Plutarch’s Moralia

(375)ἴσχον καὶ κωλῦον ἵεσθαι καὶ ἰέναι κακίαν ἀπορίαν δειλίαν ἀνίαν προσαγορεύοντας.1

61. Ὁ δ᾿ Ὄσιρις ἐκ τοῦ ὁσίου καὶ2 ἱεροῦ τοὔνομα μεμειγμένον ἔσχηκε· κοινὸς γάρ ἐστι τῶν ἐν οὐρανῷ Eκαὶ τῶν ἐν Ἅιδου λόγος· ὧν τὰ μὲν ἱερὰ τὰ δ᾿ ὅσια τοῖς παλαιοῖς ἔθος3 ἦν προσαγορεύειν. ὁ δ᾿ ἀναφαίνων τὰ οὐράνια καὶ τῶν ἄνω φερομένων λόγος Ἄνουβις,4 ἔστι δ᾿ ὅτε καὶ Ἑρμάνουβις ὀνομάζεται, τὸ μὲν ὡς τοῖς ἄνω τὸ δ᾿ ὡς τοῖς κάτω προσήκων. διὸ καὶ θύουσιν αὐτῷ τὸ μὲν λευκὸν ἀλεκτρυόνα, τὸ δὲ5 κροκίαν, τὰ μὲν εἰλικρινῆ καὶ φανά, τὰ δὲ μεικτὰ καὶ ποικίλα νομίζοντες.

Οὐ δεῖ δὲ θαυμάζειν τῶν ὀνομάτων τὴν εἰς τὸ Ἑλληνικὸν ἀνάπλασιν· καὶ γὰρ ἄλλα μυρία τοῖς μεθισταμένοις ἐκ τῆς Ἑλλάδος συνεκπεσόντα μέχρι Fνῦν παραμένει καὶ ξενιτεύει παρ᾿ ἑτέροις, ὧν ἔνια τὴν ποιητικὴν ἀνακαλουμένην διαβάλλουσιν ὡς βαρβαρίζουσαν οἱ γλώττας τὰ τοιαῦτα6 προσαγορεύοντες. ἐν δὲ ταῖς Ἑρμοῦ λεγομέναις βίβλοις ἱστοροῦσι γεγράφθαι περὶ τῶν ἱερῶν ὀνομάτων, ὅτι τὴν μὲν ἐπὶ τῆς τοῦ ἡλίου περιφορᾶς τεταγμένην δύναμιν Ὧρον, Ἕλληνες δ᾿ Ἀπόλλωνα καλοῦσι· τὴν δ᾿ ἐπὶ τοῦ πνεύματος οἱ μὲν Ὄσιριν, οἱ δὲ


Isis And Osiris

Nature from hasting and going they called baseness, or “ill-going” (kak-ia), and helplessness or “difficulty of going” (apor-ia), and cowardice or “fear of going (deil-ia), and distress or “not going” (an-ia).a

61. Osiris has a name made up from “holy” (hosion) and “sacred” (hieron)b; for he is the combined relation of the things in the heavens and in the lower world, the former of which it was customary for people of olden time to call sacred and the latter to call holy. But the relation which discloses the things in the heavens and belongs to the things which tend upward is sometimes named Anubis and sometimes Hermanubisc as belonging in part to the things above and in part to the things below.d For this reason they sacrifice to him on the one hand a white cock and on the other hand one of saffron colour, regarding the former things as simple and clear, and the others as combined and variable.

There is no occasion to be surprised at the revamping of these words into Greek.e The fact is that countless other words went forth in company with those who migrated from Greece, and persist even to this day as strangers in strange lands; and, when the poetic art would recall some of these into use, those who speak of such words as strange or unusual falsely accuse it of using barbarisms. Moreover, they record that in the so-called books of Hermes it is written in regard to the sacred names that they call the power which is assigned to direct the revolution of the Sun Horus, but the Greeks call it Apollo; and the power assigned to the wind some call Osiris and others

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plutarch-moralia_isis_osiris.1936