Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt


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Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

THE ENNEAD: Ra, Geb, Nut, Shu, Tefnut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephythys.

These nine gods were the foremost deities of the Egyptian pantheon. They were the close family of Ra, the sun god, and formed a sort of protective dynasty about him. They were also called Great Ennead of Heliopolis. That city was for a long time the religious capital of Egypt. It was the city sacred to Ra. Below is a list of most of the Egyptian Mythical Gods and Goddesses. In truth - one soul played all of these roles - as well of those of the Pharaohs and Kings.


An earth-god also presiding over the juncture of the western and eastern horizons in the Underworld. The motif of Aker consists of the foreparts of two lions, or two human heads, juxtaposed so that they face away from each other. Aker opens the earth's gate for the king to pass into the Underworld. He absorbs the poison from the body of anyone bitten by a snake and neutralizes the venom in the belly of a person who has swallowed an obnoxious fly. More importantly he imprisons the coils of the snake Apophis after being hacked to pieces by Isis. This idea of enclosure accounts for the socket holding the mast of the Underworld ferryboat being identified with Aker.

In the Egyptian notion of the Underworld Akerr could provide along his back a secure passage for the sun-god's boat travelling from west to east during the hours of night. From the tomb of Ramesses VI in the Valley of the Kings, the massive tomb of Pedamenopet. (Dynasty XXVI) in el-Asasif necropolis at Thebes, and mythological papyri of the priesthood of Amun in Dynasty XXI, it is possible to reconstruct a 'Book of Aker', concerned with the solar journey from sunset to sunrise. A more threatening side to Aker can be detected when he pluralizes into the Akeru or earth-gods. In apotropaic passages in the Pyramid Texts the Akeru are said not to seize the monarch; later there is a general hope for everyone to escape the grasp of the earth-gods. The Akeru appear to be primeval deities more ancient than Geb, earth-god of the cosmogony of Heliopolis.


A goddess whose name means 'hidden one' and whose shadow, among the primeval gods, is a symbol of protection. A deity at Karnak temple at least since the reign of Sesostris I (Dynasty XII), she is predominantly the consort of Amun playing, however, a less prolific role than his other wife Mut. A statue datable to Tutankhamun's reugn which was set up in the Record Hall of Tuthmosis III at Karnak shows the goddess in human form wearing the Red Crown of the Delta.

Reliefs at Karnak clearly mark her as prominent in rituals closely associated with the monarch's accession and jubilee festival. For instance, in the monument of Tuthmosis III, known as the Akh-menu, Amaunet and Min lead a row of deities to watch the king and sacred bull in the jubilee celebration. Much later in the Greek domination of Egypt she is carved on the exterior wall of the sanctuary suckling the pharaoh Philip Arrhidaeus who is playing the role of the divine child immediately following the scene depicting his enthronement. A late equation at Karnak identifies her with Neith of the Delta- comparable to the analogy made between Mut and Sakhmet- but she retains her own identity well into the Ptolemaic period.
A bearded Man wearing a cap surmounted by two tall plumes. A ram, a ram headed man, or a ram headed sphinx. Self created at the beginning of time. Believed to be the physical father of all Pharaohs. King of the gods of Egypt, Patron of the Pharaohs. Originally a god of fertility, a local deity of Memphis. Ammon became linked with the sun god Ra through the royal family, becoming Ammon-Ra.

Early, a god of air and wind. Later, a fertility god. The Creator of all things. During the New Kingdom he became "The king of the gods". He was said to be able to assume any form he wished, with each of the other gods being one of these forms. From the eighteenth dynasty on he was a national deity. Through political means managed to assimilate many lesser gods.

One of chief Theban deities; united with sun god under form of Amen-Ra. As the city grew from a village to a powerful metropolis so Amun, whose name signifies 'hidden', grew in importance. He ousted the Theban god of war, Mont, and went on to be regarded as chief god Egypt, 'King of the Gods'. Originally he might have been a wind or air god; later he was given several powers and attributes.
As an ithyphallic god, either standing or enthroned carrying a whip, Amun was god of fertility. At Karnak he was considered to be incarnate in a sacred ram which was kept in that temple. Another symbol of sexual power, the goose, was also sacred to him.
From being worshipped as a god of generative power to being worshipped as an agricultural deity responsible for the growth of crops was but a short step for Amun. He then rose to be the patron of the Pharaohs, and because of the inevitable connections between royalty and the sun, became linked to the great god Ra. As Amun-Ra he became supreme amoung the gods and ruler of the Great Ennead. During the reign of Akhenaten, the worship of Amun, like that of all the other great gods, was severely curtailed.
On the death of Akhenaten the new king, the boy Tut-ankh-aten, changed his name to declare his allegiance to the neglected but now ascendant Amun; the youthful monarch is known to us as Tut-ankh-amun. Thebes, home of the god Amun, developed into a state within a state, a rich and powerful inner kingdom ruled by the high priestess of Amun and staffed by men of nobility and genius.

The god's fame extended well beyond the boundaries of Egypt; Ethiopia was virtually a vassal state to the city of Thebes. To the west, in Libya, his cult was the centre of public religion, lasting well into Classical times as the cult of Jupiter Ammon. Even Alexander the Great thought it worthwhile consulting the oracle of Amun.
He received a favorable reply and assumed the title, Son of Amun. Apart from Thebes, which grew so important that it was simply known as 'the city', Amun was worshipped all over Egypt, and his magnificent temples at Luxor and Karnak are among the finest remains of antiquity. Amun formed a triad with his wife Mut and his son Khons.

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