Il culto di Iside era misterico, cioè veniva celebrato da fedeli iniziati ai suoi misteri, in segreto.

Questo culto ebbe gran successo, perchè rispondeva alle esigenze spirituali che non davano le religioni ufficiali. Si diffuse maggiormente nel bacino del Mediterraneo in particolare a Roma, dove soventemente era visto con sospetto e a partire dal 64 a.C. fu represso con regolarità.

Tuttavia Iside aveva talmente tanti seguaci che lo stato non riuscì a debellarne il culto.

Nel 48 a.C. fu ordinata la demolizione del suo tempio, costruito dopo la morte di Cesare, ma nessuno volle eseguire l’ordine e il console fu costretto ad abbattere personalmente la porta con un’ascia.

Alcuni decenni dopo, sotto Tiberio, si verificò lo scandalo di Decio Mundo. Con l’aiuto della liberta Ide e con la complicità dei sacerdoti di Iside, Decio Mundo aveva sedotto con l’inganno la nobile Paolina.

Il sacerdote di Iside aveva detto a Paolina che il dio Anubi voleva unirsi con lei. Paolina, con il consenso del marito, si recò al tempio. Invece di trascorrere la notte con un dio, la trascorse con Decio Mundo. Scoperto l’inganno aveva incitato il marito a vendicarla, il quale denunciò subito il fatto al Senato. I sacerdoti erano stati cacciati, secondo alcuni crocefissi, il tempio distrutto e le statue della dea gettate nel Tevere.

La vicenda di Paolina, ovviamente era un ottimo pretesto per poter reprimere un culto considerato dalle autorità come un potenziale pericolo sociale.

Il culto di Iside, oltre ai riti quotidiani che prevedevano un’invocazione mattutina al sole e un sacrificio pomeridiano in cui veniva adorata l’acqua sacra del Nilo, veniva celebrato durante due feste:
la prima detta “la navigazione di Iside” (Nivigium Isidis). Veniva celebrata il 5 marzo, giorno importante per la navigazione e quindi per i marinai, di cui Iside era la patrona. La seconda “gli Isia”, erano invece celebrati dal 13 al 16 novembre, e commemoravano il ritrovamento del corpo di Osiride

Misteri e celebrazioni nell’antico Egitto
I misteri Eleusini

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