Isis, the true lady of the gods

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Started as “simple” company of Osiris and mother of Horus, Isis was able to emphasize the woman as few gods in the history of the world, becoming the true sovereign of the Egyptian gods

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The figure of Isis was probably the one who, over the millennia of Egyptian culture, became the most adored and respected, so much so that, according to several scholars, her cult merged with that of the virgin Mary. His story is mainly told in “The myth of Isis and Osiris”, in which the deceased spouse will resurrect and Horus will grow up, the one who then materially avenges his father for the sad end suffered. Already from this legend it is possible to understand the importance of this goddess, surely among the most “active” deities of all Ancient Egypt.

Isis
Isis with Horus on her lap

Like Mary and other deities before her, she represented the imaginary of the “perfect housewife”, devoted with attention to both the care of her husband and offspring. Unlike the mother of Jesus, however, she appears to be decidedly more present in the events that revolve around her, becoming the real protagonist of her destiny. It will be Isis to allow the spouse eternal rest and she will always grow up Horus strong and ready for the imminent clash with his uncle, while keeping him away from various dangers in the meantime. It is from this latter that a particular iconography will be born which will see the divine infant in the womb of the mother, very similar to that of the Madonna and child of the Christian tradition.

Isis the protector

What will differentiate the goddess from all the others will be her autonomy and tenacity in acting, unique and really complicated characteristics to be found elsewhere, at least in this respect. This will quickly make her move from a mere and passive “guardian” to a real fixed interlocutor to triumph in any endeavor, so much so that she will soon become one of the few Egyptian deities adored elsewhere.

Isis

Initially associated with the royal throne (so much so that the German Egyptologist Kurt Sethe assumed it was a deification of the latter), Isis managed to carve out an ever greater space in the collective imagination, so much so that in some respects she became goddess of armies. Examples of this are both the Ptolemaic temple of Fila, in which she is described as the protector of the whole nation; moreover, it is impossible not to mention the battle that the goddess waged together with other similar ones against Apep, legendary snake symbol of chaos and arch enemy of Ra.

Isis and the pharaohs

As the wife of Osiris, the first pharaoh in history, and the mother of Horus, her cult was always particularly appreciated by the Egyptian rulers who saw her as a fundamental element in the line of power. I have already said that the origins of Isis themselves are probably to be found in the royal throne; precisely this element will mark the constant of the character, who “absorbed”, over the millennia, also many other roles, transforming his figure into one of the most complete and complex of the entire Egyptian pantheon.

Isis

In fact, it will become not only the “protective goddess”, but also that of the sky and the entire universe, replacing from time to time different minor divinities, mostly linked to single and particular aspects (ex. the goddess Sopdet who represented the star Sirius). Its importance, needless to say, increased even more in the Ptolemaic period, thanks to the presence of many pharaohs at the helm of Egypt, including Cleopatra VII, the most famous, who not by chance used the nickname “New Isis

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