HARPOKRATES (or Harpocrates) was the god of silence.
He was derived by the Greeks from the Egyptian god Harpa-Khruti (Horus the Child) who was portrayed as a small boy with a finger held to his lips--an Egyptian gesture, symbolising childhood, which the Greeks mistook for a hush of silence.
|IO-ISIS (Hyginus Fabulae 277)
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 277 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[The Egyptian goddess] Isis first invented sails, for while seeking her son Harpocrates, she sailed on a ship."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 688 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"She saw before her bed, or seemed to see as in a dream, great [Egyptian goddess] Isis with her train of holy deities. Upon her brow there stood the crescent moon-horns, garlanded with glittering heads of golden grain, and grace of royal dignity; and at her side . . . [Harpokrates] the god who holds his finger to his lips for silence's sake."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 692 ff :
"Upon her [the Egyptian goddess Isis'] brow stood the crescent moon-horns, garlanded with glittering heads of golden grain, and grace of royal dignity; and at her side the baying dog Anubis, dappled Apis, sacred Bubastis and the god [Harpokrates] who holds his finger to his lips for silence sake."
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd AD
- Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
Other references not currently quoted here: Augustine City of God 18.5; Varro On the Latin Language 5.57; Catullus 102; Erasmus Adages 4.1.52