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Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

The ancient Egypt religion played a central role in the lives of people. The inhabitants of the region had long worshiped natural objects such as animals, stones, trees, and mountains. Over a period of time, a colorful pantheon of animal gods emerged as a reflection of the varied wildlife that once thrived in Egypt.

Although these gods were initially represented in their natural forms, many were eventually depicted in human form, with only the heads retaining animal features. Amongst these animal deities were the lion-god Mahes, the hippopotamus-goddess Taurit, the crocodile-god Sebek, and the frog-goddess Heqit.

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

The scarab beetle was also sacred, and the most popular of good-luck charms. On account of its habit of pushing a ball of dung over large distances, the beetle came to be identified with the sun-god Khapre, who in Egyptian mythology pushed the sun across the sky everyday.

Furthermore, the scarab's young, which seemed to miraculously hatch from dung, was likened to life emerging from the earth, thereby making the beetle a powerful symbol of regeneration. Accordingly, it was customary to bury scarab-shaped amulets with the dead.
 
The cat was also accorded a special place in Egyptian society. The cat-headed goddess Bastet was closely identified with the sun's power to ripen crops. The reverence in which cats were held led the Egyptians to develop something of a penchant for embalming their feline friends, as testified to by the countless cat-mummies discovered lying in special cemeteries.

The abundance of different gods did not mean that Egyptians worshipped them all. In fact each village had its own deity, one that might well be completely unknown by outsiders. Usually, these gods were presented as triads, that is with their wife and child. In the case of the big-city gods, their status very much depended on the fortunes of their city.

Thus when a city became the capital, its principal deity would be elevated to the status of the national god. For example, when Memphis was the capital, its god Ptah was the national god. When Thebes became the capital, the god Amun was similarly brought to prominence.

These the national gods were, by and large, the concern of the ruling elite. They played little or no part in the lives of ordinary Egyptians, who continued to worship local gods in temples especially dedicated to them.

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the gods were, in fact, believed to have originally been mortals, albeit ones who were extraordinary and extremely long-lived. Having died, it was the job of the temple priests to ensure that their spirit, known as the ka, was perpetuated.



Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion


Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion


Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion

Ancient Egyptian Mythology and Religion




Therefore, in temples that were often erected on the site where the god in question was thought to have been buried, the priests summoned the ka daily, using pictures or statues, and made vital offerings food and drink to ensure their eternal survival.

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