en animum et mentem cum qua di nocte loquantur! ergo hic praecipuum summumque meretur honorem qui grege linigero circumdatus et grege calvo plangentis populi currit derisor Anubis. 535ille petit veniam, quotiens non abstinet uxor concubitu sacris observandisque diebus magnaque debetur violato poena cadurco. ut movisse caput visa est argentea serpens, illius lacrimae meditataque murmura praestant 540ut veniam culpae non abnuat ansere magno scilicet et tenui popano corruptus Osiris. Cum dedit ille locum, cophino fenoque relicto arcanam Iudaea tremens mendicat in aurem, interpres legum Solymarum et magna sacerdos 545arboris ac summi fida internuntia caeli. implet et illa manum, sed parcius; aere minuto qualiacumque voles Iudaei somnia vendunt. spondet amatorem tenerum vel divitis orbi testamentum ingens calidae pulmone columbae 550tractato Armenius vel Commagenus haruspex; pectora pullorum rimabitur, exta catelli interdum et pueri; faciet quod deferat ipse. Chaldaeis sed maior erit fiducia: quidquid
- 531animum Schotle, Markland: animam codd.
- 538ut Reitzenstein: et codd.
- 552ipse codd.: ipsa Markland
There you have the kind of mind and soul that the gods converse with at night! Consequently, the highest, most exceptional honour is awarded to Anubis, who runs along, mocking the wailing populace, surrounded by his creatures in linen garments and with shaved heads. 110 He’s the one that asks for a pardon whenever your wife does not refrain from sex on the days which should be kept sacred and a large fine is due for violation of the quilt. When the silver snake has been seen to move its head, 111 it’s his tears and his practised mumblings which ensure that Osiris will not refuse to pardon her fault—provided, of course, he’s bribed by a fat goose and a slice of sacrifical cake.
No sooner has he gone than a palsied Jewish woman will abandon her hay-lined chest and start begging into her private ear. She’s the expounder of the laws of Jerusalem, high priestess of the tree, reliable intermediary of highest heaven. 112 She too gets her hand filled, though with less, because Jews will sell you whatever dreams you like for the tiniest copper coin. Promises of a toy-boy or an enormous bequest from a childless millionaire will be made by a soothsayer from Armenia or Commagene once he’s delved into the lung of a dove, still warm. He’ll probe the breasts of chickens, the insides of a puppy, and sometimes of a boy too—something he will himself report to the authorities.
But they have even greater faith in the Chaldaeans. 113
- 110Anubis, the dog-headed god and guardian of Isis. Here a priest dressed as Anubis mocks the people for their lamentation over the “death” of Osiris, the consort of Isis.
- 111Probably the sacred asp. Snakes were associated with Isis.
- 112Evidently a fortune-teller. The reference to the tree is problematical: see Courtney’s note. A word denoting “temple” would make better sense.
- 113Astrologers, highly influential.