Ra was the god of the sun. According to Egyptian mythology, he was the creator god. He came out of nothingness, or Nun, the primeval sea. He spit in his hand and out came Shu, god of air, and Tefnut, goddess of water. This pair gave birth to Geb and Nut, god of the earth and goddess of the sky. This second pairing resulted in four siblings: Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.

Once all the creation matter got sorted out, Ra became king of the new and improved Egyptians. One day, after ruling for hundreds of years, he told his people goodbye and climbed a ladder into the sky. Osiris, and later Horus, succeeded him.

Throughout time, Ra was slowly combined with at least three other gods, including Horus, Amun, and Atum. The resulting names were Ra-Horakhty, Amun-Ra, and Ra-Atum respectively. Ra also had three aspects: the rising sun was Kheperi (really the scarab god), the noonday sun was the real Ra, and the setting sun was Tem.

ABOVE: Three combinations of Ra with other gods. From left: Ra-Horakhty (Horus), Amun-Ra (Amun), and Ra-Atum (Atum).

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Images from http://mranthonydp.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/life-and-death-in-ancient-egypt-2/, http://www.egypt-tehuti.org/trf-graphics/ra-atum.gif, http://www.ancient-egypt.info/2012/01/amun-king-of-gods.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra