One incident of the tale of Osiris acquired a deep ethical meaning in connection with the dead.
With this may be compared the festivals of Adonis and Osiris and the myth of Persephone.
All shrines of Osiris were called P-usiri, but the principal city of the name was in the centre of the Delta, capital of the 9th (Busirite) nome of Lower Egypt; another one near Memphis (now Abusir) may have helped the formation of the legend in that quarter.
It is not so much as king of the dead that Osiris here appears, but every deceased Egyptian was regarded as himself an Osiris, as having undergone all the indignities inificted upon the god, but finally triumphant over the powers of death and evil impersonated by Seth.
According to Gruppe, the legend of the death of Orpheus is a late imitation of the Adonis-Osiris myth.
Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (1907), p. 67: " Prophecy of the Hebrew type has not been limited to Israel; it is indeed a phenomenon of almost world-wide occurrence; in many lands and in many ages the wild, whirling words of frenzied men and women have been accepted as the utterances of an in-dwelling deity.
Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (London, 1906).
The Osiris cycle of legends seems to belong to these people.
Osiris and Isis are closely connected with Syria and the Lebanon in legend; the Ded or sacred pillar of Osiris is doubtless really a representation of a great cedar with its horizontally outspreading branches; 8 another of the sacred Egyptian trees is obviously a cypress; corn and wine are traditionally associated with Osiris, and it is probable that corn and wine were first domesticated in Syria, and came thence with the gods Osiris and Re (the sun god of Heliopolis) into the Delta.
Plutarch, drawing partly on Theopompus, speaks of his religion in his Isis and Osiris (cc. 46-47).
OSIRIS, one of the principal gods of the ancient Egyptians.
Frazer, Adonis, Attis and Osiris (2nd ed.), pp. 428-435.
Neith, the goddess of Sais, was identified with Athena, and Osiris was worshipped there in a great festival.
Anubis was believed to have been the embalmer of Osiris: the mummy of Osiris, or of the deceased, on a bier, tended by this god, is a very common subject on funerary tablets of the late periods.
In those days Anubis was considered to be son of Osiris by Nephthys; earlier perhaps he was son of Re, the sun-god.
The Osiris Apis, just as dead men were assimilated to Osiris, the king of the underworld.
Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (London, 1906); Joseph Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Church, bk.
Busiris is here probably an earlier and less accurate Graecism than Osiris for the name of the Egyptian god Usiri, like Bubastis, Buto, for the goddesses Ubasti and Uto.
The name Busiris in this legend may have been caught up merely at random by the early Greeks, or they may have vaguely connected their legend with the Egyptian myth of the slaying of Osiris (as king of Egypt) by his mighty brother Seth, who was in certain aspects a patron of foreigners.
On the other hand, Osiris with Isis and Horus was everywhere honoured and popular, and while the artificer Ptah, the god of the great native capital of Egypt, made no appeal to the imagination, the Apis bull, an incarnation of Ptah, threw Ptah himself altogether into the shade in the popular estimation.
The combination of Osiris and the Apis bull which was found in the dead Apis was thus a most politic choice in naming the new divinity, whose figure represented a god of the underworld wearing an emblem of fruitfulness.
It seems unwarranted to make this Sarapsi= Sarapis travel to Sinope and thence to Alexandria as the type of the Egyptian god; but whether or no the Egyptian appellation Sarapis was applied to express the Babylonian Sarapsi, the part it played in the last days of Alexander may have determined the choice by which the Egyptian Osiris-Apis supplied the name and some leading characteristics to the god of Alexandria.
Like Aphrodite and Adonis in Syria, Baal and Astarte at Sidon, and Isis and Osiris in Egypt, the Great Mother and Attis formed a duality which symbolized the relations between Mother Earth and her fruitage.
But it was a sign of the times when Serapis and Isis, Osiris and Anubis began to take place among the popular deities in the old Greek lands.
They comprise fragments of the native historian Manetho, the descriptions of Egypt in Herodotus and Diodorus, the geographical accounts of Strabo and Ptolemy, the treatise of Plutarch on Isis and Osiris and other monographs or scattered notices of less importance.
For the story of Isis and Osiris we have indeed the late treatise ascribed to Plutarch, and a few fragments of other myths may be culled from earlier native sources.
(d) Among the later religious books one or two deserve a special mention, such as The Overthrowing of Apophis, the serpent enemy of the sun-god; The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys over their murdered brother Osiris; The Book of Breathings, a favorite book among the later Theban priests.
Isis, the faithful wife of Osiris, set forth in search of her 1 husbands body, and after long and adventure-fraught derings, succeeded in recovering it and bringing it back ~gypt.
But Isis collected the fragments, and wherever one was id, buried it with due honor; or, according to a different iunt, she joined the limbs together by virtue of her magical ers, and the slain Osiris, thus resurrected, henceforth reigned :ing of the dead in the nether world.
Of Osiris we can only state that he was originally local god of Busiris, whatever further characteristics he iitively possessed being quite obscure.
Isis was perhaps the 1 goddess of Buto, a town not far distant from Busiris; geographical proximity would suffice to explain her conon with Osiris in the tale.
The more ancient account survived, however, he myth that Osiris, Horus, Seth, Isis and Nephthys (a less who plays but a minor part in the Osiris cycle) were all Iren of the earth-god Keb and the sky-goddess Nut, born on five consecutive days added on at the end of the year (the flied epagomenal days).
Later generations reconciled these radictions by assuming the existence of two Horuses, one, brother of Osiris, Seth and Isis, being named Haroeris, i.e.
They again gave birth to Keb and Nut, from whom ieir turn sprang Osiris and Seth, Isis and Nephthys.
It is apparently through the funeral that Osiris so early took a firm hold on the imagination of people; for at a very ancient date he was identified with y dead king, and it needed but a slight extension of this idea iakehim into a king of the dead.
In later times the moral ct of his tale was doubtless the main cause of its continued alarity; Osiris was named Onnophris, the good Being excellence, and Seth was contrasted with him as the author the root of all evil.
His fusion with Horus and Etom has already been noted; further we find an Ammon-Re, a Sobk-Re, a Khnum-Re; and Month, Onouris, Show and Osiris are all described as possessing the attributes of the sun.
So too in Abydos, his later home, Osiris was identified with Khante-Amentiu (Khentamenti, Khentamenthes), the chief of those who are in the West, a name that was given to a vaguely-conceived but widely-venerated divinity ruler of the dead.
Plutarch in his treatise on Isis and Osiris well exemplifies this standpoint: for him every god and every rite is symbolic of some natural or moral truth.
Serapis was a god imported by the first Ptolemy from Sinope on the Black Sea, who soon lost his own identity by assimilation with Osiris-Apis, the bull revered in Memphis.
NEPHTHYS, the sister of Osiris and wife of Seth, daughter of Keb and Nut, plays a considerable rfile in the Osiris story.
She sided with Isis and aided her to bring Osiris back to life.
Sometimes, as in the case of the feast of Osiris in Abydos, a veritable drama would be enacted, in which the whole history of the god, his sufferings and final triumph were represented in mimic form.
It was a veritable drama that was here enacted, and recalled in its incidents the story of Osiris, the divine proto type of all successive generations of the Egyptian dead.
This notion became so popular, that beside it all other views of the dead sink into insignificance; it permeates the funerary cult in all its stages, and from the Middle Kingdom onwards the dead man is regularly called the Osiris so-~d-so, just as though he were completely identical with the god.
It was related how Seth had brought an accusation against Osiris in the great judgment hail of Heliopolis, and how the latter, helped by the skilful speaker Thoth, had emerged from the ordeal acquitted and triumphant.
In a shrine sits Osiris, the ruler and judge of the dead, accompanied by forty-two assessors; and before him stands the balance on which the heart of the deceased man is to be weighed against Truth; Thoth stands behind and registers the result.
The Egyptian name was A bdu, " the hill of the symbol or reliquary," in which the sacred head of Osiris was preserved.
Mineptah (Merenptah) added a great Hypogeum of Osiris to the temple of Seti.
The worship here of Osiris in his various forms begins in the XIIth dynasty and becomes more important in later times, so that at last the whole place was considered as sacred to him (Abydos, ii.
126, 127, 133; Plato, Cratylus, 402 A and Theaetetus, 152 E; Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 45, 48; Arist.
357), the ark with the corpse of Osiris was cast ashore at Byblus, and there found by Isis.
In the scene of the weighing of the soul before Osiris, dating from the New-kingdom onwards, Anubis attends to the balance while Thoth registers the result.
It is assumed above that the name Serapis (so written in later Greek and in Latin, in earlier Greek Sarapis) is derived from the Egyptian Userhapi - as it were Osiris-Apis - the name of the bull Apis, dead and, like all the blessed dead, assimilated to Osiris,.
At first the luxury of mummification was reserved for the king, who was identified with Osiris and was buried with an abundance of ritual and magic words.
Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris (1906).
The 6 See Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, 44 seq.
Later, as the god of ploughing, he is confounded with Osiris, and on a vase-painting at St Petersburg he is represented leaving Egypt in his dragon-drawn chariot on his journey round the world.
In the royal line there are almost certain instances of the marriage of a brother with an heiress-sister in Pharaonic times: this was perhaps helped by the analogy of Osiris and Isis: in the Ptolemaic dynasty it was an established custom, and one of the stories of Khamois, written in the Ptolemaic age, assumes its frequency at a very remote date.