"Who's Who in Classical Mythology, Routledge", Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica by Hesiod, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Iris_(mythology)&oldid=985725551, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles having different image on Wikidata and Wikipedia, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 October 2020, at 16:08. Her following developed distinctive festivals such as the Navigium Isidis, as well as initiation ceremonies resembling those of other Greco-Roman mystery cults.

In Yorùbá mythology, Isis became Yemaya. Isis is the epitome of a mourning widow. Isis may only have come to be Horus’s mother as the Osiris myth took shape during the Old Kingdom, but through her relationship with him, she came to be seen as the epitome of maternal devotion. Isis’s role in afterlife beliefs was based on that in the myth. Tacitus writes that after Julius Caesar's assassination, a temple in honour of Isis had been decreed; Augustus suspended this, and tried to turn Romans back to the Roman gods who were closely associated with the state. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BCE) as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king Osiris, and produces and protects his heir, Horus. Horus was equated with each living pharaoh and Osiris with the pharaoh’s deceased predecessors.

By governing these deities, Isis determined the length and quality of human lives.

Amun, the foremost Egyptian deity during the Middle and New Kingdoms, also took on the role of Kamutef, and when he was in this form, Isis often acted as his consort. Isis’s maternal aspect extended to other deities as well. In consequence, as well as the attributes of motherhood and fertility originating in Hathor, Isis became a goddess of magic. According to Apollonius Rhodius, Iris turned back the Argonauts Zetes and Calais, who had pursued the Harpies to the Strophades ("Islands of Turning"). The Coffin Texts from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055–1650 BCE) say the Four Sons of Horus, funerary deities who were thought to protect the internal organs of the deceased, were the offspring of Isis and the elder form of Horus. There are no known temples or sanctuaries to Iris. From this point, Osiris lives on only in the Duat, or underworld. Their worship diffused into the wider Mediterranean world. If this is true then Isis is still worshipped today, and has been for at least 5000 years, and if it is not, then there has still been a recent revival of explicitly Isis based worship, among neopagans and feminists who are attracted by the matriarchal notions of goddess worship.

Herodotus identified Isis with the Greek and Roman goddesses of agriculture, Demeter and Ceres. xiv. Texts from much later times explicitly call Isis “mistress of life, ruler of fate and destiny” and indicate she has control over Shai and Renenutet, just as other great gods like Amun were said to do in earlier eras of Egyptian history. 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. A later legend, ultimately a result of the replacement of another god of the underworld when the cult of Osiris gained more authority, tells of the birth of Anubis. Isis The ancient Egyptian mother Goddess, the prototype of the faithful wife and fertile, protective mother. But because of her own mythological links with queenship, Isis too was given the same titles and regalia as human queens. Isis also assimilated Sopdet, the personification of Sirius, since Sopdet, rising just before the flooding of the Nile, was seen as a bringer of fertility, and so had been identified with Hathor. Isis’s reputation as a compassionate deity, willing to relieve human suffering, contributed greatly to her appeal. Podarces was also the original name of Priam, king of Troy. Iris is frequently mentioned as a divine messenger in The Iliad, which is attributed to Homer.

In another area of Egypt, when the pantheon was formalised, Isis became one of the Ennead of Heliopolis, as a daughter of Nuit and Geb, and sister to Osiris, Nephthys, and Set. The meaning of Blood of Isis is more obscured, but the tyet was often used as a funerary amulet made of red wood, stone, or glass, so this may have simply been a description of its appearance. They coupled, resulting in the birth of Anubis. We respect your privacy and will never share your email address with any person or organization. Other, Greek-language hymns from Ptolemaic Egypt call her “the beautiful essence of all the gods“. For other uses, see, Goddess of the Rainbow, Messenger of the Gods, The Iliad, Book II, "And now Iris, fleet as the wind, was sent by Jove to tell the bad news among the Trojans.". Sopdet still retained an element of distinct identity, however, as Sirius was quite visibly a star and not living in the underworld. Mut's husband was Amun, who had by this time become identified with Min as Amun-Min (also known by his epithet - Kamutef). In Greek mythology, Iris (/ˈaɪrɪs/; Greek: Ίρις Ancient Greek: [îːris]) is the personification and goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. During the Titanomachy, Iris was the messenger of the Olympian gods while her twin sister Arke betrayed the Olympians and became the messenger of the Titans. 42 Isis, a main belt asteroid. Sometimes the alternative consideration arose, that Isis, in the Ennead, was a child of Atum-Ra, and so should have been a child of Ra's wife, Hathor, although this was less favoured as Isis had enough in common with Hathor to be considered one and the same.

Barbara S. Lesko sees this story as a sign that Isis had the power to predict or influence future events, like other deities who presided over birth, such as Shai and Renenutet. In the Hellenistic period (323–30 BCE), when Egypt was ruled and settled by Greeks, Isis came to be worshipped by Greeks and Egyptians, along with a new god, Serapis.
Isis is treated as the mother of Horus even in the earliest copies of the Pyramid Texts.

She is also known as one of the goddesses of the sea and the sky. As her child grows she must protect him from Set and many other hazards—snakes, scorpions, and simple illness.

Some scholars argue that aspects of Isis worship have influenced the practices of some Christians in regards to the Virgin Mary, and especially her relationship with her son, Horus. The creator god, the world’s original ruler, passes down his authority through the male generations of the Ennead so that Osiris becomes king. While she is frequently depicted on vases and in bas-reliefs, few statues are known to have been made of Iris during antiquity. It has been suggested by these scholars that the reason Isis worship abruptly ends, despite the vast number of its adherents, is due to her having been identified as Mary, and her temples having been merely renamed in consequence. In late times, due to her name, and her associations, she was often connected to the Semitic goddess Astarte.
Consequently they were associated with Hathor, and hence with Isis. The brothers had driven off the monsters from their torment of the prophet Phineus, but did not kill them upon the request of Iris, who promised that Phineus would not be bothered by the Harpies again. Sirius’s heliacal rising, just before the start of the Nile flood, gave Sopdet a close connection with the flood and the resulting growth of plants. Kings also called upon her protective magical power against human enemies. Originally, she played a limited role in royal rituals and temple rites, although she was more prominent in funerary practices and magical texts. But for much of Egyptian history, male deities like Osiris were believed to provide the regenerative powers, including sexual potency, that were crucial for rebirth. Local Isis cults focused on the distinctive traits of their deity more than on her universality, whereas some Egyptian hymns to Isis treat other goddesses in cult centers from across Egypt and the Mediterranean as manifestations of her. Her rites were considered by the princeps Augustus to be "pornographic" and capable of destroying the Roman moral fibre.

After her assimilation of Hathor, Isis was often symbolised by a cow, or a cow's head, or, in the most common form, a woman with the horns of a cow on her head, with the sun disc (of Horus) between them. In order to resurrect Osiris for the purpose of having the child Horus, it was necessary for Isis to learn magic, and so it was that Isis tricked Ra (i.e. Iris does appear to have been the object of at least some minor worship, but the only trace preserved of her cult is the note that the Delians offered cakes, made of wheat, honey and dried figs, as offerings to Iris. By Ptolemaic times she was connected with rain, which Egyptian texts call a “Nile in the sky“; with the sun as the protector of Ra’s barque; and with the moon, possibly because she was linked with the Greek lunar goddess Artemis by a shared connection with an Egyptian fertility goddess, Bastet. The mother of each Apis bull was thus known as the “Isis cow“.

In the Late, Ptolemaic, and Roman Periods, many temples contained a creation myth that adapted long-standing ideas about creation to give the primary roles to local deities. Like him, Isis formed the cosmos “through what her heart conceived and her hands created“. Iris had numerous poetic titles and epithets, including chrysopteros (χρυσόπτερος "golden winged"), podas ōkea (πόδας ὠκέα "swift footed") or podēnemos ōkea (ποδήνεμος ὠκέα "wind-swift footed"), roscida ("dewy", Latin), and Thaumantias (Θαυμαντιάς "Daughter of Thaumas, Wondrous One"), aellopus (ἀελλόπους "storm-footed, storm-swift). In Book 4, Juno dispatches her to pluck a lock of hair from the head of Queen Dido, that she may die and enter Hades. In one spell, Isis creates a snake that bites Ra, who is older and greater than she is, and makes him ill with its venom. The star Spica (sometimes called Lute Bearer), and the constellation which roughly corresponded to the modern Virgo, appeared at a time of year associated with the harvest of wheat and grain, and thus with fertility gods and goddesses. It says her power over nature nourishes humans, the blessed dead, and the gods. As a goddess, Iris is associated with communication, messages, the rainbow, and new endeavors. In later years, Isis also had temples throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, and as far away as the British Isles, where there was a temple to Isis on the River Thames by Southwark. By virtue of her magical knowledge, she was said to be “more clever than a million gods“. Isis was, therefore, the mythological mother and wife of kings. Her prominence in royal ideology grew in the New Kingdom. In Ptolemaic times Isis’s sphere of influence could include the entire cosmos. In fear of Set's anger, Nephthys persuaded Isis to adopt Anubis, so that Set would not find out.

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