Osiris: Husband of Isis: The Myths

When the time came for Osiris to spread his rule to the rest of the world, he left Isis to rule over Egypt. He returned to the country only after he had stretched civilization about the entire earth. He took pleasure that his wife was able to rule wisely and that his kingdom was still just as perfect as he had left it. However, everything was not as it seemed, as his brother, Set, lurked in the shadows , plotting revenge.

Plutarch’s Version of the Osiris Myth

When studying the cult of Osiris, you will find that he accumulated a strong following that harbored a great interest in immortality. Plutarch would later write a myth that centered on the cult in which Set, who was a brother of Osiris had tricked his brother into getting inside of a coffin. Set closed the coffin and had it sealed with lead. The coffin was then thrown into the Nile River.

The myth goes on to say that his wife (Isis) looked far and wide for the remains of her husband until she found him embedded in a tree trunk. The coffin had found a place serving as a foundation for the roof of a palace situated in Byblos (positioned on the Phoenician coast). Isis removed the coffin and opened it, but Osiris had already passed away. Using a spell that she learned from her father, Osiris was brought back to life just long enough to conceive a child.

Once Isis became pregnant, Osiris died again , prompting her to hide the body in the desert. Months had passed and Horus was born. Later on, Set went out hunting and discovered the body of Osiris. In a fit, he tore the body into 14 pieces and scattered them about the land. Isis would later collect most of his body and fixed them together so that an appropriate burial could take place.

Many myths surround the death of Osiris, and some people believe the most common involves Set holding a fancy banquet with an express invitation to his brother. Once the festivities had passed, Set offered an elaborate coffin and said he would give it as a gift to whomever it fit best. What Osiris did not know at the time that it had already been fashioned to fit the form of Osiris to the T. When his brother got into the coffin, Set shut it and threw it into the Nile River.

To this day, Osiris is associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile River, and the crops about the Nile Valley , all because of his death and resurrection.

Overall, Osiris is rather significant in Egyptian mythology and culture because his myths are some of the earliest forms of writing that have appeared on the walls of chambers and passages of numerous pyramids of kings. Various dynasties have showcased associations to Osiris on coffics, sarcophagi, tombs, and papyri. He has also greatly touched Egyptian literature that involves text regarding life and death.