First Hymn to Isis by Isidorus

Medinet_MadiIn the next few weeks I plan to post copies of some of the major hymns to Isis. Those who have worshiped Isis for years may perhaps find nothing new in these. However perhaps new converts to Isis will find them to be of interest. I also plan to post some commentary on these hymns and writings. I am in particular interested in the idea of an Isian political liberation theology. The first writing is the famous Greek hymn to Isis by the Greek priest Isidorus. This hymn was found on a walls of a temple which was excavated by a team of Italian archaeologists in the 1930s at the current day village of Medinet Madi in the Fayum area of Egypt. The hymns were composed circa 100 BCE. I do not think that Isidorus’ hymns have the same quality of beauty as do her hymns from her temple at Philae, however they do testify strongly to the universal Isis of many names and to the depth of Isidorus’ devotion to her. Note. I just discovered that this hymn is also on the Fellowship of Isis site. Well it is not going to hurt to post it separately here. The hymn is from “The Four Greek Hymns of Isidorus And The Cult of Isis” by Vera Federika Vanderlip.


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
Thacians, Greeks and Barbarians,
Express Your fair Name, a Name greatly honoured 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, Rhea 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.
wrote (it)