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Following OsirisPerspectives on the Osirian Afterlife from Four Millenia$
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Mark Smith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199582228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582228.001.0001

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New Rulers, New Beliefs? Osiris and the Dead during the Transition from the Late Period to the Ptolemaic Period

New Rulers, New Beliefs? Osiris and the Dead during the Transition from the Late Period to the Ptolemaic Period

Chapter:
(p.356) 6 New Rulers, New Beliefs? Osiris and the Dead during the Transition from the Late Period to the Ptolemaic Period
Source:
Following Osiris
Author(s):

Mark Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199582228.003.0007

This chapter investigates two questions. First, did the establishment of the Ptolemaic dynasty have an impact on Egyptian ideas about the afterlife, and second, did it have an impact on the way in which Egyptians conceptualized the relationship between Osiris and the deceased? In connection with the second question, the chapter also considers whether or not the rise to prominence of the god Sarapis, who was sometimes identified with Osiris, influenced Egyptian perceptions of that relationship. The evidence shows that the rise of the Ptolemies did not bring about any changes in Egyptian ideas about the afterlife. Nor were Egyptian conceptions of the relationship between Osiris and the deceased affected by the advent of this line of kings. As far as one can judge, the identification of Osiris and Sarapis in the Ptolemaic Period had little impact on this either. Closer investigation shows that many religious beliefs and customs which are often claimed as innovations of this time are actually attested much earlier, and thus cannot be explained as products of Greek influence.

Keywords:   Late Period, Ptolemaic Period, Sarapis, royal aspect of Osiris, Osiris as god of the living, foreign influences

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