XIII

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 state, Isis being extremely vigilant in the government, and always upon her guard. After his return, however, having first persuaded seventy-two other people to join with him in the conspiracy, together with a certain queen of Ethiopia called Aso, who chanced to be in Egypt at that time, he formed a crafty plot against him. For having privily taken the measure of the

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body of Osiris, he caused a chest to be made of exactly the same size, and it was very beautiful and highly decorated. This chest he brought into a certain banqueting room, where it was greatly admired by all who were present, and Typhon, as if in jest, promised to give it to that man whose body when tried would be found to fit it. Thereupon the whole company, one after the other, went into it, but it did not fit any of them; last of all Osiris himself lay down in it. Thereupon all the conspirators ran to the chest, and clapped the cover upon it, and then they fastened it down with nails on the outside, and poured melted lead over it. They next took the chest to the river, which carried it to the sea through the Tanaïtic mouth of the Nile; and for this reason this mouth of the: Nile is still held in the utmost abomination by the Egyptians, and is never mentioned by them except with marks of detestation. These things, some say, took place on the seventeenth day of the month of Hathor, when the sun was in Scorpio, in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Osiris, though others tell us that this was the year of his life and not of his reign.






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