Ancient Egypt Beliefs and Mythology Beliefs & Mythology MYTHOLOGY The Gods The Gods Creation In the beginning there was darkness. There was nothing but a great body of water called Nun. Nun was limitless. It was believed that Nun always existed, living at the edges of the world and would one day return to destroy it, beginning the cycle of creation all over again. Re Out of the darkness arose Ra... Re • Re was believed to have arisen from Nun as a great, shining egg. • Re was all powerful and could take many forms. • He had a hidden name that held his power. • When he spoke others names they would come into being. Kephri • Kephri is a form of the sun god, Ra. • He is usually depicted as a human with a beetle on his head or as his head. • He rolled the sun across the sky, much like a dung beetle rolls a ball of dung. • His name comes from the Egyptian word, kheprer or "to become“. Atum • Atum was one of the most ancient gods of Egypt. • He was originally an earth god and then became associated with Ra. • He was considered to be the setting sun. • He was one of the first beings to emerge from Nun. • He was originally a serpent in Nun and will return to that form. • Shu and Tefnut were his children. Shu and Tefnut Shu and Tefnut were twins from Atum and believed to be two parts of one soul • • • • • • • • • • • Shu means "dry, parched, withered." He was the god of the air. It was his eternal job to separate his children (earth (Geb) from sky (Nut)) and he is often shown holding his daughter above his son. If he were ever removed from his place then chaos would reign over the earth. He was believed to hold power over snakes He held the ladder the deceased used to climb to heaven. The goddess‘s name is related to the root tef, "to spit, be moist" and nu, "sky, waters". Tefnut is the mother of Geb and Nut. She is depicted in the form of a woman who wears a solar disc with 2 cobras. She holds in her hands the scepter and ankh. Sometimes she has the head of a lioness or is shown as being one. Geb and Nut Geb and Nut were brother and sister, husband and wife They had four children – Isis, Osiris, Nepthys and Set • Geb was a god of the earth. • He guided the dead to heaven and gave them food and drink. • He became “heir of the gods”. • He is usually shown as a man wearing a crown of the north or the south. • The goose was a sacred animal to Geb. • He was sometimes called the Great Cackler because of this. • It was believed that Geb’s laughter caused earthquakes. • He is often shown as having green or dark skin with leaves on him. • Nut was the goddess of the sky. • She was portrayed as a woman who wears a vase of water on her head. • She is often shown as a woman whose hands and feet touch the earth, forming a semi-circle representing the heavens. • She is held up by her father, Shu. • Her husband lies beneath her representing the hills and ground. Isis • Isis was married to her brother, Osiris. • She wears a vulture headdress with the solar disc between a pair of horns. • She was a great magician. • She brought her husband back to life after his death. • Isis was the greatest goddess of Egypt. • She was the purest example of a loving wife and mother which made the people adore her even more. • She is regarded as the giver of life and food to the dead. • Her son was Horus. Osiris • Osiris was a god of the earth and vegetation. • He was the first child of Nut and Geb. • Osiris was the great god of the dead. • He became king and taught the people what to eat to stop them from cannibalism. • He was a god-king and believed to have given Egypt its civilization. • He was killed by this brother Seth. • He is shown as a mummified human with a beard. • He has green skin and is shown holding the flail and crook. Seth • Seth was represented by a bigeared imaginary animal with red hair resembling a donkey or maybe an aardvark. • He was Lord of Lower Egypt. • Seth was married to his sister, Nepthys. • Seth was exiled to the desert for all time after killing his brother, Osiris. • While he was evil, he was also revered as the one who kept the desert at bay. • Seth never had any children. Nepthys • The name "Nebthet" means the "lady of the house." • Nephthys was portrayed as a woman wearing on her head the symbol of her name. • Her son was Anubis, whose father was Osiris. • It was Nepthys’ affair with Osiris that is believed to have caused Seth to kill him. • Nepthys helped Isis restore Osiris from the dead. • She was always depicted as the loyal friend and sister to Isis Horus • Horus was portrayed as a falcon headed god. • Horus carries a falcon-headed staff • He was the son of Osiris and Isis. • He was conceived magically by Isis after the murder of his father. • As a child, he was known as Harpokrates, "the infant Horus“. • He was raised on the floating island of Chemmis near Buto. • His uncle Seth tried to kill him but his mother protected him. • He eventually banished his uncle to the desert for eternity. • He was one of the most important gods of Egypt. • It was said the Pharaoh was the human body of Horus. Anubis • Anubis was the son of Nephthys, and his father was Osiris. • He is the jackal-god of mummification who helps the dead be admitted to the Underworld. • He had three important functions: – Embalming the dead – Receving the mummy into the tomb and performing the Opening of the Mouth ceremony and then conducting the soul in the Field of Celestial Offerings – Most importantly he monitored the Scales of Truth to protect the dead from deception and eternal death • He was originally known as the god of the dead but was replaced by Osiris as he became more popular. • Anubis is portrayed as a man with the head of a jackal holding the divine scepter carried by kings and gods. • Egyptians worshipped Anubis to help protect their dead from jackals and the decay of death. Family Tree of Ra Nun Ra Atum Shu Nepthys Anubis Tefnut Geb Nut Osiris Isis Horus Seth BELIEFS Beliefs • The ancient Egyptians were the first to develop the beginnings of a religion. • Their beliefs developed slowly over the centuries. • It eventually developed into a world view shared by the people of the Nile. • Before the concept of God, power was depicted in the hieroglyph of a scepter. • There was no single belief system but the Egyptians shared an understanding of how the world was created and believed that chaos would reign if the destructive powers of the universe were unleashed. • The ancients were very devout in their beliefs. • They worshipped daily in many ways, such as: – Offering food, drink, clothing and ointment to the dead – Performing Rituals • They were dedicated to their gods. • The ancient Egyptians were a highly sophisticated society. • They were not unlike us today in that they had strong morals and values. • They had a strong sense of justice. • They wore amulets to ward off evil. • Magical texts were written in tombs to protect against grave robbers. • Spells, rituals, and concoctions were used to treat the sick or injured. • It was considered the will of the god if the magic didn’t work. • Everything that happened had spiritual meaning and had a unique god assigned to it. The Afterlife • The two most important concepts concerning the afterlife were the ka and the Ba. • The ka was a kind of other self that guided the fortunes of the person in life. • When people died they were said to have joined their ka. • The Ba is loosely the person’s soul. • Represented as a bird, the Ba was the manifestation of the individual after death. • The ancient Egyptians believed that the dead were still very powerful. • A negative spirit of a dead loved one could often be blamed for what was going on in a person’s life. • It was believed that the ancients wrote letters to the newly dead to ask them to protect them from ill fortune and to remind them that they treated them well while they were alive. The Underworld • The Egyptians believed that when they died they would journey to another world – the Underworld – where they would lead a new life. • They would need all of their earthly possessions in this other life which is why their most treasured belongings were put into their tombs. • In order to pass into the afterlife they believed that they would have to face great perils and go through dangerous places. • These places would have such obstacles as monsters, fires, boiling lakes, and spitting, poisonous snakes. • They would write down spells and leave them in or near the coffin as these spells could overcome the evil. • If they overcame the evil then they would reach the gates of Yaru and meet their friends again. • Before they could do this, they had to pass the greatest test of all in the Hall of Two Truths. Hall of Two Truths • This was the test that allowed a person to pass fully into the Afterlife. • It consisted of weighing the person’s heart (this was the only organ left in the body). • The heart was placed on one side of a balance scale and on the other was place the Feather of Truth. • The Feather of Truth held all of the person’s lies and sins from their life. • Osiris, Anubis, and Toth were the three great gods who gave the results of the test. Results of the Hall of Two Truths • If the person passed they were allowed into the gates of Yaru. • If the person failed their heart was eaten by a monster known as the ‘Devourer’. • The devourer was part hippopotamus, part lion, and part crocodile. • Once the dead person’s heart was eaten by the Devourer that person was gone forever. Summarization Summarization • Ancient Egyptian civilization was based on their religion and their beliefs were important to them. • They believed in many, many gods of which we discussed some of the most important ones. • Death was not the end of life for them, but merely an interruption as they believed in the afterlife. • Their religion was closely linked with aspects of their daily lives and their political systems. • They were logical in their beliefs and their stories are woven from actual facts of their daily lives. • Their main goals were to keep the forces of chaos at bay and to ensure a secure afterlife.