What Similarity Between The Two Myths Do These Passages Illustrate – Full page black line vignette of the gods Kep, Nut and Shu. Geb, the god of the earth, leans on Nut, the god of the sky, who bows his head. They were separated by Shu, the god of wind, who helped in this task. The deceased is kneeling in the lower right, surrounded by Ba-ruhi and groups of deities.
, C. 950-930 BC, 21st-22nd dynasties, papyrus, first cache, Deir el-Bahri (The Dead Book of Nesitaneptashru) excavated in Upper Egypt (© The Trustees of the British Museum)
What Similarity Between The Two Myths Do These Passages Illustrate
A rare and unknown animal with square ears and a long, curved nose, associated with the Lord of Chaos, the god Set, Karnak, Egypt (Open Air Museum, Karnak; photo: Dr. Amy Calvert).
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The mythical world of Egypt was full of creative imaginations, which were deeply informed by the natural world around them. Stories about the divine landscape and the creatures that inhabited it continued to evolve throughout Egyptian history. Over time, these myths have woven a complex tapestry of meaning and significance, often layered, with seemingly contradictory perspectives coexisting without apparent conflict.
Ourobos (detail), 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom of Egypt, shrine from the tomb of Tutankhamun (Egyptian Museum, Cairo; image: Djehouty, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Similarly, the concept of time in ancient Egypt was very fluid; It moves at different speeds for certain organisms and regions of the universe, and is thought to be linear and cyclical at the same time. It appears that some Egyptians experienced linear time – from birth to death – but they were closer to cyclical time, as evidenced by solar cycles, annual floods, and repeating astronomical patterns in nature. They believed that the continuous cycle of decay, death, and rebirth ensured the eternal stability of the static universe and allowed it to flourish. It is true that the Ouroboros – the image of a snake eating its tail and a powerful symbol of regeneration – originated in Egypt.
The prehistoric people of the Nile region, like many ancient peoples, were revered as powers of the animate and inanimate natural world. Although some deities, such as the sun god Ra, were associated with inanimate natural phenomena, most of the first concrete examples of divinity were associated with animals. Balkan deities and cattle deities may have existed early and developed in the herding environment of the Neolithic period.
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The mysterious scenes on this monumental macehead have been much discussed. They may represent a king’s Hebrew festival, divine rites or a royal wedding, and other possibilities. In this context, while the upper register contains divine standards, the lower register shows cattle, goats and a kneeling man, indicating how many of them were captured or offered. Norman Macehead, Early Dynastic Period, c. 31st century BC, found at Hierakonopolis (Eshmol Museum, Oxford)
During the Early Dynastic period (3100-2686 BC) there is significant evidence of the existence of many deities represented in human, animal, or hybrid forms (usually with human bodies and animal heads). Objects of worship (statues of deities) at local shrines are shown to have been glorified by the king, as depicted in objects found in royal tombs from this period, and may record the actual visits of the ruler to different parts of the country. dealing with these gods. Consecration of such religious images and participation of the king in their ceremonies is one of the most important royal duties. When Egypt was united under one ruler around 3000 BC, these various local deities appear to have become a church in which relationships between them developed, and these relationships may have inspired various mythologies.
There are great difficulties in the study of Egyptian mythology, and there are no great gaps in our knowledge due to the vagaries of preservation. Our most consistent records are texts from later periods, which often contain conflicting stories. For example, there were different and complementary creation myths and cosmologies (stories about the origin of the universe) to present different aspects of their understanding of how the world and the gods came into being. According to the ancient Egyptians, the mythical chronology of the world consisted of seven stages:
At different times and in different places, different deities have been identified with the Creator God who emerged from the primordial waters to initiate and differentiate the universe. These include Ra, Atom, Gnum, Ptah, Hathor and Isis. These countless versions of the creation process were introduced and propagated by religious centers that emphasized the role of their patron deity in the process.
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Three main versions of the Egyptian creation story are represented today by religious sites where these versions are strongly promoted: Hermopolis (Khemnu), Heliopolis (Iunu) and Memphis (Inep-Hedge).
Although they differ in detail and focus on the primacy of their local deities, all of these creation systems are very similar in their approach, where chaotic, formless watery potential is controlled through mats and installations. The form given by the will of the creator. Many variations on these themes followed the main framework—the rising sun god was sometimes depicted as a falcon, a scarab beetle, or a child (among other expressions)—but all were hill and / or formed from ancient water. Understanding these overlapping creation myths and recognizing that they existed simultaneously without apparent conflict demonstrates the complexity of the ancient Egyptian mythological world.
At the beginning of time, the sun rises from the pinnacle of creation. The central circle is the hill, and the three orange circles are the sun in various stages of its rise. The hieroglyph “horizon” with the sun visible above. On both sides, north and south, the gods pour water around the hill. Eight stick figures of the gods of Oghdad, covering the soil. “The Creation of the World”, in detail
The Hermopolitan view (centered at Hermopolis) presented a view of creation as a mound of earth emerging from the primordial waters of chaos. From this hill a lotus blossomed and opened, revealing the newborn Sun God who brought light to the universe and began creation. Four pairs of male and female deities were believed to exist in the primordial waters, representing the elements of the pre-creation universe known as the Octod (“group of eight”). Often represented with the heads of frogs and snakes, these chthonic creatures are associated with the primordial flood. Before the appearance of the first light, these beings were considered inactive with the potential for creation, but only became “activated” when the young sun emerged from the lotus. Considered the “mothers” and “fathers” of the sun god, the names of these deities are male and female versions of the elements: water (Nun and Newnet), infinity (Hay and Howhead), darkness (Keg and Gaket), and darkness (Amun and Amounet). .
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The wind god Shu, with the help of other gods, Nut, the sky, Geb, the earth, is profiled below. From the Greenfield Papyrus, c. 950-930 BC, 21st-22nd dynasties, papyrus, first cache, Deir el-Bahri (The Dead Book of Nesitaneptashru), excavated in Upper Egypt (© The Trustees of the British Museum)
The sun god plays a central role in Heliopolitan creation theology. In this environment, creation was organized by a group of gods called the Great Ennead. This “group of nine” consisted of the Sun God in the form of Atum and eight descendants. In this story, the Atom was in the primordial waters (sometimes said to be “in his egg”) and emerged alone to begin creation. The atom was said to be “self-created,” and then it created its first two progenitors, Shu (air) and defnut (moisture), from its bodily fluids. Shu and Tefnut created the next pair of gods, Geb (Earth) and Nut (Sky), providing the physical basis for the world. Then Geb and Nut created the gods Osiris and Isis and Seth and Nephthys. These pairs, in a sense, represent the fertile Nile Valley (Osiris and Isis) and the surrounding desert (Seth and Nephthys), which complement the main elements of the Egyptian cosmos. Since all these deities are considered extensions of the Sun God, he is usually depicted as the ruler of the gods.
This slab was reused as a millstone, so it is terribly old in this form of speech. If you zoom in on the image you have, you’ll see vertical lines of text. Shabako Stone, 710 BC, 25th Dynasty, found in Memphis, Egypt, 95 x 137 cm (© The Trustees of the British Museum)
Memphite theology is recorded in an important artifact now known as the Shabaka Stone. This black basalt stele was originally erected in the ancient temple of Ptah in Memphis and is the only surviving copy of this religious text. According to the record, it is
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