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Nephthys and Seth: Anatomy of a Mythical Marriage

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Abstract:

In many Egyptological works, it is taken for granted that the deities Seth and Nephthys were married. Their relationship has been interpreted as a parallel, and sometimes a dark mirror, of that between their sister and brother, Isis and Osiris. This conclusion is largely drawn from Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride, which spells out these relationships. Some have projected Plutarch’s story backwards, seeing evidence for the marriage as early as the Pyramid Texts. However, there is very little in original Egyptian sources which specifically links Seth and Nephthys. This evidence is limited geographically and chronologically, much of it from the New Kingdom in Thebes, and the Roman period in the western oases.
The later evidence especially suggests that while Nephthys’s marriage to Seth was a part of Egyptian mythology, it was not a part of the myth of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. She was not paired with Seth the villain, but with Seth’s other aspect, the benevolent figure who was the killer of Apophis. This was the aspect of Seth worshiped in the western oases during the Roman period, where he is depicted with Nephthys as co-ruler. It is likely that this was the inspiration for the paintings of Nephthys and Antaios, found in Qaw el-Kebir. This later mythology was probably conflated with the Osiris myth by Plutarch’s time.
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Name: The 58th Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt
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http://www.arce.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p176897_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Levai, Jessica. "Nephthys and Seth: Anatomy of a Mythical Marriage" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The 58th Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, Wyndham Toledo Hotel, Toledo, Ohio, Apr 20, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p176897_index.html>

APA Citation:

Levai, J. , 2007-04-20 "Nephthys and Seth: Anatomy of a Mythical Marriage" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The 58th Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, Wyndham Toledo Hotel, Toledo, Ohio <Not Available>. 2013-12-16 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p176897_index.html

Publication Type: Abstract Proposal
Abstract: In many Egyptological works, it is taken for granted that the deities Seth and Nephthys were married. Their relationship has been interpreted as a parallel, and sometimes a dark mirror, of that between their sister and brother, Isis and Osiris. This conclusion is largely drawn from Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride, which spells out these relationships. Some have projected Plutarch’s story backwards, seeing evidence for the marriage as early as the Pyramid Texts. However, there is very little in original Egyptian sources which specifically links Seth and Nephthys. This evidence is limited geographically and chronologically, much of it from the New Kingdom in Thebes, and the Roman period in the western oases.
The later evidence especially suggests that while Nephthys’s marriage to Seth was a part of Egyptian mythology, it was not a part of the myth of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. She was not paired with Seth the villain, but with Seth’s other aspect, the benevolent figure who was the killer of Apophis. This was the aspect of Seth worshiped in the western oases during the Roman period, where he is depicted with Nephthys as co-ruler. It is likely that this was the inspiration for the paintings of Nephthys and Antaios, found in Qaw el-Kebir. This later mythology was probably conflated with the Osiris myth by Plutarch’s time.

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