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Bill Thayer

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Plutarch: Isis and Osiris

The Text on LacusCurtius

This site is a transcription of the English translation of Plutarch's work by Frank Cole Babbitt as printed in pp1‑191 of Vol. V of the Loeb Classical Library edition of the Moralia, published in 1936. I have no intention of transcribing the original Greek text: the paucity of readers of ancient Greek out there make it a case of diminishing returns.

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents below, the sections are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

The work comprises a single Book, with no particular divisions. It's too long for a single webpage: I present it in five pages, breaking wherever continuity is least affected.

sections 1‑19
(traditional sections 351C ad fin.-358E ad init.)
sections 20‑40
(traditional sections 358E ad init.-367C ad fin.)
sections 41‑52
(traditional sections 367C ad fin.-372E ad init.)
sections 53‑67
(traditional sections 372E ad init.-378A ad fin.)
sections 68‑80
(traditional sections 378A ad fin.-384C)

The Author

Background material on Plutarch may appear here in the fullness of time, but as usual I'm not about to let that delay anything: I'm getting the text online first. The translator's brief Introduction to the Isis and Osiris is here.


The work is now in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright expired in 1964 and was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been that year or the year before. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Chapter and Section Numbering, Local Links

The chapters are indicated by large numbers; the traditional page and section numbering is given in small numbers: it should be noted that the latter, corresponding to the pagination of an old standard edition, could be accurately placed in the Greek text, but their placement in any translation must of necessity be approximations.

Both numbering schemes are marked by local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage. Similarly, for citation purposes, the Loeb edition pagination is indicated by local links. (See the sourcecode.)


Although the Loeb edition occasionally notes a textual difficulty or an alternative reading, it provides no systematic apparatus criticus. I have not actually seen the Teubner edition, but I'm almost certain it must. At some point I may go to that edition and reproduce it, but for now, in view of diminishing returns in terms of its slight use to the overwhelming majority of Web users, I've decided not to.

As elsewhere on my site, to streamline display of the text and simplify searches, editorial [square brackets] signifying text to be deleted are rendered in a paler colour; and <angled brackets> signifying added emendations are shown in a slightly different color, shown in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">.

[image ALT: A group of Egyptian hieroglyphs, used here as an icon for Plutarch's Isis and Osiris.]

The background of the icon I use to indicate this work is in the same hue of purple I use in the Roman Gazetteer section of the site as the background for Roman monuments of the Imperial period, to which our author belongs; the motif of the icon itself is the Egyptian phrase st Wsỉr, "Isis (and) Osiris".

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Site updated: 9 Oct 12