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Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

280                        The Greek Papyri
Epeiph loth. I am working together with your slave-girls as best I can.
I can't find any able to come and work with me, they are all working
for their own mistresses. For our people are marching round the whole
city demanding higher wages. Your sister Souerous has given birth.
Teeus wrote and told me how grateful she was to you; so I realise,
my lady, that my commands are still good, for she has left all her own
people and has travelled in your company. The small one (Aline's
daughter, Heraidous) sends her love and is working hard at her lessons.
I tell you that I shall have no time for God, unless I get my son back
first. What did you send me the 20 drachmas for, when I'm so badly
o€ ? Pve already the prospect before my eyes of spending the winter
without a rag. Good-bye. P.S. The wife of Eudemus is inseparable
from me and I'm most grateful to her.*
In another letter she refers to some difficulty that she is
having with a relative named Discas, probably about some
family property, and writes as follows:
*I have already performed my part, and I have neither bathed nor
worshipped the gods because of my fear about your unsettled case,
lest I too be driven to the law-courts.'
Her postscript is revealing:
*At your wedding the wife of my brother Discas brought me 100
drachmas; and now that her son Nilus is about to marry, it is right
that we should make a return gift, even if we have got grievances
against them.'
This attitude to religion, though it finds clearer expression
here than is usual, was no idiosyncrasy on Eudaemonis' part; it
is an attitude which goes far to explain the widespread use of
magical practices in Egypt for all the purposes of life, trivial
and serious alike. The papyri have brought us a large number
of magical texts, actual amulets and incantations or magician's
handbooks such as the great London or Oslo papyri, the
premiss of all of them being that the appropriate acts can bend
the heavenly powers to the service of the agent. Some of the