Egypt: Gods - Funeral of Osiris

Funeral of Osiris

On the walls of the temple of Dendera is preserved a very interesting group of scenes connected with the story of the death and resurrection of the god, which may be briefly described thus :

1. Osiris lying on his stomach on his bier, beneath which are his four crowns ; he is called, "Osiris, beloved of his father, the king of the gods, the lord of life, Osiris." In front of Osiris is Horus who presents to him a lotus flower.

2. Osiris lying on his funeral bier ; at the head stands Nephthys, and at the foot Isis.

3. Osiris, ithyphallic, and wearing the atef Crown, lying on his bier., On the head of the bier is a hawk with outstretched wings, an behind it stands Isis ; on the foot is a simular hawk, and behind it stands Horus, son of Isis. Above is the soul of Osiris. Below the bier are the two crowns, a tunic, an a cap.

4. Osiris, naked and beardless, ling on his bier, at the head of which is a a statue of Isis, and at the foot a statue of Isis, an at the foot a statue of Nephthys.

5. Osiris naked and beardless, lying on his bier, at the head of which stands Isis who is addressing the god ; beneath the bier are figures of the four children of Horus, Mestha, Hapi, Tuamutef, and Qebhsennuf, who, besides representing the gods of the four cardinal points, may here be considered as personifactions of the four large, internal organs of the body.

6. Osiris, naked and lying upom his bier, over the foot of which is the vulture goddess Uatchet, and over the head the uraeus goddess Nekhebet.

7. Osiris, in mummied form, lying on his bier beneath a funeral chest, over which a hawkstretches out its wings.

8. Osiris, of Behutet {Edfu lying on his bier, with Nephthys at his head and Isis at his feet.

9. Osiris of Ta-khent lying on his bier, with the Hawk-goddess at the head and a vulture-goddess at the foot.

10. Osiris of Hap, wearing the Atef Crown, lying face downwards on his bier, beneath which are a number of crowns of the god.

11. Osiris lying on his bier in the Meskhen chamber with the four funeral vases beneath.

12. Osiris, ithyphallic, mummied, and beardless, lying on his bier ; he is watched over by three hawks, and by Isis, who stands at the head, and by a frog-headed form of the god Horus. Beneath the bier are the ape-headed god Aurt, and two snake-goddesses, one of which is called Her-tept, and an ibis-headed god.

13. Seker-Osiris of Mendes, beardless, lying upon a bier, with Anubis in attendance, holding in his hands a vase of unguent, and an instrument used in embalming.

14. Seker-Osiris of Mendes, in the form of a hawk-headed mummy, lying upon his bier, beneath which grow three small trees.

15. Seker-Osiris naked, and bearded, and wearing the Atef Crown, lying upon his bier, beneath which grow three trees.

16. Ptah-Seker-Asar of Memphis, in mummied form and bearded, lying upon his bier, at the head of which, on a pedestal, stands a figure of Isis. The bier is placed within a funeral chest, the pillars of which are in the form of Tet. On the right is "Asar Tet, the holy one in Tettu, in the form of a Tet pillar, which is provided with the human hands and arms ; above it appear the head of osiris and the sceptre and the flail, or whip.

17. Osiris, beardless, and wearing the White Crown and plumes, in the act of raising himself from the bier at the command of Heru-Netch-Tef-f.

18. Osiris Un-nefer, in mummied form, lying on his bier, at the head of which grows the persea tree, Ashet' above the upper branches stands a soul in the form of a man-headed hawk.

19. Osiris, bearded, lying on his bier, which rests within an elaborately ornamented funeral chest ; beneath the bier are a number of helments, caps, etc. belonging to the god. Through one end of the chest Heru-netch-tef-f- thrusts his lance, and touches the face of Osiris with it, with the view, presumably, of effecting the opening of the mouth."

20. Osiris, ithyphallic and bearded, in mummied form, lying upon his bier ; over his feet and his body hover the hawks. At the head kneels Hathor, "Mistress of amentet, who weepeth for "her brother," and at the foot is a frog symbol of the goddess Heqet, beneath the bier are an ibis-headed god holding the Utchat, two serpents, and the god Bes. It is interesting to note that the frog-headed goddess Heqet, who was a form of Hathor, was connected by the Christians with the Christian Resurrection ; in proof of this may be cited the lamp described by Signor Lanzone whereon, he tells us, is a figure of a frog, and the legend Eywelui Avaoraois, "I am the resurrection."

21. Osiris, bearded, ithyphallic, in mummied form, and wearing the White Crown, lying on his bier, by the side of which stand Anubis, jackal-headed, and heqet, frog-headed. At the head stands Heru-netch-tef-f in the form of a ahawk, and nephthys kneels ; at the foot kneels Isis.

22.Osiris, bearded, wearing the White Crown with the plumes, and holding in his hands the sceptre and flail, or whip, raising himself up on his knees from his bier, which is enclosed within the funeral chest. Beneath the bier are the most of the crowns of the god. Beside it stands Isis.

23. Osiris rising up out of a basket {?]. which rests upon a pedestal ; behind him stands Isis with her wings stretched out on both sides of him, and before him is a bearded god who presents to him "life." On the right is a second scene in which the god is seen kneeling within the boat of the double Tet, wherein are papyrus plant and a lotus plant, the emblems of the south and North respectively. The boat rests upon a sledge, the supports of which are made in the form of inverted lotus flowers, which are well known types of the dawn and of renewed life. The title of the god here is "Osiris Seker, lord of the funeral chest {at Abydos."

The two commonest titles of Osiris are "Khent-Amenti," and "Un-Nefer," or, and as such he holds in his hands one or two sceptres and the whip, or flail, and wears the White Crown. Sometimes he appears as a man, with a large mouth and eyes and nose, and with a Tet surmounted by a disk, plumes, horns, uraei, etc. issuing from his hand. He once appears in the form of Ptah pouring out water from a libation vase from a deceased person who kneels before him, and once he appears with the head of the Bennu. In some scenes Osiris appears as god of vegetation, and in one instance the god is represented in mummied form, and wearing the Atef Crown, and from his body a row of plants is seen growing ; in another he is represented by a small mound of earth, which is called "Osiris," and from which four trees grow. Above the mound is a large serpent with the White Crown upon its head, and two small serpents growing out from its body ; on the right are : 1. A ram -headed god, holding a serpent, and 2. the serpent Khebkheb, on the left are a ram-headed god holding a serpent, and a feather. The Osiris ceremonies varied in different places, according as the god was identified with local gods, but in all great religious centers Osiris, under one name or another, possessed his own sanctuary. Thus, as Dr. Brugsch has pointed out, in Northern Nubia Osiris was known as Khnemu-ut-em-ankh, in Coptos as Amsu-Heru-ka-nekht, in Diopolis Parva as Sekhem, in Lycopolis as Sekhem-taui, in Antaeopolis as Maui, in Cusae as Urt-ab, in Memphis as Seker, in Cynoplois and Oxyrhynchus as Anubis, in Herakleopolis asa Ka-hetep and Heru-shefi, in the Libyan Nome as Khent-Amenti, in Heroopolis as Ankh and Tem, in Busiris as Tet or Tettu, in Heliopolis as Ser-aa, and in other places in the Delta as Fenet-ankh, her-ap-shata. In the cxlist and cxliind Chapters of the Book of the Dead we have a complete list of the forms and shrines of Osiris, and they are of great importanance for forming a right idea of the universality of the cult of Osiris in Egypt.

We have now traced the history of Osiris from the time when he was a river or water god, and only quite local importance, up to the period when his worship reached from the north of the Delta to the Nubian Nome at Elephantine, and he had become in every sense of the word the national god of Egypt. We now have to consider Osiris in his character of god and judge of the dead, and as the symbol of the resurrection, and the best source which we can draw for information on this subject is the Book of the Dead. In this work Osiris is held to be the greatest of the gods, and it is he who is the judge of men after death, and he is the arbiter of their future destiny. He attained this exalted position because he was believed to have been once a human being who died and had been dismembered ; but his limbs had been dismembered ; but his limbs had been reconstructed and he had become immortal. The most remarkable thing about him was that his body had never decayed like the bodies of ordinary men, and neither putrefication nor worms ever acquired power over it, or caused it to diminish in the least degree. It is true that it was embalmed by Horus, and Anubis, and Isis , who carried out with the greatest care and exactitude all the prescriptions which had been ordered by Thoth, and who performed their work so throughly well that the material body which Osiris possessed on this earth served as the body for the god in the world beyond the grave, though only after it had had undergone some mysterious change, which was brought about by the words of power which these gods said and by the ceremonies which they performed. A very ancient tradition declared that the god Thoth himself had acted the part of priest for Osiris, and although the Egyptians believed that it was his words which brought the dead god back to life, they were never able wholly to free themselves from the idea that the series of magical ceremonies which they performed in connection with the embalment and burial of the dead produced most beneficial results for their deceased friends.