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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

Ancient egypt

  • 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

Ancient egypt

  • 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