However, Apion deserves to be admired for his great prudence, as to what I am going to say, which is this," That there is a plain mark among us, that we neither have just laws, nor worship God as we ought to do, because we are not governors, but are rather in subjection to Gentiles, sometimes to one nation, and sometimes to another; and that our city hath been liable to several calamities, while their city [Alexandria] hath been of old time an imperial city, and not used to be in subjection to the Romans." But now this man had better leave off this bragging, for every body but himself would think that Apion said what he hath said against himself; for there are very few nations that have had the good fortune to continue many generations in the principality, but still the mutations in human affairs have put them into subjection under others; and most nations have been often subdued, and brought into subjection by others. Now for the Egyptians, perhaps they are the only nation that have had this extraordinary privilege, to have never served any of those monarchs who subdued Asia and Europe, and this on account, as they pretend, that the gods fled into their country, and saved themselves by being changed into the shapes of wild beasts! Whereas these Egyptians (15) are the very people that appear to have never, in all the past ages, had one day of freedom, no, not so much as from their own lords. For I will not reproach them with relating the manner how the Persians used them, and this not once only, but many times, when they laid their cities waste, demolished their temples, and cut the throats of those animals whom they esteemed to be gods; for it is not reasonable to imitate the clownish ignorance of Apion, who hath no regard to the misfortunes of the Athenians, or of the Lacedemonians, the latter of whom were styled by all men the most courageous, and the former the most religious of the Grecians. I say nothing of such kings as have been famous for piety, particularly of one of them, whose name was Cresus, nor what calamities he met with in his life; I say nothing of the citadel of Athens, of the temple at Ephesus, of that at Delphi, nor of ten thousand others which have been burnt down, while nobody cast reproaches on those that were the sufferers, but on those that were the actors therein. But now we have met with Apion, an accuser of our nation, though one that still forgets the miseries of his own people, the Egptians; but it is that Sesostris who was once so celebrated a king of Egypt that hath blinded him. Now we will not brag of our kings, David and Solomon, though they conquered many nations; accordingly we will let them alone. However, Apion is ignorant of what every body knows, that the Egyptians were servants to the Persians, and afterwards to the Macedonians, when they were lords of Asia, and were no better than slaves, while we have enjoyed liberty formerly; nay, more than that, have had the dominion of the cities that lie round about us, and this nearly for a hundred and twenty years together, until Pompeius Magnus. And when all the kings every where were conquered by the Romans, our ancestors were the only people who continued to be esteemed their confederates and friends, on account of their fidelity to them.(16)
(15) This notorious disgrace belonging peculiarly to the people of Egypt, ever since the times of the old prophets of the Jews, noted both sect. 4 already, and here, may be confirmed by the testimony of Isidorus, an Egyptian of Pelusium, Epist. lib. i. Ep. 489. And this is a remarkable completion of the ancient prediction of God by Ezekiel 29:14, 15, that the Egyptians should be a base kingdom, the basest of the kingdoms," and that "it should not exalt itself any more above the nations."
(16) The truth of which still further appears by the present observation of Josephus, that these Egyptians had never, in all the past ages since Sesostris, had one day of liberty, no, not so much as to have been free from despotic power under any of the monarchies to that day. And all this bas been found equally true in the latter ages, under the Romans, Saracens, Mamelukes, and Turks, from the days of Josephus till the present ago also.