Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Navigium Isis, or, Isidis Navigatum, ancient Egypt

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
A festival called 'the ship of Isis' (Isidis Navigium), in recognition of that Egyptian goddess (a life-death-rebirth deity), being the patron of navigation and inventor of sail. The festival straddled both the Egyptian and Roman civilizations and was still extant at the time of the 6th Century writer, John of Lydia (Johannes Lydus; 490 - c. 565), who tells us it was also called ploiaphesia, in honour of "ancient Isis or the Moon" (De Mensibus, or On Months, 4,45).

A procession was held, the vanguard of which was composed of a number of people in fancy dress. Then walked beautifully attired women crowned with flowers, who scattered flowers along the road while others sprinkled the streets with perfume. Then came a party of women with ivory combs in their hands who acted as if they were combing the goddess's hair. Following them were pipers, flutists and choirboys, and men who cried "Make way for the goddess!" ...

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