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And they say that the most renowned of the Greek poets 23 also agrees with this when he speaks of this god as The father of men and of gods. Now so far as the celestial gods are concerned whose genesis is from eternity, this is the account given by the Egyptians. Helius was the first king of the Egyptians, his name being the same as that of the heavenly star.
He also made a lyre and gave it three strings, imitating the seasons of the year; for he adopted three tones, a high, a low, and a medium; the high from the summer, the low from the winter, and the medium from the spring. In a word, Osiris, taking him for his priestly scribe, communicated with him on every matter and used his counsel above that of all others. The olive tree also, they claim, was his discovery, not Athena's, as the Greeks say.
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And this did in fact take place, since not only the men of his time who received his gift, but all succeeding generations as well, because of the delight which they take in the foods which were discovered, have honoured those who introduced them as gods most illustrious. The discovery of ivy is also attributed to Osiris by the Egyptians and made sacred to this god, just as the Greeks also do in the case of Dionysus.
Both of them carried the most notable accoutrements of war, taken from certain animals whose character was not unlike the boldness of the men, Anubis wearing a dog's skin and Macedon the fore-parts of a wolf; and it is for this reason that these animals are held in honour among the Egyptians. For Osiris was laughter-loving and fond of music and the dance; consequently he took with him a multitude of musicians, among whom were nine maidens who could sing and were trained in the other arts, these maidens being those who among the Greeks are called the Muses; and their leader hegetes , as the account goes, was Apollo, who was for that reason also given the name Musegetes.
For it is at Thonis, as it is called, which in early times was the trading-port of Egypt, that the river empties into the sea. Its last name and that which the river now bears it received from the former king Nileus. He also planted ivy in the Indian Nysa, and throughout India and those countries which border upon it the plant to this day is still to be found only in this region. And he visited all the other nations of Asia as well and crossed into Europe at the Hellespont. These also instituted rites for him and introduced many things of a mystic nature, magnifying in this way the power of the god.
And all the inhabitants of the Thebaid, which is the oldest portion of Egypt, hold it to be the strongest oath when a man swears "by Osiris who lieth in Philae.
Yet Isis thought them as worthy of divine honours as the other parts, for, fashioning a likeness of them, she set it up in the temples, commanded that it be honoured, and made it the object of the highest regard and reverence in the rites and sacrifices accorded to the god. For they say that Orpheus, upon visiting Egypt and participating in the initiation and mysteries of Dionysus, adopted them and as a favour to the descendants of Cadmus, since he was kindly disposed to them and received honours at their hands, transferred the birth of the god to Thebes; and the common people, partly out of ignorance and partly out of their desire to have the god thought to be a Greek, eagerly accepted his initiatory rites and mysteries.
Now such a child is not usually brought into the world alive, either because it is contrary to the will of the gods or because the law of nature does not admit of it.
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Now at a later time Orpheus, who was held in high regard among the Greeks for his singing, initiatory rites, and instructions on things divine, was entertained as a guest by the descendants of Cadmus and accorded unusual honours in Thebes. And the people observed these initiatory rites, partly because they were deceived through their ignorance, partly because they were attracted to them by the trustworthiness of Orpheus and his reputation in such matters, and most of all because they were glad to receive the god as a Greek, which, as has been said, is what he was considered to be.
In general, they say, the Greeks appropriate to themselves the most renowned of both Egyptian heroes and gods, and so also the colonies sent out by them. For inasmuch as it is generally accepted that Heracles fought on the side of the Olympian gods in their war against the Giants, they say that it in no way accords with the age of the earth for the Giants to have been born in the period when, as the Greeks, Heracles lived, which was a generation before the Trojan War, 48 but rather at the time, as their own account gives it, when mankind first appeared on the earth; for from the latter time to the present the Egyptians reckon more than ten thousand years, but from the Trojan War less than twelve hundred.
They also designate him as the son of Zeus, but about the identity of his mother they say that they know nothing. Moreover, they say that the name Horus, when translated, is Apollo, and that, having been instructed by his mother Isis in both medicine and divination, he is now a benefactor of the race of men through his oracular responses and his healings. And in that place there stands also a stele of each of the gods bearing an inscription in hieroglyphs.
To Babylon, for instance, colonists were led by Belus, who was held to be the son of Poseidon and Libya; and after establishing himself on the Euphrates river he appointed priests, called Chaldaeans by the Babylonians, who were exempt from taxation and free from every kind of service to the state, as are the priests of Egypt; 61 and they also make observations of the stars, following the example of the Egyptian priests, physicists, and astrologers.
Petes, 65 for instance, the father of that Menestheus who took part in the expedition against Troy, having clearly been an Egyptian, later obtained citizenship at Athens and the kingship. Once when there was a great drought, as is generally agreed, which extended over practically all the inhabited earth except Egypt because of the peculiar character of that country, and there followed a destruction both of crops and of men in great numbers, Erechtheus, through his racial connection with Egypt, brought from there to Athens a great supply of grain, and in return those who had enjoyed this aid made their benefactor king.
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And the tradition that an advent of the goddess into Attica also took place at that time is reasonable, since it was then that the fruits which are named after her were brought to Athens, and this is why it was thought that the discovery of the seed had been made again, as though Demeter had bestowed the gift. Furthermore, the initiatory rites and mysteries of this goddess were instituted at Eleusis at that time. So far as the ideas of the Egyptians about the gods are concerned, let what we have said suffice, since we are aiming at due proportion in our account, 68 but with regard to the land, the Nile, and everything else worth hearing about we shall endeavour, in each case, to give the several facts in summary.
The Loeb Editor's Notes: 1a 1b There are no chapters which are especially devoted to this topic. For the striking figure cp. The Epigoni were the next and succeeding generations. On the acquaintance of Diodorus with Latin see the Introduction, p.
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Whether they had been materially altered, as was often done by the diaskeuasts, is not known. Zeller, Aristotle and the Earlier Peripatetics Eng. Stoicismus," Jahrb. The fact is that Diodorus' philosophy, if he may be said to have had any, was highly eclectic. For the "root of the reed" cp. The corsaeon was the tuber of the Nile water-lily. Herodotus, 2.
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According to one version of the story he received strength whenever he touched his mother Earth and Heracles overcame him only by holding him in the air. Since the height of the Aswan dam has been increased the temples are completely submerged except during July-October. The patients spent the nights in the temple-precincts and were ministered to in their sleep by the god.
For there the men sit at the loom indoors While the wives slave abroad for daily bread. In proof of this they point to the tomb which was constructed for Osiris on this island and is honoured in common by all the priests of Egypt; and they mention three hundred and sixty libation bowls which are placed around it; for the priests appointed over these bowls fill them each day with milk, singing all the while a dirge in which they call upon the names of these gods. It is for this reason that only the priests are allowed to set foot on this island. And all the inhabitants of the Thebaid, which is the oldest portion of Egypt, hold it to be the strongest oath when a man swears 'by Osiris who lieth in Philae.