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Egyptian Gods

Dawn of Egyptian Gods

Priests of Anubis, The guide of the dead and t...

Nobody seems to have known exactly how old the ancient Egyptian religion is, though it is evident that it is older than dynastic Egypt itself. The way ancient Egyptians cared so much about burying their dead, both humans and animals, show that they had some considerable amount of religious beliefs, since usually caring that much about the afterlife didn’t occur without religious reason.

Egyptians always needed a physical image to associate with their deities; Egyptian gods manifested in so many forms. Animals, forces of nature, statues and later in humans.

The four sons of Horus: (from left) Imsety, Du...

The four sons of Horus: (from left) Imsety, Duamutef, Hapy, and Qebehsenuef. Part of the ancient Egyptian religion, the four sons of Horus are protectors for four internal organs of the deceased. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first forms of manifestation seems to have been animals that held some importance and power within the Egyptian society, the lion, falcon, jackal and cow were probably the first manifestation of the Egyptian gods.

Lions because they held some considerable physical power, and cows because they held some social and ritual power, that is seen by the way their give milk and thus life.

Aker, an ancient Egyptian personification of t...

Aker, an ancient Egyptian personification of the horizon. Two lions symbolize ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’ with the sun-disk rising between the symbolic horizon between them. The hieroglyph for ‘sky’ spans across the top. Based on New Kingdom tomb paintings and the book of the dead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Power of the Egyptian Gods:

Egyptian gods held some incomparable power. The ruling Pharaoh ruled in the name of the Egyptian gods, so it was essential that he would defend those gods with all his might, since their existence was a must for his own.

Apart from that political power, Egyptian gods held some great spiritual power over the society and the life of ancient Egyptians. Not only mighty pharaohs built massive temples to serve those gods, even the common Egyptian man usually had some ritual items or spot in his place. Evidence show repeatedly that many people had a part of their house that served as a bed and ritual spot where they would take a minute, or more, to give prayers and thanks to their deities.

Egyptian Gods‘ Followers, from Winners to Sinners:

Though Alexander the Great seems to have shown some special respect to the various Egyptian gods, and even to have contributed in building and developing some Egyptian temples, the latter Christian and Muslim conquerers of Egypt didn’t show as much respect the Egyptian religion, since obviously their interests contradicted with those of the native believers in the ancient religion.

Rome has decided to shut down all pagan temples around the Roman empire, which Egypt by then, unfortunate for its culture and religious doctrines, was a part of. Not only all temples were closed, it was also getting “unacceptable” for Egyptians to practice their native religion.

But to the surprise of Egyptologists, it is evident that still hundreds of years after the technical death of the Egyptian gods, Egyptian asked the Roman emperor to let them have the statue of goddess Isis to have her visiting her relatives in upper Egypt. Makes one wonder when exactly Egyptians started letting go of their faith.

By the time Arabs conquered Egypt, there wasn’t that much of the ancient religion to destroy. The statues of “kafira” (infidel) that the ancient Egyptian religion granted from Muslims wasn’t that much better than “pagan” that Romans gave it.

When Muslims and Christians weren’t in good terms, Christian monks believe to have escaped the persecution and found a shelter within the walls of the persecuted tombs and temples of ancient Egypt, but ironically, those monks have ripped many of the reliefs on those tombs because they distracted them from practicing their religion, not to mention that the reliefs represented “fake” religion that they didn’t want to be associated with.

Original Author: Adam Kenawee Full Bio

Learn more at Adam Kenawee’s featured article on HugPages: Egyptian Gods.

Posted in Animal Deities, Egypt, Lions.

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