Legends of the Gods

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Legends of the Gods

By E. A. Wallis Budge

Section X

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 Saïte, 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, 1 the name itself signifying "many-eyed," as we are told by some 2 who would derive it from the words os, 3 "many," and iri, 4 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.

213:1 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  .

213:2 This is a mistake.

213:3 In Egyptian,  ash, "many."

213:4 in Egyptian,  art, Coptic , "eye."



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