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Isis

The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian God of the Dead
Narrated by: Dan Gallagher
Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
3 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

To the ancient Egyptians, as was the case with any society made up of inquiring humans, the world was a confusing and often terrifying place of destruction, death, and unexplained phenomena. In order to make sense of such an existence, they resorted to teleological stories. Giving a phenomenon a story made it less horrifying, and it also helped them make sense of the world around them. Unsurprisingly, then, the ancient Egyptian gods permeated every aspect of existence.  

Isis first appears during the period of Old Kingdom (circa 2660-2190 BC), but only later does she take on her most famous role of being a sister-wife of Osiris. Originally, she is simply the mother of Horus, and the details surrounding his conception are more obscure. Her absence in the original myths about Osiris is confirmed by the fact her appearances at Abydos, a famous cult center of Osiris, are scarce until the New Kingdom (circa 1549-1069 BC). In fact, Isis had no known cult center throughout the majority of ancient Egyptian dynastic history, though it didn’t seem to have a negative effect on her worship.  

Isis was one of the nine principal deities of the Egypt deities of the Egyptian pantheon called the Ennead, and her hieroglyph was the throne, a glyph that would later connect her with Osiris, whose hieroglyph was a throne and an eye, and royalty in general. In fact, as the goddess of the throne, she came to represent the “mother” of all the kings of Egypt. 

Regardless of her royal attributes, however, Isis was fundamentally a healer and a peacemaker. Nevertheless, as time went on and Egypt became more influenced by the outside world, Greece and Rome in particular, Isis came to be seen as the wrathful protector of Egypt and its kings. According to the sources, she was “[C]leverer than millions of gods” and more capable of protecting the country than “[M]illions of soldiers”.

What is most fascinating about Isis is the agency she has in her myths, particularly the most famous, that of the death and rebirth cycle of Osiris. In this myth, she even demonstrates traits of the female trickster, which is considerably less common in world mythology than the male equivalent. According to one New Kingdom source, Isis transformed herself into an old woman in order to fool the divine ferryman between the worlds of the living and the dead, and she also turned herself into a young woman in order to get Seth to admit his claim for power was unjust. All the while, she created cultural and geographical mainstays - such as the Nile - while being worshiped as a helper goddess.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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I don't know whats worse, narration or writing.

Sometimes shorter is not better.

I picked up this book because I wanted to learn more about Isis, the Egyptian Mother Goddess. I thought maybe it would be beneficial that the book was so short, they would cut to the details.

I was wrong...

The book spends more time comparing her to Greek and Roman culture/gods/goddesses that I felt we didn't get any sort of real information. I felt like it was just reading the Wikipedia page, except Wikipedia has more detail on her than this book.

The narration of the audiobook was horrible as well. The droning monotony was very hard to sit through, fortunately it was less than two hours so it only took me about 3 hours to listen as I listened multiple times to portions after realizing had had daydreamed away from the book.

I suspect Charles River Editors are very basic in all their books. They seem to have a lot of short books based on multiple historical subjects. I might try one more to see if I should avoid them at all costs (I ended up picking up their book about the Vandals and Goths).

Either way though this book is bad. Not even entertaining bad. I recommend you save your money (fortunately I got mine for cheap) and just go read the wikipedia page. Less chance of falling asleep or being frustrated.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful