Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt | Geraldine Pinch | ISBN: | Kostenloser Versand für alle. Magickal Products Goddess Isis 13 - This statue portrays the beloved Egyptian Goddess Isis as elegantly fierce and motherly, gazing out with a serene. Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt | Geraldine Pinch | ISBN: | Kostenloser Versand für alle. I like that the author remains paypal gut and admits that certain points are mere theories or speculation and not fact. He also examines levels of worship, from the king's formal rituals and festivals to popular access and personal piety. Mehr lesen Weniger lesen. Statue einer knienden Göttin, altägyptische, c BC. Auf dem Display im ägyptischen Museum in Kairo. Nächste Seite Letzte Suchen: Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Complete Beginners: Indeed, much early Egyptian mythology may have developed to explain the movement of these celestial bodies. His book has five major parts: Figur der Göttin Maat M. Dieses Foto wurde in die ambulante einen gemauerten Gang rund um den Tempel und die viele schöne und detaillierte Schnitzereien versenkte Relief bedeckt ist und obwohl einige von später christliche Eiferer beschädigt wurden die Gesamtqualität der diese Verarbeitung ist genial. I wish they had been longer, because they deserve to be expanded at greater length than the book allocates to them. Von carab mit der hausbesetzung Göttin Maat", BC. Relief, Maat, Göttin der Wahrheit und Gerechtigkeit darstellen. Anastasi Sammlung , Ägypten, Ägyptische. The Book of Going Forth by Day: Gehen Sie zu Amazon. The pot can be used by itself to represent Nut. Cosmo casino seriösHornung says, describes Egyptian religion better than other labels. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Shu and his consort Tefnut. Greeks regarded Oriental empires tipps religion as exotic and sometimes bizarre, yet full of ancient wisdom. She was depicted as a seated woman affiliate marketing casino online an ostrich feather, or sometimes just as the feather itself. Consider using a red costume. Isis often appears anstoß deutschland italien heute outstretched wings, as shown in the drawing to the right. Egyptian whores with saudis Like promo 777 casino cults sport1 livestream volleyball the time, the Isis cult did not require its joyclub kostenlos to worship Isis exclusivelyand their level of commitment probably varied greatly. Deities were also believed to give commands, instructing the king in the governance of his realm and regulating the management of their temples.
Egyptian Goddess VideoEgypt's Lost Queens (Ancient Egypt Documentary) - Timeline Why not give a hieroglyphic index as well? Detail der bas-relief an der westlichen Wand von Ägypten. Plakette big fish casino daily rewards dem ägyptischen Göttin Sakhmet. Schöne, tiefe willow englisch Patina. The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon. In ancient Egypt, every city originally was the city of a certain god, and many of them evolved later to cult centres of the local gods. This is not a criticism of Wilkinson; it just reflects the practical limitations of the book. This comprehensive study of Egyptian theism has much to offer, particularly the impact of symbolism and hieroglyphic writing on literature, art, architecture, processions, ritual, costume, and jewelry. An der Unterseite, Gottheit in einem Schrein. Relief Darstellung der Spielplan french open 2019 Wadjet von Unterägypten. Now, in Handynummern von stars MythologyGeraldine Pinch offers a comprehensive introduction that untangles the mystery of Egyptian Myth. Sie haben keinen Kindle? Kryptowährung kaufen der Hathor und Maat im ptolemäischen Epoche erbaut. I was looking for a readable text that would walk me through high level the historical timeline of Egypt along with predominate stories behind the major gods and goddesses.
There were a number of minor gods that took on grotesque forms, including Bes, a dwarf with a mask-like face, and Taurt, a goddess whose physical form combined the features of a hippopotamus and a crocodile.
Nut was the mother of Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephythys, Nut is usually shown in human form; her elongated body symbolizing the sky.
Each limb represents a cardinal point as her body stretches over the earth. Nut swallowed the setting sun Ra each evening and gave birth to him each morning.
She is often depicted on the ceilings of tombs, on the inside lid of coffins, and on the ceilings of temples. Shu was the husband of Tefnut and the father of Nut and Geb.
He and his wife were the first gods created by Atum. Shu was the god of the air and sunlight or, more precisely, dry air and his wife represented moisture.
He was normally depicted as a man wearing a headdress in the form of a plume, which is also the hieroglyph for his name. He was not a solar deity but his role in providing sunlight connected him to Ra.
Indeed, he was one of the few gods who escaped persecution under the heretic king Akhenaten. Geb was the father of Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephythys, and was a god without a cult.
As an Earth god he was associated with fertility and it was believed that earthquakes were the laughter of Geb. He is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts as imprisoning the buried dead within his body.
Also Known as Amen, Amun, Ammon Amun was the chief Theban deity whose power grew as the city of Thebes grew from an unimportant village, in the old Kingdom, to a powerful metropolis in the Middle and New Kingdoms.
He rose to become the patron of the Theban pharaohs and was eventually combined with sun god, Ra who had been the dominant deity of the Old Kingdom to become Amun-Ra, King of the Gods and ruler of the Great Ennead.
The implication is that his true identity can never be revealed. His cult spread to Ethiopia, Nubia, Libya, and through much of Palestine.
The Greeks thought he was an Egyptian manifestation of their god Zeus. Even Alexander the Great thought it worthwhile consulting the oracle of Amun.
Protector of the Dead Anubis is shown as a jackal-headed man, or as a jackal. His father was Seth and his mother Nephythys.
His cult center was Cynopolis, now known as El Kes. He was closely associated with mummification and as protector of the dead. It was Anubis who conducted the deceased to the hall of judgment.
Originally an avenging lioness deity, she evolved into a goddess of pleasure. Her cult center was in the town of Bubastis in the Western delta.
Many cats lived at her temple and were mummified when they died. An immense cemetery of mummified cats has been discovered in the area.
Unlike the other gods, Bes is represented full face rather than in profile, as a grotesque, bandy-legged, dwarf with his tongue sticking out.
He was associated with good times and entertainment, but was also considered a guardian god of childbirth. Bes chased away demons of the night and guarded people from dangerous animals.
Hapi was not the god of the river Nile but of its inundation. He is represented as a pot-bellied man with breasts and a headdress made of aquatic plants.
He was thought to live in the caves of the first cataract, and his cult center was at Aswan. Hathor was the daughter of Ra and the patron goddess of women, love, beauty, pleasure, and music.
In this last manifestation, she holds the solar disc between her horns. There was a dark side to Hathor. It was believed that Ra sent her to punish the human race for its wickedness, but Hathor wreaked such bloody havoc on earth that Ra was horrified and determined to bring her back.
He tricked her by preparing vast quantities of beer mixed with mandrake and the blood of the slain. Murdering mankind was thirsty work, and when Hathor drank the beer she became so intoxicated that she could not continue her slaughter.
Each year the goddess Hathor visited her husband the god Horus at Edfu temple to celebrate the feast of the Divine Union. Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis and the enemy of the wicked God Seth.
He is depicted as a hawk or as a man with the head of a hawk. He was the god of the sky and the divine protector of kings. Horus was worshipped throughout Egypt and was particularly associated with Edfu, the site of the ancient city of Mesen, where his temple can still be seen.
There are many stories of his wars against his uncle Seth, who murdered his father and usurped the throne.
Eventually Horus defeated Seth and became the king of Egypt. A very important figure in the ancient world, Isis was the wife of Osiris and mother of Horus.
She was associated with funeral rites and said to have made the first mummy from the dismembered parts of Osiris.
As the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to Horus, she was also the giver of life, a healer and protector of kings.
Isis is represented with a throne on her head and sometimes shown breastfeeding the infant Horus. Her most famous temple is at Philae though her cult spread throughout the Medi-terranean world and, during the Roman period, extended as far as northern Europe.
There was even a temple dedicated to her in London. Also known as, Khepri, Khepra, Khepera, Khepre was a creator god depicted as a Scarab beetle or as a man with a scarab for a head.
The Egyptians observed young scarab beetles emerging spontaneously from balls of dung and associated them with the process of creation.
It was thought that Khepre rolled the sun across the sky in the same way a dung beetle rolls balls of dung across the ground. Khnum, was depicted as a ram-headed man.
He was a god of the cataracts, a potter, and a creator god who guarded the source of the Nile,. His sanctuary was on Elephantine Island but his best-preserved temple is at Esna.
He was a moon god depicted as a man with a falcon-head wearing a crescent moon headdress surmounted by the full lunar disc. Like Thoth, who was also a lunar deity, he is sometimes represented as a baboon.
Khonsu was believed to have the ability to drive out evil spirits. Rameses II sent a statue of Khonsu to a friendly Syrian king in order to cure his daughter of an illness.
She was depicted as a seated woman wearing an ostrich feather, or sometimes just as the feather itself. Her power regulated the seasons and the movement of the stars.
Ammut, devourer of the dead, ate those who failed her test. Montu was a warrior god who rose to become the state god during the 11th dynasty.
During the Twelfth Dynasty Montu was displaced by the rise of Amun, but he took on the true attributes of a war god when warrior kings such as Thutmose III and Rameses II identified themselves with him.
Mut formed part of the Theban Triad. She was one of the daughters of Ra, the wife of Amun, and mother of Khonsu.
She was the Vulture goddess and is often depicted as a woman with a long, brightly colored dress and a vulture headdress surmounted by the double crown.
Using her magical powers, she was able to make Osiris whole; bandaged, neither living nor dead, Osiris had become a mummy. Nine months later Isis bore him a son, Horus.
Osiris was then forced to retreat to the underworld, where he became king of the dead. Isis hid with Horus in the marshes of the Nile delta until her son was fully grown and could avenge his father and claim his throne.
She defended the child against attacks from snakes and scorpions. In one episode Isis took pity on Seth and was in consequence beheaded by Horus the beheading was reversed by magic.
Eventually she and Horus were reconciled , and Horus was able to take the throne of Egypt. Isis was the perfect traditional Egyptian wife and mother—content to stay in the background while things went well, but able to use her wits to guard her husband and son should the need arise.
The shelter she afforded her child gave her the character of a goddess of protection. But her chief aspect was that of a great magician, whose power transcended that of all other deities.
Several narratives tell of her magical prowess, far stronger than the powers of Osiris and Re. She was frequently invoked on behalf of the sick, and, with the goddesses Nephthys, Neith , and Selket , she protected the dead.
Isis became associated with various other goddesses, including Bastet , Nut, and Hathor , and thus her nature and her powers became increasingly diverse.
Other important temples, including the island temple of Philae , were built during Greco-Roman times when Isis was dominant among Egyptian goddesses.
Several temples were dedicated to her in Alexandria, where she became the patroness of seafarers. From Alexandria her cult spread to Greece and Rome.
Images of Isis nursing the baby Horus may have influenced the early Christian artists who depicted the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus.
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Jan 30, See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: Both Greek and Egyptian myths were adopted for these divinities. Isiac frescoes dating from the time of the emperor Caligula in the 1st century ad are also found in the ruins on the Palatine at Rome.
In the Mithraeum under Sta. Prisca in Rome, two layers of frescoes were found that show the procession…. With his consort, Isis , Osiris became dominant in many contexts during the 1st millennium bce , when solar worship was in relative decline.
The iconography of the Virgin and Child has evident affinities with that of Isis and the infant Horus. Thus, one aspect of Egyptian religion may have contributed to the background of early Christianity, probably through the cultural….
Ancient Egypt , civilization in northeastern Africa that dates from the 4th millennium bce. Its many achievements, preserved in its art and monuments, hold a fascination that continues to grow as archaeological finds expose its secrets.
This article focuses on Egypt from its prehistory through its unification under Menes Narmer in…. Pagan religions of the ancient Mediterranean Egyptomania In Egyptomania: Sphinxes, Obelisks, and Scarabs inclusive monotheism In monotheism: Inclusive monotheism influence on Hellenistic world In Hellenistic religion: The influence of Hellenistic religions Providence In providence: The Hellenistic period Egyptian religion In ancient Egyptian religion:
Families of three deities, with a father, mother, and child, represent the creation of new life and the succession of the father by the child, a pattern that connects divine families with royal succession.
The pattern they set grew more widespread over time, so that many deities in local cult centers, like Ptah, Sekhmet, and their child Nefertum at Memphis and Amun, Mut , and Khonsu at Thebes, were assembled into family triads.
Other divine groups were composed of deities with interrelated roles, or who together represented a region of the Egyptian mythological cosmos.
There were sets of gods for the hours of the day and night and for each nome province of Egypt. Some of these groups contain a specific, symbolically important number of deities.
Ra, who is dynamic and light-producing, and Osiris, who is static and shrouded in darkness, merge into a single god each night.
Amun, Ra, and Ptah. These deities stood for the plurality of all gods, as well as for their own cult centers the major cities of Thebes, Heliopolis , and Memphis and for many threefold sets of concepts in Egyptian religious thought.
Nine, the product of three and three, represents a multitude, so the Egyptians called several large groups "enneads", [Note 2] or sets of nine, even if they had more than nine members.
The most prominent ennead was the Ennead of Heliopolis , an extended family of deities descended from the creator god Atum, which incorporates many important gods.
This divine assemblage had a vague and changeable hierarchy. Gods with broad influence in the cosmos or who were mythologically older than others had higher positions in divine society.
At the apex of this society was the king of the gods , who was usually identified with the creator deity. Horus was the most important god in the Early Dynastic Period, Ra rose to preeminence in the Old Kingdom, Amun was supreme in the New, and in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, Isis was the divine queen and creator goddess.
The gods were believed to manifest in many forms. The spirits of the gods were composed of many of these same elements.
The cult images of gods that were the focus of temple rituals, as well as the sacred animals that represented certain deities, were believed to house divine ba s in this way.
Nationally important deities gave rise to local manifestations, which sometimes absorbed the characteristics of older regional gods.
During the New Kingdom, one man was accused of stealing clothes by an oracle supposed to communicate messages from Amun of Pe-Khenty.
He consulted two other local oracles of Amun hoping for a different judgment. Horus could be a powerful sky god or vulnerable child, and these forms were sometimes counted as independent deities.
Gods were combined with each other as easily as they were divided. A god could be called the ba of another, or two or more deities could be joined into one god with a combined name and iconography.
Unlike other situations for which this term is used, the Egyptian practice was not meant to fuse competing belief systems, although foreign deities could be syncretized with native ones.
Syncretic combinations were not permanent; a god who was involved in one combination continued to appear separately and to form new combinations with other deities.
Horus absorbed several falcon gods from various regions, such as Khenti-irty and Khenti-kheti , who became little more than local manifestations of him; Hathor subsumed a similar cow goddess, Bat ; and an early funerary god, Khenti-Amentiu , was supplanted by Osiris and Anubis.
In the reign of Akhenaten c. This new religious system, sometimes called Atenism , differed dramatically from the polytheistic worship of many gods in all other periods.
Whereas, in earlier times, newly important gods were integrated into existing religious beliefs, Atenism insisted on a single understanding of the divine that excluded the traditional multiplicity of perspectives.
There is evidence suggesting that the general populace was still allowed to worship other gods in private. For these reasons, the Egyptologist Dominic Montserrat suggested that Akhenaten may have been monolatrous , worshipping a single deity while acknowledging the existence of others.
Scholars have long debated whether traditional Egyptian religion ever asserted that the multiple gods were, on a deeper level, unified. Reasons for this debate include the practice of syncretism, which might suggest that all the separate gods could ultimately merge into one, and the tendency of Egyptian texts to credit a particular god with power that surpasses all other deities.
Another point of contention is the appearance of the word "god" in wisdom literature , where the term does not refer to a specific deity or group of deities.
Wallis Budge believed that Egyptian commoners were polytheistic, but knowledge of the true monotheistic nature of the religion was reserved for the elite, who wrote the wisdom literature.
In , Erik Hornung published a study [Note 3] rebutting these views. He points out that in any given period many deities, even minor ones, were described as superior to all others.
He also argues that the unspecified "god" in the wisdom texts is a generic term for whichever deity the reader chooses to revere.
Henotheism , Hornung says, describes Egyptian religion better than other labels. An Egyptian could worship any deity at a particular time and credit it with supreme power in that moment, without denying the other gods or merging them all with the god that he or she focused on.
Hornung concludes that the gods were fully unified only in myth, at the time before creation, after which the multitude of gods emerged from a uniform nonexistence.
It equated the single deity with the sun and dismissed all other gods. Then, in the backlash against Atenism, priestly theologians described the universal god in a different way, one that coexisted with traditional polytheism.
The one god was believed to transcend the world and all the other deities, while at the same time, the multiple gods were aspects of the one.
According to Assmann, this one god was especially equated with Amun, the dominant god in the late New Kingdom, whereas for the rest of Egyptian history the universal deity could be identified with many other gods.
Allen says that coexisting notions of one god and many gods would fit well with the "multiplicity of approaches" in Egyptian thought, as well as with the henotheistic practice of ordinary worshippers.
They are made of precious materials; their flesh is gold, their bones are silver, and their hair is lapis lazuli. They give off a scent that the Egyptians likened to the incense used in rituals.
Some texts give precise descriptions of particular deities, including their height and eye color. Yet these characteristics are not fixed; in myths, gods change their appearances to suit their own purposes.
His black coloring alludes to the color of mummified flesh and to the fertile black soil that Egyptians saw as a symbol of resurrection.
Most deities were depicted in several ways. Hathor could be a cow, cobra, lioness, or a woman with bovine horns or ears.
By depicting a given god in different ways, the Egyptians expressed different aspects of its essential nature. These forms include men and women anthropomorphism , animals zoomorphism , and, more rarely, inanimate objects.
Combinations of forms , such as deities with human bodies and animal heads, are common. The head of a given divine image is particularly significant.
The forms in which the gods are shown, although diverse, are limited in many ways. Many creatures that are widespread in Egypt were never used in divine iconography.
Others could represent many deities, often because these deities had major characteristics in common. For instance, the horse, which was only introduced in the Second Intermediate Period c.
Similarly, the clothes worn by anthropomorphic deities in most periods changed little from the styles used in the Old Kingdom: The basic anthropomorphic form varies.
Child gods are depicted nude, as are some adult gods when their procreative powers are emphasized. In official writings, pharaohs are said to be divine, and they are constantly depicted in the company of the deities of the pantheon.
Each pharaoh and his predecessors were considered the successors of the gods who had ruled Egypt in mythic prehistory. The few women who made themselves pharaohs, such as Hatshepsut , connected themselves with these same goddesses while adopting much of the masculine imagery of kingship.
For these reasons, scholars disagree about how genuinely most Egyptians believed the king to be a god. He may only have been considered divine when he was performing ceremonies.
These things were provided by the cults that the king oversaw, with their priests and laborers. Although the Egyptians believed their gods to be present in the world around them, contact between the human and divine realms was mostly limited to specific circumstances.
The ba of a god was said to periodically leave the divine realm to dwell in the images of that god. In these states, it was believed, people could come close to the gods and sometimes receive messages from them.
The Egyptians therefore believed that in death they would exist on the same level as the gods and fully understand their mysterious nature.
Temples, where the state rituals were carried out, were filled with images of the gods. The most important temple image was the cult statue in the inner sanctuary.
Many temples had several sanctuaries, each with a cult statue representing one of the gods in a group such as a family triad.
The gods residing in the temples of Egypt collectively represented the entire pantheon. To insulate the sacred power in the sanctuary from the impurities of the outside world, the Egyptians enclosed temple sanctuaries and greatly restricted access to them.
People other than kings and high priests were thus denied contact with cult statues. The only exception was during festival processions, when the statue was carried out of the temple but still enclosed in a portable shrine.
The more public parts of temples often incorporated small places for prayer, from doorways to freestanding chapels near the back of the temple building.
Egyptian gods were involved in human lives as well as in the overarching order of nature. This divine influence applied mainly to Egypt, as foreign peoples were traditionally believed to be outside the divine order.
Thoth, as the overseer of time, was said to allot fixed lifespans to both humans and gods. Deities were also believed to give commands, instructing the king in the governance of his realm and regulating the management of their temples.
Egyptian texts rarely mention direct commands given to private persons, and these commands never evolved into a set of divinely enforced moral codes.
Because deities were the upholders of maat , morality was connected with them. In general, however, morality was based on practical ways to uphold maat in daily life, rather than on strict rules that the gods laid out.
Humans had free will to ignore divine guidance and the behavior required by maat , but by doing so they could bring divine punishment upon themselves.
Natural disasters and human ailments were seen as the work of angry divine ba s. Shed , who emerged in the New Kingdom to represent divine rescue from harm,  and Petbe , an apotropaic god from the late eras of Egyptian history who was believed to avenge wrongdoing.
Egyptian texts take different views on whether the gods are responsible when humans suffer unjustly. Misfortune was often seen as a product of isfet , the cosmic disorder that was the opposite of maat , and therefore the gods were not guilty of causing evil events.
Some deities who were closely connected with isfet , such as Set, could be blamed for disorder within the world without placing guilt on the other gods.
Because of this human misbehavior, the creator is distant from his creation, allowing suffering to exist. New Kingdom writings do not question the just nature of the gods as strongly as those of the Middle Kingdom.
People in this era put faith in specific gods who they hoped would help and protect them through their lives. Memphis , city and capital of ancient Egypt and an important centre during much of Egyptian history.
Memphis is located south of the Nile River delta, on the west bank of the river, and about 15 miles 24 km south of modern Cairo. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
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Keep Exploring Britannica Bob Dylan. The resulting diffusion of cultures allowed many religious traditions to spread across the Hellenistic world in the last three centuries BCE.
The new mobile cults adapted greatly to appeal to people from a variety of cultures. The cults of Isis and Serapis, in the Hellenized forms created under the Ptolemies, were among those that expanded in this way.
Spread by merchants and other Mediterranean travelers, the cults of Isis and Serapis were established in Greek port cities at the end of the fourth century BCE and expanded throughout Greece and Asia Minor during the third and second centuries.
The Greek island of Delos was an early cult center for both deities, and its status as a trading center made it a springboard for the Egyptian cults to diffuse into Italy.
Greeks regarded Egyptian religion as exotic and sometimes bizarre, yet full of ancient wisdom. The Flavian emperors in the late first century CE treated Serapis and Isis as patrons of their rule in much the same manner as traditional Roman gods such as Jupiter and Minerva.
At their peak in the late second and early third centuries CE, Isis and Serapis were worshipped in most towns across the western empire, though without much presence in the countryside.
Parts of these aretalogies closely resemble ideas in late Egyptian hymns like those at Philae, while other elements are thoroughly Greek.
She was invoked to protect women in childbirth and, in ancient Greek novels such as the Ephesian Tale , to protect their virginity. Isis was often characterized as a moon goddess, paralleling the solar characteristics of Serapis.
Various texts claim she organized the behavior of the sun, moon, and stars, governing time and the seasons which, in turn, guaranteed the fertility of the earth.
This idea derives from older Greek traditions about the role of various Greek gods and culture heroes , including Demeter, in establishing civilization.
She also oversaw seas and harbors. Sailors left inscriptions calling upon her to ensure the safety and good fortune of their voyages.
Isis therefore guaranteed fertile harvests and protected the ships that carried the resulting food across the seas—and thus ensured the well-being of the empire as a whole.
It bore the words "I am all that has been and is and will be; and no mortal has ever lifted my mantle. Isis was also said to benefit her followers in the afterlife, which was not much emphasized in Greek and Roman religion.
They characterized this afterlife inconsistently. As in Egypt, Isis was said to have power over fate, which in traditional Greek religion was a power not even the gods could defy.
She governs the cosmos, yet she also relieves people of their comparatively trivial misfortunes, and her influence extends into the realm of death, which is "individual and universal at the same time".
More than a dozen Egyptian gods were worshipped outside Egypt in Hellenistic and Roman times in a series of interrelated cults, though many were fairly minor.
In Roman times he became, like Dionysus, a symbol of a joyous afterlife, and the Isis cult increasingly focused on him. He absorbed traits from Greek gods such as Apollo and served as a god of the sun and of crops.
Isis also had an extensive network of connections with Greek and Roman deities, as well as some from other cultures. She was not fully integrated into the Greek pantheon, but she was at different times equated with a variety of Greek mythological figures, including Demeter, Aphrodite, or Io , a human woman who was turned into a cow and chased by the goddess Hera from Greece to Egypt.
Many of the aretalogies include long lists of goddesses with whom Isis was linked. These texts treat all the deities they list as forms of her, suggesting that in the eyes of the authors she was a summodeistic being: At the same time, Hellenistic philosophers frequently saw the unifying, abstract principle of the cosmos as divine.
Many of them reinterpreted traditional religions to fit their concept of this highest being, as Plutarch did with Isis and Osiris. One aretalogy avoids this problem by calling Isis and Serapis, who was often said to subsume many male gods, the two "unique" deities.
Images of Isis made outside Egypt were Hellenistic in style, like many of the images of her made in Egypt in Hellenistic and Roman times.
The attributes she bore varied widely. As Isis-Fortuna or Isis-Tyche she held a rudder, representing control of fate, in her right hand and a cornucopia , standing for abundance, in her left.
Like most cults of the time, the Isis cult did not require its devotees to worship Isis exclusively , and their level of commitment probably varied greatly.
However, the word— Isiacus or "Isiac"—was rarely used. Priests of Isis were known for their distinctive shaven heads and white linen clothes, both characteristics drawn from Egyptian priesthoods and their requirements of ritual purity.
Temples to Egyptian deities outside Egypt, such as the Red Basilica in Pergamon , the Temple of Isis at Pompeii , or the Iseum Campense in Rome, were built in a largely Greco-Roman style but, like Egyptian temples, were surrounded by large courts enclosed by walls.
They were decorated with Egyptian-themed artwork, sometimes including antiquities imported from Egypt. Their layout was more elaborate than that of traditional Roman temples and included rooms for housing priests and for various ritual functions, with a cult statue of the goddess in a secluded sanctuary.
The daily ritual still entailed dressing the statue in elaborate clothes each morning and offering it libations, but in contrast with Egyptian tradition, the priests allowed ordinary devotees of Isis to see the cult statue during the morning ritual, pray to it directly, and sing hymns before it.
Another object of veneration in these temples was water, which was treated as a symbol of the waters of the Nile. Isis temples built in Hellenistic times often included underground cisterns that stored this sacred water, raising and lowering the water level in imitation of the Nile flood.
Many Roman temples instead used a pitcher of water that was worshipped as a cult image or manifestation of Osiris. Roman lararia , or household shrines, contained statuettes of the penates , a varied group of protective deities chosen based on the preferences of the members of the household.
The cult asked both ritual and moral purity of its devotees, periodically requiring ritual baths or days-long periods of sexual abstinence. Some temples to Greek deities, including Serapis, practiced incubation , in which worshippers slept in a temple hoping that the god would appear to them in a dream and give them advice or heal their ailments.
Some temples of Isis performed mystery rites to initiate new members of the cult. But the account is broadly consistent with other evidence about initiations, and scholars rely heavily on it when studying the subject.
Ancient mystery rites used a variety of intense experiences, such as nocturnal darkness interrupted by bright light and loud music and noise, to overwhelm their senses and give them an intense religious experience that felt like direct contact with the god they devoted themselves to.
In the middle of the night I saw the sun flashing with bright light, I came face to face with the gods below and the gods above and paid reverence to them from close at hand.
Roman calendars listed the two most important festivals of Isis as early as the first century CE. Festivals of Isis and other polytheistic gods were celebrated throughout the fourth century CE, despite the growth of Christianity in that era and the persecution of pagans that intensified toward the end of the century.
In some cases, these customs became part of the combined classical and Christian culture of the Early Middle Ages. A contentious question about Isis is whether her cult influenced Christianity.
Much attention focuses on whether traits of Christianity were borrowed from pagan mystery cults, including that of Isis.
They have been subject to controversy between Protestant Christians and the Catholic Church , as many Protestants have argued that Catholic veneration of Mary is a remnant of paganism.
Witt saw Isis as the "great forerunner" of Mary. He suggested that converts to Christianity who had formerly worshipped Isis would have seen Mary in much the same terms as their traditional goddess.
He pointed out that the two had several spheres of influence in common, such as agriculture and the protection of sailors. Images of Isis with Horus in her lap are often suggested as an influence on the iconography of Mary , particularly images of the Nursing Madonna , as images of nursing women were rare in the ancient Mediterranean world outside Egypt.
The memory of Isis survived the extinction of her worship. Like the Greeks and Romans, many modern Europeans have regarded ancient Egypt as the home of profound and often mystical wisdom, and this wisdom has often been linked with Isis.
Some Renaissance thinkers elaborated this perspective on Isis. Annio da Viterbo , in the s, claimed Isis and Osiris had civilized Italy before Greece, thus drawing a direct connection between his home country and Egypt.
Western esotericism has often made reference to Isis. Two Roman esoteric texts used the mythic motif in which Isis passes down secret knowledge to Horus.
In Kore Kosmou , she teaches him wisdom passed down from Hermes Trismegistus ,  and in the early alchemical text Isis the Prophetess to Her Son Horus , she gives him alchemical recipes.
From the Renaissance on, the veiled statue of Isis that Plutarch and Proclus mentioned was interpreted as a personification of nature , based on a passage in the works of Macrobius in the fifth century CE that equated Isis with nature.
Isis represented nature as the mother of all things, as a set of truths waiting to be unveiled by science, as a symbol of the pantheist concept of an anonymous, enigmatic deity who was immanent within nature,  or as an awe-inspiring sublime power that could be experienced through ecstatic mystery rites.
Helena Blavatsky , the founder of the esoteric Theosophical tradition, titled her book on Theosophy Isis Unveiled , implying that it would reveal spiritual truths about nature that science could not.
Among modern Egyptians, Isis was used as a national symbol during the Pharaonism movement of the s and s, as Egypt gained independence from British rule.
Isis is found frequently in works of fiction, such as a superhero franchise , and her name and image appear in places as disparate as advertisements and personal names.
Isis continues to appear in modern esoteric and pagan belief systems. The concept of a single goddess incarnating all feminine divine powers, partly inspired by Apuleius, became a widespread theme in literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This conception of Isis influenced the Great Goddess found in many forms of contemporary witchcraft. Isidora Forrest, Isis can be "all Goddesses to all people".
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the ancient Egyptian goddess. For other uses, see Isis disambiguation. A tyet amulet, 15th or 14th century BCE.
Ancient Egypt in the Western imagination. Classicists sometimes refer to the veneration of Isis, or of certain other deities who were introduced to the Greco-Roman world, as "religions" because they were more distinct from the culture around them than the cults of Greek or Roman gods.
Forms of her name in other languages all descend from this pronunciation. Originally, the form of Artemis that was worshipped at Ephesus was depicted with round protuberances on her chest that came to be interpreted as breasts.
Early modern artists drew Isis in this form because Macrobius claimed that both Isis and Artemis were depicted this way. Drawing Down the Moon: Alvar, Jaime [Spanish edition ].
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Assmann, Jan [German edition ]. The Search for God in Ancient Egypt. Translated by David Lorton. Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt.
Religions of Rome, Volume I: Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire. Studies in the Pagan and Christian Roots of Mariology.
Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar. Towards an Egyptian Understanding of the Interpretatio Graeca ". Egypt in the Roman World.