Statue of Isis of Coptos

Statue of the goddess Isis, so-called “Isis of Coptos”. She wears a tripartite wig with uraeus. The sun disc and cow’s horns identify the sculpture as Isis or Hathor. Her dress is Egyptian in style and sheath-like in appearance, and around her neck she wears an incised collar of beads.

In ancient Egypt, the goddess Isis was highly revered and played a significant role in their mythology and religious beliefs. She was considered the goddess of motherhood, fertility, magic, and protection. Isis was also known as the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus.

Statue of Isis of Coptos
Statue of a goddess (Hathor or Isis), so-called “Isis of Coptos”

Isis was often depicted as a woman wearing a headdress in the shape of a throne or a sun disk with cow horns. The worship of Isis was widespread throughout Egypt, and she was believed to have the power to heal the sick and bring the dead back to life.

Related: Golden Throne of Tutankhamun

The origins of the goddess Isis, who in later periods of Egyptian history became one of the most important deities, are quite difficult to know for sure: no city in Egypt claimed to be her birthplace or burial place, and we have no real records of her before the 5th Dynasty.

Yet she is clearly a goddess of great importance already in the Pyramid texts, where she appears over eighty times as she assists the deceased king on his journey.

In the funerary texts of later periods her protective role appears increasingly predominant and her power appears to grow to the point where she overshadows her brother and companion Osiris.

Statue of Isis of Coptos
Statue of Isis of Coptos

The Cult of Isis was a prominent religious movement in ancient Egypt that centered around the worship of the goddess Isis. It was one of the most widespread and enduring cults in ancient Egyptian history. The cult of Isis gained popularity during the Late Period and continued to thrive during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

Temples dedicated to Isis, known as Iseums, were established throughout Egypt and beyond. These temples served as centers of worship and pilgrimage, where rituals and ceremonies were conducted by priests and priestesses.

The cult of Isis remained influential until the rise of Christianity, which led to the decline of ancient Egyptian religious practices.

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1550-1292 BC. Granodiorite. Dimensions: 153 x 47 x 35 cm. From Temple of Min in Coptos. Donati collection. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Turin. C. 694