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VI. The priests of the Sun at Heliopolis 2 never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. 3 The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly. During their more solemn purifications they abstain from wine wholly, and they give themselves up entirely to study and meditation, and to the hearing and teaching of those divine truths which treat of the divine nature. Even the kings, who are likewise

p. 206

priests, only partake of wine in the measure which is prescribed for them in the sacred books, as we are told by Hecataeus. This custom was only introduced during the reign of Psammetichus, and before that time they drank no wine at all. If they used it at any time in pouring out libations to the gods, it was not because they looked upon it as being acceptable to them for its own sake, but they poured it out over their altars as the blood of their enemies who had in times past fought against them. For they believe the vine to have first sprung out of the earth after it was fattened by the bodies of those who fell in the wars against the gods. And this, they say, is the reason why drinking its juice in great quantities makes men mad and beside themselves, filling them, as it were, with the blood of their own ancestors. These things are thus related by Eudoxus in the second book of his Travels, as he had them from the priests themselves.


205:1 On account of the large amount of animal matter contained in it.

205:2 Called ANU in the Egyptian texts; it was the centre of the great solar cult of Egypt. It is the "On" of the Bible.

205:3 The Sun-god was called Ra.


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