Gods of Egypt

 

Egyptian gods were the fundamental figures for the beliefs and rituals in ancient Egyptian religion and society. They are part of the ancient Egyptian mythology.

In this article we will see who were the most important Egyptian gods names and a small summary of them. This list have links to a more detailed articles for the main ones.

 

Egyptian gods

 

Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Osiris

Osiris is the ancient egyptian god of corn. His followers originated from Syria, and these followers refer to him as Adnjeti.  They have established in Delta city long ago in predynastic times. The Djed column is a fetish or cult object by which the city is known. No one can say for sure what the name stands for, but it is related to the “creation of a throne.”  Some also relate it to Power or Seat of the Eye.

The Osiris fertility cult was apparently peaceful, and it later spread to virtually every part of Egypt. The burial rites associated with this deity were established at the early part of his existence. He had already absorbed the funerary gods of Abydos by the Fifth Dynasty and also had an association with the dead pharaohs. He later became the supreme god of Egypt. The Heliopolitan Ennead then incorporated Osiris by mythology. He is also said to be the son of the earth god, Geb.

 

Seth

Seth can also be called Suty, Setekh, Sutehk or Setesh.  The Egyptians term him as the god of foreigners, violence, disorder, storm and desert. He is called Seth in ancient Greek mythology, and he has a decisive role in accompanying Ra to rule Apep on his solar boat. Apep was the serpent of Chaos. One of his vital roles includes that of a reconciled combatant. He was also the lord of the desert or red land.  He acts as a balance to the role of Horus, who is the lord of the soil or black land.

He is seen as a usurper in Egyptian mythology because he mutilated Osiris, his brother. However, Osiris’ wife reassembled her husband’s mutilated body and got him resurrected, after which Osiris gave birth to Horus, his son and heir. When he grew up, Horus sought to revenge his father’s murder against Set.

 

Isis

Isis is the goddess of medicine, magic, motherhood, fertility and marriage. Several tiles and names have been given to this god over time. She is also being worshipped in some parts of Europe and Egypt with many of her cults and temples spreading across the places. In fact, she is termed as the deity with ten thousand names. This is just an exaggeration though; she does not have up to ten thousand names.   Some of the names by which she is being called are Werethekau, Aust, Aset, Urethekau, Unt, Iahu, Hesat, Esu, Eset and Eenohebis. Isis has an association with several other Egyptian goddesses, like Hathor and Sekhmet. She is also being worshipped in Greece, where she is associated with some Greek goddesses, like Athena, Tethys and Persephone. Some of her titles include:

  • Mother of God
  • The Maker of Sunrise
  • Queen of Heaven
  • Queen of all Gods
  • The Divine One.

 

Nephthys  

Nephthys was first mentioned as a goddess during the Old Kingdom. She was the daughter of Nut and Geb and a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis. She was also a sister to Horus, Isis and Osiris. Also, she was the wife and sister to Set. She got a place on Ra’s boat after Ogdoad and Ennead merged so that she could accompany Ra on his journey through the underworld. The Greek calls her Nephthys, while the Egyptians call her Nebthwt, Nebthet or Nebhhwt, with the word “hwt” standing for “house.” “House” in this context can stand for the whole of Egypt or a royal family. She protects the oldest females in all households, and she is also seen as the head of the household of the gods.

Nephthys was associated with the Lower Egypt or Ptah-Tanen. Isis and Khnum represent upper Egypt.

 

Nut

The Nut is the goddess of the sky in the Ennead of ancient Egypt. She represented the stars arching over the earth and covering nude women. She was the daughter of Tefnut and Shu. She also got married to her brother named Geb. Her five children were Horus, Nephthys, Isis, Set and Osiris. She stands out as one of the oldest among the deities recognised in Egypt. Her origin was also found in Helipolios creation story. She is also considered as the goddess of the nighttime sky. Her name was then shortened to “sky goddess.” The Pot was her headdress, and it also represents the uterus. She is also depicted in nude human form. At times, she is depicted in the form of a cow, and the high body of the cow was said to form the heaven and sky. Furthermore, she can be represented as a giant sow suckling many piglets or a sycamore tree.

 

Ra

Ra is the god of the sun in ancient Egypt. His major cult centre is located in Heliopolis, and his symbol is the sun disk. He gave birth to eight children, namely Serket, Ma’at, Satet, Bastet, Sekhmet, Hathor, Tefnut and Shu. He has no parent since he was self-created. However, some accounts refer to Neith as his father. His siblings are Serket, Sobecik and Apep.

 

Thoth

Thoth is among the deities of Egyptian pantheon and was depicted as a baboon or a man with the head of an ibis in art. The baboon is his sacred animal.  Seshat is his female counterpart, and Ma’at is the name of his wife. His chief temple can be found in the city of Khmum, which was later called Hermopolis Magna in the Greco-Roman era.  Some also called him the same as Hermes in line with Greek interpretation. Also, he served as the mediating power between evil and good.

 

Geb

Geb is the Egyptian god of the Earth. He later became a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis. He was considered as the father of snakes because he had a viper around his head. Ancient Egypt mythology has it that his laughter can create an earthquake. It is also believed that crops can only grow with his permission.  The name can also be called Keb or Seb.

 

Aroueris 

Aroueris is among the most significant of the ancient gods in Egypt. He was part of Egyptian worship from prehistoric Egypt to Roman Egypt. Egyptologists record different forms of Aroueris in history. It has been concluded that these different forms are the various perceptions of the same god, who is considered as a multi-layered deity. The various perspectives are complementary rather than antagonistic. It is in agreement with the way the Egyptians perceive the multiple facets of reality. Most times, Aroueris is depicted by a falcon, either a peregrine or lanner falcon. At times, it can be depicted by a man having a falcon head.

Aroueris was described as the son of Osiris and Isis. He equally played a significant role as Osiris’ hair in the Osiris myth. He was equally known as Set’s rival; it would be recalled that Set murdered Osiris.  Hathor is regarded either as his mother or wife.  Ancient Egyptians consider him as the god of the sky and kingship.

 

Facts about ancient Egypt gods

 

Who is the most powerful Egyptian god

It is difficult to answer but there are two main responses.

Ra the sun god was the most important and powerful one. Also the Pharaoh was very important in ancient times.

 

Are they real?

While there are written evidences they cannot be considered as 100% truth like other mythologies and religions. Probably some parts are real and some parts are not.

 

How Many Egyptian Gods were there in ancient Egypt

There were more than 2.000 and obviously we cannot list it all in detail, here are the most important ones:

 

Anubis

Apis

Aton

Bastet

Hathor

Horus

Neith

Nut

Ptah

Seshat

Tefnut

 

Images and Pictures

 

 

Mehen

 


Mehen, a minor Egyptian chthonic god, was the guardian of the boat of Re as it passed through the underworld at night. He is depicted as a coiled snake. A.G.H.


Sources:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 162

King Tutankhamun

 

King Tutankhamun was a teenager pharaoh that reigned at the close of the 18th Dynasty and that was a time when Egypt was flowing in wealth and had tremendous dominance over other nations.

 

Egyptian’s Wealth Before Tutankhamun

Prior to this time, Egypt has blossomed for several years, maintaining the traditions devolved to them before the now popular Giza structures were constructed. However, during the reign of Tutankhamun, Egypt had gotten hold and of the fabled gold mines of Nubia on the south and had won several towns in Mediterranean.

 

Akhenaten’s Wicked Rule

The reign of Tutankhamun came at a time when there was distress all over Egypt. A king called Akhenaten, who was Tutankhamun’s relative (probably his father or half- brother) had upturned the conventional practice by asking citizens to bow to Athens, the sun god. He shut the temples and destroyed all the images of Amun,, a well-known god with dreadful priests.

Akhenaten the tyrannical pharaoh also changed Egypt’s capital to a desert on the West, remote and away from the river Nile. He named this new capital Akhenaten and coerced over 20,000 persons to construct a new city altogether from the scratch.

 

Ascension 

Not quite long, this wicked king died and Tutankhamun ascended the throne. He was a teenager then and that was quite big an office for a small boy of his age. Tutankhamun was only eight years old which got all his chiefs and subordinates disturbed again. How can such a young lad be crowned a pharaoh? Can he effectively manage the affairs of a big country like Egypt? And how will he defend the country from invasions and attacks from her perennial foes?

Tut’s principal subjects seemed to have given him quality advise and worked assiduously to get Egypt on the right track. To get things started the capital need be taken back to the living river Nile. Tutankhamun has come to symbolize a return of rationality to Egypt.

 

Demise 

All of a sudden, young Pharaoh Tutankhamun gave up the ghost and what really caused it couldn’t be ascertained. It is very possible a terminal infection resulted from his broken limb when he had an accident. Or perhaps it was malaria fever that caused it.

However, his death posed a problem for Egypt at that time because there was no tomb prepared for him as no one could have preempted his death.

 

Curse 

The curse of Tutankhamun is one of the most popular curses known all through Egypt. Since the young Pharaoh’s tomb was discovered in the tomb of the Kings, there are rumors that those who ventured to tamper with the Tutankhamun’s tomb are beguiled with a dangerous curse.

Although not as drastic as killing mummies, it is largely reported that most people linked to excavating the tomb subsequently fell under the curse and died under questionable situations. The notion gained ground because some of those who opened the tomb gave up the ghost a little while after doing so.

The curse of Tutankhamun was not just peculiar to Tutankhamun but to all pharaohs, as there are myths surrounding desecrating their tombs.

 

Closing Words

King Tutankhamun was a teenager king who became pharaoh at the tender age of 8. He ruled and returned peace to troubled Egypt, however his reign did not last long. After his death, his tomb was dug and it reportedly brought curse on those who did it. However, there is no concrete evidence to prove that the curse exists. It remains a myth.

Apis

 


Apis, an Egyptian bull god, was the personification of the creator god Ptah in Memphis. He is an intermediary between the supreme god and human beings. His mother Isis could engender him in a lightening flash. The bull is depicted as being totally black, except for the small white triangle on its forehead, and having vulture wings. Between the horns are surmounted the dun disc, or in later times the moon, and the uraeus.

The cult of the bull is very ancient and is attested in Egypt since around 3000 BCE. According to the Greek author Herodotus, huge statues of Apis supported the temple of Ptah in Memphis. In a ritual of vitality, the king paced along side the bull to renew his strength. The average lifespan of an Apis bull was fourteen years, after which it was mummified and interred in huge sarcophagi, which was placed in the catacombs at the necropolis at Seqqara. The bull also possesses strong underworld connections.

According to the Hebrew Biblical tradition, Apis was the god, which Aaron modeled the Golden Calf after thinking it would be better to make an image of Jehovah in the well-known form of Egyptian idolatry than to risk the total alienation of the people to false gods. A.G.H.


Sources:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 21
Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Philadelphia, A. J. Holman, Co., Revised Ed., p. 1

Wadj Wer

 


Wadj Wer, also called the mighty green one, was an Egyptian fertility god. Sometimes he was depicted in an androgynous form personifying the Mediterranean Sea or the major lakes of the Nile delta. He is depicted as carrying the ankh and a loaf. The figure often appears pregnant and is associated with the richness of the Nile-delta waters. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 286

Thoth 

 


Egyptian God

Thoth (also Toth) , scribe of the Egyptian gods, was the chief deity of Khmun, or Hermopolis. He was conceived as either having the head of an ibis or of a bamboo. Thoth is usually depicted as an ibis-headed man with a pen-and-ink holder. He became known as the god of the foundation of the law, mystical wisdom, magic, learning, hieroglyphic writing, arithmetic, and astrology. Thus, he was called “The Lord of the Divine Books” and “Scribe of the Company of Gods.”

The symbolic meaning of the ibis, although this exact meaning has not been discovered, is thought to be associated with healing. Sometimes Thoth is portrayed as a baboon-headed man holding a crescent moon.

According to legend, Thoth, both a healer and magician, restored the Eye of Horus that was torn to bits when the latter fought his uncle Seth (Set) to revenge the death of his father Osiris. The eye of Horus, also known as the udjat eye, became a funerary amulet and magical, all-seeing eye. Thoth was the patron god of the occultists of ancient Egypt, and was petitioned in many of the spells contained in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, such as the opening-of-the-mouth spell to reanimate a corpse, which was recited over a mummy by a high priest.

It was the Greeks who associated their god Hermes with Thoth that the two were almost indistinguishable. Thorth/Hermes became identified with Hermes Trismegistus, the alleged author of the Hermetic books on occult, philosophical, and religious subjects (see Hermetica).

Again, according to legend, Thoth/Hermes gave to his successors the Book of Thoth, or the “Key to Immortality,” which contained the secret processes for the regeneration of humanity and the expansion of consciousness that would enable mankind to behold the gods. There are stories, or theories, concerning the Book of Thoth, some say at first in was kept in a temple in a sealed golden box, and used in the ancient Mysteries. When the practice of these Mysteries declined, it was carried to another unknown land, where it still exists after being safely preserved, and it still leads disciples to the presence of the Immortals. Others hold the Book of Thoth is actually the Tarot deck. A.G.H.


Sources:

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen, The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, New York: Facts On File, 1989, pp. 339-340
Cotterell, Arthur, A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman’s Sons, 1980, p. 51

Tefnut

 


Tefnut, primordial Egyptian goddess of moisture, is one of the first nine deities in the Heliopolitan Theological System. According to the genealogy of the priests of Heliopolis, she was created from the breath or saliva of the creator sun god Atum. She is the sister/consort of Su, and mother of Geb and Nut. Her main cult sanctuary was in Heliopolis. Tefnut, like Su, can be one of several manifestations of the “eye of Re,” and as such she appeared either as a lion or in human form. According to the Pyramid Texts, she created pure water from her vagina. In a different context she took the form of a snake encircling the scepter. A.G.H.


Sources:

Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 32
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 255

Su

 


Su (or Shu) was the primordial Egyptian air god and the first born of the creator sun-god Atum. He is one of the first nine deities in the Heliopolitan Theological System. He and his sister/consort Tefnut begot the next divine pair, Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess. Su is frequently depicted as standing on the supine body holding Nut aloft in his raised arms. He can also be one of the several manifestations of the “eye of Re,” and take the form of a lion, as can his sister. A.G.H.


Sources:

Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 32
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 243

Sia

 


Sia, Egyptian god of perception, is the minor deity depicted at Re’s right hand where he holds up the papyrus of intellect. According to legend he in one of the several deities formed from the drops of blood emitted from Re’s penis. A.G.H.


Sources:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 236

Sezmu

 


Sezmu was a minor Egyptian deity of the wine and oil presses. He was recognized from around 3000 BC to 400 AD. He was depicted as a lion, but more generally in human form. Sezmu had a definite cult following in the fertile Falyun region of the Nile valley, but was probably represented in most sanctuaries, particularly where ritual unguents were made and stored. He was recognized in both benign and malevolent roles. In the latter he was reputed to have squeezed human heads like grapes, but in a beneficent mood he provided aromatic oils and ointments. A.G.H.


Source:

Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 234