Osiris: One deity, many symbols

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Abstract

Osiris is one of the most popular and important deities in the Egyptian pantheon. At first glance, one might associate the god’s popularity with its role as a god and king of the dead, due to the importance of the Afterlife in the ancient Egyptian imaginary. However, he is also associated with ideas of regeneration and rebirth, and ultimately, with the cosmos and the cycle of life. This deity was also linked with vegetation and the waters of the Nile – the vehicle through which his rebirth was made possible – and also with the monarchical system, and with order (Maat), working as the opposite of his brother, Seth. Osiris is not only a deity which has symbols connected to him, he is also at the same time a symbol – better yet, various symbols – himself. Using Plutarch’s account of the Osirian mythic cycle as our source, we intend to identify and analyse the symbols associated with this god. Likewise we intend to try to understand why it is that more than a god with powers and attributes, Osiris was a god of symbols, incorporating a multitude of meanings and attributes in himself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThinking Symbols
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Studies
EditorsJoanna Popielska-Grzybowska, Jadwiga Iwaszczuk
Place of PublicationPultusk
PublisherPultusk Academy of Humanities
Pages251-256
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-83-7549-311-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameACTA ARCHAEOLOGICA PULTUSKIENSIA
VolumeVI

Keywords

  • Osiris
  • Plutarch
  • vegetation
  • regeneration
  • death
  • life
  • netherworld

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