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.
Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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:
Images and Pictures