The Library of History

Page 9

Page 9 the Author of, by the common Consent of all Men, he gain'd the Reward of Immortality and Honour equal to the Heavenly Deities.

After his Death, Isis and Mercury celebrated his Funeral with Sacrifices and other Divine Honours, as to one of the Gods, and instituted many Sacred Rites mystical Ceremonies in Memory of the mighty Works wrought by this Hero, now Deify'd. Antiently the Egyptian Priests kept the manner of the Death of Osiris secret in their own Registers among themselves; but in after-times it fell out, that some that could not hold, blurted it out, and so it came Abroad. For they say that Osiris, while he govern'd in Egypt with all Justice imaginable, was Murder'd by his wicked Brother Typhon; and that he mangled his dead Body into Six and Twenty Pieces, and gave to each of his Confederates in the Treason a Piece, by that means to bring them all within the same horrid Guilt, and thereby the more to ingage them to advance him to the Throne, and to defend and preserve him in the Possession.

But Isis, the Sister and Wife likewise of Osiris, with the assistance of her Son Orus, reveng'd his Death upon Typhon and his Complices, and posses'd her self of the Kingdom of Egypt. It's said the Battel was fought near a River not far off a Town now call'd Antaea in Arabia, so call'd from Anteus, whom Hercules slew in the time of Osiris. She found all the Pieces of his Body, save his Privy Members; and having a desire to conceal her Husband's Burial, yet to have him honour'd as a God by all the Egyptians, she thus contriv'd it. She clos'd all the Pieces together, cementing them with Wax and Aromatick Spices, and so brought it to the shape of a Man of the bigness of Osiris; then she sent for the Priests to her, one by one, and swore them all that they should not discover what she should then intrust them with. Then she told them privately, that they only should have the Burial of the King's Body; and recounting the many good Works he had done, charg'd them to bury the Body in a proper place among themselves, and to pay unto him all Divine Honour, as to a God. That they should Dedicate to him one of the Beasts bred among them, which of them they pleas'd, and that while it was alive, they should pay it the same Veneration as they did before to Osiris himself; and when it was dead, that they should Worship it with the same Adoration and Worship given to Osiris. But being willing to incourage the Priests to these Divine Offices by Profit and Advantage, she gave them the Third part of the Country for the Maintenance of the Service of the Gods and their Attendance at the Altars.

In memory therefore of Osiris's good Deeds, being incited thereunto by the Commands of the Queen, and in expectation of their own Profit and Advantage, the Priests exactly perform'd every thing that Isis injoin'd them; and therefore every Order of the Priests at this Day are of opinion that Osiris is bury'd among them. And they have those Beasts in great Veneration, that were so long since thus consecrated; and renew their Mournings for Osiris over the Graves of those Beasts. There are Two sacred Bulls especially, the one call'd Apis, and the other Mnevis, that are Consecrated to Osiris, and reputed as Gods generally by all the Egyptians. For this Creature of all others was extraordinarily serviceable to the first Inventers of Husbandry, both as to the Sowing Corn, and other Advantages concerning Tillage, of which all reapt the Benefit. Lastly, they say, that after the Death of Osiris, Isis made a Vow never to Marry any other Man, and spent the rest of her Days in an exact Administration of Justice among her Subjects, excelling all other Princes in her Acts of Grace and Bounty towards her own People; and therefore after her Death, she was numbred among the Gods, and as such had Divine Honour and Veneration, and was buri'd at Memphis, where they shew her Sepulchre at this day in the Grove of Vulcan.

Yet there are some that deny that these Gods are Buri'd at Memphis; but near the Mountains of Ethiopia and Egypt, in the Isle of Nile, lying near to a place call'd Philas, and upon that account also nam'd the Holy Field. They confirm this by undoubted Signs and Marks left in this Island, as by a Sepulchre built and erected to Osiris, religiously Reverenc'd by all the Priests of Egypt, wherein are laid up Three Hundred and Threescore Bowls, which certain Priests appointed for that purpose, fill every Day with Milk, and call upon the Gods by Name, with Mourning and Lamentation. For that cause none go into the Island but Priests. The

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books