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date: 10 December 2023



  • Richard Gordon


Osiris (Egypt. wsἰr), the Egyptian god whose death and resurrection provided the model for the fate of each Pharaoh, and, from the Middle Kingdom, also of non-royal persons. The association with Pharaoh is most marked at Abydus in Upper Egypt. In the Pyramid Texts, he is killed by his brother *Set, but his body is prevented by *Isis and Nephthys from rotting, and restored to life. The myth gradually grew in complexity, esp. in the Late Period: Plut., De Is. et Os.12–19 (indispensable comm. and trans., by J. G. Griffiths, 1970). In iconography, Osiris, as ‘lord of the west’, appears as a mummy holding crook and ‘flail’, most commonly in the New Kingdom as judge with *Anubis at the ‘weighing of the heart’. The basis of the Hellenistic/Roman Osirian *mysteries however was probably the ‘festival of Choiak’, the celebration of Osiris' death and resurrection (cf. Apul. Met.


  • Roman Myth and Religion

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