An Egyptian Princess — Complete eBook

Georg Ebers
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 561 pages of information about An Egyptian Princess Complete.

Croesus, after reflecting a moment, answered with a smile:  “Those huge pyramidal masses of stone seem to me creations of the boundless desert, the gaily painted temple colonnades to be the children of the Spring; but though the sphinxes lead up to your temple gates, and seem to point the way into the very shrines themselves, the sloping fortress-like walls of the Pylons, those huge isolated portals, appear as if placed there to repel entrance.  Your many-colored hieroglyphics likewise attract the gaze, but baffle the inquiring spirit by the mystery that lies within their characters.  The images of your manifold gods are everywhere to be seen; they crowd on our gaze, and yet who knows not that their real is not their apparent significance? that they are mere outward images of thoughts accessible only to the few, and, as I have heard, almost incomprehensible in their depth?  My curiosity is excited everywhere, and my interest awakened, but my warm love of the beautiful feels itself in no way attracted.  My intellect might strain to penetrate the secrets of your sages, but my heart and mind can never be at home in a creed which views life as a short pilgrimage to the grave, and death as the only true life!”

“And yet,” said Amasis, “Death has for us too his terrors, and we do all in our power to evade his grasp.  Our physicians would not be celebrated and esteemed as they are, if we did not believe that their skill could prolong our earthly existence.  This reminds me of the oculist Nebenchari whom I sent to Susa, to the king.  Does he maintain his reputation? is the king content with him?”

“Very much so,” answered Croesus.  “He has been of use to many of the blind; but the king’s mother is alas! still sightless.  It was Nebenchari who first spoke to Cambyses of the charms of thy daughter Tachot.  But we deplore that he understands diseases of the eye alone.  When the Princess Atossa lay ill of fever, he was not to be induced to bestow a word of counsel.”

“That is very natural; our physicians are only permitted to treat one part of the body.  We have aurists, dentists and oculists, surgeons for fractures of the bone, and others for internal diseases.  By the ancient priestly law a dentist is not allowed to treat a deaf man, nor a surgeon for broken bones a patient who is suffering from a disease of the bowels, even though he should have a first rate knowledge of internal complaints.  This law aims at securing a great degree of real and thorough knowledge; an aim indeed, pursued by the priests (to whose caste the physicians belong) with a most praiseworthy earnestness in all branches of science.  Yonder lies the house of the high-priest Neithotep, whose knowledge of astronomy and geometry was so highly praised, even by Pythagoras.  It lies next to the porch leading into the temple of the goddess Neith, the protectress of Sais.  Would I could show thee the sacred grove with its magnificent trees, the splendid pillars of the temple

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An Egyptian Princess — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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