Relief of Osiris and Isis

Detail of a wall relief depicting Osiris and Isis in the Temple of Seti I in Abydos, the cult center of Osiris, lord of the dead. The necropolis is a place of pilgrimage and burial and at least ten temples were originally constructed there. 

Among those ten temples, three remain that are of special note. These include the Temple of Seti I, the Great Osiris Temple and the Ramesses II Temple. Among these three, the Temple of Seti I is the most well-preserved.

Painted Relief of Osiris and Isis
Painted Relief of Osiris and Isis

Abydos, located in the Egyptian governorate of Sohag about 270 miles (435 km) south of Cairo, is one of Egypt’s major though lesser visited archaeological sites. It was a necropolis for early ancient Egyptian royalty and a pilgrimage center for the worship of the god Osiris.

Many myths highlight her great magical ability and in one in particular – in which she learns the true name of the god Re – she consolidates her position as one of the most important deities in terms of magical knowledge and power.

In this myth, Isis creates a snake to bite Re, the sun god. Re is poisoned and can only recover from the bite by revealing his true name to the goddess: knowing the name of someone/something was tantamount to having great power over them…and that is exactly what Isis achieves! Re is healed and Isis strengthens her power.