Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint Catherine was born into the aristocratic family of King Costus and Queen Sabinella, rulers of Alexandria in AD294.  The young Catherine was well versed in the arts, sciences and philosophy.  She was raised a pagan and in her teenage years, converted to Christianity by the teachings of a Syrian monk.  She received a vision which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her to Christ, in a mystical marriage.

During the latter years of Christian prosecution by the Romans, she publicly confessed her faith, being a Christian.  Catherine attempted to convince the Roman Emperor; Maxentius the error of his ways, by persecuting Christians who refused to worship idols.  According to historical accounts, some fifty Philosophers from the Roman world were brought face to face with her, to reason with her.  Catherine won debate after debate, and converted her adversaries to Christianity by her persuasive arguments, and they were put to death by the Roman Emperor.

Catherine was imprisoned, and hundreds are said to have visited her including the wife of Maxentius; the Empress.  All who converted to Christianity were martyred.

Emperor Maxentius had Catherine tortured, but she would not yield, he proposed marriage, and she refused saying; Jesus Christ be my spouse.

An outraged Maxentius condemned her to death on the spiked breaking wheel, but this instrument of torture was destroyed by her touch, finally he ordered that she be beheaded.

Catherine was executed, and the corpse of Saint Catherine, a 4th century Christian martyr was carried to the peak of Mount Sinai by angels.  Some three centuries later, monks brought it down and buried her in the church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The Library At Alexandria — allenrizzi

What is the worst disaster to befall mankind? It’s not a trick question; there have been many. My answer is the loss of the library at Alexandria, Egypt. Alexandria lies at the isthmus of the Nile River as it enters the Mediterranean Sea. It was founded by Alexander the Great as one of the many […]

The Library At Alexandria — allenrizzi

Alexander the Great…

Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great single-handedly changed the nature of the ancient world in little more than a decade.

Alexander was born in the northern Greek Kingdom of Macedonia in July 356BC.  His parents were Philip II of Macedon and his wife Olympias.  Alexander was educated by the renowned philosopher; Aristotle.  His father was assassinated in 336BC and Alexander inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom.  He quickly dealt with his enemies at home and reasserted Macedonian power within Greece.  He then set out to conquer the Persian Empire.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat.  His greatest victory was at the “Battle of Gaugamela” in what is now northern Iraq in 331 BC.  The young King of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt became the great king of Persia aged just twenty-five.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as King, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles founding over seventy cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered around two million square miles.  The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far to the east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce.  This was united by a common Greek language and culture, while the King himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his soldiers. 

Alexander the Great died of fever in Babylon in June 323BC.

TIMELINE:

356BC       Born in Pella, the capital of Macedonia and the son of King Phillip II.

336BC       Phillip II assassinated.  Alexander becomes King of Macedonia.

334BC       Quelled rebellions at home.  Alexander crossed the Hellespont into Asia, to make war on Darius III of Persia.

333BC       The Battle of Issus.  Darius crushed, and forced to flee, abandoning his family.

332BC       Having conquered Asia Minor (Turkey) and Syria, Alexander enters Egypt and founds the city of Alexandria.

331BC       Alexander is recognised as a God in Egypt, which peacefully submits to his rule.  Turning northwards he engages Darius again at the “Battle of Gaugamela”.  Darius is defeated and killed by his own Generals.  Babylon, Susa, and Persepolis, capital of the Persian Empire surrender to Alexander.

326BC       Alexander crosses the Indus river, and invades Punjab.

325BC       Alexander begins to return westward.

323BC       Alexander reaches Babylon, where he dies aged just 33 of fever.

Egypt – Cleopatra: Queen of the East

Cleopatra was the last ruling Queen of Egypt, of Macedonian descent, and daughter of Ptolemy XII.

In 51 BC, Ptolemy XII died leaving Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII whom she loathed as co-rulers of the Kingdom of Egypt.

With his father dead, the ambitious Ptolemy XIII, now co-ruler with his 17-year old sister, had no intention of sharing rule.  A feud started almost immediately between brother and sister until Ptolemy’s mercenary advisers, aided in expelling Cleopatra from the throne.

In the October of 48 BC, Cleopatra had raised an army, to take on her brother’s forces, led by Achillas…  The battle never took place, as Julius Caesar arrived in Alexandria.

Ptolemy as ruler of the kingdom, believed he was honouring Caesar, with the head of his enemy; Pompey as a gift.  Caesar was offended, he would never want this for Pompey.

Caesar was charmed by Cleopatra, and duly installed her on the throne much to her delight.  She became the true power of Egypt, supported and wooed by Caesar, and bore him a son; Caesarion.

Cleopatra, Caesar’s mistress was installed in Rome and remained there until Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC.

Cleopatra found she was no longer welcomed in Rome, following the death of her lover; Julius Caesar and returned home to Egypt.

In 41 BC Cleopatra met Marc Antony in Cilicia, and they became lovers.

Cleopatra’s status as Queen of Egypt, Queen of the East, grew and grew with Marc Antony at her side.

In Rome, Octavian (Augustus) anticipated the worst… civil war, and at the centre of it, Cleopatra and Marc Antony.  In 31 BC, his fears were realised, as conflict erupted for control of the Roman World.  Antony was financed by Cleopatra, but that was not enough support to get him victory at the “Battle of Actium.”

The Queen’s early retreat from the battle changed future events.  Cleopatra sailed to Alexandria to be joined by Antony.

Cleopatra attempted negotiation with Octavian, to salvage her kingdom and the life of her lover Marc Antony, but they came to nothing.

Cleopatra and Marc Antony committed suicide.  It was Cleopatra’s desires and ambitions which resulted in Antony falling under the spell of Cleopatra, believing anything was possible.  Augustus gained his supremacy in Rome, by the bad actions of Marc Antony.

With the death of Cleopatra, the historical family line of Ptolemies came to an end.  Egypt was seized, and joined the ranks of another Roman Province.

Egypt – Life After Death: Canopic Jars

Ancient Egyptian’s used Canopic Jars carved from limestone or pottery, during the ritual of mummification, and their purpose was to house the internal organs of their pharaohs.

The jars had shaped stoppers of the head of one of the minor funerary deities known as the Four Sons of HORUS.

The four deities had to protect the internal organs of the deceased; “stomach –intestines-lung-liver” as his or her organs were required in order to be reborn in the Afterlife. These jars were usually grouped in fours and placed in a canopic chest, which in turn is placed within the  sarcophagus.

Canopic jars of the Old Kingdom (2686-2181 BC approx) are almost never inscribed, and have a plain lid. In the Middle Kingdom (2025-1700 BC approx), canopic jars are often inscribed, and the lids are often human headed. In the Nineteenth Dynasty and later each of the four lids takes the form of a different head – falcon, human, jackal and baboon (denoting the four children of Horus).

Alexandria: The Serapaeum

Under Ptolemy I, the Egyptian cult of Osiris – Apis at Memphis was moved to the city of Alexandria, where the god was called Serapis.  He took the form of a Greek God, which embraced both Greek and Egyptian deities: he was not only Osiris – Apis, but also Zeus, Dionysus, Hades and Asklepios.

Serapis was the “God of the Underworld,” a healing god, one of fertility and protector to sailors.  Depicted as a mature man bearing a beard and curly hair.  Upon his head, carried a basket overflowing with good things.

A temple… the Serapaeum was constructed in his honour.

Mythology ~ Persephone (and Hades)

Lotus Laura

Persephone is an ancient Greek goddess — who’s name is pronounced like purr-seff-uh-nee (rhymes with Stephanie.)

The energy surrounding Persephone is very dark, gothic, and almost gloomy. Yet ironically, she is associated with springtime and fertility. Representing death and rebirth, Persephone draws many parallels to the goddesses Isis and Kali.

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Alongside, she is the wife of the Greek god Hades (or “Pluto” in Roman.) The story of how Persephone and Hades united is a bit ~controversial.~

Persephone & Hades

Hades is known as the king of the underworld, identical to the Egyptian god Osiris (husband of Isis.) Hades rarely leaves the underworld, assuring that his subjects do not escape. He takes his responsibility as guardian very seriously.

Hades has a somewhat complex personality — as he may come across as intimidating, powerful, and demanding on…

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Ancient Egypt Legend: Osiris – Isis – Set

Osiris

The River Nile played its part in the creation of Egypt, a process of life which started some five million years ago, when the river began flowing into Egypt.  Permanent dwellings rose along the river banks around 6,000 BC and this marked the beginning of the Egyptian Civilization.

The Nile of Ancient Egypt was seen as the source of all life, from which evolved the myth of Osiris, Isis and Set. One of these tales tell of the betrayal and murder of the God Osiris, by his brother-god; Set.

Set was jealous of the power which Osiris held, and offered him an elaborate sarcophagus, tricking him to lay down in it to see whom it fitted best; Osiris or Set.  Once Osiris had laid down, Set slammed shut the lid and threw the sarcophagus containing the body of Osiris into the River Nile.

Isis the wife of Osiris sought her husband’s body in order to give it a proper burial.  The coffin had floated down the Nile until it lodged itself in a tree at Byblos, and the tree grew encasing the body.  The King of Byblos took a liking to the tree and had it erected as a pillar in his court.  Isis, arrived in Byblos and recognised her husband’s coffin within the tree, and after endearing herself with the King, she was granted her request, the pillar styled tree containing her husband’s coffin and corpse.

Isis bought her dead husband’s coffin and corpse back to Egypt, with the aim of returning him to life.  With Osiris back in Egypt, she left his body in the care of her sister Nepthys, she who would keep it guard over it from Set.

Set heard that Isis had found the body of Osiris, and returned him to Egypt, to bring him back to life.  Set came upon Nepthys and forced her to reveal the whereabouts of the body.  Upon finding it he hacked the body into many pieces, and scattered them through Egypt.  A tearful Nepthys confessed to Isis what had happened, and promised to assist in finding what Set had done with the body.

Isia and Nepthys sought out the remains of Isis and wherever a part of him was discovered, they buried it according to proper rituals of the time, and erected a shrine.  That explains why many tombs existed throughout Ancient Egypt, and was also said to have established the nomes, the thirty-six territorial divisions of Ancient Egypt.

They managed to find and bury every part of him, except for his penis, which Set had tossed into the Nile and was consumed by a crocodile.  It is for this reason the crocodile came to be associated with the god of fertility; Sobek.

Osiris was incomplete, and as such could not return to life and so became the Lord of the Afterlife and Judge of the Dead.  The Nile had received the penis of Osiris, and was made fertile, giving life to the people of the land.

Horus, son of Osiris avenged his father by defeating Set and casting him from this land, thus restoring balance and order in the region.  From then on Horus and Isis ruled the land in harmony.

OSIRIS: 

Supreme god of the Underworld and the Dead.  First born of Geb and Nut.  Murdered by his jealous brother Set.  Counterpart to the sun-god below ground and manifestation of pharaoh after death.  He brought civilization to Egypt, and taught the people how to cultivate crops – hence also his manifestation as a grain god, as well as his more usual funerary and mortuary incarnations.

ISIS:

Great mother goddess of Egypt, wife to Osiris, mother of Horus.  Isis was an idealized woman and mother: loving, faithful and resourceful, the possessor of magical powers.  Her cult originated in Perehbet and spread throughout all Egypt.  She was displayed in many attitudes; suckling Horus the child, enthroned next to Osiris and protecting both her husband and the souls of the dead with her winged arms.

SET: 

God of chaos and disorder, thunder and storm, violence and the desert.  Set was the second son of Geb and Nut, who tore himself out of his mother.  He was jealous of his brother Osiris and killed him, usurping the throne until he was finally ousted in favour of Horus.  He was the personification of all that was evil.

Each month Set attacked and consumed the moon, the hiding place of Osiris and preyed on the souls of the deceased.  Set was adopted by the Hyksos invaders who settled in the Delta.  After their expulsion, Set’s reputation took a nose dive as his statues were destroyed and he took on the name Anathema.  When he lost out to Horus, he went to live with the sun-god becoming his weather controller.  He travelled with Re in his solar boat, standing in the prow speared Apophis when he attacked.  His two main centres of worship were Ombos and Kus.

Ibis (Draw a Bird Day) — method two madness

ibisgraceful, silentkeeper and creatormeasuring magic by the moonThothbird For Colleen’s #TankaTuesday poet’s choice and for Draw a Bird Day, a didactic cinquian. The Egyptian god Thoth was often represented as an ibis, or an ibis-headed man. Like the sacred ibis bird, he was associated with knowledge, wisdom and the moon, but also much more. Scribe […]

Ibis (Draw a Bird Day) — method two madness

Ancient Egyptian Gods

AMON:              
Originally a god of reproductive forces, later as Amon-Ra, the King of the gods and supreme creator.

ANUMIB:            
God of the dead and weigher of souls.

ATEN:                 
Originally an aspect of Ra, and a deity which Akhenaton proclaimed as the supreme and only Gog, in a short lived move towards monotheism.

BAST:                  
Goddess identified with the cat, and the daughter of Ra.

HATHOR:           
Goddess of the sky and daughter of Ra.   

IMHOTEP:           
Patron of scribes and craftsmen, and of wisdom and medicine.  In reality he was the architect of the Pyramid of Zoser, and was later defied and held to be the son of Ptah.

ISIS:                     
Goddess of magic and sorcery, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus.

MAAT:                
Goddess of law, truth and justice, daughter of Ra.

MUT:                   
Wife of Amon, queen of all the gods and mother of all living things.

NUT:                    
Goddess of the sky.

OSIRIS:               
God of the dead, husband of Isis and son of Horus.

PTAH:                 
Supreme god of creation, lord of truth, and patron of craftsmen.

RE:                      
The personification of the sun and the god of creation.

SEKHMET:           
Goddess of war and strife, the daughter of Ra and wife of Ptah.

SETH:                   
God of chaos and evil.

THOTH:               
God of the moon.