Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Herodotus on Sethos
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[1] Shebitku, (697-689 BCE) or Taharka (689-663)
Seton was the title of the sem-priest of Ptah (Hephaistos), often used like a name (cf. The second tale of Khamuas)

[2] Sanherib, King of Assyria 705-681 BCE. Conquered Babylon, Syria and Palestine.

[3] Pelusium, Migdol
Egyptian frontier city
 

Herodotus on Sethos

After him there came to the throne the priest of Hephaistos, whose name was Sethon [1]. This man, they said, neglected and held in no regard the warrior class of the Egyptians, considering that he would have no need of them; and besides other slights which he put upon them, he also took from them the yokes of corn-land which had been given to them as a special gift in the reigns of the former kings, twelve yokes to each man. After this, Sanacharib [2] king of the Arabians and of the Assyrians marched a great host against Egypt.
 
Then the warriors of the Egyptians refused to come to the rescue, and the priest, being driven into a strait, entered into the sanctuary of the temple and bewailed to the image of the god the danger which was impending over him; and as he was thus lamenting, sleep came upon him, and it seemed to him in his vision that the god came and stood by him and encouraged him, saying that he should suffer no evil if he went forth to meet the army of the Arabians; for he would himself send him helpers. Trusting in these things seen in sleep, he took with him, they said, those of the Egyptians who were willing to follow him, and encamped in Pelusion [3], for by this way the invasion came: and not one of the warrior class followed him, but shop-keepers and artisans and men of the market. Then after they came, there swarmed by night upon their enemies mice of the fields, and ate up their quivers and their bows, and moreover the handles of their shields, so that on the next day they fled, and being without defence of arms great numbers fell. And at the present time this king stands in the temple of Hephaistos in stone, holding upon his hand a mouse, and by letters inscribed he says these words: "Let him who looks upon me learn to fear the gods."

Histories 2,141
Translated by Macaulay
Project Gutenberg

    After conquering dozens of cities in Palestine the Assyrians retreated before an advancing Egyptian army. This is Herodotus's version of the Biblical story of the pestilence which destroyed the Assyrian army before Jerusalem. Rats have long been associated with the plague. Mice are a Greek symbol of pestilence. It is the mouse god Apollo Smintheus who sends and ends the plague in Homer's Iliad.

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