XVIII

XVIII. When Isis had come to her son Horus, who was being reared at Buto, 1 she deposited the chest in a remote and unfrequented place. One night, however, when Typhon was hunting by the light of the moon, he came upon it by chance, and recognizing the body which was enclosed in it, he tore it into several pieces, fourteen  2 in all, and scattered them in different places

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up and down the country. When Isis knew what had been done, she set out in search of the scattered portions of her husband's body; and in order to pass more easily through the lower, marshy parts of the country, she made use of a boat made of the papyrus plant. For this reason, they say, either fearing the anger of the goddess, or else venerating the papyrus, the crocodile never injures anyone who travels in this sort of vessel. 1 And this, they say, hath given rise to the report that there are very many different sepulchres of Osiris in Egypt, for wherever Isis found one of the scattered portions of her husband's body, there she buried it. Others, however, contradict this story, and tell us that the variety of sepulchres of Osiris was due rather to the policy of the queen, who, instead of the real body, as she pretended, presented to these cities only an image of her husband. This she did in order to increase the honours which would by these means be paid to his memory, and also to defeat Typhon, who, if he were victorious in his fight against Horus in which be was about to engage, would search for the body of Osiris, and being distracted by the number of sepulchres would despair of ever being able to find the true one. We are told, moreover, that notwithstanding all her efforts, Isis was never able to discover the phallus of

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[paragraph continues] Osiris, which, having been thrown into the Nile immediately upon its separation from the rest of the body, 1 had been devoured by the Lepidotus, the Phagrus, and the Oxyrhynchus, fish which above all others, for this reason, the Egyptians have in more especial avoidance. In order, however, to make some amends for the loss, Isis consecrated the phallus made in imitation of it, and instituted a solemn festival to its memory, which is even to this day observed by the Egyptians.


Footnotes

224:1 In Egyptian, the double city Pe-Tep. See the texts from the Metternich Stele printed in this volume.

224:2 The fourteen members are: head, feet, bones, arms, heart, interior, tongue, eyes, fists, fingers, back, ears, loins, and body. Some of the lists in Egyptian add the face of a ram and the hair. The cities in which Isis buried the portions of his body are: Koptos, Philae in Elephantine, Herakleopolis Magna, Kusae, Heliopolis, Diospolis of Lower Egypt, Letopolis, Saïs, Hermopolis p. 225 of Lower Egypt, Athribis, Aq (Schedia), Ab in the Libyan nome, Netert, Apis.

225:1 Moses was laid in an ark of bulrushes, i.e., papyrus, and was found uninjured.






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