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26

THE OSIREION.

An observation of Herodotus proves that Osiris
was the chief deity, in Greek times at least, for he
says that though the Egyptians were not agreed
upon the worship of their different gods they were
united in the cult of Osiris.

It is this confusion of names and forms that
makes the study of Osiris so difficult, and I have
endeavoured to point out only a few of his many
manifestations.

27. Osiris as a Sun-god.—Egyptologists have
generally looked upon Osiris as a form of the Sun-
god, and, indeed, it is usually said that Ra is the
living or day-sun and Osiris the dead or night-sun.
This view, however, is not altogether borne out by
the mythology of the Egyptians themselves, except
in so far as that almost every deity of any note was,
at some period of his career, identified with the sun
by the worshippers of Ra. Even in the Book of
Am Duat and the Book of Gates, which are
entirely concerned with the journey of the sun
during the hours of the night, it is Ra who passes

by

his boat, whose devoted followers gather

round to protect him from danger, to whom the
gates, which divide the hours, are flung open.
Osiris, on the contrary, is not the hero of this
nocturnal journey- In the Book of Gates he
appears only once, and then at the entrance of the
Sun into the Duat or other world. There he is
seen (Pl. XIII.) encircling the Duat and supporting
Nut, who receives Ra in her arms. It is quite
evident here that Osiris and the sun are two distinct
personalities. In chap, xvii of the Book of the
Dead Ra is identified with Osiris, but the original
text and the glosses are so obscure that it is not
possible to make out the true meaning. In the
hymn to Ra, which comes between chaps, xv and
xvi, there is a very definite statement about the
night sun, showing that it is Ra himself and not
Osiris. "Thou (Ra) completest the hours of the
Night, according as thou hast measured them out.
And when thou hast completed them according to
thy rule, day dawneth." All through the Book of
the Dead, though it is implied that Osiris and Ra
are the same, yet there is no definite statement of
the fact. M. Jequier thinks that the whole of the
Book of Am Duat, and particularly the Book
of Gates, is an attempt of the theologians of the
XVIIIth and XlXth Dynasties to reconcile the solar
with the Osirian worship.

28. Osiris as the Moon-god.—Osiris is identified
with the moon quite as readily as with the sun.
Chap, lxv of the Book of the Dead gives prayers
to the moon couched in precisely the same terms as
the petitions to Osiris. " O thou who shinest forth
from the Moon, thou who givest light from the
Moon, let me come forth at large amid thy train
.... let the Duat be opened for me ... let me
come forth upon this day." In the Lamentations
of Isis and Nephthys, Osiris is actually identified
with the moon. " Thoth .... placeth thy soul in
the barque Maat, in that name which is thine of
God Moon .... Thou comest to us as a child each
month " (de Horrack, Rec. of Past, ii). Again,
in the Book of the Dead, chap, viii, " I am the

same Osiris, the dweller in Amentet.....I am

the Moon-god who dwelleth among the gods."
Plutarch says that upon the new moon of Pharne-
noth, which falls in the beginning of spring, a festival
was celebrated which was called The entrance of
Osiris into the Moon.

Another proof of the connection of Osiris with the
moon is that the lunar festivals of the Month and
the Half-month, i.e. the New Moon and the Full
Moon, are specially dedicated to him from very
early times; he is also Lord of the Sixth-day festival
(the first quarter of the moon), and the Tenait (the
last quarter) is one of his sacred days, and one
specially observed at Abydos.

The two ceremonies recorded by Plutarch may
also have a connection with the worship of Osiris
Lunus, as the principal object was made in the form
of a crescent. At the funeral of Osiris, a tree was
cut down and the trunk formed into the shape of a
crescent. The other ceremony was more elaborate.
" On the 19th of Pachons they march in procession
to the sea-side, whither likewise the priests and other
proper officers carry the sacred chest, wherein is
enclosed a small boat or vessel of gold. Into this
they first pour some fresh water, and then all that
are present cry out with a loud voice, ' Osiris is
found.' As soon as this ceremony is finished, they
throw a little fresh mould, together with some rich
odours and spices, into this water, mixing the whole
mass together and working it up into a little image
in the shape of a crescent, which image the}7 after-
wards dress up and adorn with a proper habit."

Herodotus says that " pigs were sacrificed to Bac-
chus, and to the moon when completely full. When
they offer this sacrifice to the moon, and have killed
the victim, they put the end of his tail, with the
 
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