Scott Nogel on Osiris
Pat Podzorski on Osiris
Osiris is the Egyptian god of the Underworld, known as the god of death and rebirth. He
is depicted in human form, wrapped as a mummy (known as mummiform), and crowned with the
distinctive Atef crown. The Atef crown has a tall conical shape with a plume on each side
and ram's horns at its base. Osiris holds the two scepters of kingship, the crook and the
flail. In ancient Egypt, the living pharaoh was associated with Horus
and later with Re-Horakhty. However, after
the pharaoh's death he was seen as a manifestation of Osiris.
Osiris has many possible meanings: "old one," "he who occupies the
throne," "mighty one," and "husband to Isis." The Djed pillar is
a symbol of Osiris, and it represents stability. Osiris's first appearance is in the
Pyramid Texts of the Fifth Dynasty. His center of worship is Abydos.
Originally a god of vegetation, his role in the vegetation cycle became intertwined with a
literal death and resurrection myth told in the legend of Seth and Osiris, two feuding
brothers. Seth, god of Chaos, kills his brother Osiris, by cutting him into pieces and
then spreads his dismembered body throughout the land of Egypt. Isis, the consort of
Osiris, gathers up his body, and, using magical incantations which she stole from Re, she
revives Osiris long enough to conceive a child, Horus. Horus is raised in secrecy until he
is old enough to avenge his father.
Consort: the spouse of royalty.
Detail of Osiris on the Memorial Stela of Shuamay, Abydos, Dynasty 19 (
1292-1290 b.c.e.),Limestone 104.2 x 69.9 cm (41 x 27 1/2 in.), University of Pennsylvania