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The name Philae comes from the ancient Egyptian word Pilak, which means “the remote place.” Philae was the southernmost place in Egypt, and the last outpost of the 4000 year-old ancient Egyptian religion. During the Greco-Roman period, Philae was a sacred island and an important cult center dedicated to Isis. Isis, her husband Osiris, and their son Horus, are the three most important figures in ancient Egyptian mythology. Their story is like one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. A small argument between Osiris and his brother Set grew into a large battle between the two brothers. Set killed Osiris, then cut the body of Osiris into many pieces and scattered them around Egypt. Isis, ever the dedicated wife, searched everywhere in Egypt until she found all the pieces of her husband’s body. With her magical powers she brings Osiris back to life, and Isis gives birth to Horus. When Horus grew up and became a man, he avenged his father and killed Set. According to the legend, Philae is the place where Isis found the heart of Osiris, and she buried it on a nearby island.

Isis was an important figure in the ancient world because she was the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to their son Horus. She was known as a healer, a giver of life, and a protector of kings. Her legend was not only popular in the time of the ancient Egyptians. Her cult was spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire, and later there was even a temple dedicated to her in London.

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