Dionysus-Osiris, alternatively Osiris-Dionysus, is a deity arising from the syncretism of the Egyptian god Osiris and the Greek god Dionysus. The two deities had been identified with each other as early as the 5th century BC, as recounted in the Histories of Herodotus:[1]

For no gods are worshipped by all Egyptians in common except Isis and Osiris, who they say is Dionysus; these are worshipped by all alike. [...] Osiris is, in the Greek language, Dionysus.

Other syncretic deities arose from these Egyptian-Greek conflations, including Serapis and Hermanubis.

Dionysus-Osiris was particularly popular in Ptolemaic Egypt, as the Ptolemies claimed descent from Dionysus, and as pharaohs claimed the lineage of Osiris.[2] This association was most notable during a deification ceremony where Mark Antony became Dionysus-Osiris, alongside Cleopatra as Isis-Aphrodite.[3]

In the controversial book The Jesus Mysteries, Osiris-Dionysus is claimed to be the basis of Jesus as a syncretic dying-and-rising god, with early Christianity beginning as a Greco-Roman mystery.[4] The book and its "Jesus Mysteries thesis" have not been accepted by mainstream scholarship, with Bart Ehrman stating that the work is unscholarly.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Herodotus. Histories. George Rawlinson Translation. Book 2.
  2. ^ Kampakoglou, Alexandros v (2016). Danaus βουγενής: Greco-Egyptian Mythology and Ptolemaic Kingship. Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. pp. 119–122.
  3. ^ Scott, Kenneth (1929). Octavian's Propaganda and Antony's De Sua Ebrietate (24th ed.). Classical Philology. pp. 133–141.
  4. ^ Maurice Casey Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? T&T Clark 2014 FREKE, N.T. and GANDY, L.P. p.17
  5. ^ Ehrman, Bart D. (2012). Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. New York City, New York: HarperCollins. pp. 25–30. ISBN 978-0-06-220644-2.