From my diary

I’ve been poking around the web, trying to find out how we identify a particular image of a goddess as “Isis”.  No doubt the answer is some examples of an ancient statue with the goddess’ name on the bottom.  But I’ve had no luck so far in finding an example.

In the process I came across something interesting.  I did a search in the PHI Greek epigraphy database here  (ignore the corpora at filling most of the page — the search is right at the bottom).  The interface is not that friendly, but a search on “isidi” and hitting enter gave back a shoal of inscriptions; some 535 of them.  (Unfortunately there seems to be no way to specify this as a whole word match, so you get substrings of other words).

What was interesting, once I scrolled past the first few matches, was that the vast majority of them included “Sarapi” as well; fewer, but still a good many also add “Anubi” and sometimes “Harpokrati”.  Here’s an example:

Σαράπιδι, Ἴσιδι, Ἀννούβιδι {Ἀνούβιδι}, Ἀντιβοΐδης Δικαίου

or this, from Delos, 94-3 BC (ID 2039, PH 64483 — not sure how I should reference these inscriptions):

Δίκαιος Δικαίου Ἰωνίδ[ης, ἱερεὺς γενόμενος Σαράπιδος, ὑπὲρ τοῦ δήμου τοῦ Ἀθηναίων καὶ τοῦ δή]μου το[ῦ Ῥωμαίων καὶ βασι]λέως Μιθ[ρ]αδάτου Εὐπάτορος Διονύσου καὶ τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ πατρὸς Δ[ικαίου τοῦ — — — — Ἰωνίδου καὶ τῆς μητρὸς — — — Σαράπιδι, Ἴσι]δι, Ἀνούβιδ[ι, Ἁρποκράτει καὶ] μελαν[η]φόροις καὶ θεραπευταῖς, ἐπὶ ἐπιμελητοῦ τῆς νήσου Ἀρόπου [τοῦ patr. dem., ἱερέως δὲ nom. patr. Παι]ανιέως καὶ τῶν [ἐπὶ τὰ ἱερὰ nom., patr. Ἁλ]αιέως [καὶ nom. patr, dem. ζακορεύοντος? — — —]ρος.

Δίκαιος Δικαίου Ἰωνίδ[ης ὑπὲρ τοῦ δή]μου το[ῦ Ἀθηναίων καὶ βασι]λέως Μιθραδάτου Εὐπάτορος Διονύσου καὶ τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ πατρὸς Δ[ικαίου, Σαράπιδι, Ἴσι]δι, Ἀνούβιδ[ι, Ἁρποκράτει καὶ] μελαν[η]φόροις καὶ θεραπευταῖς, ἐπὶ ἐπιμελητοῦ τῆς νήσου Ἀρόπου [dem., ἱερέως nom. Παι]ανιέως καὶ τῶν [ἐπὶ τὰ ἱερὰ nom., dem. καὶ nom. Ἁλ]αιέως [ζακορεύοντος? — — —]ρος.

Anyone care to give us a translation of this?  I note the name of king Mithradates Eupater Dionysus, and mention of the Romans and Athenians.

People sometimes refer to a triad of Isis; but what comes across is that Harpocrates is rather marginal.

10 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. Dikaios [son of] Dikaios Ionis, former priest of Sarapis, over the house of the Athenians and of the house Romans and of king Mithradatos Eupator Dionysos and of his own father Dikaios of — — — — of Ionis and of the mother — — — to Serapis, Isis, Anoubis, Harpokrates and black-wearers (melanophorois) and therapeutes…

    Should I continue?

  2. Here is my variant of translation (with commentaries)

    Dikaios, son of Dikaios from Ionia, for people of Athens and king Mithridates Eupatror Dionysios [i.e. Mithridates VI] and for his own father Dikaios [has made this inscription] dedicated to Serapis, to Isis, to Anubis, to Harpocrates and to melanoforoi (priests who wore black clothes, priests of Isis) and to priests servants, during time of priest Paeanieus, governor of island Aropos , who [also] is attendat in the temple of deme of Halai [unreadable] …ros

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