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Osiris: Ruler of the Afterlife


Who is Osiris?



Osiris, Lord of Death and Rebirth

Osiris is the Egyptian Lord of the Underworld and Judge of the Dead, brother-husband to Isis, and one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt. The name `Osiris' is the Latinized form of the Egyptian Usir which is interpreted as 'powerful' or 'mighty'. He is the first-born of the gods Geb (earth) and Nut (sky) shortly after the creation of the world, was murdered by his younger brother Set, and brought back to life by his sister-wife Isis.

This myth, and the gods involved, became central to Egyptian culture and religious life. Osiris was originally a fertility god, possibly from Syria (though this claim is contested) who became so popular he absorbed the function of earlier gods such as Andjeti and Khentiamenti, two gods of fertility and agriculture worshipped at Abydos. He is associated with the djed symbol and is often depicted with black or green skin symbolizing the fertile mud of the Nile and regeneration. He is also frequently shown as a mummy or in partially mummified form in his role as Judge of the Dead.

Images of Osiris as a living god depict him as a handsome man in royal dress wearing the crown of Upper Egypt as a plumed headdress known as the atef and carrying the crook and flail, symbols of kingship. He is associated with the mythical Bennu bird (inspiration for the Greek Phoenix) who rises to life from the ashes. Osiris was known by many names but chiefly as Wennefer, "The Beautiful One" and, in his role as Judge of the Dead, Khentiamenti, "The Foremost of the Westerners". The west was associated with death and 'westerners' became synonymous with those who had passed on to the afterlife. Continue reading from World History Encyclopedia

Read, Watch, or Listen for Entertainment and more about Egyptian Mythology

Link to Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection by EA Wallis Budge in Freading
Link to Gods of Ancient Egypt by Barbara Watterson in Freading
Link to Egypt: People, Gods, Pharaohs by Rose-Marie Hagen in the Catalog
Link to The Dwellers on the Nile by EA Wallis Budge in the Catalog
Link to Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt by Barbara Mertz in the Catalog
Link to Egyptian Mythology: The Fascinating History And Myths From Ancient Egypt by Xena Ronin in Hoopla
Link to Religion Of The Ancient Egyptians by Alfred Wiedemann in Hoopla

Link to Ancient Egyptian Mythology Resource Guide Series