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Ra, god of Egypt

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Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Ra (aka Re)

The Mythology & History of ancient Egypt surrounding the Egyptian god Ra, the sun & creator god

 
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Ra, god of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Ra, the Egyptian sun god. Various other Egyptian gods were frequently identified with him, such as Atum and Horus. Ra was usually depicted in human form with a falcon head, crowned with the sun disk encircled by the Uraeus, the sacred cobra. The sun itself was taken to be either his body or his eye. Ra was believed to traverse the sky each day in a solar barque and pass through the realms of the underworld each night on another solar barge to reappear in the east every morning. Ra was also considered to be an underworld god, closely associated with Osiris as Ra resurrected Osiris to rule over the dead. In this capacity he was depicted as a ram-headed figure. Additional, interesting facts and information about ancient Egypt, and its mysterious gods and goddesses, is also available via:

 

Facts about Ra
Who was Ra? Ra was the Egyptian sun deity and creator god.  The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Ra:
 

Ra Profile & Fact File

 

Egyptian Name: Ra or Re
 
Role & Function: The function of this ancient god is described as being the god of creation and the sun
 
Status: He was associated with the Ennead, the name given to the nine original, most important, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses of the cosmogony of Heliopolis (the birthplace of the Gods)
 
Symbols: The Sun disk and the Falcon
 
Alternative Names: Re, Atum-Ra and Ra-Horakhty
 
Name of Parents: According to ancient Egyptian Mythology he was self-created, emerging from the primeval ocean called Nun
 
Names of Children: The goddess Tefnut and the god Shu
 
Cult Center: Ra, was primarily worshipped in the ancient city of Heliopolis
 
Egyptian Mythology: The solar god Ra features in many stories, creation myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology relating to the "Eye of Ra", the Sun Boat, the Tree of Life, the Ben-Ben Stone and the Bennu Bird. His enemy was the Evil serpent-god Apep
 

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Ra in Ancient Egyptian Mythology- The Sun Gods
Ra, the Egyptian sun god, was a old god but there were even more ancient sun gods or solar deities. As the culture of the Egyptians developed some 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. Ra was associated with previous sun gods. Just to add to the confusion he was also referred to as 'Re'! As the "father of the gods," it was natural to the ancient Egyptians that every god should represent some phase of him, and that he should represent every god. The mythology, attributes and symbols associated with the older gods merged with those of the new god, Ra.  These combined deity Ra was therefore closely linked with the gods Atum, Horus and other sun gods.

The new combined deity became known by the new single name of Ra.

Ra in Egyptian Mythology
Ra, the Egyptian sun god, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology. His principal cult centre was at Heliopolis ("sun city"), near modern day Cairo. The stories of Ra, related in ancient Egyptian mythology, adopted the role of Atum in the creation myth of the gods of Heliopolis. Ra was therefore said to have created himself out of the mound that emerged from the primeval waters. He then created Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture), who in turn created the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. From Nut and Geb the gods Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set were born.

Ra and the Pharaohs
The first references to Ra date from the Second Dynasty of the Old Kingdom (2686 BC - 2181 BC). Ra the sun god became so important that the Pharaohs took to calling themselves the "sons of Ra". His worship had increased massively in the fifth dynasty of the period known as the Old Kingdom, when Ra became a state deity. The Egyptian kings and pharaohs had specially aligned pyramids, obelisks, and sun temples built in his honor. The first Pyramid Texts (which eventually formed part of the Book of the Dead) began to arise, giving Ra more and more significance in the journey of the pharaoh through the Underworld. After his death, the Pharaoh was said to ascend into the sky to join the entourage of Ra sun god. During the Middle Kingdom period (2040 BC - 1782 BC), Ra was increasingly affiliated and combined with other chief deities. By the period of the New Kingdom (1570 BC - 1070 BC), the worship of Ra had became more complicated and ostentatious and the notion that Ra aged with the sun became popular. The walls of tombs depicted Ra's journey through the underworld carrying the prayers and blessings of the living with the souls of the dead on the sun boat.

 

Ra

  • The Solar God Re
  • Interesting research information and Facts about the Egyptian god Re
  • Re, the Egyptian sun god
  • Stories and Legends in Egyptian Mythology associated with Re
  • Facts and information about the gods and deities of of classical Egypt for schools, research and kids
  • Re, the Egyptian sun god

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Depictions of Ra in Egyptian Art
The pictures and depictions of Ra in ancient Egyptian art can be found in the tombs, temples, manuscripts and hieroglyphics, artefacts and relics of ancient Egypt. The people of ancient Egypt were able to recognise and distinguish their numerous gods and goddesses by their depictions in art.

  • The god is often depicted holding the Ankh, the key of life, that represented eternal life and the 'Was Scepter' a symbol of divine power and an emblem of authority.
  • His crown, or headdress, of the sun disk symbolized the sun and was usually encircled by the Uraeus, the sacred cobra, a potent emblem of sovereignty, royalty and divine authority
  • He is sometimes also depicted with the head of a ram that is always surmounted with the sun disk and represented his role as a god of the Underworld
Ra on the sun barque with the Bennu Bird

Ra, Isis and Nephthys

Ra on the sun barque with the Bennu Bird

Ra with Isis and Nephthys

Ra in Egyptian Mythology - The Tree of Life, the Benben Stone and the Bennu Bird
The sun god Re was closely associated with the Ancient Egyptian Creation Myth that was associated with the group of gods, called the Ennead of Heliopolis. A great sun temple located in the City of Heliopolis, Egypt, was dedicated to the solar god Ra, and was the mythical home of the Tree of Life. The fruit of the Tree of Life gave Eternal Life and the Knowledge of the Divine Plan. The fruit of the Tree of Life was believed to relate to eternal life with which the gods refreshed aging Pharaohs, further symbolizing the Pharaohs unity with the gods. The Tree of Life was the Seat of the mythical Bennu Bird (phoenix) a phoenix-like bird with beautiful red and golden feathers that symbolized resurrection and the rising sun. The Ben-Ben Stone was believed to be the beacon for the mythical Bennu Bird.

Ra in Egyptian Mythology - The Eye of Ra
The sun god Ra also features in ancient Egyptian mythology in relation to the  the all-seeing Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus. The right "Eye of Ra", represented the sun, and the left eye, represented the moon.

Eye of Horus

Ra in Egyptian Mythology - The Sun Boat
Another of the myths about Ra related to the Sun Boat of Ra which was believed to carry the solar god across the heavens. The Sun Boat was a great ship, called the 'Barque of Ages', in which Ra and his companion gods sailed through the sky giving light to the world and then through the perilous journey of the night, sailing through the underworld. The companion gods of Ra helped defend the sun god against the Serpent god Apep, which represented the victory of right over wrong. The Sun Boat is also the ship in which the gods traveled from the heavens to earth when it was used to travel between the worlds, the Sun Boat as called "The Boat of a Million Years". There were many prayers and spells to help Ra and the sun boat overcome Apep the evil serpent.

The Sun Boat (sun barque or barge of Ra

Picture of the Sun Boat with Ra is depicted crowned by rams horns and the sun disk against Apep

Facts about Ra in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Ra, the Egyptian sun god. The facts about Ra provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Ra in Egyptian Mythology.

Mythology and Facts about Ra

Fact 1: He was associated with the ancient Egyptian mythology relating to the the "Eye of Ra", the Sun Boat, the Tree of Life, the Ben-Ben Stone and the Bennu Bird
 
Fact 2: The Pharaohs and Kings of Egypt aligned themselves with him claiming to be descendents of the god
 
Fact 3: The first references to Ra date from the Second Dynasty of the  of the Old Kingdom (2686 BC - 2181 BC).
 
Fact 4: Worship of the god was at its peak during the period in history known as the New Kingdom (1570 BC - 1070 BC).
 
Fact 5: The Romans conquered Egypt in 30 BC Egypt when the country became a province of the Roman Empire (30BC - 641 AD). Ra was forgotten and became a 'thing of the past'
 
Fact 6: The Egyptians built solar temples in honor of the god which differed from the standard type of Egyptian temple. The sun temples were open to the sunlight and did not feature a statue of the god because he was represented by the sunlight itself
 
Fact 7: The sun represented light, warmth, and growth making the sun deity supremely important
 
Fact 8: Offerings and sacrifices were made to the sun god on a daily basis
 
Fact 9: The ancient Egyptians attempted to emphasize the view that every god, whether foreign or native, was an aspect or form of Ra or Re
 
Fact 10: He gradually usurped the attributes and powers of Atum, Ptah, Horus, and other great gods.
 
Fact 11: Mau, the great cat who killed Apep was believed to be a personification of the Sun god Ra, in the form of a cat.
 
Fact 12: Hieroglyphic representing the God Ra, showing the god seated with sun disk and Uraeus

 

Ra - God of the sun - Egypt - Eygptian - Egyptian Research - Egypten - Egyption - Egipt - Eygpt - Research about Egyptians - Eygptian - Egyptian God - Eygptian - History - Deity - Religion - Mythology - History - Myth - Ancient - Pictures - Images - Egypten - Egyption - Egipt - Eygpt - Facts - School - Homework - Interesting - Information - Definition - Meaning - Kids - Children - Ra - Egyptology - Old Egypt - Religion - Religious Beliefs - Egyptology - Egypten - Egyption - Egipt - Eygpt - Travel - Tours - Nile cruise - Holiday - Cruise - Flights - Hotels - Vacation - Written By Linda Alchin