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Isis Of Hellenistic Times

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Isis Of Hellenistic Times

Post  AgathonZante on Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:57 pm

It's no secret that Greek, Egyptian and Roman religion spread across each other's cultures when Rome took over. Statues of Isis have been found as far away as Delos, Apollo's island. Could a Hellenist therefore worship Isis?
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Re: Isis Of Hellenistic Times

Post  Erodius on Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:51 pm

AgathonZante wrote:It's no secret that Greek, Egyptian and Roman religion spread across each other's cultures when Rome took over. Statues of Isis have been found as far away as Delos, Apollo's island. Could a Hellenist therefore worship Isis?

I'll answer you with Isis' own words to Lucius, the protagonist of the Roman Neoplatonist author Apuleius' book the Golden Asse (which is a wonderful book, by the way):


‘Behold, Lucius, here I am, moved by your prayer, I, mother of all Nature and mistress of the elements, first-born of the ages and great power divine, queen of the dead, and queen of the immortals, all gods and goddesses in a single form; who with a gesture commands heaven’s glittering summit, the wholesome ocean breezes, the underworld’s mournful silence; whose sole divinity is worshipped in differing forms, with varying rites, under many names, by all the world. There, at Pessinus, the Phrygians, first-born of men, call me Cybele, Mother of the Gods; in Attica, a people sprung from their own soil name me Cecropian Minerva; in sea-girt Cyprus I am Paphian Venus; Dictynna-Diana to the Cretan archers; Stygian Proserpine to the three-tongued Sicilians; at Eleusis, ancient Ceres; Juno to some, to others Bellona or Rhamnusia*; while the races of both Ethiopias, first to be lit at dawn by the risen Sun’s divine rays, and the Egyptians too, deep in arcane lore, worship me with my own rites, and call me by my true name, royal Isis.  I am here in pity for your misfortunes, I am here as friend and helper. Weep no more, end your lamentations. Banish sorrow. With my aid, your day of salvation is at hand.'



*a name of the goddess Nemesis

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Isis Of Hellenistic Times

Post  DavidMcCann on Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:23 pm

Maximus of Tyre, in his essay On what God is, according to Plato, wrote "… there is one God, the ruler and father of all things, and many gods, children of God, ruling together with him. This the Greek says, and the barbarian." I think that is a common opinion in primal or non-prophetic religions. Greek settlers in India worshiped local gods in union with their own, and a Hindu recently told me that, if packed off to Antiquity in a time machine, he'd have no problem in worshipping in Greek temples. Unless a prophet has told you that there's only one true faith — i.e. his — you assume that there are lots of gods, some worshiped here, some there, and many all over, but with different names, just as the Sun has different names.

Where gods seem similar, they were assumed to be the same: Zeus, Hadad, Amun, Indra. If they seemed unique, one could either adopt (Isis, Meter Theon) or ignore (Ophois etc.). But the decision is yours: no-one said "You're a Roman — what are you up to worshiping Ancasta?"

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