Isis - The Beloved in All Lands
Isis - The Beloved in All Lands
Isis, in one of her 10,000 names, is called
'Beloved in all lands".
Isis of the 10,000 Names, as well as other Ancient Egyptian deities, were adopted throughout the Mediterranean Basin and beyond. For example, the bas-reliefs, coins, and other antiquities that have been found in Thessaly, Epirus, Megara, Corinth, Argos, Malta, and many other places, portray Ancient Egyptian deities. Because of her many names and forms, the Greeks equated her with a number of goddesses of their pantheon: Persephone, Ceres, and Athens, among them. Herodotus, in the Histories, Book 2 [2-8], wrote:
"The names of nearly all the gods came to Greece from Egypt."
This makes sense once we recognize two points that:
a. From the earliest days of comparative philology, it was noticed that the sounds of related languages corresponded in apparently systematic ways. As an example of the phenomenon of sound shift, a person’s name can still be recognized in vastly different sounds, such as Santiago/San Diego/San Jacob and Saint James. Jacob/Jack/Jaques/James are one and the same name, which exemplifies the phenomenon of sound shift, where a letter that cannot be pronounced by a group of people is substituted by another sound that is easy for that group of people to pronounce.
b. It should be noted that what we commonly consider to be the names of deities are actually the “attributes” of such deities. The real names of the deities were kept secret. The real name was/is imbued with magical powers and properties. To know and pronounce the real name of a deity is to exercise power over it. To guard the cosmic power of the deity, the Ancient Egyptians (and later, others throughout the Mediterranean Basin and beyond) often used “names” with religious connotations. Baal simply means Lord or ruler, and so we hear of the Baal or the Baalat (Lady) of such-and-such a city. Similarly, a deity will be called Melek, meaning King. So, too, Adon; which means Lord or Master. Melqart meant King of the City.
To affirm Herodotus’ reports of the Greeks' adoption of Egyptian deities, archaeological evidence in the 4th century (before our Common Era) shows that Athens was basically a center of Egyptian religion; and shrines to Isis (both public and private) were erected in many parts of Greece at that period.
In Magna Graecia, the monuments found in Catania in Sicily show that this city was a center of the worship of Egyptian deities. Southern Italy contained many temples of Isis, and the remains of statues, etc., found in Reggio, Puteoli, Pompeii, and Herculaneum prove that the worship of Egyptian deities must have been common.
The Ancient Egyptian religious practices were mirrored in Greece; for example, as confirmed by the Greek father of history, Herodotus, in the Histories, Book 2, :
"It was the Egyptians too who originated, and taught the Greeks to use ceremonial meetings, processions, and processional offerings: a fact that can be inferred from the obvious antiquity of such ceremonies in Egypt, compared with Greece, where they have been only recently introduced. The Egyptians meet in solemn assembly not once a year only, but on a number of occasions."
Affirming Herodotus’ statement, Plutarch states in Moralia, Isis and Osiris [378-9, 69],
"Among the Greeks also many things are done which are similar to the Egyptian ceremonies in the shrines of Isis, and they do them at about the same time."
[An excerpt from Isis The Divine female by Moustafa Gadalla