polytheist extractions

Aelian, On Animals 18.10

“As soon as a report is circulated that the Egyptian god has manifested himself, certain of the sacred scribes, well versed in the mystical marks known to them by tradition, approach the spot where the divine cow has deposited her calf, and there, following the ancient ordinance of Hermes, feed it with milk during four months, in a house facing the rising sun. When this period has passed the sacred scribes and prophets resort to the dwelling of Apis, at the time of the new moon, and placing him in a boat prepared for the purpose convey him to Memphis, where he has a convenient and agreeable abode, with pleasure-grounds and ample space for wholesome exercise. Female companions of his own species are provided for him, the most beautiful that can be found, kept in apartments to which he has access when he wishes. He drinks out of a well or fountain of clear water; for it is not thought right to give him the water of the Nile, which is considered too fattening. It would be tedious to relate what pompous processions and sacred ceremonies the Egyptians perform on the celebration of the rising of the Nile, at the fete of the Theophania in honour of this god, or what dances, festivities, and joyful assemblies are appointed on the occasion, in the towns and in the country. The man from whose herd the divine beast has sprung, is the happiest of mortals, and is looked upon with admiration by all people. Apis is an excellent interpretation of futurity. He does not employ virgins or old women sitting on a tripod, like some other gods, nor require that they should be intoxicated with the sacred potion but inspires boys who play around his stable with a divine impulse, enabling them to pour out predictions in perfect rhythm.” – Aelian, On Animals 18.10


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