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One of the first acts related of Osiris in his reign was to deliver the Egyptians from their destitute and brutish manner of living.1 This he did by showing them the fruits of cultivation, by giving them laws, and by teaching them to honour the gods. Later he travelled over the whole earth civilizing it2 without the slightest need of arms, but most of the peoples he won over to his way by the charm of his persuasive discourse combined with song and all manner of music. Hence the Greeks came to identify him with Dionysus.3

During his absence the tradition is that Typhon attempted nothing revolutionary because Isis, who was in control, was vigilant and alert; but when he returned home Typhon contrived a treacherous plot against him and formed a group of conspirators seventy-two in number. He had also the co-operation of a queen from Ethiopia4 who was there at the time and whose name they report as Aso. Typhon, having secretly measured Osiris's body and having made ready a beautiful chest of corresponding size artistically ornamented, caused it to be brought into the room where the festivity was in progress. The company was much pleased at the sight of it and admired it greatly, whereupon Typhon jestingly promised to present it to the man who should find the chest to be exactly his length when he lay down in it. They all tried it in turn, but no one fitted it; then Osiris got into it and [p. 37] lay down, and those who were in the plot ran to it and slammed down the lid, which they fastened by nails from the outside and also by using molten lead. Then they carried the chest to the river and sent it on its way to the sea through the Tanitic Mouth. Wherefore the Egyptians even to this day name this mouth the hateful and execrable. Such is the tradition. They say also that the date on which this deed was done was the seventeenth day of Athyr,5 when the sun passes through Scorpion, and in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Osiris ; but some say that these are the years of his life and not of his reign.6

1 Cf. Diodorus, i. 13-16.

2 Cf. Diodorus, i. 17. 1-3; 18. 5-6; 20. 3-4.

3 Cf. 362 b, 364 d-f, infra, and Herodotus, ii. 42 and 144.

4 Cf. 366 c, infra.

5 November 13. Cf. also 366 d and 367 e, infra.

6 Cf. 367 f, infra.

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