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Mythology (35)

Historic figures


Aegyptus (Aiguptos), a son of Belus and Anchinoe or Achiroe, and twin-brother of Danaus (Apollod. ii. l.4; Tzetz. ad Lycophr. 382, 1155). Euripides represented Cepheus and Phineus likewise as brothers of Aegyptus. Belus assigned to Danaus the sovereignty of Libya, and to Aegyptus he gave Arabia. The latter also subdued the country of the Melampodes, which he called Aegypt after his own name. Aegyptus by his several wives had fifty sons, and it so happened that his brother Danaus had just as many daughters (Apollod. ii. 1.5; Hygin. Fab. 170). Danaus had reason to fear the sons of his brother, and fled with his daughters to Argos in Peloponnesus. Thither he was followed by the sons of Aegyptus, who demanded his daughters for their wives and promised faithful alliance. Danaus complied with their request, and distributed his daughters among them, but to each of them he gave a dagger, with which they were to kill their husbands in the bridal night. All the sons of Aegyptus were thus murdered with the exception of Lynceus, who was saved by Hypermnestra. The Danaids buried the heads of their murdered husbands in Lerna, and their bodies outside the town, and were afterwards purified of their crime by Athena and Hermes at the command of Zeus. Pausanias (ii. 24.3), who saw the monument under which the heads of the sons of Aegyptus were believed to be buried, says that it stood on the way to Larissa, the citadel of Argos, and that their bodies were buried at Lerna. In Hyginus (Fath. 168) the story is somewhat different. According to him, Aegyptus formed the plan of murdering Danaus and his daughters in order to gain possession of his dominions. When Danaus was informed of this he fled with his daughters to Argos. Aegyptus then sent out his sons in pursuit of the fugitives, and enjoined them not to return unless they had slain Danaus. The sons of Aegyptus laid siege to Argos, and when Danaus saw that further resistance was useless, he put an end to the hostilities by giving to each of the besiegers one of his daughters. The murder of the sons of Aegyptus then took place in the bridal night. There was a tradition at Patrae in Achaia, according to which Aegyptus himself came to Greece, and died at Aroe with grief for the fate of his sons. The temple of Serapis at Patrae contained a monument of Aegyptus (Paus. vii. 21.6).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Sep 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Aegyptus. Son of Belus and twinbrother of Danaus, who subdued the land of the Melampodes, and named it after himself. Ignorant of the fate of his fifty sons, he came to Argos and there died of grief at their death; another account represents his only surviving son as reconciling him to his brother.

Gods & demigods


Ammon, originally an Aethiopian or Libyan divinity, whose worship subsequently spread all over Egypt, a part of the northern coast of Africa, and many parts of Greece. The real Egyptian name was Amun or Ammun (Herod. ii. 42; Plut. de Is. et Os. 9); the Greeks called him Zeus Ammon, the Romans Jupiter Ammon, and the Hebrews Amon. That in the countries where his worship was first established he was revered in certain respects as the supreme divinity, is clear from the fact, that the Greeks recognised in him their own Zeus, although the identity of the two gods in later times rests upon philosophical speculations, made at a period when the original character of Ammon was almost lost sight of, and a more spiritual view of him substituted in its place.
  The most ancient seat of his worship appears to have been Meroe, where he had a much revered oracle (Herod. ii. 29); thence it was introduced into Egypt, where the worship took the firmest root at Thebes in Upper Egypt, which was therefore frequently called by the Greeks Diospolis, or the city of Zeus (Herod. ii. 42; Diod. i. 15). Another famous seat of the god, with a celebrated oracle, was in the oasis of Ammonium (Siwah) in the Libyan desert; the worship was also established in Cyrenaica (Paus. x. 13.3). The god was represented either in the form of a ram, or as a human being with the head of a ram; but there are some representations in which he appears altogether as a human being with only the horns of a ram. Tertullian (de Pall. 3) calls him dives ovium. If we take all these circumstances into consideration, it seems clear that the original idea of Ammon was that of a protector and leader of the flocks. The Aethiopians were a nomadic people, flocks of sheep constituted their principal wealth, and it is perfectly in accordance with the notions of the Aethiopians as well as Egyptians to worship the animal which is the leader and protector of the flock. This view is supported by various stories about Ammon. Hyginus (Poet. Astr. i. 20) whose account is only a rationalistic interpretation of the origin of the god's worship, relates that some African of the name of Ammon brought to Liber, who was then in possession of Egypt, a large quantity of cattle In return for this, Liber gave him a piece of land near Thebes, and in commemoration of the benefits he had conferred upon the god, he was represented as a human being with horns. What Pausanias (iv.23.5) and Eustathius (ad Dionys. Perieg. 212) remark, as well as one of the many etymologies of the name of Ammon from the Egyptian word Amoni, which signifies a shepherd, or to feed, likewise accord with the opinion that Ammon was originally the leader and protector of flocks. Herodotus relates a story to account for the ram's head (ii. 42): Heracles wanted to see Zeus, but the latter wished to avoid the interview; when, however, Heracles at last had recourse to entreaties, Zeus contrived the following expedient : he cut off the head of a ram, and holding this before his own head, and having covered the remaining part of his body with the skin of the ram, he appeared before Heracles. Hence, Herodotus adds, the Thebans never sacrifice rams except once a year, and on this one occasion they kill and flay a ram, and with its skin they dress the statue of Zeus (Ammon); by the side of this statue they then place that of Heracles. A similar account mentioned by Servius (ad Aen. iv. 196) may serve as a commentary upon Herodotus. When Bacchus, or according to others, Heracles, went to India and led his army through the deserts of Libya, he was at last quite exhausted with thirst, and invoked his father, Jupiter. Hereupon a ram appeared, which led Heracles to a place where it opened a spring in the sand by scraping with its foot. For this reason, says Servius, Jupiter Ammon, whose name is derived from ammos (sand), is represented with the horns of a ram.There are several other traditions, with various modifications arising from the time and place of their origin; but all agree in representing the ram as the guide and deliverer of the wandering herds or herdsmen in the deserts, either in a direct way, or by giving oracles. Ammon, therefore, who is identical with the ram, is the guide and protector of man and of all his possessions ; he stands in the same relation to mankind as the common ram to his flock.
  The introduction of the worship of Ammon from Aethiopia into Egypt was symbolically represented in a ceremony which was performed at Thebes once in every year. On a certain day, the image of the god was carried across the river Nile into Libya, and after some days it was brought back, as if the god had arrived from Aethiopia (Diod. i. 97). The same account is given by Eustathius (ad Hom. Il. v.), though in a somewhat different form ; for he relates, that according to some, the Aethiopians used to fetch the images of Zeus and other gods from the great temple of Zeus at Thebes. With these images they went about, at a certain period, in Libya, celebrated a splendid festival for twelve days--for this, he adds, is the number of the gods they worship. This number twelve contains an allusion to the number of signs in the zodiac, of which the ram (caper) is one. Thus we arrive at the second phasis in the character of Ammon, who is here conceived as the sun in the sign of Caper (Zeus disguised in the skin of a ran. See Hygin. Fab. 133, Poet. Astr. i. 20; Macrob. Sat. i. 21. 18; Aelian, V. H. x. 18). This astronomical character of Ammon is of later origin, and perhaps not older than the sixth century before Christ. The speculating Greeks of still later times assigned to Ammon a more spiritual nature. Thus Diodorus, though in a passage (iii. 68, &c.) he makes Ammon a king of Libya, describes him (i. 11, &c.) as the spirit pervading the universe, and as the author of all life in nature. The new Platonists perceived in Ammon their demiurgos, that is, the creator and preserver of the world. As this subject belongs more especially to the mythology of Egypt, we cannot here enter into a detailed discussion about the nature and character which the later Greeks assigned to him, or his connexion with Dionysus and Heracles.
  The worship of Ammon was introduced into Greece at an early period, probably through the medium of the Greek colony in Cyrene, which must have formed a connexion with the great oracle of Ammon in the Oasis soon after its establishment. Ammnon had a temple and a statue, the gift of Pindar, at Thebes (Paus. ix. 16.1), and another at Sparta, the inhabitants of which, as Pausanias (iii. 18.2) says, consulted the oracle of Ammon in Libya from early times more than the other Greeks. At Aphytis, Ammon was worshipped, from the time of Lysander, as zealously as in Ammonium. Pindar the poet honoured the god with a hymn. At Megalopolis the god was represented with the head of a ram (Paus. viii. 32.1), and the Greeks of Cyrenaica dedicated at Delphi a chariot with a statue of Ammmon (x. 13.3). The homage which Alexander paid to the god in the Oasis is well known.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Ammon or Hammon (Egyptian Amun, the hidden or veiled one). A god native to Libya and Upper Egypt. He was represented sometimes in the shape of a ram with enormous curving horns, sometimes in that of a ram-headed man, sometimes as a perfect man standing up or sitting on a throne. On his head were the royal emblems, with two high feathers standing up, the symbols of sovereignty over the upper and under worlds; in his hands were the sceptre and the sign of life. In works of art his figure is coloured blue. Beside him is usually placed Muth (the "mother," the "queen of darkness," as the inscriptions call her), wearing the crown of Upper Egypt or the vulture-skin. His chief temple, with a far-famed oracle, stood in an oasis of the Libyan desert, twelve days' journey from Memphis. Between this oracle and that of Zeus at Dodona a connection is said to have existed from very ancient times, so that the Greeks early identified the Egyptian god with their own Zeus, as the Romans did afterwards with their Iupiter; and his worship found an entrance at several places in Greece--at Sparta, Thebes, and also Athens--whence festal embassies were regularly sent to the Libyan sanctuary. When the oracle was consulted by visitors, the god's symbol, made of emerald and other stones, was carried round by women and girls, to the sound of hymns, on a golden ship hung round with votive cups of silver. His replies were given in tremulous shocks communicated to the bearers, which were interpreted by a priest.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Ammon (Egyptian Amun or Amen, “the hidden one”. Hebrew Amon, Greek Ammon).
  The supreme divinity of the Egyptian pantheon. He was originally only the chief god of the city of Thebes, but later his worship became predominant in Egypt and extended even to Lybia and Ethiopia. Thebes, however, always remained the centre of his worship, whence it was called Ne amun, “the city of Amun”.
  Ammon was worshipped under several names with different attributes. As Ammon-Ra, he was the sun god, with his chief temple at Thebes; as Khem or Min, he was the god of reproduction; as Khnum, he was the creator of all things, “the maker of gods and men”. In the latter character he was represented with the head of a ram, the animal sacred to him, or simply with ram's horns; under this form Ammon was best known to classical writers, who always attribute horns to him.
  The chief temple of Khnum was in the oasis of Ammon (now Siwah), where Alexander the Great worshipped him. The Greeks and Romans identified Ammon with Zeus or Jupiter (Zeus Ammon, Jupiter Ammon), whence the name Diospolis, City of Zeus, given to Thebes by the Greeks.

F. Bechtel, ed.
Transcribed by: Annie Amos
This text is cited June 2003 from The Catholic Encyclopedia, New Advent online edition URL below.

Ammon: Greek name of an Egyptian oracle god. Ammon became famous because Alexander the Great claimed to be his son.
  The oracle was situated in the Siwa oasis, some 500 kilometers west of Memphis, the capital of Egypt. Originally, this was the place where the Libyan desert tribes worshiped a god who had the shape of a ram. He may have been related to Baal Hammon, a god venerated by the Semitic peoples (e.g., the Phoenicians and Carthaginians).
  The cult was taken over by the Egyptians, who identified the god with their supreme god Amun; they called god of the oracle 'Amun of Siwa, lord of good counsel'. The first pharaoh said to have sacrificed to this god was Bocchoris (718-712), but the report, which was written in the second century CE by the Roman author Tacitus, is late and is belongs to a rather suspect text; as a consequence, we can not be certain that it is true. It is quoted here.
  A new shrine was dedicated to the desert god by pharaoh Amasis (570-526). This was probably a political act, intended to gain support from the Libyan tribes who had played a role during the accession of Amasis. The building has been excavated and is remarkable because it does not look like an Egyptian temple. The cult seems to have remained Libyan in character, something that is more or less confirmed by the fact that the local ruler is not depicted as Amasis' subject but his equal.
  In the fifth century, the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus stated in his Histories that the Lydian king Croesus (560-546) offered sacrifices to Ammon. It is possible that Herodotus is right; after all, Croesus was allied to Amasis.
  The first Greeks to visit the shrine were people from Cyrenaica. They called the god Zeus Ammon. Actually, Ammon is a bad rendering of Amun, but the name was nonetheless very fitting: ammos was the Greek word for 'sand' - in other words, the Greeks called the god Sandy Zeus. His cult spread to the Greek world, and was especially propagated by the poet Pindar (522-445), who was the first Greek to dedicate an ode to the god and one of the first Greeks to erect a statue to the god.
  One of the new centers of this cult was Athens, where a temple was built in the harbor of Piraeus. The Athenian commander Cimon visited Siwa in the 460s, and shortly before the Athenians invaded Sicily, they sent an embassy to consult the oracle in the Libyan desert.
  Another center was the Macedonian town Aphythis, where the young Macedonian crown prince Alexander must have seen the statue. When he had become king, he visited Siwa (February 331). According to Arrian, Alexander did this because he wanted to imitate his legendary ancestors Perseus and Heracles. This is an odd couple: Perseus never played a role in Alexander's propaganda. However, since the fifth century, Perseus was regarded as the ancestor of the Achaemenids, the Persian royal house; and everybody knew that the Macedonian kings descended from Heracles. Following in the footsteps of Heracles and Perseus was therefore, in a sense, a religious preliminary to the conquest of the Achaemenid empire.
  It is possible that Alexander had already started to venerate Ammon, because during the sack of the Greek town of Thebes, he ordered that the house of Pindar had to be spared. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Alexander worshipped the ram-god before he visited Siwa.
  However this may be, the result was important: Alexander was greeted as Ammon's son, and started to believe that he was a demi-god indeed. According to an admittedly hostile source, Ephippus of Olynthus, Alexander sometimes wore the horns of his divine father Ammon on public occasions. We can not establish the truth of this story, but it is certain that immediately after his death, he was depicted in this fashion.   In the Zoroastrian tradition, Alexander was considered to be an associate of the evil spirit, the eternal rival of the Persian supreme god Ahuramazda. Ever since, the devil is depicted with ram's legs and horns. Hammon of Lechenich (Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn)   Another famous visitor was the Carthaginian general Hannibal, who received the oracle that he would be buried at Libyssa, which Hannibal knew to be a town in Africa. However, it turned out that there was a town in Bithynia with the same name, and this was indeed Hannibal's burial place.
  In the Roman age, the oracle was forgotten, but the god, now known as Jupiter-Hammon, was still extremely popular. The emperor Augustus used images of the god in the forum he dedicated to Mars the Avenger in Rome, and the soldiers of the Third legion Cyrenaica were especially fond of Ammon. The cult had now spread as far as the Rhineland, far away from the god's Egyptian place of birth. This can be illustratrated by the bust of Ammon, which was discovered at Lechenich near Bonn in Germany.

Jona Lendering, ed.
This text is cited July 2003 from the Livius Ancient History Website URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.


Anubis (Anoubis), an Egyptian divinity, worshipped in the form of a dog, or of a human being with a dog's head. In the worship of this divinity several phases must be distinguished, as in the case of Ammon. It was in all probability originally a fetish, and the object of the worship of the dog, the representative of that useful species of animals. Subsequently it was mixed up and combined with other religious systems, and Anubis assumed a symbolical or astronomical character, at least in the minds of the learned. The worship of dogs in Egypt is sufficiently attested by Herodotus (ii. 66), and there are traces of its having been known in Greece at an early period; for a law ascribed to the mythical Rhadamanthys of Crete commanded, that men should not swear by the gods, but by a goose, a dog, or a ram (Eustath. ad Odyss.). The fact that Socrates used to swear by a dog is so well known, that we scarcely need mention it (Athen vii.; Porphyr. de Abstin. iii.). It is however a remarkable fact, that, notwithstanding this, the name of Anubis is not expressly mentioned by any writer previous to the age of Augustus; but after that time, it frequently occurs both in Greek and Roman authors (Ov. Met. ix. 690, Amor. ii. 13. 11; Propert. iii. 9. 41; Virg. Aen. viii. 698; Juven. xv. 8; Lucian, Jup. trag. 8, Concil. Deor. 10, 11, Toxar, 28). Several of the passages here referred to attest the importance of the worship of this divinity, and Strabo expressly states, that the dog was worshipped throughout Egypt; but the principal and perhaps the original seat of the worship appears to have been in the nomos of Cynopolis in middle Egypt (Strab.). In the stories about Anubis which have come down to us, as well as in the explanations of his nature, the original character -that of a fetish- is lost sight of, probably because the philosophical spirit of later times wanted to find something higher and loftier in the worship of Anubis than it originally was. According to the rationalistic view of Diodorus (i. 18), Anubis was the son of king Osiris, who accompanied his father on his expeditions, and was covered with the skin of a dog. For this reason he was represented as a human being with the head of a dog. In another passage (i. 87) the same writer explains this monstrous figure by saying, that Anubis performed to Osiris and Isis the service of a guard, which is performed to men by dogs. He mentions a third account, which has more the appearance of a genuine mythus. When Isis, it is said, sought Osiris, she was preceded and guided by dogs, which defended and protected her, and expressed their desire to assist her by barking. For this reason the procession at the festival of Isis was preceded by dogs. According to Plutarch (Is. et Os.) Anubis was a son of Osiris, whom he begot by Nephthys in the belief that she was his wife Isis. After the death of Osiris, Isis sought the child, brought him up, and made him her guard and companion under the name of Anubis, who thus performed to her the same service that dogs perform to men. An interpretation of this mythus, derived from the physical nature of Egypt, is given by Plutarch. (Is. et Os. 38.) Osiris according to him is the Nile, and Isis the country of Egypt so far as it is usually fructified by the river. The districts at the extremities of the country are Nephthys, and Anubis accordingly is the son of the Nile, which by its inundation has fructified a distant part of the country. But this only explains the origin of the god, without giving any definite idea of him. In another passage (l. c. 40) Plutarch says, that Nephthys signified everything which was under the earth and invisible, and Isis everything which was above it and visible. Now the circle or hemisphere which is in contact with each, which unites the two, and which we call the horizon, is called Anubis, and is represented in the form of a dog, because this animal sees by night as well as by day. Anubis in this account is raised to the rank of a deity of astronomical import (Clem. Alex. Strom.v.). In the temples of Egypt be seems always to have been represented as the guard of other gods, and the place in the front of a temple (dromos) was particularly sacred to him (Strab. xvii.; Stat. Sylv. iii. 2. 112).
  We only add a few remarks respecting the notions of the Greeks and Romans about Anubis, and his worship among them. The Greeks identified the Egyptian Anubis with their own Hermes (Plut. Ibid. 11), and thus speak of Hermanuphis in the same manner as of Zeus Ammon (Plut. 61). His worship seems to have been introduced at Rome towards the end of the republic, as may be inferred from the manner in which Appian (Bell. Civ. iv. 47; comp. Val. Max. vii. 3. Β 8) describes the escape of the aedile M. Volusius. Under the empire the worship of Anubis became very widely spread both in Greece and at Rome.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hermanubis, (Hermanoubis), a son of Osiris and Nephthys, was represented as a human being with a dog's head, and regarded as the symbol of the Egyptian priesthood, engaged in the investigation of truth. (Plut. de Is. et Os. 61; Diod. i. 18, 87.)


Horus, (Horos), the Egyptian god of the sun, whose worship was established very extensively in Greece, and afterwards even at Rome, although Greek astronomy and mystic philosophy greatly modified the original idea of Horus. He was compared with the Greek Apollo, and identified with Harpocrates, the last-born and weakly son of Osiris. (Plut. de Is. et Os. 19.) Both were represented as youths, and with the same attributes and symbols. (Artemid. Oneir. ii. 36; Macrob. Sat. i. 23; Porphyr. ap. Euseb. Praep. Exang. v. 10; Iamblich. de Myster. vii. 2.) He was believed to have been born with his finger on his mouth, as indicative of secrecy and mystery; and the idea of something mysterious in general was connected with the worship of Horus-Harpocrates; the mystic philosophers of later times therefore found in him a most welcome subject to speculate upon. In the earlier period of his worship at Rome he seems to have been particularly regarded as the god of quiet life and silence (Varr. (Varr. de L. L. iv., Bip. ; Ov. Met. ix. 691; Auson. Epist. ad Paul. xxv. 27), and at one time the senate forbade his worship at Rome, probably on account of excesses committed at the mysterious festivals; but the suppression was not permanent. His identification with Apollo is as old as the time of Herodotus (ii. 144, 156; comp. the detailed mythuses in Diod. i. 25, &c.; Plut. de Is. et Os. 12, &c.) The god acts a prominent part also in the mystic works attributed Hermes Trismegistus; but we cannot enter here into an examination of the nature of this Egyptian divinity, and refer the reader to Jablonsky, Panth. Acgypt. i.; Bunsen, Aegyptens Stelle in der Weltgesch. vol. i., and other works on Egyptian mythology.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Isis, one of the principal Egyptian divinities. The ideas entertained about her and her worship underwent the greatest changes and modifications in antiquity. She is described as the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus. As Osiris, the [p. 631] god of the Nile, taught the people the use of the plough, so Isis invented the cultivation of wheat and barley, which were carried about in the processions at her festival. (Diod. i. 14, 27, v. 69, &c.). She was the goddess of the earth, which the Egyptians called their mother (Diod. i. 12; Serv. ad Aen. viii. 696; Isid. Orig. viii. 11), whence she and Osiris were the only divinities that were worshipped by all the Egyptians (Herod. ii. 42). Being married to Osiris, Isis is the land fertilised by the Nile (Plut. de Is. et Osir. 32). This simple and primitive notion of the Egyptians was modified at an early period through the influence of the East, with which Egypt came into contact, and at a later time through the influence of the Greeks. Thus Osiris and Isis came gradually to be considered as divinities of the sun and the moon; and while some of the Greeks fabled that the worship of Isis had been introduced into Egypt by Ogyges and his wite Thebe (Schol. ad Aristid. Symb. iii. 128), the Egyptian priests described the principal religious institutions of Greece as derived from Egypt; and after the time of Herodotus, this belief became firmly established in Greece. Hence Isis was identified with Demeter, and Osiris with Dionysus, and the sufferings of Isis were accordingly modified to harmonise with the myths of the unfortunate Demeter. Diodorus, Plutarch, and others, treat the stories about Isis according to the principles of Euhemerus, and represent her, as well as Osiris, as rulers of Egypt: but in these, as well as the mystical accounts of other writers, the original character of Isis may yet be discerned. We cannot enter here into an examination of the development which the worship of Isis underwent in Egypt in the course of centuries, but must confine ourselves to some remarks respecting her worship in Greece, at Rome, and other European parts of the ancient world. Her worship in all parts of Greece is amply attested by express statements of ancient writers and numerous inscriptions. Under the names of Pelagia (the ruler of the sea) and Aegyptia, she had two sanctuaries on the road to Acrocorinthus (Paus. ii. 4. Β 7), and others at Megara (i. 41. Β 4), Phlius (ii. 13. Β 7), Tithorea in Phocis (x. 32. Β 9), Methana and Troezene (ii. 32. Β 6, 34. Β 1), Hermione (ii. 34. Β 10), and Andros (see the hymn to Isis, lately discovered there, in the Class. Mus. vol. i. p. 34, &c.). In the western parts of Europe the worship of Isis became likewise established, and many places in Sicily, Italy, and Gaul, are known to have been the seats of it. According to Appuleius (Met. xi.), it was introduced at Rome in the time of Sulla: at a later time her statue was removed from the capitol by a decree of the senate (Tertull. ad Nation. i. 10, Apolog. 6; Arnob. adv. Gent. ii. 73); but the populace and the consuls Piso and Gabinius, in B. C. 58, resisted the decree. A further decree of B. C. 53 forbade the private worship of Isis, and ordered the chapels dedicated to her to be destroyed. Subsequently, when the worship was restored, her sanctuaries were to be found only outside the pomoerium (Dion Cass. xl. 47). This interference on the part of the government was thought necessary on account of the licentious orgies with which the festivals of the goddess were celebrated. In B. C. 50, the consul, L. Aemilius Paulus himself, was the first to begin the destruction of her temples, as no one else ventured to do so (Val. Max. i. 3. Β 3). But these decrees do not appear to have quite succeeded in destroying the worship of Isis, for in B. C. 47 a new decree was issued to destroy the temple of Isis and Serapis. By a mistake, the adjoining temple of Bellona was likewise pulled down, and in it were found pots filled with human flesh (Dion Cass. xlii. 26). As it had thus become evident that the people were extremely partial to the worship of those foreign divinities, the triumvirs in B. C. 43 courted the popular favour by building a new temple of Isis and Serapis in the third region, and sanctioning their worship (Dion Cass. xlvii. 15). It would appear that after this attempts were made to erect sanctuaries of Isis in the city itself, for Augustus forbade her worship in the city, while outside of it there seem to have been several temples, which were subjected to government inspection (Dion Cass. liii. 2; comp. liv. 6). The interference of the government was afterwards repeatedly required (Tac. Ann. ii. 85; Suet. Tib. 36; Joseph. Ant. Jud. xviii. 3. Β 4; Hegesipp. ii. 4); but from the time of Vespasian the worship of Isis and Serapis became firmly established, and remained in a flourishing condition until the general introduction of Christianity. The most important temple of Isis at Rome stood in the Campus Martius, whence she was called Isis Campensis (Juven. vi. 329; Appul. Met. xi.). An Isium Metellinum is mentioned by Trebellius Pollio (Trig. Tyr. 25); and other temples and chapels of Isis occur in many Latin inscriptions. The priests and servants of the goddess wore linen garments (othonai), whence she herself is called linigera (Ov. Ep. ex Pont. i. 1, 51, Amor. ii. 2, 25; comp. Tac. Hist. iii. 74; Martial, xii. 29, 19 ; Juven. vi. 533). Those initiated in her mysteries wore in the public processions masks representing the heads of dogs (Appian, B. C. iv. 47; Suet. Domit. 1). As a specimen of the manner in which the festival of Isis was celebrated in Greece, the reader may be referred to that of Tithorea, which is described by Pausanias (x. 32), and the naval sacrifice offered to her at Corinth, as described by Appuleius in his Golden Ass. Isis was frequently represented in works of art (Tibull. i. 3, 27; Juven. xii. 28); and in those still extant she usually appears in figure and countenance resembling Hera : she wears a long tunic, and her upper garment is fastened on her breast by a knot: her head is crowned with a lotus flower, and her right hand holds the sistrum. Her son Horus is often represented with her as a fine naked boy. holding the fore-finger on his mouth, with a lotus flower on his head, and a cornucopia in his left hand.
  It should be remarked that Tacitus (Germ. 9) speaks of the worship of Isis among the ancient Germans, but he there applies the name Isis only on account of the analogy existing between the German divinity and the Isis of his own countrymen ; and the German goddess whom he had in view was probably no other than Hertha (Comp. c. 39).

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



First king of Egypt

Queen Nitocris

An Egyptian queen; her revenge for her brother's death

Sesostris (Rameses II)

King of Egypt, his conquests, his monuments, his life attempted by his brother, canals made by him, colossus said to represent.


Perseus Project Index. Total results on 18/7/2001: 61 for Sesostris.


Son of Sesostris


Pheros was succeeded by a man of Memphis, whose name in the Greek tongue was Proteus.

Belus & Anchinoe

The son of Libya, granddaughter of Io and Poseidon, and father of Aegyptus, Danaus, Cepheus, and Phineus, to each of whom the patronymic Belides is applied. The daughters of Danaus are known as Belides.

Achiroe, or according to Apollodorus (ii. 1.4) Anchinoe, which is perhaps a mistake for Anchiroe, was a daughter of Nilus, and the wife of Belus, by whom she became the mother of Aegyptus and Danaus. According to the scholiast on Lycophron (583 and 1161), Ares begot by her a son, Sithon, and according to Hegesippus (ap. Steph. Byz. s. v. Pallene), also two daughters, Pallenaea and Rhoetea, from whom two towns derived their names.


King of Egypt, after Proteus


Cheops. The Greek form of the Egyptian Khufu, a king of Memphis in Egypt, of the Fourth Dynasty (cir. B.C. 3000), and famous as the builder of the largest of the pyramids by the forced labour of the people. He was succeeded by his brother Chephren (Khafra), who built the next largest pyramid.

Cheops, an early king of Egypt, godless and tyrannical, who, according to Herodotus and Diodorus, reigned for fifty years, and built the first and largest pyramid by the compulsory labour of his subjects. Diodorus calls him Chembes or Chemmis. His account agrees with that of Herodotus, except that he supposes seven generations to have intervened between Remphis or Rhampsinitus and Cheops. (Herod. ii. 124-127; Larcher, ad loc.; Diod. i. 63)

Chephren (Cephren)

Cephren (Kephren) is the name, according to Diodorus, of the Egyptian king whom Herodotus calls Chephren. He was the brother and successor of Cheops, whose example of tyranny he followed, and built the second pyramid, smaller than that of Cheops, by the compulsory labour of his subjects. His reign is said to have lasted 56 years. The pyramids, as Diodorus tells us, were meant for the tombs of the royal builders; but the people, groaning under their yoke, threatened to tear up the bodies, and therefore both the kings successively desired their friends to bury them elsewhere in an unmarked grave. In Herodotus it is said that the Egyptians so hated the memory of these brothers, that they called the pyramids, not by their names, but by that of Philition, a shepherd who at that time fed his flocks near the place. We are told by Diodorus that, according to some accounts, Chembes (the Cheops of Herodotus) was succeeded by his son Chabryis, which name is perhaps only another form of Cephren. In the letter in which Synesius, bishop of the African Ptolemais, announces to his brother bishops his sentence of excommunication against Andronicus, the president of Libya, Cephren is classed, as an instance of an atrocious tyrant, with Phalaris and Sennacherib. (Herod. ii. 127, 128; Diod. i. 64; Synes. Epist. 58.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Chephren. A king of Egypt, the brother and successor of Cheops, whose example of tyranny he followed, reigned fifty-six years, and built the second pyramid. The Egyptians so execrated the memory of the two brothers that they called the pyramids not by their names, but by the name of a poor shepherd, Philition, who lived near by.


Son of Kleops


Anysis (Anusis), an ancient king of Egypt, who, according to Herodotus, succeeded Asychis. He was blind, and in his reign Egypt was invaded by the Ethiopians under their king Sabaco, and remained in their possession for fifty years. Anysis in the meanwhile took refuge in the marshes of Lower Egypt, where he formed an island which afterwards remained unknown for upward of seven centuries, until it was discovered by Amyrtaeus. When after the lapse of fifty years the Ethiopians withdrew from Egypt, Anysis returned from the marshes and resumed the government. (Herod. ii. 137, 140.)

Asychis, (c. 1012 BC)

Asychis (Asuchis), a king of Egypt, who, according to the account in Herodotus (ii. 136), succeeded Mycerinus (about B. C. 1012 according to Larcher's calculation), and built the propylaea on the east side of the temple of Hephaestus which had been begun by Menes, and also a pyramid of brick. Herodotus likewise mentions some laws of his for the regulation of money transactions.


Patroklos (Patroclus)

Egyptian admiral, brings fleet to relieve Athens when besieged by Antigonus, Island of Patroclus.


An Egyptian, colossal image of him at Thebes in Egypt.

Ancient myths


Son of Min, the first king of Egypt; lament for his early death identified with the Greek Linus-song.


Gerana, a Pygmean woman, and wife of their king, Nicodamas, by whom she became the mother of Mopsus (according to Boeus, ap. Athen. ix., of a tortoise). Being highly esteemed and praised for her beauty among the Pygmies, she despised the gods, especially Artemis and Hera, who in revenge metamorphosed her into a crane. In this state she always fluttered about the place in which her son Mopsus dwelt, until she was killed by the Pygmies. This is said to have been the origin of the war between the Cranes and the Pygmies. (Anton. Lib. 16, who calls her Oenoe; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1322; Ov. Met. vi. 90.)

Gerana. Pygmy woman of great beauty who lived in Egypt, or perhaps India. According to the myth, she despised the gods, and had a special aversion to Artemis and Hera.
  Gerana married a pygmy man called Nicodemos, and the couple had a son: Mopsos. Hera then turned Gerana into a stork, as a punishment for the woman's hatred of her. From then on, Gerana's only concern was to get her baby back.
  When the pygmies saw that the bird was trying to abduct Mopsos, they drove it away. From then on the storks and the pygmies were at constant war.
  It is from this myth we get the vision of the stork carrying a baby.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

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