The text which contains this legend is found cut in hieroglyphics upon a stele which is now preserved in Paris. Attention was first called to it by Chabas, who in 1857 gave a translation of it in the Revue Archeologique, p. 65 ff., and pointed out the importance of its contents with his characteristic ability. The hieroglyphic text was first published by Ledrain in his work on the monuments of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris,[see note 3] and I gave a transcript of the text, with transliteration and translation, in 1895.
[Note 3] Les Monuments Egyptiens (Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques), In the Bibliotheque de l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 1879-1882, plate xxii. ff.
The greater part of the text consists of a hymn to Osiris, which was probably composed under the XVIII Dynasty, when an extraordinary development of the cult of that god took place, and when he was placed by Egyptian theologians at the head of all the gods. Though unseen in the temples, his presence filled all Egypt, and his body formed the very substance of the country. He was the God of all gods and the Governor of the Two Companies of the gods, he formed the soul and body of Ra, he was the beneficent Spirit of all spirits, he was himself the celestial food on which the Doubles in the Other World lived. He was the greatest of the gods in On (Heliopolis), Memphis, Herakleopolis, Hermopolis, Abydos, and the region of the First Cataract, and so. He embodied in his own person the might of Ra-Tem, Apis and Ptah, the Horus-gods, Thoth and Khnemu, and his rule over Busiris and Abydos continued to be supreme, as it had been for many, many hundreds of years. He was the source of the Nile, the north wind sprang from him, his seats were the stars of heaven which never set, and the imperishable stars were his ministers. All heaven was his dominion, and the doors of the sky opened before him of their own accord when he appeared. He inherited the earth from his father Keb, and the sovereignty of heaven from his mother Nut. In his person he united endless time in the past and endless time in the future. Like Ra he had fought Seba, or Set, the monster of evil, and had defeated him, and his victory assured to him lasting authority over the gods and the dead. He exercised his creative power in making land and water, trees and herbs, cattle and other four-footed beasts, birds of all kinds, and fish and creeping things; even the waste spaces of the desert owed allegiance to him as the creator. And he rolled out the sky, and set the light above the darkness….Read More