to the Hebrew diction and brevity of expression, we may receive one plausible argument why Ierodotus may be equally mistaken in this assertion. For the Rabbinical commentators observe upon the sense which we translate, And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you, that Joseph gave the patriarchs therein three proofs of his being their brother. The first was the token of circumcision, peculiar at that time, as they affirm, to the family of Abraham, which he is supposed to have discovered by unfolding bis garnient whilst they stood near him, and bidding them regard it. Behold, says he, your eyes see by this token that I am no stranger, but of the lineage of Abraham. And then to shew that he was not descended from Ishmael, he lays down for his second proof the near resemblance of his own features to those of his brother Benjamin, who was born of the same mother. And behold, he continues, the eyes or countenance of my
brother Benjamin; how nearly they resemble my own. The third proof was his language, &c. &c. The whole of what follows is exceedingly ingenious and very corroborative of the main argument.
It seems to be implied also, Jeremiah ix. ver. 25, 26, that the Ægyptians were not circumcised at the time when that prophet lived, viz. 630 or 640 years before Christ, which was not 200 years before Herodotus flourished and wrote his history.
184 Syrians of Palestine.]-Mr. Gibbon takes the opportunity of this passage to make it appear, that under the Assyrian
near the rivers Thermodon and Parthenius, and their neighbours the Macrones, confess that they learned it, and that too in modern times, from the Colchians. These are the only people who use circumcision, and who use it precisely like the Ægyptians. As this practice can be traced both in Ægypt and Æthiopia to the remotest antiquity, it is not possible to say who first introduced it. The Ægyptians certainly communicated it to the other nations by means of their commercial intercourse. The Phænicians, who are connected with Greece, do not any longer imitate the Ægyptians in this particular, their male children not being circumcised.
CV. But the Colchians have another mark of resemblance to the Ægyptians. Their manufacture of linen 185 is alike, and peculiar to those two
and Persian monarchies, the Jews languished for many ages the most despised portion of their slaves. “Herodotus,” says the English historian, “ who visited Asia whilst it obeyed the Persian empire, slightly mentions the Jews of Palestine." But this seems to be a partial quotation ; for taking into consideration the whole of the context, Herodotus seems precluded from mentioning the Syrians of Palestine in this place otherwise than slightly.-T.
It is indeed certain that Ilerodotus could know nothing of the Jews, for it is utterly impossible that they should confess that they borrowed the rite of circumcision from the Ægyptians.
185 Manufacture of linen.]-See chapter xxxvii. of this book.-T. To which may be added the following remark from Harmer,
vol. ii. p. 349.
nations ; they have similar manners, and the same language. The linen which comes from Colchis the Greeks call Sardonian '86; the linen of Ægypt, Ægyptian.
As for the linen yarn mentioned in Scripture, it is still, according to Norden, one of the principal of their merchandises, and is sent away in prodigious quantities along with unmanufactured flax and cotton spun. To which I would add this remark of Sanutus, who lived about 400 years ago, that though Christian countries abounded in his time in flax, yet the goodness of the Ægyptian was such that it was dispersed all about, even into the West; for the same reason, without doubt, the Jews, littites, and Syrians anciently purchased the linen yarn of this country, though they had fax growing in their own.
186 Sardonian.] - In the original, for Eaçdorixon, Larcher recommends the reading of Eagdvaroxov, which he justifies by saying that Sardis was a far more proper and convenient market for this kind of linen than Sardinia.
This latter country in ancient times had the character of being remarkably unhealthy.“ Remember," says Cicero, writing to his brother, “though in perfect health, you are in Sardinia.” Martial also,
Nullo fata loco possis excludere, cum mors
Venerit, in medio Tibure, Sardinia est. This country also gave rise to many peculiar phrases: Sardi venales, Risus Sardonicus, Sardonia tinctura, &c. The first is differently explained; Cicero, applying it to Gracchus, who after the capture of Sardinia wasted much time in selling his prisoners, makes it to signify any matter tediously protracted. Others, applying it to the Asiatic Sardis, make it signify persons who are venal. The Sardonic laugh is that beneath which the severest uneasiness is concealed. “Sardinia,” says Solinus,“ produces a herb which has this
CVI. The greater part of the pillars which Sesostris erected in the places which he conquered, are no longer to be found. Some of them I myself have seen in Palestine of Syria, with the private members of a woman, and with the inscriptions which I have before mentioned. In Ionia there are two figures of this king, formed out of a rock; one is in the road from Ephesus to Phocæa, the other betwixt Sardis and Smyrna. Both* of them represent a man, five palins in height; the right hand holds a javelin, the left a bow; the rest of the armour is partly Egyptian and partly Æthiopian. Across his breast, from shoulder to
singular property, that whilst it destroys whoever eats it, it so contracts the features, and in particular of the mouth, into a grin, as to make the sufferer appear to die laughing." Of this herb, Solinus relates other strange properties. Sardinia was also famous for a verv beautiful colour, whence Sardonia tinctura was made to signify a modest blush. See Pliny, Solinus, Iloilman, &c.
Larcher observes that Mingrelia, the antient Colchis, is still famous for such manufacture of linen. The linen of Ægypt is thus mentioned in Ezekiel, c. xxvii. v. 7.
Fine linen, with broidered work from Ægypt, was that which thou spreadest forth to le thy sail.
Again, in Proverbs, c. vii. v. 16.
I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
* Either no travellers have taken the route from Phocæa to Ephesus, and from Sardis to Smyrna, or they have neglected to inquire whether any traces of these stupendous statues are yet visible.