The purpose of my paper is to construct a picture in your mind of the cult of Isis during the fourth century. In an attempt, I will describe Isis, the cult ceremonies, and the society around them dealing with the cult Isis was known to be the goddess of fertility and motherhood. Egyptians say that she was the daughter of the god Keb (Earth) and the goddess Nut (Sky), wife and sister of Osiris, the sister of Seth, Nepythys, and the mother of Horus, the god of day. Isis shown in many photographs with miniature thrones or horns from her head and sometimes with a solar disc between the cows horns like Hathor.
She was known to have taught Osiris all the aspects to agriculture. She taught the women to spin, weave, and flax and cure diseases. The cult of Isis date backs to the fourth century originating from in the delta town of Perehbet and spread all over Egypt. The cult of Isis spread from Alexandria throughout the Hellenistic world after the 4th century BC. It appeared in Greece in combination with the cults of Horus, her son, and Serapis, the Greek name for Osiris. The cult had its own priests, dressed in long white garments. They had bald shaved heads and a sistrum in their hands.
The sistrum was a musical instrument with the form of a tennis racket. These priests led the special ceremonies, the sacra aegyptiaca, celebrated from 28 October until 1 November. Becoming one with the gods was the main aspiration in these mystery of the cult. The cult pleased the tastes of a cosmopolitan, urban, and sophisticated society, satisfying the intellectual and spiritual needs of their members. Which god to serve was a matter of personal choice. In other words, one did not belong to a mystery religion by birth, but rather by initiation.
They were appealing in the turbulent times of the Roman Empire because they also claimed to save their adherents from the worst that fate could throw at them in this world while promising immortality in the next. To achieve immortality and union with god required a period of preparation in which the initiate followed the religion? s precepts in an effort to become holy. Once this period was over, the initiate performed a ritual, usually one of great emotional intensity, in which he or she was baptized into a new life.
Ultimately this led to unity with the religion’s god who had died and risen from the dead. Cult is said to have started or begun after their brother Seth had killed Osiris. It is said that Seth tricked Osiris to go into a golden coffin and closed it. Seth then through the coffin into the Nile river to float away. Osiris was found dead at the in Byblos were it had been carried by river and brought back to the thrown by Isis. Seth took the thrown and found the body had being brought back to Egypt. Seth seized the body, ripped, cut the body into fourteen pieces, and threw it back into the Nile River.
Isis found all the pieces of Osiris body and connected them and preformed magic over the body. She turned into a kite and with the breeze from her wings, breath enough life back into the body of Osiris to make herself pregnant. She took her child to the swamps of Chemnis in the Nile delta, where she raised him secretly to keep him away from the tricks of Seth until he could defined his fathers honor. Isis was known for magical powers and wisdom that was unbelievable to man. Isis was the only divinity to discover the secret name of Ra. She formed a snake out of spit and black ash from the ground.
She spoke some words and the snake bit Ra and only minutes from his last breath did he tell her his name. She then after her the name called out some more words that brought Ra back to life and health. With this information she could could get more follower to trust her and believe. Isis found out which words to say and how to say them from Troth. Must Romans believe that you had to say things a certain way. Finally, the cult died out in Rome after the institution of Christianity, and the last remaining Egyptian temples to Isis were closed in the middle of the 6th century AD.