OSIRIS:Osiris is the Egyptian “great god” decreed as the Lordof the Underworld and Judge of the Dead. He was the first son of the earth godGeb and the sky goddess Nut. He was married to his sister Isis, whom he ruledEgypt with, until he was murdered by Seth, his jealous and vengeful brother.After his death, Osiris went into a coma like state (Pich, 2002, p. 178). Most textual evidence accounts asOsiris being born wearing a crown. The sun god Ra himself chose Osiris tosucceed his father, Geb.
A few sources state a struggle for power betweenOsiris and Geb. Kom Ombo even claimed in a text that Osiris was born againafter his death when his father Geb and his grandfather Shu merged together(Pich, 2002, p. 128). Pyramid texts often depicted Osirisas being killed by his brother Seth. In other accounts, Osiris was drowned inthe river Nile. Some sources state that the body of Osiris was chopped intopieces by Seth and spread across the Egypt and into the river Nile when helearned that Isis had found the body of Osiris. Some sources argue that it wasthe natural disintegration of the body that Isis had to mend, rather than thepieces (Pich, 2002, p. 128).
Isis later gathered the pieces of Osiris, and with the help of the gods Anubisand Thoth, mummified the body for preservation. After the revival, Isis formedinto a kite and flew around Osiris, by which she collected the seed of Osirisand absorbed it in herself. She then became pregnant, and bore a son, Horus,who later succeeded Osiris by striking down Seth, and becoming the king of theliving (Mark, 2006, The Osiris Myth).Osiris, while living, was still incomplete and sunk back to an inert state. Hiscase was presented to a Divine Tribunal by other gods, mainly Isis, Thoth, andHorus.
Osiris was redeemed as a “possessor of maat”, maat meaning truthand justice. His cruel and unfair death persuaded the creator to let Osirisleave his mummified body and retract back into the Underworld, where he wasmade Lord of the Underworld and also the Judge of the Dead. He was attributedthe name Wenenefer (Onnophris).
While the name meant “the one whose body didnot decay” originally, it was later interpreted as “the beneficent one” (Pich,2002, p. 129). Osiris was usually shown as mummifiedand related to a king. He worean atef crown and carried a crook and flail.
Thecolor of his skin was shown to be either black or green. While these colors mayhave originally indicated putrefaction, they later came to symbolize theconnection of Osiris with a cycle of death and regeneration, which was based onplant life (Pich, 2002, p. 178).The text in the walls of the pyramid frequently identified the dead king insidethe pyramid with Osiris.
By the second millennium BCE, this identification was,in name only, prolonged to all the dead. All aspects of burial andmummification eventually came to be linked the Osiris and the mythology thatsurrounded him (Pich, 2002, p. 178). Someof the most important values of the Egyptian culture, such as harmony, order,and eternal life, and also gratitude, was projected by the myth of Osiris. Thehatred Seth showed for Osiris was depicted as a lack of gratitude and envy,which gave birth to the idea of ingratitude being a “gateway sin”. The mythdepicted the fall of gods to such misdeeds, and the consequences that cameafterwards (Mark, 2006, Worship of Osiris).
The cult of Osiris centered around the city of Abydos,and the necropolis of the city became the most longed for burial ground sincethe people thought that being buried as close to the god as possible wouldbring them fortune in the Underworld (Mark, 2006, Worship of Osiris).The cult was most acclaimed during the Fifth Dynasty(c. 2494–2345 BCE). Osiris waseventually associated with other funerary deities as well, such as Andjety ofBusiris, and Khentamentiu of Abydos, and the name of the latter was integratedas another name of Osiris, showing his command over all the spirits of the Duat, and also the demons in it (Pich,2002, p.178). The early Egyptian kingdoms integrated Osiris intoseveral of their rituals.
A ritual in the Middle Kingdom considered the body ofOsiris as barley and Seth with the donkeys who trample the barley to thresh thegrain. This can be seen as the myth of Osiris being connected to the annualcrop cycle and harvesting, and is one of the earliest example of ritualisticintegration of the Lord of the Underworld. Osiris could hence be alsoworshipped as an agricultural fertility deity. During festivals of Osiris,Ithyphallic corn mummies were made and buried.
This was symbolic for giving newlife to the dead, just like seed corn grew into new plants (Pich, 2002, p. 179).Osiris worshipping developed into such a state, that from as early as the NewKingdom, all bodily fluids of Osiris, such as semen and sweat, were associatedwith the Nile river flooding, which was thought to bring life to the crops(Pich, 2002, p. 179).The New Kingdom underworld books also prominently featured the body parts ofOsiris, which is said to have been divided into anything from fourteen toforty-two parts.
The darkest hour of the night was signified as the period whenthe soul of the sun god Ra descended into the cave where Osiris has his body inand merged with the soul of Osiris himself. All the dead, including Osiris,were then risen from death, and could live again. In the Book of the Dead,Osiris was depicted as being in the throne in the Hall of the Two Truths, wherehe undertook the judgement of the dead. A New Kingdom prayer signified theimportance of Osiris by stating that all Egyptians have to come to him in theend and those who would survive the his judgement would make it to paradise,thus making him the greatest of the gods (Pich, 2002, p. 179). LITERARY SOUCES:· Pinch(2002). Handbook of Egyptian Mythology.Santa Barbara, California (USA), ABC-CLIO.
· Mark(2006). Osiris. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/osiris/