Season: 1-6, Episodes: All, Faction: N/A
The Island is the geographic location of the LOST castaways, covering a period of at least 2000 years. From a literary perspective, the writers of LOST project the Island as both a location and an entity with its own characteristics and influence.
The Island has healing powers and cured John Locke of his paralysis and Rose of her cancer. It also functions as a “cork” that suppresses a dangerous force from escaping. At the heart of the Island is a bright light, the source of “life, death (and) rebirth” that needs to be protected. The current protector is Hugo Reyes. The protector also brings others to the island for various purposes, such as becoming the the new protector of the island.
The Island was inhabited by Egyptians and possibly Sumerians and Southeast Asians in the distant past, and also was home to a village of Latin-speaking people who were shipwrecked there in the early first millennium. The Island periodically moves its physical location. The Island was in the South Pacific Ocean in 2004 and appears to have been in the Mediterranean Sea at some point in its history. Its current location is unknown.
History (Early Inhabitants)
Early civilizations on the Island built a number of structures, including several that remain as ruins. Sometime after Jacob’s mother’s death, people build a cork at the Heart of the Island. (DVD commentary) This cork featured both Egyptian hieroglyphics and older Mesopotamian cuneiform writing, which ancient Iraqi civilizations used thousands of years ago. These island inhabitants evidently corked the source following the Man in Black’s transformation. (DVD commentary)
Evidence suggests an early Egyptian presence on the Island. A Statue of Taweret stood until the mid 19th century. Hieroglyphs remain on many ancient structures, including the cork, the Temple, the Tunnels, the Lighthouse, and Ben’s secret room. The Egyptians encountered the Monster in some incarnation: they engraved a mural depicting it with Anubis. It’s possible that they also discovered and completed the frozen wheel he built. At an unknown time, they seem to have left the Island; Jacob’s tapestry, which features Egyptian iconography, depicts sailboats departing from the Island with the Statue of Taweret visible on the shore. They left a legacy to later groups. Besides Jacob’s tapestry, the DHARMA Initiative used hieroglyphs to indicate a system failure on the Countdown timer in the Swan and taught students about hieroglyphs in the classroom.
Classical Roman Times
The Island’s first known protector lived on the Island for an unknown number of years in a cave.
In classical Roman times, a ship crashed near the Island and its passengers, likely Romans, built a village. One passenger, Claudia, gave birth to two sons and the protector killed Claudia and adopted them. Jacob, one of the two sons, became the next Island protector. The Man in Black transformed into the smoke monster. Both lived on the Island for thousands of years, long after their adoptive mother exterminated Claudia’s people. (“Across the Sea”)
Jacob drew various travellers to the Island in the following years. By 1867, all had died. He then drew the Black Rock, which contained Magnus Hanso, 40 crew-members and a number of slaves, including Richard Alpert. All died but Richard, who joined Jacob. Jacob continued to draw people, and they formed a society later known as the Others.
1950’s Army Presence
The Island was one of several in the South Pacific that the United States Army designated for nuclear tests. Before tests began though, the Hostiles, under Richard Alpert, isolated and killed the army’s initial scouting party of eighteen soldiers. Before this defeat, the scouting party did manage to transport a hydrogen bomb, nicknamed “Jughead”, to the Island. Daniel Faraday suggested the Others encased the bomb in concrete and bury it. They stored it unsealed in a subterranean chamber, connected with a tunnel system. (“Jughead”) (“Follow the Leader”)
1970’s (The DHARMA Initiative)
A new and large period of human activity began in the early 1970s under the leadership of the DHARMA Initiative, who found the Island via their station in Los Angeles, the Lamp Post. They constructed buildings all over the Island, including a series of isolated science stations and a community-style living facility. They dug tunnels, built roads and created a communications network.
1990’s (The DHARMA Initiative)
During this time, Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking led the Others. Benjamin Linus, a former DHARMA employee, helped them kill all members of the DHARMA Initiative using their own poison gas. Later, Charles was banished from the Island for poor conduct and Ben became the leader of the Others.
1980’s (Island Castaways)
Radio signals from the Island attracted a French science team to the Island in 1988. While much of the team survived the shipwreck, the smoke monster killed several of them and Danielle Rousseau killed the rest, believing them infected with a sickness. She lived on the Island till her 2004 death.
2000’s (Island Castaways)
In 2001, a storm stranded Desmond Hume on the Island. The last DHARMA Initiative member recruited him to work in the Swan. Henry Gale’s balloon crashed on the Island sometime around July 2004 and a drug smugglers’ plane crashed on the Island sometime between the late 1990s and early 2000s.
On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the Island. At least 70 passengers survived the crash, and they met the Island’s other inhabitants, including Desmond, Rousseau and the Others. A few months later, the Swan imploded, revealing the Island to the outside world. Widmore then sent armed mercenaries to the Island, and Ben moved the Island through space and time.
Three years later, Ajira Flight 316 landed on Hydra Island. The Man in Black managed to kill Jacob, but the survivors’ leader, Jack, defeated him soon after in the Battle for the Island when the cork on the Island’s source was removed, rendering him mortal. Jack killed the Man in Black by kicking him off the Island’s cliff and sacrificed himself to save the Island. Another survivor, Hurley, became the Island’s new protector with Ben Linus as his new second in command. He changed the rules that governed it, planning to let people leave freely and only come if they chose to.
Nature and Purpose
According to Jacob, the Island acts as a cork, holding back a force that would destroy the world if released. When the Man in Black made contact with the site of this suppression, the Heart of the Island, he transformed into a smoke monster that plagued the Island for thousands of years. A protector guards the Heart of the Island, the source of life, death and rebirth. Despite the Heart, or possibly because of it, not all who die on the Island move on – some remain, whispering. Other apparitions of unknown origin also appear, often confronting people with images from their past.
The Heart of the Island manifests itself as electromagnetism concentrated in specific pockets. The Man in Black’s people dug wells at these sites, and the Dharma Initiative built stations, including the Orchid and the Swan. Since at least 1977, when scientists penetrated a pocket, this energy has healed sickness, including cancer, paralysis, brain damage and male infertility, but it causes pregnant women to reject embryos, killing both mother and fetus. The electromagnetism also affects navigation, hiding the Island from the outside world, drawing back those who leave the Island, moving the Island and even transporting travelers through time.
(Click Map for larger view)
Decoded Family Members & Associated Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
(Maat, Ma’at, Maât; note that there are two vowel sounds in the name) The personification of the multivalent Egyptian concept of ma’et, that is, justice, truth and order, Ma’et is depicted as as a woman wearing a tall ostrich feather (or sometimes two) on her head, frequently with wings extending along her arms and usually carrying the ankh, sign of life.
Ma’et expresses a broad range of concepts: justice in an ethical, social or legal sense, but also the balance and harmony of natural systems or of anything well-crafted; thus what is ma’et is both beautiful and right. Ma’et is also truth in a sense encompassing both the real or actual and the ideal or what should be. Hence the common phrase ma’e hru, ‘true of voice’ or ‘justified’, is appended to the names of deceased persons to express their transposition to a perfected state of existence. In temple images, the pharaoh is frequently depicted offering a tiny seated figure of Ma’et to the Gods in exactly the same gesture with which he offers food or any other item, for the Gods are said to live on ma’et. The royal presentation of Ma’et can be thought of as encompassing all other offerings, as an expression of the king’s legitimacy and his intention to be a just ruler, for just governance places human society in its correct relationship to the Gods and the natural world. The ‘Instruction of Kagemni’ urges one to “do ma’et for the king, for ma’et is what the king loves.” Viziers wore a Ma’et pendant, and priests of Ma’et seem to have been involved in the judicial workings of the government. Ma’et is literally the basis on which the Gods stand, insofar as statues of the Gods stand upon a plinth which has the shape of the hieroglyph that forms the sound ma’e.
As a Goddess, Ma’et is especially closely associated with Re, for as the demiurge of the cosmos it is Re who primarily establishes ma’et for all things. Thus Ma’et is said to “stand behind Re,” (PT utterance 586) or to be the ‘daughter of Re’, not in a mythical sense, but in the sense that the state of ma’et is that of being in harmony with the order of the cosmos, and is thus the ultimate result of the efforts of the demiurge, the inherent goodness of the Gods being manifested in the goodness of the cosmic order. In CT spell 80, Ma’et is said to be the daughter of Atum in a manner which seems again to be more conceptual than mythical, for she is said to be the air and food of her father and seems to be parallel with, rather than added to, his children Shu and Tefnut. It is often said that ma’et is the food upon which the Gods live. Hence in BD spell 65, a spell for “going forth by day and overcoming the enemy,” the deceased says to the Gods, “if thou dost not let me go forth against that enemy of mine and triumph over him in the Council of the great God in the presence of the great Ennead, then Hapy [God of the Nile’s annual flood] shall ascend to the sky to live on ma’et, and verily Re shall descend into the water to live on fish.” The state of injustice and disorder which would exist if the deceased were not allowed to prevail over his/her enemy is here symbolized by the inversion of the natural order, but there is more than a simple inversion here, since fish are associated with the corpse (the Egyptian word for corpse, khat, incorporates an Oxyrhynchus fish) and with those helpless ones among the deceased whose fate is to be trapped in the nets of the netherworld fishermen (as in CT spells 473-481). Injustice for the deceased, therefore, would literally mean that the Gods, rather than ‘living on’ justice, ‘live on’ the helplessness of mortal souls, which is what the spell affirms is not the case.
For reasons which are not evident, Egyptian religious texts frequently refer to ‘the Two Ma’ety.’ Thus in PT utterance 260, the king affirms that “the Two Truths have commanded that the thrones of Geb shall revert to me,” and the famous scene of the ‘weighing of the heart’, that is, the judgment of the deceased in BD spell 125, takes place in the ‘Hall of the Two Truths,’ or Ma’ety, and Ma’et actually appears doubled in illustrations of this chapter. Depictions in which Ma’et wears two feathers rather than her usual one may also illustrate this idea. In the pivotal scene where the heart of the deceased is weighed against ma’et the Goddess is singular, squatting in one pan of the scale while the heart rests in the other.
The image of weighing implies that there should be a substantive difference between exceeding ma’et and falling short of it, being over- and under-weight, so to speak, but we know of no such distinction. Nor are the long series of affirmations and denials presented in BD spell 125 to be regarded as a moral code, but rather as an extended formula for purifying the heart; hence the introduction to the spell states that its purpose is “cutting N. off from all the forbidden things he has done, and seeing the faces of all the Gods.” A better indication of what it means to be in the state of ma’et is to be found in the genre of didactic or ‘wisdom’ literature, the various ‘instruction’ texts bearing the names of legendary sages such as Ptahhotep, Amenemope or Ankhsheshonq. Another important source of information about the idea of ma’et is autobiographical funerary inscriptions. In these autobiographies, it is conventional for the deceased to affirm that he has done and spoken ma’et, and then to specify what the doing and speaking of ma’et is, for instance (all from Lichtheim 1992): “I never did what was hurtful to people, I never let a man spend the night angry with me about something,” (9); “I used to tell the king what serves people, I never told an evil thing against people to the majesty of my lord,” (10); “I have made this tomb from my rightful means, and never took the property of anyone. All persons who worked at it for me, they worked praising God for me greatly for it. I never did anything by force against anyone. As the God loves a true thing, I am one honored by the king,” (10-11); “I judged two parties so as to content them, I saved the weak from one stronger than he as best I could,” (14); “Having done what people love and Gods praise … I answered evil with good … in order to endure on earth and attain reveredness,” (21); “I am one who spoke the good, repeated the good, and settled matters for the best. I am the beloved of his father, the praised of his mother, loved by his siblings, kind to his kindred,” (22). To do ma’et meant specific things in specific professions; thus a physician affirms “I have done rightness in my conduct, when I probed the heart and assessed a payer according to his wealth” (30-31), while a fighter states that he has done ma’et by having “rescued the weak from the strong … I marshaled the town’s young men in order to increase its forces … I saved my town on the day of plunder … I was its wall on the day of its combat,” (27-28). In a conventional formula, the deceased affirms “I have given bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked,” but also, more metaphorically, “I landed one who was stranded … I made a boat for the boatless,” to which should be compared this appeal to the netherworld ferryman in PT utterance 517: “O you who ferry over the righteous boatless as the ferryman of the Field of Reeds, I am deemed righteous in the sky and on earth, I am deemed righteous in this Island of Earth to which I have swum and arrived, which is between the thighs of Nut.” It is sometimes explained that one does the right thing “so as to raise up Ma’et to the great God, the lord of sky,” (20). Through ethical conduct and the fulfillment of their potential, mortals play a cosmogonic role; thus in PT utterance 249, the deceased king, in the form of Nefertum, “the lotus-bloom which is at the nose of Re,” proclaims “I have come into the Island of Fire,” the place where light is born and reborn in the cosmos and from which the divine flame projects, “I have set Right [ma’et] in it in the place of Wrong.”
Other Names: Ma’at
Patron of: truth, law and universal order.
Description: Maat was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title “Beloved of Maat,” emphasizing their focus on justice and truth.
At any event in which something would be judged, Maat was said to be present, and her name would be invoked so that the judge involved would rule correctly and impartially. In the underworld, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis against Maat’s feather. If the heart was heavy with wicked deeds, it would outweigh the feather, and the soul would be fed to Ammit. But if the scales were balanced, indicating that the deceased was a just and honorable person in life, he would be welcomed by Osiris into the Blessed Land. Maat’s presence in all worlds was universal, and all the gods deferred to her.
Worship: Worshipped and revered widely throughout all of Egypt. Even the gods are shown praising Maat.
Maat, Ma’at, Maāt or Mayet, thought to have been pronounced *[muʔ.ʕat], was the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation.
The earliest surviving records indicating Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, is recorded during the Old Kingdom in pyramid texts (ca. 2780-2250 BCE).
Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same. After the rise of Ra they were depicted together in the Solar Barque. As Thoth has been seen to represent the Logos of Plato, so Maat has been viewed as an expression of Divine Wisdom.
After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.
Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.
Ma’at as a principle
Maat as a principle was formed to meet the complex needs of the emergent Egyptian state that embraced diverse peoples with conflicting interests. The development of such rules sought to avert chaos and it became the basis of Egyptian law. From an early period the King would describe himself as the “Lord of Maat” who decreed with his mouth the Maat he conceived in his heart.
The significance of Maat developed to the point that it embraced all aspects of existence, including the basic equilibrium of the universe, the relationship between constituent parts, the cycle of the seasons, heavenly movements, religious observations and fair dealings, honesty and truthfulness in social interactions.
The Ancient Egyptians had a deep conviction of an underlying holiness and unity within the universe. Cosmic harmony was achieved by correct public and ritual life. Any disturbance in cosmic harmony could have consequences for the individual as well as the state. An impious King could bring about famine or blasphemy blindness to an individual. In opposition to the right order expressed in the concept of Maat is the concept of Isfet: chaos, lies and violence.
In addition to the importance of the Maat, several other principles within Ancient Egyptian law were essential, including an adherence to tradition as opposed to change, the importance of rhetorical skill, and the significance of achieving impartiality, and social justice. In one Middle Kingdom (2062 to c. 1664 BCE) text the Creator declares “I made every man like his fellow”. Maat called the rich to help the less fortunate rather than exploit them, echoed in tomb declarations: “I have given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked” and “I was a husband to the widow and father to the orphan”.
To the Egyptian mind, Maat bound all things together in an indestructible unity: the universe, the natural world, the state, and the individual were all seen as parts of the wider order generated by Maat.
The underlying concepts of Taoism and Confucianism resemble Maat at times. Many of these concepts were codified into laws, and many of the concepts often were discussed by ancient Egyptian philosophers and officials who referred to the spiritual text known as the Book of the Dead.
Ma’at and the Law
There is little surviving literature that describes the practice of ancient Egyptian law. Maat was the spirit in which justice was applied rather than a detailed legalistic exposition of rules as in Jewish law. Maat was the norm and basic values that formed the backdrop for the application of justice that had to be carried out in the spirit of truth and fairness. From the 5th dynasty (c. 2510-2370 BCE) onwards the Vizier responsible for justice was called the Priest of Maat and in later periods judges wore images of Maat.
Later scholars and philosophers also would embody concepts from the wisdom literature, or Sebayt. These spiritual texts dealt with common social or professional situations and how each was best to be resolved or addressed in the spirit of Maat. It was very practical advice, and highly case-based, so that few specific and general rules could be derived from them.
During the Greek period in Egyptian history, Greek law existed alongside Egyptian law. The Egyptian law preserved the rights of women who were allowed to act independently of men and own substantial personal property and in time this influenced the more restrictive conventions of the Greeks and Romans. When the Romans took control of Egypt, the Roman legal system which existed throughout the Roman empire was imposed in Egypt.
Ma’at and scribes
Scribes held prestigious positions in Ancient Egyptian society in view of their importance in the transmission of religious, political and commercial information.
Thoth was the patron of scribes who is described as the one “who reveals Maat and reckons Maat; who loves Maat and gives Maat to the doer of Maat”. In texts such as the Instruction of Amenemope the scribe is urged to follow the precepts of Maat in his private life as well as his work. The exhortations to live according to Maat are such that these kinds of instructional texts have been described as “Maat Literature”.
Ma’at as a Goddess
Maat was the goddess of harmony, order, and truth represented as a young woman, sitting or standing, holding a was scepter, the symbol of power, in one hand and an ankh, the symbol of eternal life, in the other. Sometimes she is depicted with wings on each arm or as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head. Depictions of Maat as a goddess are recorded from as early as the middle of the Old Kingdom (c. 2680 to 2190 BCE).
The sun-god Ra came from the primaeval mound of creation only after he set his daughter Maat in place of Isfet (chaos). Kings inherited the duty to ensure Maat remained in place and they with Ra are said to “live on Maat”, with Akhenaten (r. 1372-1355 BCE) in particular emphasising the concept. Some of them incorporated Maat into their names, being referred to as Lords of Maat, or Meri-Maat (Beloved of Maat). When beliefs about Thoth arose in the Egyptian pantheon and started to consume the earlier beliefs at Hermopolis about the Ogdoad, it was said that she was the mother of the Ogdoad and Thoth the father.
In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single Shu feather, symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat. The heart was considered the location of the soul by ancient Egyptians. Those people with good and pure hearts were sent on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition.
The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing.
Temples of Ma’at
The earliest evidence for a dedicated temple is in the New Kingdom (c. 1569 to 1081 BCE) era, despite the great importance placed on Maat. Amenhotpe III commissioned a temple in the Karnak complex, whilst textual evidence indicates that other temples of Maat where located in Memphis and at Deir el-Medina.
One aspect of ancient Egyptian funerary literature which often is mistaken for a codified ethic of Maat is Spell (Chapter) 125 of the Book of the Dead or Papyrus of Ani (known to the Ancient Egyptians as The Book of Going Forth by Day). The lines of this spell are often collectively called the “Forty-Two Declarations of Purity” or the Negative Confessions. These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb and so cannot be considered a canonical definition of Maat. Rather, they appear to express each tomb owner’s individual conception of Maat, as well as working as a magical absolution – misdeeds or mistakes made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe that particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased.
Many of the lines are similar, however, and they can help to give the student a “flavor” for the sorts of things which Maat governed — essentially everything, from the most formal to the most mundane aspects of life.
Many versions are given on-line. Unfortunately, seldom do they note the tomb from which they came or whether they are a collection from various different tombs. Generally, they are each addressed to a specific deity, described in his or her most fearsome aspect.
The doctrine of Maat is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Negative Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani. The following are taken from public domain translations made by E. A. Wallis Budge in the early part of the 20th century, more recent translations may differ in the light of modern scholarship.
42 Negative Confessions (Papyrus of Ani)
|01. I have not committed sin.
02. I have not committed robbery with violence.
03. I have not stolen.
04. I have not slain men and women.
05. I have not stolen grain.
06. I have not purloined offerings.
07. I have not stolen the property of the god.
08. I have not uttered lies.
09. I have not carried away food.
10. I have not uttered curses.
11. I have not committed adultery.
12. I have not lain with men.
13. I have made none to weep.
14. I have not eaten the heart
15. I have not attacked any man.
16. I am not a man of deceit.
17. I have not stolen cultivated land.
18. I have not been an eavesdropper.
19. I have slandered [no man].
20. I have not been angry without just cause(?).
21. I have not debauched the wife of any man.
22. I have not polluted myself.
|23. I have terrorised none.
24. I have not transgressed [the Law].
25. I have not been wroth.
26. I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
27. I have not blasphemed.
28. I am not a man of violence.
29. I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
30. I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
31. I have not pried into matters.
32. I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
33. I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
34. I have not worked witchcraft against the King
35. I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
36. I have never raised my voice
37. I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
38. I have not acted with arrogance(?).
39. I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
40. I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
41. I have not snatched away the bread of the child,
42. I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.