- Slides: 23
Ancient Egyptian Religion
Basic Principals of Egyptian Religion • Like most ancient civilizations the Egyptians were polytheistic. • Their gods and goddesses controlled all aspects of nature • Egyptians also lived in a theocracy where their government’s rule was based on religious authority
The Birth of the World The birth of Ancient Egypt centers around nature, the earth, sun, moon, sky, stars and the Nile River. According to legend, the Egyptian Empire began with the creation of Nu. Nu was a swirling watery chaos and then the waters began to subside, a land appeared (Egyptian Mythology). Atum is the God whom emerged from the Nu and is the creator of the world. This God is also know as the great scarab beetle. Atum gave birth to two children, Shu and Tefnut. Atum’s children represented the air and the rain. According to legend Atum then parted with his children and when they were reunited, his tears of joy created the men on the earth. 3
BOOK OF THE DEAD (reu nu pert em hru) • In Egyptian called reu nu pert em hru which translates into "The Book of Coming forth by Day" • Contains spells, charms, passwords and numbers to help secure an easy passage for the deceased into the after life • Egyptians believed that knowledge of the appropriate spells was essential to achieving happiness in the next life • first inscribed on the sarcophogaus of the deceased in 1600 BCE, then later written on papyrus paper • "Book of the Dead" meant to aid deceased in not dying a second time and becoming an akh The book of dead inscribed on tomb weighing of the heart against Ma'at’s Feather
The Afterlife • Egyptians were one of the first peoples to believe in the concept of eternal life, or life after death. • This is why the Egyptians developed elaborate burial rituals such as mummification (preservation of the physical body) and built elaborate tombs for their pharaohs called pyramids
The After Life Death is not seen as the last stage of life Before the mummy can reach the underworld it has to pass through seven gates, aided by the magic spells inscribed upon the funerary objects, then the dead person arrives in the presence of Osiris (god of the underworld) Osiris then performs a ceremony called the 'weighing of the heart' Heart of the dead person is weighed on a scale by the jackal headed god Anubis (god of dead) against the feather of Ma'at (goddess of truth) Balancing the scale meant immortality If the scale did not balance then Amemt (crocodile headed god) would eat the heart, and Seth, murderer of Osiris ate the rest of the body
The Egyptian Idea of the Soul As mentioned before the soul was the entire reason why the mummification process occurred. According to the Ancient Egyptians, the soul was made up of three elements; the Bah, Ka and Akh. Each part of the soul relied on the other and if one died, they all died (Ancient Egyptian Idea of Soul). 7
The Bah was depicted as a human headed bird. It represented the personality and individuality of the dead. This part of the soul lived inside the tomb but could come and go at will.
The Ka was an exact physical and spiritual replica of the deceased. It was to remain close to the body and could never leave the tomb. This aspect of the soul relied on the food, drink and clothing that were buried with the body. Without these items, the Ka could not survive.
the Akh was the immortality of the dead. This part of the soul was often to represented as a bird and could only make the journey to the underworld (Ancient Egyptian Idea of Soul).
Embalming The earliest Egyptians’ buried their dead in small pits where they would eventually dry out from the heat, leaving life-like mummies (Mummification). Many years later, people began placing the dead in coffins to protect them from the wildlife. This process proved to be unacceptable, as the bodies would decompose since it wasn’t exposed to the heat. This is when the process of embalming began. 11
Embalming The embalming process was a long and grotesque process in some cases. The first stage of the embalming process was to take the body to the “ibu” and wash it with good smelling palm wine and then wash it with water from the Nile River. After this was done, a incision would be made to the left side of the body which would allow for the embalmer to remove the internal organs (The Religion of Ancient Egypt). The only organ not taken out of the body was the heart, as this was the center of intelligence and feeling which was needed in the afterlife. The body was then stuffed and covered with natron, which allowed the body to dry out. After forty days, the body was then washed again and covered with oil. Once again the body is covered with oil after the embalmers stuffed the body. The body was then ready for wrapping.
Mummies and Tombs • Mummification was practiced by Egyptians because they believed that every individual would need their body in the after life • Tombs were used as a place to store the body and all the possessions the deceased individual would need in the afterlife (clothes, weapons, jewelry, furniture, etc. ) • Tombs were constructed and designed to protect the body and its possessions for eternity
The Pharaohs • Pharaohs were seen as kings, priests, and gods. • Pharaohs were believed to rule the earth as the gods ruled the heavens. • People believed what happened in Egypt was directly dependent on the pharaoh’s actions • Pharaohs also controlled all aspects of government and religious rituals
GODS There were many Gods in the Egyptian Religion Some of the most important Gods were:
Atum • The Creator God
Ra and Amon-Ra OLD KINGDOM The Sun God NEW KINGDOM King of the Gods and the Sun God [A combination of the god of Thebes (Amon) and the Sun god (Ra). ]
Hapi (Hapy) • God of the Nile and its Yearly Flood
Osiris • God of the Underworld and Agriculture
Isis • Goddess of Fertility and Motherhood (Wife of Osiris)
Anubis • God of Mummification
Set (Seth) • God of Chaos, Storms, and Disorder (Brother of Osiris)
Horus • God of the Sky (Son of Osiris and Isis)