Excerpts from De Iside et Osiride

Plutarch

In like manner they hold the pig to be an unclean animal, because it is reputed to be most inclined to mate in the waning of the moon, and because the bodies of those who drink its milk break out with leprosy and scabrous itching. The story which they relate at their only sacrifice and eating of a pig at the time of the full moon, how Typhon, while he was pursuing a boar by the light of the full moon, found the wooden coffin in which lay the body of Osiris, which he rent to pieces and scattered, they do not all accept, believing it to be a misrepresentation, even as many other things are. – 354a

They relate also that Isis, learning that Osiris in his love had consorted with her sister through ignorance, in the belief that she was Isis, and seeing the proof of this in the garland of melilote which he had left with Nephthys, sought to find the child; for the mother, immediately after its birth, had exposed it because of her fear of Typhon. And when the child had been found, after great toil and trouble, with the help of dogs which led Isis to it, it was brought up and became her guardian and attendant, receiving the name of Anubis, and it is said to protect the gods just as dogs protect men. – 356f

Stories akin to these and to others like them they say are related about Typhon; how that, prompted by jealousy and hostility, he wrought terrible deeds and, by bringing utter confusion upon all things, filled the whole Earth, and the ocean as well, with ills, and later paid the penalty therefor. – 361d

Now Osiris and Isis changed from good minor deities into gods. But the power of Typhon, weakened and crushed, but still fighting and struggling against extinction, they try to console and mollify by certain sacrifices; but again there are times when, at certain festivals, they humiliate and insult him by assailing red-headed men with jeering, and by throwing an ass over the edge of a precipice, as the people of Kopto do, because Typhon had red hair and in colour resembled an ass. The people of Busiris and Lycopolis do not use trumpets at all, because these make a sound like an ass; and altogether they regard the ass as an unclean animal dominated by some higher power because of its resemblance to Typhon, and when they make cakes at their sacrifices in the month of Paÿni and of Phaophi they imprint upon them the device of an ass tied by a rope. Moreover, in the sacrifice to the Sun they enjoin upon their worshippers not to wear any golden ornaments nor to give fodder to an ass. It is plain that the adherents of Pythagoras hold Typhon to be a daemonic power; for they say that he was born in an even factor of fifty-six; and the dominion of the triangle belongs to Hades, Dionysus, and Ares, that of the quadrilateral to Rhea, Aphroditê, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera, that of the dodecagon to Zeus, that of a polygon of fifty-six sides to Typhon, as Eudoxus has recorded.  — 362f-363a

But Typhon is that part of the soul which is impressionable, impulsive, irrational and truculent, and of the bodily part the destructible, diseased and disorderly as evidenced by abnormal seasons and temperatures, and by obscurations of the sun and disappearances of the moon, outbursts, as it were, and unruly actions on the part of Typhon. And the name “Seth,” by which they call Typhon, denotes this; it means “the overmastering” and “overpowering,” and it means in very many instances “turning back,” and again “overpassing.” Some say that one of the companions of Typhon was Bebon, but Manetho says that Bebon was still another name by which Typhon was called. The name signifies “restraint” or “hindrance,” as much as to say that, when things are going along in a proper way and making rapid progress towards the right end, the power of Typhon obstructs them. For this reason they assign to him the most stupid of the domesticated animals, the ass, and of the wild animals, the most savage, the crocodile and the hippopotamus. In regard to the ass we have already offered some explanation. At Hermopolis they point out a statue of Typhon in the form of an hippopotamus, on whose back is poised a hawk fighting with a serpent. By the hippopotamus they mean to indicate Typhon, Dand by the hawk a power and rule, which Typhon strives to win by force, oftentimes without success, being confused by his wickedness and creating confusion. For this reason, when they offer sacrifice on the seventh day of the month Tybi, which they call the “Coming of Isis from Phoenicia,” they imprint on their sacred cakes the image of an hippopotamus tied fast. In the town of Apollonopolis it is an established custom for every person without exception to eat of a crocodile; and on one day they hunt as many as they can and, after killing them, cast them down directly opposite the temple. And they relate that Typhon escaped Horus by turning into a crocodile, and they would make out that all animals and plants and incidents that are bad and harmful are the deeds and parts and movements of Typhon. –  371c-e

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