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Egyptian Mythology: Osiris' Story

Updated on May 4, 2008

Osiris Egyptian God

Going down the lineage of Egyptian mythology, Osiris is a fourth generation god.

Atum gave birth to Shu and Tefnut, together they had two children, Geb and Nut. Geb and Nut had four children, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.

So, see Osiris is a fourth generation god.

Osiris's Story

Osiris became the king of Upper and Lower Egypt and earn a lasting fame for himself and his subjects. When Osiris began his rule, his people were nomads and led simple lives. He united the tribes and taught the people how to be civilized.

Osiris was the ideal king, and his rule created a Golden Age in Egypt.

When Osiris improved the lives of his own people, he traveled to other parts of world to convince the inhabitants to accept his ideas.

While Osiris was away from Egypt on one of his trips, Set (his brother) searched for an opportunity to take over the country. He was unable to succeed; when Isis (his wife) sensed Set's ambition to overtake the country, she took to watch him carefully.

After Osiris returned, Set became became more determined to rule over Egypt. One night, while Osiris was sleeping, Set measured his body and commanded his crafts- people to construct a wooden box that would only fit Osiris's body. Then he ordered the best artists to decorate the box so that it would appear as a work of art. And then, Set convinced about 70 people to join him in his plan to revolt.

When Set planned an elaborate feast, shortly after the box was completed, all of the conspirators were invited. At the end of the meal, Set had his servants bring in the wooden box, which was admired by all of his guests.

Jesting, Set announced that whoever wanted to own the beautiful box, he should climb into it and whoever fit would receive it as their gift, but the person must fit exactly. Everyone was eager as they gathered around the box. Every man waited his turn, and when Osiris took his turn, he climbed in and laid down.

Once settled inside of the box, the guests picked up the lid, placed it on the box, and nailed it down, which imprisoned the king. But, to top it off, they poured molten lead on the box in order to insure that he would suffocate.

The box was carried to the Nile River and dumped into the water. The current carried the box to the mouth of the Nile, where it became lodged in the Papyrus Swamps.

The people near the city of Chemmis, quickly heard of what Set had done and began to spread the word. When Isis got wind of this, she was filled with grief and immediately cut off one of her locks of hair as a sign of mourning and put on her mourning attire. She then set off in search of the box that imprisoned her husband.

After wondering Egypt and questioning the people of the land, she finally found a group of children who near which direction the box had gone.

She found the lead covered box in the country of King Melcathus and Queen Astarte. Isis asked for permission to cut down the tree, and it was granted.

When the box was out of the tree, she took it and left the country to make her way back to Egypt, but on the way, she stopped in the desert and was able to open the box. She placed her face against Osiris's, embraced his body, and wept with grief.

It is told that Isis placed the wings of a bird on her arms and hovered of Osiris, flapping her wings in order to create air for him to breath.

In a given amount of time Isis gave birth to Horus, who would one day set out to avenge his father's death. But, in the mean time, Isis kept Horus hidden from everyone.

*** *** ***

One day when hunting in the desert, Set, who had gained control over Egypt, found the box that contained Osiris's body. He opened the and became mad with rage. Set tore Osiris's body into 14 pieces and scattered them wherever he felt the need.

When Isis heard of Osiris's dismemberment, she went to Nephythys (Set's husband and Isis's sister). Always being loyal to Isis, Nephythys went with Isis to find the body parts of Osiris.

Whenever they found a body part, they placed a small statue of Osiris to mark the spot.

Once all of the body parts where accounted for, Isis and Nephthys made sure that he would live prosperously in the afterlife.

They took Osiris's head, torso, limbs, heart, and other vital organs aand arranged them in order for his appearance in the afterlife. They connected the body parts with wax, and prepared a long piece of linen cloth with spices They wrapped Osiris in the linen linen, which would protect his body from decay, and buried him.

In Conclusion...

Osiris's story has been told with variations, like all good mythological stories. So, this one version may be found with other variations, depending on your source.

Some versions say that when Isis found Osiris's dead body, she brought him back to life for a short period of time, to which is what caused her to become pregnant with Horus.

Some versions of the story, say that after Set cut Osiris' body into 14 pieces, Isis was only able to find 12 or 13 of the pieces, and she and her sister made models of the missing parts before they covered his body with the linens.


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    • profile image

      interested 5 years ago

      thanks i always wanted to learn about osiris. Also it was very good writing THANKYOU

    • profile image

      zach 5 years ago

      i'm only in sixth grade and i love ancient egypt and when i grow up i want to be an archaeologist

    • profile image

      Katie M 6 years ago

      I Hate doing essays but this cite made it more interesting to write my essay

    • profile image

      MythDen 6 years ago

      Wow, I learn't a lot from this, I always love to read about Egyptian mythology, thanks :D

    • profile image

      Filip 6 years ago

      Nice mythology where did you get that?

    • profile image

      the great Roshni Sharma. 6 years ago

      it is indeed very interesting, thanks a lot. i just loved it.

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      corrine 6 years ago

      i have always loved egyptian mythology it always is amazing how things take place i wish i could visit it some day n study it at a closer level

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      Victoria 7 years ago

      i just looked this up for fun. i say its not as ineresting as the story of how isis learned ra's secret name.

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      Greg 7 years ago

      No, they only could find some of his bits. In fact she only needed the bit to make herself pregnant so Horus could take revenge. I'll let you work out which bit that was!

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      Jean Claude N 7 years ago

      Me too,the vesion I was taught is the one in which the genitals of Osiris couldn't be found. The same story was transposed by Ayi Kwei Armah in his novel 'Osiris Rising: A Novel of Africa Past, Present and Future

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      star 7 years ago

      i really like this one cause it was really interting

    • profile image

      megan 7 years ago

      I don't like history at all but I had to do a report for my english class and it was actually kind of cool;)

    • profile image

      Lexie 7 years ago

      I LOVE Egypt.My hisory teacher loves that I've been handing in so much about Egypt.I think this stor is so interesting

    • profile image

      Egyptian Maniac 7 years ago

      This was awesome! I really enjoyed it. This fed me a lot of imagination!

    • profile image

      skippy5698 8 years ago

      LOVE egypt! I'm doin a project for college on it. So cool.

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      elliot.dunn 8 years ago

      this is fascinating. where is this information coming from? i'd love to read more on this. thanks for sharing!

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      tohno 9 years ago

      I do have one thing to say it was a version I read that said it was scattered in 5 pieces and they couldn't find the genitals