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Legends Of The Gods by E. A. Wallis Budge

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In the eighteenth year of the Horus, Neter-Khat, of the King of the
South and North, Neter-Khat, of the Lord of the Shrines of Uatchit and
Nekhebit, Neter-Khat, of the Golden Horus Tcheser,[FN#166] when Matar
was Ha Prince, and Erpa, and Governor of the temple-cities in the Land
of the South, and director of the Khenti[FN#167] folk in Abtu,[FN#168]
there was brought unto him the following royal despatch: "This is to
inform thee that misery hath laid hold upon me [as I sit] upon the
great throne by reason of those who dwell in the Great House.[FN#169]
My heart is grievously afflicted by reason of the exceedingly great evil
[which hath happened] because Hapi (i.e., the Nile) hath not come
forth[FN#170] in my time to the [proper] height for seven years. Grain
is very scarce, vegetables are lacking altogether, every kind of thing
which men eat for their food hath ceased, and every man [now] plundereth
"his neighbour. Men wish to walk, but are unable to move, the child
waileth, the young man draggeth his limbs along, and the hearts of the
aged folk are crushed with despair; their legs give way under them, and
they sink down to the ground, and their hands are laid upon their bodies
[in pain]. The shennu[FN#171] nobles are destitute of counsel, and
[when] the storehouses which should contain supplies are opened, there
cometh forth therefrom nothing but wind. Everything is in a state of
ruin. My mind hath remembered, going back to former time, when I had an
advocate, to the time of the gods, and of the Ibis-god, and of the chief
Kher-heb priest I-em-hetep,[FN#172] the son of Ptah of his Southern

[FN#166] Tcheser was a king of the IIIrd Dynasty, and is famous as the
builder of the Step Pyramid at Sakkarah. His tomb was discovered by
Mr. J. Garstang at Bet Khallaf in Upper Egypt in 1901.

[FN#167] i.e., the people who were in front of, that is, to the South
of Egypt, or the population of the country which lies between Dakkah
and Aswan.

[FN#168] The ancient Egyptian name for Elephantine Island, which
appears to have gained this name because it resembled an elephant in

[FN#169] i.e., the palace.

[FN#170] i.e., risen.

[FN#171] i.e., the high court officials and administrators.

[FN#172] The famous priest and magician, who was subsequently deified
and became one of the chief gods of Memphis.

"Where is the place of birth of Hapi (the Nile)? What god, or what
goddess, presideth (?) over it? What manner of form hath he? It is he
who stablisheth revenue for me, and a full store of grain. I would go
to the Chief of Het-Sekhet[FN#173] whose beneficence strengtheneth all
men in their works. I would enter into the House of Life,[FN#174] I
would unfold the written rolls [therein], and I would lay my hand upon

[FN#173] Hermopolis.

[FN#174] Per-ankh, or Pa-ankh, was a name given to one of the temple-
colleges of priests and scribes.

Then [Matar] set out on his journey, and he returned to me straightway.
He gave me instruction concerning the increase of Hapi,[FN#175] and
told me all things which men had written concerning it, and he revealed
to me the secret doors (?) whereto my ancestors had betaken themselves
quickly, the like of which has never been, to [any] king since the time
of Ra, (?). And he said unto me: "There is a city in the middle of the
stream wherefrom Hapi maketh his appearance; "'Abu'[FN#176] was its
name in the beginning; it is the City of the Beginning, and it is the
Nome of the City of the Beginning. [It reacheth] to Uaua,[FN#177]
which is the beginning of the land. There is too a flight of
steps,[FN#178] which reareth itself to a great height, and is the
support of Ra, when he maketh his calculation to prolong life to
everyone; 'Netchemtchem Ankh'[FN#179] is the name of its abode. 'The
two Qerti'[FN#180] is the name of the water, and they are the two
breasts from which every good thing cometh forth (?).

[FN#175] i.e., the Inundation, or Nile Flood.

[FN#176] The Elephant City, i.e., Elephantine.

[FN#177] A portion of Northern Nubia.

[FN#178] This is probably an allusion to the famous Nilometer on the
Island of Philae.

[FN#179] i.e., "Sweet, sweet life."

[FN#180] The Qerti were the two openings through which the Nile
entered this world from the great celestial ocean.

"Here is the bed of Hapi (the Nile), wherein he reneweth his youth [in
his season], wherein he causeth the flooding of the land. He cometh
and hath union as he journeyeth, as a man hath union with a woman. And
again he playeth the part of a husband and satisfieth his desire. He
riseth to the height of twenty-eight cubits [at Abu], and he droppeth
at Sma-Behutet[FN#181] to seven cubits. The union(?) there is that of
the god Khnemu in [Abu. He smiteth the ground] with his sandals, and
[its] fulness becometh abundant; he openeth the bolt of the door with
his hand, and he throweth open the double door of the opening through
which the water cometh."

[FN#181] Diospolis of Lower Egypt, or "Thebes of the North."

"Moreover, he dwelleth there in the form of the god Shu,[FN#182] as one
who is lord over his own territory, and his homestead, the name of
which is 'Aa' (i.e., the 'Island'). There he keepeth an account of the
products of the Land of the South and of the Land of the North, "in
order to give unto every god his proper share, and he leadeth to each
[the metals], and the [precious stones, and the four-footed beasts],
and the feathered fowl, and the fish, and every thing whereon they
live. And the cord [for the measuring of the land] and the tablet
whereon the register is kept are there.

[FN#182] The god who separated the Sky-goddess Nut from the embrace of
her husband, the Earth-god Keb, and who holds her above him each day.

"And there is an edifice of wood there, with the portals thereof formed
of reeds, wherein he dwelleth as one who is over his own territory, and
he maketh the foliage of the trees (?) to serve as a roof.

"His God-house hath an opening towards the south-east, and Ra (or, the
Sun) standeth immediately opposite thereto every day. The stream which
floweth along the south side thereof hath danger [for him that
attacketh it], and it hath as a defence a wall which entereth into the
region of the men of Kens[FN#183] on the South. Huge mountains [filled
with] masses of stone are round about its domain on the east side, and
shut it in. Thither come the quarrymen with things (tools?) of every
kind, [when] they "seek to build a House for any god in the Land of the
South, or in the Land of the North, or [shrines] as abodes for sacred
animals, or royal pyramids, and statues of all kinds. They stand up in
front of the House of the God and in the sanctuary chamber, and their
sweet smelling offerings are presented before the face of the god
Khnemu during his circuit, even as [when they bring] "garden herbs and
flowers of every kind. The fore parts thereof are in Abu
(Elephantine), and the hind parts are in the city of Sunt (?).[FN#184]
One portion thereof is on the east side[FN#185] of the river, and
another portion is on the west side[FN#186] of the river, and another
portion is in the middle[FN#187] of the river. The stream decketh the
region with its waters during a certain season of the year, and it is a
place of delight for every man. And works are carried on among these
quarries [which are] on the edges [of the river?], "for the stream
immediately faceth this city of Abu itself, and there existeth the
granite, the substance whereof is hard (?); 'Stone of Abu' it is

[FN#183] Kens extended south from Philae as far as Korosko.

[FN#184] Perhaps Sunut, = the Syene of the Greeks, and the {hbw
SuWeNeH} of the Hebrews.

[FN#185] i.e., Syene.

[FN#186] i.e., Contra Syene.

[FN#187] i.e., the Island of Elephantine.

"[Here is] a list of the names of the gods who dwell in the Divine
House of Khnemu. The goddess of the star Sept (Sothis), the goddess
Anqet, Hap (the Nile-god), Shu, Keb, Nut, Osiris, Horus, Isis, and

"[Here are] "the names of the stones which lie in the heart of the
mountains, some on the east side, some on the west side, and some in
[the midst of] the stream of Abu. They exist in the heart of Abu, they
exist in the country on the east bank, and in the country on the west
bank, and in the midst of the stream, namely, "Bekhen-stone, Meri (or
Meli)-stone, Atbekhab (?)-stone, Rakes-stone, and white Utshi-stone;
these are found on the east bank. Per-tchani-stone is found on the
west bank, and the Teshi-stone in the river.

"[Here are] the names of the hard (or, hidden) precious stones, which
are found in the upper side, among them being the . . . . . stone, the
name[FN#188] of which hath spread abroad through [a space of] four atru
measures: Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Lapis-lazuli, Emerald, Thehen
(Crystal?), Khenem (Ruby), Kai, Mennu, Betka (?), Temi, Na (?). The
following come forth from the fore part[FN#189] of the land: Mehi-
stone, [He]maki-stone, Abheti-stone, iron ore, alabaster for statues,
mother-of-emerald, antimony, seeds (or, gum) of the sehi plant, seeds
(or, gum) of the amem plant, and seeds (or, gum) of the incense plant;
these are found in the fore parts of its double city." These were the
things which I learned therefrom (i.e., from Matar).

[FN#188] i.e., the stone was very famous.

[FN#189] The "fore part," or "front," of the land means the country
lying to the south of Nubia, and probably some part of the modern
Egyptian Sudan.

Now my heart was very happy when I heard these things, and I entered
into [the temple of Khnemu]. The overseers unrolled the documents
which were fastened up, the water of purification was sprinkled [upon
me], a progress was made [through] the secret places, and a great
offering [consisting] of bread-cakes, beer, geese, oxen (or, bulls),
and beautiful things of all kinds were offered to the gods and
goddesses who dwell in Abu, whose names are proclaimed at the place
[which is called], "Couch of the heart in life and power."

And I found the God standing in front of me, and I made him to be at
peace with me by means of the thank-offering which I offered unto him,
and I made prayer and supplication before him. Then he opened his
eyes, and his heart was inclined [to hear] me, and his words were
strong [when he said], "I am Khnemu,[FN#190] who fashioned thee. My
two hands were about thee and knitted together thy body, and "made
healthy thy members; and it is I who gave thee thy heart. Yet the
minerals (or, precious stones) [lie] under each other, [and they have
done so] from olden time, and no man hath worked them in order to build
the houses of the god, or to restore those which have fallen into ruin,
or to hew out shrines for the gods of the South and of the North, or to
do what he ought to do for his lord, notwithstanding that I am the Lord
and the Creator.

[FN#190] He was the "builder of men, maker of the gods, the Father who
was from the beginning, the maker of things which are, the creator of
things which shall be, the source of things which exist, Father of
fathers, Mother of mothers, Father of the fathers of the gods and
goddesses, lord of created things, maker of heaven, earth, Tuat, water
and mountains" (Lanzone, Dizionario, p. 957).

"I am [he] who created himself, Nu, the Great [God], who came into being
at the beginning, [and] Hapi, who riseth according to his will, in
order to give health to him that laboureth for me. I am the Director
and Guide of all men at their seasons, the Most Great, the Father of the
Gods, Shu, the Great One, the Chief of the Earth. The two halves of the
sky (i.e., the East and the West) are as a habitation below me. A lake
of water hath been poured out for me, [namely,] Hap (i.e., the Nile),
which embraceth the field-land, and his embrace provideth the [means of]
life for "21 every nose (i.e., every one), according to the extent of
his embrace of the field-land. With old age [cometh] the condition of
weakness. I will make Hap (i.e., the Nile) rise for thee, and [in] no
year shall [he] fail, and he shall spread himself out in rest upon every
land. Green plants and herbs and trees shall bow beneath [the weight of]
their produce. The goddess Renenet[FN#191] shall be at the head of
everything, and every product shall increase by hundreds of thousands,
according to the cubit of the year. The people shall be filled, verily
to their hearts' desire, "and everyone. Misery shall pass away, and the
emptiness of their store-houses of grain shall come to an end. The land
of Ta-Mert (i.e., Egypt) shall come to be a region of cultivated land,
the districts [thereof] shall be yellow with grain crops, and the grain
[thereof] shall be goodly. And fertility shall come according to the
desire [of the people], more than there hath ever been before."

[FN#191] The goddess of the harvest.

Then I woke up at [the mention of] crops, my heart (or, courage) came
[back], and was equal to my [former] despair, and I made the following
decree in the temple of my father Khnemu:--

The king giveth an offering to Khnemu[FN#192] the Lord of the city of
Qebhet,[FN#193] the Governor of Ta-Sti,[FN#194] in return for those
things which thou hast done for me. There shall be given unto thee on
thy right hand [the river bank] of Manu,[FN#195] and on thy left hand
the river bank of Abu, together with the land about the city, for a
space of twenty measures,[FN#196] on the east side and on the west
side, with the gardens, and the river front "everywhere throughout the
region included in these measures. From every husbandman who tilleth
the ground, and maketh to live again the slain, and placeth water upon
the river banks and all the islands which are in front of the region of
these measures, shall be demanded a further contribution from the
growing crops and from every storehouse, as "thy share.

[FN#192] Or perhaps, Khnemu-Ra.

[FN#193] Qebhet is the name given to the whole region of the First

[FN#194] The "Land of the Bow," i.e., the Northern Sudan.

[FN#195] The Land of the setting sun, the West.

[FN#196] Schoinos.

"Whatsoever is caught in the nets by every fisherman and by every
fowler, and whatsoever is taken by the catchers of fish, and by the
snarers of birds, and by every hunter of wild animals, and by every man
who snareth lions in the mountains, when these things enter [the city]
one tenth of them shall be demanded.

"And of all the calves which are cast throughout the regions which are
included in these measures, one tenth of their number "shall be set
apart as animals which are sealed for all the burnt offerings which are
offered up daily.

"And, moreover, the gift of one tenth shall be levied upon the gold,
ivory, ebony, spices, carnelians (?), sa wood, seshes spice, dum palm
fruit (?), nef wood, and upon woods and products of every kind
whatsoever, which the Khentiu, [FN#197] and the Khentiu of Hen-
Resu,[FN#198] and the Egyptians, and every person whatsoever [shall
bring in].

[FN#197] The inhabitants of the Northern Sudan, probably as far to the
south as Napata.

[FN#198] The people of the Island of Meroe, and probably those living
on the Blue and White Niles.

"And [every] hand shall pass them by, and no officer of the revenue
whatsoever shall utter a word beyond these places to demand (or, levy
on) things from them, or to take things over and above [those which are
intended for] thy capital city.

"And I will give unto thee the land belonging to the city, which
beareth stones, and good land for cultivation. Nothing thereof shall be
[diminished] or withheld, "of all these things in order to deceive the
scribes, and the revenue officers, and the inspectors of the king, on
whom it shall be incumbent to certify everything.

"And further, I will cause the masons, and the hewers of ore (?), and
the workers in metal, and the smelters (?) of gold, and the sculptors
in stone, "and the ore-crushers, and the furnace-men (?), and
handicraftsmen of every kind whatsoever, who work in hewing, and
cutting, and polishing these stones, and in gold, and silver, and
copper, and lead, and every worker in wood who shall cut down any tree,
or carry on a trade of any kind, or work which is connected with the
wood trade, to "pay tithe upon all the natural products (?), and also
upon the hard stones which are brought from their beds above, and
quarried stones of all kinds.

"And there shall be an inspector over the weighing of the gold, and
silver, and copper, and real (i.e., precious) stones, and the [other]
things, which the metal-workers require for the House of Gold, "and the
sculptors of the images of the gods need in the making and repairing of
them, and [these things] shall be exempted from tithing, and the
workmen also. And everything shall be delivered (or, given) in front
of the storehouse to their children, a second time, for the protection
of everything. And whatsoever is before thy God-house shall be in
abundance, just as it hath ever been from the earliest time.

"And a copy of this decree shall be inscribed upon a stele, [which
shall be set up] in the holy place, according to the writing of the
[original] document which is cut upon wood, and [figures of] this god
and the overseers of the temple shall be [cut] thereon. Whosoever
shall spit upon that which is on it shall be admonished by the rope.
And the overseers of the priests, and every overseer of the people of
the House of the God, shall ensure the perpetuation of my name in the
House of the god Khnemu-Ra, the lord of Abu (Elephantine), for ever."



Get thee back, Apep, thou enemy of Ra, thou winding serpent in the form
of an intestine, without arms [and] without legs. Thy body cannot
stand upright so that thou mayest have therein being, long is
thy[FN#199] tail in front of thy den, thou enemy; retreat before Ra.
Thy head shall be cut off, and the slaughter of thee shall be carried
out. Thou shalt not lift up thy face, for his (i.e., Ra's) flame is in
thy accursed soul. The odour which is in his chamber of slaughter is
in thy members, and thy form shall be overthrown by the slaughtering
knife of the great god. The spell of the Scorpion-goddess Serq driveth
back thy might. Stand still, stand still, and retreat through her

[FN#199] Literally, "his."

Be vomited, O poison, I adjure thee to come forth on the earth. Horus
uttereth a spell over thee, Horus hacketh thee in pieces, he spitteth
upon thee; thou shalt not rise up towards heaven, but shalt totter
downwards, O feeble one, without strength, cowardly, unable to fight,
blind, without eyes, and with thine head turned upside down. Lift not
up thy face. Get thee back quickly, and find not the way. Lie down in
despair, rejoice not, retreat speedily, and show not thy face because
of the speech of Horus, who is perfect in words of power. The poison
rejoiced, [but] the heart[s] of many were very sad thereat. Horus hath
smitten it with his magical spells, and he who was in sorrow is [now]
in joy. Stand still then, O thou who art in sorrow, [for] Horus hath
been endowed with life. He coineth charged, appearing himself to
overthrow the Sebiu fiends which bite. All men when they see Ra praise
the son of Osiris. Get thee back, Worm, and draw out thy poison which
is in all the members of him that is under the knife. Verily the might
of the word of power of Horus is against thee. Vomit thou, O Enemy, get
thee back, O poison.


Recite [the following formula]:--

"Hail, Ra, come to thy daughter! A scorpion hath stung her on a
lonely road. Her cry hath penetrated the heights of heaven, and is
heard along the paths. The poison hath entered into her body, and
circulateth through her flesh. She hath set her mouth against
it;[FN#200] verily the poison is in her members.

[FN#200] i.e., she hath directed her words against it.

"Come then with thy strength, with thy fierce attack, and with thy red
powers, and force it to be hidden before thee. Behold, the poison hath
entered into all the members of this Cat which is under my fingers. Be
not afraid, be not afraid, my daughter, my splendour, [for] I have set
myself near (or, behind) thee. I have overthrown the poison which is
in all the limbs of this Cat. O thou Cat, thy head is the head of Ra,
the Lord of the Two Lands, the smiter of the rebellious peoples.
Thy[FN#201] fear is in all lands, O Lord of the living, Lord of
eternity. O thou Cat, thy two eyes are the Eye of the Lord of the Khut
uraeus, who illumineth the Two Lands with his Eye, and illumineth the
face on the path of darkness. O thou Cat, thy nose is the nose of
Thoth, the Twice Great, Lord of Khemenu (Hermopolis), the Chief of the
Two Lands of Ra, who putteth breath into the nostrils of every person.
O thou Cat, thine ears are the ears of Nebertcher, who hearkeneth unto
the voice of all persons when they appeal to him, and weigheth words
(i.e., judgeth) in all the earth. O thou Cat, thy mouth is the mouth
of Tem, the Lord of life, the uniter (?) of creation, who hath caused
the union (?) of creation; he shall deliver thee from every poison. O
thou Cat, thy neck (nehebt) is the neck of Neheb-ka, President of the
Great House, vivifier of men and women by means of the mouth of his two
arms. O thou Cat, thy breast is the breast of Thoth, the Lord of
Truth, who hath given to thee breath to refresh (?) thy throat, and
hath given breath to that which is therein. O thou Cat, thy heart is
the heart of the god Ptah, who healeth thy heart of the evil poison
which is in all thy limbs. O thou Cat, thy hands 25 are the hands of
the Great Company of the gods and the Little Company of the gods, and
they shall deliver thy hand from the poison from the mouth of every
serpent. O thou Cat, thy belly is the belly of Osiris, Lord of
Busiris, the poison shall not work any of its wishes in thy belly. O
thou Cat, thy thighs are the thighs of the god Menthu, who shall make
thy thighs to stand up, and shall bring the poison to the ground. O
thou Cat, thy leg-bones are the leg-bones of Khensu,[FN#202] who
travelleth over all the Two Lands by day and by night, and shall lead
the poison to the ground. O thou Cat, thy legs (or, feet) are the legs
of Amen the Great, Horus, Lord of Thebes, who shall stablish thy feet
on the earth, and shall overthrow the poison. O thou Cat, thy haunches
are the haunches of Horus, the avenger (or, advocate) of his father
Osiris, and they shall place Set in the evil which he hath wrought. O
thou Cat, thy soles are the soles of Ra, who shall make the poison to
return to the earth. O thou Cat, thy bowels are the bowels of the Cow-
goddess Meh-urt, who shall overthrow and cut in pieces the poison which
is in thy belly and in all the members in thee, and in [all] the
members of the gods in heaven, and in [all] the members of the gods on
earth, and shall overthrow every poison in thee. There is no member in
thee without the goddess who shall overthrow and cut in pieces the
poison of every male serpent, and every female serpent, and every
scorpion, and every reptile, which may be in any member of this Cat
which is under the knife. Verily Isis weaveth and Nephthys spinneth
against the poison. This woven garment strengtheneth this [being,
i.e., Horus], who is perfect in words of power, through the speech of
Ra Heru-khuti, the great god, President of the South and North: 'O evil
poison which is in any member of this Cat which is under the knife,
come, issue forth upon the earth.'"

[FN#201] Literally "his."

[FN#202] He was the messenger of the gods, and travelled across the
sky under the form of the Moon; he sometimes appears as a form of


Say the [following] words:--

"O Ra-[Khuti], come to thy daughter. O Shu, come to thy wife. O Isis,
come to thy sister, and deliver her from the evil poison which is in
all her members. Hail, O ye gods, come ye and overthrow ye the evil
poison which is in all the members of the Cat which is under the knife.

"Hail, O aged one, who renewest thy youth in thy season, thou old man
who makest thyself to be a boy, grant thou that Thoth may come to me at
[the sound of] my voice, and behold, let him turn back from me Netater.
Osiris is on the water, the Eye of Horus is with him. A great
Beetle spreadeth himself over him, great by reason of his grasp,
produced by the gods from a child. He who is over the water appeareth
in a healthy form. If he who is over the water shall be approached
(or, attacked), the Eye of Horus, which weepeth, shall be approached.

"Get ye back, O ye who dwell in the water, crocodiles, fish, that
Enemy, male dead person and female dead person, male fiend and female
fiend, of every kind whatsoever, lift not up your faces, O ye who dwell
in the waters, ye crocodiles and fish. When Osiris journeyeth over
you, permit ye him to go to Busiris. Let your nostrils [be closed],
your throats stopped up.

"Get ye back, Seba fiends! Lift ye not up your faces against him that
is on the water . . . . . Osiris-Ra, riseth up in his Boat to look at
the gods of Kher-ahat, and the Lords of the Tuat stand up to slay thee
when [thou] comest, O Neha-her, against Osiris. [When] he is on the
water the Eye of Horus is over him to turn your faces upside down and
to set you on your backs.

"Hail, ye who dwell in the water, crocodiles and fish, Ra shutteth up
your mouths, Sekhet stoppeth up your throats, Thoth cutteth out your
tongues, and {cont} Heka blindeth your eyes. These are the four great
gods who protect Osiris by their magical power, and they effect the
protection of him that is on the water, of men and women of every kind,
and of beasts and animals of every kind which are on the water by day.
Protected are those who dwell in the waters, protected is the sky
wherein is Ra, protected is the great god who is in the sarcophagus,
protected is he who is on the water.

"A voice [which] crieth loudly is in the House of Net (Neith), a loud
voice is in the Great House, a great outcry from the mouth of the Cat.
The gods and the goddesses say, 'What is it? What is it?' [It]
concerneth the Abtu Fish which is born. Make to retreat from me thy
footsteps, O Sebau fiend. I am Khnemu, the Lord of Her-urt. Guard
thyself again from the attack which is repeated, besides this which
thou hast done in the presence of the Great Company of the gods. Get
thee back, retreat thou from me. I am the god. Oh, Oh, O [Ra], hast
thou not heard the voice which cried out loudly until the evening on
the bank of Netit, the voice of all the gods and goddesses which cried
out loudly, the outcry concerning the wickedness which thou hast done,
O wicked Sebau fiend? Verily the lord Ra thundered and growled
thereat, and he ordered thy slaughter to be carried out. Get thee
back, Seba fiend! Hail! Hail!"


I am Isis, [and] I have come forth from the dwelling (or, prison)
wherein my brother Set placed me. Behold the god Thoth, the great god,
the Chief of Maat[FN#203] [both] in heaven and on the earth, said unto
me, "Come now, O Isis, thou goddess, moreover it is a good thing to
hearken,[FN#204] [for there is] life to one who shall be guided [by the
advice] of another. Hide thou thyself with [thy] son the child, and
there shall come unto him these things. His members shall
grow,[FN#205] and two-fold strength of every kind shall spring up [in
him]. [And he] shall be made to take his seat upon the throne of his
father, [whom] he shall avenge,[FN#206] [and he shall take possession
of] the exalted position of Heq[FN#207] of the Two Lands."[FN#208]

[FN#203] i.e., Law, or Truth.

[FN#204] Or, obey.

[FN#205] i.e., flourish.

[FN#206] He avenged his father Osiris by vanquishing Set.

[FN#207] i.e., tribal chief.

[FN#208] i.e., Upper and Lower Egypt.

I came forth [from the dwelling] at the time of evening, and there came
forth the Seven Scorpions which were to accompany me and to strike(?)
for me with [their] stings. Two scorpions, Tefen and Befen, were
behind me, two scorpions, Mestet and Mestetef, were by my side, and
three scorpions, Petet, Thetet, and Maatet (or, Martet), were for
preparing the road for me. I charged them very strictly (or, in a loud
voice), and my words penetrated into their ears: "Have no knowledge of
[any], make no cry to the Tesheru beings, and pay no attention to the
'son of a man' (i.e., anyone) who belongeth to a man of no account,"
[and I said,] "Let your faces be turned towards the ground [that ye may
show me] the way." So the guardian of the company brought me to the
boundaries of the city of Pa-Sui,[FN#209] the city of the goddesses of
the Divine Sandals, [which was situated] in front of the Papyrus

[FN#209] "The House of the Crocodile," perhaps the same town as Pa-
Sebekt, a district in the VIIth nome of Lower Egypt (Metelites).

[FN#210] Perhaps a district in the Metelite nome.

When I had arrived at the place where the people lived[FN#211] I came
to the houses wherein dwelt the wives [and] husbands. And a certain
woman of quality spied me as I was journeying along the road, and she
shut her doors on me. Now she was sick at heart by reason of those
[scorpions] which were with me. Then [the Seven Scorpions] took
counsel concerning her, and they all at one time shot out their venom
on the tail of the scorpion Tefen; as for me, the woman Taha[FN#212]
opened her door, and I entered into the house of the miserable lady.

[FN#211] In Egyptian Teb, which may be the Tebut in the Metelite nome.

[FN#212] Taha may be the name of a woman, or goddess, or the word may
mean a "dweller in the swamps," as Golenischeff thinks.

Then the scorpion Tefen entered in under the leaves of the door and
smote (i.e., stung) the son of Usert, and a fire broke out in the house
of Usert, and there was no water there to extinguish it; [but] the sky
rained upon the house of Usert, though it was not the season for

[FN#213] i.e., it was not the season of the inundation.

Behold, the heart of her who had not opened her door to me was
grievously sad, for she knew not whether he (i.e., her son) would live
[or not], and although she went round about through her town uttering
cries [for help], there was none who came at [the sound of] her voice.
Now mine own heart was grievously sad for the sake of the child, and [I
wished] to make to live [again] him that was free from fault.
[Thereupon] I cried out to the noble lady, "Come to me. Come to me.
Verily my mouth (?) possesseth life. I am a daughter [well] known in
her town, [and I] can destroy the demon of death by the spell (or,
utterance) which my father taught me to know. I am his daughter, the
beloved [offspring] of his body."

Then Isis placed her two hands on the child in order to make to live him
whose throat was stopped, [and she said], "O poison of the scorpion
Tefent, come forth and appear on the ground! Thou shalt neither enter
nor penetrate [further into the body of the child]. O poison of the
scorpion Befent, come forth and appear on the ground! I am Isis, the
goddess, the lady (or, mistress) of words of power, and I am the maker
of words of power (i.e., spells), and I know how to utter words with
magical effect.[FN#214] Hearken ye unto me, O every reptile which
possesseth the power to bite (i.e., to sting), and fall headlong to the
ground! O poison of the scorpion Mestet, make no advance [into his
body]. O poison of the scorpion Mestetef, rise not up [in his body]. O
poison of the scorpions Petet and Thetet, penetrate not [into his body].
[O poison of] the scorpion Maatet (or, Martet), fall down on the

[FN#214] By uttering spells Isis restored life to her husband Osiris
for a season, and so became with child by him. She made a magical
figure of a reptile, and having endowed it with life, it stung Ra as he
passed through the sky, and the great god almost died. In Greek times
it was believed that she discovered a medicine which would raise the
dead, and she was reputed to be a great expert in the art of healing
men's sicknesses. As a goddess she appeared to the sick, and cured

[Here follows the] "Chapter of the stinging [of scorpions]."

And Isis, the goddess, the great mistress of spells (or, words of
power), she who is at the head of the gods, unto whom the god Keb gave
his own magical spells for the driving away of poison at noon-day (?),
and for making poison to go back, and retreat, and withdraw, and go
backward, spake, saying, "Ascend not into heaven, through the command
of the beloved one of Ra, the egg of the Smen goose which cometh forth
from the sycamore. Verily my words are made to command the uttermost
limit of the night. I speak unto you, [O scorpions] I am alone and in
sorrow because our names will suffer disgrace throughout the nomes. Do
not make love, do not cry out to the Tesheru fiends, and cast no
glances upon the noble ladies in their houses. Turn your faces towards
the earth and [find out] the road, so that we may arrive at the hidden
places in the town of Khebt.[FN#215] Oh the child shall live and the
poison die! Ra liveth and the poison dieth! Verily Horus shall be in
good case (or, healthy) for his mother Isis. Verily he who is stricken
shall be in good case likewise."

[FN#215] The island of Chemmis of classical writers.

And the fire [which was in the house of Usert] was extinguished, and
heaven was satisfied with the utterance of Isis, the goddess.

Then the lady Usert came, and she brought unto me her possessions, and
she filled the house of the woman Tah (?), for the Ka of Tah
(?) because [she] had opened to me her door. Now the lady Usert
suffered pain and anguish the whole night, and her mouth tasted (i.e.,
felt) the sting [which] her son [had suffered]. And she brought her
possessions as the penalty for not having opened the door to me. Oh
the child shall live and the poison die! Verily Horus shall be in good
case for his mother Isis. Verily everyone who is stricken shall be in
good case likewise.

Lo, a bread-cake [made] of barley meal shall drive out (or, destroy)
the poison, and natron shall make it to withdraw, and the fire [made]
of hetchet-plant shall drive out (or, destroy) fever-heat from the

"O Isis, O Isis, come thou to thy Horus, O thou woman of the wise
mouth! Come to thy son"--thus cried the gods who dwelt in her quarter
of the town--"for he is as one whom a scorpion hath stung, and like
one whom the scorpion Uhat, which the animal Antesh drove away, hath

[Then] Isis ran out like one who had a knife [stuck] in her body, and
she opened her arms wide, [saying] "Behold me, behold me, my son Horus,
have no fear, have no fear, O son my glory! No evil thing of any kind
whatsoever shall happen unto thee, [for] there is in thee the essence
(or, fluid) which made the things which exist. Thou art the son from
the country of Mesqet,[FN#216] [thou hast] come forth from the
celestial waters Nu, and thou shalt not die by the heat of the poison.
Thou wast the Great Bennu,[FN#217] who art born (or, produced) or; the
top of the balsam-trees[FN#218] which are in the House of the Aged One
in Anu (Heliopolis). Thou art the brother of the Abtu Fish,[FN#219]
who orderest what is to be, and art the nursling of the Cat[FN#220] who
dwelleth in the House of Neith. The goddess Reret,[FN#221] the goddess
Hat, and the god Bes protect thy members. Thy head shall not fall to
the Tchat fiend that attacketh thee. Thy members shall not receive the
fire of that which is thy poison. Thou shalt not go backwards on the
land, and thou shalt not be brought low on the water. No reptile which
biteth (or, stingeth) shall gain the mastery over thee, and no lion
shall subdue thee or have dominion over thee. Thou art the son of the
sublime god 82 who proceeded from Keb. Thou art Horus, and the poison
shall not gain the mastery over thy members. Thou art the son of the
sublime god who proceeded from Keb, and thus likewise shall it be with
those who are under the knife. And the four august goddesses shall
protect thy members."

[FN#216] Mesqet was originally the name of the bull's skin in which
the deceased was wrapped in order to secure for him the now life; later
the name was applied to the Other World generally. {See Book of the
Dead, Chap. xvii. 121.}

[FN#217] The Bennu who kept the book of destiny. See Book of the Dead,
Chap. xvii. 25.

[FN#218] These are the balsam-trees for which Heliopolis has been
always famous. They are described by Wansleben, L'Histoire de
l'Eglise, pp. 88-93, and by 'Abd al-Latif (ed. de Sacy), p. 88.

[FN#219] The Abtu and Ant Fishes swam before the Boat of Ra and guided

[FN#220] This is the Cat who lived by the Persea tree in Heliopolis.
See Book of the Dead, Chap. xvii. 18.

[FN#221] A hippopotamus goddess.

[Here the narrative is interrupted by the following texts:]

[I am] he who rolleth up into the sky, and who goeth down (i.e.,
setteth) in the Tuat, whose form is in the House of height, through
whom when he openeth his Eye the light cometh into being, and when he
closeth his Eye it becometh night. [I am] the Water-god Het when he
giveth commands, whose name is unknown to the gods. I illumine the Two
Lands, night betaketh itself to flight, and I shine by day and by
night.[FN#222] I am the Bull of Bakha[FN#223], and the Lion of
Manu[FN#224]. I am he who traverseth the heavens by day and by night
without being repulsed. I have come 85 by reason of the voice (or,
cry) of the son of Isis. Verily the blind serpent Na hath bitten the
Bull. O thou poison which floweth through every member of him that is
under the knife, come forth, I charge thee, upon the ground. Behold,
he that is under the knife shall not be bitten. Thou art Menu, the
Lord of Coptos, the child of the White Shat[FN#225] which is in Anu
(Heliopolis), which was bitten [by a reptile]. O Menu, Lord of Coptos,
give thou air unto him that is under the knife; and air shall be given
to thee. Hail, divine father and minister of the god Nebun, [called]
Mer-Tem, son of the divine father and minister of the god Nebun, scribe
of the Water-god Het, [called] Ankh-Semptek (sic), son of the lady of
the house Tent-Het-nub! He restored this inscription after he had
found it in a ruined state in the Temple of Osiris-Mnevis, because he
wished to make to live her name . . . . . . . . . . and to give air
unto him that is under [the knife], and to give life unto the ancestors
of all the gods. And his Lord Osiris-Mnevis shall make long his life
with happiness of heart, [and shall give him] a beautiful burial after
[attaining to] an old age, because of what he hath done for the Temple
of Osiris-Mnevis.

[FN#222] i.e., always.

[FN#223] The land of the sunrise, the East.

[FN#224] The land of the sunset, the West.

[FN#225] Perhaps an animal of the Lynx class.

89. Horus was bitten (i.e., stung) in Sekhet-An, to the north of Hetep-
hemt, whilst his mother Isis was in the celestial houses making a
libation for her brother Osiris. And Horus sent forth his cry into the
horizon, and it was heard by those who were in . . . . . . Thereupon
the keepers of the doors who were in the [temple of] the holy Acacia
Tree started up at the voice of Horus. And one sent forth a cry of
lamentation, and Heaven gave the order that Horus was to be healed.
And [the gods] took counsel [together] concerning the life [of Horus,
saying,] "O goddess Pai(?), O god Asten, who dwellest in Aat-Khus(?)
. . . . .[FN#226] thy . . . . . . enter in . . . . . lord of sleep . .
. . . . the child Horus. Oh, Oh, bring thou the things which are thine
to cut off the poison which is in every member of Horus, the son of
Isis, and which is in every member of him that is under the knife

[FN#226] The text appears to be corrupt in this passage.


Thoth speaketh and this god reciteth [the following]:--

"Homage to thee, god, son of a god. Homage to thee, heir, son of an
heir. Homage to thee, bull, son of a bull, who wast brought forth by a
holy goddess. Homage to thee, Horus, who comest forth from Osiris, and
wast brought forth by the goddess Isis. I recite thy words of power, I
speak with thy magical utterance. I pronounce a spell in thine own
words, which thy heart hath created, and all the spells and
incantations which have come forth from thy mouth, which thy father Keb
commanded thee [to recite], and thy mother Nut gave to thee, and the
majesty of the Governor of Sekhem taught thee to make use of for thy
protection, in order to double (or, repeat) thy protective formulae, to
shut the mouth of every reptile which is in heaven, and on the earth,
and in the waters, to make men and women to live, to make the gods to
be at peace [with thee], and to make Ra to employ his magical spells
through thy chants of praise. Come to me this day, quickly, quickly,
as thou workest the paddle of the Boat of the god. Drive thou away
from me every lion on the plain, and every crocodile in the waters, and
all mouths which bite (or, sting) in their holes. Make thou them
before me like the stone of the mountain, like a broken pot lying about
in a quarter of the town. Dig thou out from me the poison which riseth
and is in every member of him that is under the knife. Keep thou watch
over him . . . . . . by means of thy words. Verily let thy name be
invoked this day. Let thy power (qefau) come into being in him. Exalt
thou thy magical powers. Make me to live and him whose throat is
closed up. Then shall mankind give thee praise, and the righteous (?)
shall give thanks unto thy forms. And all the gods likewise shall
invoke thee, and in truth thy name shall be invoked this day. I am
Horus [of] Shet[enu] (?).

"O thou who art in the cavern,[FN#227] O thou who art in the cavern. O
thou who art at the mouth of the cavern. O thou who art on the way, O
thou who art on the way. O thou who art at the mouth of the way. He
is Urmer (Mnevis) who approacheth every man and every beast. He is
like the god Sep who is in Anu (Heliopolis). He is the Scorpion-[god]
who is in the Great House (Het-ur). Bite him not, for he is Ra. Sting
him not, for he is Thoth. Shoot ye not your poison over him, for he is
Nefer-Tem. O every male serpent, O every female serpent, O every
antesh (scorpion?) which bite with your mouths, and sting with your
tails, bite ye him not with your mouths, and sting ye him not with your
tails. Get ye afar off from him, make ye not your fire to be against
him, for he is the son of Osiris. Vomit ye. [Say] four times:--

"I am Thoth, I have come from heaven to make protection of Horus, and
to drive away the poison of the scorpion which is in every member of
Horus. Thy head is to thee, Horus; it shall be stable under the Urert
Crown. Thine eye is to thee, Horus, [for] thou art Horus, the son of
Keb, the Lord of the Two Eyes, in the midst of the Company [of the
gods]. Thy nose is to thee, Horus, [for] thou art Horus the Elder, the
son of Ra, and thou shalt not inhale the fiery wind. Thine arm is to
thee, Horus, great is thy strength to slaughter the enemies of thy
father. Thy two thighs[FN#228] are to thee, Horus. Receive thou the
rank and dignity of thy father Osiris. Ptah hath balanced for thee thy
mouth on the day of thy birth. Thy heart (or, breast) is to thee,
Horus, and the Disk maketh thy protection. Thine eye is to thee,
Horus; thy right eye is like Shu, and thy left eye like Tefnut, who are
the children of Ra. Thy belly is to thee, Horus, and the Children are
the gods who are therein, and they shall not receive the essence (or,
fluid) of the scorpion. Thy strength is to thee, Horus, and the
strength of Set shall not exist against thee. Thy phallus is to thee,
Horus, and thou art Kamutef, the protector of his father, who maketh an
answer for his children in the course of every day. Thy thighs are to
thee, Horus, and thy strength shall slaughter the enemies of thy
father. Thy calves are to thee, Horus; the god Khnemu hath builded
[them], and the goddess Isis hath covered them with flesh. The soles
of thy feet are to thee, Horus, and the nations who fight with the bow
(Peti) fall under thy feet. Thou rulest the South, North, West, and
East, and thou seest like Ra. [Say] four times. And likewise him that
is under the knife."

[FN#227] Or, den or hole.

[FN#228] We ought, perhaps, to translate this as "forearms."

Beautiful god, Senetchem-ab-Ra-setep-[en]-Amen, son of Ra, Nekht-Heru-
Hebit, thou art protected, and the gods and goddesses are protected,
and conversely. Beautiful god, Senetchem-ab-Ra-setep-[en]-Ra, son of
Ra, Nekht-Heru-Hebit, thou art protected, and Heru-Shet[enu], the great
god, is protected, and conversely.

ANOTHER CHAPTER LIKE UNTO IT. "Fear not, fear not, O Bast, the strong
of heart, at the head of the holy field, the mighty one among all the
gods, nothing shall gain the mastery over thee. Come thou outside,
following my speech (or, mouth), O evil poison which is in all the
members of the lion (or, cat) which is under the knife."

[The narrative of the stinging of Horus by a scorpion is continued

"I am Isis, who conceived a child by her husband, and she became heavy
with Horus, the divine [child]. I gave birth to Horus, the son of
Osiris, in a nest of papyrus plants.[FN#229] I rejoiced exceedingly
over this, because I saw [in him one] who would make answer for his
father. I hid him, and I concealed him through fear of that [fiend
(?)].[FN#230] I went away to the city of Am, [where] the people gave
thanks [for me] through [their] fear of my making trouble [for them].
I passed the day in seeking to provide food for the child, [and] on
returning to take Horus into my arms I found him, Horus, the beautiful
one of gold, the boy, the child, without [life]. He had bedewed the
ground with the water of his eye, and with foam from his lips. His
body was motionless, his heart was powerless to move, and the sinews
(or, muscles) of his members were [helpless]. I sent forth a cry,

[FN#229] Or, Ateh, the papyrus swamp.

[FN#230] i.e., Set.

"'I, even I, lack a son to make answer [for me].[FN#231] [My] two
breasts are full to overflowing, [but] my body is empty. [My] mouth
wished for that which concerned him.[FN#232] A cistern of water and a
stream of the inundation was I. The child was the desire of my heart,
and I longed to protect him (?). I carried him in my womb, I gave birth
to him, I endured the agony of the birth pangs, I was all alone, and
the great ones were afraid of disaster and to come out at the sound of
my voice. My father is in the Tuat,[FN#233] my mother is in
Aqert,[FN#234] and my elder brother is in the sarcophagus. Think of
the enemy and of how prolonged was the wrath of his heart against me,
[when] I, the great lady, was in his house.'

[FN#231] i.e., to be my advocate.

[FN#232] Literally "his thing."

[FN#233] Tuat is a very ancient name of the Other World, which was
situated either parallel with Egypt or across the celestial ocean which
surrounded the world.

[FN#234] The "perfect place," i.e., the Other World.

"I cried then, [saying,] 'Who among the people will indeed let their
hearts come round to me?' I cried then to those who dwelt in the
papyrus swamps (or, Ateh), and they inclined to me straightway. And
the people came forth to me from their houses, and they thronged about
me at [the sound of] my voice, and they loudly bewailed with me the
greatness of my affliction. There was no man there who set restraint
(?) on his mouth, every person among them lamented with great
lamentation. There was none there who knew how to make [my child] to

"And there came forth unto me a woman who was [well] known in her city,
a lady who was mistress of her [own] estate.[FN#235] She came forth to
me. Her mouth possessed life, and her heart was filled with the matter
which was therein, [and she said,] 'Fear not, fear not, O son Horus!
Be not cast down, be not cast down, O mother of the god. The child of
the Olive-tree is by the mountain of his brother, the bush is hidden,
and no enemy shall enter therein. The word of power of Tem, the Father
of the gods, who is in heaven, maketh to live. Set shall not enter
into this region, he shall not go round about it. The marsh of Horus
of the Olive-tree is by the mountain of his brother; those who are in
his following shall not at any time . . . . . . it. This shall happen
to him: Horus shall live for his mother, and shall salute (?) [her]
with his mouth. A scorpion hath smitten (i.e., stung) him, and the
reptile Aun-ab hath wounded him.'"

[FN#235] Or perhaps, "a lady who was at the head of her district."

Then Isis placed her nose in his mouth[FN#236] so that she might know
whether he who was in his coffin breathed, and she examined the
wound[FN#237] of the heir of the god, and she found that there was
poison in it. She threw her arms round him, and then quickly she
leaped about with him like fish when they are laid upon the hot coals,

[FN#236] i.e., the mouth of Horus.

[FN#237] Literally, "pain" or "disease."

"Horus is bitten, O Ra. Thy son is bitten, [O Osiris]. Horus is
bitten, the flesh and blood of the Heir, the Lord of the diadems (?) of
the kingdoms of Shu. Horus is bitten, the Boy of the marsh city of
Ateh, the Child in the House of the Prince. The beautiful Child of
gold is bitten, the Babe hath suffered pain and is not.[FN#238] Horus
is bitten, he the son of Un-Nefer, who was born of Auh-mu (?). Horus
is bitten, he in whom there was nothing abominable, the son, the youth
among the gods. Horus is bitten, he for whose wants I prepared in
abundance, for I saw that he would make answer[FN#239] for his father.
Horus is bitten, he for whom [I] had care [when he was] in the hidden
woman [and for whom I was afraid when he was] in the womb of his
mother. Horus is bitten, he whom I guarded to look upon. I have
wished for the life of his heart. Calamity hath befallen the child on
the water, and the child hath perished."

[FN#238] He is nothing, i.e., he is dead.

[FN#239] i.e., become an advocate for.

Then came Nephthys shedding tears and uttering cries of lamentation, and
going round about through the papyrus swamps. And Serq [came also and
they said]: "Behold, behold, what hath happened to Horus, son of Isis,
and who [hath done it]? Pray then to heaven, and let the mariners of Ra
cease their labours for a space, for the Boat of Ra cannot travel
onwards [whilst] son Horus [lieth dead] on his place."

And Isis sent forth her voice into heaven, and made supplication to the
Boat of Millions of Years, and the Disk stopped[FN#240] in its
journeying, and moved not from the place whereon it rested. Then came
forth Thoth, who is equipped with his spells (or, words of power), and
possesseth the great word of command of maa-kheru,[FN#241] [and said:]
"What [aileth thee], what [aileth thee], O Isis, thou goddess who hast
magical spells, whose mouth hath understanding? Assuredly no evil
thing hath befallen [thy] son Horus, [for] the Boat of Ra hath him
under its protection. I have come this day in the Divine Boat of the
Disk from the place where it was yesterday,--now darkness came and the
light was destroyed--in order to heal Horus for his mother Isis and
every person who is under the knife likewise."

[FN#240] Literally, "alighted."

[FN#241] When a god or a man was declared to be maa-kheru, "true of
voice," or "true of word," his power became illimitable. It gave him
rule and authority, and every command uttered by him was immediately
followed by the effect required.

And Isis, the goddess, said: "O Thoth, great things [are in] thy heart,
[but] delay belongeth to thy plan. Hast thou come equipped with thy
spells and incantations, and having the great formula of maa-kheru, and
one [spell] after the other, the numbers whereof are not known? Verily
Horus is in the cradle(?) of the poison. Evil, evil is his case,
death, [and] misery to the fullest [extent]. The cry of his mouth is
towards his mother(?). I cannot [bear] to see these things in his
train. My heart [hath not] rested because of them since the
beginning(?) [when] I made haste to make answer [for] Horus-Ra (?),
placing [myself] on the earth, [and] since the day [when] I was taken
possession of by him. I desired Neheb-ka . . . . . . ."

[And Thoth said:] "Fear not, fear not, O goddess Isis, fear not, fear
not, O Nephthys, and let not anxiety [be to you]. I have come from
heaven having life to heal(?) the child for his mother, Horus is . . .
Let thy heart be firm;[FN#242] he shall not sink under the flame.
Horus is protected as the Dweller in his Disk,[FN#243] who lighteth up
the Two Lands by the splendour of his two Eyes;[FN#244] and he who is
under the knife is likewise protected. Horus is protected as the
First-born son in heaven,[FN#245] who is ordained to be the guide of
the things which exist and of the things which are not yet created; and
he who under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as
that great Dwarf (nemu)[FN#246] who goeth round about the Two Lands in
the darkness; and he who is under the knife is protected likewise.
Horus is protected as the Lord (?) in the night, who revolveth at the
head of the Land of the Sunset (Manu); and he who is under the knife is
protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Mighty Ram[FN#247] who
is hidden, and who goeth round about in front of his Eyes; and he who
is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected as the
Great Hawk[FN#248] which flieth through heaven, earth, and the Other
World (Tuat); and he who is under the knife is protected likewise.
Horus is protected as the Holy Beetle, the mighty (?) wings of which
are at the head of the sky;[FN#249] and he who is under the knife is
protected likewise. Horus is protected as the Hidden Body,[FN#250] and
as he whose mummy is in his sarcophagus; and he who is under the knife
is protected likewise. Horus is protected [as the Dweller] in the
Other World [and in the] Two Lands, who goeth round about 'Those who
are over Hidden Things'; and he who is under the knife is protected
likewise. Horus is protected as the Divine Bennu[FN#251] who alighteth
in front of his two Eyes; and he who is under the knife is protected
likewise. Horus is protected 230 in his own body, and the spells which
his mother Isis hath woven protect him. Horus is protected by the
names of his father [Osiris] in his forms in the nomes;[FN#252] and he
who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is protected by
the weeping of his mother, and by the cries of grief of his brethren;
and he who is under the knife is protected likewise. Horus is
protected by his own name and heart, and the gods go round about him to
make his funeral bed; and he who is under the knife is protected

[FN#242] i.e., "Be of good courage."

[FN#243] The Sun-god.

[FN#244] The Sun and Moon.

[FN#245] Osiris (?).

[FN#246] Bes (?).

[FN#247] Probably the Ram, Lord of Tattu, or the Ram of Mendes.

[FN#248] Heru-Behutet.

[FN#249] The beetle of Khepera, a form of the Sun-god when he is about
to rise on this earth.

[FN#250] The Hidden Body is Osiris, who lay in his sarcophagus, with
Isis and Nephthys weeping over it.

[FN#251] The Bennu was the soul of Ra and the incarnation of Osiris.

[FN#252] See the names of Osiris and his sanctuaries in Chapter CXLII.
of the Book of the Dead.

[And Thoth said:]

"Wake up, Horus! Thy protection is established. Make thou happy the
heart of thy mother Isis. The words of Horus shall bind up hearts, he
shall cause to be at peace him who is in affliction. Let your hearts
be happy, O ye who dwell in the heavens (Nut). Horus, he who hath
avenged (or, protected) his father shall cause the poison to retreat.
Verily that which is in the mouth of Ra shall go round about (i.e.,
circulate), and the tongue of the Great God shall repulse
[opposition]. The Boat [of Ra] standeth still, and travelleth not
onwards. The Disk is in the [same] place where it was yesterday to
heal Horus for his mother Isis, and to heal him that is under the knife
of his mother[FN#253] likewise. Come to the earth, draw nigh, O Boat
of Ra, make the boat to travel, O mariners of heaven, transport
provisions (?) of . . . . . . Sekhem[FN#254] to heal Horus for his
mother Isis, and to heal him that is under the knife of his mother
likewise. Hasten away, O pain which is in the region round about, and
let it (i.e., the Boat) descend upon the place where it was yesterday
to heal Horus for his mother Isis, and to heal him that is under the
knife of his mother likewise. Get thee round and round, O bald (?)
fiend, without horns at the seasons (?), not seeing the forms through
the shadow of the two Eyes, to heal Horus for his mother Isis, and to
heal him that is under the knife likewise. Be filled, O two halves of
heaven, be empty, O papyrus roll, return, O life, into the living to
heal Horus for his it mother Isis, and to heal him that is under the
knife likewise. Come thou to earth, O poison. Let hearts be glad, and
let radiance (or, light) go round about.

[FN#253] We should probably strike out the words "of his mother."

[FN#254] The city in the Delta called by the Greeks Letopolis.

"I am Thoth,[FN#255] the firstborn son, the son of Ra, and Tem and the
Company of the gods have commanded me to heal Horus for his mother
Isis, and to heal him that is under the knife likewise. O Horus, O
Horus, thy Ka protecteth thee, and thy Image worketh protection for
thee. The poison is as the daughter of its [own] flame; [it is]
destroyed [because] it smote the strong son. Your temples are in good
condition for you, [for] Horus liveth for his mother, and he who is
under the knife likewise."

[FN#255] Thoth stood by during the fight between Horus and Set, and
healed the wounds which they inflicted on each other.

And the goddess Isis said:

"Set thou his face towards those who dwell in the North Land (Ateh),
the nurses who dwell in the city Pe-Tept (Buto), for they have offered
very large offerings in order to cause the child to be made strong for
his mother, and to make strong him that is under the knife likewise.
Do not allow them to recognize the divine Ka in the Swamp Land, in the
city (?) of Nemhettu (?) [and] in her city."

Then spake Thoth unto the great gods who dwell in the Swamp-Land
[saying]: "O ye nurses who dwell in the city of Pe, who smite [fiends]
with your hands, and overthrow [them] with your arms on behalf of that
Great One who appeareth in front of you [in] the Sektet Boat,[FN#256]
let the Matet[FN#257] (Mantchet) Boat travel on. Horus is to you, he
is counted up for life, and he is declared for the life of his father
[Osiris]. I have given gladness unto those who are in the Sektet Boat,
and the mariners [of Ra] make it to journey on. Horus liveth for his
mother Isis and he who is under the knife liveth for his mother
likewise. As for the poison, the strength thereof has been made
powerless. Verily I am a favoured one, and I will join myself to his
hour[FN#258] to hurl back the report of evil to him that sent it forth.
The heart of Ra-Heru-Khuti rejoiceth. Thy son Horus is counted up for
life [which is] on this child to make him to smite, and to retreat (?)
from those who are above, and to turn back the paths of the Sebiu
fiends from him, so that he may take possession of the throne of the
Two Lands. Ra is in heaven to make answer on 251 behalf of him and his
father. The words of power of his mother have lifted up his face, and
they protect him and enable him to go round about wheresoever he
pleaseth, and to set the terror of him in celestial beings. I have
made haste . . . . . ."

[FN#256] The boat in which Ra travelled from noon to sunset, or
perhaps until midnight.

[FN#257] The boat in which Ra travelled from dawn, or perhaps from
midnight, to noon.

[FN#258] i.e., I will be with him at the moment of his need.



I. Though it be the wise man's duty, O Clea,[FN#259] to apply to the
gods for every good thing which he hopes to enjoy, yet ought he more
especially to pray to them for their assistance in his search after
that knowledge which more immediately regards themselves, as far as
such knowledge may be attained, inasmuch as there is nothing which they
can bestow more truly beneficial to mankind, or more worthy themselves,
than truth. For whatever other good things are indulged to the wants
of men, they have all, properly speaking, no relation to, and are of a
nature quite different from, that of their divine donors. For 'tis not
the abundance of their gold and silver, nor the command of the thunder,
but wisdom and knowledge which constitute the power and happiness of
those heavenly beings. It is therefore well observed by Homer (Iliad,
xiii. 354), and indeed with more propriety than be usually talks of the
gods, when, speaking of Zeus and Poseidon, he tells us that both were
descended from the same parents, and born in the same region, but that
Zeus was the elder and knew most; plainly intimating thereby that the
empire of the former was more august and honourable than that of his
brother, as by means of his age he was his superior, and more advanced
in wisdom and science. Nay, 'tis my opinion, I own, that even the
blessedness of that eternity which is the portion of the Deity himself
consists in that universal knowledge of all nature which accompanies
it; for setting this aside, eternity might be more properly styled an
endless duration than an enjoyment of existence.

[FN#259] She is said to have been a priestess of Isis and of Apollo

II. To desire, therefore, and covet after truth, those truths more
especially which concern the divine nature, is to aspire to be
partakers of that nature itself, and to profess that all our studies
and inquiries are devoted to the acquisition of holiness. This
occupation is surely more truly religious than any external
purifications or mere service of the temple can be. But more
especially must such a disposition of mind be highly acceptable to that
goddess to whose service you are dedicated, for her especial
characteristics are wisdom and foresight, and her very name seems to
express the peculiar relation which she bears to knowledge. For
"Isis"[FN#260] is a Greek word, and means "knowledge," and
"Typhon,"[FN#261] the name of her professed adversary, is also a Greek
word, and means "pride and insolence." This latter name is well
adapted to one who, full of ignorance and error, tears in pieces and
conceals that holy doctrine which the goddess collects, compiles, and
delivers to those who aspire after the most perfect participation in
the divine nature. This doctrine inculcates a steady perseverance in
one uniform and temperate course of life, and an abstinence from
particular kinds of foods, as well as from all indulgence of the carnal
appetite, and it restrains the intemperate and voluptuous part within
due bounds, and at the same time habituates her votaries to undergo
those austere and rigid ceremonies which their religion obliges them to
observe. The end and aim of all these toils and labours is the
attainment of the knowledge of the First and Chief Being, who alone is
the object of the understanding of the mind; and this knowledge the
goddess invites us to seek after, as being near and dwelling
continually with her. And this also is what the very name of her
temple promiseth to us, that is to say, the knowledge and understanding
of the eternal and self-existent Being (tou ontas)-now, it is called
"Iseion," which suggests that if we approach the temple of the goddess
rightly, and with purity, we shall obtain the knowledge of that eternal
and self-existent Being (to on).

[FN#260] The Egyptian form of the name is As-T, ####, ####, or ####.
Plutarch wishes to derive the name from some form of {greek oida}.

[FN#261] In Egyptian, Tebh.

III. The goddess Isis is said by some authors to be the
daughter[FN#262] of Hermes, [FN#263] and by others of Prometheus, both
of them famous for their philosophic turn of mind. The latter is
supposed to have first taught mankind wisdom and foresight, as the
former is reputed to have invented letters and music.

[FN#262] According to the Egyptian Heliopolitan doctrine, Isis was the
daughter of Keb, the Earth-god, and Nut, the Sky-goddess; she was the
wife of Osiris, mother of Horus, and sister of Set and Nephthys.

[FN#263] The Egyptian. Tehuti, or Thoth, who invented letters,
mathematics, &c. He was the "heart of Ra," the scribe of the gods, and
he uttered the words which created the world; he composed the "words of
power," or magical formulae which were beneficial for the dead, and the
religious works which were used by souls in their journey from this
world to the next.

They likewise call the former of the two Muses at Hermopolis[FN#264]
Isis as well as Dikaiosune,[FN#265] she being none other, it is said,
than Wisdom pointing out the knowledge of divine truths to her
votaries, the true Hierophori and Hierostoli. Now, by the former of
these are meant such who carry about them looked up in their souls, as
in a chest, the sacred doctrine concerning the gods, purified from all
such superfluities as superstition may have added thereto. And the
holy apparel with which the Hierostoli adorn the statues of these
deities, which is partly of a dark and gloomy and partly of a more
bright and shining colour, seems aptly enough to represent the notions
which this doctrine teaches us to entertain of the divine nature
itself, partly clear and partly obscure. And inasmuch as the devotees
of Isis after their decease are wrapped up in these sacred vestments,
is not this intended to signify that this holy doctrine still abides
with them, and that this alone accompanies them in another life? For
as 'tis not the length of the beard or the coarseness of the habit
which makes a philosopher, so neither will these frequent shavings, or
the mere wearing of a linen vestment, constitute a votary of Isis. He
alone is a true servant or follower of this goddess who, after he has
heard, and has been made acquainted in a proper manner with the history
of the actions of these gods, searches into the hidden truths which lie
concealed under them, and examines the whole by the dictates of reason
and philosophy.

[FN#264] The Hermopolis here referred to is the city of Khemenu in
Upper Egypt, wherein was the great sanctuary of Thoth.

[FN#265] i.e., Righteousness, or Justice. The goddess referred to is
probably Maat.

IV. Nor, indeed, ought such an examination to be looked on as
unnecessary whilst there are so many ignorant of the true reason even
of the most ordinary rites observed by the Egyptian priests, such as
their shavings[FN#266] and wearing linen garments. Some, indeed, there
are who never trouble themselves to think at all about these matters,
whilst others rest satisfied with the most superficial accounts of
them: "They pay a peculiar veneration to the sheep,[FN#267] therefore
they think it their duty not only to abstain from eating its flesh, but
likewise from wearing its wool. They are continually mourning for
their gods, therefore they shave themselves. The light azure blossom
of the flax resembles the clear and bloomy colour of the ethereal sky,
therefore they wear linen"; whereas the true reason of the institution
and observation of these rites is but one, and that common to all of
them, namely, the extraordinary notions which they entertain of
cleanliness, persuaded as they are, according to the saying of Plato,
"none but the pure ought to approach the pure." Now, no superfluity of
our food, and no excrementitious substance, is looked upon by them as
pure and clean; such, however, are all kinds of wool and down, our hair
and our nails. It would be the highest absurdity, therefore, for those
who, whilst; they are in a course of purification, are at so much pains
to take off the hair from every part of their own bodies, at the same
time to clothe themselves with that of other animals. So when we are
told by Hesiod "not to pare our nails whilst we are present at the
festivals of the gods,"[FN#268] we ought to understand that he intended
hereby to inculcate that purity wherewith we ought to come prepared
before we enter upon any religious duty, that we have not to make
ourselves clean whilst we ought to be occupied in attending to the
solemnity itself. Now, with regard to flax, this springs out of the
immortal earth itself; and not only produces a fruit fit for food, but
moreover furnishes a light and neat sort of clothing, extremely
agreeable to the wearer, adapted to all the seasons of the year, and
not in the least subject, as is said, to produce or nourish vermin; but
more of this in another place.

[FN#266] A rubric in the papyrus of Nes-Menu in the British Museum
orders the priestesses of Isis and Nephthys to have "the hair of their
bodies shaved off" (No. 10,188, col. 1), but they are also ordered to
wear fillets of rams' wool on their heads.

[FN#267] Probably the ram of Amen. Animal sacrifices were invariably
bulls and cows.

[FN#268] This saying is by Pythagoras--{greek Para dusian
mh`onuxizou}. The saying of Hesiod (Works and Days, 740) is rendered
by Goodwin:--

"Not at a feast of Gods from five-branched tree,
With sharp-edged steel to part the green from dry."

V. Now, the priests are so scrupulous in endeavouring to avoid
everything which may tend to the increase of the above-mentioned
excrementitious substances, that, on this account, they abstain not
only from most sorts of pulse, and from the flesh of sheep and swine,
but likewise, in their more solemn purifications, they even exclude
salt from their meals. This they do for many reasons, but chiefly
because it whets their appetites, and incites them to eat more than
they otherwise would. Now, as to salt being accounted impure because,
as Aristagoras tells us, many little insects are caught in it whilst it
is hardening, and are thereby killed therein-this view is wholly
trifling and absurd. From these same motives also they give the Apis
Bull his water from a well specially set apart for the purpose,[FN#269]
and they prevent him altogether from drinking of the Nile, not indeed
that they regard the river as impure, and polluted because of the
crocodiles which are in it, as some pretend, for there is nothing which
the Egyptians hold in greater veneration than the Nile, but because its
waters are observed to be particularly nourishing[FN#270] and
fattening. And they strive to prevent fatness in Apis as well as in
themselves, for they are anxious that their bodies should sit as light
and easy about their souls as possible, and that their mortal part
should not oppress and weigh down the divine and immortal.

[FN#269] It is quite possible that Apis drank from a special well, but
the water in it certainly came from the Nile by infiltration. In all
the old wells at Memphis the water sinks as the Nile sinks, and rises
as it rises.

[FN#270] On account of the large amount of animal matter contained in

VI. The priests of the Sun at Heliopolis[FN#271] never carry wine into
their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted
to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst
they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King.[FN#272]
The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect,
for they use it, though sparingly. During their more solemn
purifications they abstain from wine wholly, and they give themselves
up entirely to study and meditation, and to the hearing and teaching of
those divine truths which treat of the divine nature. Even the kings,
who are likewise priests, only partake of wine in the measure which is
prescribed for them in the sacred books, as we are told by Hecataeus.
This custom was only introduced during the reign of Psammetichus, and
before that time they drank no wine at all. If they used it at any
time in pouring out libations to the gods, it was not because they
looked upon it as being acceptable to them for its own sake, but they
poured it out over their altars as the blood of their enemies who had
in times past fought against them. For they believe the vine to have
first sprung out of the earth after it was fattened by the bodies of
those who fell in the wars against the gods. And this, they say, is
the reason why drinking its juice in great quantities makes men mad and
beside themselves, filling them, as it were, with the blood of their
own ancestors. These things are thus related by Eudoxus in the second
book of his Travels, as he had them from the priests themselves.

[FN#271] Called ANU in the Egyptian texts; it was the centre of the
great solar cult of Egypt. It is the "On" of the Bible.

[FN#272] The Sun-god was called Ra.

VII. As to sea-fish, the Egyptians in general do not abstain from all
kinds of them, but some from one sort and some from another. Thus, for
example, the inhabitants of Oxyrhynchus[FN#273] will not touch any that
have been taken with an angle; for as they pay especial reverence to
the Oxyrhynchus Fish,[FN#274] from whence they derive their name, they
are afraid lest perhaps the hook may be defiled by having been at some
time or other employed in catching their favourite fish. The people of
Syene[FN#275] in like manner abstain from the Phagrus Fish[FN#276]; for
as this fish is observed by them to make his first appearance upon
their coasts just as the Nile begins to overflow, they pay special
regard to these voluntary messengers as it were of that most joyful
news. The priests, indeed, entirely abstain from all sorts in
general.[FN#277] Therefore, upon the ninth day of the first month,
when all the rest of the Egyptians are obliged by their religion to eat
a fried fish before the door of their houses, they only burn them, not
tasting them at all. For this custom they give two reasons: the first
and most curious, as falling in with the sacred philosophy of Osiris
and Typhon, will be more properly explained in another place. The
second, that which is most obvious and manifest, is that fish is
neither a dainty nor even a necessary kind of food, a fact which seems
to be abundantly confirmed by the writings of Homer, who never makes
either the delicate Pheacians or the Ithacans (though both peoples were
islanders) to feed upon fish, nor even the companions of Ulysses during
their long and most tedious voyage, till they were reduced thereto by
extreme necessity. In short, they consider the sea to have been forced
out of the earth by the power of fire, and therefore to lie out of
nature's confines; and they regard it not as a part of the world, or
one of the elements, but as a preternatural and corrupt and morbid

[FN#273] The Per-Matchet.

[FN#274] Probably the pike, or "fighting fish."

[FN#275] In Egyptian, SUNU, the Seweneh of the Bible, and the modern

[FN#276] A kind of bream, the an of the Egyptian texts.

[FN#277] Compare Chap. CXXXVIIA of the Book of the Dead. "And behold,
these things shall be performed by a man who is clean, and is
ceremonially pure, one who hath eaten neither meat nor fish, and who
hath not had intercourse with women" (ll. 52, 53).

VIII. This much may be depended upon: the, religious rites and
ceremonies of the Egyptians were never instituted upon irrational
grounds, never built upon mere fable and superstition, but founded with
a view to promote the morality and happiness of those who were to
observe them, or at least to preserve the memory of some valuable piece
of history, or to represent to us some of the phenomena of nature. As
concerning the abhorrence which is expressed for onions, it is wholly
improbable that this detestation is owing to the loss of Diktys, who,
whilst he was under the guardianship of Isis, is supposed to have
fallen into the river and to have been drowned as he was reaching after
a bunch of them. No, the true reason of their abstinence from onions
is because they are observed to flourish most and to be in the greatest
vigour at the wane of the moon, and also because they are entirely
useless to them either in their feasts[FN#278] or in their times of
abstinence and purification, for in the former case they make tears
come from those who use them, and in the latter they create thirst.
For much the same reason they likewise look upon the pig as an impure
animal, and to be avoided, observing it to be most apt to engender upon
the decrease of the moon, and they think that those who drink its milk
are more subject to leprosy and such-like cutaneous diseases than
others. The custom of abstaining from the flesh of the pig[FN#279] is
not always observed, for those who sacrifice a sow to Typhon once a
year, at the full moon, afterwards eat its flesh. The reason they give
for this practice is this: Typhon being in pursuit of this animal at
that season of the moon, accidentally found the wooden chest wherein
was deposited the body of Osiris, which he immediately pulled to
pieces. This story, however, is not generally admitted, there being
some who look upon it, as they do many other relations of the same
kind, as founded upon some mistake or misrepresentation. All agree,
however, in saying that so great was the abhorrence which the ancient
Egyptians expressed for whatever tended to promote luxury, expense, and
voluptuousness, that in order to expose it as much as possible they
erected a column in one of the temples of Thebes, full of curses
against their king Meinis, who first drew them off from their former
frugal and parsimonious course of life. The immediate cause for the
erection of the pillar is thus given: Technatis,[FN#280] the father of
Bocchoris, leading an army against the Arabians, and his baggage and
provisions not coming up to him as soon as he expected, was therefore
obliged to eat some of the very poor food which was obtainable, and
having eaten, he lay down on the bare ground and slept very soundly.
This gave him a great affection for a mean and frugal diet, and induced
him to curse the memory of Meinis, and with the permission of the
priests he made these curses public by cutting them upon a

[FN#278] Bunches of onions were offered to the dead at all periods of
Egyptian history, and they were regarded as typical of the "white
teeth" of Horus. The onion was largely used in medicine.

[FN#279] The pig was associated with Set, or Typhon, and the black
variety was specially abominated because it was a black pig which
struck Horus in the eye, and damaged it severely. See Book of the
Dead, Chap. CXII.

[FN#280] In Egyptian, TAFNEKHT, the first king of the XXIVth Dynasty.

[FN#281] An unlikely story, for Tafnekht had no authority at Thebes.

IX. Now, the kings of Egypt were always chosen either out of the
soldiery or priesthood, the former order being honoured and respected
for its valour, and the latter for its wisdom. If the choice fell upon
a soldier, he was immediately initiated into the order of priests, and
by them instructed in their abstruse and hidden philosophy, a
philosophy for the most part involved in fable and allegory, and
exhibiting only dark hints and obscure resemblances of the truth. This
the priesthood hints to us in many instances, particularly by the
sphinxes, which they seem to have placed designedly before their
temples as types of the enigmatical nature of their theology. To this
purpose, likewise, is that inscription which they have engraved upon
the base of the statue of Athene[FN#282] at Sais, whom they identify
with Isis: "I am everything that has been, that is, and that shall be:
and my veil no man hath raised." In like manner the word "Amoun," or
as it is expressed in the Greek language, "Ammon," which is generally
looked upon as the proper name of the Egyptian Zeus, is interpreted by
Manetho[FN#283] the Sebennite[FN#284] to signify "concealment" or
"something which is hidden."[FN#285] Hecataeus of Abdera indeed tells
us that the Egyptians make use of this term when they call out to one
another. If this be so, then their invoking Amoun is the same thing as
calling upon the supreme being, whom they believe to be "hidden" and
"concealed" in the universal nature, to appear and manifest itself to
them. So cautious and reserved was the Egyptian wisdom in those things
which appertained to religion.

[FN#282] The Egyptian goddess Net, in Greek {greek Nhid}, the great
goddess of Sais, in the Western Delta. She was self-existent, and
produced her son, the Sun-god, without union with a god. In an address
to her, quoted by Mallet (Culte de Neit, p. 140), are found the words,
"thy garment hath not been unloosed," thus Plutarch's quotation is

[FN#283] He compiled a History of Egypt for Ptolemy II., and
flourished about B.C. 270; only the King-List from this work is

[FN#284] He was a native of the town of Sebennytus.

[FN#285] Amen means "hidden," and AMEN is the "hidden god."

X. And this is still farther evinced from those voyages which have
been made into Egypt by the wisest men among the Greeks, namely, by
Solo, Thales Plato, Eudoxus, Pythagoras, and, as some say, even by
Lycurgus himself, on purpose to converse with the priests. And we are
also told that Eudoxus was a disciple of Chnouphis the Memphite, Solo
of Sonchis the Saite, and Pythagoras of Oinuphis the Heliopolite. But
none of these philosophers seems either to have been more admired and
in greater favour with the priests, or to have paid a more especial
regard to their method of philosophising, than this last named, who has
particularly imitated their mysterious and symbolical manner in his own
writings, and like them conveyed his doctrines to the world in a kind
of riddle. For many of the precepts of Pythagoras come nothing short
of the hieroglyphical representations themselves, such as, "eat not in
a chariot," "sit not on a measure (choenix)," "plant not a palm-tree,"
and "stir not the fire with a sword in the house." And I myself am of
the opinion that, when the Pythagoreans appropriated the names of
several of the gods to particular numbers, as that of Apollo to the
unit, of Artemis to the duad, of Athene to the seven, and of Poseidon
to the first cube, in this they allude to something which the founder
of their sect saw in the Egyptian temples, or to some ceremonies
performed in them, or to some symbols there exhibited. Thus, their
great king and lord Osiris is represented by the hieroglyphics for an
eye and a sceptre,[FN#286] the name itself signifying "many-eyed," as
we are told by some[FN#287] who would derive it from the words
os,[FN#288] "many," and iri,[FN#289] an "eye," which have this meaning
in the Egyptian language. Similarly, because the heavens are eternal
and are never consumed or wax old, they represent them by a heart with
a censer placed under it. Much in the same way are those statues of
the Judges at Thebes without hands, and their chief, or president, is
represented with his eyes turned downwards, which signifies that
justice ought not to be obtainable by bribes, nor guided by favour or
affection. Of a like nature is the Beetle which we see engraven upon
the seals of the soldiers, for there is no such thing as a female
beetle of this species; for they are all males, and they propagate
their kind by casting their seed into round balls of dirt, which afford
not only a proper place wherein the young may be hatched, but also
nourishment for them as soon as they are born.

[FN#286] The oldest form of the name is As-Ar, ####; the first sign,
####, is a throne, and the second, ####, is an eye, but the exact
meaning represented by the two signs is not known. In late times a
sceptre, #### took the place of the throne, but only because of its
phonetic value as or us. Thus we have the forms #### and ####.

[FN#287] This is a mistake.

[FN#288] In Egyptian, #### ash, "many."

[FN#289] In Egyptian, #### art, Coptic ####, "eye."

XI. When you hear, therefore, the mythological tales which the
Egyptians tell of their gods, their wanderings, their mutilations, and
many other disasters which befell them, remember what has just been
said, and be assured that nothing of what is thus told you is really
true, or ever happened in fact. For can it be imagined that it is the
dog[FN#290] itself which is reverenced by them under the name of
Hermes[FN#291]? It is the qualities of this animal, his constant
vigilance, and his acumen in distinguishing his friends from his foes,
which have rendered him, as Plato says, a meet emblem of that god who
is the chief patron of intelligence. Nor can we imagine that they
think that the sun, like a newly born babe, springs up every day out of
a lily. It is quite true that they represent the rising sun in this
manner,[FN#292] but the reason is because they wish to indicate thereby
that it is moisture to which we owe the first kindling of this
luminary. In like manner, the cruel and bloody king of Persia, Ochus,
who not only put to death great numbers of the people, but even slew
the Apis Bull himself, and afterwards served him up in a banquet to his
friends, is represented by them by a sword, and by this name he is
still to be found in the catalogue of their kings. This name,
therefore, does not represent his person, but indicates his base and
cruel qualities, which were best suggested by the picture of an
instrument of destruction. If, therefore, O Clea, you will hear and
entertain the story of these gods from those who know how to explain it
consistently with religion and philosophy, if you will steadily persist
in the observance of all these holy rites which the laws require of
you, and are moreover fully persuaded that to form true notions of the
divine nature is more acceptable to them than any sacrifice or mere
external act of worship can be, you will by this means be entirely
exempt from any danger of falling into superstition, an evil no less to
be avoided than atheism itself.

[FN#290] The animal here referred to must be the dog-headed ape, ####,
which we see in pictures of the Judgment assisting Thoth to weigh the
heart of the dead. This dog-headed ape is a wonderfully intelligent
creature, and its weird cleverness is astonishing.

[FN#291] The Egyptian Tehuti, or Thoth.

[FN#292] ####.

XII. Now, the story of Isis and Osiris, its most insignificant and
superfluous parts being omitted, runs thus:--

The goddess Rhea,[FN#293] they say, having accompanied with
Kronos[FN#294] by stealth, was discovered by Helios[FN#295] who
straightway cursed her, and declared that she should not be delivered
in any month or year. Hermes, however, 'being also in love with the
same goddess, in return for the favours which he had received from her,
went and played at dice with Selene,[FN#296] and won from her the
seventieth part of each day. These parts he joined together and made
from them five complete days, and he added them to the three hundred
and sixty days of which the year formerly consisted. These five days
are to this day called the "Epagomenae,"[FN#297] that is, the
superadded, and they are observed by them as the birthdays of their
gods.[FN#298] On the first of these, they say, Osiris was born, and as
he came into the world a voice was heard saying, "The Lord of
All[FN#299] is born." Some relate the matter in a different way, and
say that a certain person named Pamyles, as he was fetching water from
the temple of Dios at Thebes, heard a voice commanding him to proclaim
aloud that the good and great king Osiris was then born, and that for
this reason Kronos committed the education of the child to him, and
that in memory of this event the Pamylia were afterwards instituted,
which closely resemble the Phallephoria or Priapeia of the Greeks.
Upon the second of these days was born Aroueris,[FN#300] whom some call
Apollo, and others the Elder Horus. Upon the third day Typhon was
born, who came into the world neither at the proper time nor by the
right way, but he forced a passage through a wound which he made in his
mother's side. Upon the fourth day Isis was born, in the marshes of
Egypt,[FN#301] and upon the fifth day Nephthys, whom some call Teleute,
or Aphrodite, or Nike, was born. As regards the fathers of these
children, the first two are said to have been begotten by Helios, Isis
by Hermes, and Typhon and Nephthys by Kronos. Therefore, since the
third of the superadded days was the birthday of Typhon, the kings
considered it to be unlucky,[FN#302] and in consequence they neither
transacted any business in it, nor even suffered themselves to take any
refreshment until the evening. They further add that Typhon married
Nephthys,[FN#303] and that Isis and Osiris, having a mutual affection,
enjoyed each other in their mother's womb before they were born, and
that from this commerce sprang Aroueris, whom the Egyptians likewise
call Horus the Elder, and the Greeks Apollo.

[FN#293] i.e., Nut, the Sky-goddess.

[FN#294] i.e., Keb, the Earth-god.

[FN#295] i.e., Ra.

[FN#296] i.e., Aah.

[FN#297] In Egyptian, "the five days over the year,"

[FN#298] In Egyptian thus:--
I. Birthday of Osiris,
II. Birthday of Horus,
III. Birthday of Set,
IV. Birthday of Isis,
V. Birthday of Nephthys

[FN#299] One of the chief titles of Osiris was Neb er tcher, i.e.,
"lord to the uttermost limit of everything."

[FN#300] i.e., Heru-ur, "Horus the Elder."

[FN#301] It was Horus, son of Isis, who was born in the marshes of

[FN#302] This day is described as unlucky in the hieroglyphic texts.

[FN#303] Set and Nephthys are regarded as husband and wife in the
texts; their offspring was Anubis, Anpu.

XIII. Osiris having become king of Egypt, applied himself to
civilizing his countrymen by turning them from their former indigent
and barbarous course of life. He taught them how to cultivate and
improve the fruits of the earth, and he gave them a body of laws
whereby to regulate their conduct, and instructed them in the reverence
and worship which they were to pay to the gods. With the same good
disposition he afterwards travelled over the rest of the world,
inducing the people everywhere to submit to his discipline, not indeed
compelling them by force of arms, but persuading them to yield to the
strength of his reasons, which were conveyed to them in the most
agreeable manner, in hymns and songs, accompanied with instruments of
music. From this last circumstance the Greeks identified him with
their Dionysos, or Bacchus. During the absence of Osiris from his
kingdom, Typhon had no opportunity of making any innovations in the

Book of the day: