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The Myth Of Isis And Osiris - A Legendary Romance

Updated on October 29, 2014

The Myth Of Isis and Osiris - Legend or Reality?

Most of us have heard of this captivating story between the Egyptian ruler and god and his wife/sister goddess, the famousIsis and Osiris myth, but how many of us know what really happened...My lens focus on the legendary romance of Isis and Osiris and how the same has impacted the Egyptian Culture

The information provided in this lens has been researched and gathered from internet only

Statue of Iris, Osiris & Horus their son, at the Louvre museum in Paris
Statue of Iris, Osiris & Horus their son, at the Louvre museum in Paris

Isis & Osiris Myth - The Story

Osiris - The Lord Of The Afterlife

The truth behind this story is ambiguous, for there are many obscure secrets in ancient Egyptian mythology, but we can safely say that this is more or less what happened...

The legend revolves around the royal couple Isis and Osiris who were husband and wife as well as sister and brother. Osiris was said to have been sent by the gods to rule over the land of Egypt and turn it into a land of beauty and peace. He married his sister Isis and became a very popular earthly ruler, much to his bother's dismay. Seth, his brother was jealous of Osiris's popularity and plotted to get rid of him.

The Egyptian people adored Osiris who was a kind ruler and taught them to plough the earth and reap harvest from their crop. He honoured the gods and set up just laws to keep his kingdom well-organized and happy.

Isis and Osiris held a grand banquet for the court, and Osiris invited his brother Seth. This was the occasion Seth had been waiting for to get rid of his brother and claim his throne.

Seth had obtained Osiris's measurements furtively, in order to have a splendid golden casket made in a human form. He then took advantage of the banquet to talk about this magnificent coffin he had found. The guests were so curious they soon asked him to show them the casket.

So, Seth promised he would give it as a gift to the person who fitted into the casket perfectly. Osiris was obviously the only one who did, and when he climbed into the coffin, Seth and his accomplices shut down the lid over the king and nailed it in place, sealing it with tar. Then, they took it to the Nile and threw the casket into the waters that carried it away.

Isis was shattered with grief. She cut off a length of her hair and dressed in mourning, setting off to look for the golden casket. She searched all over Egypt and abroad in the land of Byblos, until she came across a group of children who told her they had seen the casket at the base of a great tree.

Isis found her husband's coffin under a magnificent tree and took it back with her to Egypt in order to give Osiris a dignified burial. She hid the casket in some marshes, but unfortunately, fate had it that Seth found it while he was out hunting. Seth was so enraged he cut Osiris into many pieces and scattered his parts all over Egypt.

Isis was once again in anguish and set off looking for her husband's remains throughout the land. She managed to recompose the body of Osiris, although one part was missing, she then wrapped him up in bandages to keep the parts together.

It is said that Isis and Osiris conceived Horus when Isis breathed back life into her dead husband, after which Osiris became the King of the Land of the Dead while Horus, I & O's son fought the hateful Seth to avenge his father's death.

Osiris was declared the King of the Underworld while his son Horus was the King of the living and Seth the ruler of the deserts and the god of chaos and evil.

Eventually Horus was killed by Seth, as his father had been. The legend narrates that son and father were re-united in the underworld and they returned to fight and defeat Seth at Eduf in flesh and bones under the form of a winged sun disc.

Step into the world of Egyptian mythology

Temple of Osiris
Temple of Osiris

The Temple Of Osiris

Abydos, the ancient holy place and burial ground of the rulers of Egypt

Abydos is situated in the Middle East, and this is where the ancient holy burial ground of all the important rulers such as the Egyptian god Osiris were buried.

The buildings situated in the northern area date back to the Pre-dynastic age. There are also more recent excavations that brought to light an Old Kingdom residential area and these lie in the south-east, with houses made of mud and brick as well as a faience workshop with its own kilns.

Abydos was probably the principal area of worship to the Egyptian god Osiris. He became so popular that followers traveled from far and wide to visit the location and there are often ritual journeys to Abydos portrayed on private tombs. Many temples dedicated to kings were erected in Abydos due to its popularity, which was spurred on by the Egyptian god Osiris.

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Isis and Osiris

The Eternal Lovers

Isis

The Egyptian goddess Isis mother of Horus was considered as mother of the king, and you will often find her portrayed with a throne on her head or a solar disc with cow's horns. She was also associated with magic, for she used her powers when searching for the remains of her husband and breathed life back into him.

Osiris

The Egyptian god Osiris was probably the most celebrated of the gods of Ancient Egypt. He is known as the Lord of the afterlife and you will often see him depicted as a mummified pharaoh.

Originally, he was the god of agriculture in ancient Egypt, son of the earth god Geb and goddess Nut. When Osiris was bought back to life by Isis to conceive their son Horus, he became the god of the afterlife and the resurrection into the eternal life.

The Egyptian god Osiris is depicted mummified in green stone and his body wrapped in white funeral clothes. You can usually see him holding both the crook and flail of pharaohs as well as the scepter of the gods.

Horus

Horus was the son of I & O who set out to avenge his father's death in a battle against his uncle Seth. He too was slain by Seth, but father and son returned together from the afterlife and defeated Seth.

More on Isis and Osiris - Some good books on the myth of the god of resurrection.

The god who came to life again for the love of his wife.

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    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I have always had an interest in Ancient Egypt, and having read a lot by Zecharia Sitchin I do believe that the Gods Of Egypt were the same as those from Sumeria, and that they did exist as the Annunaki. I wonder if enough evidence will come to light to allow us to know the truth, or is it long since destroyed.