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Joined: 29 Jul 2005
Posts: 213
Location: England

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:55 pm    Post subject: Isis Reply with quote

Its obvious that Isis was avery important goddess in ancient egypt as she was the wife of osiris and the mother of horus, but i have read so many things about her that im confused about what she was actually worshipped for Confused Can anyone tell me? Very Happy
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Joined: 23 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Isis was the goddess of fertility and motherhood, but she could have been worshiped for other things throughout different times.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isis was many things and is hard to pin down. She had few temples set up for her worship alone but was the ultimate mother-goddess. She became the most important goddess in Egypt late in its history, but her actual origin is pretty obscure. Many towns throughout Egypt claimed to be the birthplace or burial site of this or that deity, but there is no such connection for Isis.

Her importance cannot be overlooked, though. She dates all the way back to the Pyramid Texts (and is surely older than that) in her role as assisting the deceased king, and in the later Books of the Netherworld is usually there assisting her husband Osiris and his daytime counterpart Re in their nightly regeneration.

You mentioned her well-known roles of sister-wife to Osiris and mother to Horus. She was also often considered mother of pharaoh (if symbolically); for instance, in the Pyramid Texts the king is mentioned drinking milk from the breasts of his mother Isis, much as Horus is so often depicted in statuary (a visible link between pharaoh and Horus). Later on Isis would assume cosmic assocations, particularly her association with the star Sirius (Sopdet to the Egyptians). One of Isis' epithets is "great of magic" for the many magical feats she accomplished, most famously that of bringing Osiris back to life that they might mate and produce Horus. Isis was often called upon in prayer and charms during childbirth, to protect the mother and to deliver the child safely.

I touched on her roles as assistant to Osiris and Re in the Books of the Netherworld. These books were chiefly for the tombs of the royals or those closely connected to the royals, but along with her sister Nephthys she is also a common sight on coffin depictions and funerary statues as a mourner and protector of the dead.

Though Isis never had many temples in Egypt, worship of her in one form or another was remarkably widespread. She even had her own temple in ancient Byblos in the Levant (where Egypt got so much of its cedar and spruce), where she was equated with the Canaanite goddess Astarte. Her popularity in the Greek and Roman civilizations is common knowledge; I myself am not familiar with how Isis was worshiped abroad (which I hope to remedy), but there was even a temple for her in Pompeii. And Wilkinson mentions that worship of her was spread all the way from Iraq to England!

I hope this helps a bit, Claire. Isis is one of the most important of Egyptian deities and one could write volumes about her alone, but I presume you're not looking for that much detail. Very Happy

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