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An Egyptian god. (See OSIRIS and TYPHON.)
OSIRIS 100.00%
An Egyptian god, who, with his sister and wife Isis (q.v.), enjoyed in Egypt the most general worship of all the gods. He is the male god of the fructification of the land. From him comes every blessing and all life; he gives light and health; he causes the Nile to overflow with its fertilizing waters, and all things to continue in their established order. He is always represented in human shape and with a human head (see cut). His hue, as that of a god who bestows life, is green; his sacred tree is the ever-green tamarisk. The Greeks identified him with Dionysus. Originally he ruled as king over Egypt, where he introduced agriculture, morality, and the worship of the gods, until his brother Typhon (Set) contrived by deceit to shut him up in a chest and put him to death by pouring in molten lead. The murderer cast the chest into the Nile, which carried it into the sea. After long search the mourning Isis found the chest on the coast of Phoenicia, at Byblus, and carefully concealed it. Nevertheless Typhon discovered it in the night, and cut the corpse up into fourteen pieces, which he scattered in all directions. Isis, however, collected them again, and buried them in Phil' or Abydus, in Upper Egypt. When Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, grew up, he took vengeance upon Typhon when, after a most obstinate struggle, he had defeated him in battle. Although Osiris lived no longer upon the earth, he was ever regarded as the source of life. In the upper world he continues to live and work by the fresh power of his youthful son Horus, and in the lower world, of which he is king, the spirits of those who are found to te just are awakened by him to new life. His hue as ruler of the lower world is black, his robes white, his symbol an eye opened wide as a sign of his restoration to the light of day. Osiris, by his ever-renewed incarnation in the form of the black bull Apis, the symbol of generative power, assures for the Egyptians the endurance of his favour, and the consequent continuance of their life in this world and the next. In this incarnation he is called Osarhapi (Osiris-Apis), the origin of the Greek Serapis (q.v.) or Sarapis. The fortunes of Osiris were celebrated in magnificent annual festivals connected with mourning ceremonies, in which the Egyptians, as is observed by the ancients [e.g. Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, 32, and 'lian, De Nat. Animalium 10, 46], lamented in Osiris the subsidence of the Nile, the cessation of the cool north wind (whose place was taken for a time by the hot wind Typhon), the decay of vegetation, and the shortening of the length of the day.
ANUBIS 67.83%
An Egyptian god, son of Osiris, conductor and watcher of the dead, whose deeds he and HORUS (q.v.) were supposed to weigh in the balance in presence of their father Osiris. He was represented with the head of a jackal or dog-ape. The worship of Anubis was introduced among the Greeks and Romans (who represented him in the form of a dog), together with that of Serapis and Isis; especially in the time of the emperors, as he was identified with Hermes.
ISIS 54.52%
The divinity most extensively worshipped, with her brother and husband Osiris, by the Egyptians, among whom she represented the feminine, receptive, and producing principle in nature. As the goddess of procreation and birth her symbol was the cow. On monuments she is mostly represented as of youthful appearance with a cow's horns on her head, between the horns the orb of the moon, and with a sceptre of flowers and the emblem of life in her hands (fig. 1). Her greatest temple stood at Busiris (i.e. Pe-Osiri, or Abode of Osiris) in the midst of the Delta of the Nile, where, amidst the fruitful fields, the inhabitants worshipped the mightiest god and goddess with ceremonies which typified the search and discovery of Osiris by his mourning wife after his murder by Typhon. Like Osiris she was a divinity who ruled over the world below. In the course of the fusion of religions which took place under the Ptolemies, Isis and Osiris were confounded with all manner of Asiatic and Greek gods. In process of time she became in her power the most universal of all goddesses, ruling in heaven, on earth, and on the sea, and in the world below, decreeing life and death, deciding the fate of men, and dispensing rewards and punishments. Her worship spread over Greece, and after the second Punic War obtained a firm footing in Rome in spite of repeated interference by the State. In the days of the Empire it obtained recognition by the State and established itself in all parts of the Roman dominions. The attractiveness of the service of Isis lay in the religious satisfaction which it was calculated to insure. Through abstinence from food and from sensual pleasures, and through expiations and purifications, it promised to lead its votaries to sanctification of life and to a true perception of the life divine. The ritual consisted in part of a morning and evening service to the god, partly in annual festivals celebrated in spring at the return of the season for navigation, and also in the late autumn before the advent of winter. At the former festival, held on the 5th of March, and called the ship of Isis (Isidis navigium), in recognition of her being the patroness of navigation, and inventress of the sail, the people in general, with the devotees and priests of Isis, went in solemn procession down to the seashore, where a sailing vessel painted in the Egyptian manner and laden with spices, was committed to the sea. [Apuleius, Met. xi 8-17P esp. 11; Firmicus Maternus, De Err. Prof. Relig. 2.] The other feast was emblematic of the grief of Isis at her loss and her joy at finding again her husband Osiris and her son Horus. Besides these popular feasts there were also certain special mysteries of Isis, which in all their essentials were borrowed from the Eleusinian mysteries of Demeter. In these, all who were called thereto by the goddess in a dream were admitted to the select circle of the worshippers of Isis. These devotees, like the priests, were recognised by their linen robes and their shaven heads, and had to devote themselves to an ascetic life. Oracular responses received in dreams were as much associated with the temples of Isis as with those of Serapis (q.v.). In Greek art the goddess is represented as similar to Hera. Her attributes are a serpent, a cornucopia, ears of corn, lotus, moon and horns, as well as the sistrum, a metal rattle, specially employed in her service (fig. 2).
SERAPIS 36.56%
The Egyptian god Osiris (q.v.), in the character of god of the lower world; his corresponding incarnation as god of the upper world was the bull Apis. His worship was first independently developed in the time of the Ptolemies in Alexandria, the most beautiful ornament of which city was the magnificent temple of Serapis, the Serapeion. By the elimination of foreign elements, the conception of the god was so widely extended as to include the Egyptian Osiris, the Greek Pluto, the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, and Zeus-Iupiter (see below). This new worship (together with the cult of Isis) rapidly spread from Egypt over the Asiatic coast, the Greek islands, and Greece itself, and found a firm footing even in Rome and Italy, in spite of repeated interference on the part of the State. Under the Empire [particularly in the time of Hadrian] it extended throughout the Roman world." Serapis was especially worshipped as a god of healing, and with his temples were connected dream-oracles that were much resorted to. He was represented, like Pluto, with an animal by his side, having the head of a dog, lion, or wolf, and a serpent coiled round its body. As Zeus-Serapis he is to be seen in the colossal bust in the Vatican (see cut), with a modius, or corn-measure, the symbol of the lower world, upon his head.
HORUS 36.33%
An Egyptian god, the son of Osiris and Isis. At the death of his father he was still a child, but when he had grown to be a stalwart youth (Harver, i.e. a "stronger Horus"), he overcame and captured Typhon, the murderer of his father, after a combat lasting over many days, and handed him over to Isis, who, however, let him go free. By the Egyptians he was deemed the victorious god of light (who overcame darkness, winter, and drought), and was identified with Apollo by the Greeks. He is often represented with the head of a hawk, which was sacred to him. He must be distinguished from a younger Horus, the Harpocrates of the Greeks (in Egyptian Harpechruti, i.e. "Har the child"), who was received by Isis from Osiris. in the under-world, and is the representative of the winter-sun, and also the image of early vegetation, and therefore identified with Priapus. Statues represent him as a naked boy with his finger on his mouth (see fig. 2, under Isis). Misunderstanding this symbol of childhood, the Greeks made him the god of Silence and Secrecy. Afterwards, in the time when mysteries were in vogue, his worship was widely extended among the Greeks, and also among the Romans.
According to Hesiod [Theog. 869], the youngest son of Gaea by Tartarus; a giant of enormous strength, with one hundred snake-heads, eyes darting fire, and various voices, which sometimes sounded like the voice of the gods, sometimes like the lowing of a bull or the roaring of a lion, or like the howl of a dog, and sometimes like a shrill whistle. He was the symbol of the fire and smoke in the interior of the earth, and of their destructive forces. Hence he was also the father of devastating hurricanes. By Echidna he was the father of the dogs Orthos and Cerberus, and the Lernaean hydra [the Chimaera, the lion of Nemea, the eagle of Prometheus, and the dragon of the Hesperides]. He contended with Zeus for the throne of the lower world, but after some severe fighting was hurled to the ground by lightning, and thrown into Tartarus. In Homer he lies beneath the earth, in the land of the Arimi [Il. ii 783], and Zeus assails that region with his thunderbolts. According to another account Aetna was hurled upon him, and out of it he sends forth streams of flame [Aeschylus, Prometheus 370, Septem contra Thebas 493]. He was afterwards identified with the Egyptian god Set, the god of the sirocco, of death, of blight, of the eclipse of sun and moon, and of the barren sea, the author of all evil, and the murderer of his brother Osiris (q.v.).
Born about 130 A.D. at Madaura in Numidia, of a wealthy and honourable family; the most original Latin writer of his time. Educated at Carthage, he went to Atbens to study philosophy, especially that of Plato; then he travelled far and wide, everywhere obtaining initiation into the mysteries. For sometime he lived in Rome as an advocate. After returning to Africa, he married a lady considerably older than himself, the mother of a friend, Aemilia Pudentilla, whereupon her kinsmen charged him with having won the rich widow's hand by magic, and of having contrived the death of her son: a charge to which he replied with much wit in his oration De Magia (earlier than A.D. 161). He afterwards settled down at Carthage, and thence made excursions through Africa, delivering orations or lectures. Of the rest of his life and the year of his death nothing is known. Beside the Apologia above-mentioned, and a few rhetorical and philosophic writings, another work, his chief one, also survives, which was composed at a ripe age, with hints borrowed from a book of Lucian's. This is a satirical and fantastic moral romance, Metamorphoseon libri XI (de Asino Aureo), the adventures of one Lucius, who is transformed into an ass, and under that disguise has the amplest opportunities of observing, undetected, the preposterous doings of mankind. Then, enlightened by this experience, and with the enchantment taken off him by admission into the mysteries of Osiris, be becomes quite a new man. Of the many episodes interwoven into the story, the most interesting is the beautiful allegorical fairy tale of Cupid and Psyche, so much used by later poets and artists. Throughout the book Apuleius paints the moral and religious conditions of his time with much humour and in lifelike colours though his language, while clever, is often, affected, bombastic, and disfigured by obsolete and provincial phrases.
A Greek writer of biographies and miscellaneous works, who was born at Chaeronea in Baetia, about 50 A.D. He came of a distinguished and wealthy family, and enjoyed a careful education. His philosophical training he received at Athens, especially in the school of the Peripatetic Ammonius (of Lamptrae in Attica, who is identified with Ammonius] the Egyptian. After this he made several journeys and stayed a considerable time in Rome, where he gave public lectures on philosophy, was in friendly intercourse with persons of distinction, and conducted the education of the future emperor Hadrian. From Trajan he received consular rank, and by Hadrian he was in his old age named procurator of Greece. He died about 120 in his native town, in which he held the office of archon and of priest of the Pythian Apollo. His fame as an author is founded principally upon his Parallel Lives . These he probably prepared in Rome under the reign of Trajan, but completed and published late in life at Chaeronea. The biographies are divided into connected pairs, each pair placing a Greek and a Roman in juxtaposition, and generally ending with a comparative view of the two; of these we still possess forty-six: Theseus and Romillus, Lycurgus and Numa, Solon and Valerius Publicola, Themistocles and Camillus, Pericles and Fabius Maximus, Alcibiades and Coriolanus, Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus, Pelopidas and Marcellus, Aristides and the elder Cato, Philopaemen and Flamininus, Pyrrhus and Marius, Lysander and Sulla, Cimon and Lucullus, Nicias and Crassus, Eumenes and Sertorius, Agesilaus and Pompeius, Alexander and Caesar, Phocion and the younger Cato, Agis and Cleomenes and the two Gracchi, Demosthenes and Cicero, Demetrius Poliorcetes and Antonius, Dion and Brutus . To these are added the four specially elaborated lives of Artaxerxis Mnenon, Aratus, Galba, and Otho; a number of other biographies are lost. Plutarch's object was, not to write history, but out of more or less important single traits to form distinct sketches of character. The sketches show indeed a certain uniformity, in as much as Plutarch has a propensity to pourtray the persons represented either as models of virtue in general, or as slaves of some passion in particular; but the lives are throughout attractive, owing to the liveliness and warmth of the portraiture, the moral earnestness with which they are penetrated, and the enthusiasm which they display for everything noble and great. For these reasons they have always had a wide circle of readers. More than this, their historical value is not to be meanly estimated, in spite of the lack of criticism in the use of the authorities and the manifold inaccuracies and mistakes, which, in the Roman lives, were in part the result of a defective knowledge of the Latin language. There are a large number of valuable pieces of information in which they fill up numerous gaps in the historical narratives that have been handed down to us. Besides this work, eighty-three writings of various kinds (some of them only fragments and epitomes of larger treatises) are preserved under the name of Plutarch. These are improperly classed together under the title Moralia (ethical writings); for this designation is only applicable to a part of them. The form or these works is as diverse as their tenour and scope: some are treatises and reports of discourses; a large number is composed in the form of Platonic or Aristotelian dialogues; others again are learned collections and notices put together without any special plan of arrangement. A considerable portion of them are of disputable authenticity or have been proved to be spurious. About half are of philosophical and ethical tenour, and have for the most part a popular and practical tendency, some of them being of great value for the history of philosophy, such as the work on the opinions of the philosophers (De Placitis Philosophorum) in five books. Others belong to the domain of religion and worship, such as the works on Isis and Osiris, on the Oracles of the Pythia Priestess, and on the Decay of the Oracles; others to that of the natural sciences, while others again are treatises on history and antiquities, or on the history of literature, such as the Greek and Roman Questions, and the Lives of the Ten Orators. [This last is undoubtedly spurious.) One of most instructive and entertaining of all his works is the Table-talk (Questiones Conviviales) in nine books, which deal inter alia, with a series of questions of history, archaeology, mythology, and physics. But even with these works his literary productiveness was not exhausted; for, besides these, twenty-four lost writings are known to us by their titles and by fragments. In his language he aims at attaining the pure Attic style, without, however, being able altogether to avoid the deviations from that standard which were generally prevalent in his time.
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