XLIV

[FIFTH EXPLANATION OF THE STORY.]

[§ XLIV. The philosophers say that the story is nothing but an enigmatical description of the phenomena of Eclipses. In § XLV. Plutarch discusses the five explanations which he has described, and begins to state his own views about them. It must be concluded, he says, that none of these explanations taken by itself contains the true explanation of the foregoing history, though all of them together do. Typhon means every phase of Nature which is hurtful and destructive, not only drought, darkness, the sea, &c. It is impossible

p. 247

that any one cause, be it bad or even good, should be the common principle of all things. There must be two opposite and quite different and distinct Principles. In § XLVI. Plutarch compares this view with the Magian belief in Ormazd and Ahriman, the former springing from light (§ XLVII.), and the latter from darkness. Ormazd made six good gods, and Ahriman six of a quite contrary nature. Ormazd increased his own bulk three times, and adorned the heaven with stars, making the Sun to be the guard of the other stars. He then created twenty-four other gods, and placed them in an egg, and Ahriman also created twenty-four gods; the latter bored a hole in the shell of the egg and effected an entrance into it, and thus good and evil became mixed together. In § XLVIII. Plutarch quotes Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Aristotle, and Plato in support of his hypothesis of the Two Principles, and refers to Plato's Third Principle. § XLIX. Osiris represents the good qualities of the universal Soul, and Typhon the bad; Bebo 1 is a malignant being like Typhon, with whom Manetho identifies him. § L. The ass, crocodile, and hippopotamus are all associated with Typhon; in the form of a crocodile Typhon escaped from Horus. 2

p. 248

The cakes offered on the seventh day of the month Tybi have a hippopotamus stamped on them. § LI. Osiris symbolizes wisdom and power, and Typhon all that is malignant and bad.]

The remaining sections contain a long series of fanciful statements by Plutarch concerning the religion and manners and customs of the Egyptians, of which the Egyptian texts now available give no proofs.


Footnotes

246:1 Marked in the papyrus Sallier IV. as a particularly unlucky day.

247:1 In Egyptian, BEBI, or BABA, or BABAI, he was the first-born Son of Osiris.

247:2 See the Legend of Heru-Behutet, p. 67.





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