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It is not worth while to pay any attention to the Phrygian writings,1 in which it is said that Serapis was the son of Heracles, and Isis was his daughter, and Typhon was the son of Alcaeus, who also was a son of Heracles ; nor must we fail to contemn Phylarchus, who writes that Dionysus was the first to bring from India into Egypt two bulls, and that the name of one was Apis and of the other Osiris. But Serapis is the name of him who sets the universe in order, and it is derived from ‘sweep’ (sairein), which some say means ‘to beautify’ and ‘to put in order.’ 2 As a matter of fact, these statements of Phylarchus are absurd, but even more absurd are those put forth by those who say that Serapis is no god at all, but the name of the coffin of Apis ; and that there are in Memphis certain bronze gates called the Gates of Oblivion and Lamentation,3 which are opened when the burial of Apis takes place, and they give out a deep and harsh sound ; and it is because of this that we lay hand upon anything of bronze that gives out a sound.4 More moderate is the statement of those who say that the derivation5 is from ‘shoot’ (seuesthai) or ‘scoot’ (sousthai), meaning the general movement of the universe. Most of the priests say that Osiris and Apis are conjoined into one, thus explaining to us and informing us that we must regard Apis as the bodily image of the soul of Osiris.6 But [p. 73] it is my opinion that, if the name Serapis is Egyptian, it denotes cheerfulness and rejoicing, and I base this opinion on the fact that the Egyptians call their festival of rejoicing sairei. In fact, Plato7 says that Hades is so named because he is a beneficent and gentle god towards those who have come to abide with him. Moreover, among the Egyptians many others of the proper names are real words ; for example, that place beneath the earth, to which they believe that souls depart after the end of this life, they call Amenthes, the name signifying ‘the one who receives and gives.’ Whether this is one of those words which came from Greece in very ancient times and were brought back again8 we will consider later,9 but for the present let us go on to discuss the remainder of the views now before us.

1 Cf. Cicero, De Natura Deorum, iii. 16 (42).

2 Cf. Pauly-Wissowa, l.c., col. 2396-2397, for other etymologies. The derivation from sairein (sweep) is wholly fanciful.

3 Cf. Diodorus, i. 96, and Pausanias, i. 18. 4, with Frazer's note.

4 Cf. Moralia, 995 e-f; Aristotle, Frag. 196 (ed. Rose); or Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras, 41.

5 This derivation (from seuesthai or sousthai) is also fanciful.

6 Cf. 359 b, supra, and 368 c, infra, and Diodorus, i. 85.

7 Plato, Cratylus, 403 a-404 a, suggests various derivations of the name Hades.

8 Cf. 375 e-f, infra.

9 Cf. 375 d, infra.

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