Central to Egyptian religion and thought is the concept of maat, the embodiment of truth and the universal balance of the universe. e='' God of resurrection and fertility. The more good deeds a person participated in, the lighter their heart became. It covers the gods and the basic myths, the Horus-Isis-Osiris myths, the cult of the Pharoahs, spells and amulets of protection and healing and fertility, beliefs about the afterlife, and the spread of Egyptian religion in classical times. They believed in a wide variety of gods and goddesses. With the evolution of writing, religious ideals were recorded and quickly spread throughout the Egyptian community. Religion was a very important part of life in ancient Egypt. Omissions? Atum wanted to find his children so he sent out his all seeing eye. The most worshiped gods were Isis, Osiris, Horus, Anubis, Re, Nu and Seth. The work assumes that the reader has some degree of familiarity with ancient Egyptian culture, history, and geography. They produced Thoth, the God of Wisdom and Nephthys, Protector of the Dead. Ancient Egyptian religion, indigenous beliefs of ancient Egypt from predynastic times (4th millennium BCE) to its decline in the first centuries CE. b='info' The gods of ancient Egypt were multifaceted, composed of human and animal forms, combining aspects of the natural world. With the exception of the Amarna Period (when King Akhenaten practiced monotheism), the ancient Egyptians believed in polytheism, or many gods. As it was very important to them, they were bound by tradition and unwilling to change. Egyptian Gods & Mythology; Egyptian Religion & Worship; We are a non-profit organization and it is one of our goals to provide quality material to teachers by building engaging courses and finding reliable sources. Polytheism was practiced for 3,000 years, with a brief stint when the Heretic Pharaoh. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Without the process of embalming, the ancient Egyptians believed a person couldnât pass into the afterlife successfully. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? His Aten-centered cult lasted only about a decade and died with the pharaoh. The official beginning of the religion is the date that Menes (c. 2925 bce), a king of Upper Egypt, is believed to have defeated a king of Lower Egypt and unified the nation. The only instance of a drastic change was when King Akhenaten started his monotheistic religion. Today, the majority of the Egyptian population is Muslim, with a small minority of Jews and Christians. There was no set of doctrines or a central book or personal bond with any deity. from the University of Chicago in 1985 and served as the president of the American University of Beirut from 2005 to 2015. If the heart was heavy with bad deeds, it would be devoured by Ammut (soul eater), and the person would not live on in the afterlife. thefield.value = "" The religion of ancient Egypt was a funny religion which lasted throughout their civilization. Its deities included Anubis, Isis, … if (f) d=f With tombs dominating the archaeological record, it is especially known for its treatment of the dead. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Religion was a major contributor, since it was an important social practice that bound all Egyptians together. W hen the Greeks and the Romans conquered Egypt, their religion was influenced by that of Egypt. Ancient pagan beliefs gradually faded and were replaced by monotheistic religions. Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs were centered around a variety of complex rituals that were influenced by many aspects of Egyptian culture. Religious phenomena were pervasive, so much so that it is not meaningful to view religion as a single entity that cohered as a system. else if (h) d=g+h+i a+='lto:' Despite this pessimism, the official presentation of the cosmos on the monuments was positive and optimistic, showing the king and the gods in perpetual reciprocity and harmony. We know about these rites and rituals from symbols and scenes depicted on tombs and temple walls, in literature and even the jewelry that they wore. For historical background and detailed dates, see Egypt, history of. document.write(a+b+c+d+e) The son and daughter were assigned the task to separate the roiling chaos into stability, law and order. The ancient Egyptians had a tendency to merge new beliefs with the old ones rather than simply replace them. else d=b Although there were probably many survivals from prehistory, these may be relatively unimportant for understanding later times, because the transformation that established the Egyptian state created a new context for religion. The daughter of Shu (God of Air) and … This ultimately pessimistic view of the cosmos was associated principally with the sun god and the solar cycle. These myths were strongly influenced by nature, especially patterns that they documented such as the path of the sun, the moon and the flooding and retreat of the Nile River. This belief ensured that the ancient Egyptians worked hard at making their souls light. Disorder had to be kept at bay. Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Amun. The restricted character of the monuments was also fundamental to a system of decorum that defined what could be shown, in what way it could be shown, and in what context. Egyptian religion was polytheistic. The religion of Ancient Egypt was a polytheistic (many gods) religion with one short period of monotheism Their religion hosted about 700 different gods and goddesses. The relationship of the believer with the gods in Ancient Egypt was particularly loose. He named his daughter Tefnut, and she became Goddess of Mist and Moisture. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with a multitude of deities who were believed to be present in, and in control of, the forces and elements of nature. Most were generally benevolent but their favor could not be counted on. These deities were believed to be at essence formless, yet had forms as a representation to make it easier to depict and worship them. f='Contact' Standing alone in the world, Atum was neither male nor female. 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