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Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt

Page: 37

Isis is one of those deities who from fortuitous and other circumstances are fated to achieve greatness. From a Libyan spirit connected in some manner with the growth of the crops, she rose to such supreme importance during her reign of nearly four thousand years in Egypt that every description of attribute was heaped upon her in abundance. This is invariably the case with successful deities. Not only do they absorb the attributes of their contemporaries in the pantheon, but qualities which are actually at variance with their original character are grafted upon them because of their very popularity. This was the case, for instance, with Tezcatlipoca, a Mexican deity, originally god of the air, who later became god of fate and fortune, and practically head of the Aztec pantheon; and many other instances might be adduced. Thus Isis is a giver of life and food to the dead in the Duat—that is, she brings with her the fresh air of heaven into the underworld—and as the air-god Tezcatlipoca was identified with justice, so Isis is identified with Maāt, the goddess of justice.


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