RESEARCH PAPER

RESEARCH PAPER - WORLD HISTORY TO 1500 ANCIENT EGYPTIAN...

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WORLD HISTORY TO 1500 04/16/2010 ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION Religion guided every aspect of Egyptian life. Egyptian religion was based on polytheism, or the worship of many deities, except for during the region of Akenaton. Ancient Egyptian had as many as 2,000 god and goddesses. The Egyptian deities represented various forces of nature, thought patterns and power, expressed by the means of complex and varied archetypes. In the ancient Egypt often god and goddesses were represented as part of human and part of animal.[5] These deities were worshipped with offerings and prayers, in local and household shrines as well as in formal temples managed by priests. Different god were prominent at the different time of Egyptian history, and the myths associated with them changed over time, so Egypt never had a coherent hierarchy of deities or unified mythology. However, the religion contained many overarching beliefs. Among these were the divinity of the pharaoh, which helped to politically unify the
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country, and complex beliefs about an afterlife, which gave rise to the Egyptians’ elaborate burial customs.[7] POLYTHEISM OF ANCIENT EGYPT: The Egyptian saw the actions of god in all the elements and forces of nature. However they did not believe that the gods merely controlled these phenomena, but that each element of nature was a divine force itself. The force deified in this way included animal like Sekhemt, who represented the ferocity of lions, and inanimate elements such as Shu, the deification of air. The gods could also represent the more abstract things, as Horus represented the power of kingship. The Egyptian thus believed in a multitude of gods, which were involved in ever aspects of human society and nature. The polytheistic system was very complex, as some deities were believed to exist in many different manifestations, and some had multiple mythological roles. Conversely, many natural forces, such as the sun, were associated with multiple deities. Often gods and goddesses were represented as half animal and half human in ancient Egypt. For example, Horus, the sky god, had the head of hawk, and the body of a human. They considered animals such as the bull, the cat, and the crocodile to be holy. These depictions gave recognizable forms to the abstract deities by using symbolic imagery to indicate each god’s role in nature. Egyptian’s
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believed that their two chief gods were Amon-Ra and Osiris. Amon- Ra was believed to be the sun god and the lord of the universe. Osiris was the god of the underworld. Stories about him generally gave the idea of immortality. Osiris was the god that made peaceful afterlife possible. The funerary god Anubis was portrayed as a jackal, a creature whose scavenging habits threatened the preservation of the body, in an effort to prevent and employ it for protection. His black skin was symbolic of the color of mummified flesh and the fertile black soil that Egyptian saw as a symbol of resurrection. However this iconography was not
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RESEARCH PAPER - WORLD HISTORY TO 1500 ANCIENT EGYPTIAN...

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