Isis – the Eternal Goddess of Egypt and Rome is a thought-provoking study of one of the most enduring and enigmatic ancient goddesses, Isis. The ancient Egyptians knew her as Aset and her name was written with the hieroglyph of a stylised throne, emphasising her association with royalty and kingship. She was the sister of the mysterious goddess Nephthys, mother to Horus, wife and sister to Osiris, known as a great magician and healer – and associated with events of cosmic significance.
Throughout the millennia of her worship she held many roles, evidenced by the many temples, symbols and writings left behind by her devotees. As the popularity of her cult grew in importance and diversified over time the Greco-Roman Isis kept all her Egyptian powers and added more from the strong Greek influence in Egypt. She became a beneficial Goddess of nature, a Saviour and to many the sole Goddess. The author examines this and questions whether the Isis of the Old Kingdom of Egypt was the same Isis who became the All-Goddess of the Greco-Roman period. Her worship spread beyond Egypt before the Greek conquest as Egyptian diplomats, merchants and other travellers who spent time in Egypt spread her cult overseas.
In this extensive work the author Lesley Jackson draws on two of the principal sources of information on Isis – the texts of the Ancient Egyptians and those of the Classical writers – to present the most complete presentation of her worship to date. Her beginnings, her birth, her place of origin, her names, her attributes, her iconography, her relationships, her symbols (including the ankh, tyet, sistrum and situla) and the development of her cult, are all carefully considered.