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Attis and Cybele – West Asian mythology

By |2018-04-15T12:08:20+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Cybele and Attis standing together, while two much smaller human worshippers pray to them. From the Hellenistic kingdoms, in what is now Turkey, in the 100s BC Cybele, Magna Mater or the Great Mother, was a West Asian fertility goddess like Isis or Demeter. You sacrificed to Cybele to make sure the wheat and barley would grow well. There are many versions [...]

Who is Astarte? West Asian religion

By |2018-04-13T11:20:06+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The goddess Astarte in the Late Bronze Age The goddess Astarte As early as about 3000 BC,  Astarte was a Semitic goddess of love and fertility. People worshipped her in Mesopotamia and in the Levant. Like the Roman goddess Venus or the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Astarte started out as the goddess of the evening star. (And soon West Asian astronomers [...]

Greek mystery cults – ancient Greece

By |2018-04-23T10:04:50+00:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Torchlight parade (this one is actually in India) Most Greek religious rituals were about sacrifice to the gods. But there was another form of religious activity also, which we call the mystery cults. People who wanted to participate in the mystery cults also kept on doing the usual sacrifices. You didn't have to choose. It's like [...]

Who is Hera? Ancient Greek gods

By |2018-09-01T06:09:31+00:00July 13th, 2017|Greeks, Religion|

Hera (on the left) on the Siphnian Treasury at Delphi (500s BC) Hera, the Greek goddess Hera is the sister and wife of Zeus (the Greeks did not approve of this arrangement for real people but, like the Egyptians, they thought it was okay for gods). The daughter of Earth and Time So Hera, like Zeus, is the [...]

Who was Osiris? Egyptian god

By |2018-04-19T22:41:46+00:00June 19th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Religion|

Bringing offerings to Osiris(New Kingdom, ca. 1300 BC) Osiris was an ancient Egyptian god of growing things, like the Hindu god Indra or the Greek goddess Demeter. That's why sometimes Osiris' face is green, like the Nile river whose floods made a good harvest in Egypt. Osiris was the oldest son of the [...]

Who was the Egyptian goddess Isis?

By |2018-04-21T12:09:40+00:00June 19th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Religion|

Isis and her baby Horus (Middle Kingdom, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) The goddess Isis, in Egyptian mythology, was married to her brother Osiris (just like Hera was married to her brother Zeus). Isis means "the queen", in Egyptian. Then their enemy, the god Set, killed Osiris, and tore him apart. [...]

Who was the Egyptian god Horus? – Gods of Ancient Egypt

By |2018-06-10T23:26:34+00:00June 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Religion|

Good luck charm of the eye of the god Horus (Old Kingdom, ca. 2000 BC) Horus was the son of Re Horus was an Egyptian god, originally from Upper Egypt (Southern Egypt). In the Old Kingdom, people thought of Horus as having the head of a falcon, and his name means "falcon" in [...]