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Let’s now dive into today’s topic: The Temple of Isis on Philae Island.
As a little kid, I was fascinated by Ancient Egypt. I read a lot about it and watched all sorts of movies and documentaries.
I was obsessed.
But ever since I went to high school I lost track of this interest until 2020 when I started writing online and did some more research on the ancient world again.
Only yesterday I started reading this book.
This book is “a traveler’s Guide from Aswan to Alexandria” and that’s exactly where we start with this story.
The Temple of Isis
The book starts with a beautiful image of the Temple of Isis before it got removed from Philae Island, which is in the middle of the River Nile and was built during the time of Ptolemy II around 280 BCE.
The island was a holy place dedicated to the goddess Isis
Alongside the primary temple, several other structures dedicated to Egyptian deities such as Imhotep, Hathor, Osiris, Horus, and Nephthys can be found.
For those of you not familiar with Isis, she was known as the goddess of magic, fertility, motherhood, death, healing, and rebirth.
Very important to rely on. But she was also a key figure in the Myth of Osiris who was murdered by his brother Set and eventually cut into pieces for Isis to find throughout the whole of Egypt and briefly bring him back to life.
She wasn’t only known in Egypt, but also very popular in the Roman Empire in the first century and many women would worship her and practice certain rituals that men weren’t allowed to join.
They even built a temple for her, just like the Egyptians did.
Temple of Isis in Pompeii
The Everlasting Question
Let’s get back to Egypt.
Most Egyptians didn’t reach a consensus over where the water of the Nile came from. It remained a big mystery what the source was.
One of the origin stories that I find quite interesting is that they believed the water of the Nile was the tears of the sisters of Osiris (Nepthys and Isis). But in other myths, the Nile was believed to originate from Nun, the primeval waters of chaos that existed.
The water would be from above (rain) and below (in the ground), because if you’d dig deep enough you’d find water coming from the caverns which they believed was the underworld.
Now we know that it starts from rivers that lead to Lake Victoria, situated in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, and ends in the Mediterranean Sea and its flooding every year in August made it the perfect place for the Egyptians to harvest their food.
They created ways to water their fields, which expanded the area usable for farming and enabled their community to flourish.
They thought it was a blessing from the gods, bringing silt-rich fertile soil to their fields.
This natural event was seen as a cycle of renewal and growth, allowing them to grow crops and sustain their civilization. It was considered a manifestation of the divine will, primarily associated with the god Hapi, the god of the Nile’s fertility.