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Ancient Egypt. Religion, Culture, & History. Civilization. Developed between 4000 & 3000 B.C.E. Golden Age: 3500-2500 B.C.E. Written Heritage: 3000 B.C.E. 1st great nation of the Western world. Hieroglyphics. Picture-writing Symbols for meaning Separated Egypt from surrounding cultures.

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ancient egypt
Ancient Egypt
  • Religion, Culture, & History
  • Developed between 4000 & 3000 B.C.E.
  • Golden Age: 3500-2500 B.C.E.
  • Written Heritage: 3000 B.C.E.
  • 1st great nation of the Western world
  • Picture-writing
  • Symbols for meaning
  • Separated Egypt from surrounding cultures
  • Death and Rebirth/Flood Cycle (Osiris)
  • Sun God (Re, or Ra)
  • Temporary victories over evil -- never permanent (Set)
  • Incest (Osiris & Isis)
  • Fertility (Isis)
  • Agriculture
ma at
  • Concept of
  • truth, balance, morality, order, and justice.
  • Personified as goddess regulating stars, seasons, and actions of gods and men.
  • Prevents the universe from returning to chaos.
  • Her feather used to weigh hearts of the dead.
why so many
Why So Many?
  • Significantly different from each other
  • Each city had different patron deity, and thus different creation story
  • Thousands of cities and villages = thousands of Egyptian deities
what they all have in common
What They All Have In Common

- Emerging from watery chaos -- Nun

  • Nun: endless, formless deep that existed at the beginning of time and was the source of the nile
  • “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” --Genesis
  • Oldest Egyptian creation myth
  • Ancient political capital of Egypt
  • Creator god: Ptah
  • Name “Egypt” came from Greek translation of his name
  • Chief deity of Memphis; god of craftsmen
  • Creation by thought and word alone - “Through his heart and through his tongue.”
  • Thinking heart (brain mere head-stuffing); through naming comes Ka
  • Scholars today still argue about parallels to Genesis
  • Greeks equated him withHephaestus (Roman: Vulcan)
  • Greek name for Khemnu
  • Prosperous city built in honor of Thoth
  • Called Hermopolis because Greeks equated Thoth to Hermes
  • Ogdoad -- Group of Eight
  • 4 couples of frog-headed gods/snake-headed goddesses
  • Nun & Naunet: formless waters
  • Heh & Hauhet: Infinity and the flood
  • Kek and Kauket: Darkness
  • Amun & Amaunet: Hidden Powers
hermopolis cont
Hermopolis, cont.
  • After Ogdoad, sun god born.
  • Re emerges from lotus flower on Nun
  • 6 of 8 disappear; only Amun and Amaunet join other gods of Egypt
elephantine island
Elephantine Island
  • -Focuses on making humans
  • -Khnum: ancient ram-headed creator deity
  • Molded people on potter’s wheel
  • Controlled Nile’s floodwaters
  • Great fertility god
heliopolis creation myth
Heliopolis Creation Myth
  • Most significant creation story in Egypt
  • Heliopolis: City of the Sun/ Modern-day Cairo
  • 3000 B.C.E., unification of Upper and Lower Egypt
  • Dominant myth prominent in Pyramid Texts
  • Great infinite ocean -- Nun
  • Atum: Lord and father of the gods/Simply came into being
  • Stood on mound symbolic of land rising out of Nile
  • Essence of Egypt: sun and water
  • Benben: mound; meteorite venerated by Egyptians; believed to be solidified semen of Atum; inspiration for pyramids
  • Creation through masturbation; swallows seed; sneezes out Shu & Tefnut (air and moisture)
  • Great Ennead -- Nine major deities (Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Get, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys)
  • Atum combines with Re to become Atum-Re/Atum-Ra