an ibis or a dog to save you? For when men have sinned against the gods whom all acknowledge, whom will the altar of a cat repel by its terrors?" Classical scholars are familiar with the Satire commonly attributed to Juvenal: "Who does not know what kinds of monsters demented Egypt worships? One part adores the crocodile, another quakes before the ibis gorged with serpents. The golden image of a sacred long-tailed ape glitters where the magic chords resound from mutilated Memnon, and ancient Thebes lies in ruin, with her hundred gates. There whole towns venerate cats, here a river fish, there a dog, but no one Diana. It is impiety to violate and break with the teeth the leek and onion. O holy races, to whom such deities as these are born in their gardens!"
It is not wonderful that, with such evidence before them, many writers should at the present day speak of the Egyptian religion as one of the lowest and grossest forms of nature-worship, as consisting in what is commonly called African fetishism, or at least as being based upon it.
Yet the external aspect of a religion as presented to strangers is not often one that is to be trusted. "We
- These comedians are quoted in Athen.: Deipnos. vii. p. 299.
- Juvenal, Sat. xv. 1. Mr. Lewis's translation.