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Headword: Κάνωπος
Adler number: kappa,320
Translated headword: Canopus, Kanopos
Vetting Status: high
In Egypt. Once, as they say, the Chaldaeans[1] glorified their own god, which is the fire,[2] and they carried him round, so as to compare him with the gods of all the provinces and the winner to be considered god by everyone. The [statues of the] gods of the other provinces were made of copper or silver or wood or stone or some other similar substance, and such a substance was easily destroyed by the fire, and so the fire won everywhere perforce. When the priest of Canopus heard that, he thought out something crafty. In parts of Egypt it is customary to build earthen pots which have small continuous holes, in order to distil turbid water through these holes and render it pure. The priest of Canopus took one of these pots, stuffed the holes with wax, painted it with various colours, filled it with water and set it up as a god, and then he cut the head of an old statue, which was supposed to depict a helmsman of Menelaus,[3] and he carefully placed it atop, fitting it on the statue. Afterwards the Chaldaeans came, the fire was lit, and the wax, with which the holes were shut, dissolved. As the pot was full of water, which came out through the holes, the fire was extinguished. So, due to the craftiness of the priest, Canopus emerged as the winner against the Chaldaeans and since then he was honoured as a god.
He who is 100 stades away from Canopus[4] and he who is one [stade away] are equally not in Canopus; so too a greater or lesser moral mistake is equally not in the domain of right action.[5] Look in the [entry] 'failure' [amplakema] for something clearer.[6]
Greek Original:
Κάνωπος: ὁ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ. ποτέ, ὡς λόγος, Χαλδαῖοι τὸν ἴδιον θεόν, ὅπερ ἐστὶ τὸ πῦρ, ἀποσεμνύνοντες πανταχοῦ περιέφερον, ὥστε τοῖς θεοῖς πασῶν τῶν ἐπαρχιῶν συμβεβληκέναι καὶ τὸν νικῶντα ἐκεῖνον παρὰ πάντων νομίζεσθαι θεόν. τῶν μὲν οὖν ἄλλων ἐπαρχιῶν οἱ θεοὶ ἀπὸ χαλκοῦ ἢ ἀργύρου ἢ ξύλου ἢ λίθου ἢ ἄλλης τοιαύτης ὕλης ἐτύγχανον ἱδρυμένοι, ἡ δὲ τοιαύτη ὕλη εὐχερῶς ὑπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς διεφθείρετο, ὥστε πανταχοῦ τὸ πῦρ ἀναγκαίως νικᾶν. τοῦτο ἀκούσας ὁ τοῦ Κανώπου ἱερεὺς πανοῦργόν τι τοιοῦτον ἐνεθυμήθη. ὑδρίαι ἐν τοῖς μέρεσι τῆς Αἰγύπτου εἰώθασι γίνεσθαι ὀστράκιναι τρήσεις ἔχουσαι λεπτὰς συνεχεῖς, ὥστε διὰ τῶν τρήσεων ἐκείνων τὸ τεθολωμένον ὕδωρ διυλιζόμενον ἀποδίδοσθαι καθαρώτατον. ἐκ τούτων τῶν ὑδριῶν μίαν λαβὼν ὁ ἱερεὺς τοῦ Κανώπου καὶ τὰς τρήσεις ἐκείνας ἀποφράξας κηρῷ, καὶ διαφόροις ζωγραφήσας χρώμασι, πληρώσας ὕδατος ἔστησεν ὡς θεόν, καὶ ἀποτεμὼν παλαιοῦ ἀγάλματος τὴν κεφαλήν, ὅπερ ἐλέγετο Μενελάου τινὸς κυβερνήτου γεγενῆσθαι, ἐπιμελῶς ἐπιθείς, ἥρμοσεν αὐτὴν τῷ ἀγάλματι. παρεγένοντο μετὰ ταῦτα οἱ Χαλδαῖοι, ἀνήφθη τὸ πῦρ, καὶ ὁ κηρός, δι' οὗ αἱ τρήσεις ἐτύγχανον πεφραγμέναι, διελύετο. τῆς δὲ ὑδρίας ἱδρώσης, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ διὰ τῶν τρήσεων ἐκβαλλούσης, ἐσβέννυτο τὸ πῦρ. οὕτω τε τῇ πανουργίᾳ τοῦ ἱερέως ὁ Κάνωπος τῶν Χαλδαίων νικητὴς ἀνεδείχθη καὶ ἀπὸ τότε λοιπὸν ὡς θεὸς ἐτιμᾶτο. ὅτι ὁ ἑκατὸν σταδίους ἀπέχων Κανώβου καὶ ὁ ἕνα ἐπίσης οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐν Κανώβῳ: οὕτω καὶ πλέον καὶ ἔλαττον ἁμάρτημα ἐπίσης οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐν τῷ κατορθοῦν. ζήτει σαφέστερον ἐν τῷ ἀμπλάκημα.
Most of this entry is quoted from George the Monk, Chronicon 587.3-588.5; cf. Georgius Cedrenus, Compendium historiarum 1.570.9-16.
[1] chi 13; also chi 12.
[2] pi 3180.
[3] cf. the note at kappa 319.
[4] See kappa 319. Also Strabo 17.1.16-18; cf. Stephanus of Byzantium 355.5-12.
[5] This phrase is a Stoic maxim; translation quoted from alpha 1654; see there, esp. notes 2 and 3.
[6] alpha 1654.
Keywords: aetiology; art history; biography; Christianity; definition; ethics; geography; historiography; history; mythology; philosophy; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 8 August 2007@20:31:50.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 8 August 2007@23:06:58.
David Whitehead (more keywords; minor tweaks and cosmetics) on 9 August 2007@03:26:50.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 27 January 2013@04:42:47.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 22 January 2014@05:46:32.


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