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The first great civilisation, the Ancient Egyptians were pioneering in many of their practices and discoveries and, like many civilisations, used gods as a means of understanding the cosmos. These deities all came with mythical back stories that helped shape the way Ancient Egyptians’ understood life. The country’s ancient history is one of the reasons why cheap Egypt holidays are so popular, as holidaymakers the world over flock to the land of the Pharaohs, Pyramids and papyrus to explore the myths of the land of the Nile. Here are a few of the Egyptian Gods and their tales.
Ra – God of the Sun
Seen as the most important of all Ancient Egyptian Gods, Ra was the God of the Sun and the lord of all gods. It was believed that all forms of life were created by Ra when he brought them into existence by speaking their secret name. Ra was thought to sail through the heavens in a boat called Barque of Millions of Years and die at the end of every day. Ra’s death was believed to be the cause of night time, during which time he sailed through the 12 doors of the Underworld before being reborn at dawn.
Hathor – Goddess of love, music and dance
As the Goddess of joy, motherhood, music, dance and love, Hathor was the Egyptian deity that recently deceased mortal women were most commonly identified with. Hathor is also thought to have looked after all women. The Goddess also had a destructive side when she became Sekhmet, the Eye of Ra. The Sun God was upset at mankind for laughing at him, so channelled his fury through Sekhmet. This was how Egyptians explained heat-related desert deaths.
Osiris – God of the Dead
Osiris, God of the Dead was the son of Geb and Nut, God of the Earth and Goddess of the Sky respectively. Osiris once ruled over the Egyptians and taught them farming before being killed in a devious plot by his brother, Seth the God of the desert, storm and violence. Osiris became the merciful judge of the recently deceased, and because of his eternal life after death, is the god that Pharaohs were identified with upon their death.
Horus – God of the Pharaohs
Horus’ father was the previously mentioned Osiris. Upon his father’s death, Horus’ mother, Iris – Goddess of Magic – hid her child in the reeds of the Nile Delta until he was old enough to challenge his father’s usurper, Seth, to a War for the kingdom of Egypt. Horus was blinded during the drawn out battle, but helped to victory by Thoth – God of Wisdom – when he healed and subsequently created the iconic Eye of Horus.
Anubis – God of Embalming
The God of Embalming doesn’t sound like a particularly important role but Anubis and his jackal head is one of the most well known of the Ancient Egyptian Gods. Anubis carried out the first mummification, on Osiris, and as a result every priest present at future embalmings of mortals wore a jackal’s head during the procedure. It was believed that when you died Anubis weighed your heart against the feather of Ma’at – Goddess of Justice – to determine whether you should be allowed to live forever. If your heart was lighter than the feather you were allowed into the afterlife, if it was heavier however, it would be eaten by Ammit, a part crocodile, part lion, part hippopotamus whose name translates to Soul Eater.
These stories are just a few that helped Egyptians understand the world around them and develop what became one of the most influential societies in history. There aren’t too many cheap holiday destinations that afford you the opportunity to explore their country’s historical culture in as much detail as Egypt.
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Cal is a scribe who’s comfortable writing about any one of his passions, but not himself. A player of several instruments, Cal’s fondness for music is equated with his love of football, writing, drawing and travel.