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"By the dog of Eygpt!" (Huh?)

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:58 am
by spiritus
"By the dog of Eygpt!" is a phase used frequently by Plato in numerous parts of The Republic (Dialogues, Cratylus, Charmides, or Temperance and Allegory of the Cave). He also quotes Socrates' usage of it.

The phase precedes a statement as an emphatic validation of its truth and the speaker's sincerity. It is envoked in the same way we might state: "I swear to God..."; "Honest to God..." or "With God as my witness..." As I interpret it; "by the dog of Eygpt" references the Eygptian principles symbolized by the jackal diety, Anubis.

My questions are:

1. What is the meaning and origin of this phrase?
2. Why do at least two Greek philosophers swear by it?
3. What principles did the diety Anubis represent?
4. Is it the "dog" star Sirius that is referenced, rather then Anubis?

"By the dog of Eygpt!" (Huh?)

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 8:58 am
by sandx
"You cannot be Sirius!"

Interesting questions,Spiritus. Anubis was the creature,human with a jackals head but generally now referred to as a dog. His job was to transport the souls of the dead to the infernal judge.He presided over the scales that weighed the hearts of the dead,when they were brought before Osiris. He was the diety of Abydos,the son of Nephthys and Osiris.

Sirius ,(greek `seiros - scorching hot`, the dog-star has nothing to do with anubis. His equivalant in Egypt was Sothis. The Romans called him Canicula.

Considering his job,I think saying a few kind words to him is a good idea,I may adopt the habit myself.

"By the dog of Eygpt!" (Huh?)

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:57 pm
by spiritus
sandx wrote: "You cannot be Sirius!"
Of course I'm not. I'm Spiritus and only occasionally serious. (;-)

"Anubis was the creature,human with a jackals head but generally now referred to as a dog. His job was to transport the souls of the dead to the infernal judge.He presided over the scales that weighed the hearts of the dead,when they were brought before Osiris. He was the diety of Abydos,the son of Nephthys and Osiris".--- Sandx

I understand that to be the basic interpretation of the symbolic significance of Anubis. Would you agree that an expansion of that idea imples that Anubis weighs and judges the souls of
the dead?

His cartouche contains the double scales upon which a heart ( ba/soul ) is balanced against a feather ( ma'at/truth ). Anubis, as the final arbiter of "the truth of one's life"; might be the reason the Greeks appropriated the phrase as an expression which emphasized the validity of a speaker's words.

What are your thoughts?



Not all those who wander, are lost.