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Egyptian Religion

 

Ancient Egypt for kids - The Ancient Egyptian Religion

The history of ancient Egypt and how the ancient Egyptians worshipped their gods and the Egyptian Religion

Egyptian Gods

 

The Egyptian Religion
Discover interesting facts and information about the Ancient Egyptian Religion. Enter the ancient world of Egypt and learn about how the ancient Egyptians worshipped their gods and goddesses and the Egyptian Religion, temples, statues, ceremonies and rituals. Learn about their religious beliefs, the creation myths, their cults and how they worshipped their many gods and goddesses. Ancient Egyptian religion was preoccupied with death and preparing for the event including protection such as the
Book of the Dead. The most famous gods of Egypt were the creator sun god Ra, the jackal headed Anubis the god of the dead and Osiris, the god of the death.

 

The Egyptian Religion - The worship of many gods (a polytheistic religion)
The religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians was based on the huge number of gods and goddesses. The worship of many divinities and deities is called a polytheistic religion. The worship of one god was called monotheism. The ancient Egyptians developed a clever way to enable the people of Egypt to be able to recognise and identify their gods and goddesses at a glance. Each god was represented in a consistent but highly stylized fashion with symbolic colors and symbols that told a visual story.
 

The Egyptian Religion - Alien Concepts
The religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians were totally different to those of modern civilisations with totally alien concepts.

  • There was no single god, the Egyptian religion allowed for an unlimited number of gods
  • There were different versions of the Creation myth, which featured different gods
  • There was not a single ‘Holy Book’, such as the Bible or the Koran
  • The Egyptians believed that the dead would need to travel through the Underworld which was a land of great dangers
  • The famous 'Book of the Dead' was a 'guide to the underworld' consisting of a collection of protective spells
  • The ancient Egyptians believed that preserving the body in death by the process of mummification was essential to keep the soul alive and for eternal life
  • Additional facts and information are detailed in the Concept of the soul, the Ka and Ba.

The Egyptian Religion - Syncretism
As the culture of the ancient Egyptians developed many of their ancient gods were subsumed (meaning absorbed) into new gods. The practice of creating new deities by combining them with old deities is called 'syncretism', meaning the fusion of religious beliefs and practices to form a new system.

The Egyptian Religion - Creation Myth and Cults
Over 2000 gods and goddesses were worshipped in the ancient Egyptian religion, but most of these were local gods. The most famous gods of Egypt had political backing leading to large followings and cult centers. Priests in different regions in Egypt vied for position, there were cults in Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, before the country was unified. The Egyptian Priests evolved a Creation myths in an attempt to explain how some of the major Egyptian Gods and Goddesses came into being and religious explanations of the nature and beginnings of the universe and the creation of mankind.

The Egyptian Religion - The Cults
There were several famous religious cults that provided the base of ancient Egyptian religion. The names of the cults indicated the number of major gods worshipped in the cult and the location of the cult center. The major cults of ancient Egyptian religion were the Ennead of Heliopolis, the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, the Triad of Thebes and the Triad of Memphis.

  • The term 'Ennead of Heliopolis' is applied to the nine most important gods associated with a major cult center based at the ancient Egyptian city of 'On', renamed Heliopolis by the Greeks
    • The word 'Ennead' means a company of nine gods
  • The names of the famous nine gods in the Ennead of Heliopolis were Atum, Geb, Isis, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Set, Shu and Tefnut.

The Egyptian Religion - The Ogdoad of Hermopolis Cult
The Ogdoad of Hermopolis (Khmunu) consisted of 4 pairs of aquatic gods represented by frogs and the goddesses represented by snakes or cobras.

  • The word 'Ogdoad' means eight
  • The names of the gods and goddesses in the Ogdoad of Hermopolis were Amun and Amaunet, Heh and Hehet, Kek and Keket, and Nun and Naunet

The Egyptian Religious Cults - The Triad of Thebes
Other groups of gods that featured in Egyptian religion consisted of three gods (called triads). The Triad of Thebes consisted of Amun, his consort Mut, the mother goddess and her son, Khonsu. For additional information refer to the
Triads of Egyptian Gods

The Egyptian Religious Cults - The Triad of Memphis
The The Triad of Memphis centred around the cult of the god Ptah, his wife Sekhmet, lioness of war and their son Nefertem. The theology of Heliopolis was based upon sun worship, whereas that of Memphis was based upon earth worship of Ptah.

The Egyptian Religious Cults - The Elephantine Triad
Elephantine is situated at Aswan standing at the border between Egypt and Nubia and was the cult center for the three gods Khnum, Satet the war goddess of the flood or inundation and their daughter Anuket, the goddess of the cataracts.

The Egyptian Religion - Preoccupied with Death
The Ancient Egyptian religion was preoccupied with death and preparing for the event.  Their preoccupation with death, the supernatural, magic charms and magic spells permeated to all levels of society. Priests chanted prayers or spells to cure ailments and ward off danger, illness and evil spirits. The death rituals and the spells known only by the priests made them extremely powerful.

 

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Interesting Information and Facts about the Egyptian Religion
The comprehensive Fact Sheet details many fascinating pieces of interesting information, history, mythology and legends about ancient Egyptian religion. The article on Egyptian symbols and signs will also prove useful.

Facts about Egyptian Religion


Egyptian Religion Fact 1:

The ancient Egyptians did not worship many animals, the depiction of a god or goddess as an animal was a identification device to convey the symbols and attributes of the deity
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 2:The crowns and headdresses worn by the gods were all symbolic and had different meanings. The different types of crowns and headdresses identified the wearer, the status, the cult location and the identity of the god or goddess
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 3:Some animals were seen as sacred as the Ancient Egyptians believed that the Spirit of a God resided in these animals
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 4:

Temples were believed to be the dwelling place of the gods and goddesses. Only priests, priestesses and the Pharaoh or queen, were allowed inside the temples
 

Egyptian Religion Fact 5:Gods and goddesses were offered various gifts, which were accepted by the temple priests who offered prayers on behalf of the donor
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 6:

The statues of the gods and goddesses were believed to be living embodiments of the deities. Prayers were offered to the statues of the together with physical items such as food and drink
 

Egyptian Religion Fact 7:The statues of the Egyptian Religion were washed with Lotus scented water, oiled and adorned with make-up, jewelry and clothes
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 8:The gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt were believed to have the same emotions and feelings as humans, they married and had families. They wore the same style of clothes as mortals but in the finest of materials. They also required nourishment.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 9:The priests of Egypt evolved a family trees of the gods to explain their relationships
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 10:In Egyptian Religion items carried by, or surrounding the gods and goddesses were all highly symbolic and many related to the stories told in the creation myths. Refer to articles on the Symbols of ancient Egypt.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 11:Divine Kingship - In Egyptian Religion the Kings and queens of Egypt were believed to be living Gods. Pharaohs believed that they became gods in the afterlife
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 12:The Pyramids were believed to be resurrection vehicles - a 'Stargate' leading to heaven and eternal life.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 13:Obelisks were believed to act as magical protection to religious monuments such as temples and tombs.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 14:All Egyptians provided for their afterlives according to their earthly means
 

Facts about Egyptian Religion

 

Ancient Egyptian Religion

  • Interesting information and Facts about ancient Egyptian Religion
  • The symbolism of ancient Pictures of the Egyptians
  • Creation myths, cults, history and Art styles associated with Egyptian Religion
  • Facts and information about the ancient Egyptian Religion for schools, research and kids
  • Facts and info about Egyptian Religion for kids, schools and homework help

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Facts about Egyptian Religion

Egyptian Religion Fact 15:According to Egyptian Religion the Underworld, called Duat, was a land of terrifying dangers through which every soul  would need to pass through after death
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 16:Mummification: It was the religious belief that preserving the body in death was important to keep the soul alive. In the process of mummification the brain and the internal organs, except the heart, were removed.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 17:It was the religious belief that a physical body was essential for an eternal life for the deceased, without which the soul had no place to dwell and remain restless forever
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 18:The Book of the Dead was a work commissioned by an ancient scribe called Ani. The Book of the Dead was like a guidebook to perils of the Underworld which contained spells and instructions which according to Egyptian Religion would ensure safe passage through the dangers.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 19:Funeral prayers and spells were chanted to Egyptian Gods and a papyrus scroll of the Book of the Dead was buried with the Ancient Egyptians
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 20:Anubis , the Jackal-headed God of the Dead, would lead the dead in the Underworld to the Hall of Two Truths
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 21:The 'Declaration of Innocence' was important part of Egyptian Religion and declarations were made to Osiris and the 42 judges of the court consisting of a series of denials about their life on earth such as "I have not killed, I have not robbed and I have not lied"
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 22:In the Hall of the Two Truths the heart was weighed against the feather of truth and fate would be decided - entrance into the perfect afterlife or to be sent to the Devourer of the Dead
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 23:The Afterlife was the equivalent to paradise where a perfect existence would be enjoyed
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 24:Protective spells were cast and amulets containing magic spells played an important role in religious beliefs and burial rituals.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 25:There was a divergence from the religious beliefs during the transient Armana period during the reign of Akhenaten, the heretic Pharaoh and the father of Tutankhamen who ruled Egypt 1351 BC -1337 BC. Armana was the site of a city entirely built under the instructions of Akhenaten and a whole new  religion developed during this period, to the fury of the old priests of the old Egyptian Religion
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 26:Akhenaten instigated radical changes to the Egyptian Religion and how people worshipped. He drastically changed Ancient Egypt from a polytheistic religion, with many gods, to monotheism (the worship of one god). The new, sole god was called the Aten. The role of the priest in the new Egyptian Religion was decreased as only the Pharaoh and his chief wife Nefertiti were allowed to directly worship the Aten.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 27:The new religion lasted for just 17 years and, on the death of Akhenaten, the old Egyptian Religion with its beliefs in many gods and goddesses were re-established.
 
Egyptian Religion Fact 28:The religion of the Ancient Egyptians survived for over 3000 years
 

Facts about Egyptian Religion

The Egyptian Religion - Depictions of the Gods and Goddesses
The appearance of some of the gods and goddesses in the ancient Egyptian religion closely resembled humans. However, many of the gods and goddesses worshipped in ancient Egypt were perceived as 'human hybrids'. Depictions of these gods took on the form and characteristics of animals such as the crocodile, cat, jackal, cobra, scarab beetle, ram or falcon. The bodies of these gods and goddesses were human but their heads adopted the appearance of animals and birds. Images of the gods and goddesses worshipped in Egyptian Religion are found in ancient Egyptian Gods Art,  in Hieroglyphics, artefacts, statues, tombs and relics.

 

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