The Myths of Ancient Egypt

Paper Type: 
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2055 Words
Date:  2021-03-15

Egyptian Mythology can be perceived to be the set of the myths, emanating from the ancient Egypt that entirely describe the actions of the Egyptian gods, which are paramount when trying to understand or decipher the world. The beliefs that depicted in these myths are considered to be integral elements in the ancient Egyptian religion, implying that Egyptian mythology was a structural belief that underlined and or formed the basis of the Egyptian culture, ranging back from c. 4000 BCE to 30 CE, which coincided with the death of the Cleopatra VII (Mark 2). It apparent that various aspects of life in ancient Egypt revolved around the creation of the world and as well as the sustainability of the world by the gods. It follows that the Egyptian religious beliefs, which are the apex of the ancient Egypt mythology had a huge influence on other cultures, globally.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The Creation of the World.

According to the Egyptian myths, their journey of life coincided with the creation of the world and the universe. This implies that the creation of the world or cosmos is considered to be the core feature as far as the Egyptian religion is concerned (Nardo 18). From the ancient myths pertaining the creation of the world, it is noted that Cosmogony, is any given story that tries to recount how the cosmos and other things constituted in it came into being. It is revealed that Egyptians had various cosmogonies that were almost similar to each other. This is contradictory to the current religions such as Muslims, Hindu, Jews or Christianity who only have a single story, giving an account of the creation.

Egyptians have several cosmogonies due to the existence of several Egyptian creation myth. Apparently, the Egyptian religion was local in nature. Each town or a region identified itself with its own patron deity (Nardo 18). Basically, in each town, the temple was constructed on the site that is believed to be an area in which creation of the universe took place. This implies that each town or an area had its creation myth that is different to one another. In addition, each region had its own local god, who was believed to be the creator of everything that exists in their cosmos. It is through these religious beliefs and practices that led to the development and emergence of the regions identified with strong local religious beliefs and traditions.

Pharaohs, who were the kings on the national level acknowledged the importance of the local traditions and beliefs observed in various regions within Egypt. These kings viewed these collections of local beliefs and traditions to be the source of loyalty and order within the nation. This led to the integration of the local beliefs and traditions on the national as a way of ensuring every person, from various regions, is satisfied and pleased when it comes to the representation of their traditions and beliefs through the inclusion and recognition of their respective gods. It is noted that there were four different cosmogonies in Egypt, which were related to the city or the region in which they originated.

Heliopolis, referred to as the City of the sun, whose current location is the Cairo city, is one of the cosmogonies (Nardo 19). Atum is considered to be the god, responsible for the creation of the Heliopolis area and is also referred to as the Lord to the limits of the sky. It is believed that through Atum, there emerged eight other goods who include Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Seth, Isis and Nephthys. Together, these gods were called the Sacred Ennead which simply means a group made up of nine elements. Memphis is also another cosmogony. It is Egypts ancient capital city. In this cosmogony, god Ptah takes the central stage as far as the creation myth is concerned. According to this creation myth, god Ptah was highly powerful since he was responsible for the creation of the Sacred Ennead members, including god Atum. To demonstrate his powers, god Ptah was able to create the members of the Sacred Ennead by simply mentioning their respective names.

Hermopolis is also another cosmogony that tries to give an account of Egyptian creation myth. In this Cosmogony, Ogdoad, which is a collection of particular gods, takes the center stage in the creation story (Nardo 20). Apparently, Ogdoad is composed of eight members. Thes members include Nu, Naunet, Hey, Hauhet, Kek, Kauket, Amun, and Amaunet. From the accounts of the priests, who were related to Hermopolis, it is revealed that these deities (ogdoads) led to the emergence of the Atum, who embarked on the creation of the animals and humans. The final cosmogony as far as the Egyptian creation myths are concerned is Thebes. The priests at Thebes pointed out Amun, who is the member of the Ogdoad, as the one who took the main stage in this creation myth. It is alleged that Amun was commonly known to the local people as First One who gave birth to the first ones (Nardo 21). This implies that Amun might have been involved in the giving rise to various worldly creatures, according to this creation myth.

It is noted that Egyptians came to one accord that all of these creation stories were valid when it comes to their religion traditions and beliefs; making them worship and recognize several gods who are said to be part of the creation of the world and the universe. It is imperative to note that there various conflicts emanating from different local traditions and beliefs. However, it is understood that they had various elements in common such as gods, concepts as well as different events that were observed in different regions (Mackenzie 4).

Egyptian gods and goddesses.

There have been various Egyptian myths that try to account how gods came into existence. Apparently, in the beginning, the void space was only characterized by chaos. Space was also fully of darkness and silence (Nardo 22). As the time elapsed, Egyptians came to see this bottomless gulf that contained an endless ocean of black with lifeless water, which was perceived to be a living being. The Egyptians were marveled at this phenomenon of nothingness and they ended up naming it a Nu as well as worshiping him as a god. According to the Egyptian beliefs, Nu could not have come into existence without being created by the greater god. It follows that Nu must have been the creation of the Amun, the god who was commonly known as the First one as well as the king of gods. It is claimed that for the part of Amum, no other god was needed to create him, making to be perceived as the ruler of all gods. This made ancient Egyptians, as revealed in their ancient mythology, to contend that Amu might have created himself, in a peculiar way that is still a mystery to human beings.

Amun, the god that is considered to be the creator of everything in the universe, is said to have been responsible for the creation of all gods and goddesses that have ever been worshiped by Egyptians. In some parts of Egypt, it is believed Amun took different forms in the beginning. Initially, it is that that Amum was in a form of enormous goose (Nardo 23) considered to be the greatest honker. From this, Amum embarked on different transformations making him be associated with a number of mysterious forms, which depended on his needs and will. For instance, in some instances, Amum took the form of Ogdoad, which was a group of eight gods. It is claimed that some members of the ogdoad had frog heads while the rest had the heads of a serpent. In some scenarios, Amum manifested himself in the form of the dry land. In this case, he went ahead with the creation of the Ennead, which was the group of nine gods.

Apart from the gods involved in the creation myths, there is other gods and goddess who were integral when it comes to the ancient Egypt Mythology. For instance, in ancient Egypt, people embarked on worshiping heavenly bodies such as the moon and the sun, due to various significances that are associated with such objects (Mackenzie 7). While worshiping the moon, Egyptians believed that moon had a huge influence on nature, which was viewed as the generative agency. The traditional beliefs pertaining the moon also influenced how Egyptians carried out their agricultural activities. For instance, they held beliefs that seeds sown at the time moon are fully ripe lead to more prolific growth and yields as compared to the seeds grown at the time when the moon is waning.

From Egypts ancient mythology, it is pointed out that god Thoth was bequeathed with the lunar character and he is infused in different deities (Mackenzie 8). Apparently, at Hermopolis and Edfu, god Thoth is thought to have been infused with Khonsu, who is said to have developed from Ah, who is a known representative of the lunar gods. Ah is also identified to be the male principle and is responsible for the fighting. It is understood that god Ah was uniquely handsome in his youth making him be adored in the Theban gods since he symbolized particular vital influences of the moon. Due to this adoration, people were prompted to practice special offerings for god Ah during the ploughing and harvest festivals. To most Egyptians, god Ah was viewed as the god of love, the cupid of Egypt as well as the divine physician, responsible for the curing and healing people of many diseases. Moon gods were also considered to be the corn gods and they were also mainly associated with the agricultural rites.

The Osiris myth.

The myth of the Osiris also takes a central stage when it comes to the ancient Egyptian mythology. Osiris was the most paramount god of Egypt. When the Heliopolitan version of creation is put into consideration, it can be contended that Osiris was the son of Nut and Geb, who were also among the Egyptian gods (Nardo 32). With time, Osiris was revealed to be the underworld ruler. He was considered to a brother as well as the husband to Isis, who was also the member of the Scared Ennead. From the family lineage of the god Osiris, it is pointed out that ancient Egyptians were not cautious with taboos concerning with incest, as opposed to the modern Egyptians who observe incest taboos.

In many Egyptian paintings, Osiris is portrayed to be a mummy who is enfolded in bandages. However, his hands remain unfolded, holding the crook and a flail, which is an Egyptian symbol of royalty. In other paintings, the head of the Osiris is topped by the horns of a ram whereas, in others, the Osiris is portrayed wearing the Atef (Nardo 32), which is a white crown that assumes the shape of the bowling pin. The skin color of Osiris was in different forms: black, white and green. All these colors were linked to the resurrection. It is claimed that Osiris, who was the grandson of the Ra, was able to sit on the throne of gods, getting an opportunity to rule the living world, just like his grandfather, Ra, did over the gods (Egyptian Tour 2). From the ancient Egyptian mythology, Osiris depicted to be the first pharaoh whereas Isis, his wife, is considered to be the first queen. Apparently, Osiris was described to be just and upright, virtues that made him be adored by his subject. This made the reign of the Osiris and Isis to be characterized by peace, terming it a golden age.

The myth of the Osiris is however dominated with the murder of Osiris as well as his later resurrection, which was likened to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is apparent that this myth took a center stage as far as the Egyptian religious worship and succession/rule of Egyptian pharaohs is concerned (Nardo 33). Seth, the brother of Osiris, was at the helm of tricks and plans that led to the death of Osiris. While drunk, during the feast of gods, Seth lured Osiris into the box. According to the play, everybody who entered the box was supposed to try and break it open while inside it. When Osiris chance came to enter the box and break it open from the inside, the evil...

Cite this page

The Myths of Ancient Egypt. (2021, Mar 15). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism