πλανητῶν δεκαμοιρίας1 ᾐνίξατο, καὶ λύχνους ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς ἑπτὰ τῶν πλανητῶν τὴν φοράν· τοσοῦτοι 183γάρ εἰσι τὸν ἀριθμόν. τά τε φάρση ἐκ τεσσάρων ὑφανθέντα τὴν τῶν στοιχείων φύσιν δηλοῖ· ἥ τε γὰρ βύσσος τὴν γῆν ἀποσημαίνειν ἔοικε διὰ τὸ ἐξ αὐτῆς ἀνεῖσθαι τὸ λίνον, ἥ τε πορφύρα τὴν θάλασαν τῷ πεφοινῖχθαι τῶν ἰχθύων τῷ αἵματι, τὸν δὲ ἀέρα βούλεται δηλοῦν ὁ ὑάκινθος, καὶ ὁ 184φοῖνιξ δ᾿ ἂν εἴη τεκμήριον τοῦ πυρός. ἀποσημαίνει δὲ καὶ ὁ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως χιτὼν τὴν γῆν λίνεος ὤν, ὁ δὲ ὑάκινθος τὸν πόλον, ἀστραπαῖς μὲν κατὰ τοὺς ῥοΐσκους ἀπεικασμένος βρονταῖς δὲ κατὰ τὸν τῶν κωδώνων ψόφον. καὶ τὴν ἐφαπτίδα τοῦ παντὸς τὴν φύσιν ἐκ τεσσάρων δοχθεῖσαν γενέσθαι2 τῷ θεῷ, χρυσῷ συνυφασμένην κατ᾿ 185ἐπίνοιαν οἶμαι τῆς προσούσης ἅπασιν αὐγῆς. καὶ τὸν ἐσσῆνα μέσον ὄντα τῆς ἐφαπτίδος ἐν τρόπῳ γῆς ἔταξε· καὶ γὰρ αὕτη τὸν μεσαίτατον τόπον ἔχει· ζώνῃ τε περιοδεύσας τὸν ὠκεανὸν ἀποσημαίνει· καὶ γὰρ οὗτος ἐμπεριείληφε τὰ πάντα. δηλοῖ δὲ καὶ τὸν ἥλιον καὶ τὴν σελήνην τῶν σαρδονύχων
hinted at the ten degree provincesa of the planets, and by the seven lamps thereon the course of the planets themselves, for such is their number.b The tapestries woven of four materials denote the natural elements: thus the fine linen appears to typify the earth, because from it springs up the flax, and the purple the sea, since it is incarnadined with the blood of fish; the air must be indicated by the blue, and the crimsonc will be the symbol of fire. The high-priest’s tunic likewise signifies the earth, being of linen, and its blue the arch of heaven, while it recalls the lightnings by its pomegranates, the thunder by the sound of its bells. His upper garment,d too, denotes universal nature, which it pleased God to make of four elements; being further interwoven with gold in token, I imagine, of the all-pervading sunlight. The essên, again, he set in the midst of this garment, after the manner of the earth, which occupies the midmost placee; and by the girdlef wherewith he encompassed it he signified the ocean, which holds the whole in its embrace. Sun and moon are indicated by the two sardonyxes wherewith he
- aThe reading of the old Latin version, decamoriae, must on arithmetical grounds (70 = 7 × 10) be preferred to the text of the Greek mss. indicating a twelve-fold division. Δεκαμοιρία is a synonym for δεκανός, the vulgar term used by ancient astronomers to denote a portion of the heavens occupying 10 degrees of the Zodiac or a power presiding over those 10 degrees. “Astrologers for the most part allot [these divisions of 10°] to the seven planets,” Housman, Manilii Astronomicon lib. iv. p. vii. But it must be noted that the Zodiac, with its 360°, comprises 36 ‘decans’ in all; of this Josephus says nothing. Prof. Housman has kindly confirmed this interpretation and referred me for another instance of δεκαμοιρία = δεκανός to an anonymous treatise printed in Wachsmuth’s Lydus, De ostentis, ed. 2 p. 174, lines 8 and 10.
- bviz. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, with Sun and Moon; cf. Philo, De vita Mos. ii. 9 (102) τὴν λυχνίαν δι᾿ ἧς αἰνίττεται τὰς τῶν φωσφόρων κινήσεις ἀστέρων. In B.J. vii. 149 the seven lamps “indicate the honour paid to that number (or perhaps “to the week,” τῆς ἑβδομἀδος) by the Jews.”
- cOr “scarlet = κόκκος, the word used in Exodus (lxx) and in the parallel passage in B.J. v. 213.
- dEphaptis, another term for what has previously been called the ephod or epômis (§ 162).
- eIn the universe.
- fOr “ash.”