The double lion god, guardian of the sunrise and sunset. Guardian of the peaks that supported the sky.
Egyptian chthonic underworld god.
"The Hidden One." An Egyptian sky god who evolved into a sun god and the head of the Egyptian pantheon. Originally a local god of Khmun and then of Thebes. Amun's cult rose in prominence as Thebes rose in status. In the New Kingdom he became combined with the Heliopolitan sun god Ra as Amun-Ra, in which form he was the "king of the gods" and the tutelary deity of the Pharaohs. The Pharaohs, who had been considered "sons of Ra", thus came to be regarded as incarnations of Amun-Ra. Amun took on the role of a primeval deity and creator in the cosmology of the New Kingdom, creating earth and sky out of his thought. By Dynasty XVIII Amun was the "King of the Gods." Karnak was his most famous temple. The temple is the largest religious structure ever built by man. Amun sometimes appears as a protector of any devotee in need.
Amun was a member of the Ogdoad, paired with the goddess Amaunet. They represented hidden power. He was also a member of the Theban triad, where he was the husband of Mut and adoptive father of Khons. Amun was depicted in human form, with blue skin and either the head of a bearded man or a ram's head with curved horns. He wore a crown composed of a modius surmounted by two tall feather plumes. He was sometimes depicted in ithyphallic form with an oversized erect penis. His true appearance was considered beyond human understanding. Amun was said to be "hidden of aspect, mysterious of form", invisible yet omnipresent throughout the cosmos. His sacred animals were the ram and the goose. His primary sanctuaries were at Karnak and Luxor near Thebes. Amun and his influential Theban priests suffered a temporary eclipse during the reign of Akhenaten, who tried to impose a monotheistic worship of Aten. The cult of Amun revived soon after Akhenaten's death. It was not until the sack of Thebes by the Assyrians in 663 BC that Amun was reduced to mere local importance. As Ammon, however, he had an oracle at the Siwa Oasis in the western desert that remained prominent at least until the time of Alexander the Great, who visited the oracle.
A combination of Amun and Ra worshipped in later Egyptian history. Under this name, the Theban god Amun became the national god of Egypt. Pharaohs considered themselves to be sons of Amun-Ra. Displaced during Akhenaten's rule, he was restored to full power afterwards.
Andjety (Anezti, Anedjti)
Egyptian underworld god. Andjety was responsible for the rebirth of the individual in the afterlife. He wore a high conical crown surmounted by two feather plumes, and bore the crook and flail. Andjety was associated with Osiris, whose symbols were also the crook and flail, as well as the atef crown, which resembled that worn by Andjety. His worship originated in the ninth Nome of Lower Egypt. Both Osiris and him had their main cult center at Busiris.
A god of the ninth Nome of Lower Egypt.
Anhur (Anhert, Anhuret, Greek Onuris)
Egyptian warrior and hunter god. His consort was the lion goddess Mekhit. He was depicted as a bearded warrior wearing a long robe and a headdress with four tall plumes, often bearing a spear. Mekhit is often shown accompanying him. Anhur was the champion of Egypt who hunted and slew the enemies of Ra. Occasionally equated with the god Shu and with Ares by the Ptolemaic Greeks. Anhur was the Divine Huntsman. His cult originated in the Upper Egyptian city of Thinis (This), near Abydos, but his main cult center was at Sebennytos in the Nile Delta.
An Egyptian guardian deity. Depicted as a falcon or with a falcon's head, often standing on a crescent-shaped boat.
Anubis (Greek; Egyptian: Anup)
An Egyptian god of the dead. Also known as Khenty-Imentiu - "Chief of the Westerners" - a reference to the belief that the realm of the dead lay to the west and a association with the setting sun and the Egyptian custom of building cemeteries on the west bank of the Nile. He was represented as a black jackal/dog or as a man with the head of a jackal/dog. His father was normally given as Ra, while is mother was sometimes Nephthys or Isis.
After the early period of the Old Kingdom, he was replaced by Osiris as god of the dead and was demoted to a supporting role as a god of the funeral cult and the care of the dead. His black color represented the color of human corpses after they had undergone the embalming process. In the Book of the Dead, he was depicted as presiding over the weighing of the heart of the deceased, in the Hall of the Two Truths. As god of the care of the dead, he was referred to as the "conductor of souls." Because of this title the Greeks later identified him with Hermes. The two were merged to form the deity Hermanubis. Anubis' principal sanctuary was at the necropolis in Memphis as well as other cities.
A Nubian Lion god.
Apis (Greek form; Egyptian Hapi, Hape)
Egyptian bull god of Memphis. Originally a form the god Hapi, he was later regarded as the living embodiment of the god Ptah. Apis was supposedly conceived after a flash of lightning struck Isis. When he, the Apis Bull, died it was said that he became/entered the god Osiris. Based on distinguishing marks, a black and white bull was selected to represent Apis. It must be all black save for a white triangular patch on the forehead. Omens were derived by it's behavior. After a Apis bull died, it was mummified and buried with much ceremony at Sakkarah in an underground tomb known to the Greeks as the Serapeum, afterwards, his priests searched for a calf with the appropriate markings which indicated that it was his successor. The Pharaohs were closely associated with the Apis bull. They partook of it's strength and fertility in life and aided in their ascent to the sun god after death. The Apis bull was depicted with the solar disk between its horns and also bearing the uraeus (cobra amulet) on its head.
Apophis (Apepi, Apep)
Egyptian snake god and personified darkness, evil and the forces of chaos. Apophis was the eternal enemy of Ra and cosmic order. Each night he did battle with Ra on his journey through the underworld on the barque of the sun, and each night Ra triumphed to be reborn at dawn in the east. Often the god Set or the serpent Mehen was the one who defended Ra and the solar barque from Apophis. During an eclipse it was said that Apophis had gained a temporary victory; however, Ra always triumphed in the end. In one account, it was said that Ra gained a permanent victory over Apophis when he cut up and burned Apophis' body.
Name of the god who gained its prominence during the reign of Akhenaten. Akhenaten abolished the traditional cults of Egypt in favor of the Aten. A sun with multiple arms holding/offering Ankh, was the Aten's representation. This was the first monotheistic cult in the world.
The primeval sun god and creator of the world. He represents the setting sun. Later he was combined with Re as the god Atum-Re. According to the myths, he was the first substance (a hill) who emerged from the primeval waters. Atum created the deities Shu and Tefnut from his spittle or from his semen while doing something any self-respecting mother of a boy would hate to see her son doing.
His main cult center was at Heliopolis, where he was the head of the Ennead cult. The black bull Mnewer, who bore the sun disk and uraeus between its horns, was his representation. As the father of the pharaoh, he played an important part in the coronation rites. Atum was shown as old man symbolizing the setting sun, a scarab, a snake, and a mangust (pharaoh hat). His sacred animals were the bull, the snake, lizard, lion and ichneumon.
In the Memphite creation myth Atum was conceived in the heart of Ptah and was created by his word. "He who completes, or perfects."
Early ram god of Mendes in Lower Egypt. He was a fertility deity whom women worshipped in the hope that he would aid them in conceiving children.
Egyptian demonic god. Depicted as a baboon with an erect penis. Babi was both a dangerous god, but was also associated with sexual prowess in the afterlife. As a demonic god he was said to live on human entrails. He is mentioned in the Books of the Dead where he attends the ceremony of the Weighing of the Heart in the Hall of the Two Truths. He waits with Ammut to devour the souls of those found unworthy. His penis was depicted being employed as the mast of the underworld ferry.
Banebdjedet (Ba Neb Tetet, Banebdedet, Baneb Djedet, Banade)
Ram god of Lower Egypt. His consort was the fish goddess Hatmehyt. He was the father of Harpokrates. In one tradition, he interceded in the contest between Horus and Set for the Egyptian throne. Banebdejedet advised the gods to consult the goddess Neith. Neith advised the gods to award the throne to Horus. In this account, he was said to reside on the island of Seheil near the first cataract of the Nile at Aswan, but generally his cult was centered on Mendes in the Nile Delta. He was depicted with the head of a ram.
"That Soul." Minor Egyptian god of malevolent aspect.
Egyptian god in the form of a crouching falcon. Worshipped at Behdet (Edfu), he later was identified as a local form of the god Horus.
A bird-like sun god. Linked with Atum, the better known sun god of Heliopolis. He was said to have been self-created from the primeval ocean.
Dwarf god who guarded against evil spirits and misfortune. Unlike the other Egyptian deities, who were usually depicted in profile, Bes was depicted full face. He was ugly and grotesque in appearance, with a large head, a protruding tongue, bowlegs and a bushy tail. He bore a plumed crown and wore the skin of a lion or panther. Despite his appearance, he was a beneficent deity and his appearance was meant to scare off evil spirits. He bore swords and knives to ward off evil spirits, as well as musical instruments, to create a din to frighten them off. Bes aided the goddess Taweret in childbirth. He was originally the protective deity of the royal house of Egypt, but became a popular household deity throughout Egypt.
An aspect of Ra-Atum in the form of a phoenix. Bennu was the patron of the reckoning of time and carrier of eternal light from the abode of the gods to the world of men.
Egyptian holy bull of Hermonthis and the living image of the god Montu. He had a white body and a black head.
Chenti-cheti (Greek Chentechtai)
Originally an Egyptian crocodile god, he later took on the form of a falcon.
Falcon-god of law and order identified with Horus.
Ram god and ferryman of the dead. His cult was centered on Letopolis.
Ram god and protector of the source of the Nile. He was said to fashion children out of clay and then place them in the mother's womb. Depicted as a human with a ram's head.
Egyptian moon god; the son of Amun and Mut. Normally depicted as a young man in the posture of a mummy.
A god of the dead and the land of the west. He was represented as a crouching dog/jackal.
A local god
The Egyptian god of toiletry.
God of the deceased's stomach
Geb (Keb, Seb)
Earth god. It is quite rare to find a ancient religion with the earth personified in the form of a man. Geb was the son of Shu and Tefnut and brother-consort of the sky goddess Nut. Father of Osiris and Isis, Set and Nephthys. Geb was generally depicted lying on his back, usually wearing the crown of Lower Egypt, with the naked body of Nut arched above him. As such, he was often shown with an erect penis pointing upward toward Nut. Occasionally the air god Shu was shown standing on the body of Geb and supporting Nut, supposedly separating her from Geb. In any other case he is shown with the head of a goose. He as "the Great Cackler," he was represented as a goose. Also as "The Great Cackler" he was said to have laid the egg from which the sun was hatched.
Equated as the third divine king of earth. His skin was often green, indicative his role as a god of vegetation and fertility. Geb was also said to imprison the souls of the dead, preventing them from passing on to the afterlife. The laughter of Geb was said to cause earthquakes. The goose was his sacred animal and his symbol in Egyptian hieroglyphics. In his honor, the royal throne of Egypt was occasionally known as the 'throne of Geb.'
God of the west and the western desert. Because the entrance to the underworld was in the western desert, he plays a part in the death cult. He is shown as a human with a hieroglyph that represents the west on his head.
Hapi (Hapy, Hap, Hep)
God of the Nile. Mostly associated with the annual floods, the inundation (which was responsible for the fertility of the land adjacent to the river). Although he had no specific cult centers, Hapi was believed to live in caves near the Nile cataracts. His court included a retinue of crocodile-gods and a harem of frog-goddesses. Depicted in human form with a large belly, female breasts (which indicated his powers of nourishment), a beard, colored blue or green, and a clump of aquatic plants. He often bore a tray of produce symbolizing the abundance and prosperity brought by the Nile floods.
God of the morning sun. His name means 'Horus of the Horizon.' He is a manifestation of Horus. The Pharaoh was supposedly born on the eastern horizon as Harakhti and to rule over the eastern and western horizon in that form. In Heliopolis he combined with Re and was worshipped as Re-Harakhti. He was depicted in the form of a falcon.
Harendotes (Egyptian Har-nedj-itef)
A guardian god and a manifestation of Horus. In this form, he guards Osiris in the underworld and is called 'Horus the savior of his father.' Har-nedj-itef also protects the dead and is portrayed as a falcon on sarcophagi.
Harmachis (Egyptian Har-em-akhet)
"Horus upon the Horizon" also known as Her-Akhety, "Horus of the Two Horizons." A manifestation of Horus where he figures as a sun god (identified with Re- Her-Akhety). Later the sphinx of Giza represented "Horus of the Morning Sun" because it/he looked toward the eastern horizon.
Horus' name, as the falcon-god 'with the two eyes,' which represented the sun and the moon. Harmerti was also worshipped as the hero that restrains monsters.
Haroeris (Egyptian Har-wer)
"The Elder Horus." Horus, when he reaches maturity, and avenges his father, Osiris, against his enemy, Seth. In this form, Horus defeats Seth and seizes the throne of Egypt.
In Noebt, (Kom Ombo) in Upper Egypt, Har-wer was regarded as the son of the god Re and was identical with the sky god Shu. He is depicted in the form of a falcon.
Harpokrates (Harpocrates, Egyptian Har-pa-khered)
"Horus the Child." This was Horus as a young boy, not Horus as an adult. He is portrayed as a naked child with a finger in his mouth, sitting on a lotus flower or on the knee of his mother Isis. He was invoked to ward off dangerous creatures. He was also a vegetation god and was portrayed with a jar or a horn of plenty.
He became very popular during the Roman Empire and his cult was expanded substantially. Statuettes of Har-pa-khered from the Greco-Roman period show him riding on a goose or a ram.
Harsiesis (Harsiese, Egyptian Har-sa-iset)
This was Horus as the son of Isis and a guardian deity. In the Osiris-myth he was born when Isis impregnated herself by her deceased husband, Osiris. Isis protects Horus as a child. The Pyramid texts state that Har-sa-iset performed the rite of the 'opening of the mouth' on the dead pharaoh, ensuring that the pharaoh would have the use of his faculties in the afterlife.
Harsomtus (Egyptian Har-mau)
"Horus the Uniter." Horus when he achieves the uniting of the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt.
God of infinity and a member of the Ogdoad. His consort was Hauhet.
An Egyptian falcon god.
A ram-headed god who originated in Heracleopolis.
Horus (Egyptian Har or Hor)
Egyptian sky god; son of Isis and the dead Osiris. Usually depicted as a falcon or in human form with the head of a falcon. The sun and the moon are said to be his eyes. He was born at Khemmis in the Nile Delta, and Isis hid him in the papyrus marshes to protect him against Set, his father's murderer.
Horus later avenged the death of his father against Set. Horus lost his left eye (the moon) in the contest between the two. Horus was identified with Lower Egypt and Set with Upper Egypt in this battle, which lasted eighty years. The gods judged Horus to be the winner, and Set was either killed or castrated. The consequence of Horus's victory was the union of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Egyptian Pharaoh was believed to be an incarnation of Horus, and the name of Horus formed part of his name. The Pharaoh was said to become Horus after death. Set restored the eye he had torn from Horus, but Horus gave it instead to Osiris. The image of the "eye of Horus", a human eye combined with the cheek markings of a falcon, became a powerful amulet among the Egyptians.
Among the various manifestations of Horus were:
Harpokrates (Heru-Pa-Khret, Harpakhrad):
"Horus the child." This refers to his birth and secret rearing by Isis. In this form he is often depicted as a naked child seated on Isis's lap.
Haroeris (Har Wer):
"Horus the elder." In this form Horus battled against Set.
Harakhte (Harakhti, Heraktes):
"Horus of the horizon." Horus at Heliopolis, linked with Ra in the sun cult. In this form he is associated with the rising and setting sun. He was pictured as a falcon, or as a sphinx with the body of a lion. The Great Sphinx of Giza is an example of "Horus in/of the Horizon."
Harendotes (Har-nedj-itef, Har-End-Yotef):
"Horus the savior of his father." A reference to the avenging of his father's murder.
Harmachis (Heru-Em-Akhet, Harmakis):
"Horus in the horizon." Horus as symbol of resurrection, linked with the setting sun.
Harsiesis (Harsiese, Har-si-Ese, Hor-Sa-Iset):
"Horus, son of Isis." Horus as a baby/child
"Horus the Uniter." This is a reference to his role in uniting Upper and Lower Egypt.
Hor Behdetite (Behedti):
"Horus of Behdet." Originally a local form of Horus, at Behdet. In this form he symbolized by the winged solar disk.
The creating word of the sun-god of Heliopolis and a god of authority. With Sia Hu forms a primeval pair, both born from a drop of blood from the "thingie" of Ra (sometimes by the tears of Ra), and together the personify the wisdom and insight of the sun-god. They also accompany him on his solar barque and help the bring order in chaos.
A protective deity of the underworld.
Imhotep (Amenhotep, Amenhotep-Son-of-Hapu)
Imhotep was the chief minister of the Pharaoh Djoser. He was the architect of the Step Pyramid, which was the first of the Egyptian Pyramids. Imhotep was latter raised to the level of a god (deified). As a god he was responsible with medicine and learning. Normally depicted as a seated man holding an open papyrus.
Imsety (Amset, Mestha)
God of the deceased's liver, he was protected by Isis; One of the Four Sons of Horus.
An Egyptian god of the moon.
Kebechsenef (Kebehsenuf, Qebshenuf, Qebehsenuf)
A Son of Horus. He protected the Canopic jar where the viscera of the lower body where kept after mummification.
God of darkness and a member of the Ogdoad. His consort was Kauket.
Kepra (Kheper, Khepera, Khepris, Chepre, Chepri)
An Egyptian sun god who appeared often in the form of a scarab or a dung beetle and often as a beetle within the sun disk. He was a manifestation of the god Ra rising in the east at dawn. This association supposedly resulted for the similarity between the scarab rolling a ball of dung along the ground and Ra rolling the sun across the sky. Kepra was the one who pushed the sun up from the underworld to be reborn at dawn. In the Heliopolitan cosmology he appeared as a primordial sun god who created himself out of the earth. His principal cult center was at Heliopolis.
"Lower One." Ram god of the underworld and ferryman of the dead. In the Pyramid Texts Kherty was said to be a threat to the Pharaoh, who had to be defended by Ra himself. However, as an earth-god, he also acts as a guardian of the Pharaoh's tomb. Letopolis, northwest of Memphis, was Kherty's main cult center. He was shown as a man with the head of a ram or as a ram.
"To Create." Egyptian ram god. Khnum was credited with creating life on a potter's wheel at the behest of the other gods. He was also said to control the annual inundation of the Nile, although the god Hapi physically generates the inundation. The goddesses Satis and Anuket assisted him in their supervisory role. His major cult center was on the Elephantine Island near the first cataract of the Nile (Near modern Aswan) where mummified rams sacred to Khnum have been found. He also had an important cult center at Esna, to the north of the first cataract. He was usually depicted inhuman form with a ram's head - the horns extending horizontally on either side of the head - often before a potter's wheel on which a naked human was being fashioned.
Khonsu (Khons, Khensu, Chons)
"Wanderer." Egyptian moon god. Son of Amun and Mut (occasionally the son of Sekhmet) with whom he forms the triad of gods revered in Thebes. Depicted in human form, sometimes with the head of a hawk, clothed in a tight-fitting robe and wearing a skullcap topped by the crescent of the new moon subtending the disk of the full moon. His head was shaven except for the side-lock worn by Egyptian children, signifying his role as Khnosu-pa-khered - "Khonsu the child." His principal sanctuary was in Thebes, where he figured prominently as a member of the Theban triad. He also had a temple in Karnak. His sacred animal was the baboon, considered a lunar animal by the Egyptians.
The Egyptian god of Kusae.
Maahes (Mihos, Miysis)
A obscure lion god who may be of foreign origin. Maahes ("True Before Her") was worshipped in Bubastis, Leontopolis, and especially Upper Egypt. He is regarded in later times to be the son of Bastet and Ptah in Memphis. He is sometimes regarded as a son of the triad in Memphis with Nefertem and occasionally Imhotep. Maahes punished the transgressors of Ma'at. His protection was invoked over the innocent. He was represented as either a lion or a man with a lion's head and a knife.
The Egyptian personification of the summer heat. Known as "Lord of the massacre." He was principally worshipped in the area of the Nile Delta. He is represented as a lion or a man with a lion's head.
An Egyptian serpent god. He defends the solar barque during Ra's nightly passage through the underworld. Usually shown as a snake coiled about the barque.
Chief of Heaven. A primeval god of Coptos. In early times he was a sky-god whose symbol was a thunderbolt. Also seen as a rain god that promoted fertility of nature, such as grain. Later he was revered as a fertility god who bestowed sexual powers on men. Normally represented as a human holding a flagellum.
Montu (Mont, Mentu, Methu; Greek Month)
Falcon-headed war god of Upper Egypt. His cult developed at Thebes and spread throughout Egypt under the Theban kings, who expanded the country's borders beginning around 2000 BC. He was the tutelary god of the Theban monarchs, and brought them victory in war. Depicted in human form with the head of a falcon, crowned with the solar disk, the uraeus cobra and two tall plumes, His sacred animal was a white bull with a black face, known as Buchis. After death, the bulls were buried in a necropolis near Hermothis (Armant) known as the Bucheum. His cult centers included Medu (Medamud), Karnak and Hermothis.
Nefertum (Nefertem; Greek Nepthemis)
Egyptian god of the primordial lotus blossom . A personification of the blue lotus of which the sun god Ra emerged. In the Pyramid Texts, he was described as the 'lotus blossom on the nose of Ra.' He was usually depicted in human form wearing a headdress topped by a lotus blossom. He could also be depicted with a lion's head when given as the child of the Memphite lion goddess Sekhmet out of her union with Ptah. His major cult center was in Memphis. In Buto, in the Nile Delta region, Nefertum was held to be the child of the cobra goddess Wadjet. Elsewhere his mother was called the cat goddess Bastet.
Nehebkau (Nehebu-Kau, Nehebkhau)
Egyptian snake god of the underworld. Represented either as a serpent with human arms and legs or with a man's body, holding the eye of Horus. In the Pyramid Texts, he was said to be the son of the scorpion goddess Serket. Another tradition made him the son of the earth god Geb and the harvest goddess Renenutet. According to legend, he was tamed by the sun god Ra and thenceforth acted as the god's servant, riding with him in the sun barque. His name was invoked in spells providing protection against snake bites and scorpion stings. Nehebkau protected the dead Pharaoh in the afterlife.
Egyptian vulture goddess. Represents Upper (southern) Egypt. Her counterpart is Wadjet.
An Egyptian falcon-god.
An Egyptian god of grain. Neper was mostly associated with barley and emmer wheat.
Egyptian god who personified the swirling primeval waters/chaos from which the cosmic order was produced. In the beginning there was only Nun. Consort of Naunet and a member of the Ogdoad. He was referred to as the 'father of the gods,' which referred to his primacy in the time rather than any literal parentage. Nun played no part in Egyptian religion rituals and had no temples dedicated to him. Nun was symbolized by the sacred lakes, which were associated with some temples, such as Karnak and Dendara. Depicted inhuman form holding the solar barque of Ra above his head.
Egyptian god of the underworld and of vegetation. Son of Nut and Geb and brother of Nephthys, Set and brother-husband to Isis. His birthplace was said to be Rosetau in the necropolis west of Memphis. Osiris was depicted in human form wrapped up as a mummy, holding the crook and flail. He was often depicted with green skin, alluding to his role as a god of vegetation. He wore a crown known as the 'atef,' composed of the tall conical whittle crown of Upper Egypt with red plumes on each side. Osiris had many cult centers, but the most important were at Abydos (Ibdju) in Upper Egypt, where the god's legend was reenacted in an annual festival and at Busirs (Djedu) in the Nile delta.
The Egyptian god of retaliation.
An Egyptian crocodile-god.
Egyptian creator god. Also a god of artisans, designers, builders, metal workers, architects and masons, whose skills he was said to have created. He was the one who created the barque for the dead to sail in. His major cult center was at Memphis. In Memphis and Thebes his consort was the lioness goddess Sekhmet. Together with Sekhmet's son Nefertum, they formed the 'Memphite triad.' His sacred animal was the bull. The Apis bull in Memphis, which acted as an intermediary between the god and humankind, represented Ptah in particular. He was depicted inhuman form, tightly wrapped like a mummy, with a shaven head or wearing a close fitting skull cap, holding the scepter of dominion composed of a 'djed' staff topped by the Ankh (life) symbol.
According to one tradition (Memphite creation myth) Ptah was the primary motive force in creation, thinking and speaking the cosmos into existence (elsewhere he was said to have created the cosmos out of mud.) In this tradition, propagated by his priesthood, it was Ptah who was pre-eminent among the gods. He was said to have invented the 'opening of the mouth' ceremony, restoring the faculties of life to corpse by performing it on the mouths of gods when he created them.
He incorporated the principal gods of creation, death, and after-life. Represented as a mummified king.
God of the deceased's intestines
Egyptian sun and creator god. He was usually depicted in human form with a falcon head, crowned with the sun disc encircled by the uraeus (the sacred cobra). The sun itself was taken to be either his body or his eye. He was said to traverse the sky each day in a solar barque and pass through the underworld each night on another solar barque to reappear in the east each morning. His principal cult center was Heliopolis ("sun city") near modern Cairo. Ra was also considered to be an underworld god, closely associated in this respect with Osiris. In this capacity he was depicted as a ram-headed figure.
By the third millennium B.C. Ra's prominence had already become such that the Pharaohs took to stylizing themselves as "sons of Ra." After death, the Egyptian monarch was said to ascend into the sky to join the entourage of the sun god. According to the Heliopolitan cosmology, Ra was said to have created himself, either out of a primordial lotus blossom or on the mound that emerged from the primeval waters. He then created Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture), who in turn engendered the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. Ra was said to have created humankind from his own tears and the gods Hu (authority) and Sia (mind) from blood drawn from his own penis. Ra was often combined with other deities to enhance the prestige of the later, as in Ra-Atum or in the formula "Ra in Osiris, Osiris in Ra."
Resheph (Reshpu, Reshef)
A god of war and thunder. He was of Syrian origin.
A god supposedly imported during the Ptolemaic period in Egypt. Later, a deity worshipped throughout the Roman Empire. Sarapis was supposedly the Greek form of Osiris-Apis, a deity who combined the attributes of the bull god Apis (or Greek Zeus) and the underworld god Osiris. To this the Hellensitic rulers of Egypt added characteristics taken from Greek deities such as Zeus, Dionysos, Hades, Helios and Asklepios to create a universal god. Depicted inhuman form with curly hair and crowned with a basket-shaped headdress known as a kalathos.
An Egyptian chthonic god.
The Egyptian god of oil and wine pressing.
Set (Seth, Setekh, Setesh, Seti, Sutekh, Setech, Sutech)
Egyptian god of Chaos who embodied the principles of hostility, if not outright evil. Early in Egyptian Mythology he was spoken with reverence as a god of storms and wind. Later on, after his battle with Horus, he was associated with foreign lands and was the adversary of the god Osiris. Set was usually depicted in human form with the head of aardvark. He was sometimes represented in entire animal form with a body similar to that of a greyhound. He was said to be the son of Nut and Geb or Nut and Ra, and the brother of Osiris, Isis and brother-husband of Nephthys. He was more commonly associated with the foreign, Semitic goddess Astarte and Anat. Despite his reputation he had an important sanctuary at Ombos in Upper Egypt, his reputed birthplace and had cults mostly in the Nile delta.
For a time, during the third millennium BC, Set replaced Horus as the tutelary deity of the Pharaohs. However, when the story of Set's murder of Osiris got and the subsequent war with Horus got around, Horus was restored to his original status. The war with Horus lasted eighty years, during which Set tore out he left eye of his advisory and Horus tore out Set's foreleg and testicles. Horus eventually emerged victorious, or was deemed the victor by a council of the gods, and thus became the rightful ruler of the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. Set was forced to return the eye of Horus and was either castrated or killed. In some versions Set then went to live with the sun god Ra, where he became the voice of thunder. In the Book of the Dead, Set was refereed to as the "lord of the northern sky" and held responsible for storms and cloudy weather. Set protected Ra during his night voyage through the underworld On the other hand, Set was a peril for ordinary Egyptians, he was said to seize the souls of the unwary. Among the animals sacred to Set were the desert oryx, boar, the hippopotamus as a destroyer of boats and planted fields, and the crocodile. The pig was the ultimate taboo in Set's cult. The Greeks later equated him with their Typhon.
Shu (Su; Greek Sos)
Primordial Egyptian god of air and supporter of the sky. In the Heliopolitan creation myth, Shu was, with his sister-wife Tefnut, one of the first deities created by the sun god Atum, either from his semen or from the mucus of his nostrils. Tefnut then became Shu's consort, giving birth to the sky goddess Nut and the earth god Geb. Shu separated Geb and Nut (heaven and earth) by interposing himself between them. Depicted in human form wearing an ostrich feather, with his arms raised to support the goddess Nut above the supine form of Geb.
Sobek (Greek Suchos)
Egyptian crocodile god and son of Neith. Sobek symbolized the might of the Egyptian Pharaohs. At Ra's command, He performed tasks such as catching with a net the four sons of Horus as they emerged from the waters in a lotus bloom. Sobek was admired and feared for his ferocity. Depicted as a crocodile or in human form with the head of a crocodile, crowned either by a pair of plumes or sometimes by a combination of the solar disk and the uraeus. His cult was widespread. Faiyum was particularly noted as a center of his worship and at least one town came to be "Crocodilopolis" by the Greeks. Gebelein, Kom Ombo and Thebes in Upper Egypt were other centers of his cult.
Sokar (Seker; Greek Socharis, Sokaris)
Egyptian funerary god of the Memphis necropolis. Depicted in human form with a hawk's head. As early as the Old Kingdom, Sokar came to be regarded as a manifestation of the dead Osiris at Abydos in Upper Egypt. Also in the Old Kingdom, he came to be combined with Ptah as Ptah-Sokar, in which form he took the lioness goddess Sekhmet as his consort. In the Middle Kingdom, the three were sometimes merged in the form Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. Sokar was associated with the manufacture of various objects used in embalming and in funerary rituals. He became a god of the craftsman working in the necropolis at Memphis and ultimately a patron deity of the necropolis itself. He also played a prominent role at Thebes where he was depicted on the royal tombs. An important annual festival was held in his honor at Thebes. The festival celebrated the resurrection of Osiris in the form of Sokar and the continuity of the Egyptian monarchy. At this festival his image was carried in an elaborate boat known as the 'henu.'
Egyptian god of the eastern frontier (eastern desert). Depicted either in the form of a falcon or as a Asiatic warrior with the Bedouin crowned with tall plumes. He was also the god of the Sinai Peninsula and of the turquoise mines in the Sinai. In the Pyramid Texts he took on an astral aspect. Impregnating Isis in her manifestation as the star Sirius, whose appearance in July heralded the annual inundation of the Nile. Isis subsequently gave birth to the composite deity Sopedu-Horus. His primary cult center was at Saft el-Henna in the northeastern Nile delta.
Tatenen (Tathen, Tatjenen, Tanen, Tenen, Ten)
"Exalted Earth." Primordial Egyptian god who personified the fertile silt of the Nile. Originally an independent god at Memphis, he was combined with Ptah in his aspect as a creator god. In this form he took on an a androgynous form and was given he epithet 'father of the gods.' He was usually depicted in human form with ram's horns and wearing a feathered crown. As a vegetation god, he could be portrayed with green skin.
Thoth (Thot, Thout; Egyptian Djhowtey, Djehuti, Tehuti, Zehuti)
Egyptian moon god. Over time, he developed as a god of wisdom, and came to be associated with magic, music, medicine, geometry, drawing, writing, surveying and astronomy. He was the inventor of the spoken and written word; credited with the invention of geometry, medicine and astronomy. He was also the scribe of the gods and patron of all scribes. Thoth was the measurer of the earth and counter of the stars as well as keeper and recorder of all knowledge including the Book of the Dead. Thoth was generally depicted in human form with the head of an ibis, wearing a crown consisting of a crescent moon topped by a moon disk. He could also be depicted as an ibis or a baboon which were both sacred to him. His principal sanctuary was at Hermopolis (Khmunu) in the Nile delta region.
Thoth served as an arbiter among the gods. In the Osirian legend, he protected Isis during her pregnancy and healed her son Horus when Set tore out his left eye. Thoth was later identified with the Greek god Hermes in the form of Hermes Trismegistos - "Hermes the thrice great" - in which form he remained popular in medieval magic and alchemy. Thoth was also a god of the underworld, where he served as a clerk who recorded the judgments on the souls of the dead. Alternatively, it was Thoth himself who weighed the hearts of the dead against the Feather of Truth in the Hall of the Two Truths.
An Egyptian plant-god.
Egyptian snake goddess. Represents Lower (northern) Egypt. Her counterpart is Nekhbet.
Wepwawet (Upuaut; Greek Ophois)
"Opener of Ways." Egyptian jackal god. Wepwawet had a dual role as a god of war and of the funerary cult ad could be said to "open the way" both for the armies for the Pharaoh and for the spirits of the dead. He originated as a god of Upper Egypt, but his cult had spread throughout Egypt by the time of the Old Kingdom. Depicted as a jackal or in human form with the head of a jackal, often holding the 'shedshed,' a standard which led the Pharaoh to victory in war and on which the Pharaoh was said to ascend into the sky after death. Despite his origin in Upper Egypt, in inscription said that he was born in the sanctuary of the goddess Wadjet at Buto in the Nile delta. Another inscription identified him with Horus and thus extension with Pharaoh. Wepwawet also symbolized the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. In his capacity as a funerary deity, he used his adze to break open the mouth of the deceased in the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony, which ensured that the person would have the enjoyment of all his faculties in the afterlife. At Abydos, the 'procession of Wepwawet' opened the mysteries of Osiris as a god of the dead.
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