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"By the dog of Eygpt!"

Posted by Steamy Samurai on June 28, 2005

In Reply to: "By the dog of Eygpt!" posted by Che Baraka on June 28, 2005

: "By the dog of Eygpt!" is a phase used frequently by Plato in numerous parts of The Republic (Dialogues, Cratylus, Charmides, or Temperance and Allegory of the Cave). He also quotes Socrates' usage of it.

: The phase precedes a statement as an emphatic validation of its truth and the speaker's sincerity. It is envoked in the same way we might state: "I swear to God..."; "Honest to God..." or "With God as my witness..." As I interpret it; "by the dog of Eygpt" references the Egyptian principles symbolized by the jackal diety, Anubis.

: My questions are:

: 1. What is the meaning and origin of this phrase?
: 2. Why do at least two Greek philosophers swear by it?
: 3. What principles did the diety Anubis represent?
: 4. Is it the "dog" star Sirius that is referenced, rather then Anubis?

By "the dog of Egypt," Socrates and Plato are reffering to Anubis, the jackal-like god of judgment and discernment who makes the finest distinctions among things in the world--and who is a prominent figure in the Book of the Dead. To swear by the dog of Egypt is a dramatic way of affirming the truth of a proposition. we see how Plato's view of Egypt assumes something about the Egyptian legacy of thought. The dog of Egypt is a symbol of precise, reasoned judgment.

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