The Egyptians have countless gods and a diverse stream of functions and aspects. There were gods worshiped all over Egypt and others worshiped only in certain places. The first gods were connected with death and burial, like Osiris. The power of these deities surpassed human capacity. They could be present in various places at the same time, take on various forms, even of animals, and interfere directly with the phenomena of nature.
The Egyptian gods have much in common with men: they can be born, grow old, die: they have a body that must be fed, a name, and feelings. Unlike humans, they have exceptional power of transformation.
The powers of the gods are always compared to elemental properties of nature or animals which at times give rise to astounding hybrid representations. To represent the gods, all combinations are possible: fully human deities, fully animal gods, with man’s body and animal’s head, with the whole animal in place of the head (the scarab, for example) or with a human head. There are animals common to many deities (the hawk, the vulture, the lioness) and others that are characteristic of only one (ibis of Thot, the beetle of Khepri).
The Egyptians mummified and buried their domestic animals. Especially at a relatively late date, during the 1st millennium BC the Egyptians sacrificed animals to mummify them and pile them by thousands in special cemeteries. They are probably ex-votos that the devotees bought from the priests to offer their god their favorite animal. The cult of the sacred bulls is much older: a single animal becomes a terrestrial manifestation of the god. He is entitled to a burial with great pomp.
There were innumerable Gods, being unavoidable to rivalries and contradictions. Below are the most famous Egyptian gods:
Ammon is the lord of the temples of Luxor and Carnac. Mutis his wife and Khonsu his son. His personality was formed in around 2000 BC, and brings some functions of Ra: under the name Amon-Ra.It is the sun that gives life to the country. Ammon became a monarch, the same title as Ptah and Ra. He is frequently depicted as a man dressed in the royal tunic and wearing two high feathers on the right side.He manifested himself equally in the form of a ram, and more rarely, of a goose.
The God Ra is responsible for the creation of the world and represents the Sun. It is described in various ways, from the face of a bird of prey, to a scarab. The Egyptians believed that their king (Pharaoh) was the incarnation of Ra. In Heliopolis (the city of the sun in Greek) it is he who after deciding to exist, creates the world and keeps it alive. When it disappears in the west at night, it is Tuna, old and crooked.
Tuna waits for the dead which are heated with their rays. In the morning, it is reborn in the east in the form of a beetle (Khepri). It brightens the earth during the day, and is always in the shape of a hawk. These three aspects and 72 others are invoked always at the entrance of the royal tombs. Ra, the Sun God, joined to the God Amon, forms Amon-Ra, the chief Egyptian God.
The story of Osiris has several interpretations. First is the creation of the reports. Their generation is the last to be born and does not represent more material elements of the world (space, light, earth, sky …). Osiris is the king, husband and a father. He represents the existence of the normal structures of human society.
Another version: Osiris is dead, destroyed and resurrected. He evokes the return of the flood every year, and also death, rebirth of vegetation and humans. For this reason, he is the God of the dead and rebirth. He is believed to be a direct descendant of Ra (the God of creation).
Osiris is the eldest son of the Geb and Nut, a couple. He reigned over the earth as the first Pharaoh of Egypt. This went on until he was murdered by his brother Set. There is an ancient legend involving Osiris, best known in the Greek version. He succeeds his father on the throne of Egypt. His brother gets jealous and cannot carry with him. His brother kills him and scatters the pieces of his corpse all over the country.
His sisters, Isis and Nephthys, meet him again and with the help of Anubis restore his life to allow Isis to conceive of Horus. Having bequeathed land royalty to his son. Osiris reigns in the underworld and judges the dead.
No other god has swarmed as much fame as the Isis. She is the most popular of all Egyptian goddesses, the model of wives and mothers, and the protector of the invincible magic. After the death of Osiris, she gathers the pieces of her spoils, turns into a bird to mourn him, strives to revive him and conceives a son, Horus. He uses a seat with a backrest that is the hieroglyph of his name.
The owner of magical, protective and pious powers, the sister-wife of Osiris was the last Egyptian deity to be worshiped in Europe before the arrival of Christianity. The river Nile was born of the tears she shed when Osiris died.
Seth, the god of chaos, is responsible for wars and darkness. He killed his brother- Osiris, but lost the supremacy of Egypt to the nephew- Horus. He is of the shape of a pig-anthill, the rare animal of Africa. Seth is the Lord of Upper Egypt. He has the appearance of a strange dog-like animalwith long cut ears, a crooked snout and a long, split tail. Son of Geb and Nut, Seth is a complex and ambiguous God.
From the bow of Ra’s boat, he spears the enemies of the sun with his spear; he serves Pharaoh, fighting with the strength of his arm. He is also dangerous, violent, and unpredictable. The legend of Osiris shows him on a bad day: murderer of his own brother,and hatred with Horus. Seth never renounces struggle, for he is the necessary troublemaker in a world ruled by Maath.
In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys was the sister and wife of Osiris and Set respectively. She is associated with the cult of the dead and sometimes shown as a woman next to sarcophagi. Nephthys is one of the daughters of Geb and Nut, the sister of Isis, Osiris and Seth. Her name means “Lady of the Castle.”
She is the latter’s wife, but when he betrays and kills Osiris, she remains in sympathy with Isis.This helps her to gather the scattered members of the dead and take the form of a bird to veil and weep. Like Isis, she protects the sarcophagi and one of the canopic vases.She also uses her name on her head in a basket placed in a building. It is still in the campaign of Isis that she receives the rising sun and defends it against the terrible serpent Apophis.
Horus was the Son of Osiris and Isis.He hasa hawk’s head and is the protector of the pharaohs and their families. When he lost his father, he fought against Set, by the throne of the chief God of Egypt. After the intervention of Osiris, direct from the Beyond, the other gods acclaimed Horus as supreme leader. Horus had a difficult childhood and his mother had to hide him from Seth, who coveted the throne of his father. After triumphing over Seth and the forces of disorder, he took possession of the throne of the living; Pharaoh is his manifestation on earth.
He is represented as a hawk-headed man or as a hawk, always wearing the two king crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt and holding in his right hand the ankh, symbol of life. As the God of the sky, Horus is the hawk whose eyes are the sun and the moon. With the name “Horus of the horizon”, it assumes one of the forms of the sun, which brightens the earth during the day.
The wife of Horus is the guardian goddess of women (especially pregnant women) and protector of lovers. Hathor is, next to Isis, the most venerated of the goddesses. She is the distributor of joy, the goddess of love, happiness, dance and music. She is also the protector of the necropolis of Thebes that leaves the cliff to welcome the dead and veil the graves.
In ancient Egypt, the cow was considered a gentle animal, so Hathor is depicted and worshiped in the form of a woman with a cow’s horn and a solar disk on her head, a woman with a cow’s head or simply a cow.
This jackal-headed God was born of the union of Osiris and Nephthys. He plays an important role in the transition to the world of the dead. Anubis is the master of the cemeteries and the patron of embalmers. He owes the prototype of the mummies, for it was he who created the first mummy, while preparing the body of his murdered father (Osiris).
Every Egyptian hopes to benefit in his death from the same treatment and the same rebirth of this first mummy. Anubis also introduces the dead in the afterlife and protects their tombs in the form of a dog lying in a chapel or coffin. He is depicted as a man with a dog’s head or a form of a dog or in the form of a wild dog.
His origin is controversial. Some texts present him as the son of Ra, while others as Set. With the head of a bird (ibis) is the moon god of wisdom and healing. Thoth is a chaste God, wise, assistant and secretary-archivist of the Gods. He is the patron of the scribes. He is the one who brought the hieroglyphs to Egypt.The revelation of almost all intellectual disciplines, like writing, arithmetic, sciences in general and magic, is attributed to him.
He is the God-scribe and the literate God par excellence. He is the master of wisdom and magic. Thoth presides over time. The disk in the head is the moon, whose phases are the rhythm of the days and the nights. Thoth is represented as an ibis or a man with ibis head, or even a baboon.
She is linked to fertility. Bastet is the goddess of sexuality and childbirth. She is one of Ra’s daughters. According to the tradition, she was the embodiment of the soul of Isis and protector of her magic. Bastet is the Goddess of War and has a deep relationship with the Goddess Mut and Sekhmet. After 1000 BC, her image took the form of a cat, an animal that brings good luck to the Egyptians.
She is depicted as a woman with a cat’s head or a lion’s head. Cats in ancient Egypt had a very important meaning, being idolized as gods. Goddess Bastet is a testament to the fascination that cats exercised in the peoples of Ancient Egypt.
She is the powerful goddess with lion head. She is the daughter of Ra, but reflects the destructive aspect of the Sun. Sekhmeth was sent by Ra to punish the humans who came to worship a God-shaped snake. Sekhmet (the power) is a bad character and has terrible fury that can spread fiery winds, epidemics and death in the country.
Appeased by feasts and offerings, it becomes possible to obtain her help against Apophis (who opposes the sun’s progress). The enemies of the king in times of war or the agents responsible for the disease in the body of men. Her priests are experts in magic and medicine.
In Memphis, Sekhmet is the wife of Ptah and mother of Nefertum. She is almost always represented as a woman with a lion’s head, crowned with the solar disk.
This Goddess, who has an ostrich feather on her head, represents the balance and harmony of the Universe as it was originally created. In society, this respect for balance implies the practice of fairness, truth, justice, respect for laws and individuals and an awareness of the fact that the treatment inflicted on others can be inflicted upon us. It is Maát, very symbolically, that offers herself to the Gods in the temples. She takes care of the courts and also has temples.
She is the God of Memphis, the capital of Egypt in the Old Kingdom. Ptah is “one who likes the gods and makes men” and “who created the arts.” He conceived the world in thought and created it by his word. His great priest is called “the superior of the craftsmen”.
He is really, much venerated by the manual workers, particularly by the goldsmiths. Ptah is represented in a coloring dress that gives the impression of being without a neck and wearing a cap. He has as wife, the goddess Sekhmet and a son, the God of the water lily, Nefertum.
She is the oldest goddess mentioned by the texts, perhaps the protector of Lower Egypt well before the unification of the country. Venerated primarily in Sais, in the Delta, she is represented as a woman wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. Her name is written with two arrows or two arcs, which designates well as a warrior goddess. She is also protective and seems to be a self-sufficient deity, one of the few female creative principles among the Egyptian gods.
He was revered by the workers as founder of the Tomb of the institution. The divinized King Amenophis I, is in turn, a God and a kind of patron saint. Son of Queen Ahemes-Nefertari and King Amophis, it is not known where his tomb would be. He is dedicated to stelae, besides a party important enough to name the month during which it happens. The statue of Amenhotep, carried in procession over every necropolis, produces oracles.
She is the lady of the Theban necropolis, the goddess of the highest peak that dominates the mountain massif. Her notoriety far exceeds the local plan, but within these limits is much venerated, particularly by the workers of the Tomb.
Meretseger has chapels in his town even in the houses as well as a small temple dug in the rock near the Valley of the Queens where it is associated with the Ptah. She protects the dead and punishes the wicked. More often represented as a serpent, sometimes with a human head.
It is known with certainty that this deity was indeed a man, a great sage who appeared mysteriously in the reign of Pharaoh Djozer. Under him, remarkable advances were made in the field of architecture and medical sciences.The Greeks themselves later reverenced him under the name of Aesculapius, the father of medicine. Imoteph in ancient Egyptian means “the one who came in peace”.
Finding his tomb (if it exists) is the golden dream of all Egyptologists. The ancient traditions say that this God after fulfilling his mission on Earth, returned to the company of the gods.