From Xenophon’s Ephesian History: or the Love-Adventures of Abrocomas and Anthia, in Five Books. Translated from the Greek by Mr. Rooke [the Second Edition], London: Printed for J. Millan at Locke’s Head in Shug-Lane; 1727, pp. 78-86.
Hippothous, and his Company, march’d from Tarsus, into Syria, spoiling all the Country they pass’d through, burning Villages, and slaying the Inhabitants. In this Progress, they came to Laodicea, but there, they behav’d not as Robbers, but as Strangers desirous to view the City. He made strict Enquiry for Abrocomas wherever he came, but finding his Endeavours ineffectual, directed his Journey into Phœnicia, and thence to Ægypt, where they 79 design’d to prosecute their former Trade. Having, therefore, gather’d a stout Company together, they travel to Pelusium, and sailing thence up the Nile, arrive at Hermopulis and Schedia, and entering the Trench cut by Menelaus (for they left Alexandria) pass by Memphis, a City sacred to Isis, and thence to Mendes, where they encreas’d their Crew, and chose themselves Guides out of the Inhabitants. Departing thence, they touch at Leontopolis, and passing by many obscure Villages, arrive at Coptus, a City on the Confines of Æthiopia. There, they resolve to exercise their Robberies, for the Roads thereabouts were always crowded with Merchants, travelling to Æthiopia, and India. These Robbers, being Five Hundred in Number, secur’d the Passes over the Æthiopian Mountains, posted themselves in the most advantageous Places, and determin’d to plunder all who pass’d by.
Abrocomas was brought before the Præfect of Ægypt, whom the inhabitants of Pelusium had before certify’d, by Letters, of the Death of Araxus, and that such a daring Villany was committed by a Slave. The Governor relying upon the Credit of these Letters, without further Enquiry into the Merits of the Cause, commanded him to be Crucify’d. Being now struck 80 dumb with such a Load of Miseries, his only remaining Comfort was, that he deem’d his Anthia already dead. Those who receiv’d the Order, drew him to the Banks of Nile, and perceiving a Place where a craggy Rock projected over the River, they there erected the Cross, and fasten’d him thereto with Cords by binding his Hands and Feet, as is the Custom of Crucifixion in that Country. They then departed, thinking they had sufficiently secur’d him. He beholding the Sun, and the River Nile, straight cries out, “O God, who præsidest over Ægypt, fam’d for Benificence to Mankind, and by whom the Earth and Sea first appear’d; If I have committed any unjust Action, let me die here in Misery, and may my Pains, if possible, be augmented: But if a wicked Woman has falsly acus’d me, let not the Waters of Nile be polluted by a Body wrongfully put to Death, nor be thou Witness of this Scene: Let not a Man, guilty of no Crime, perish in thy Territories.” Thus he continued his Prayer, and the God pity’d him, for, by a sudden Blast of Wind, rushing upon the Place, not only the Cross, but the rocky Foundation where it stood, was cast violently into the River. Abrocomas, falling thus into the Nile, was born down with the Stream, the Water neither injuring him, nor the Cords 81 wherewith he was bound hindring his Course, nor the Beasts offering to devour him. And thus he floated down the River, thro’ one of its Mouths, into the Sea. There, the Guards of the Coast took him up, and carried him, as one fled from justice, before the Præfect of Ægypt, who now, more enrag’d, and judging Abrocomas a notorious Offender, commanded a Pile to be erected, and him to be burnt. Then, were all Things prepar’d: The Pile rais’d near the Mouth of Nile, Abrocomas laid thereon, and the Fire put to it. Now had the Flames almost touch’d the Body, when he pray’d, as powerfully as possible, to be sav’d from instant Death. The Nile then immediately swell’d above his Banks, and the Waters overflowing the Place, quench’d the Flames. This Deliverance appear’d miraculous to all the Beholders, insomuch, that they carried him once more before the Præfect of Ægypt, declaring what had happen’d, as also the Assistance which the Nile had given him. He was surpriz’d at the Story, wherefore ordering Abrocomas into safe Custody, he commanded all Care to be taken of him, ’till he should throughly learn the manner of his Life, and why the Gods were so solicitous for his Safety.
While he continued in Confinement, Psammis, who had purchas’d Anthia, determin’d to 82 return Home, and accordingly, prepar’d every thing for his Journey. He must of Necessity pass through higher Ægypt, and Æthiopia, where Hippothous, and his Crew, had posted themselves. Being every way well furnish’d with Camels and Asses, and Horses bearing Burthens, and a great Quantity of Gold and Silver, with much Apparel, he set forwards on his Journey, carrying Anthia along with him. She, leaving Alexandria, came to Memphis, where kneeling down before the Temple of Isis, she pray’d thus, “O most beneficent of all Deities, hitherto have I preserv’d my Chastity, and kept my Nuptial Vows, while I was suppos’d sacred to thee: Now I go to India, a long Journey from Ephesus, a long Journey alas! from the Remains of my Abrocomas: Either free me, a Wretch, from this Slavery, and return me to my Abrocomas alive, or if the Fates have decreed us to die separate, grant, at least, that I may remain constant to him, even after his Death.” When she had finish’d her Prayer, they proceeded in their Expedition, and arriv’d at Coptus, but ascending the Mountains of Æthiopia, were met by Hippothous, who having slain Psammis, and most of his Servants, and seiz’d all the Money, took Anthia Captive. He then caus’d all the Spoils to be brought together, and hid in a Cave hard by, which was commodious for that 83 Purpose: Anthia entring therein, neither knew Hippothous, nor He her, and being accidentally ask’d who she was, and of what Country, she dissembling, told them she was an Ægyptian, and her Name Memphitis.
While she was in the Robbers Cave, the Præfect of Ægypt commanded Abrocomas to be sent for, and by a full Information of the whole Affair, understanding the Truth of the Story, he pitied his Misfortunes, order’d him Money, and promis’d to take Care he should be convey’d safe to Ephesus. He return’d him hearty Thanks for his Kindness, but beg’d that he would suffer him to search for his Anthia. Having therefore dismiss’d him, with large Presents, he embark’d for Italy, with a full Resolution to enquire for her there; and the Præfect of Ægypt being well assur’d of the manner of Araxus’s Death, caus’d Cyno to be apprehended and crucify’d.
Anthia, still continuing in the Cave, one of the Robbers, Anchialus by name, who had the Charge of her, fell in Love with her. He accompanied Hippothous from Syria, was a Laodicean by Birth, much esteem’d by his Master, and of great Account among the whole Crew. He first endeavour’d to win her by fair Speeches, and afterwards proceeded to harsh Language, designing 84 to request her as a Gift from Hippothous; but she was inflexible, and all his Hopes ineffectual, for neither the Cave, nor her Bonds, nor the threatening Robber, could alter her Resolutions. She preserv’d her self for Abrocomas, tho’ she suppos’d him dead, and many Ti\mes, when she could retire a little in secret, she would cry out, “I am Wife to Abrocomas alone, even tho’ I should die for him, or suffer worse Treatment than I have yet suffer’d.” However Anchialus’s Malady continu’d to encrease, and the daily sight of Anthia enflam’d him so much, that not able to bear it any longer, he resolv’d to use Violence; and accordingly, on a certain Night, when Hippothous, and his Companions, were absent, he attack’d her, and endeavour’d to gain her by Force. She, so suddenly assault’d, without the least Hæsitation, snatch’d up a drawn Sword, which lay at Hand, and, therewith, gave Anchialus a mortal Wound; for while he strove to embrace and kiss her, and accordingly had thrown himself upon her, she seiz’d the Sword, and sheath’d it in his Breast. He suffer’d, indeed, a just Punishment, for his Lust, but she, terrify’d with the Sight, form’d many Resolutions within herself. One while, she thought of slaying her self, but the faint Hopes she still had of her Abrocomas, prevented her. Then, of making her Escape out 85 of the Cave, but considering that would not avail her, as being destitute both of Necessaries, and a Guide, she resolv’d, at last, to stay, and suffer whatever Punishment her God thought fit to inflict upon her. Tortur’d with a thousand Anxieties of Mind, she had no Rest that Night, and as soon as the Dawn appear’d, Hippothous, and his Companions, entring the Cave, perceiv’d Anchialus slain, and Anthia near the Body. They guess’d the Fact, and, examining her, soon understood all. They took the Matter heinously, and resolv’d to revenge the Murther of their Associate. Many kinds of Death were propos’d: Some said, she ought to be slain, and her Body buried with Anchialus. Others advis’d to crucify her. Hippothous, vex’d for the Loss of his Friend, contriv’d a Punishment still more dreadful. He order’d a large and deep Pit to be dug, and Anthia to be cast therein, with Two Dogs for her Companions; that she, who had perpetrated so black a Crime, might suffer a suitable Punishment. His Commands were obey’d, the Pit was dug, and Anthia let down. The Dogs were of the Ægyptian Breed, fierce, and dreadful to look at. After they were let down, huge Pieces of Timber were laid over it, and those cover’d with Earth. This was not far from the Nile, and one Amphinomus was appointed to guard 86 the Place. He, having long had a tender Respect for Anthia, now pitty’d her the more; and being sensibly touch’d with her Misery, first consider’d how it might be possible to preserve her alive, and unhurt by the Dogs: Wherefore, daily moving away some of the Timbers which cover’d the Pit, he let down Bread and Water to her, and entreated her to be of good Cheer. The Dogs thus fed, offer’d not to seize upon her, but, on the contrary, grew tame and tractable. She reflecting deeply on her present State, begun to sigh and say, “Alas! What a Wretch am I! What sort of Punishment do I now suffer: A Pit! a dungeon! Dogs my Companions! whom, nevertheless, I find much more merciful than the Thieves. All this, O my Abrocomas, I endure for thy Sake. Thou wast once in the like Misery, for I left thee in Bonds at Tyre: But if thou art yet alive, I can conquer any things. Who knows but it may be our Lot to enjoy each other still? But if thou art dead, in vain do I endeavour to preserve Life; and in vain does my Guard, whoever he be, pity my Misfortunes.” Having thus said, she wept abundantly. Thus did Anthia remain confin’d, with Two Dogs, in a Pit; and Amphinomus continu’d to comfort her daily, as also to mitigate the Fury of the Dogs, by affording them Subsistance.