At the palace they found the usual scene of feasting and riot going on. The suitors pretended to receive Telemachus with joy at his return, though secretly mortified at the failure of their plots to take his life. The old beggar was permitted to enter, and provided with a portion from the table. A touching incident occurred as Ulysses entered the court-yard of the palace. An old dog lay in the yard almost dead with age, and seeing a stranger enter, raised his head, with ears erect. It was Argus, Ulysses' own dog, that he had in other days often led to the chase.
"Soon he perceived Long-lost Ulysses nigh, down fell his ears Clapped close, and with his tail glad signs he gave Of gratulation, impotent to rise, And to approach his master as of old. Ulysses, noting him, wiped off a tear Unmarked. . . . Then his destiny released Old Argus, soon as he had lived to see Ulysses in the twentieth year restored."
As Ulysses sat eating his portion in the hall, the suitors soon began to exhibit their insolence to him. When he mildly remonstrated, one of them raised a stool and with it gave him a blow. Telemachus had hard work to restrain his indignation at seeing his father so treated in his own hall, but remembering his father's injunctions, said no more than what became him as master of the house and protector of his guests.
Penelope had protracted her decision in favor of any one of her suitors so long, that there seemed to be no further pretence for delay. The continued absence of her husband seemed to prove that his return was no longer to be expected. Meanwhile her son had grown up, and was able to manage his own affairs. She therefore consented to submit the question of her choice to a trial of skill among the suitors. The test selected was shooting with the bow. Twelve rings were arranged in a line, and he whose arrow was sent through the whole twelve, was to have the queen for his prize. A bow that one of his brother heroes had given to Ulysses in former times, was brought from the armory, and with its quiver full of arrows was laid in the hall. Telemachus had taken care that all other weapons should be removed, under pretence that in the heat of competition, there was danger, in some rash moment, of putting them to an improper use.
All things being prepared for the trial, the first thing to be done was to bend the bow in order to attach the string. Telemachus endeavored to do it, but found all his efforts fruitless; and modestly confessing that he had attempted a task beyond his strength, he yielded the bow to another. HE tried it with no better success, and, amidst the laughter and jeers of his companions, gave it up. Another tried it and another; they rubbed the bow with tallow, but all to no purpose; it would not bend. Then spoke Ulysses, humbly suggesting that he should be permitted to try; for, said he, "beggar as I am, I was once a soldier, and there is still some strength in these old limbs of mine." The suitors hooted with derision, and commanded to turn him out of the hall for his insolence. But Telemachus spoke up for him, and merely to gratify the old man, bade him try. Ulysses took the bow, and handled it with the hand of a master. With ease he adjusted the cord to its notch, then fitting an arrow to the bow he drew the string and sped the arrow unerring through the rings.
Without allowing them time to express their astonishment, he said, "Now for another mark!" and aimed direct at the most insolent one of the suitors. The arrow pierced through his throat and he fell dead. Telemachus, Eumaeus, and another faithful follower, well armed, now sprang to the side of Ulysses. The suitors, in amazement, looked round for arms but found none, neither was there any way of escape, for Eumaeus had secured the door. Ulysses left them not long in uncertainty; he announced himself as the long-lost chief, whose house they had invaded, whose substance they had squandered, whose wife and son they had persecuted for ten long years; and told them he meant to have ample vengeance. All the suitors were slain, except Phemius the bard and Medon the herald, and Ulysses was left master of his own palace and possessor of his kingdom and his wife.
Among Schiller's works is the following epigram on Ulysses:
"To gain his home all oceans he explored; Here Scylla frowned, and there Charybdis roared; Horror on sea, and horror on the land, In hell's dark boat he sought the spectre land, Till borne a slumberer to his native spot, He woke, and sorrowing, knew his country not." Sir Edward Bulwer"s translation
Tennyson's poem of Ulysses represents the old hero, after his dangers past and nothing left but to stay at home and be happy, growing tired of inaction and resolving to set forth again in quest of new adventures.
"Come my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world. Push off, and sitting well in order smite The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down; It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, And see the great Achilles whom we knew, Tho'much is taken, much abides; and tho' We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
Chapter XXIV Adventures of AEneas The Harpies Dido Palinurus
We have followed one of the Grecian heroes, Ulysses, in his wanderings, on his return home from Troy, and now we propose to share the fortunes of the remnant of the conquered people, under their chief AEneas, in their search for a new home, after the ruin of their native city. On that fatal night when the wooden horse disgorged its contents of armed men, and the capture and conflagration of the city were the result, Aeneas made his escape from the scene of destruction with his father, and his wife, and young son. The father, Anchises, was woo old to walk with the speed required, and AEneas took him upon his shoulders. Thus burdened, leading his son and followed by his wife, he made the best of his way out of the burning city; but in the confusion, his wife was swept away and lost.
On arriving at the place of rendezvous, numerous fugitives, of both sexes, were found, who put themselves under the guidance of Aeneas. Some months were spent in preparation and at length they embarked. They first landed on the neighboring shores of Thrace, and were preparing to build a city, but AEneas was deterred by a prodigy. Preparing to offer sacrifice, he tore some twigs from one of the bushes. To his dismay the wounded part dropped blood. When he repeated the act, a voice from the ground cried out to him, "Spare me, AEneas; I am your kinsman, Polydore, here murdered with many arrows, from which a bush has grown, nourished with my blood." These words recalled to the recollection of AEneas that Polydore was a young prince of Troy, whom his father had sent with ample treasures to the neighboring land of Thrace, to be there brought up, at a distance from the horrors of war. The king to whom he was sent had murdered him, and seized his treasures. AEneas and his companions hastened away, considering the land to be accursed by the stain of such a crime.
They next landed on the island of Delos, which was once a floating island, till Jupiter fastened it by adamantine chains to the bottom of the sea. Apollo and Diana were born there, and the island was sacred to Apollo. Here AEneas consulted the oracle of Apollo, and received an answer, as ambiguous as usual "Seek your ancient mother; there the race of AEneas shall dwell, and reduce all other nations to their sway." The Trojans heard with joy, and immediately began to ask one another, "Where is the spot intended by the oracle?" Anchises remembered that there was a tradition that their forefathers came from Crete, and thither they resolved to steer. They arrived at Crete, and began to build their city, but sickness broke out among them, and the fields that they had planted failed to yield a crop. In this gloomy aspect of affairs, AEneas was warned in a dream to leave the country, and seek a western land, called Hesperia, whence Dardanus, the true founder of the Trojan race, had originally migrated. To Hesperia, now called Italy, therefore, they directed their future course, and not till after many adventures and the lapse of time sufficient to carry a modern navigator several times round the world, did they arrive there.
Their first landing was at the island of the Harpies:
"The daughters of the earth and sea, The dreadful snatchers, who like women were Down to the breast, with scanty coarse black hair About their heads, and dim eyes ringed with red, And bestial mouths set round with lips of lead, But from their gnarled necks there began to spring Half hair, half feathers, and a sweeping wing Grew out instead of arm on either side, And thick plumes underneath the breast did hide The place where joined the fearful natures twain. Gray-feathered were they else, with many a stain Of blood thereon, and on birds' claws they went. Morris: Life and Death of Jason
The Harpies had been sent by the gods to torment a certain Phineus, whom Jupiter had deprived of his sight in punishment of his cruelty; and whenever a meal was placed before him, the Harpies darted down from the air and carried it off. They were driven away from Phineus by the heroes of the Argonautic expedition, and took refuge in the island where AEneas now found them.
When they entered the port the Trojans saw herds of cattle roaming over the plain. They slew as many as they wished, and prepared for a feast. But no sooner had they seated themselves at the table, than a horrible clamor was heard in the air, and a flock of odious Harpies came rushing down upon them, seizing in their talons the meat from the dishes, and flying away with it. AEneas and his companions drew their swords and dealt vigorous blows among the monsters, but to no purpose, for they were so nimble it was almost impossible to hit them, and their feathers were like armor impenetrable to steel. One of them, perched on a neighboring cliff, screamed out, "Is it thus, Trojans, you treat us innocent birds, first slaughter our cattle, and then make war on ourselves?" She then predicted dire sufferings to them in their future course, and having vented her wrath flew away. The Trojans made haste to leave the country, and next found themselves coasting along the shore of Epirus. Here they landed, and to their astonishment learned that certain Trojan exiles, who had been carried there as prisoners, had become rulers of the country. Andromache, the widow of Hector, became the wife of one of the victorious Grecian chiefs, to whom she bore a son. Her husband dying, she was left regent of the country, as guardian of her son, and had married a fellow-captive, Helenus, of the royal race of Troy. Helenus and Andromache treated the exiles with the utmost hospitality, and dismissed them loaded with gifts.
>From hence AEneas coasted along the shore of Sicily, and passed the country of Cyclopes. Here they were hailed from the shore by a miserable object, whom by his garments, tattered as they were, they perceived to be a Greek. He told them he was one of Ulysses' companions, left behind by that chief in his hurried departure. He related the story of Ulysses' adventure with Polyphemus, and besought them to take him off with them, as he had no means of sustaining his existence where he was, but wild berries and roots, and lived in constant fear of the Cyclopes. While he spoke Polyphemus made his appearance; a terrible monster, shapeless, vast, whose only eye had been put out. He walked with cautious steps, feeling his way with a staff, down to the sea-side, to wash his eye-socket in the waves. When he reached the water, he waded out towards them, and his immense height enabled him to advance far into the sea, so that the Trojans, in terror, took to their oars to get out of his way. Hearing the oars, Polyphemus shouted after them, so that the shores resounded, and at the noise the other Cyclopes came forth from their caves and woods, and lined the shore, like a row of lofty pine trees. The Trojans plied their oars, and soon left them out of sight.
AEneas had been cautioned by Helenus to avoid the strait guarded by the monsters Scylla and Charybdis. There Ulysses, the reader will remember, had lost six of his men, seized by Scylla, while the navigators were wholly intent upon avoiding Charybdis. AEneas, following the advice of Helenus, shunned the dangerous pass and coasted along the island of Sicily.
Juno, seeing the Trojans speeding their way prosperously towards their destined shore, felt her old grudge against them revive, for she could not forget the slight that Paris had put upon her, in awarding the prize of beauty to another. In heavenly minds can such resentments dwell! Accordingly she hastened to AEolus, the ruler of the winds, the same who supplied Ulysses with favoring gales, giving him the contrary ones tied up in a bag. AEolus obeyed the goddess and sent forth his sons, Boreas, Typhon and the other winds, to toss the ocean. A terrible storm ensued, and the Trojan ships were driven out of their course towards the coast of Africa. They were in imminent danger of being wrecked, and were separated, so that AEneas thought that all were lost except his own.
At this crisis, Neptune, hearing the storm raging, and knowing that he had given no orders for one, raised his head above the waves, and saw the fleet of AEneas driving before the gale. Knowing the hostility of Juno, he was at no loss to account for it, but his anger was not the less at this interference in his province. He called the winds, and dismissed them with a severe reprimand. He then soothed the waves, and brushed away the clouds from before the face of the sun. Some of the ships which had got on the rocks he pried off with his own trident, while Triton and a sea-nymph, putting their shoulders under others, set them afloat again. The Trojans, when the sea became calm, sought the nearest shore, which was the coast of Carthage, where AEneas was so happy as to find that one by one the ships all arrived safe, though badly shaken.
Waller, in his Panegyric to the Lord Protector (Cromwell), alludes to this stilling of the storm by Neptune:
"Above the waves, as Neptune showed his face, To chide the winds and save the Trojan race, So has your Highness, raised above the rest, Storms of ambition tossing us repressed.."
Carthage, where the exiles had now arrived, was a spot on the coast of Africa opposite Sicily, where at that time a Tyrian colony under Dido their queen, were laying the foundations of a state destined in later ages to be the rival of Rome itself. Dido was the daughter of Belus, king of Tyre, and sister of Pygmalion who succeeded his father on the throne. Her husband was Sichaeus, a man of immense wealth, but Pygmalion, who coveted his treasures, caused him to be put to death. Dido, with a numerous body of followers, both men and women, succeeded in effecting their escape from Tyre in several vessels, carrying with them the treasures of Sichaeus. On arriving at the spot which they selected as the seat of their future home, they asked of the natives only so much land as they could enclose with a bull's hide. When this was readily granted, she caused the hide to be cut into strips, and with them enclosed a spot on which she built a citadel, and called it Byrsa (a hide). Around this fort the city of Carthage rose, and soon became a powerful and flourishing place.
Such was the state of affairs when AEneas with his Trojans arrived there. Dido received the illustrious exiles with friendliness and hospitality. "Not unacquainted with distress," she said, "I have learned to succor the unfortunate." The queen's hospitality displayed itself in festivities at which games of strength and skill were exhibited. The strangers contended for the palm with her own subjects on equal terms, the queen declaring that whether the victor were "Trojan or Tyrian should make no difference to her." At the feast which followed the games, AEneas gave at her request a recital of the closing events of the Trojan history and his own adventures after the fall of the city. Dido was charmed with his discourse and filled with admiration of his exploits. She conceived an ardent passion for him, and he for his part seemed well content to accept the fortunate chance which appeared to offer him at once a happy termination of his wanderings, a home, a kingdom, and a bride. Months rolled away in the enjoyment of pleasant intercourse, and it seemed as if Italy and the empire destined to be founded on its shores were alike forgotten. Seeing which, Jupiter dispatched Mercury with a message to AEneas recalling him to a sense of his high destiny, and commanding him to resume his voyage.
AEneas, under this divine command, parted from Dido, though she tried every allurement and persuasion to detain him. The blow to her affection and her pride was too much for her to endure, and when she found that he was gone, she mounted a funeral-pile which she had caused to be prepared, and, having stabbed herself, was consumed with the pile. The flames rising over the city were seen by the departing Trojans, and, though the cause was unknown, gave to AEneas some intimation of the fatal event.
We find in "Elegant Extracts" the following epigram:
>From the Latin
"Unhappy, Dido, was thy fate In first and second married state! One husband caused thy flight by dying, Thy death the other caused by flying."
Dr. Johnson was once challenged to make an epigram on the syllables di,do,dum. He immediately replied in these lines:
"When Dido found Aeneas would not come, She wept in silence, and was Dido dumb.
After touching at the island of Sicily, where Acestes, a prince of Trojan lineage, bore sway, who gave them a hospitable reception, the Trojans re-embarked, and held on their course for Italy. Venus now interceded with Neptune to allow her son at last to attain the wished-for goal, and find an end of his perils on the deep. Neptune consented, stipulating only for one life as a ransom for the rest. The victim was Palinurus, the pilot. As he sat watching the stars, with his hand on the helm, Somnus, sent by Neptune, approached in the guise of Phorbas and said, "Palinurus, the breeze is fair, the water smooth, and the ship sails steadily on her course. Lie down a while and take needful rest. I will stand at the helm in your place." Palinurus replied, "Tell me not of smooth seas or favoring winds, me who have seen so much of their treachery. Shall I trust AEneas to the chances of the weather and winds?" And he continued to grasp the helm and to keep his eyes fixed on the stars. But Somnus waved over him a branch moistened with Lethaean dew, and his eyes closed in spite of all his efforts. Then Somnus pushed him overboard and he fell; but keeping his hold upon the helm it came away with him. Neptune was mindful of his promise, and kept the ship on her track without helm or pilot, till Aeneas discovered his loss, and, sorrowing deeply for his faithful steersman, took charge of the ship himself.
There is a beautiful allusion to the story of Palinurus in Scott's Marmion, Introduction to Canto I., where the poet, speaking of the recent death of William Pitt, says:
"Oh, think how, to his latest day, When death just hovering claimed his prey, With Palinure's unaltered mood, Firm at his dangerous post he stood; Each call for needful rest repelled, With dying hand the rudder held, Till in his fall, with fateful sway, The steerage of the realm gave way."
The ships at last reached the shores of Italy, and joyfully did the adventurers leap to land. While his people were employed in making their encampment AEneas sought the abode of the Sibyl. It was a cave connected with a temple and grove, sacred to Apollo and Diana. While Aeneas contemplated the scene, the Sibyl accosted him. She seemed to know his errand, and under the influence of the deity of the place burst forth in a prophetic strain, giving dark intimations of labors and perils through which he was destined to make his way to final success. She closed with the encouraging words which have become proverbial: "Yield not to disasters, but press onward the more bravely." AEneas replied that he had prepared himself for whatever might await him. He had but one request to make. Having been directed in a dream to seek the abode of the dead in order to confer with his father Anchises to receive from him a revelation of his future fortunes and those of his race, he asked her assistance to enable him to accomplish the task. The Sibyl replied, "The descent to Avernus is easy; the gate of Pluto stands open night and day; but to retrace one's steps and return to the upper air, that is the toil, that the difficulty. She instructed him to seek in the forest a tree on which grew a golden branch. This branch was to be plucked off, to be borne as a gift to Proserpine, and if fate was propitious, it would yield to the hand and quit its parent trunk, but otherwise no force could rend it away. If torn away, another would succeed.
AEneas followed the directions of the Sibyl. His mother Venus sent two of her doves to fly before him and show him the way, and by their assistance he found the tree, plucked the branch, and hastened back with it to the Sibyl.
Chapter XXV The Infernal Regions The Sibyl
At the commencement of our series we have given the pagan account of the creation of the world, so as we approach its conclusion, we present a view of the regions of the dead, depicted by one of their most enlightened poets, who drew his doctrines from their most esteemed philosophers. The region where Virgil places the entrance into this abode, is perhaps the most strikingly adapted to excite ideas of the terrific and preternatural of any on the face of the earth. It is the volcanic region near Vesuvius, where the whole country is cleft with chasms from which sulphurous flames arise, while the ground is shaken with pent-up vapors, and mysterious sounds issue from the bowels of the earth. The lake Avernus is supposed to fill the crater of an extinct volcano. It is circular, half a mile wide, and very deep, surrounded by high banks, which in Virgil's time were covered with a gloomy forest. Mephitic vapors rise from its waters, so that no life is found on its banks, and no birds fly over it. Here, according to the poet, was the cave which afforded access to the infernal regions, and here AEneas offered sacrifices to the infernal deities, Proserpine, Hecate, and the Furies. Then a roaring was heard in the earth, the woods on the hill-tops were shaken, and the howling of dogs announced the approach of the deities. "Now," said the Sibyl, "summon up your courage, for you will need it." She descended into the cave, and AEneas followed. Before the threshold of Hades they passed through a group of beings who are Griefs and avenging Cares, pale Diseases and melancholy Age, Fear and Hunger that tempt to crime, Toil, Poverty, and Death, forms horrible to view. The Furies spread their couches there, and Discord, whose hair was of vipers tied up with a bloody fillet. Here also were the monsters, Briareus with his hundred arms, Hydras hissing, and Chimaeras breathing fire. AEneas shuddered at the sight, drew his sword and would have struck, had not the Sibyl restrained him. They then came to the black river Cocytus, where they found the ferryman, Charon, old and squalid, but strong and vigorous, who was receiving passengers of all kinds into his boat, high-souled heroes, boys and unmarried girls as numerous as the leaves that fall at autumn, or the flocks that fly southward at the approach of winter. They stood pressing for a passage, and longing to touch the opposite shore. But the stern ferryman took in only such as he chose, driving the rest back. AEneas, wondering at the sight, asked the Sibyl, "Why this discrimination?: She answered, "Those who are taken on board the bark are the souls of those who have received due burial rites; the host of others who have remained unburied, are not permitted to pass the flood, but wander a hundred years, and flit to and fro about the shore, till at last they are taken over." AEneas grieved at recollecting some of his own companions who had perished in the storm. At that moment he beheld Palinurus, his pilot, who fell overboard and was drowned. He addressed him and asked him the cause of his misfortune. Palinurus replied that the rudder was carried away, and he, clinging to it, was swept away with it. He besought Aeneas most urgently to extend to him his hand and take him in company to the opposite shore. But the Sibyl rebuked him for the wish thus to transgress the laws of Pluto, but consoled him by informing him that the people of the shore where his body had been wafted by the waves, should be stirred up by the prodigies to give it the burial, and that the promontory should bear the name of Cape Palinurus, which it does to this day. Leaving Palinurus consoled by these words, they approached the boat. Charon, fixing his eyes sternly upon the advancing warrior, demanded by what right he, living and armed, approached the shore. To which the Sibyl replied that they would commit no violence, that AEneas's only object was to see his father, and finally exhibited the golden branch, at sight of which Charon's wrath relaxed, and he made haste to turn his back to the shore, and receive them on board. The boat, adapted only to the light freight of bodiless spirits, groaned under the weight of the hero. They were soon conveyed to the opposite shore. There they were encountered by the three- headed dog Cerberus, with his necks bristling with snakes. He barked with all his three throats till the Sibyl threw him a medicated cake, which he eagerly devoured, and then stretched himself out in his den and fell asleep. AEneas and the Sibyl sprang to land. The first sound that struck their ears was the wailing of young children, who had died on the threshold of life, and near to these were they who had perished under false charges. Minos presides over them as judge, and examines the deeds of each. The next class was of those who had died by their own hand, hating life and seeking refuge in death. Oh, how willingly would they now endure poverty, labor, and any other infliction, if they might but return to life! Next were situated the regions of sadness, divided off into retired paths, leading through groves of myrtle. Here roamed those who had fallen victims to unrequited love, not freed from pain even by death itself. Among these, AEneas thought he descried the form of Dido, with a wound still recent. In the dim light he was for a moment uncertain, but approaching perceived it was indeed herself. Tears fell from his eyes, and he addressed her in the accents of love. "Unhappy Dido! Was then the rumor true that you had perished? And was I, alas! the cause! I call the gods to witness that my departure from you was reluctant, and in obedience to the commands of Jove; nor could I believe that my absence would have cost you so dear. Stop, I beseech you, and refuse me not a last farewell." She stood for a moment with averted countenance, and eyes fixed on the ground, and then silently passed on, as insensible to his pleadings as a rock. AEneas followed for some distance; then, with a heavy heart, rejoined his companion and resumed his route.
They next entered the fields where roam the heroes who have fallen in battle. Here they saw many shades of Grecian and Trojan warriors. The Trojans thronged around him, and could not be satisfied with the sight. They asked the cause of his coming, and plied him with innumerable questions. But the Greeks, at the sight of his armor glittering through the murky atmosphere, recognized the hero, and filled with terror turned their backs and fled, as they used to flee on the plains of Troy.
AEneas would have lingered long with his Trojan friends but the Sibyl hurried him away. They next came to a place where the road divided, the one leading to Elysium, the other to the regions of the condemned. AEneas beheld on one side the walls of a mighty city, around which Phlegethon rolled its fiery waters. Before him was the gate of adamant that neither gods nor men can break through. An iron tower stood by the gate, on which Tisiphone, the avenging Fury, kept guard. From the city were heard groans, and the sound of the scourge, the creaking of iron, and the clanking of chains. AEneas, horror-struck, inquired of his guide what crimes were those whose punishments produced the sounds he hear? The Sibyl answered, "Here is the judgment-hall of Rhadamanthus, who brings to light crimes done in life, which the perpetrator vainly thought impenetrably hid. Tisiphone applies her whip of scorpions, and delivers the offender over to her sister Furies. At this moment with horrid clang the brazen gates unfolded, and AEneas saw within, a Hydra with fifty heads, guarding the entrance. The Sibyl told him that the Gulf of Tartarus descended deep, so that its recesses were as far beneath their feet as heaven was high above their heads. In the bottom of this pit, the Titan race, who warred against the gods, lie prostrate; Salmoneus, also, who presumed to vie with Jupiter, and built a bridge of brass over which he drove his chariot that the sound might resemble thunder, launching flaming brands at his people in imitation of lightning, till Jupiter struck him with a real thunderbolt, and taught him the difference between mortal weapons and divine. Here, also, is Tityus, the giant, whose form is so immense that as he lies, he stretches over nine acres, while a vulture preys upon his liver, which as fast as it is devoured grows again, so that his punishment will have no end.
AEneas saw groups seated at tables loaded with dainties, while near by stood a Fury who snatched away the viands from their lips, as fast as they prepared to taste them. Others beheld suspended over their heads huge rocks, threatening to fall, keeping them in a state of constant alarm. These were they who had hated their brothers, or struck their parents, or defrauded the friends who trusted them, or who having grown rich, kept their money to themselves, and gave no share to others; the last being the most numerous class. Here also were those who had violated the marriage vow, or fought in a bad cause, or failed in fidelity to their employers. Here was one who had sold his country for gold, another who perverted the laws, making them say one thing today and another tomorrow.
Ixion was there fastened to the circumference of a wheel ceaselessly revolving; and Sisyphus, whose task was to roll a huge stone up to a hill-top, but when the steep was well-nigh gained, the rock, repulsed by some sudden force, rushed again headlong down to the plain. Again he toiled at it, while the sweat bathed all his weary limbs, but all to no effect. There was Tantalus, who stood in a pool, his chin level with the water, yet he was parched with thirst, and found nothing to assuage it; for when he bowed his hoary head, eager to quaff, the water fled away, leaving the ground at his feet all dry. Tall trees laden with fruit stooped their heads to him, pears, pomegranates, apples and luscious figs; but when with a sudden grasp he tried to seize them, winds whirled them high above his reach.
The Sibyl now warned AEneas that it was time to turn from these melancholy regions and seek the city of the blessed. They passed through a middle tract of darkness, and came upon the Elysian fields, the groves where the happy reside. They breathed a freer air, and saw all objects clothed in a purple light. The region has a sun and stars of its own. The inhabitants were enjoying themselves in various ways, some in sports on the grassy turf, in games of strength or skill, others dancing or singing. Orpheus struck the chords of his lyre, and called forth ravishing sounds. Here AEneas saw the founders of the Trojan state, high-souled heroes who lived in happier times. He gazed with admiration on the war-chariots and glittering arms now reposing in disuse. Spears stood fixed in the ground, and the horses, unharnessed, roamed over the plain. The same pride in splendid armor and generous steeds which the old heroes felt in life, accompanied them here. He saw another group feasting, and listening to the strains of music. They were in a laurel grove, whence the great river Po has its origin, and flows out among men. Here dwelt those who fell by wounds received in their country's cause, holy priests, also, and poets who have uttered thoughts worthy of Apollo, and others who have contributed to cheer and adorn life by their discoveries in the useful arts, and have made their memory blessed by rendering service to mankind. They wore snow- white fillets about their brows. The Sibyl addressed a group of these, and inquired where Anchises was to be found. They were directed where to seek him, and soon found him in a verdant valley, where he was contemplating the ranks of his posterity, their destinies and worthy deeds to be achieved in coming times. When he recognized AEneas approaching, he stretched out both hands to him, while tears flowed freely. "Have you come at last," said he, "long expected and do I behold you after such perils past? O my son, how have I trembled for you as I have watched your career!" To which AEneas replied, O father! Your image was always before me to guide and guard me. Then he endeavored to enfold his father in his embrace, but his arms enclosed only an unsubstantial image.
AEneas perceived before him a spacious valley, with trees gently waving to the wind, a tranquil landscape, through which the river Lethe flowed. Along the banks of the stream wandered a countless multitude, numerous as insects in the summer air. AEneas, with surprise, inquired who were these. Anchises answered, "They are souls to which bodies are to be given in due time. Meanwhile they dwell on Lethe's bank, and drink oblivion of their former lives." "Oh, father!" said AEneas, "is it possible that any can be so in love with life, as to wish to leave these tranquil seats for the upper world?" Anchises replied by explaining the plan of creation. The Creator, he told him, originally made the material of which souls are composed, of the four elements, fire, air, earth, and water, all which, when united, took the form of the most excellent part, fire, and became FLAME. This material was scattered like seed among the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars. Of this seed the inferior gods created man and all other animals, mingling it with various proportions of earth, by which its purity was alloyed and reduced. Thus the more earth predominates in the composition, the less pure is the individual; and we see men and women with their full-grown bodies have not the purity of childhood. So in proportion to the time which the union of body and soul has lasted, is the impurity contracted by the spiritual part. This impurity must be purged away after death, which is done by ventilating the souls in the current of winds, or merging them in water, or burning out their impurities by fire. Some few, of whom Anchises intimates that he is one, are admitted at once to Elysium, there to remain. But the rest, after the impurities of earth are purged away, are sent back to life endowed with new bodies, having had the remembrance of their former lives effectually washed away by the waters of Lethe. Some, however, there still are, so thoroughly corrupted, that they are not fit to be entrusted with human bodies, and these are made into brute animals, lions, tigers, cats, dogs, monkeys, etc. This is what the ancients called Metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls; a doctrine which is still held by the natives of India, who scruple to destroy the life, even of the most insignificant animal, not knowing but it may be one of their relations in an altered form.
Anchises, having explained so much, proceeded to point out to AEneas individuals of his race, who were hereafter to be born, and to relate to him the exploits they should perform in the world. After this he reverted to the present, and told his son of the events that remained to him to be accomplished before the complete establishment of himself and his followers in Italy. Wars were to be waged, battles fought, a bride to be won, and in the result a Trojan state founded, from which should rise the Roman power, to be in time the sovereign of the world.
AEneas and the Sybil then took leave of Anchises, and returned by some short cut, which the poet does not explain, to the upper world.
The Egyptian name of Hades was Amenti. In the Revision of the Scriptures the Revising Commission has substituted the word Hades where "hell" was used in the version of King James.
Virgil, we have seen, places his Elysium under the earth, and assigns it for a residence to the spirits of the blessed. But in Homer Elysium forms no part of the realms of the dead. He places it on the west of the earth, near Ocean, and described it as a happy land, where there is neither snow, nor cold, nor rain, and always fanned by the delightful breezes of Zephyrus. Hither favored heroes pass without dying, and live happy under the rule of Rhadamanthus. The Elysium of Hesiod and Pindar is in the Isles of the Blessed, or Fortunate Islands, in the Western Ocean. >From these sprang the legend of the happy island Atlantis. This blissful region may have been wholly imaginary, but possibly may have sprung from the reports of some storm-driven mariners who had caught a glimpse of the coast of America.
James Russell Lowell, in one of his shorter poems, claims for the present age some of the privileges of that happy realm. Addressing the Past, he says,
"Whatever of true life there was in thee, Leaps in our age's veins. . . . . . . "Here, 'mid the bleak waves of our strife and care, Float the green 'Fortunate Isles,' Where all thy hero-spirits dwell and share Our martyrdoms and toils. The present moves attended With all of brave and excellent and fair That made the old time splendid."
Milton alludes to the same fable in Paradise Lost, Book III., 1.568.
"Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old, Fortunate fields and groves and flowery vales, Thrice happy isles."
And in Book II. he characterizes the rivers of Erebus according to the meaning of their names in the Greek language:
"Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate, Sad Acheron of sorrow black and deep; Cocytus named of lamentation loud Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Far off from these a slow and silent stream. Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks Forthwith his former state and being forgets, Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain."
As AEneas and the Sibyl pursued their way back to earth, he said to her, "Whether thou be a goddess or a mortal beloved by the gods, by me thou shalt always be held in reverence. When I reach the upper air, I will cause a temple to be built to thy honor, and will myself bring offerings." "I am no goddess," said the Sibyl; "I have no claim to sacrifice or offering. I am mortal; yet if I could have accepted the love of Apollo, I might have been immortal. He promised me the fulfilment of my wish, if I would consent to be his. I took a handful of sand, and holding it forth, said, 'Grant me to see as many birthdays as there are sand-grains in my hand.' Unluckily I forgot to ask for enduring youth. This also he would have granted, could I have accepted his love, but offended at my refusal, he allowed me to grow old. My youth and youthful strength fled long ago. I have lived seven hundred years, and to equal the number of the sand-grains, I have still to see three hundred springs and three hundred harvests. My body shrinks up as years increase, and in time, I shall be lost to sight, but my voice will remain, and future ages will respect my sayings."
These concluding words of the Sibyl alluded to her prophetic power. In her cave she was accustomed to inscribe on leaves gathered from the trees the names and fates of individuals. The leaves thus inscribed were arranged in order within the cave, and might be consulted by her votaries. But if perchance at the opening of the door the wind rushed in and dispersed the leaves, the Sibyl gave no aid to restoring them again, and the oracle was irreparably lost.
The following legend of the Sibyl is fixed at a later date. In the reign of one of the Tarquins there appeared before the king a woman who offered him nine books for sale. The king refused to purchase them, whereupon the woman went away and burned three of the books, and returning offered the remaining books for the same price she had asked for the nine. The king again rejected them; but when the woman, after burning three books more, returned and asked for the three remaining the same price which she had before asked for the nine, his curiosity was excited, and he purchased the books. They were found to contain the destinies of the Roman state. They were kept in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, preserved in a stone chest, and allowed to be inspected only by especial officers appointed for that duty, who on great occasions consulted them and interpreted their oracles to the people.
There were various Sibyls; but the Cumaean Sibyl, of whom Ovid and Virgil write, is the most celebrated of them. Ovid's story of her life protracted to one thousand years may be intended to represent the various Sibyls as being only reappearances of one and the same individual.
It is now believed that some of the most distinguished Sibyls took the inspiration of their oracles from the Jewish scripture. Readers interested in this subject will consult, "Judaism," by Prof. F. Huidekoper.
Young, in the Night Thoughts, alludes to the Sibyl. Speaking of worldly Wisdom, he says:
"If future fate she plans 'tis all in leaves, Like Sibyl, unsubstantial, fleeting bliss; At the first blast it vanishes in air. . . . . . As worldly schemes resemble Sibyl's leaves, The good man's days to Sibyl's books compare, The price still rising as in number less."
Chapter XXVI Camilla Evander Nisus and Euryalus Mezentius Turnus
AEneas, having parted from the Sibyl and rejoined his fleet, coasted along the shores of Italy and cast anchor in the mouth of the Tiber. The poet Virgil, having brought his hero to this spot, the destined termination of his wanderings, invokes his Muse to tell him the situation of things at that eventful moment. Latinus, third in descent from Saturn, ruled the country. He was now old and had no male descendant, but had one charming daughter, Lavinia, who was sought in marriage by many neighboring chiefs, one of whom, Turnus, king of the Rutulians, was favored by the wishes of her parents. But Latinus had been warned in a dream by his father Faunus, that the destined husband of Lavinia should come from a foreign land. From that union should spring a race destined to subdue the world.
Our readers will remember that in the conflict with the Harpies, one of those half-human birds had threatened the Trojans with dire sufferings. In particular she predicted that before their wanderings ceased they should be pressed by hunger to devour their tables. This portent now came true; for as they took their scanty meal, seated on the grass, the men placed their hard biscuit on their laps, and put thereon whatever their gleanings in the woods supplied. Having dispatched the latter they finished by eating the crusts. Seeing which, the boy Iulus said playfully, "See, we are eating our tables." AEneas caught the words and accepted the omen. "All hail, promised land!" he exclaimed, "this is our home, this our country!" He then took measures to find out who were the present inhabitants of the land, and who their rulers. A hundred chosen men were sent to the village of Latinus, bearing presents and a request for friendship and alliance. They went and were favorably received. Latinus immediately concluded that the Trojan hero was no other than the promised son-in-law announced by the oracle. He cheerfully granted his alliance and sent back the messengers mounted on steeds from his stables, and loaded with gifts and friendly messages.
Juno, seeing things go thus prosperously for the Trojans, felt her old animosity revive, summoned the Fury Alecto from Erebus, and sent her to stir up discord. The Fury first took possession of the queen, Amata, and roused her to oppose in every way the new alliance. Alecto then sped to the city of Turnus, and assuming the form of an old priestess, informed him of the arrival of the foreigners and of the attempts of their prince to rob him of his bride. Next she turned her attention to the camp of the Trojans. There she saw the boy Iulus and his companions amusing themselves with hunting. She sharpened the scent of the dogs, and led them to rouse up from the thicket a tame stag, the favorite of Silvia, the daughter of Tyrrheus, the king's herdsman. A javelin from the hand of Iulus wounded the animal, and he had only strength left to run homewards, and died at his mistress' feet. Her cries and tears roused her brothers and the herdsmen, and they, seizing whatever weapons came to hand, furiously assaulted the hunting party. These were protected by their friends, and the herdsmen were finally driven back with the loss of two of their number.
These things were enough to rouse the storm of war, and the queen, Turnus, and the peasants, all urged the old king to drive the strangers from the country. He resisted as long as he could, but finding his opposition unavailing, finally gave way and retreated to his retirement.
OPENING THE GATES OF JANUS
It was the custom of the country, when war was to be undertaken, for the chief magistrate, clad in his robes of office, with solemn pomp to open the gates of the temple of Janus, which were kept shut as long as peace endured. His people now urged the old king to perform that solemn office, but he refused to do so. While they contested, Juno herself, descending from the skies, smote the doors with irresistible force and burst them open. Immediately the whole country was in a flame. The people rushed from every side breathing nothing but war.
Turnus was recognized by all as leader; others joined as allies, chief of whom was Mezentius, a brave and able soldier, but of detestable cruelty. He had been the chief of one of the neighboring cities, but his people drove him out. With him was joined his son Lausus, a generous youth worthy of a better sire.
Camilla, the favorite of Diana, a huntress and warrior, after the fashion of the Amazons, came with her band of mounted followers, including a select number of her own sex, and ranged herself on the side of Turnus. This maiden had never accustomed her fingers to the distaff or the loom, but had learned to endure the toils of war, and in speed to outstrip the wind. It seemed as if she might run over the standing corn without crushing it, or over the surface of the water without dipping her feet. Camilla's history had been singular from the beginning. Her father, Metabus, driven from his city by civil discord, carried with him in his flight his infant daughter. As he fled through the woods, his enemies in hot pursuit, he reached the bank of the river Amazenus, which, swelled by rains, seemed to debar a passage. He paused for a moment, then decided what to do. He tied the infant to his lance with wrappers of bark, and, poising the weapon in his upraised hand, thus addressed Diana: "Goddess of the woods! I consecrate this maid to you;" then hurled the weapon with its burden to the opposite bank. The spear flew across the roaring water. His pursuers were already upon him, but he plunged into the river and swam across, and found the spear with the infant safe on the other side. Thenceforth he lived among the shepherds, and brought up his daughter in woodland arts. While a child she was taught to use the bow and throw the javelin. With her sling she could bring down the crane or the wild swan. Her dress was a tiger's skin. Many mothers sought her for a daughter-in-law, but she continued faithful to Diana, and repelled the thought of marriage.
There is an allusion to Camilla in those well-known lines of Pope, in which, illustrating the rule that "the sound should be an echo to the sense," he says,
"When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw, The line too labors and the words move slow. Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain, Flies o'er th'unbendng corn or skims along the main." Essay on Criticism
Such were the formidable allies that ranged themselves against AEneas. It was night, and he lay stretched in sleep on the bank of the river, under the open heavens. The god of the stream, Father Tiber, seemed to raise his head above the willows, and to say, "O goddess-born, destined possessor of the Latin realms, this is the promised land, here is to be your home, here shall terminate the hostility of the heavenly powers, if only you faithfully persevere. There are friends not far distant. Prepare your boats and row up my stream; I will lead you to Evander the Arcadian chief. He has long been at strife with Turnus and the Rutulians, and is prepared to become an ally of yours. Rise! Offer your vows to Juno, and deprecate her anger. When you have achieved your victory then think of me." AEneas woke and paid immediate obedience to the friendly vision. He sacrificed to Juno, and invoked the god of the river and all its tributary fountains to lend their aid. Then, for the first time, a vessel filled with armed warriors floated on the stream of the Tiber. The river smoothed its waves and bade its current flow gently, while, impelled by the vigorous strokes of the rowers, the vessel shot rapidly up the stream.
About the middle of the day they came in sight of the scattered buildings of the infant town where in after times the proud city of Rome grew, whose glory reached the skies. By chance the old king, Evander, was that day celebrating annual solemnities in honor of Hercules and all the gods. Pallas, his son, and all the chiefs of the little commonwealth stood by. When they saw the tall ship gliding onward through the wood, they were alarmed at the sight, and rose from the tables. But Pallas forbade the solemnities to be interrupted, and seizing a weapon, stepped forward to the river's bank. He called aloud, demanding who they were and what was their object. AEneas, holding forth an olive- branch, replied, "We are Trojans, friends to you and enemies to the Rutulians. We seek Evander, and offer to join our arms with yours." Pallas, in amazement at the sound of so great a name, invited them to land, and when AEneas touched the shore he seized his hand and held it long in friendly grasp. Proceeding through the wood they joined the king and his party, and were most favorably received. Seats were provided for them at the tables, and the repast proceeded.
When the solemnities were ended all moved towards the city. The king, bending with age, walked between his son and AEneas, taking the arm of one or the other of them, and with much variety of pleasing talk shortening the way. AEneas looked and listened with delight, observing all the beauties of the scene, and learning much of heroes renowned in ancient times. Evander said, "These extensive groves were once inhabited by fauns and nymphs, and a rude race of men who sprang from the trees themselves, and had neither laws nor social culture. They knew not how to yoke the cattle nor raise a harvest, nor provide from present abundance for future want; but browsed like beasts upon the leafy boughs, or fed voraciously on their hunted prey. Such were they when Saturn, expelled from Olympus by his sons, came among them and drew together the fierce savages, formed them into society, and gave them laws. Such peace and plenty ensued that men ever since have called his reign the golden age; but by degrees far other times succeeded, and the thirst of gold and the thirst of blood prevailed. The land was a prey to successive tyrants, till fortune and resistless destiny brought me hither, an exile from my native land, Arcadia."
Having thus said, he showed him the Tarpeian rock, and the rude spot then overgrown with bushes where in after times the Capitol rose in all its magnificence. He next pointed to some dismantled walls, and said, "Here stood Janiculum, built by Janus, and there Saturnia, the town of Saturn." Such discourse brought them to the cottage of poor Evander, whence they saw the lowing herds roaming over the plain where now the proud and stately Forum stands. They entered, and a couch was spread for AEneas, well stuffed with leaves and covered with the skin of the Libyan bear.
Next morning, awakened by the dawn and the shrill song of birds beneath the eaves of his low mansion, old Evander rose. Clad in a tunic, and a panther's skin thrown over his shoulders, with sandals on his feet, and his good sword girded to his side, he went forth to seek his guest. Two mastiffs followed him, his whole retinue and body-guard. He round the hero attended by his faithful Achates, and, Pallas soon joining them, the old king spoke thus:
"Illustrious Trojan, it is but little we can do in so great a cause. Our state is feeble, hemmed in on one side by the river, on the other by the Rutulians. But I propose to ally you with a people numerous and rich, to whom fate has brought you at the propitious moment. The Etruscans hold the country beyond the river. Mezentius was their king, a monster of cruelty, who invented unheard-of torments to gratify his vengeance. He would fasten the dead to the living, hand to hand and face to face, and leave the wretched victims to die in that dreadful embrace. At length the people cast him out, him and his house. They burned his palace and slew his friends. He escaped and took refuge with Turnus, who protects him with arms. The Etruscans' demand that he shall be given up to deserved punishment, and would ere now have attempted to enforce their demand; but their priests restrain then, telling them that it is the will of heaven that no native of the land shall guide them to victory, and that their destined leader must come from across the sea. They have offered the crown to me, but I am too old to undertake such great affairs, and my son is native-born, which precludes him from the choice. You, equally by birth and time of life, and fame in arms, pointed out by the gods, have but to appear to be hailed as their leader. With you I will join Pallas, my son, my only hope and comfort. Under you he shall learn the art of war, and strive to emulate your great exploits."
Then the king ordered horses to be furnished for the Trojan chiefs, and AEneas, with a chosen band of followers and Pallas accompanying, mounted and took the way to the Etruscan city, having sent back the rest of his party in the ships. AEneas and his band safely arrived at the Etruscan camp and were received with open arms by Tarchon, the Etruscan leader, and his countrymen.
NISUS AND EURYALUS
In the meanwhile Turnus had collected his bands and made all necessary preparations for the war. Juno sent Iris to him with a message inciting him to take advantage of the absence of AEneas and surprise the Trojan camp. Accordingly the attempt was made, but the Trojans were found on their guard, and having received strict orders from AEneas not to fight in his absence, they lay still in their intrenchments, and resisted all the efforts of the Rutulians to draw them in to the field. Night coming on, the army of Turnus in high spirits at their fancied superiority, feasted and enjoyed themselves, and finally stretched themselves on the field and slept secure.
In the camp of the Trojans things were far otherwise. There all was watchfulness and anxiety, and impatience for AEneas's return. Nisus stood guard at the entrance of the camp, and Euryalus, a youth distinguished above all in the army for graces of person and fine qualities, was with him. These two were friends and brothers in arms. Nisus said to his friend, "Do you perceive what confidence and carelessness the enemy display? Their lights are few and dim, and the men seem all oppressed with wine or sleep. You know how anxiously our chiefs wish to send to AEneas, and to get intelligence from him. Now I am strongly moved to make my way through the enemy's camp and to go in search of our chief. If I succeed, the glory of the deed will be enough reward for me, and if they judge the service deserves anything more, let them pay it to you."
Euryalus, all on fire with the love of adventure, replied, "Would you then, Nisus, refuse to share your enterprise with me? And shall I let you go into such danger alone? Not so my brave father brought me up, nor so have I planned for myself when I joined the standard of AEneas, and resolved to hold my life cheap in comparison with honor." Nisus replied, "I doubt it not, my friend; but you know the uncertain event of such an undertaking, and whatever may happen to me, I wish you to be safe. You are younger than I and have more of life in prospect. Nor can I be the cause of such grief to your mother, who has chosen to be here in the camp with you rather than stay and live in peace with the other matrons in Acestes' city." Euryalus replied, "Say no more. In vain you seek arguments to dissuade me. I am fixed in the resolution to go with you. Let us lose no time." They called the guard, and committing the watch to them, sought the general's tent. They found the chief officers in consultation, deliberating how they should send notice to AEneas of their situation. The offer of the two friends was gladly accepted, they themselves were loaded with praises and promised the most liberal rewards in case of success. Iulus especially addressed Euryalus, assuring him of his lasting friendship. Euryalus replied, "I have but one boon to ask. My aged mother is with me in the camp. For me she left the Trojan soil, and would not stay behind with the other matrons at the city of Acestes. I go now without taking leave of her. I could not bear her tears nor set at nought he entreaties. But do thou, I beseech thee, comfort her in her distress. Promise me that, and I shall go more boldly into whatever dangers may present themselves." Iulus and the other chiefs were moved to tears, and promised to do all his request. "Your mother shall be mine," said Iulus, "and all that I have promised to you shall be made good to her, if you do not return to receive it."
The two friends left the camp and plunged at once into the midst of the enemy. They found no watch, no sentinels posted, but all about, the sleeping soldiers strewn on the grass and among the wagons. The laws of war at that early day did not forbid a brave man to slay a sleeping foe, and the two Trojans slew, as they passed, such of the enemy as they could without exciting alarm. In one tent Euryalus made prize of a helmet brilliant with gold and plumes. They had passed through the enemy's ranks without being discovered, but now suddenly appeared a troop directly in front of them, which, under Volscens, their leader, were approaching the camp. The glittering helmet of Euryalus caught their attention, and Volscens hailed the two, and demanded who and whence they were. They made no answer, but plunged into the wood. The horsemen scattered in all directions to intercept their flight. Nisus had eluded pursuit and was out of danger, but Euryalus being missing he turned back to seek him. He again entered the wood and soon came within sound of voices. Looking through the thicket he saw the whole band surrounding Euryalus with noisy questions. What should he do? How extricate the youth? Or would it be better to die with him?
Raising his eyes to the moon which now shone clear, he said, "Goddess! Favor my effort!" And aiming his javelin at one of the leaders of the troop, struck him in the back and stretched him on the plain with a death-blow. In the midst of their amazement another weapon flew, and another of the party fell dead. Volscens, the leader, ignorant whence the darts came, rushed sword in hand upon Euryalus. "You shall pay the penalty of both," he said, and would have plunged the sword into his bosom, when Nisus, who from his concealment saw the peril of his friend, rushed forward, exclaiming, "'Twas I, 'twas I; turn your swords against me, Rutulians; I did it; he only followed me as a friend." While he spoke the sword fell, and pierced the comely bosom of Euryalus. His head fell over on his shoulder, like a flower cut down by the plough. Nisus rushed upon Volscens and plunged his sword into his body, and was himself slain on the instant by numberless blows.
AEneas, with his Etrurian allies, arrived on the scene of action in time to rescue his beleaguered camp; and now the two armies being nearly equal in strength, the war began in good earnest. We cannot find space for all the details, but must simply record the fate of the principal characters whom we have introduced to our readers. The tyrant Mezentius, finding himself engaged against his revolted subjects, raged like a wild beast. He slew all who dared to withstand him, and put the multitude to flight wherever he appeared. At last he encountered AEneas, and the armies stood still to see the issue. Mezentius threw his spear, which striking AEneas's shield glanced off and hit Anthor. He was a Grecian by birth, who had left Argos, his native city, and followed Evander into Italy. The poet says of him, with simple pathos which has made the words proverbial, "He fell, unhappy, by a wound intended for another, looked up to the skies, and dying remembered sweet Argos." AEneas now in turn hurled his lance. It pierced the shield of Mezentius, and wounded him in the thigh. Lausus, his son, could not bear the sight, but rushed forward and interposed himself, while the followers pressed round Mezentius and bore him away. AEneas held his sword suspended over Lausus and delayed to strike, but the furious youth pressed on and he was compelled to deal the fatal blow. Lausus fell, and AEneas bent over him in pity. "Hapless youth," he said, "what can I do for you worthy of your praise? Keep those arms in which you glory, and fear not but that your body shall be restored to your friends, and have due funeral honors." So saying, he called the timid followers, and delivered the body into their hands.
Mezentius meanwhile had been borne to the river-side, and washed his wound. Soon the news reached him of Lausus's death, and rage and despair supplied the place of strength. He mounted his horse and dashed into the thickest of the fight, seeking AEneas. Having found him, he rode round him in a circle, throwing one javelin after another, while Aeneas stood fenced with his shield, turning every way to meet them. At last, after Mezentius had three times made the circuit, AEneas threw his lance directly at the horse's head. It pierced his temples and he fell, while a shout from both armies rent the skies. Mezentius asked no mercy, but only that his body might be spared the insults of his revolted subjects, and be buried in the same grave with his son. He received the fatal stroke not unprepared, and poured out his life and his blood together.
While these things were doing in one part of the field, in another Turnus encountered the youthful Pallas. The contest between champions so unequally matched could not be doubtful. Pallas bore himself bravely, but fell by the lance of Turnus. The victor almost relented when he saw the brave youth lying dead at his feet, and spared to use the privilege of a conqueror in despoiling him of his arms. The belt only, adorned with studs and carvings of gold, he took and clasped round his own body. The rest he remitted to the friends of the slain.
After the battle there was a cessation of arms for some days to allow both armies to bury their dead. In this interval AEneas challenged Turnus to decide the contest by single combat, but Turnus evaded the challenge. Another battle ensued, in which Camilla, the virgin warrior, was chiefly conspicuous. Her deeds of valor surpassed those of the bravest warriors, and many Trojans and Etruscans fell pierced with her darts or struck down by her battle-axe. At last an Etruscan named Aruns, who had watched her long, seeking for some advantage, observed her pursuing a flying enemy whose splendid armor offered a tempting prize. Intent on the chase she observed not her danger, and the javelin of Aruns struck her and inflicted a fatal wound. She fell and breathed her last in the arms of her attendant maidens. But Diana, who beheld her fate, suffered not her slaughter to be unavenged. Aruns, as he stole away, glad but frightened, was struck by a secret arrow, launched by one of the nymphs of Diana's train, and died ignobly and unknown.
At length the final conflict took place between AEneas and Turnus. Turnus had avoided the contest as long as he could, but at last impelled by the ill success of his arms, and by the murmurs of his followers, he braced himself to the conflict. It could not be doubtful. On the side of AEneas were the expressed decree of destiny, the aid of his goddess-mother at every emergency, and impenetrable armor fabricated by Vulcan, at Venus' request, for her son. Turnus, on the other hand, was deserted by his celestial allies, Juno having been expressly forbidden by Jupiter to assist him any longer. Turnus threw his lance, but it recoiled harmless from the shield of AEneas. The Trojan hero then threw his, which penetrated the shield of Turnus, and pierced his thigh. Then Turnus' fortitude forsook him and he begged for mercy; and AEneas would have given him his life, but at the instant his eye fell on the belt of Pallas, which Turnus had taken from the slaughtered youth. Instantly his rage revived, and exclaiming, "Pallas immolates thee with this blow," he thrust him through with his sword.
Here the AEneid closes, but the story goes that AEneas, having triumphed over his foes, obtained Lavinia as his bride. His son Iulus founded the city of Alba Longa. He, and his descendants after him, reigned over the town for many years. At length Numitor and Amulius, two brothers, quarrelled about the kingdom. Amulius seized the crown by force, cast out Numitor, and made his daughter, Rhea Silvia, a Vestal Virgin. The Vestal Virgins, the priestesses of the goddess Vesta, were sworn to celibacy. But Rhea Silvia broke her vow, and gave birth, by the god Mars, to the twins, Romulus and Remus. For this offence she was buried alive, the usual punishment accorded to unfaithful Vestals, while the children were exposed on the river Tiber. Romulus and Remus, however, were rescued by a herdsman, and were educated among the shepherds in ignorance of their parentage. But chance revealed it to them. They collected a band of friends, and took revenge on their granduncle for the murder of their mother. Afterwards they founded, by the side of the river Tiber, where they had been exposed in infancy, the city of Rome.
Chapter XXVII Pythagoras. Egyptian Deities. Oracles
The teachings of Anchises to AEneas, respecting the nature of the human soul, were in conformity with the doctrines of the Pythagoreans. Pythagoras (born, perhaps, about five hundred and forty years B.C.) was a native of the island of Samos, but passed the chief portion of his life at Crotona in Italy. He is therefore sometimes called "the Samian," and sometimes "the philosopher of Crotona." When young he travelled extensively and is said to have visited Egypt, where he was instructed by the priests in all their learning, and afterwards journeyed to the East, and visited the Persian and Chaldean Magi, and the Brahmins of India.
But Pythagoras left no writings which have been preserved. His immediate disciples were under a pledge of secrecy. Though he is referred to by many writers, at times not far distant from his own, we have no biography of him written earlier than the end of the second century of our era. In the interval between his life and this time, every sort of fable collected around what was really known of his life and teaching.
At Crotona, where he finally established himself, it is said that his extraordinary qualities collected round him a great number of disciples. The inhabitants were notorious for luxury and licentiousness, but the good effects of his influence were soon visible. Sobriety and temperance succeeded. Six hundred of the inhabitants became his disciples and enrolled themselves in a society to aid each other in the pursuit of wisdom; uniting their property in one common stock, for the benefit of the whole. They were required to practise the greatest purity and simplicity of manners. The first lesson they learned was SILENCE; for a time they were required to be only hearers. "He (Pythagoras) said so," (Ipse dixit,) was to be held by them as sufficient, without any proof. It was only the advanced pupils, after years of patient submission, who were allowed to ask questions and to state objections.
Pythagoras is said to have considered NUMBERS as the essence and principle of all things, and attributed to them a real and distinct existence; so that, in his view, they were the elements out of which the universe was constructed. How he conceived this process has never been satisfactorily explained. He traced the various forms and phenomena of the world to numbers as their basis and essence. The "Monad," or UNIT, he regarded as the source of all numbers. The number TWO was imperfect, and the cause of increase and division. THREE was called the number of the whole, because it had a beginning, middle, and end; FOUR, representing the square, is in the highest degree perfect; and TEN, as it contains the sum of the first three prime numbers (2+3+5=10. ONE is not counted, as being rather the source of number than a number itself) comprehends all musical and arithmetical proportions, and denotes the system of the world.
As the numbers proceed frm the Monad, so he regarded the pure and simple essence of the Deity as the source of all the forms of nature. Gods, demons, and heroes are emanations of the Supreme; and there is a fourth emanation, the human soul. This is immortal, and when freed from the fetters of the body, passes to the habitation of the dead, where it remains till it returns to the world to dwell in some other human or animal body, and at last, when sufficiently purified, it returns to the source from which it proceeded. This doctrine of the transmigration of souls (metempsychosis), which was first Indian and Egyptian, and connected with the doctrine of reward and punishment of human actions, was the chief cause why the Pythagoreans killed no animals. Ovid represents Pythagoras addressing his disciples in these words: "Souls never die, but always on quitting one abode pass to another. I myself can remember that in the time of the Trojan was I was Euphorbus, the son of Panthus, and fell by the spear of Menelaus. Lately, being in the temple of Juno, at Argos, I recognized my shield hung up there among the trophies. All things change, nothing perishes. The soul passes hither and thither, occupying now this body, now that, passing from the body of a beast into that of a man, and thence to a beast's again. As wax is stamped with certain figures, then melted, then stamped anew with others, yet is always the same wax, so the soul, being always the same, yet wears at different times different forms. Therefore, if the love of kindred is not extinct in your bosoms, forbear, I entreat you, to violate the life of those who may haply be your own relatives."
Shakespeare, in the Merchant of Venice, makes Gratiano allude to the metempsychosis, where he says to Shylock:
"Thou almost mak'st me waver in my faith, To hold opinion with Pythagoras, That souls of animals infuse themselves Into the trunks of men; thy currish spirit Governed a wolf; who hanged for human slaughter Infused his soul in thee; for thy desires Are wolfish, bloody, starved, and ravenous."
The relation of the notes of the musical scale to numbers, whereby harmony results from vibrations in equal times, and discord from the reverse, led Pythagoras to apply the word "harmony" to the visible creation, meaning by it the just adaptation of parts to each other. This is the idea which Dryden expresses in the beginning of his song for St. Cecilia's Day:
"From harmony, from heavenly harmony This everlasting frame began; >From harmony to harmony Through all the compass of the notes it ran, The Diapason closing full in Man."
In the centre of the universe (as Pythagoras taught) there was a central fire, the principle of life. The central fire was surrounded by the earth, the moon, the sun, and the five planets. The distances of the various heavenly bodies from one another were conceived to correspond to the proportions of the musical scale. The heavenly bodies, with the gods who inhabited them, were supposed to perform a choral dance round the central fire, "not without song." It is this doctrine which Shakespeare alludes to when he makes Lorenzo teach astronomy to Jessica in this fashion:
"Sit, Jessica, look how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold! There's not the smallest orb that thou behold'st But in this motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubim; Such harmony is in immortal souls! But whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close it in we cannot hear it." Merchant of Venice
The spheres were conceived to be crystalline or glassy fabrics arranged over one another like a nest of bowls reversed. In the substance of each sphere one or more of the heavenly bodies was supposed to be fixed, so as to move with it. As the spheres are transparent, we look through them, and see the heavenly bodies which they contain and carry round with them. But as these spheres cannot move on one another without friction, a sound is thereby produced which is of exquisite harmony, too fine for mortal ears to recognize. Milton, in his Hymn to the Nativity, thus alludes to the music of the spheres:
"Ring out, ye crystal spheres! Once bless our human ears; (If ye have power to charm our senses so); And let your silver chime Move in melodious time, And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow: And with your nine-fold harmony Make up full concert with the angelic symphony."
Pythagoras is said to have invented the lyre, of which other fables give the invention to Mercury. Our own poet, Longfellow, in Verses to a Child, thus relates the story:
"As great Pythagoras of yore, Standing beside the blacksmith's door, And hearing the hammers as they smote The Anvils with a different note, Stole from the varying tones that hung Vibrant on every iron tongue, The secret of the sounding wire, And formed the seven-chorded lyre."
See also the same poet's Occultation of Orion:
"The Samian's great AEolian lyre."
SYBARIS AND CROTONA
Sybaris, a neighboring city to Crotona, was as celebrated for luxury and effeminacy as Crotona for the reverse. The name has become proverbial. Lowell uses it in this sense in his charming little poem To the Dandelion:
"Not in mild June the golden-cuirassed bee Feels a more summer-like, warm ravishment In the white lily's breezy tent, (His conquered Sybaris) than I when first >From the dark green thy yellow circles burst."
A war arose between the two cities, and Sybaris was conquered and destroyed. Milo, the celebrated athlete, led the army of Crotona. Many stories are told of Milo's vast strength, such as his carrying a heifer of four years old upon his shoulders, and afterwards eating the whole of it in a single day. The mode of his death is thus related: As he was passing through a forest he saw the trunk of a tree which had been partially split open by wood-cutters, and attempted to rend it further; but the wood closed upon his hands and held him fast, in which state he was attacked and devoured by wolves.
Byron, in his Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, alludes to the story of Milo:
"He who of old would rend the oak Deemed not of the rebound; Chained by the trunk he vainly broke, Alone, how looked he round!"
The remarkable discovery by which Champollion the younger (so called to distinguish him from his older brother, Champollion Figeac, who also studied the hieroglyphics)) first opened to modern times the secret of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, has been followed up by laborious studies, which tell us more of Egyptian worship and mythology, with more precision, than we know of any other ancient religion but that of the Hebrews. We have even great numbers of copies of the liturgies, or handbooks of worship, of funeral solemnities, and other rituals, which have been diligently translated. And we have a sufficient body of the literature written and used by the priesthood.
These discoveries give to writers of this generation a much fuller knowledge of the Egyptian religion, of its forms, and of the names of its gods, than they had before. It is impossible, and probably always will be, to state with precision the theology on which it rested. It is impossible, because that theology was different in one time and with one school from what it was at other times. Mr. S. Birch, of the British Museum, says, "The religion of the Egyptians consisted of an extended polytheism represented by a system of local groups." But Mr. Pierret says, "The polytheism of the monuments is but an outward show. The innumerable gods of the Pantheon are but manifestations of the One Being in his various capacities. Mariette Bey says, "The one result is that according to the Egyptians, the universe was God himself, and that Pantheism formed the foundation of their religion."
In this book it is not necessary to reconcile views so diverse, nor indeed to enter on studies so profound as those which should decide between them. For our purpose here it is enough to know that the Sun was the older object of worship, and in his various forms rising, midday, or setting was adored under different names. Frequently his being and these names were united to the types of other deities. Mr. Birch believes that the worship of Osiris prevailed largely beside the worship of the Sun, and is not to be confounded with it. To Osiris, Set, the Egyptian devil, was opposed.
The original God, the origin of all things, manifests himself to men, in lesser forms, according to this mythology, more and more human and less and less intangible. These forms are generally triads, and resolve themselves into a male deity, a female deity, and their child. Triad after triad brings the original Divinity into forms more and more earthly, till at last we find "that we have no longer to do with the infinite and intangible God of the earliest days, but rather with a God of flesh and blood, who lives upon earth, and has so abased himself as to be no more than a human king. It is no longer the God of whom no man knew either the form or the substance: it is Kneph at Esneh, Hathor at Durderah, Horus, king of the divine dynasty at Edfoo." These words are M. Maspero's.
The Greek and Latin poets and philosophers, as they made some very slight acquaintance with Egyptian worship, give Greek or Latin names to the divinities worshipped. Thus we sometimes hear Osiris spoken of as the Egyptian Hermes. But such changes of names are confusing, and are at best but fanciful (In the same way Plutarch, a Greek writer, says of the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles, "I know that their God is our Bacchus." This was merely from the vines, vine leaves and wine used in the ceremonies.) It would happen sometimes, in later times, that a fashion of religion would carry the worship of one God or Goddess to a distance. Thus the worship of Isis became fashionable in Rome in the time of Nero and Paul, as readers of Bulwer's Last Days of Pompeii will remember.
The latest modern literature occasionally uses the Egyptian names, as the last two centuries have disinterred them from the inscriptions on the monuments, and from the manuscripts in the tombs. Earlier English writers generally use the names like Osiris, Anubis, and others found in Latin and Greek writers.
The following statement as to these deities and their names is from Mr. Birch:
"The deities of ancient Egypt consist of celestial, terrestrial, and infernal gods, and of many inferior personages, either representatives of the greater gods or attendants on them. Most of the gods were connected with the sun, and represented that luminary through the upper hemisphere or Heaven and the lower hemisphere or Hades. To the deities of the solar cycle belonged the great gods of Thebes and Heliopolis. In the local worship of Egypt the deities were arranged in local triads; thus at Memphis, Ptah, his wife Merienptah, and their son Nefer Atum, formed a triad, to which was sometimes added the goddess Bast or Bubastis. At Abydos the local triad was Osiris, Isis, and Horus, with Nephthys; at Thebes, Amen Ra or Ammon, Mut and Chons, with Neith; at Elephantine, Kneph, Anuka, Sati, and Hak. In most instances the names of the gods are Egyptian; thus, Ptah meant 'the opener'; Amen, 'the concealed'; Ra, 'the sun or day'; Athor, 'the house of Horus';' but some few, especially of later times, were introduced from Semitic sources, as Bal or Baal, Astaruta or Astarte, Khen or Kiun, Respu or Reseph. Besides the principal gods, several inferior or parhedral gods, sometimes personifications of the faculties, senses, and other objects, are introduced into the religious system, and genii, spirits or personified souls of deities formed part of the same. At a period subsequent to their first introduction the gods were divided into three orders. The first or highest comprised eight deities, who were different in the Memphian and Theban systems. They were supposed to have reigned over Egypt before the time of mortals. The eight gods of the first order at Memphis were 1. Ptah; 2. Shu; 3. Tefnu; 4. Seb; 5. Nut; 6. Osiris; 7. Isis and Horus; 8. Athor. Those of Thebes were 1. Amen Ra; 2. Mentu; 3. Atum; 4. Shu and Tefnu; 5. Seb; 6. Osiris; 7. Set and Nepthys; 8. Horus and Athor. The gods of the second order were twelve in number, but the name of one only, an Egyptian Hercules, has been preserved. The third order is stated to have comprised Osiris, who, it will be seen, belonged to the first order." GUIDE TO THE FIRST AND SECOND EGYPTIAN ROOMS, BRITISH MUSEUM. S. Birch
Miss Edwards gives the following convenient register of the names most familiar among the Egyptian gods (in her very interesting book, "A Thousand Miles up the Nile").
PHTAH or PTAH: In form a mummy, holding the emblem called by some the Nilometer, by others the emblem of Stability, called "the father of the Beginning, the Creator of the Egg of the Sun and Moon," Chief Deity of Memphis.
KNEPH, KNOUM or KNOUPHIS: Ram-headed, called the Maker of gods and men, the Soul of the gods. Chief Deity of Elephantine and the Cataracts.
RA: Hawk-headed, and crowned with the sun-disc, encircled by an asp. The divine disposer and organizer of the world; adored throughout Egypt.
AMEN RA: Of human form, crowned with a flat-topped cap and two long, straight plumes; clothed in the schenti; his flesh sometimes painted blue. There are various forms of this god (there were almost as many varieties of Ammon in Egypt as there are varieties of the Madonna in Italy or Spain), but he is most generally described as King of the Gods, chief deity of Thebes.
KHEM: Of human form, mummified; wears head-dress of Amen Ra; his right hand uplifted, holding a flail. The god of productiveness and generation. Chief deity of Khemmis, or Ekhmeem.
OSIRIS: Of human form, mummified, crowned with a mitre, and holding the flail and crook. Called the Good; the Lord above all; the one lord. Was the god of the lower world; judge of the dead; and representative of the sun below the horizon. Adored through Egypt. Local deity of Abydos.
NEFER ATUM: Human-headed, and crowned with the pschent. This god represented the nocturnal sun, or the sun lighting the lower world. Local deity of Heliopolis.
THOTH: In form a man, ibis-headed, generally depicted with the pen and palette of a scribe. Was the god of the moon, and of letters. Local deity of Sesoon, or Hermopolit.
SEB: The "Father of the Gods," and deity of terrestrial vegetation. In form like a man with a goose upon his head.
SET: Represented by a symbolic animal, with a muzzle and ears like a jackal, the body of an ass, and an upright tail, like the tail of a lion. Was originally a warlike god, and became in later times the symbol of evil and the enemy of Osiris.
KHONS: Hawk-headed, crowned with the sun-disc and horns. Is sometimes represented as a youth with the side-lock, standing on a crocodile.
HORUS: Horus appears variously as Horus, Horus Aroeris, and Horus Harpakhrat (Hippocrates), or Horus the child. Is represented under the first two forms as a man, hawk-headed, wearing the double crown of Egypt; in the latter as a child with the side- lock. Local deity of Edfoo (Apollinopolis Magna).
MAUT: A woman draped, and crowned with the pschent (the pschent was a double crown, worn by the king at his coronation), representing a vulture. Adored at Thebes.
NEITH: A woman draped, holding sometimes a bow and arrows, crowned with the crown of Lower Egypt. She presided over war, and the loom. Worshipped at Thebes.
ISIS: A woman crowned with the sun-disc surmounted by a throne, and sometimes enclosed between horns. Adored at Abydos. Her soul resided in Sothis on the Dog-star.
NUT: A woman so bent that her hands touched the earth. She represents the vault of heaven, and is the mother of the gods.
HATHOR: Cow-headed, and crowned with the disc and plumes. Deity of Amenti, or the Egyptian Hades. Worshipped at Denderah.
PASHT: Pasht and Bast appear to be two forms of the same goddess. As Bast she is represented as a woman, lion-headed, with the disc and uroeus; as Pasht she is cat-headed, and holds a sistrum. Adored at Bubastis. Observe the syllable BAST.
The highest visible deity of the Egyptians was Amun Ra, or Amen Ra, the concealed sun; the word Ra signifying the sun. This name appears in the Greek and Latin writers as Zeus Ammon and Jupiter Ammon. When Amun manifests himself by his word, will or spirit, he is known as Nu, Num, Noub, Nef, Neph, or Kneph, and this word Kneph through the form Cnuphis is, perhaps, the Anubis of the Greek and Latin authors. That word has not been found earlier than the time of Augustus. Anubis was then worshipped as the guardian god, and represented with a dog's head.
The soul of Osiris was supposed to exist in some way in the sacred bull Apis, of which Serapis or Sarapis is probably another name. "Apis," says Herodotus, "is a young bull, whose hair is black, on his forehead a white triangle, — on his back an eagle, with a beetle under his tongue and with the hair of his tail double." Ovid says he is of various colors. Plutarch says he has a crescent on his right side. These superstitions varied from age to age. Apis was worshipped in Memphis.
It must be observed, in general, that the names in the Latin classics belong to a much later period of the Egyptian religion than the names found on most of the monuments. It will be found, that, as in the change from Nu to Anubis, it is difficult to trace the progress of a name from one to the other. In the cases where an ox, a ram, or a dog is worshipped with, or as a symbol of, a god, we probably have the survival of a very early local idolatry.
Horus or Harpocrates, named above, was the son of Osiris. He is sometimes represented, seated on a Lotus-flower, with his finger on his lips, as the god of silence.
In one of Moore's Irish Melodies is an allusion to Harpocrates: -
"Thyself shall, under some rosy bower, Sit mute, with thy finger on thy lip: Like him, the boy, who born among The flowers that on the Nile-stream blush, Sits over thus, his only song To Earth and Heaven, "Hush, all, hush!"
MYTH OF OSIRIS AND ISIS
Osiris and Isis were at one time induced to descend to the earth to bestow gifts and blessings on its inhabitants. Isis showed them first the use of wheat and barley, and Osiris made the instruments of agriculture and taught men the use of them, as well as how to harness the ox to the plough. He then gave men laws, the institution of marriage, a civil organization, and taught them how to worship the gods. After he had thus made the valley of the Nile a happy country, he assembled a host with which he went to bestow his blessings upon the rest of the world. He conquered the nations everywhere, but not with weapons, only with music and eloquence. His brother Typhon (Typhon is supposed to be the Seth of the monuments) saw this, and filled with envy and malice sought, during his absence, to usurp his throne. But Isis, who held the reins of government, frustrated his plans. Still more embittered, he now resolved to kill his brother. This he did in the following manner: Having organized a conspiracy of seventy-two members, he went with them to the feast which was celebrated in honor of the king's return. He then caused a box or chest to be brought in, which had been made to fit exactly the size of Osiris, and declared that he would give that chest of precious wood to whosoever could get into it. The rest tried in vain, but no sooner was Osiris in it than Typhon and his companions closed the lid and flung the chest into the Nile. When Isis heard of the cruel murder she wept and mourned, and then with her hair shorn, clothed in black and beating her breast, she sought diligently for the body of her husband. In this search she was assisted by Anubis, the son of Osiris and Nephthys. They sought in vain for some time; for when the chest, carried by the waves to the shores of Byblos, had become entangled in the reeds that grew at the edge of the water, the divine power that dwelt in the body of Osiris imparted such strength to the shrub that it grew into a mighty tree, enclosing in its trunk the coffin of the god. This tree, with its sacred deposit, was shortly afterward felled, and erected as a column in the palace of the king of Phoenicia. But at length, by the aid of Anubis and the sacred birds, Isis ascertained these facts, and then went to the royal city. There she offered herself at the palace as a servant, and being admitted, threw off her disguise and appeared as the goddess, surrounded with thunder and lightning. Striking the column with her wand, she caused it to split open and give up the sacred coffin. This she seized and returned with it, and concealed it in the depth of a forest, but Typhon discovered it, and cutting the body into fourteen pieces, scattered them hither and thither. After a tedious search, Isis found thirteen pieces, the fishes of the Nile having eaten the other. This she replaced by an imitation of sycamore wood, and buried the body at Philoe, which became ever after the great burying place of the nation, and the spot to which pilgrimages were made from all parts of the country. A temple of surpassing magnificence was also erected there in honor of the god, and at every place where one of his limbs had been found, minor temples and tombs were built to commemorate the event. Osiris became after that the tutelar deity of the Egyptians. His soul was supposed always to inhabit the body of the bull Apis, and at his death to transfer itself to his successor.