Isaic Worship in the Ancient Mediterranean: The Implications of Language and Cultural Barriers on Religious Transmission

Open Access
Kincaid, Anna
Area of Honors:
Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Donald B Redford, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mary Lou Z Munn, Honors Advisor
  • Isis
  • Egypt
  • Ancient Mediterranean
  • Syncretism
  • Religion
  • Philae
  • Isidorus
Religious syncretism across the boarders of nations begs the question of causation and origins. In the case of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis, her cult adapted to be relevant in an increasingly globalized Mediterranean through either language or cultural necessities, be it a conscious alteration or not. The shift of language from the Egyptian hymns to Isis at Philae and the Greek hymns of Isidorus in the Fayum are a central part to the argument of causation. Through analyzing the hymns, language differences and inaccurate translations become less and less of a driving force of her change. The barriers between the Oriental and Near Eastern religion of the Egyptians and the Graeco-Roman World lead to the metamorphosis of Isis’ portrayal allowing her to endure through the centuries.