I’ve been reading bits from Arthur Darby Nock’s Essays on Religion and the Ancient World over the last few days, and look forward to reading more of it in the near future, in between full-length books that I am also reading and reviewing, on which more in the near future…
But, one of the things I was particularly looking for held, in certain parts, further treasures than I was expecting. There’s an article called “A Vision of Mandulis Aion,” and it has several partial translations of various inscriptions in it from a temple of the Nubian god Mandoulis at Talmis in Egypt. Here’s one that I think is great:
Maxims of Sansnos
Revere the divine.
Sacrifice to all the gods.
Travel in homage to each temple.
Believe above all in your ancestral gods and revere Isis and Sarapis, the greatest of the gods, saviors, good, kindly, benefactors.
While perhaps not as lengthy nor compelling as the Delphic Maxims, nonetheless some good and solid advice, wouldn’t you say?
And, here’s the vision of Mandoulis:
O rayshooting lord Mandoulis, Titan, Makareus, having beheld some radiant signs of thy power I pondered on them and was busied therewith, wishing to know with confidence whether thou art the sungod. I made myself a stranger to all vice and all godlessness, was chaste for a considerable period, and offered the due incense offering in holy piety. I had a vision and found rest for my soul. For thou didst grant my prayer and show me thyself going through the heavenly vault; then washing thyself in the holy water of immortality thou didst appear again. Thou didst come at due season to thy shrine, making thy rising, and giving to thy image to they shrine divine breath and great power. Then I knew thee, Mandoulis, to be the Sun, the allseeing master, king of all, allpowerful Eternity. O happy folk, that dwell in the city beloved of the Sun Mandoulis, even holy Talmis, which is under the scepter of the fairtressed Isis onof the countless names.
So, while there is some solar syncretism going on here–and possibly, with the mention of Isis, even some suggestion of Horus syncretism (which is somewhat standard for Mandoulis), nonetheless, it’s sort of fascinating to see how a person sought out a vision as answer to a question, and gave some details on how to prepare for such an experience.
But, you know: apparently, “regular people” in Egypt weren’t pious and didn’t have such a thing as piety. :( [No, of course, I don’t mean that even remotely; but, it’s been stated by a few people recently on th’internet, so you know it must be true.]