The Ancient Library

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On this page: Ismene – Isocrates



obtained a firm footing in Rome in spite of repeated interference by the State. In


the days of the Empire it obtained recog­nition by the State and established itself in all parts of the Roman dominions. The attractiveness of the service of Isis lay in the religious satisfaction which it was cal­culated to insure. Through abstinence from food and from sensual pleasures, and through expiations and purifications, it promised to lead its votaries to sanctification of life and to a true perception of the life divine. The ritual consisted in part of a morn­ing and evening service to the god, partly in annual festivals celebrated in spring at the return of the season for navigation, and also in the late autumn before the advent of winter. At the former festival, held on the 5th of March, and called the ship of Isis (Istdis ndv^gium), in recog­nition of her being the patroness of navi­gation, and inventress of the sail, the people in general, with the devotees and priests of Isis, went in solemn procession down to the seashore, where a sailing vessel painted in the Egyptian manner and laden with spices, was committed to the sea. [Apuleius, Met. xi 8-17, esp. 11; Firmicus Maternus, De. Err. Prof. Kelig. 2.] The other feast was emblematic of the grief of Isis at her loss and her joy at finding again her husband Osiris and her son Horus. Besides these popular feasts there were also

certain special mysteries of Isis, which in all their essentials were borrowed from the Eleusinian mysteries of Demeter. In these, all who were called thereto by the goddess in a dream were admitted to the select circle of the worshippers of Isis. These devotees, like the priests, were recognised by their linen robes and their shaven heads, and had to devote themselves to an ascetic life. Oracular responses received in dreams were as much associated with the temples of Isis as with those of SSrapis (q.v.). In Greek art the goddess is represented as similar to Hera. Her attributes are a serpent, a cornucopia, ears of corn, lotus, moon and horns, as well as the slstrum, a metal rattle, specially employed in her service (fig. 2).


(Munich, Glyplotlick.)

Ismene. A daughter of (Edipus (q.v.).

Iterates. The fourth among the Ten Attic Orators, was born at Athens b.c. 486. He was the son of Theodoras, the wealthy proprietor of a flute manufactory, who pro­vided for his son's receiving a careful educa­tion. Accordingly he had the advantage of

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