Excerpt From the Letter of Thessalos

An Excerpt from the Letter of Thessalos to Caesar Augustus

Thus I arrived at Diospolis, the most ancient capital of Egypt, which posses a host of temples; and there I established myself. [Thessalos lives with the priests a while, and convinces one to do magic for him.] The priest asked if I wanted to talk with the ghost of a dead man or with a god. ‘With Asklepios’ I told him, adding that he would crown his kindness if he let me converse with the god on my own. He agreed without pleasure, as I could tell clearly from his face, but at least he promised. Then he shut me in the chamber, bade me sit down opposite the throne where the god would take his seat, and invoked Asklepios, thanks to the virtue of mysterious words. After that he hurried out, locking the door with a key. And there I was sdeated, annihilated in body and soul at the sight of so wonderful a thing – for no human word could render the features that face or the splendours of the ornaments that set it off – when the god, lifting his right hand, saluted me thus.


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