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The cow was the living symbol of Isis-Hathor, represented sometimes as a cow, at others as a woman with a cow's head, at others as a horned woman. She was worshipped all over Egypt (cf. the emphatic πάντες ὁμοίως). The Greeks usually identified her with Demeter, but also with other goddesses. Isis is important in the Egyptian pantheon as the sister and wife of Osiris, and mother of Horus. H. is quite right that in Egypt (as among the Hindoos) cows were not sacrificed.
Cf. i. 1 for Io's story; H. avoids the usual Greek mistake of confusing her with Isis. Some make ‘Io’ to be Egyptian = ‘the moon goddess’, but ‘the moon’ is masculine in Egyptian.
οὔτ᾽ ἀνήρ. For the separateness of the Egyptians cf. Gen. xliii. 32, the feast to Joseph's brethren.
θάπτουσι. It is wrong to say that dead cows were thrown into the river; this was only done when they were given to crocodiles. On the other hand the heads of oxen are found buried as H. describes. He is wrong in saying they were all removed to Prosopitis (cf. c. 67 for a similar mistake); but his account of the composite burial is clearly confirmed by the mummies, which often contain the remains of several beasts, e.g. one found at Abûsir was made up of seven (Maspero, Caus. p. 247). Erman (R. 177) says generally in reference to animal burial ‘H. is certainly correct in these facts’. τὸ κέρας ... ἀμφότερα: in apposition to ἔρσενας.
Prosopitis. This island lay between the Canopic and the Sebennytic Niles and a canal, in the south of the Delta. The Greeks made their last stand there, after the suppression of the revolt of Inaros (Thuc. i. 109. 4). Aphrodite corresponds to the Egyptian Hathor; her symbol also was a cow; her chief temple was at Denderah. Her name is probably found in ‘Atarbechis’, which may well be the Ἀφροδίτης πόλις of Strabo (802), in the Prosopitic nome.
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