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Isis

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Isis
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« on: April 23, 2007, 02:05:22 am »



English: Priestess of the Egyptian goddess Isis, holding a situla (a bronze jug). Roman statue of the 2nd century AD, on display at the Museo Archaeologico Regionale, Palermo, Sicily.


Temples

Most Egyptian deities started off as strictly local, and throughout their history retained local centers of worship, with most major cities and towns widely known as the hometowns to their deities. However, no traces of local Isis cults are found; throughout her early history there are also no known temples dedicated to her. Individual worship of Isis does not begin until as late as the 30th dynasty; until that time Isis was depicted and apparently worshipped in temples of other deities. However, even then Isis is not worshipped individually, but rather together with Horus and Osiris- the latter of whom being both her brother and husband ( marriage between brothers and sisters of the Royal family were common in Ancient Egypt to keep the Royal bloodline 'intact' ). Temples dedicated specifically to Isis become wide-spread only in the Roman times.

By this period, temples to Isis begin to spread outside of Egypt. In many locations, particularly Byblos, her cult takes over that of worship to the Semitic goddess Astarte, apparently due to the similarity of names and associations. During the Hellenic era, due to her attributes as a protector, and mother, and the lusty aspect originally from Hathor, she was also made the patron goddess of sailors.

Throughout the Graeco-Roman world, Isis becomes one of the most significant of the mystery religions, and many classical writers refer to her temples, cults and rites. Temples to Isis were built in Iraq, Greece, Rome, even as far north as England where the remains of a temple were discovered at Hadrian's Wall. At Philae her worship persisted until the 6th century, long after the wide acceptance of Christianity- this was the last of the ancient Egyptian temples to be closed, and its fall is generally accepted to mark the end of ancient Egypt.


Priesthood
 
Priestess of Isis, Roman statue 2nd Century C.E.Little information on Egyptian priests of Isis survives; however it is clear there were both priests and priestesses of her cult throughout her history. By the Graeco-Roman era, many of them were healers, and were said to have many other special powers, including dream interpretation and the ability to control the weather by braiding or combing their hair, the latter of which was believed because the Egyptians considered knots to have magical powers.

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