Final Essay CLAA05H3F.docx

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Classical Studies
Douglas Frayne

Final Essay CLAA05H3F Essay Title: Disgrace & Deception Student Name: Edwina Huang Student Number: 998812799 Date: Wednesday November 30, 2011 “Love is stronger than death even though it can‟t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can‟t separate people from love. It can‟t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.” However, people cannot come back from the dead, but this is not written in stone for a dying god. A dying god is someone who has lived on Earth once as a human and has been reborn into a god, a god of the underworld. There are many ancient myths depicting different views of different dying gods and yet, Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia‟s dying gods hold the most similarities between each other. However many similarities there may be, there are always differences. These two regions have completely diverse languages, they do not come close to resembling each other and yet their dying gods are still so alike. Osiris, the dying god of Ancient Egypt, corresponds to Dumuzi, the dying god of Mesopotamia. These two gods, Osiris and Dumuzi, were betrayed by someone who they thought was close to them. They also ended up dying in a similar fashion; both their bodies were torn into pieces. Regardless of these incidences, Osiris and Dumuzi differ when it comes to the number of times they were brought back into the world of the living. Osiris only returns to the world of the living once, whereas Dumuzi returns from the underworld every six months. These two myths appear to be the most parallel out of all the variations of dying gods and their myths. In the myth of Osiris, “[he] was the first child of Nut and Geb, and therefore the brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis.” He was married to his sister Isis and he also inherited the title of „King of Egypt‟ because he was the first-born child of Nut and Geb. 1 (accessed 24 Nov. 2011) 2 (accessed 27 Nov. 2011) He was also known to be the king who civilized Egypt. After civilizing Egypt, Osiris decided to leave to civilize other regions. His brother, Seth, was planning to take his throne and his wife, Isis, in the duration he was away. When Osiris returned to his kingdom “Seth and 72 conspirators murdered him. They then threw the coffin in which 3 he was murdered into the Nile, with his divine body still inside.” Through Osiris‟s myth, Seth demonstrated that he was not very fond of his brother. In fact, he envied his brother and because of his jealousy he was driven into murdering Osiris. Usually when the words „siblings‟ and „conflict‟ are pondered together, people come to think of sibling rivalry, but the thoughts do not come close to murdering a sibling. When Seth betrays Osiris, even though they might not have been close to begin with, the title that they are siblings are existent and the betrayal is seen as a taboo. The title itself creates a powerful image with invisible sibling rules that must not be broken, but Seth crossed the line and betrayed his brother. It is frowned upon just as much as Dumuzi‟s betrayal. When Dumuzi is compared to Osiris, it is shown that he was also betrayed, but not by a sibling. In his case, his lover, Inanna, betrayed him. In Dumuzi‟s myth it is known that Inanna, his wife and lover, went to the 4 underworld “in order to extend her power there.” It is common knowledge that anyone 3 (accessed 27 Nov. 2011) 4 muzi+myth&source=bl&ots=GDpF1VqI5W&sig=NI0ER6dX7P8b15IoFykHALItI8Q& hl=en&ei=8P_TTs2oN4nX0QGiibQY&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&v ed=0CDoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=dumuzi%20myth&f=false (accessed 28 Nov. 2011) who ventures into the underworld cannot return. However, Inanna made a deal with her sister, Ereshkigal, the ruler of the underworld and if she were to return to the world of the living she would have to be replaced by a living soul. Dumuzi was sent to fill her position there because “the goddess, offended by her husband's unfeeling behavior toward her, decreed that he be carried off to the netherworld for six months of each year-hence the 5 barren, sterile months of the hot summer.” Therefore, it is depicted in Dumuzi‟s myth that his wife betrayed him just as Osiris‟s brother betrayed him. Both gods were betrayed even if the nature of the betrayal was not completely the same; it did have the same end result. The two gods ended up dying because of the hate that Seth and Inanna had for Osiris and Dumuzi respectively. This is a big similarity between Osiris and Dumuzi: the betrayal of someone who was thought to be close to them. Another similarity that occurred in Osiris and Dumuzi‟s myth is that the cause of their deaths is parallel. Osiris was murdered twice by his brother, Seth. The way that Osiris was killed the first time was through being thrown into a coffin and drowning to death because the coffin was pushed into the Nile River. After Seth murdered Osiris the first time and threw him and his coffin into the river, Isis went in search of his body. But 5 (accessed 28 Nov. 2011) when Seth found out, “he stole the body of Osiris and tore it into [fourteen] pieces, scattering them throughout Egypt.” 6 Dumuzi‟s myth concerning how he was murdered is similar to Osiris‟s death because he too was torn into pieces. In his myth, Inanna sent demons after Dumuzi because she was not pleased with his reaction to her death. The demons were sent after Dumuzi to bring him to the underworld as a replacement for Inanna. “[Eventually Dumuzi was captured by the demons.] He was tortured and taken to the underworld.” 7 When the demons tortured Dumuzi, they ripped him to pieces and he was reassembled in the underworld. This is very similar to the way Osiris was murde
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