Pygmaioi (via Theoi.com)


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PYGMIES MISCELLANY

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 5 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
„[Ostensibly a description of an ancient Greek painting at Neapolis (Naples) :] About Neilos (the River Nile) the Pekheis (Pecheis) (Dwarfs) are sporting, children no taller than their name implies [i.e. pykheis means ‘cubit-tall’]; and Neilos (the Nile) delights in them for many reason, but particularly because they herald his coming in great floods for the Egyptians. At any rate they draw near and come to him seemingly out of the water, infants dainty and smiling, and I think they are not without the gift of speech also. Some sit on his shoulders, some cling to his curling locks, some are asleep on his arms, and some romp on his breast. And he yields them flowers, some form his lap and some from his arms, that they may weave them into crowns and, sacred and fragrant themselves, may have a bed of flowers to sleep upon. And the children climb up one on another with sistra in their hands, instruments the sound of which is familiar to that river. Crocodiles, however, and hippopotami, which some artists associate with Neilos (the Nile) in their paintings, are now lying aloof in its deep eddies so as not to frighten the children. But that the river is Neilos (the Nile) is indicated, my boy, by symbols of agriculture and navigation, and for the following reason : At its flood Neilos (the Nile) makes Egypt open to boats; then, when it has been drunk up by the fields, it gives the people a fertile land to till.“
[N.B. The „dwarfs“ are either Pygmies or Karpoi (Carpi)–personifications of the fruits of the earth. Cf. The paintings and sculptures of the Nile above.)

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