Tomb of Osiris with Zahi Hawass
He is also known as Oser, Aser, Asar and Usire. He is the God of Resurrection, the Underworld and the Judge of Dead. He was widely worshipped throughout all of Egypt. His cult center was Abydos. He was the advocate of past Pharaohs, agriculture and fertility. He is the first born of Geb and Nut. Brother of Seth, Nephthys and Isis who is also his wife. He and Isis give birth to Horus. Some say he is also father of Anubis whom Nephthys who seduced him one night.
Soon after Ra had abandoned the world to rule the skies, Osiris resumes the role and ruled the world of men. When his brother Seth became jealous of him, Osiris is murdered. Through the incantations of Isis with the help of Thoth, Anubis and Nephthys he is reawakened with the "Ritual of Life" and lives once more. It is thought by some that since he was the first of the celestial beings to die that it was only reasonable for him to become the god of the dead. And as the story goes he is avenged by his son Horus who defeats Seth and is exiled into the dessert.
The incantations cast by this crew was given to the ancient Egyptians for them to use, so they too could give eternal life to their dead. These incantations, spells and rituals were passed on from one generation to the next and collected into a book as we know, "The Book of the Dead".
When the Ennead and Ogdoad merged, with the identification of Ra as Atum/Atum-Ra, gradually Anubis (Ogdoad system) was replaced by Osiris, whose cult had become more significant. Out of respect for Osiris, Anubis gives up his postition in Duat. Anubis was Seth's son in some versions, but because Seth became god of evil, he was subsequently identified as being Osiris' son. Abydos, which had been a strong centre of the cult of Anubis, became a centre of the cult of Osiris. Because Isis, Osiris' wife and sister, represented life in the Ennead, it was considered somewhat inappropriate for her to be the mother of a god associated with death such as Anubis, and so instead, it was usually said that Nephthys, the other of the two female children of Geb and Nut, was his mother.
Osiris was commonly depicted as green skinned, green was the color of rebirth and new vegetation. In some of the depictions he is a pharaoh wearing the Atef crown, a form of the white crown of upper Egypt with a plume of feathers to either side. Typically he was also depicted holding the crook and flail which signified divine authority in Egyptian pharaohs, which were originally unique to Osiris. His feet and lower body were wrapped or in some pics looks like they are tied, as though already partly mummified.
It is said in regards to the association of Osiris with the ram, the god's traditional crook and flail are of course the instruments of the shepherd, which has suggested to some scholars also an origin for Osiris in herding tribes of the upper Nile. The crook and flail were originally symbols of the minor agricultural deity Anedijti, (of whom there is very little information) and passed to Osiris later. From Osiris, they eventually passed to Egyptian kings in general as symbols of divine authority.
It was claimed that Osiris was buried at Abydos, in a tomb which is now known to be that of the 1st Dynasty King Djer (c 3000 BC). Abydos became the centre for pilgrims to visit.There is a chapel dedicated to Osiris in Sety I `s temple (1294 - 1279 BC) and another temple known as the "Osireion" built by Merenptah (c 1213 - 1203 BC) at Abydos.
An annual festival took place at Abydos involving a procession of Osiris`s barque (neshmet) which followed the jackal-god, Wepwawet. Throughout the procession various scenes of Osiris`s life and his triumphs over evil were enacted. The god would then return to his sanctuary at the temple. Osiris is regarded as the dead king that watches over the netherworld and is rejuvenated in his son Horus. As the symbol of eternal life he was worshipped at Abydos and Philae. This ancient Egyptian god's annual death and resurrection personified the self-renewing vitality and fertility of nature. His domain is the Duat /Underworld. Originally he was a vegetation god closely linked to corn; later god of the dead, the supreme funerary deity.
The deceased were closely linked with Osiris by the "New Kingdom" in many funerary texts. Inside the temple of Sety I at Abydos are illustrations of various aspects of the life and myths of Osiris. The conception of Isis by Osiris is depicted leading to the birth of their son, Horus and the events of Horus`s life in his attempts to avenge his father`s death
Osiris was known by a number of titles. One of these is, "Wennefer" which means "eternally good" or "eternally incorruptible". Osiris was also called, "chief of the westerners", a title originally owned by an earlier god of the dead from Abydos, the jackal headed Khentimentiu. Osiris also held the title, "he who dwells in Heliopolis", which linked him to the sun-god Ra. Osiris was named as one of the original nine gods of the Heliopolitan creation myth. This relationship was first seen in the fifth dynasty Pyramid Texts (funerary texts written on the inside walls of some pyramids). He was also assimilated with two other funerary deities from Memphis, the creator-god Ptah and the hawk-headed god Sokar. Together they formed the funerary god, Ptah-Sokar-Osiris.
He was sometimes thought of as the "ba" of the sun-god, Ra and was then the "night-sun" or the "moon". The goddesses Isis and Nephthys were then thought to greet the newborn sun each morning, representing the resurrection of the god.
Osiris, in his earliest form of a tamarisk tree trunk, was called Djed. His later mummy wrappings were symbolic of his having been encased inside a tree trunk. Over time the tree trunk was replaced by the imagery of a pillar which became known as the Djed Pillar, the Pillar of Stability. Osiris was enclosed in the trunk of a tamarisk tree, which was later cut down and used as a pillar in the palace of the King of Byblos, he metaphorically became as one with the Tree of Life. Osiris became the Axis Munde around which the heavens appear to revolve; he became the World Pillar, the link between the terrestrial and celestial worlds. He held the heavens in his outstretched arms, and he soaked up the word of God from the waters of the Netherworld. In Ancient Egypt the Netherworld was called the "Netterworld" meaning the "World of the Gods". The gods had their home among the stars.
Some scholars say that the Djed is an Egyptian symbol that resembles a column with a broad base and capital which is divided by four parallel bars. The Djed pillar had been an object of worship since the pre-dynastic period, giving its name to the city of Djedu (Busiris, in the 9th nome of Lower Egypt). It is clearly a stylised image, but there is disagreement regarding the origins of the symbol. It came to represent stability and durability, but may have started out as a fertility symbol, a phallus.
It is suggested that it represented a cedar tree with its branches removed, the pole to which sheaves of grain were tied after harvest, or a stylised sheaf of corn. Alternatively, the symbol may have represented four pillars of increasing size, seen one behind the other. In Snefru´s step pyramid, the Djed pillars form columns supporting the sky and may represent the four pillars which help Shu bear the sky on his shoulders. Finally, the Djed may represent a man´s backbone (that of either Sokar or Osiris). Some commentators, however, have come up with some distinctly speculative meanings and functions for the Djed. Some describe it as an electrical device with insulators, while others suggest that it was a power generator (e.g. in the "Denderah lightbulb").
During the Old Kingdom, the Djed was associated with Ptah, (the creator god of Memphis), who was given the epithet "the Noble Djed". However, it later became more closely associated with Osiris (particularly in his form as Banebdjed). In the story of Isis and Osiris, the Djed pillar is Osiris´ backbone which Isis found buried in Djedu. The city was renamed Pr-Asir ("the house of Osiris") which the Greeks translated as Busiris. In one variant, the Djed is the pillar formed from the tree that grew around Osiris´ corpse and was raised by the King of Byblos and used to support his palace. Isis travelled to Byblos and cured the king´s son of a potentially fatal illness in order to get the pillar back. When Osiris absorbed the god Sokar, he too became associated with the Djed.
There was an annual festival during the month of Koiak which celebrated the murder of Osiris by Set, and Osiris´ later resurrection. On the last day of the festival the pharaoh performed a ceremony called "raising the Djed". It is thought that this ceremony emphasised the stability of the monarch, and symbolized the rebirth of Osiris.
The Djed is often found with the "Ankh", the "Was" sceptre and the "Tjet" and was often incorporated into an amulet to utilise its protective powers.
The Greek historian Plutarch wrote an account of the legend of Osiris. Some of the information has been confirmed from Egyptian sources, although not all. Plutarch said that Osiris was a good earthly king who was a fair ruler. His brother, Seth, became jealous of Osiris and had a wonderful casket made that would perfectly fit his brother, Osiris. Seth then organized a feast to which Osiris was invited along with many of Seth`s accomplices. The casket was brought into the room during the feat and Seth said that whoever it fitted perfectly could have it as a gift. When Osiris got into the coffin he was locked inside it and the lid sealed. The coffin containing Osiris`s body was then thrown into the Nile, where it drifted to Byblos and became stuck by a cedar tree.
The casket was eventually found by Isis who rescued it and returned to Egypt. She is then said to have hidden it in the marshes before she could give Osiris a proper burial. According to Plutarch`s account, her son Horus was already born at this time, and it was while Isis was caring for her son that Seth found the casket. He cut Osiris`s body into pieces and scattered them throughout Egypt. Different accounts mention different figures ranging from 14 to 42 pieces into which Osiris was cut. Isis is then said to have looked for all of these pieces and buried each piece where it was found. Osiris`s phallus had been eaten by a Nile Carp (Lepidotus), the Phagrus and the Oxyrynchus fish, so an artificial penis was made
Diodorus Siculus gives another version of the myth in which Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Seth, whom Diodorus associates with the evil Typhon of Greek mythology. Typhon divides the body into twenty six pieces which he distributes amongst his fellow conspirators in order to implicate them in the murder. Isis and Horus avenge the death of Osiris and slay Typhon. Isis recovers all the parts of Osiris body, less the phallus, and secretly buries them. She made replicas of them and distributed them to several locations which then became centres of Osiris worship.
Prayers and spells were addressed to Osiris throughout Egyptian history, in hopes of securing his blessing and entering the afterlife which he ruled, his popularity steadily increased through the Middle Kingdom. By the 18th dynasty he was probably the most widely worshipped god in Egypt. The cult of Osiris continued up until the 6th century AD on the island of Philae in Upper Nile. The Theodosian decree (in about 380 AD) to destroy all pagan temples and force worshipers to accept Christianity was not enforced there. The worship of Isis and Osiris was allowed to continue at Philae until the time of Justinian. This toleration was due to an old treaty made between the Blemyes-Nobadae and Diocletian. Every year they visited Elaphantine and at certain intervals took the image of Isis up river to the land of the Blemyes for oracular purposes before returning it. Justinian would not tolerate this and sent Narses to destroy the sanctuaries, with the priests being arrested and the divine images taken to Constantinople.
Osiris was linked to the constellation Orion.
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