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Osiris has a name made up from ‘holy’ (hosion) and ‘sacred’ (kieron1; for he is the combined relation of the things in the heavens and in the lower world, the former of which it was customary for people of olden time to call sacred and the latter to call holy. But the relation which discloses the things in the heavens and belongs to the things which tend upward is sometimes named Anubis and sometimes Hermanubis2 as belonging in part to the things above and in part to the things below.3 For this reason they sacrifice to him on the one hand a white cock and on the other hand one of saffron colour, regarding the former things as simple and clear, and the others as combined and variable.

There is no occasion to be surprised at the revamping of these words into Greek.4 The fact is that countless other words went forth in company with those who migrated from Greece, and persist even to this day as strangers in strange lands; and, when the poetic art would recall some of these into use, those who speak of such words as strange or unusual falsely accuse it of using barbarisms. Moreover, they record that in the so-called books of Hermes it is written in regard to the sacred names that they call the power which is assigned to direct the revolution of the Sun Horus, but the Greeks call it Apollo ; and the power assigned to the wind some call Osiris and others [p. 147] Serapis, and Sothis in Egyptian signifies ‘pregnancy’ (caesis) or ‘to be pregnant’ (cyein) : therefore in Greek, with a change of accent,5 the star is called the Dog-star (Cyon), which they regard as the special star of Isis.6 Least of all is there any need of being very eager in learning about these names. However, I would rather make a concession to the Egyptians in regard to Serapis than in regard to Osiris ; for I regard Serapis as foreign, but Osiris as Greek, and both as belonging to one god and one power.

1 Cf. 382 e, infra.

2 Porphyry in Eusebius, Praepar. Evang. iii. 11. 2.

3 Cf. 368 e, supra.

4 Cf. 362 d-e, supra.

5 Plutarch attempts to connect κύων, ‘dog,’ with κυῶν, the present participle of κυῶ, ‘to be pregnant.’

6 Cf. 359 c-e and 365 f, supra.

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