Isis - Hymn to Isis by Isidorus

Presented below is one of the four Greek Hymns to Isis, written by Isidorus at a temple in the Fayum district of Egypt, dating from the early first century BC. This hymn was inscribed at the south gate of a large Greco-Egyptian temple near a village in the extreme south of the Fayum, the modern name of the village is Medinet Madi. It is situated below the dedicatory inscription to Ptolemy Theos Soter on the south face of the west pillar, facing the south portal of the precinct from the Ceremonial Way.

Hymn I

O wealth-giver, Queen of the gods, Hermouthis, Lady

Omnipotent Agathe Tyche, greatly renowned Isis,

Deo, highest Discoverer of all life,

Manifold miracles were Your care that you might bring

Livelihood to mankind and morality to all;

(and) You taught customs that justice might in some measure prevail;

You gave skills that men’s life might be comfortable,

And You discovered the blossoms that produce edible vegetation.

Because of You heaven and the whole earth have their being;

And the gusts of the winds and the sun with its sweet light.

By Your power the channels of Nile are filled, every one,

At the harvest season and its most turbulent water is poured

On the whole land that produce may be unfailing.

All mortals who live on the boundless earth,

Thracians, Greeks and Barbarians,

Express You fair Name, a Name greatly honored among all, (but)

Each (speaks) in his own language, in his own land.

The Syrians call You: Astarte, Artemis, Nanaia,

The Lycian tribes call You: Leto, the Lady,

The Thracians also name You as Mother of the gods,

And the Greeks (call You) Hera of the Great Throne, Aphrodite,

Hestia the goodly, Rheia and Demeter.

But the Egyptians call You ‘Thiouis’ (because they know) that You, being

One, are all

Other goddesses invoked by the races of men.

Mighty One, I shall not cease to sing of Your great Power,

Deathless Saviour, many-named, mightiest Isis,

Saving from war, cities and all their citizens:

Men, their wives, possessions, and children.

As many as are bound fast in prison, in the power of death,

As many as are in pain through long, anguished, sleepless nights,

All who are wanderers in a foreign land,

And as many as sail on the Great Sea in winter

When men may be destroyed and their ships wrecked and sunk…

All (these) are saved if they pray that You be present to help.

Hear my prayers, O One whose Name has great Power;

Prove Yourself merciful to me and free me from all distress.

Isidorus wrote (it)

The translation above is from the book, "The Four Greek Hymns of Isidorus and the Cult of Isis," by Vera Fredericka Vanderlip, published by A. M. Hakkert, Ltd., Toronto, Canada, 1972.

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