Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. Her reputed magical power was greater than that of all other gods. The worship of Isis was ended by the rise of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. Isis continues to appear in Western culture, particularly in esotericism and modern Paganism.
About Isis in brief
Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth. She was usually portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. Her reputed magical power was greater than that of all other gods, and she was said to protect the kingdom from its enemies. The worship of Isis was ended by the rise of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. Isis continues to appear in Western culture, particularly in esotericism and modern Paganism, often as a personification of nature or the feminine aspect of divinity. Her Egyptian name was ꜣst, which became in the Coptic form of Egyptian, Wusa in the Meroitic language of Nubia, and Ἶ ωά in Greek. Many scholars have focused on Isis’s name in trying to determine her origins. The Egyptian term for a throne was also stogram for Isis, and may have shared a common etymology with the Egyptian word for a person of thrones. Other scholars have disputed this interpretation, because of dissimilarities between Isis’s name and the word for throne or a throne, or the lack of evidence that the throne was ever a throne or that Isis was ever the mother of a man who was a king or a king’s son. She is also portrayed wearing Hathor’s headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow. In the first millennium BCE, Osiris and Isis became the most widely worshipped Egyptian deities, and Isis absorbed traits from many other goddesses.
She retained strong links with Egypt and other Egyptian deities who were popular in the Hellenistic world, such as Osiris and Harpocrates. Some of her devotees said she encompassed all feminine divine powers in the world. Her worship may have influenced Christian beliefs and practices such as the veneration of Mary, but the evidence for this influence is ambiguous and often controversial. Her cult may have originated in the region of the Nile Delta near Behbeit el-Hagar and Sebennytos, and hercult may have been found all across the Roman Empire’s territories. Her following developed distinctive festivals such as Navigium Isidis, as well as initiation ceremonies resembling those of other GreCo-Roman mystery cults. Inscriptions that may refer to Isis date to the reign of Nyuserre Ini during that period, but she appears prominently in the Pyramid Texts, which began to be written down at the end of the dynasty and whose content may have developed much earlier. An inscription that may referring to Isis dates to the period of the Fifth Dynasty. Isis was worshipped by Greeks and Egyptians, along with a new god, Serapis, Their worship diffused into the wider Mediterranean world. The cult of Isis became a part of Roman religion in the first century BCE.