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Transcript of Egyptian Mythology
*The sun was the most important element!
*Egyptians envisioned that they lived in a universe centered on the Nile River, which flowed on a flat earth.
*Each major city cult had its own theory of creation.
*Egyptians were keen observers of the natural world.
*Not just collection of stories, but an active force in their daily lives!
Divinity in Animals
*A god's power might be manifest in a sacred animal.
*Egyptians did not "literally" worship the animals.
*Headdresses clearly show different animals associated with the god or goddess.
and the Pharaoh
*Major city cults
*Had to continually defend his position as the "son of the gods" against the priesthood
peasant farmers, workers
*Religion focused on these temples.
*Within them, reliefs and statuary portrayed pharaohs and their offerings to the gods.
*They were the intermediary between humanity and the divine.
*Many priests staffed the temples.
*Egyptians believed that their gods needed daily care and rituals just as they did.
*Priests unsealed the sanctuary door in the morning and left a meal within the shrine.
*They would seal the shrine again until the next morning.
*Private rituals for priests
*Periodically, statue was carried in a festive procession.
*The general public left offerings to the gods.
The Capital of Lower Kingdom
*Ptah created the universe using his heart and tongue.
*He "thought" the cosmos into being.
*He "made" all the gods.
*Other Heliopolitan gods were often assimilated into the Memphite as Ptah.
*bearded mummified man
(power), and a
one of the first text-based theogonies, like Jewish and Christian theologies
Memphite: Triad (3)
Heliopolitan: Ennead (9)
Thoth gave birth to himself out of speech and the Ogdoad. Each pair represents a primordial element. When they collided, a mound of earth emerged (Hermopolis- the island of flames). As a bird, Thoth laid an egg from which the sun god Re was born.
As the god of words, Thoth was the heart and tongue of Re.
Nun was the personification of the inert, lightless, watery abyss that existed before creation. Atum created himself by emerging from Nun's waters as a mound of earth. From this earth, he arose again as Re-Atum, the sun. Although Atum, who rose from Nun, was self-created, Nun was honored in Heliopolis as "father of the gods." The next gods to be born were also not really "procreated." The god-pair Shu and Tefnut were sneezed or spat into existence or developed as a product of Atum's masterbation.
Shu and Tefnut
Shu was the dry air between earth and sky, through which sunshine reached the world. His garments were the "wind of life."
Second-born Tefnut, a lioness goddess, was moist air. One day when Shu and Tefnut got lost in the primeval waters, Atum sent out his eye to find them. The tears he shed after finding them and bringing them home became humankind.
Shu and Tefnut produced the sky goddess Nut and the earth god Geb. From them the remaining gods of the Ennead were created--Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys, Hathor.
Nut = sky
*his body was the land
* responsible for earthquakes,
*represents vegetation, fertile
valley of the Nile, fertility
* plants sprouted from his body
* appointed son Osiris to succeed
*depicted lying under Nut on his
*mother of Geb's children
* body made up expansive vault of the sky
* celestial cow = carried sun god Re into sky
when he abandoned earth
*Each evening she swallowed the sun and
he passed through her body to be reborn every morning
Geb's and Nut's children
Once Re forbade Nut from giving birth during the 360 days of the year. Thoth, who was in love with Nut, gambled with the moon to win enough light to create five more days. During this between-year time, Nut gave birth to her children: Osiris, Horus, Seth, Isis, and Nephthys.
*Lord of Underworld *Promiser of Eternal Life
*Judge of the Dead
*Son = Horus
*Skin = green/black
green = renewal,
black = decay,
* white crown =
*Headdress is throne, sun disk, cattlehorns
*symbol of dog star Sirius, Nile flooding
*story of Osiris's death
-- restored Osiris with magic
*story of Re's secret name
Seth / Set
*God of evil
*Sister= Isis, Hathor
*Jackal-like or donkey-like head with long muzzle
*has great physical strength
*God of Storms, Wind, Desert
*symbols: pig, donkey, fish,
*carries an ankh
Carries a crook
-- Seth and sarcophagus
Pharaoh is thought to become
Osiris upon death
*"Great of Magic"
*Often took form of a kite (bird)
*Oversees the dead
*Lord of all foreign countries
* Isis tricks Seth
* Rape of Horus
*son of Osiris and Isis
*wife = Hathor
* white/red crown (unified)
*eyes: right = sun
left = moon
*roles: sky god
god of war and hunting
protector of pharaohs
*as boy- sucking thumb
*as adult- hovering as falcon
*constant battle with Seth
*Birth of Horus *The Eye of Horus *Victory over Seth
Lady of the House
*Parents: Geb, Nut
* Husband: Seth
* Siblings: Osiris, Seth, Isis,
* Children: Anubis
*Goddess of nature, lamentation, sleep, river, night
* Personifies darkness, decay, death
* Female counterpart of Seth (evil)
* Faithful sister and friend of Isis
* Personality: unpredictable , loyal, evil
*Birth of Anubis
* Symbols: kite (bird), crow, skull/bones
*Son of Nephthys and Osiris (Plutarch)
*God of mummification wrappings
and a Funerary God
*Guided souls into Hall of Two Truths
*Holds scales on which the
heart is weighed
-provided the ideal model
*One myth says that Nephthys got Osiris drunk and the resultant seduction brought forth Anubis.
*Yet another says Nephthys disguised herself as Isis and seduced Osiris and subsequently gave birth to Anubis.