I want to know how different cultures thought a god could be killed. So, I am trying to put together a list of gods who died in their mythology.

So far I only have a short list:

  • Baldr
  • Jesus
  • Quetzlcoatl
  • Izanami-no-Mikoto.

Can you help me think of other gods (from any tradition) which have been killed?

  • Ganesha, Krishna, Sita, Rama and Sati from Hinduism
    – user1385
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 14:47

4 Answers 4


The Irish god Donn was killed when his people, the Milesians, invaded Ireland and took it from the Tuatha de Danann. He then became the god of the dead, who lived on Bull Rock (Tech Duinn) off the Kerry coast.


Osiris is killed in several Egyptian myths, coming back to life for varying lengths of time in some of them.

The myth described Osiris as having been killed by his brother Set, who wanted Osiris' throne. Isis joined the fragmented pieces of Osiris, but the only body part missing was the phallus. Isis fashioned a golden phallus, and briefly brought Osiris back to life by use of a spell that she learned from her father. This spell gave her time to become pregnant by Osiris before he again died.

Plutarch recounts one version of the myth in which Set (Osiris' brother), along with the Queen of Ethiopia, conspired with 72 accomplices to plot the assassination of Osiris.[19] Set fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which Set then shut, sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile. Osiris' wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tamarisk tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead.

In one version of the myth, she used a spell learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. Afterwards he died again and she hid his body in the desert. Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she raised Horus, Set was hunting one night and came across the body of Osiris. Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, except the penis (which had been eaten by a fish, the medjed) and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld. Because of his death and resurrection, Osiris was associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the crops along the Nile valley.

Diodorus Siculus gives another version of the myth in which Osiris was described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture, then travelled the world with his sister Isis, the satyrs, and the nine muses, before finally returning to Egypt. Osiris was then murdered by his evil brother Typhon, who was identified with Set. Typhon divided the body into twenty-six pieces, which he distributed amongst his fellow conspirators in order to implicate them in the murder. Isis and Hercules (Horus) avenged the death of Osiris and slew Typhon. Isis recovered all the parts of Osiris' body, except the phallus, and secretly buried them. She made replicas of them and distributed them to several locations, which then became centres of Osiris worship.


In Orphic mythology, Dionysus/Zagreus was torn apart by the Titans:

Zagreus, "the first-born Dionysos," was a god of the Orphic Mysteries. He was a son of Zeus and Persephone who had been seduced by the god in the guise of a serpent. Zeus placed Zagreus upon the throne of heaven and armed him with his lightning bolts. The Titanes, incited by the jealous goddess Hera, sneaked into Olympos and offered the boy a collection of toys, tricking him into setting aside the lightning. They then seized and dismembered him with their knives. Zeus recovered Zagreus' heart and made it into a potion for Semele to inbibe who then conceived and gave birth to the second Dionysos as a reincarnation of the first.
Via Theoi

In Japanese mythology, both Izanami the goddess of creation and Kagutsuchi a fire god were killed:

Kagu-tsuchi's birth burned his mother Izanami, causing her death. His father Izanagi, in his grief, beheaded Kagu-tsuchi with his sword, Ame no Ohabari (天之尾羽張), and cut his body into eight pieces, which became eight volcanoes. The blood that dripped off Izanagi's sword created a number of deities, including the sea god Watatsumi and rain god Kuraokami.
via Wikipedia


If you are interested in this theme, I strongly suggest you take a look at The Golden Bough by James George Frazer. Just to give you a taste, here's how he begins Chapter XXIV, where he first introduces the theme of "The Mortality of the Gods":

Man has created gods in his own likeness and being himself mortal he has naturally supposed his creatures to be in the same sad predicament. Thus the Greenlanders believed that a wind couId kill their most powerful god, and that he would certainly die if he touched a dog. When they heard of the Christian God, they kept asking if he never died, and being informed that he did not, they were much surprised, and said that he must be a very great god indeed. In answer to the enquiries of Colonel Dodge, a North American Indian stated that the world was made by the Great Spirit. Being asked which Great Spirit he meant, the good one or the bad one, "Oh, neither of them," replied he, "the Great Spirit that made the world is dead long ago. He could not possibly have lived as long as this." A tribe in the Philippine Islands told the Spanish conquerors that the grave of the Creator was upon the top of Mount Cabunian. Heitsi-eibib, a god or divine hero of the Hottentots, died several times and came to life again. [...] The grave of Zeus, the great god of Greece, was shown to visitors in Crete as late as about the beginning of our era. The body of Dionysus was buried at Delphi beside the golden statue of Apollo, and his tomb bore the inscription, "Here lies Dionysus dead, the son of Semele." According to one account, Apollo hirnself was buried at Delphi ; for Pythagoras is said to have carved an inscription on his tomb, setting forth how the god had been killed by the python and buried under the tripod.

He then proceeds to analyze in more detail some specific examples, some of which were already mentioned both in the question and in some of the answers and comments (Baldr, Dionysus, Jesus, Dumuzid, Osiris). Although his interpretation that the dying (and often resurrecting) god motif should be seen as an allegory of the yearly natural cycle of death and rebirth is not taken seriously by scholars nowadays, the books is still an impressive collection of myths and folktales from all over the world.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.