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Rhampsiniʹtos

.

The Greek form of Ramʹeses III., the richest of the Egyptian king, who amassed seventy-seven millions sterling, which he secured in a treasury of stone, but by an artifice of the builder he was robbed every night.

Herodotos (bk. ii. chap. 121) tells us that two brothers were the architects of the treasury, and that they placed in the wall a removable stone, through which they crept every night to purloin the store. The king, after a time, noticed the diminution, and set a trap to catch the thieves. One of the brothers was caught in the trap, but the other brother, to prevent detection, cut off his head and made good his escape.


⁂ This tale is almost identical with that of Trophonios, told by Pausanias. Hyrieus (3 syl.) a Bœotian king employed Trophonios and his brother to build him a treasury. In so doing they also contriyed to place in the wall a removable stone, through which they crept nightly to purloin the king’s stores. Hyrieus also set a trap to catch the thief, and one of the brothers was caught; but Trophonios cut off his head to prevent detection, and made good his escape. There cannot be a doubt that the two tales are in reality one and the same.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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