logo2.jpg (4023 bytes)

greca.jpg (763 bytes) Enlaces

greca.jpg (763 bytes) Biblioteca

greca.jpg (763 bytes)Deja tu mensaje

greca.jpg (763 bytes) Varios

mujer.jpg (3298 bytes)

pompeyo.jpg (12014 bytes)

teatro.jpg (6703 bytes)

serapis.jpg (5002 bytes)


greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)

Greco-Egyptian Mythology:

The Alexandrian synthesis
greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)
Author: Sergio Sanchez
Greek and Egyptian Mythology: The Alexandrian synthesis.

Between the Nile and the Aegean.

After the foundation of Alexandria, and the ascent of the Lagid dynasty to the throne of the Pharaohs, an intense contact takes place between Greek and Egyptian cultures. Fruit of this contact, the population of the cosmopolitan Alexandria will surrender so much cult to the Greek vault as to the Egyptian gods, assimilating them to each other and even creating new gods like consequence of the coalition of both rites. From Alexandria, the cult to the Greek gods will extend toward millennial Egypt, and in contrary sense, the Egyptian gods will travel with unstoppable force toward Minor Asia, Greece and Rome.

Contacts between both cultures were already important before the conquest of Egypt gotten by Great Alexander the Great, although it would be after then when they will take place with more intensity. Some of the Egyptian deities can even be guessed in the vault of Minoic Crete, like it is the case of the goddess hippopotamus Taweret, transformed into an aquatic divinity. .

This way, the Egyptian god Amon was already known by the inhabitants from Greece, being represented by Zeus' statue with two ram horns. The cult to Among for the Athenians goes back until before the Wars of Peloponesus and its oracle, located in the Lybian oasis of Siwa, was known and respected in equal measure that the Greeks of Delphos and Dodone. In fact it exists the legend that two doves undertook the flight of Zeus' hand when it conquered the power after expelling from the Olympus to their father Crhonos. The first one settled on an oak in Dodone (Epirus), while the second chose a palm in the oasis of Siwa. From then on, it was said that it could be listened in both places the voice of the almighty god. This way, the consultation of this oracle had an outstanding importance for Alexander the Great, since it was there where Zeus confirmed him his divine paternity.

Serapis is the Graeco-egyptian god par excellence: Osiris risen and become the bull Apis. It's also identified with Greek gods such as Hades, Zeus and Dionysus. For the Greeks was the god of fertility and medicine, represented the male productive forces of nature, and was regarded as sovereign of the kingdom of the dead. Her cult was introduced as a god of the Greeks and Egyptians by Ptolemy I Soter, although He was already knew before. He was represented by the Greeks with long hair and beard, and a large cloak covering her entire body except the arms, seated on a throne with Cerberus at his feet. In his pictures his main attribute was the "calthus" or "modium" (sort of triangle on the head), sacred basket of mysteries and a symbol of abundance. On the other hand, He was represented as a mummy, with the crescent moon and two pens at the Egyptian iconography. His main temple in Alexandria was "The Serapeion" which also had the second library of Alexandria, a repository of the funds of the library of Pergamum (a gift from Mark Antony to Cleopatra). The temple was situated at the top of the Acropolis, and the god's statue was placed so that it rested on his lips the first rays of the sun, symbolizing the Verbum which gives life to the world of manifestation in the morning and whose origin is at Memphis in the theology of Ptah. Also had temples in other cities of Egypt, as Memphis, Canopus and the necropolis of Saqqara, and his cult was exported to Minor Asia, Greece and Rome, reaching the English city of York and the Spanish of Merida. But its importance declined in Rome for his wife and sister Isis.

Isis, the wife of Osiris and goddess of motherhood and fertility, was identified firsly with Demeter, but later was associated with other goddesses such as Aphrodite, Athena or Artemis, and Juno in Rome. It was represented at the Egyptian manner, sometimes with the double crown with the feather of Maat, or a pair of lyre-shaped horns, and in the half the solar disk. It is also frequently represented sitting with her son Horus in her arms, breastfeeding him. This icon would inspired the image of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. It was the best known Egyptian deity of the Empire, even though at first was not well seen through the eyes of Roman rule, mainly due to its libertine rites. Finally, under the First Triumvirate (43 BC), his cult and the Serapis one were officially recognized and the first state temple dedicated to Isis was built during the reign of Emperor Caligula. Subsequently, several emperors declared themselves devotees of both deities, and its success was unstoppable even with the arrival of Christianity.It Resist until the sixth century, when in 535 their worship was forbidden by Justinian.

The last god of the "Alexandrian triad" was Horus, son of Isis and Osiris. Osiris, after being murdered by his brother Seth, He resurrected and he had with Isis her son Horus. Then, He avenged his father by killing Seth. To the Alexandrians and the Greeks, Horus was assimilated with Apollo. Harpocrates was also known as the Greeks and Romans, represented as a child with his finger on his lips.

The three gods, sometimes separately and sometimes as a whole, spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. The Romans came to say: "Once they were Egyptian gods, now are Romans."

Another Alexandrian god was Hermanubis, combination of Hermes and Anubis. However, this god would not have much importance in the Empire as the previous. He was associated with the jackal god as Hermes Psychopompos, but also was identified with Thoth, an ibis-headed scribe. We find another asmilaciones between both pantheons: Hathor and Aphrodite, Pan and Min, Mut and Hera, Prometheus and Nefertum, Helios and Ra and also Sobek, Athena and Neith, Artemis and Bastet, Onuris and Ares, Hermes and Anubis and also Thoth (Hermes Psychopompos) , Eileithyia and Nekhbet, Heracles and Heryshef ...

But Dionysus, the god of wine, was the most accepted Greek god by the Alexandrians. Unlike most Greek gods, Dionysus was worshiped with his Greek name, without being associated with any Egyptian deity. It was the favorite god of Alexander the Great, who, like his mother Olympias, was involved in the Dionysian festivities. The kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty, considering themselves as the successors of Alexander, encouraged the cult of the god. His procession, held in his honor by Ptolemy II Philadelpho, revealed the magnificence of the grandeur of Alexandria.


A divine dynasty.
We must not forget the cult of the sovereign, who was deified both by the Greek side considering themselves as the successors of Alexander (and therefore descendants of Zeus), and for the Egyptian side, because they did not renounce its origins from ancient Pharaohs. Thus, Arsinoe II Philadelphia was deified after her death by Ptolemy II, and honored in her temple, the Arsinoeion. The Ptolemies, by proclaiming themselves demigods, no married women outside the family (and even married their sisters), a tradition that was only broken by Cleopatra VII, but it was too late to renew the lineage. This worship of the sovereign, blending the Eastern Exoticism with the Greek sophistication, was perhaps the basis of the later emperor worship in Rome. Thus, Alexandria was the mirror where Rome looked at herself to overcome.

So, Alexandria has emerged as a new Heliopolis in the tip of Egypt, as an encounter between Greek and Egyptian worlds. Its monuments continued the magnificence of the temples of Memphis and Thebes and many monumental constructions were transferred from Heliopolis to the New Athens, such as "Cleopatra's Needles", obelisks built by Tuthmosis III and Ramses II who are currently in London and New York. There was an increase of Egyptian pomp traditional at Greek rites, and it was established a clergy in charge of the important daily ritual, the annual holiday celebrations, the chanting and the offerings, and also the sumptuous processions. We must underline the "pure" priests at the temple of Serapis, always in close contact with the clergy of Memphis.

So was Alexandria, a cosmopolitan city, where the Greek gods Dionysus and Poseidon, the Egyptian Isis and Horus and the Phoenician Astarte were cultured, and also the Hebrew Yahweh, whose synagogue was the largest in the world and masterful example of architecture. A city where in the same temple were worshiped the Egyptian Isis, the Greek Demeter and the Roman Ceres. However, this cosmopolitan and religious city, the second of the Empire, die slowly. In 391 AD, under the rule of Theodosius, the patriarch Theophilus and his followers Christians attacked and destroyed the fortified temple of Serapis. After a violent siege, the Christians took over the building, knocking him down, burning the famous library and destroying the images. This is the nominal end of paganism, although it continued to be practiced residually until the end of the ninth century AD. Alexandria die as paganism. Napoleon founded in 1789 a miserable city, where lwss than 7,000 souls were living in deplorable conditions. Really, who would believe in the city born from the dream of the son of Zeus, If nobody believed in him.
greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)greca.jpg (763 bytes)

Composition:Valencia, 2000

Layout: Badajoz, 2002

Please, don't publish without contacting the author: SergiSanBcn@yahoo.es


Free counter and web stats