The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands; the term entered English in the late 15th century from French. It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east, is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq, meaning "the east, where the sun rises". In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Syria-Palestine, Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice; the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt. In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire; the name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I.
This is the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more to refer to modern Syria, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus. Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking. Today the term is used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references, it has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam, the area, bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east. It does not include Anatolia, the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia and the Sinai Peninsula are sometimes included; the term Levant was used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century. Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now used to describe the ancient and modern culture area called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology; the Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, northeast Africa", the "northwest of the Arabian plate".
The populations of the Levant share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, history. They are referred to as Levantines; the term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497 meant the East in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy". It is borrowed from the French levant "rising", referring to the rising of the sun in the east, or the point where the sun rises; the phrase is from the Latin word levare, meaning'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή, in Germanic Morgenland, in Italian, in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish and Catalan Levante and Llevant, in Hebrew. Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin source oriens meaning "east", is "rising", deriving from Latin orior "rise"; the notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage and understanding. While the term "Levantine" referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups; the term became current in English in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region.
The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant". In early 19th-century travel writing, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire, as well as independent Greece. In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture; the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon was called the Levant states. Today, "Levant" is the term used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a "wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus" that does not have the "political overtones" of Syria-Palestine; the term is used for modern events, states or parts of states in the same region, namely Cyprus, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Turkey are sometimes considered Levant countries.
Several researchers include the island of Cyprus in Levantine studies, including the Council for British Research in the Levant, the UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department, Journal of Levantine Studies and the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus and mainland Levant to the early Iron Age. Archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation, neither biblical n
Acropolium of Carthage
The Acropolium known as Saint Louis Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church located in Carthage, Tunisia. The cathedral sits on the peak of Byrsa Hill, near the ruins of the ancient Punic and Roman city, it was built atop the ruins of an old temple dedicated to the Punic god of healing. The edifice can still be accessed from the basement. Since 1993, the cathedral has been known as the "Acropolium", it is no longer used for worship, but instead hosts public events or concerts of Tunisian music and classical music. The only Roman Catholic cathedral operating in Tunisia is the Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul in Tunis. Hussein II Bey authorised the French consul-general to build a cathedral on the site of ancient Carthage, to determine where it would be situated and to take all the land necessary for the project, his words were: Praise to the one God, to whom all things return! We cede in perpetuity to His Majesty the King of France a location in the Malka, sufficient to raise a religious monument in honour of King Louis IX at the place where this prince died.
We commit ourselves to respect and to make respected this monument consecrated by the King of France to the memory of one of his most illustrious ancestors. Greetings from the servant of God, Hussein Pasha Bey. May the Most High be propitious! Amen; the 17th of Safar of the year 1246. Done at Bardo the 8th of August 1830. For the consul-general Mathieu de Lesseps; the consul charged his son Jules with this duty. The latter, having examined possible sites, concluded that the chapel ought to be built on Byrsa Hill, in the centre of the Punic acropolis, where the temple of Aesculapius was once located. King Louis-Philippe approved the project; the architect chosen conceived a building of modest proportions that contained a mix of Gothic and Byzantine architectural styles. In any case, he succeeded in giving it the look of a rich marabout while recalling the royal chapel at Dreux. A cross, the only one standing at that time in Tunisia, topped the building. Descendants of crusaders' families, companions of the sovereign, helped finance the construction.
Built between 1884 and 1890, under the French protectorate, the cathedral acquired primacy for all of Africa when the title of primate of Africa was restored for the benefit of Cardinal Lavigerie, titular of the Archdioceses of Algiers and of Carthage, united in his person. The building was consecrated with great pomp in the presence of numerous ecclesiastical dignitaries. After his death, Cardinal Lavigerie was buried there and a funerary monument was erected in his memory. However, his body now lies in Rome. Late 19th century French architecture tended to feature composite styles; the building, constructed according to the plans of the abbot Pougnet, has a Byzantine-Moorish style, is in the shape of a Latin cross of 65 meters by 30. The façade is framed by two square towers, the crossing lies beneath a large cupola surrounded by eight little steeples, there is a smaller cupola above the apse; the church contains two aisles separated by arches passing above. Its ceiling is adorned with beams that have sculpted and gilt arabesques on them.
The stained glass features arabesques. The great bell weighs six tons and there is a four-bell carillon as well
The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. The word was used to refer to an ancient Roman public building, where courts were held, as well as serving other official and public functions, it had the door at one end and a raised platform and an apse at the other, where the magistrate or other officials were seated. The basilica was centrally located in every Roman town adjacent to the main forum. Subsequently, the basilica was not built near a forum but adjacent to a palace and was known as a "palace basilica"; as the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, the major church buildings were constructed with this basic architectural plan and thus it became popular throughout Europe. It continues to be used in an architectural sense to describe rectangular buildings with a central nave and aisles, a raised platform at the opposite end from the door. In Europe and the Americas the basilica remained the most common architectural style for churches of all Christian denominations, though this building plan has become less dominant in new buildings since the latter 20th century.
Thirdly, the term refers to an official designation: a large and important Catholic church, given special ceremonial rights by the Pope, whatever its architectural plan. These are divided into four major basilicas, all of which are ancient churches located within Rome, and, as of 2017, 1,757 minor basilicas around the world; some Catholic basilicas are Catholic pilgrimage sites, receiving tens of millions of visitors per year. In December 2009 the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe set a new record with 6.1 million pilgrims during Friday and Saturday for the anniversary of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Latin word basilica lit. "royal stoa" referring to the tribunal chamber of a king. In Rome the word was at first used to describe an ancient Roman public building where courts were held, as well as serving other official and public functions. To a large extent these were the town halls of ancient Roman life; the basilica was centrally located in every Roman town adjacent to the main forum. These buildings, an example of, the Basilica Ulpia, were rectangular, had a central nave and aisles with a raised platform and an apse at each of the two ends, adorned with a statue of the emperor, while the entrances were from the long sides.
By extension the name was applied to Christian churches which adopted the same basic plan and it continues to be used as an architectural term to describe such buildings, which form the majority of church buildings in Western Christianity, though the basilican building plan became less dominant in new buildings from the 20th century. The Roman basilica was a large public building; the first basilicas had no religious function at all. As early as the time of Augustus, a public basilica for transacting business had been part of any settlement that considered itself a city, used in the same way as the covered market houses of late medieval northern Europe, where the meeting room, for lack of urban space, was set above the arcades, however. Although their form was variable, basilicas contained interior colonnades that divided the space, giving aisles or arcaded spaces on one or both sides, with an apse at one end, where the magistrates sat on a raised dais; the central aisle tended to be wide and was higher than the flanking aisles, so that light could penetrate through the clerestory windows.
The oldest known basilica, the Basilica Porcia, was built in Rome in 184 BC by Cato the Elder during the time he was Censor. Other early examples include the basilica at Pompeii; the most splendid Roman basilica is the one begun for traditional purposes during the reign of the pagan emperor Maxentius and finished by Constantine I after 313 AD. Basilica Porcia: first basilica built in Rome, erected on the personal initiative and financing of the censor Marcus Porcius Cato as an official building for the tribunes of the plebs Aemilian Basilica, built by the censor Aemilius Lepidus in 179 BC Basilica Sempronia, built by the censor Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus in 169 BC Basilica Opimia, erected by the consul Lucius Opimius in 121 BC, at the same time that he restored the temple of Concord Julian Basilica dedicated in 46 BC by Julius Caesar and completed by Augustus 27 BC to 14 AD Basilica Argentaria, erected under Trajan, emperor from 98 AD to 117AD Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine In the Roman Imperial period, a basilica for large audiences became a feature in palaces.
In the 3rd century AD, the governing elite appeared less in the forums. They now tended to dominate their cities from opulent palaces and country villas, set a little apart from traditional centers of public life. Rather than retreats from public life, these residences were the forum made private. Seated in the tribune of his basilica, the great man would meet his dependent clientes early every morning. Constantine's basilica at Trier, the Aula Palatina, is still standing. A private basilica excavated at Bulla Regia, in the "House of the Hunt", dates from the first half of the 5th century, its reception or audience hall is a long rectangular nave-like space, flanked by dependent rooms that also open into one another, ending in a semi-circular apse, with matching transept spaces. Cluster
Incense is aromatic biotic material that releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term refers to the material itself, rather than to the aroma. Incense is used for aesthetic reasons, in therapy and ceremony, it may be used as a simple deodorant or insectifuge. Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials combined with essential oils; the forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture, have changed with advances in technology and increasing number of uses. Incense can be separated into two main types: "indirect-burning" and "direct-burning". Indirect-burning incense is not capable of burning on its own, requires a separate heat source. Direct-burning incense is lit directly by a flame and fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smoulders and releases a smoky fragrance. Direct-burning incense is either a paste formed around a bamboo stick, or a paste, extruded into a stick or cone shape; the word incense comes from Latin incendere meaning "to burn". Combustible bouquets were used by the ancient Egyptians, who employed incense in both pragmatic and mystical capacities.
Incense was burnt to counteract or obscure malodorous products of human habitation, but was perceived to deter malevolent demons and appease the gods with its pleasant aroma. Resin balls were found in many prehistoric Egyptian tombs in El Mahasna, giving evidence for the prominence of incense and related compounds in Egyptian antiquity. One of the oldest extant incense burners originates from the 5th dynasty; the Temple of Deir-el-Bahari in Egypt contains a series of carvings that depict an expedition for incense. The Babylonians used incense. Incense spread from there to Rome. Incense burners have been found in the Indus Civilization. Evidence suggests oils were used for their aroma. India adopted techniques from East Asia, adapting the formulation to encompass aromatic roots and other indigenous flora; this was the first usage of subterranean plant parts in incense. New herbs like Sarsaparilla seeds and cypress were used by Indians. At around 2000 BCE, Ancient China began the use of incense in the religious sense, namely for worship.
Incense was used by Chinese cultures from Neolithic times and became more widespread in the Xia and Zhou dynasties. The earliest documented use of incense comes from the ancient Chinese, who employed incense composed of herbs and plant products as a component of numerous formalized ceremonial rites. Incense usage reached its peak during the Song dynasty with numerous buildings erected for incense ceremonies. Brought to Japan in the 6th century by Korean Buddhist monks, who used the mystical aromas in their purification rites, the delicate scents of Koh became a source of amusement and entertainment with nobles in the Imperial Court during the Heian Era 200 years later. During the 14th-century Ashikaga shogunate, a samurai warrior might perfume his helmet and armor with incense to achieve an aura of invincibility, it wasn't until the Muromachi period during the 15th and 16th century that incense appreciation spread to the upper and middle classes of Japanese society. A variety of materials have been used in making incense.
There has been a preference for using locally available ingredients. For example and cedar were used by the indigenous peoples of North America. Trading in incense materials comprised a major part of commerce along the Silk Road and other trade routes, one notably called the Incense Route. Local knowledge and tools were influential on the style, but methods were influenced by migrations of foreigners, such as clergy and physicians; the combustible base of a direct burning incense mixture not only binds the fragrant material together but allows the produced incense to burn with a self-sustained ember, which propagates and evenly through an entire piece of incense with such regularity that it can be used to mark time. The base is chosen such. Commercially, two types of incense base predominate: Fuel and oxidizer mixtures: Charcoal or wood powder provides the fuel for combustion while an oxidizer such as sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate sustains the burning of the incense. Fragrant materials are added to the base prior to shaping, as in the case of powdered incense materials, or after, as in the case of essential oils.
The formula for charcoal-based incense is superficially similar to black powder, though it lacks the sulfur. Natural plant-based binders: Gums such as Gum Arabic or Gum Tragacanth are used to bind the mixture together. Mucilaginous material, which can be derived from many botanical sources, is mixed with fragrant materials and water; the mucilage from the wet binding powder holds the fragrant material together while the cellulose in the powder combusts to form a stable ember when lit. The dry binding powder comprises about 10% of the dry weight in the finished incense; these include: Makko made from the bark of various trees in the genus Persea Xiangnan pi (made from the bark of trees of genus Phoebe such as Phoebe nanmu or Persea zuihoensis. Jigit: a resin based binder used in India Laha or Dar: bark based powders used in Nepal and other East Asian countries. Typical compositions burn at a temperature between 220 °C and 260 °C. Incense is available in various degrees of processing, they can be separated into "direct-burning" and "indirect-burning"
A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone. A monastery includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, may serve as an oratory. Monasteries vary in size, comprising a small dwelling accommodating only a hermit, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex comprises a number of buildings which include a church, cloister, library and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community; these may include a hospice, a school, a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge, or a brewery. In English usage, the term monastery is used to denote the buildings of a community of monks.
In modern usage, convent tends to be applied only to institutions of female monastics communities of teaching or nursing religious sisters. A convent denoted a house of friars, now more called a friary. Various religions may apply these terms in more specific ways; the word monastery comes from the Greek word μοναστήριον, neut. of μοναστήριος – monasterios from μονάζειν – monazein "to live alone" from the root μόνος – monos "alone". The earliest extant use of the term monastērion is by the 1st century AD Jewish philosopher Philo in On The Contemplative Life, ch. III. In England the word monastery was applied to the habitation of a bishop and the cathedral clergy who lived apart from the lay community. Most cathedrals were not monasteries, were served by canons secular, which were communal but not monastic. However, some were run by monasteries orders, such as York Minster. Westminster Abbey was for a short time a cathedral, was a Benedictine monastery until the Reformation, its Chapter preserves elements of the Benedictine tradition.
See the entry cathedral. They are to be distinguished from collegiate churches, such as St George's Chapel, Windsor. In most of this article, the term monastery is used generically to refer to any of a number of types of religious community. In the Roman Catholic religion and to some extent in certain branches of Buddhism, there is a somewhat more specific definition of the term and many related terms. Buddhist monasteries are called vihara. Viharas may be occupied by men or women, in keeping with common English usage, a vihara populated by females may be called a nunnery or a convent. However, vihara can refer to a temple. In Tibetan Buddhism, monasteries are called gompa. In Thailand and Cambodia, a monastery is called a wat. In Burma, a monastery is called a kyaung. A Christian monastery may be a priory, or conceivably a hermitage, it may be a community of men or of women. A charterhouse is any monastery belonging to the Carthusian order. In Eastern Christianity, a small monastic community can be called a skete, a large or important monastery can be given the dignity of a lavra.
The great communal life of a Christian monastery is called cenobitic, as opposed to the anchoretic life of an anchorite and the eremitic life of a hermit. There has been under the Osmanli occupation of Greece and Cyprus, an "idiorrhythmic" lifestyle where monks come together but being able to own things individually and not being obliged to work for the common good. In Hinduism monasteries are called matha, koil, or most an ashram. Jains use the Buddhist term vihara. In most religions the life inside monasteries is governed by community rules that stipulate the gender of the inhabitants and require them to remain celibate and own little or no personal property; the degree to which life inside a particular monastery is separate from the surrounding populace can vary widely. Others focus on interacting with the local communities to provide services, such as teaching, medical care, or evangelism; some monastic communities are only occupied seasonally, depending both on the traditions involved and the local weather, people may be part of a monastic community for periods ranging from a few days at a time to an entire lifetime.
The life within the walls of a monastery may be supported in several ways: by manufacturing and selling goods agricultural products, by donations or alms, by rental or investment incomes, by funds from other organizations within the religion, which in the past formed the traditional support of monasteries. There has been a long tradition of Christian monasteries providing hospitable and hospital services. Monasteries have been associated with the provision of education and the encouragement of scholarship and research, which has led to the establishment of schools and colleges and the association with universities. Christian monastic life has adapted to modern society by offering computer services, accounting services and management as well as modern hospital and educational administration. Buddhist monasteries, known as vihāra i
Osiris is the god of the afterlife, the underworld, rebirth in ancient Egyptian religion. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned deity with a pharaoh's beard mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive atef crown, holding a symbolic crook and flail. Osiris was at times considered the eldest son of the god Geb and the sky goddess Nut, as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son, he was associated with the epithet Khenti-Amentiu, meaning "Foremost of the Westerners", a reference to his kingship in the land of the dead. As ruler of the dead, Osiris was sometimes called "king of the living": ancient Egyptians considered the blessed dead "the living ones". Through syncretism with Iah, he is the god of the Moon. Osiris was considered the brother of Isis, Set and Horus the Elder, father of Horus the Younger; the first evidence of the worship of Osiris was found in the middle of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt, although it is that he was worshiped much earlier.
Most information available on the myths of Osiris is derived from allusions contained in the Pyramid Texts at the end of the Fifth Dynasty New Kingdom source documents such as the Shabaka Stone and the Contending of Horus and Seth, much in narrative style from the writings of Greek authors including Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus. Osiris was the judge of the dead and the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River, he was described as "He Who is Permanently Benign and Youthful" and the "Lord of Silence". The Kings of Egypt were associated with Osiris in death – as Osiris rose from the dead so would they in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic. Through the hope of new life after death, Osiris began to be associated with the cycles observed in nature, in particular vegetation and the annual flooding of the Nile, through his links with the heliacal rising of Orion and Sirius at the start of the new year.
Osiris was worshipped until the decline of ancient Egyptian religion during the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Osiris is a Latin transliteration of the Ancient Greek Ὄσιρις IPA:, which in turn is the Greek adaptation of the original name in the Egyptian language. In Egyptian hieroglyphs the name appears as wsjr, which some Egyptologists instead choose to transliterate ꜣsjr or jsjrj. Since hieroglyphic writing lacks vowels, Egyptologists have vocalized the name in various ways, such as Asar, Ausir, Usir, or Usire. Several proposals have been made for the meaning of the original name. Most take wsjr as the accepted transliteration, following Adolf Erman: John Gwyn Griffiths, "bearing in mind Erman's emphasis on the fact that the name must begin with an w", proposes a derivation from wsr with an original meaning of "The Mighty One". Moreover, one of the oldest attestations of the god Osiris appears in the mastaba of the deceased Netjer-wser. Kurt Sethe proposes a compound st-jrt, meaning "seat of the eye", in a hypothetical earlier form *wst-jrt.
David Lorton takes up this same compound but explains st-jrt as signifying "product, something made", Osiris representing the product of the ritual mummification process. Wolfhart Westendorf proposes an etymology from wꜣst-jrt "she who bears the eye". Mark J. Smith makes no definitive proposals but asserts that the second element must be a form of jrj; however alternative transliterations have been proposed: Yoshi Muchiki reexamines Erman's evidence that the throne hieroglyph in the word is to be read ws and finds it unconvincing, suggesting instead that the name should be read ꜣsjr on the basis of Aramaic and Old South Arabian transcriptions, readings of the throne sign in other words, comparison with ꜣst. James P. Allen reads the word as jsjrt but revises the reading to jsjrj and derives it from js-jrj, meaning "engendering principle". Osiris is represented in his most developed form of iconography wearing the Atef crown, similar to the White crown of Upper Egypt, but with the addition of two curling ostrich feathers at each side.
He carries the crook and flail. The crook is thought to represent Osiris as a shepherd god; the symbolism of the flail is more uncertain with shepherds whip, fly-whisk, or association with the god Andjety of the ninth nome of Lower Egypt proposed. He was depicted as a pharaoh with a complexion of either green or black in mummiform; the Pyramid Texts describe early conceptions of an afterlife in terms of eternal travelling with the sun god amongst the stars. Amongst these mortuary texts, at the beginning of the 4th dynasty, is found: "An offering the king gives and Anubis". By the end of the 5th dynasty, the formula in all tombs becomes "An offering the king gives and Osiris". Osiris is the mythological father of the god Horus, whose conception is described in the Osiris myth; the myth describes Osiris as having been killed by his brother, Set
Isis was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. Isis was first mentioned in the Old Kingdom as one of the main characters of the Osiris myth, in which she resurrects her slain husband, the divine king Osiris, produces and protects his heir, Horus, she was believed to help the dead enter the afterlife as she had helped Osiris, she was considered the divine mother of the pharaoh, likened to Horus. Her maternal aid was invoked in healing spells to benefit ordinary people, she played a limited role in royal rituals and temple rites, although she was more prominent in funerary practices and magical texts. She was portrayed in art as a human woman wearing a throne-like hieroglyph on her head. During the New Kingdom, as she took on traits that belonged to Hathor, the preeminent goddess of earlier times, Isis came to be portrayed wearing Hathor's headdress: a sun disk between the horns of a cow. In the first millennium BCE, Osiris and Isis became the most worshipped of Egyptian deities, Isis absorbed traits from many other goddesses.
Rulers in Egypt and its neighbor to the south, began to build temples dedicated to Isis, her temple at Philae was a religious center for Egyptians and Nubians alike. Isis's reputed magical power was greater than that of all other gods, she was said to protect the kingdom from its enemies, govern the skies and the natural world, have power over fate itself. In the Hellenistic period, when Egypt was ruled and settled by Greeks, Isis came to be worshipped by Greeks and Egyptians, along with a new god, Serapis, their worship diffused into the wider Mediterranean world. Isis's Greek devotees ascribed to her traits taken from Greek deities, such as the invention of marriage and the protection of ships at sea, she retained strong links with Egypt and other Egyptian deities who were popular in the Hellenistic world, such as Osiris and Harpocrates; as Hellenistic culture was absorbed by Rome in the first century BCE, the cult of Isis became a part of Roman religion. Her devotees were a small proportion of the Roman Empire's population but were found all across its territory.
Her following developed distinctive festivals such as the Navigium Isidis, as well as initiation ceremonies resembling those of other Greco-Roman mystery cults. Some of her devotees said; the worship of Isis was ended by the rise of Christianity in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. Her worship may have influenced Christian beliefs and practices such as the veneration of Mary, but the evidence for this influence is ambiguous and controversial. Isis continues to appear in Western culture in esotericism and modern paganism as a personification of nature or the feminine aspect of divinity. Whereas some Egyptian deities appeared in the late Predynastic Period, neither Isis nor her husband Osiris were mentioned before the Fifth Dynasty. An inscription that may refer to Isis dates to the reign of Nyuserre Ini during that period, she appears prominently in the Pyramid Texts, which began to be written down at the end of the dynasty and whose content may have developed much earlier. Several passages in the Pyramid Texts link Isis with the region of the Nile Delta near Behbeit el-Hagar and Sebennytos, her cult may have originated there.
Many scholars have focused on Isis's name in trying to determine her origins. Her Egyptian name was ꜣst, which became ⲎⲤⲈ in the Coptic form of Egyptian, Wusa in the Meroitic language of Nubia, Ἶσις, on which her modern name is based, in Greek; the hieroglyphic writing of her name incorporates the sign for a throne, which Isis wears on her head as a sign of her identity. The symbol serves as a phonogram, spelling the st sounds in her name, but it may have represented a link with actual thrones; the Egyptian term for a throne was st and may have shared a common etymology with Isis's name. Therefore, the Egyptologist Kurt Sethe suggested she was a personification of thrones. Henri Frankfort agreed, believing that the throne was considered the king's mother, thus a goddess, because of its power to make a man into a king. Other scholars, such as Jürgen Osing and Klaus P. Kuhlmann, have disputed this interpretation, because of dissimilarities between Isis's name and the word for a throne or a lack of evidence that the throne was deified.
The cycle of myth surrounding Osiris's death and resurrection was first recorded in the Pyramid Texts and grew into the most elaborate and influential of all Egyptian myths. Isis plays a more active role in this myth than the other protagonists, so as it developed in literature from the New Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Period, she became the most complex literary character of all Egyptian deities. At the same time, she absorbed characteristics from many other goddesses, broadening her significance well beyond the Osiris myth. Isis is part of the Ennead of Heliopolis, a family of nine gods descended from the creator god, Atum or Ra, she and her siblings—Osiris and Nephthys—are the last generation of the Ennead, born to Geb, god of the earth, Nut, goddess of the sky. The creator god, the world's original ruler, passes down his authority through the male generations of the Ennead, so that Osiris becomes king. Isis, Osiris's wife as well as his sister, is his queen. Set kills Osiris and, in several versions of the story, dismembers his corpse.
Isis and Nephthys, along with other deities such as Anubis, search for the pieces of their brother's body and reassemble it. Their efforts are the mythic prototype for mummification and other anc