Thursday, August 28, 2014


The Praises of Isis

A Greek inscription from Kyme, tr. Frederick C. Grant, Hellenistic Religions: The Age of Syncretism (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1953), pp. 131-133 (numbering added by me; brackets as in Grant):
§1 [Demetrius, son of Artemidorus, and Thraseas, the Magnesian from the Maeander, crave the blessing of Isis.
§2 The following was copied from the stele which is in Memphis, where it stands before the temple of Hephaestus:]
§3a I am Isis, the mistress of every land,
§3b and I was taught by Hermes, and
§3c with Hermes I devised letters, both the sacred [hieroglyphs] and the demotic, that all things might not be written with the same [letters].
§4 I gave and ordained laws for men, which no one is able to change.
§5 I am eldest daughter of Kronos.
§6 I am wife and sister of King Osiris.
§7 I am she who findeth fruit for men.
§8 I am mother of King Horus.
§9 I am she that riseth in the Dog Star.
§10 I am she that is called goddess by women.
§11 For me was the city of Bubastis built.
§12 I divided the earth from the heaven.
§13 I showed the paths of the stars.
§14 I ordered the course of the sun and the moon.
§15 I devised business in the sea.
§16 I made strong the right.
§17 I brought together woman and man.
§18 I appointed to women to bring their infants to birth in the tenth month.
§19 I ordained that parents should be loved by children.
§20 I laid punishment upon those disposed without natural affection toward their parents.
§21 I made with my brother Osiris an end to the eating of men.
§22 I revealed mysteries unto men.
§23 I taught [men] to honor images of the gods.
§24 I consecrated the precincts of the gods.
§25 I broke down the governments of tyrants.
§26 I made an end to murders.
§27 I compelled women to be loved by men.
§28 I made the right to be stronger than gold and silver.
§29 I ordained that the true should be thought good.
§30 I devised marriage contracts.
§31 I assigned to Greeks and barbarians their languages.
§32 I made the beautiful and the shameful to be distinguished by nature.
§33 I ordained that nothing should be more feared than an oath.
§34 I have delivered the plotter of evil against other men into the hands of the one he plotted against.
§35 I established penalties for those who practice injustice.
§36 I decreed mercy to suppliants.
§37 I protect [or honor] righteous guards.
§38 With me the right prevails.
§39 I am the Queen of rivers and winds and sea.
§40 No one is held in honor without my knowing it.
§41 I am the Queen of war.
§42 I am the Queen of the thunderbolt.
§43 I stir up the sea and I calm it.
§44 I am in the rays of the sun.
§45 I inspect the courses of the sun.
§46 Whatever I please, this too shall come to an end.
§47 With me everything is reasonable.
§48 I set free those in bonds.
§49 I am the Queen of seamanship.
§50 I make navigable unnavigable when it pleases me.
§51 I created the walls of cities.
§52 I am called the Lawgiver [Thesmophoros, a classical epithet of Demeter].
§53 I brought up islands out of the depths into the light.
§54 I am Lord [note masculine form] of rainstorms.
§55 I overcome Fate.
§56 Fate harkens to me.
§57 Hail, O Egypt, that nourished me!
I don't understand §54: "I am Lord [note masculine form] of rainstorms." The Greek (see below) has κυρία, a feminine form, translated by Grant as "Queen" elsewhere.

There are other translations in Stanley M. Burstein, The Hellenistic Age from the Battle of Ipsos to the Death of Kleopatra VII (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985 = Translated Documents of Greece and Rome, 3), pp. 146-148, and Mary Beard et al., Religions of Rome, Vol. 2: A Sourcebook (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998; rpt. 2003), pp. 297-298.

The inscription was first published in A. Salač, "Inscriptions de Kymé d'Éolide, de Phocée de Tralles et de quelques autres villes d'Asie Mineure," Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique 51 (1927) 374-400 (at 378-383). I don't have access to Helmut Engelmann, ed., Die Inschriften von Kyme (Bonn: Rudolf Habelt, 1976 = Inschriften griechischer Städte aus Kleinasien, 5), where the inscription is number 41. Here is the Greek from The Packard Humanities Institute, Searchable Greek Inscriptions (material in curly brackets omitted):
§1 Δημήτριος Ἀρτεμιδώρου ὁ καὶ Θρασέας Μάγνη[ς] ἀπὸ Μαιάνδρου Ἴσιδι εὐχήν·
§2 τάδε ἐγράφηι ἐκ τῆς στήλης τῆς ἐν Μέμφει, ἥτις ἕστηκεν πρὸς τῷ Ἡφαιστιήωι·
§3a Εἶσις ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ τύραννος πάσης χώρας·
§3b καὶ ἐπαιδεύθην ὑπ[ὸ] Ἑρμοῦ καὶ
§3c γράμματα εὗρον μετὰ Ἑρμοῦ, τά τε ἱερὰ καὶ τὰ δημόσια γράμματα, ἵνα μὴ ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς πάντα γράφηται.
§4 ἐγὼ νόμους ἀνθρώποις ἐθέμην, καὶ ἐνομοθέτησα ἃ οὐθεὶς δύναται μεταθεῖναι.
§5 ἐγώ εἰμι Κρόνου θυγάτηρ πρεσβυτάτηι.
§6 ἐγώ εἰμι γ[υ]νὴ καὶ ἀδελφὴ Ὀσείριδος βασιλέως.
§7 ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ καρπὸν ἀνθρώποις εὑροῦσα.
§8 ἐγώ εἰμι μήτηρ Ὥρου βασιλέως.
§9 ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἐν τῷ τοῦ Κυνὸς ἄστρῳ ἐπιτέλλουσα.
§10 ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ παρὰ γυναιξὶ θεὸς καλουμένη.
§11 ἐμοὶ Βούβαστος πόλις ᾠκοδομήθη.
§12 ἐγὼ ἐχώρισα γῆν ἀπ' οὐρανοῦ.
§13 ἐγὼ ἄστρων ὁδοὺς ἔδειξα.
§14 ἐγὼ ἡλίου καὶ σελήνη[ς] πορέαν συνεταξάμην.
§15 ἐγὼ θαλάσσια ἔργα εὗρον.
§16 ἐγὼ τὸ δίκαιον ἰσχυρὸν ἐποίησα.
§17 ἐγὼ γυναῖκα καὶ ἄνδρα συνήγαγον.
§18 ἐγὼ γυναικὶ δεκαμηνιαῖον βρέφος εἰς φῶς ἐξενεγκεῖν ἔταξα.
§19 ἐγὼ ὑπὸ τέκνου γονεῖς ἐνομοθέτησα φιλοστοργῖσθαι.
§20 ἐγὼ τοῖς ἀστόργ<ω>ς γονεῦσιν διακειμένοις τειμω<ρ>ίαν ἐπέθηκα.
§21 ἐγὼ μετὰ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ Ὀσίριδος τὰς ἀνθρωποφαγίας ἔπαυσα.
§22 ἐγὼ μυήσεις ἀνθρώποις ἐπέδε[ι]ξα.
§23 ἐγὼ ἀγάλματα θεῶν τειμᾶν ἐδίδαξα.
§24 ἐγὼ τεμένη θεῶν ἱδρυσάμην.
§25 ἐγὼ τυράννων ἀρχὰς κατέλυσα.
§26 ἐγὼ φόνους ἔπαυσα.
§27 ἐγὼ στέργεσθαι γυναῖκας ὑπὸ ἀνδρῶν ἠνάγκασα.
§28 ἐγὼ τὸ δίκαιον ἰσχυρότερον χρυσίου καὶ ἀργυρίου ἐποίησα.
§29 ἐγὼ τὸ ἀληθὲς καλὸν ἐνομο[θέ]τησα νομίζε[σ]θαι.
§30 ἐγὼ συνγραφὰς γαμικὰς εὗρον.
§31 ἐγὼ διαλέκτους Ἕλλησι καὶ βαρβάροις ἔταξα.
§32 ἐγὼ τὸ καλὸν καὶ αἰσχρὸ[ν] διαγεινώσκεσθαι ὑπὸ τῆς Φύσεως ἐποίησα.
§33 ἐγὼ ὅρκου φοβερώτερον οὐθὲν ἐποίησα.
§34 ἐγὼ τὸν ἀδίκως ἐπιβουλεύοντα ἄλλοις ὑποχείριον τῷ ἐπιβου[λ]ευομένῳ παρέδωκα.
§35 ἐγὼ τοῖς ἄδικα πράσσουσιν τειμωρίαν ἐπιτίθημι.
§36 ἐγὼ ἱκέτας ἐλεᾶν ἐνομοθ[έ]τησα.
§37 ἐγὼ τοὺς δικαίως ἀμυνομένους τειμῶ.
§38 πὰρ' ἐμοὶ τὸ δίκαιον ἰσχύει.
§39 ἐγὼ ποταμῶν καὶ ἀνέμων [κ]αὶ θαλάσσης εἰμὶ κυρία.
§40 οὐθεὶς δοξάζεται ἄνευ τῆς ἐμῆς γνώμης.
§41 ἐγώ εἰμι πολέμου κυρία.
§42 ἐγὼ κεραυνοῦ κυρία εἰμί.
§43 ἐγὼ πραΰνω καὶ κυμαίνω θάλασσαν.
§44 ἐγὼ ἐν ταῖς τοῦ ἡλίου αὐγαῖς εἰμί.
§45 ἐγὼ παρεδρεύω τῇ τοῦ ἡλίου πορείᾳ.
§46 ὃ ἂν ἐμοὶ δόξῃ, τοῦτο καὶ τελεῖτα[ι].
§47 ἐμοὶ πάντ' ἐπείκει.
§48 ἐγὼ τοὺς ἐν δεσμοῖς λύωι.
§49 ἐγὼ ναυτιλίας εἰμὶ κυρία.
§50 ἐγὼ τὰ πλωτὰ ἄπλωτα ποι[ῶ ὅ]ταν ἐμοὶ δόξῃ.
§51 ἐγὼ περιβόλους πόλεων ἔκτισα.
§52 ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ Θεσμοφόρος καλουμένη.
§53 ἐγὼ ν<ή>σσους ἐγ β[υθ]ῶν εἰς φῶ<ς> ἀνήγαγον.
§54 ἐγὼ ὄμβρων εἰμὶ κυρία.
§55 ἐγὼ τὸ ἱμαρμένον νικῶ.
§56 ἐμοῦ τὸ εἱμαρμένον ἀκούει.
§57 χαῖρε Αἴγυπτε θρέψασά με.
The bibliography is voluminous. I've looked at the following:

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