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date: 03 December 2020

Egyptian deitieslocked

  • Richard Gordon

Extract

The Graeco-Roman view of Egyptian religion is sharply fissured. Despite Herodotus 2. 50. 1 (comm. A. B. Lloyd, 1975–88), many writers of all periods, and probably most individuals, found in the Egyptians' worship of animals a polemical contrast to their own norms (though cf. Cic. Nat. D. 1. 29. 81 f.), just as, conversely, the Egyptians turned animal-worship into a symbol of national identity (cf. Diod. Sic. 1. 86–90). The first Egyptian divinity to be recognized by the Greek world was the oracular *Ammon of the *SiwaOasis (Hdt. 2. 54–7); but *oracles have a special status. The only form of Late-period Egyptian religion to be assimilated into the Graeco-Roman world was to a degree untypical, centred on anthropomorphic deities—*Isis, *Sarapis, and Harpocrates—and grounded in Egyptian vernacular enthusiasm quite as much as in temple ritual. The other gods which became known in the Graeco-Roman world, *Osiris, *Anubis, *Apis, *Horus, *Bubastis, Agathodaemon (see agathos daimon), Bes, etc.

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