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Egyptian_mythology

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Ancient Egyptian religion

Ancient Egyptian religion
Part of a series on the

Ancient Egyptian religion

Main Beliefs Paganism · Pantheism · Polytheism · Emanationism · Soul · Duat Mythology · Numerology Practises Offering formula · Funerals Deities Amun · Amunet · Anubis · Anuket Apep · Apis · Aten · Atum Bastet · Bat · Bes Four sons of Horus Geb · Hapy · Hathor · Heka · Heqet Horus · Isis · Khepri · Khnum Khonsu · Kuk · Maahes · Ma’at Mafdet · Menhit · Meretseger Meskhenet · Monthu · Min · Mnevis Mut · Naunet · Neith · Nekhbet Nephthys · Nut · Osiris · Pakhet Ptah · Ra · Ra-Horakhty · Reshep Satis · Sekhmet · Seker · Selket Sobek · Sopdu · Set · Seshat · Shu Taweret · Tefnut · Thoth Wadjet · Wadj-wer · Wepwawet · Wosret Texts Amduat · Books of Breathing Book of Caverns · Book of the Dead Book of the Earth · Book of Gates Book of the Netherworld Other Atenism · Curse of the Pharaohs Ancient Egypt Portal Ancient Egyptian religion encompasses the various religious beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Egypt over more than 3,000 years, from the predynastic period until the adoption of Christianity in the early centuries AD. Initially these beliefs centered on the worship of multiple deities who represented various forces of nature, thought patterns

and power, expressed by the means of complex and varied archetypes. By the time of the 18th dynasty they began to be viewed as aspects of a single deity who existed apart from nature, similar to trinitarian concepts also found in Christianity: the belief that one god can exist in more than one person.[1] These deities were worshipped with offerings and prayers, in local and household shrines as well as in formal temples managed by priests. Different gods were prominent at different periods of Egyptian history, and the myths associated with them changed over time, so Egypt never had a coherent hierarchy of deities or a unified mythology. However, the religion contained many overarching beliefs. Among these were the divinity of the pharaoh, which helped to politically unify the country,[2] and complex beliefs about an afterlife, which gave rise to the Egyptians’ elaborate burial customs.

Theology
Though the terms monotheism, polytheism and henotheism are commonly encountered in descriptions of the Ancient Egyptian religion they are constructs of the Judeo-Christian tradition that manifest a mindset that differs significantly from that of ancient man. These terms, along with pejorative epithets such as heathens, pagans and idolaters, reflect a rationalization of history that may seem natural to the modern mindset but was not characteristic of ancient cultures. With revealed religions a period of ignorance is ended by the direct intervention of God whereas in the ancient world there never was a time when the Supernatural was separated from humanity.[3]

Polytheism
Further information: Egyptian pantheon The Egyptians saw the actions of the gods behind all the elements and forces of nature. However, they did not believe that the gods merely controlled these phenomena, but that each element of nature was a divine force in itself. The forces deified in this way included

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Ancient Egyptian religion
"hidden" and "mysterious". Instead, these depictions gave recognizable forms to the abstract deities by using symbolic imagery to indicate each god’s role in nature.[9][10] Thus, for example, the funerary god Anubis was portrayed as a jackal, a creature whose scavenging habits threatened the preservation of the body, in an effort to counter this threat and employ it for protection. His black skin was symbolic of the color of mummified flesh and the fertile black soil that Egyptians saw as a symbol of resurrection.[11] However, religious iconography was not fixed, and many of the gods could be depicted in more than one form.[12] Many gods were associated with particular localities within Egypt where their cults were most important. However, these associations changed over time, and they did not necessarily mean that the god associated with a place had originated there. For instance, the god Monthu was the original patron of the city of Thebes. Over the course of the Middle Kingdom, however, he was displaced in that role by Amun, who had originated elsewhere. The national popularity and importance of individual gods fluctuated in a similar way.[13] In addition to the major gods, there were also other, less-powerful supernatural beings. These included a profusion of minor gods, which are sometimes referred to as "demons". They tended to be less universal than the major gods, and were often defined by specific behaviors or tied to particular locations, but the difference between them and the greater gods was mostly one of degree rather than type. Some of them were localized guardian deities, while others were servants of greater gods who performed specific actions on demand. Most of them were inhabitants of the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, although many others were present in the world of the living.[14] The spirits of deceased humans were distinct from the gods, but were believed to exist on the same plane with them,[15] and could affect the world of the living in similar ways.[16] However, deceased pharaohs were believed to be fully divine,[17] and occasionally, distinguished commoners such as Imhotep also became deified.[18]

The gods Osiris, Anubis, and Horus, from a tomb painting. animals, as with Sekhmet, who represented the ferocity of lions, and inanimate elements, such as Shu, the deification of air. The gods could also represent more abstract things, as Horus represented the power of kingship.[4] The Egyptians thus believed in a multitude of gods, which were involved in every aspect of nature and human society.[5][6] Egyptian myths about the gods were intended to explain the origins and behavior of these phenomena, and the hymns, prayers and offerings given to the gods were efforts to placate them and turn them to human advantage.[7] This polytheistic system was very complex, as some deities were believed to exist in many different manifestations, and some had multiple mythological roles. Conversely, many natural forces, such as the sun, were associated with multiple deities.[8] The depictions of the gods in art were not meant as literal representations of how the gods might appear if they were visible, as the gods’ true natures were believed to be

Atenism
Further information: Atenism

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There was a period in the 14th century BC when the pharaoh Akhenaten promoted the worship of the sun-disk Aten over the other deities. Eventually he prohibited the worship of the other gods, converting the official religion of Egypt into true monotheism.[19] However, Akhenaten’s changes contrasted with the syncretic tradition of earlier Egyptian belief, and this exclusivity alienated ordinary Egyptians.[20] Thus, under Akhenaten’s successors Egypt reverted to its traditional religion, and many of his creations were profaned, his new religious beliefs abolished and his major capital of el-Amarna abandoned.[21]

Ancient Egyptian religion
water. Shu, the air, stood between Geb and Nut and separated them. Beneath Geb lay another space equivalent to the living world: the Duat, or underworld. The sky beneath the Duat was formed by the feminine counterpart of Nu, Naunet. During the day, the sun god Ra traveled over the earth, across the surface of Nut, and at night he traveled over the Duat, across the surface of Naunet.[26]

Divine pharaoh

Other important concepts
Cosmology
In Egyptian belief, the universe was governed by the force of ma’at. This Egyptian word encompasses several concepts in English, including "truth," "justice," and "order." It referred to the fixed, eternal order of the universe, both in nature and in human society. This was the most fundamental of all natural forces, believed to have existed from the creation of the universe, which ensured the continued existence of the world. Among humans, ma’at meant that all people and all classes of society lived in harmony. Any disruption of ma’at was inherently harmful, so all people were expected to behave in accordance with it.[22] In nature, ma’at meant that all the forces of nature existed in balance. It encompassed the cyclical patterns of time, including the cycles of day and night and of the seasons, and of human generations.[23] These cycles—each new day, new year, and the coronation of each new pharaoh—were regarded as renewals of the original creation of the universe.[24] Ma’at also encompassed the structure of the world, which kept each element in its place.[25] The Egyptians had a specific vision of this structure. In this view, the world was surrounded by infinite expanse of water from which it had originally arisen. This water was personified as the god Nun. The earth was envisioned as a flat plate of land, represented by the god Geb. Above him arched the body of the sky goddess Nut, who represented the surface of the primordial

Colossal statue of the pharaoh Ramses II Egyptians viewed kingship itself as a force of nature.[27] Thus, even though the Egyptians recognized that the pharaoh was human and subject to human frailties, they simultaneously viewed him as a god, because the divine power of kingship was incarnate in him. He therefore acted as intermediary between Egypt’s people and the gods.[28] He was key to upholding Ma’at in society, by defending the country from enemies, appointing fair officials, settling disputes between his people, managing the food supply, and appeasing the gods with temples and offerings.[29] For this reason, temple reliefs often depict the pharaoh presenting an emblem of Ma’at to the gods, representing his maintenance of the divine order.[30] Such was his importance that the Egyptian word for "king" referred only to the pharaoh; any foreign ruler, no matter how powerful, was simply called "great chief".[31]

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The king was also associated with several specific deities. While alive, a pharaoh was logically identified with Horus, the god of kingship.[32] Due to analogy between the sun, the dominant force in nature, and the king, the dominant force in human society, the pharaoh was also associated with Ra and regarded as his son.[33][34] Once Amun had been syncretized with Ra, Amun was also identified with the king[35] and seen as his father.[36] Due to their relationships with the gods with whom he was associated, the goddesses Isis (the mother of Horus), Mut (the wife of Amun), and Hathor (the wife of Horus) were all regarded as the mother of the pharaoh.[37] Upon his death, the king became fully deified. In this state, he was directly identified with Ra, and was also associated with Osiris, god of death and rebirth and the mythological father of Horus.[38] Many mortuary temples were dedicated to the worship of deceased pharaohs as gods.[39]

Ancient Egyptian religion

Writings
In Egypt there was no single religious scripture. However, there were many religious texts for various purposes. These include devotional writings, funerary texts,[40] and texts relating various myths.

Mythology
The Egyptians had a great number of separate myths, found in various places and often existing in different versions. Some mythological information is found in temples; however, temples were meant to celebrate the eternal power and benevolence of the gods, and the turbulent events often found in myths conflicted with this purpose. In addition, Egyptians believed that to write or depict negative mythological events, especially in a medium as permanent as stone, risked giving power to the forces of chaos. Thus, temples contain surprisingly few myths. Mythological information can be found on devotional statues and stelae offered to the gods by individuals, and much more is found in funerary texts.[41] Even so, complete mythical narratives can only be found in Greek and Roman sources.[42] Among the most important Egyptian myths were the creation myths. While there were several different creation myths, they A stele depicting two triads of gods all shared common elements: an infinite, lifeless ocean which preceded the creation, and a pyramidal mound of land which was the first thing to emerge from this ocean.[43] However, the creation accounts differ in focusing on different gods. One creation myth describes the Ogdoad, the group of eight gods who embodied the primeval waters, and how their meeting resulted in the creation and emergence of the mound.[44] Another myth relates the actions of Atum, who was said to be the first god to appear on the mound, in creating the Ennead, nine gods representing the natural forces of the world. A third myth says that the god Ptah, who was associated with the mound, created the world simply by envisioning and naming all things in it, while a fourth claims that the mysterious god Amun was the hidden power that caused all the other creator gods to form.[45]

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To some degree these myths represent competing theologies, but they can also be seen as representing different aspects of the process of creation.[46] Another story central to Egyptian belief was the myth of Osiris and Isis.[47] It tells of the fertility god Osiris, who had inherited his rule over the world from his ancestor Ra. Osiris was murdered and dismembered by his jealous brother Set, a god often associated with chaos.[48] Osiris’ sister and wife Isis then reassembled Osiris’ body and resurrected him so that he could conceive an heir to take back the throne from Set.[49] Osiris then entered the underworld and became the ruler of the dead, while Isis eventually gave birth to his son Horus. Once grown, Horus fought and defeated Set to become king himself. Set’s association with chaos, and the identification of Osiris and Horus as the rightful rulers, provided a rationale for pharaonic succession and portrayed the pharaohs as the upholders of order.[50] At the same time, Osiris’ death and rebirth were related to the Egyptian agricultural cycle, in which crops grew in the wake of the Nile inundation,[51][52] and provided a template for the resurrection of human souls after death.[53] The sun god Ra was essential to life on earth, and was thus among the most important gods. In myth, the movement of the sun across the sky was explained as Ra traveling in a barque, and the setting of the sun was regarded as Ra’s entry into the underworld, through which he journeyed during the night.[54] While in the underworld, Ra met with Osiris, who again acted as a god of resurrection, so that his life was renewed. He also fought each night with Apep, a serpentine god representing chaos. The defeat of Apep and the meeting with Osiris insured the rising of the sun the next morning, an event that represented rebirth and the victory of order over chaos.[55]

Ancient Egyptian religion
mention of many different aspects of the deity whom they addressed, and expounded on his or her nature and mythological function. Thus, they are important sources of information on Egyptian theology.[56]

Funerary Texts

Section of the Book of the Dead depicting the Weighing of the Heart. Among the most significant and extensively preserved Egyptian writings are funerary texts designed to insure that deceased souls reached a pleasant afterlife.[57] The earliest of these are the Pyramid Texts, the oldest religious writings in the world.[58] They consisted of almost a thousand spells, or "utterances," which were inscribed on the walls of royal pyramids during the Old Kingdom. During the First Intermediate Period, a new body of funerary spells, which included material from the Pyramid Texts, began appearing in coffins and on tomb walls. This collection of writings is known as the Coffin Texts, and was not reserved for royalty, but also appeared in the tombs of nonroyal officials. The Coffin Texts in turn were major sources for a number of New Kingdom writings, including the Book of the Dead[59], which were copied on papyrus and sold to ordinary citizens, to be placed in their tombs.[60] The Coffin Texts were also the first texts to include detailed descriptions of the Egyptian underworld and instructions on how to overcome its hazards.[61] The writings on this subject seem to have developed from earlier "Underworld Books" kept in temple libraries.[62] In the New Kingdom several separate texts of this type developed, including the Book of Gates, the Book of Caverns and the

Devotional Writings
Like many cultures, the Egyptians prayed to their gods for help, although there are few written prayers that predate the Nineteenth Dynasty. There are also many formal hymns praising particular deities or the pharaoh. These poems consist of short lines organized into couplets or triplets, and were probably recited, or possibly even sung, during religious ceremonies. They often included

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Amduat, which tombs.[63][64] were reserved for royal

Ancient Egyptian religion
oriented according to some significant location, such as a geographical feature, a preexisting building, or an astronomical point. Most commonly, temples were built along the Nile with an axis running east-west, although as the axis was usually aligned at 90 degrees from the flow of the river, local variations in the Nile’s course meant that the orientation did not always conform to true directions.[75] The major entrance to such temples was usually the nearby landing quay on the Nile, from which a processional way ran through the walls of the temple enclosure. In keeping with the view of the temple as a model of the universe, these walls were not built in straight lines, but in an undulating, wavelike shape that evoked the waters of chaos that surrounded the world in Egyptian belief. Beyond the entrance to the enclosure, there were usually one or more pylon gateways, followed by a courtyard enclosed by a colonnade. This courtyard was likely where commoners delivered offerings and met with the priests. Further in was the covered hypostyle hall, whose columns represented the vegetation of the marshes that were held to have sprung up around the primeval mound, as well as the mythological columns that were believed to hold up the sky. The temple axis led through the hall to the sanctuary, which was surrounded by subsidiary rooms related to the daily business of temple ritual.[76] The entire journey from the temple entrance to the sanctuary was seen as a journey from the human world to the divine realm; thus, the sanctuary was the most sacred part of the temple, and contained a shrine with the image of the temple’s god.[77] Many of them also contained a mound of earth that symbolized the mythical primeval hill.[78] Access to the sanctuary was usually restricted to the pharaoh and the highest-ranking priests.[79] Ritual offerings were typically performed in the morning and evening, either by the pharaoh or, more commonly, the priest acting as his surrogate. In them, the god’s statue was washed, anointed, and elaborately dressed, before food offerings were placed before it or in an offering hall outside the sanctuary. Afterward, when the god had consumed the spiritual essence of the offerings, the items themselves were taken to be distributed among the priests.[80][81] In addition to these daily offerings, there were other rituals performed at certain times of year for particular festivals,

Religious practices

First pylon and colonnade of the Temple of Isis at Philae.

Temples
Temples existed from the earliest periods of Egyptian history, and at the height of the civilization were present in almost every town.[65] These included both mortuary temples to serve the spirits of deceased pharaohs and temples dedicated to patron gods.[66] However, not all gods had temples dedicated to them, as there were many cosmic deities that did not receive widespread worship, and many household gods who were the focus of popular veneration rather than temple worship.[67] Although worship of the gods took place in temples, this was not their primary function. Temples served as symbolic models of the cosmos and as "houses" for the gods, in which the physical images which served as their intermediaries were cared for and provided with offerings.[68] This service was believed to be necessary to sustain the gods, so that they could in turn maintain the universe itself.[69] Thus, temples were central to Egyptian society,[70] and vast resources were devoted to their upkeep.[71] Pharaohs often added to them as part of their obligation to honor the gods, so that many temples grew to be huge[72]– the Temple of Karnak, for instance, is the largest religious structure in the world.[73] In the New Kingdom, a basic temple layout emerged, which had evolved from common elements in Old and Middle Kingdom temples. With variations, this plan was used for most of the temples built from then on, and most of those that survive today adhere to it.[74] In this standard plan, the temple was aligned along a central axis, which was

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and infrequent rituals performed under special circumstances.[82] Temple complexes also included many subsidiary buildings. Among these was the "House of Life," where the temple’s sacred writings and mundane records were kept, and which also served as a center of learning on a multitude of subjects. Many temples probably included sanatoria where sick people came to seek healing by the gods. Larger temples also included kitchens and workshops to produce food and goods for offering to the gods or for the practical needs of the temple, along with storage buildings to keep these industries supplied. Outside the temple proper, there were also large farm lands, quarries, and mines that were owned by the temple and used to support its miniature economy.[83]

Ancient Egyptian religion
were also several specialized roles in the priesthood, such as that of the lector priest, who recited the formulas to which rituals were performed. At the top of the hierarchy in each temple was the high priest, or "first servant of the god." High priests were often appointed by the pharaoh, although the office was frequently passed from father to son and tended to become hereditary. All priests were paid with allotments of land out of the temple’s possessions, and with portions of the daily food offerings. There were also many more people in the employ of each temple, sometimes numbering in the thousands. They included farmers and artisans to supply the temple’s needs, and musicians and chanters who assisted in temple rituals. All were paid with portions of the temple’s income.[89] While actively serving the temple, priests adhered to strict standards of ritual purity. They were required to shave their heads and bodies, wash several times a day, and wear only clean linen clothing. In the service of some specific gods, there were also particular behaviors, such as eating certain foods, from which priests had to refrain. They were not required to be celibate, but sexual intercourse rendered them unclean until they underwent further purification.[90]

Priests
The pharaoh was Egypt’s intermediary with the gods, so in theory, all priests merely acted on his behalf.[84] In fact, during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, there was no separate class of priests; instead, many government officials served in this capacity for several months out of the year before returning to their secular duties. Only in the New Kingdom did professional priesthood become widespread, although most lower-ranking priests were still part-time.[85] However, as the wealth of the temples grew, the influence of the priesthoods increased, until it rivaled that of the pharaoh.[86] In the political fragmentation of the Third Intermediate Period, the high priests of Amun even became the effective rulers of Upper Egypt.[87] Priests were usually male. During the Old Kingdom, many women from wealthy families held important priestly roles, mainly in temples to female deities. However, during the Middle Kingdom women became less prominent in public life, and afterward most of the women involved in temple activities seem to have been in less-important roles, such as singer or musician in religious ceremonies.[88] Priests were divided into several different classes. One of the most important divisions was between the "god’s servants," who were permitted in the temple sanctuary, and the "purifiers," who were not. Purifiers’ duties often entailed non-ritual tasks, and government officials often nominally held this role. There

Magic
Sometimes rituals designed to induce sorcery or witchcraft were performed. This was called heka, and was overseen by a god that was also called "Heka".

Death, Burial and the Afterlife
Egypt had a highly developed view of the afterlife with elaborate rituals for preparing the body and soul for an eternal life after death. Beliefs about the soul and afterlife focused heavily on preservation of the body. The Egyptians believed the ka aspect of the soul needed to be reunited with the ba, to support the akh, the part of each being which ascends to the heavens to take its place among the stars.[91] This meant that embalming and mummification were practised, in order to preserve the individual’s identity in the afterlife. Bodies of the dead were coated inside and out with resin to preserve them, then wrapped with linen bandages, embedded with religious amulets and talismans. In the

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Ancient Egyptian religion

Egyptian funerary figures. case of royalty, the mummy was usually placed inside a series of nested coffins, the outermost of which was a stone sarcophagus. The intestines, lungs, liver, and stomach were preserved separately and stored in canopic jars protected by the four sons of Horus.[92] The heart was left in place because it was thought to be the home of the soul. The standard length of the mummification process was seventy days.[93] Embalmment was reserved for a selected few in the Old Kingdom, but it became available to wider sections of society in later periods. Animals were also mummified, sometimes thought to have been pets of Egyptian families, but more frequently or more likely, they were the representations of deities. The ibis, crocodile, cat, Nile perch, falcon, and baboon can be found in perfect mummified forms. During the Ptolemaic Period, animals were especially bred for the purpose. After a person dies their soul is led into a hall of judgment in Duat by Anubis (god of mummification) and the deceased’s heart, which was the record of the morality of the owner, is weighed against a single feather representing Ma’at (the concept of truth and order). If the outcome is favorable, the deceased is taken to Osiris, god of the afterlife,

The goddess Ma’at, showing her feather in her headdress in Aaru, but the demon Ammit (Eater of Hearts) – part crocodile, part lion, and part hippopotamus – destroys those hearts whom the verdict is against, leaving the owner to remain in Duat. A heart that weighed less than the feather was considered a pure heart, not weighed down by the guilt or sins of one’s actions in life, resulting in a favorable verdict; a heart heavy with guilt and sin from one’s life weighed more than the feather, and so the heart would be eaten by Ammit. An individual without a heart in the afterlife in essence, did not exist as Egyptians believed the heart to be the center of reason and emotion as opposed to the brain which

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was removed and discarded during mummification. Many times a person would be buried with a "surrogate" heart to replace their own for the weighing of the heart ceremony.

Ancient Egyptian religion

New Kingdom
Further information: Legend of Osiris and Isis By the New Kingdom, the Ogdoad and the Ennead were merged into a single syncretized cosmology. In the Ennead, Osiris is the husband of Isis, and sibling of Seth, all of whom are the great-grandchildren of the creator god Atum, and Horus is not present within the system. In the Ogdoad, Osiris is not present within the system, and Horus is son of Atum, the creator god. When the Ennead and Ogdoad merged, Ra and Amun were identified as one, becoming Amun-Ra, and Horus was initially considered the fifth sibling of Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set. However, Horus’ mother, Hathor, gradually became identified as a form of Isis, leading Horus to be Isis’ son, and therefore the son of Osiris.

History
Old Kingdom
The Old Kingdom period is most commonly regarded as spanning the period of time when Egypt was ruled by the Third Dynasty through to the Sixth Dynasty, from 2686 BC to 2134 BCE. It was the beginning of the highest level of cultural development achieved by the ancient Egyptians, whose cultural roots extend six thousand years earlier, into prehistory. Old Kingdom deities: • the Ennead of Heliopolis, whose chief god was Atum, later Atum-Ra[94] • the Ogdoad of Hermopolis,[95] where the chief god was Thoth • the Khnum-Satis-Anuket triad of Elephantine, whose chief god was Khnum • the Amun-Mut-Chons triad of Thebes, whose chief god was Amun[96] • the Ptah-Sekhmet-Nefertem triad of Memphis, unusual in that the gods were unconnected before the triad was formalized, where the chief god was Ptah[94] The Pyramid Texts (roughly 25th to 23nd century BC) contain spells, or "utterances" primarily concerned with protecting the pharaoh’s remains, reanimating his body after death, and helping him ascend to the heavens. As such, they qualify as the oldest known religious texts worldwide, slightly predating the Sumerian hyms of Enheduanna. The "Coffin Texts" are funerary spells related to the Pyramid texts dating to the First Intermediate Period.

Amarna Period

Middle Kingdom
The cult of Amun grew during the Middle Kingdom. Senusret III (1878 BC – 1839 BC) built a fine religious temple at Abydos; while it is now destroyed, surviving reliefs show the high quality of the decorations. He was deified at the end of the Middle Kingdom and worshipped by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom.

Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family praying to Aten A short interval of monotheism (Atenism) occurred under the reign of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) (1350s to 1330s BC), focused on the Egyptian sun deity Aten. The Aten is typically shown as a sun disk with rays coming out of all sides. Akhenaten built a new capital at Amarna with temples for the Aten. This was a symbolic act as Akhenaten wanted a place of worship for the Aten that was not tainted by the visage of other deities. The

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religious change survived only until the death of Akhenaten, and the old religion was quickly restored during the reign of Tutankhamun, however an effort was made to erase Akhenaten’s name from history for his heretical actions.

Ancient Egyptian religion

Revival
With the neopagan emergence in the 20th century, a form of reconstructed ancient Egyptian religion called Kemetism was formed.

Late period
After the fall of the Amarna dynasty, the New Kingdom pantheon survived as the dominant religion, until the Achaemenid conquests. The Egyptian Book of the Dead was standardized (the "Saite Recension") during this time. Herodotus presents us a bleak portrait of Cambyses’ rule, describing the king as mad, ungodly, and cruel. Herodotus may have drawn on an indigenous tradition that reflected the Egyptians’ resentment, especially of the clergy, of Cambyses’ decree[97] curtailing royal grants made to Egyptian temples under Amasis. In order to regain the support of the powerful priestly class, Darius I (522–486 BC) revoked Cambyses’ decree. Shortly before 486 BC, a revolt broke out in Egypt, subdued by Xerxes I only in 484 BC. The province was subjected to harsh punishment for the revolt, and especially its satrap Achaemenes administered the country without regard for the opinion of his subjects.

See also
• Egyptian soul • Sun mythology • List of Egyptian mythology topics (which also lists the particular deities). • Numbers in Egyptian mythology • Kemetism • Religions of the Ancient Near East • Prehistoric religion

References
[1] Allen, James P. (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University Press. p. 43–45. ISBN 0521774837. [2] Fleming, Fergus; Alan Lothian (1997). The Way to Eternity: Egyptian Myth. Amsterdam: Duncan Baird Publishers. p. 12. ISBN 0-7054-3503-2. [3] "Aspects of Monotheism:How God Is One -- Symposium at the Smithsonian Institution, October 19, 1996, The Monotheism of Akhenaten, Donald B. Redford, Biblical Archaeology Society, 1996, ISBN 1880317192 [4] Allen, pp. 43–44. [5] Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 6. ISBN 0500051208. [6] Allen, p. 44. [7] Allen, pp. 43–44. [8] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 30, 32. [9] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 29. [10] Allen, pp. 43-44 [11] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 187-189. [12] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 28. [13] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 31, 92. [14] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 81. [15] Allen, p. 31.

Decline
When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, he went on pilgrimage to the oracle of Amun at the Siwa Oasis. The oracle declared him to be the son of Amun-Re.[98] Egyptian religion continued to thrive during the Ptolemaic period; some cults were syncretized with Greek mystery traditions, exerting influence on Hellenistic magic. Under Roman rule (from 30 BCE), the situation remained largely unchanged. The Romans like the Ptolemies respected and protected Egyptian religion and customs, although the imperial cult of the Roman state and of the Emperor was gradually introduced. Egyptian religion entered a period of decline following the Egyptians’ adoption of Christianity in the first centuries of the common era. Remnants of native traditions lingered in traditionalist pockets such as temple hierarchies, free from persecution but gradually ousted by Early Christianity. The last vestiges of Egyptian religious traditions may have persisted into the 5th century, as reflected in the Hieroglyphica.

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[16] Fleming and Lothian, p. 108. [17] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 60. [18] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 113. [19] Fleming and Lothian, pp. 43–44. [20] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 38–39 [21] Fleming and Lothian, p. 44. [22] Allen, pp. 115-117. [23] Allen, pp. 115-117. [24] Allen, p. 104. [25] Allen, pp. 115-117. [26] Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 21. [27] Allen, pp. 31, 44. [28] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 56. [29] Allen, p. 117. [30] Wilkinson, Richard H. (2000). The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0500051003. [31] Fleming and Lothian, p. 75. [32] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 201. [33] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 207-208. [34] Allen, p. 44. [35] Allen, p. 183. [36] Fleming and Lothian, p. 77. [37] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 141, 147, 153. [38] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 60–63. [39] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 7. [40] Allen, p. 315. [41] Pinch, Geraldine (1994). Magic in Ancient Egypt. University of Texas Press. p. 22. ISBN 0292765592. [42] Fleming and Lothian, p. 23. [43] Fleming and Lothian, p. 24. [44] Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, p. 27. [45] Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, pp. 24–25, 28–29. [46] Allen, p. 126. [47] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 118–119. [48] Fleming and Lothian, pp. 76, 78. [49] Fleming and Lothian, pp. 76–77. [50] Fleming and Lothian, pp. 77–84. [51] Fleming and Lothian, p. 108. [52] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 118. [53] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 119.

Ancient Egyptian religion
[54] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 205–206. [55] Fleming and Lothian, pp. 33, 38–39. [56] Allen, pp. 341–342. [57] Denise Dersin, ed (1996). What Life Was Like On the Banks of the Nile. Time Life Books. p. 151. ISBN 0809493780. [58] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 7. [59] Allen, Middle Egyptian, pp. 315–316. [60] On the Banks of the Nile, p. 148. [61] Allen, p. 316. [62] Pinch, p. 22. [63] Allen, p. 316. [64] Pinch, p. 22. [65] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 16-17. [66] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 6-7. [67] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 82. [68] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 42, 44. [69] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 43. [70] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 8. [71] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 8–9, 50. [72] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 50. [73] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 6. [74] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 20–25. [75] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 36–37. [76] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 54–68. [77] Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 55. [78] Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 127. [79] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 70. [80] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 86–88. [81] Dersin, p. 68. [82] Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 43. [83] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 74–75. [84] Fleming and Lothian, p. 77. [85] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 90-91. [86] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 9, 25. [87] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 26. [88] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 93–94. [89] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, pp. 91–92. [90] Wilkinson, Complete Temples, p. 90. [91] Henri A. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods, University of Chicago Press 1978, p.64 [92] Arthur C. Aufderheide, The Scientific Study of Mummies, Cambridge University Press 2003, p. 258f [93] Herodotus, Euterpe, 2.86 [94] ^ Johnston, Religions of the Ancient World, p. 417 [95] John Gwyn Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and His Cult, Brill 1980, p. 194ff.

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[96] Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, The Cambridge Ancient History, Cambridge University Press 1973, p. 649 [97] known from a Demotic text on the back of papyrus no. 215 in the Bibliotheàque Nationale, Paris [98] Peters, F.E. "The Harvest of Hellenism" p. 42

Ancient Egyptian religion
Thought, Sect. I, vol. 2), Kinshasa-Munich 1987; new ed., Munich-Paris, 2004. Bilolo, Mubabinge, "Les cosmo-théologies philosophiques de l’Égypte Antique. Problématique, prémisses herméneutiques et problèmes majeurs, (Academy of African Thought, Sect. I, vol. 1)", Kinshasa-Munich 1986; new ed., MunichParis, 2003. Bilolo, Mubabinge, "Métaphysique Pharaonique IIIème millénaire av. J.-C. (Academy of African Thought & C.A. DiopCenter for Egyptological Studies-INADEP, Sect. I, vol. 4)", Kinshasa-Munich 1995 ; new ed., Munich-Paris, 2003. Bilolo, Mubabinge, "Le Créateur et la Création dans la pensée memphite et amarnienne. Approche synoptique du Document Philosophique de Memphis et du Grand Hymne Théologique d’Echnaton, (Academy of African Thought, Sect. I, vol. 2)", Kinshasa-Munich 1988; new ed., Munich-Paris, 2004. Pinch, Geraldine, "Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of ancient Egypt". Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-517024-5

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Further reading
• Schulz, R. and M. Seidel, "Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs". Könemann, Cologne 1998. ISBN 3-89508-913-3 • Budge, E. A. Wallis, "Egyptian Religion: Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life (Library of the Mystic Arts)". Citadel Press. August 1, 1991. ISBN 0-8065-1229-6 • Clarysse, Willy; Schoors, Antoon; Willems, Harco; Quaegebeur, Jan, "Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years : Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur", Peeters Publishers, 1998. ISBN 9042906693 • Harris, Geraldine, John Sibbick, and David O’Connor, "Gods and Pharaohs from Egyptian Mythology". Bedrick, 1992. ISBN 0-87226-907-8 • Hart, George, "Egyptian Myths (Legendary Past Series)". University of Texas Press (1st edition), 1997. ISBN 0-292-72076-9 • Osman, Ahmed, Moses and Akhenaten. The Secret History of Egypt at the Time of the Exodus, (December 2002, Inner Traditions International, Limited) ISBN 1-59143-004-6 • Bilolo, Mubabinge, Les cosmo-théologies philosophiques d’Héliopolis et d’Hermopolis. Essai de thématisation et de systématisation, (Academy of African

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External links
• Ancient Egyptian Gods - Aldokkan • Hare, J.B., "ancient Egypt". (sacredtexts.com) • "Ancient Egyptian architecture: temples". University College London. • O’Brien, Alexandra A., "Death in ancient Egypt". • Scarabs : The History, Manufacture and Symbolism of the Scarabæus at Project Gutenberg

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