Ancient Egypt: Part IIReligion & the Afterlife Humanities I Dr. Whitney Vandiver Redlands Community College
Religion polytheistic centralized around aspects of nature and humankind’s interaction with it ranking system officiated by Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) ranked Amon Ra/Aten as supreme above other gods presented association of all pharaohs with Amon Ra/Aten— other god associations were individual choice
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten representation: Amon (Amun, Amen)--ram/ram head/man wearing ostrich-plumed hat Ra—hawk head with sun headdress Aten—sun (with hands) Anubis Horus Isis Osiris Sekhmet Set (Seth) Sobek
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis jackal/jackal head watched over the dead and mummifying process priests often wore jackal masks during mummification processes Horus Isis Osiris Sekhmet Set (Seth) Sobek
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis Horus hawk/head of a hawk/great eye son of Isis and Osiris lost his eye in a battle after Osiris’s murder, which was restored later protector of Egypt, protector of the living Isis Osiris Sekhmet Set (Seth) Sobek
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis Horus Isis woman in headdress shaped like throne (queen)/cow horns with sun disk wife if Osiris often looked at as protective female with magic spells Osiris Sekhmet Set (Seth) Sobek
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis Horus Isis Osiris mummified man with cone-headdress god of the dead and fertility, ruled underworld murdered by brother Set for throne, resurrected by Isis, father of Horus Sekhmet Set (Seth) Sobek
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis Horus Isis Osiris Sekhmet woman with head of lion—sun disk for association with royalty sometimes referred to as the daughter of Amon goddess of war, protector of pharaohs during war Set (Seth) Sobek
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis Horus Isis Osiris Sekhmet Set (Seth) name changed with Greek influence man with ‘set animal’ face and features murderous brother of Osiris god of chaos, desert, and storms associated with disharmony or anything disharmonious in Egypt Sobek curved snout, rectangle ears, tail (occasionally forked), and canine-like body
Gods Amon/Ra/Aten Anubis Horus Isis Osiris Sekhmet Set (Seth) Sobek head of crocodile with headdress of feathers, sometimes with sun god of the Nile live crocodiles were kept in pools in palaces to protect the king in honor of Sobek
Gods Compare to pg. 56 version regarding dramatic lighting of how internal carvings and reliefs would have been seen (Pergamon Museum, Berlin).
Prayers Prayers were said for special occasions to whichever god applied to the situation, such as harvest, war, or the safety of the Pharaoh. Scrolls of prayers were often included in coffins, thought to protect and guide the dead in the afterlife.
Book of the Dead Funerary prayers to prepare the dead for judgment—not one canonical version and perhaps spells combined individually for different versions Some date it as far as ~4000 BC; others date it to early New Kingdom, ~1500 BC; used until Greek influence, ~50 BC. Initially thought to have begun with inscriptions on Pharaohs’ tombs, becoming available for higher classes and priests toward the Old Kingdom and eventually available to everyone Mostly written in hieroglyphic with some hieratic The dead were thought to recite a confession (pg. 53) before Osiris and Isis before entering the underworld. After the confession, the dead’s heart was weighed against the figure of truth to determine if it was pure or not.
Afterlife The majority of the idea of the afterlife is drawn from the Book of the Dead’s prayers and illustrations. The path to the underworld required multiple encounters with dangerous creatures had an Earthly terrain of mountains, rivers, and gates could be improved with passages from the Book of the Dead The afterlife is illustrated as a form of paradisaical life joining the gods and his/her parents taking on some characteristics of the gods manual labor is still required