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Alexandrian rebellion; and there the silk manufacture flourished in secret for two or three centuries. When it ceased is unknown, as it was part of the merchants' craft to endeavour to keep each branch of trade to themselves, by concealing the channel through which they obtained their supply of goods; and many of the dresses which were sold in Rome under the emperors by the name of Coan robes may have been brought from the East through Alexandria.
(54) One of the most valuable gifts which Egypt owed to Ptolemy was its coinage. Even Thebes, "where treasures were largest in the houses," never was able to pass gold and silver from hand to hand without the trouble of weighing, and the doubt as to the fineness of the metal. The Greek merchants who crowded the markets of Canopus and Alexandria must have filled Lower Egypt with the coins of the cities from whence they came, all unlike one another in stamp and weight; but while every little city or even colony of Greece had its own coinage, Egypt had as yet very few coins of its own. We are even doubtful whether we know by sight those coined by the Persians. In the early years of Ptolemy's government Ptolemy had issued a very few coins bearing the names of the young kings in Visconti, whose name he held the country, but he seems not Icon. Grec. to have coined any quantity of money till after he had himself taken the title of king. His coins are of gold, silver, and bronze, and are in a fine style of Greek workmanship. Those of gold and silver bear on one side the portrait of the king, without a beard, having the head bound with the royal diadem (see Fig. 215), which, unlike the high priestly crown
B C. 302.
of the native Egyptian kings, or the modern crown of gold and precious stones, is a plain riband tied in a bow behind.
On the other side they have the name of Ptolemy Soter, or King Ptolemy, with an eagle standing upon a thunderbolt, which was only another way of drawing the eagle and sun, the hieroglyphical characters for the title Pharaoh (see Fig. 216). As the Egyptian statues were most of them made in the neighbourhood of the quarries, so many of the silver and copper coins were made in the neighbourhood of the mines. These often bear the first two letters of the names of Paphos or Salamis or Citium, the chief cities of Cyprus, and they were no doubt engraved and struck in that island. The gold coins of Egypt were probably made in Alexandria. The coins are not of the same weight as those of Greece; but Ptolemy followed the Egyptian standard of weight, which was that to which the Jewish shekel was adjusted, and which was in use in the wealthy cities of Tyre and Sidon and Beryttus. The drachma weighs fifty-five grains, making the talent of silver worth about one hundred and fifty pounds sterling. His bronze coins have the head of Serapis or Jupiter in the place of that of the king (see Fig. 217), as is
also the case with those of his successors; but few of these bronze pieces bear any marks from which we can learn the reign in which they were coined. They are of better metal than those of other countries, as the bronze is free from lead and has more tin in it. The historian in his very agreeable labours should never lose sight of the coins. They teach us by their workmanship the state of the arts, weight, number, and purity of metal. the
and by their wealth of the
country. They also teach dates, titles, and the places where they were struck; and even in those cases where they seem to add little to what we learn from other sources, they are still the living witnesses to which we appeal, to prove the truth of the authors who have told us more.
(55) The art of engraving coins did not flourish alone in Alexandria; painters and sculptors flocked to Egypt to enjoy the favours of Ptolemy. Apelles, indeed, whose lib. xxxv. paintings were thought by those who had seen them 36. to surpass any that had been before painted, or were likely to be painted, had quarrelled with Ptolemy, who had known him well when he was the friend and painter of Alexander. Once when he was at Alexandria, somebody wickedly told him that he was invited to dine at the royal table, and when Ptolemy asked who it was that had sent his unwelcome guest, Apelles drew the face of the mischiefmaker on the wall, and he was known to all the court by the likeness.
Comm. ii. 4.
(56) It was perhaps at one of these dinners, at which Ptolemy enjoyed the society of the men of letters, Proclus, or perhaps when visiting the philosophers in their schools, that he asked Euclid if he could not show him a shorter and easier way to the higher truths of mathematics than that by which he led the pupils in the Museum; and Euclid, as if to remind him of the royal roads of Persia, which ran by the side of the high-roads, but were kept clear and free for the king's own use, made him the well-known answer that there was no royal road to geometry.
(57) Ptolemy lived in easy familiarity with the learned men of Alexandria; and at another of these literary Diogenes dinners, when Diodorus, the rhetorician, who was thought to have been the inventor of the Dilemma, was puzzled by a question put to him by Stilpo, the king in joke said that his name should be Cronus, a god who had been laughed at in the comedies. Indeed he was so teazed by Ptolemy for not being able to answer it, that he got up and left the room. He afterwards wrote a book upon the subject; but the ridicule was said to have embittered the rest of his life. This was the person against whom Callimachus some years later wrote a bitter epigram, ,,eginning "Cronus is a wise man.' Diodorus was of the
Sceptical school of philosophy, which, though not fai removed from the Cyrenaic school, was never popular in Sextus Alexandria. Among other paradoxes he used to Empiricus, deny the existence of motion. He argued that the maticos, motion was not in the place where the body moved lib. i. 13. from, nor in the place that the body moved to, and that accordingly it did not exist at all. Once he met with a Pyrrhonica violent fall, which put his shoulder out of joint, and Hypothes. he applied to Herophilus, the surgeon, to set it. lib. ii. 22. Herophilus began by asking him where the fall took place, whether in the place where the shoulder was, or in the place where it fell to; but the smarting philosopher begged him to begin by setting his limb, and they would talk about the existence of motion afterwards.
(58) Stilpo was at this time only on a visit to Ptolemy, for he had refused his offers of money and of a professorship in the Museum, and had chosen to remain at Megara, where he was the ornament of his birthplace. He had been banished from Athens for speaking against their gods, and for saying that the colossal Minerva was not the daughter of Jupiter but of Phidias the sculptor. His name as a philosopher stood so high that when Demetrius, in his late wars with Ptolemy, took the city of Megara by storm, the conqueror "bid spare the house of Stilpo, when temple and tower went to the ground;" and when Demetrius gave orders that Stilpo should be repaid for what he had lost in the siege, the philosopher proudly answered that he had lost nothing, for that he had no wealth but his learning.
(59) The historian Theopompus of Chios then came to Alexandria, and wrote an account of the wars Photius, between the Egyptians and the Persians. It is cod. clxxvi. now lost, but it contained at least the events from C. Nepos, Vit. Iphics. the successful invasion by Artaxerxes Longimanus till the unsuccessful invasion by Artaxerxes Mnemon.
(60) No men of learning in Alexandria were more famous than the physicians. Erasistratus of Cos had the credit of having once cured Antiochus, afterwards king of Syria. He was the grandson of Aristotle, and may be called the father of the science of anatomy; his writings are often quoted by Dioscorides. Antiochus in his
lib. xxix. 3.
youth had fallen deeply in love with his young stepmother, and was pining away in silence and despair. Erasistratus found out the cause of his illness, which was straightway cured by Seleucus giving up his wife to his own son. This act strongly points out the changed opinions of the world in matters of right and wrong; for it was then thought the father's best title to the name of Nicator; he had before conquered his enemies, but he then conquered himself.
(61) Erasistratus was the first who thought that a knowledge of anatomy should be made a part of the healing art. Before his time surgery and medicine had been deemed one and the same; they had both been studied by the slow and uncertain steps of experience unguided by theory. Many a man who had been ill, whether through disease or wound, and had regained his health, thought it his duty to Esculapius and to his neighbours to write up in the temple of the god the nature of his ailings and the simples to which he fancied that he owed his cure. By copying these loose but wellmeant inscriptions of medical cases, Hippocrates had, a century earlier, laid the foundations of the science; but nothing further was added to it till Erasistratus, setting at nought the prejudices in which he was born, began dissecting the human body in the schools of Alexandria. There the mixing together of Greeks and Egyptians had weakened those religious feelings of respect for the dead which are usually shocked by anatomy; and this study flourished from the low tone of the morality as much as from the encouragement which good sense should grant to every search for knowledge (62) Herophilus lived about the same time with Erasistratus, and was, like him, famous for his knowledge of the anatomy of man. But so hateful was this study in the eyes of many, that these anatomists were charged, by writers who ought to have known better, with the cruelty of cutting men open when alive. They had few followers in the hated use of the dissecting knife. It was from their writings that Galen borrowed the anatomical parts of his work; and thus it was to the dissections of these two great men. helped indeed by opening the bodies of animals, that the world owed almost the whole of its knowledge of the anatomy of man, till the fifteenth century, when surgeons
Celsus, lib. i.