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of the most impressive scenes of the Mysteries. Zeus destroyed the Titans with his thunderbolts, and out of their ashes men were born. But, as the Titans had swallowed the flesh of Dionysos, every man has within him a spark of the Divine nature, which is immortal. Its gradual purification is effected by successive incarnations, until at last the Dionysiac spark is free from the stains of Titanic matter, when it will again become united to the deity from whom it was violently severed. Such was the story set forth in the later form of the mystic rites, where the whole drama of the life and 'Passion' of Zagreus was enacted before the eyes of the initiate. He was also shown, as appears from many passages in the Attic dramatists, a representation of the torments of the wicked and the delights of the just in the underworld. How much of this was consciously borrowed from Egyptian teaching is very difficult to say, but it is worth while noticing that the worship of Osiris had early penetrated to Crete, from whence Epimenides the reformer of the Mysteries came, and that all Greek travellers from Herodotus to Diodoros assigned an Egyptian origin to the Eleusinian rites.*

Unfortunately for those who love a clear outline in such matters, the Orphics were not content with assigning to their own peculiar deity the most honoured place in the Greek worship. They-or at least such of them as had once been Pythagoreans—were above all things, philosophers, and had inherited much of the teaching of that Ionic School which first arrived at the truth that Nature proceeds only by fixed and immutable laws. Hence to them the stories told in the Mysteries were not historical facts, but allegories shadowing

* Theodoret, Therapeutica, IV. (Migne), p. 796, sqq., says distinctly that the Eleusinia were brought to Greece from Egypt, and that the hierophant knew that the Passion of Zagreus referred to the murder of Osiris. In a memoir presented to the Académie des Inscriptions in 1893, M. Foucart, whose authority in such matters is very high, advances the same theory, and at any rate makes it clear that the Mysteries were not indigenous to Greece. Towards the end of last year the Greek Archaeological Society were said to have discovered at Eleusis proofs of the correctness of M. Foucart's theory. Details are still wanting.

forth the causes of natural phenomena. Dionysos was not for them, as for the ignorant multitude, a man who had taught his fellows the art of wine-making and had been deified for his pains: he was the Universal Soul or animating principle which the Supreme Mind had breathed into his ordered world. But as this principle was necessarily one and not several, it followed that all the gods worshipped by the multitude were but the same principle under different aspects. Thus arose the work of fusion or absorption of one god into anotherTheokrasia the Greeks called it-which in the early Christian centuries made such wild work in the classical Olympus. Herakleitos of Ephesus, whose date may be put at 505 B.C., proclaimed openly that Hades and Dionysos were the same divinity, thus making the likeness of Dionysos, as a god of the dead, to Osiris still closer. Then Euripides identified him with the Delphic Apollo, which, as Apollo had already swallowed up the Homeric Sun-God Helios, gave to Dionysos as to Osiris a solar character. And while Dionysos was thus identifying himself with the gods of the Homeric pantheon, Demeter was doing the same with the goddesses. The distinction between Demeter and Persephone-of the earth and the seed which she receives in her bosom-never very marked, began gradually to fade away. Then came her fusion with the mother-goddesses Rhea and Cybele on the one hand, and with the daughters of Zeus, Athena, Artemis, and Aphrodite, on the other. Dionysos thus became at once the father, the son, the brother, and the spouse of the goddess with whom his legend was linked, and this in its turn hastened his own identification with that omnipotent god of whom he was originally merely the vicegerent. Some writers even think that there are signs of an eventual fusion between Dionysos and Persephone as representing the active and passive forms of the same energy. It is not too much to say that at the time of Alexander, the educated and initiated class in Greece, among whom alone the Orphic theories had taken root, worshipped a Deus Pantheus, from whom all things came, and to

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whom all things must return. But they believed that this god manifested himself in three principal forms, which were these:

(1) The architect and ruler of the Universe, who was called Zeus among the living and Hades among the dead. (2) The female principle or receptive power of Nature, usually invoked as Aphrodite and Persephone. (3) The son of the two preceding, the mediator between his father and mankind, known indifferently as the infant Dionysos, Eros or Apollo.

Now it is a commonly observed phenomenon in the history of religions that a creed which seems incapable of expansion in its native country will often meet with widespread acceptance so soon as it is transplanted to a slightly different soil; and something of this kind seems to have taken place with the Orphic teaching. Its really distinctive feature-the transmigration of souls-never met with any great success in Greece. It might be sung about by poets like Pindar, or taught by philosophers like Plato; but there is no reason to think that it ever became part of the popular beliefs, while most of the learned were formally opposed to it. The Mysteries must have been the only centre from which it could be spread, and these Mysteries were not only confined to a very limited number, but were protected against profanation by terrible sanctions. But when, on the division of Alexander's Empire, Ptolemy, the son of Lagos, received Egypt as his portion, the Orphic doctrines were given an impetus that sent them all over the civilised world. For Ptolemy, carrying out it may be one of his dead master's unfulfilled plans, set about establishing in his new capital Alexandria, a mixed worship which should form a link between his Egyptian subjects and the ruling class of Greeks and Macedonians who formed the support of his throne. With this purpose he sent for Timotheos, one of the sacred family from whom the hierophants of the Mysteries were chosen, and entrusted to him and Manetho, an Egyptian priest of high rank whom he had won over to his service, the task of devising a religion which should satisfy the spiritual aspirations of Greek and Egyptian alike.


The result, which, more hellenico, was sanctioned in due course by the oracle at Delphi, was pretty nearly what might have been expected from the relative position of the two nations. The gods of Eleusis passed into the new religion under Egyptian names; but, though they might thus be invested with a few Egyptian attributes, they yet lost none of their The child-god of the Mysteries became the child Horus -in Egyptian, Har-pa-Khrat, of which the Greeks made Harpocrates; Demeter was called by the name of Isis, which had, perhaps, been originally hers; while her spouse, Dionysos, took that of Osor-hapi, or Osiris in his earthly form as the Bull Apis -for he, like Merodach and Dionysos Zagreus, was a tauriform god-corrupted by the Greeks into Sarapis, of which Serapis is the Latin form. These identifications dated from the time of Herodotus, and the Egyptian legend of the tearing in pieces of Osiris, the wanderings of Isis, and the birth of Horus so closely corresponded with the Eleusinian stories that they can hardly have required much alteration. But in all other respects the worship of Serapis was but that of the Mysteries in another and rather simpler form. The neophyte had to undergo a long and gradual initiation before he was admitted to the full knowledge of the religion; he was taught the dogma of the reincarnation of souls, which was entirely foreign to the ideas of the native faith; and he was most plainly given to understand that the new names given to his deities did not prevent him from worshipping them in their old guise if he were so minded. All the plastic representations of the Alexandrian Triad yet found are fashioned according to the rules not of Egyptian but of Greek art. Serapis is always portrayed in them not as a bull or a mummy, as was the Egyptian Osiris, but with the lofty brow and noble features of the Greek Zeus; and Serapis alone is Zeus' is a watchword which is repeated with wearisome frequency on most of the monuments of the cult. As has been well said, the new god was a Greek soul dwelling in an Egyptian body.

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Sir Peter Renouf (Hibbert Lectures for 1879, p. 182-183) has made it clear that the Egyptians of Pharaonic times were utterly ignorant of the Greek doctrine of metempsychosis.

At first, the innovation produced little practical result. Although a few Egyptians and even some temple-servants of the lower class may have given in their adherence to the new faith, the great native priesthoods held coldly aloof from it. The priests of Memphis, where there was a native temple of Osor-hapi, allowed the king to build a Serapeion close to their own, but it is significant that the two are separated by a long avenue of sphinxes and that the Greek votive inscriptions do not include a single Egyptian name. Like the Papacy, the Memphite priesthood had seen many dynasties come and go, and they no doubt felt that Ptolemy's best policy would have been not to set up a new religion but to have managed a conversion to theirs. The event proved them right; for Epiphanes, the 5th Ptolemy, was glad enough, after the suppression of a native revolt, to be crowned like the ancient Pharaohs as the incarnate Sun-God and the descendant of Ptah, with all the ancient ritual set out upon the Rosetta Stone.* Yet, though he thus failed in his immediate purpose, Ptolemy Soter was building better than he knew. The worship of the Alexandrian gods spread wherever the Alexandrian traders went: and under his politic rule, Alexandria soon became the trading centre of the Hellenist world. The novelty-loving Athenians were so pleased with it that they soon began to use the oaths By Isis' and 'By Horus' in ordinary conversation -to the great wrath of the dramatists of the New Comedy. A few years later we hear of it in the cities of Boeotia, then in the islands of the Aegaean and throughout Asia Minor. And a yet wider field was now opening to it. In the early part of the second century B.C., the Alexandrian gods had established themselves in the seaports of Southern Italy frequented by foreign merchants. From thence their worship proceeded with slow but certain step towards Rome until, 80 years before our Era, it gained a foothold in the Eternal City. Thenceforth its future was assured. As early as the days of the First Triumvirs, one of the proscribed could find no disguise so little likely to attract attention in the streets of Rome as

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* See Revillout, Révue Archéologique, 1887, pp. 339-340.

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