Manetho, An Epitome of Physical Doctrines

LCL 350: 196-197

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On Ancient Ritual and Religion


Fr. 82. Diogenes Laertius, Prooem, § 10 (Hicks, L.C.L.).

Θεοὺς δ᾿ εἶναι ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην· τὸν μὲν Ὄσιριν, τὴν δ᾿ Ἶσιν καλουμένην. αἰνίττεσθαί τε αὐτοὺς διά τε κανθάρου καὶ δράκοντος καὶ ἱέρακος καὶ ἄλλων, ὥς φησι Μανεθὼς ἐν τῇ τῶν Φυσικῶν Ἐπιτομῇ.

Fr. 83. Eusebius, Praepar. Evang., III, 2, p. 87 d (Gifford).

Τὴν Ἶσίν φασι καὶ τὸν Ὄσιριν τὸν ἥλιον καὶ τὴν σελήνην εἶναι, καὶ Δία μὲν τὸ διὰ πάντων χωροῦν πνεῦμα, Ἥφαιστον δὲ τὸ πῦρ, τὴν δὲ γῆν Δήμητραν ἐπονομάσαι· Ὠκεανόν τε τὸ ὑγρὸν ὀνομάζεσθαι παρ᾿ Αἰγυπτίοις καὶ τὸν παρ᾿ αὐτοῖς ποταμὸν Νεῖλον, ᾧ καὶ τὰς τῶν θεῶν ἀναθεῖναι γενέσεις· τὸν δὲ ἀέρα φασὶν αὐτοὺς προσαγορεύειν Ἀθηνᾶν. τούτους δὲ τοὺς πέντε θεούς, τὸν Ἀέρα λέγω καὶ τὸ Ὕδωρ τό τε Πῦρ καὶ τὴν Γῆν καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα, τὴν πᾶσαν οἰκουμένην ἐπιπορεύεσθαι, ἄλλοτε ἄλλως εἰς μορφὰς καὶ ἰδέας ἀνθρώπων τε καὶ παντοίων ζῴων σχηματιζομένους· καὶ τούτων ὁμωνύμους παρ᾿ αὐτοῖς Αἰγυπτίοις γεγονέναι θνητοὺς ἀνθρώπους, Ἥλιον


on Ancient Ritual and Religion

An Epitome of Physical Doctrines.

Fr. 82 (from Diogenes Laertius).

The Egyptians hold the Sun and the Moon to be gods, the former being named Osiris, the latter Isis. They refer darkly to them under the symbols of beetle, serpent, hawk, and other creatures, as Manetho says in his Epitome of Physical Doctrines.

Fr. 83 (from Eusebius).

The Egyptians say that Isis and Osiris are the Moon and the Sun; that Zeus is the name which they gave to the all-pervading spirit, Hephaestus to fire, and Demeter to earth. Among the Egyptians the moist element is named Ocean and their own River Nile; and to him they ascribed the origin of the Gods.1 To Air, again, they give, it is said, the name of Athena. Now these five deities,—I mean Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and Spirit,—traverse the whole world, transforming themselves at different times into different shapes and semblances of men and creatures of all kinds. In Egypt itself there have also been born mortal men of the same names as these deities:

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.manetho-epitome_physical_doctrines.1940