Ihy (Ahy) was known as the "sistrum-player" and was a god of music and musicians.The sistrum was closely associated with the goddess Hathor who was his mother. He did not have any temples specifically dedicated to him, but was worshipped in the temple of Hathor in the Denderah temple complex as the son of Hathor and Horus. Although he is rarely referred to outside dendera, he does make an appearance in the spells of the Coffin texts and the Book of the Dead as the "lord of bread" in charge of beer (probably because of Hathor's association with beer and intoxication). He was depicted as a young boy wearing the sidelock of youth with his finger held to his mouth and a sistrum in his right hand.
In ancient Egyptian mythology Aken was the patron and custodian of the boat named "Meseket" that carried the souls of the dead into the underworld. Apparently he remained in a deep sleep when he was not needed, and had to be woken by the
Ferryman, Mahaf, when the dead required his services. He was generally depicted as a sailor standing in the stern of a papyrus boat. He was not the focus of worship, and had no cult centre but is referred to a number of times in the Book of the Dead. Aken is often associated with Kherty (or Cherti) a more ambiguous deity who was considered to be a god of the underworld and the ferryman of the dead. This god was worshipped in Esna (Latopolis) and may be the origin of the Greek ferryman Charon.
Aker Aker (also known as Akeru) was an ancient Egyptian earth god and the deification of the horizon. He guarded the eastern and western borders of the netherworld and protected the sun god Ra when he first entered the netherworld at sunset and again when he returned to the world of the living at sunrise and bore the sun on his back through the underworld. He also welcomed the dead Pharaoh into the underworld. He defended the sun god from the serpent Apep (Apophis) and was considered to be able to neutralize a snake bite. In his role as a protective deity, twin lion statues representing Aker were placed at the doors of palaces and tombs to protect against evil spirits, a practice adopted by both the Greeks and Romans. However, Aker in his plural form (Akeru) was more aggressive and dangerous. The Akeru are very ancient, possibly even older than Geb. The Pyramid Texts express the wish that each person will escape the clutches of the earth gods and specifically state that the Akeru will not attack the king (strongly implying that they could attack others). The name Aker means "(one) who bends" but he was also known as "Ruti" ("two lions"). During the late period the two lions were given specific names - Tuau (today) and Sef (yesterday). Initially Aker was depicted as a narrow strip of land with a human or lion head at each end, but later the strip of land was replaced by the
hieroglyphic sign meaning "horizon". The lions are
often covered with leopard-like spots, possibly echoing the now extinct Barbary lion.
The ancient Egyptian God Am-heh was a terrifying god of the netherworld whose name translates as "the devourer of millions". He was depicted as a man with the head of a ferocious hunting dog. Am-Heh lived on a lake of fire, and only Atum was able to repel him.He is sometimes seen as an aspect of Ammit, the personification of divine retribution, as she had his name as an epithet. He has also been linked to the baboon god Babi (or Baba) because of their common interest in human flesh. Am-heh was not worshipped, he was feared.
Amun was one of the eight ancient Egyptian gods who formed the Ogdoad of Hermopolis. He was the god of the air and his consort was Ament (Amaunet). However, during the Twelfth dynasty (Middle Kingdom) Amun was adopted in Thebes as the King of the gods with Mut as his consort. Amun and Mut had one child, the moon god Khonsu. He was promoted to national god by Ahmose I, the first pharaoh of the New Kingdom because the king believed that Amun had helped him drive the Hyksos from Egypt. He was also adopted into the Ennead of Heliopolis when he merged with the ancient sun god (Ra) to become Amun-Ra. It is possible that there were once two separate gods with the same name, but equally likely that Amun of Heliopolis merely took on the attributes of the Theban god Montu (Montju) when he replaced him as the principle god of the nome in the later period. His name is generally translated as "the hidden one" or "the secret one" and it was thought that he created himself and then created everything else while remaining distanced and separate from the world. In that sense he was the original inscrutable and indivisible creator. When he merged with Ra he became both a visible and invisible deity. This duality (the hidden god and the visible sun)
appealed to the Egyptian concept of balance and duality leading to an association between Amun-Ra and Ma´at. Amun was also identified with Montu (who he pretty much absorbed) and the hybrid gods Amun-Ra-Atum, Amun-Re-Montu, Amun-Re-Horakhty and Amun-Min. Amun was associated with a number of animals, whose form he sometimes took in inscriptions. Originally he was depicted as a goose and given the epithet the "Great Cackler" (like Geb). It was also thought that he could regenerate himself by becoming a snake and shedding his skin. However, he was most frequently depicted as a Ram, a symbol of fertility. He is also depicted as a man with the head of a ram, a frog, an Uraeus (royal cobra), a crocodile, or as an ape. Finally, he is depicted as a king sitting on his throne wearing the double plumed crown (also associated with Min). During the Ptolemaic period images of Amun were cast in bronze in which he was depicted as bearded man with four arms the body of a beetle, the wings of a hawk, the legs of a man and the paws and claws of a lion. Amun is described as the primeval creator in the Pyramid Texts which depict him as a primeval deity and a symbol of creative force. However, he rose to prominence during the Eleventh dynasty when he replaced the Theban war god, Montu, as the principle deity of the city. From that point, the fortunes of the God were closely linked to the prominence of Thebes itself. When the Theban Ahmose I successfully expelled the Hyksos from Egypt, he was quick to show his gratitude to Amun and throughout the Middle Kingdom the Royal family established temples to Amun, most notably the Luxor Temple and the Great Temple at Karnak. During the New Kingdom he gained such power that it is almost possible to argue that Egypt had become a monotheistic state. Amun-Ra was considered to be the father and protector of the pharaoh. The Theban royal women wielded great power, and influence and were closely involved with the cult of
Amun. Queen Ahmose Nefertari (the Great Wife of the Pharaoh Ahmose I) was granted the title "God's Wife of Amun" with reference to the myth that Amun created the world by masturbation. This title was then granted to the Great Wife of every Pharaoh in recognition of her role in the state religion of Amun. The female Pharaoh Hatshepsut went one stage further and specifically stated that Amun had impregnated her mother (in the guise of the Pharaoh Thuthmoses II, her father). Thus she established her right to rule on the basis that she was his daughter. However, the god could also reveal his will through the oracles, who were in the control of the priests and they had been granted so much land that they even rivalled the power of the Pharaoh. Amenhotep III instituted some reforms when he became concerned that the Theban clergy had become too powerful, but his son (Akhenaten) went one further and actually replaced Amun with the Aten and constructed a new capital city named Akhetaten. However, the experiment was short-lived and both Amen and Thebes were reinstated under the rule of Tutankhamun. The worship of Amun even spread into neighbouring countries, particularly Nubia. By the Twenty-fifth dynasty Amen-Ra was the principle god of the Kingdom of Napata (Nubia) who believed he came from Gebel Barkal (in northern Sudan) and the Greeks considered him to be the equivalent of Zeus. His main celebration was the Opet festival, in which the statue of Amun traveled down the Nile from the temple of Karnak to the temple of Luxor to celebrate Amun's marriage to Mut (or Taweret). In this festival he had a procreative function epitomised in his title "Ka-mut-ef" ("bull of his mother")
. Andjety (Anezti, Anedjti) simply means "he who is of Andjet" - the place of the djed (Busiris in the ninth nome of Lower Egypt). It is thought that he was a historical ruler of the ancient Egyptian city of
Djedu (Busiris) who became the god of domestic and farm animals, and probably introduced the use of the shepherds crook as an emblem of kingship (an interesting precursor to the Christian notion; "the lord is my shepherd"). Sneferu was depicted wearing the double plumed crown and the Pyramid texts refer to Andjety as the embodiment of Pharonic power.After the old kingdom, he was merged with Osiris who adopted many of his emblems and took over his role as a god of agriculture, although he was occasionally recognised as the god Osiris-Andjety. In his temple at Abydos, Seti I offers incense to this hybrid god, who holds a 'crook' scepter, wears the double plumed crown and is accompanied by Isis .Andjety was depicted as an old man bearing all of the emblems of kingship and wearing a crown with two feathers, echoing the Atef crown worn by Osiris who replaced and absorbed both Andjety and the Djed pillar as the focus of worship in Djedu. In the Pyramid Texts, the power of the pharaoh is linked to Andjety who is described as "presiding over the eastern districts". He is also given the epithet "bull of vultures" in the coffin texts, confirming his role as a virile consort to the ancient goddesses. As the lord of the dead, he was sometimes described as a god of re-birth, and considered to be the husband of Meskhenet, an ancient goddess of birth. However, the Hebrew workers who settled in Egypt during the eighteenth dynasty considered him to be the husband of Anat, a war goddess.
Anhur (Han-her, Inhert) is often known by his Greek name, Onuris. He was an ancient Egyptian god of war and hunting from This (in the Thinite region near Abydos) who defended his father (the sun god Ra) from his enemies (giving him the epithet "slayer of enemies"). He was one of the gods who stood at the front of the sun god's barque and defended him from Apep. He was the patron of the ancient Egyptian army, and the personification of royal
warriors but also represented the creativity of man and so was not always a violent deity. During his festival the Egyptians held playful mock battles between the priests and the people in which they hit each other with sticks!His name translates as "he who leads back the distant one" (although another possible translation is "Sky Bearer"). This name seems to refer to the legend that the "Eye of Ra" (his daughter who may be Hathor, Sekhmet, Tefnut, Mut, or Bast) abandoned Egypt and traveled to Nubia in the form of a ferocious lioness. But Ra missed her, and so he sent an envoy to bring her back. This legend is told about the great hunter and the leonine goddess Menhet. When the hunter caught her and persuaded her to return he was given the name Anhur and allowed to marry the Goddess. However, in one version of the story it was Shu who traveled to Nubia with Thoth and persuaded Tefnut to return. Anhur is generally depicted as a striding king wearing a long kilt decorated with a feather-like pattern, a short wig topped by the uraeus (serpent) and a crown of four tall feathers. In some depcitions he holds his spear or lance (leading to the epithet "the lord of lances") above his head (imitating the determinative for words such as "strike") and in his left hand he holds a length of rope that probably relates to his role in bringing the "Eye of Ra" back to Egypt. Occasionally he is depicted without the spear or rope, but often his hands are in the position they would be in if he were carrying them. He was a son of Ra, but was also considered to be the son of Hathor. As a war god, he was closely associated with Montu (Montju) (of Thebes) and Sopdu, and was associated with Ares (the Greek god of War) by both the Greeks and the Romans. Emperor Tiberius was depicted wearing the crown of Anhur on the walls of the temple of Kom Ombo (dedicated to Sobek and Horus). Although Anhur originated in This, his main center of worship was in the town of Sebennytos (modern Samannud) in the Delta, where he
considered to be an aspect of the air god, Shu. As Anhur was a more popular god, he largely absorbed the attributes of the less favoured wind god.He grew in popularity during the New Kingdom when he became more closely associated with Horus as the composite deity Horus-Anhur, the model warrior and the "saviour" of those in battle. The Nubians renamed Horus-Anhur as Ary-hes-nefer (also given as Arensnuphis, Arsnuphis, Harensnuphis) possibly meaning "Horus of the beautiful house". This deity was thought to be married to Isis, linking him to Osiris. The Pharaohs Nectanebo I and II (of the Thirtieth Dynasty, Late Period) built a temple to Onuris-Shu named Per-shu, the "house of Shu" (known as Peros), but it is thought that there may have been an earlier shrine in the area. Ptolemy IV Philopator and Ptolemy V Epiphanes built the temple of Ary-hes-nefer on the island of Philae (beside the temple of Isis. Silver and bronze amulets of the god have been discovered throughout Egypt.
Anubis is one of the most iconic gods of ancient Egypt. Anubis is the Greek version of his name, the ancient Egyptians knew him as Anpu (or Inpu). Anubis was an extremely ancient deity whose name appears in the oldest mastabas of the Old Kingdom and the Pyramid Texts as a guardian and protector of the dead. He was originally a god of the underworld, but became associated specifically with the embalming process and funeral rites. His name is from the same root as the word for a royal child, "inpu". However, it is also closely related to the word "inp" which means "to decay", and one versions of his name (Inp or Anp) more closely resembles that word. As a result it is possible that his name changed slightly once he was adopted as the son of the King, Osiris. He was known as "Imy-ut" ("He Who is In the Place of Embalming"), "nub-tA-djser" ("lord of the scared land"). He was initially related to the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, as the god of
the underworld. In the Pyramid Texts of Unas, Anubis is associated with the Eye of Horus who acted as a guide to the dead and helped them find Osiris. In other myths Anubis and Wepwawet (Upuaut) led the deceased to the halls of Ma´at where they would be judged. Anubis watched over the whole process and ensured that the weighing of the heart was conducted correctly. He then led the innocent on to a heavenly existence and abandoned the guilty to Ammit. The ancient Egyptians believed that the preservation of the body and the use of sweet-smelling herbs and plants would help the deceased because Anubis would sniff the mummy and only let the pure move on to paradise. According to early myths, Anubis took on and defeated the nine bows (the collective name for the traditional enemies of Egypt) gaining a further epithet "Jackal ruler of the bows".The growing power of the Ennead of Heliopolis resulted in the merging of the two religious systems. However, Osiris was the King of the Underworld in the Ennead and he was more popular (and powerful) than Anubis. So Anubis was relegated to a god of mummification. To save face it was stated that Anubis had voluntarily given up his position when Osiris died as a mark of respect. Some myths even stated that Anubis was the son of Osiris and Nephthys (who was herself associated with the funeral rites). Anubis was still closely involved in the weighing of the heart, but was more a guardian than a ruler. He became the patron of lost souls, including orphans, and the patron of the funeral rites. In this respect he overlapped with (and eventually absorbed) the Jackal God Wepwawet of Upper Egypt. During the Ptolemaic Period Anubis became associated with the Greek god Hermes as the composite god Hermanubis. Hermes was messenger of the gods, while Anubis was principally guide of the dead. Hermanubis was sometimes given attributes of Harpokrates. He was worshipped in Rome until the second century and was popular
with Rennaisance alchemists and philosophers. Priests wore Anubis masks during mummification. However, it is not clear whether the Anubis mask was a later development influenced by the Osirian myth or whether this practice was commonplace in the earlier periods too. Anubis was also closely associated with the imiut fetish used during the embalming ritual. Anubis was credited with a high level of anatomical knowledge as a result of embalming, and so he was the patron of anaesthesiology and his priests were apparently skilled herbal healers. Tombs in the Valley of the Kings were often sealed with an image of Anubis subduing the "nine bows" (enemies of Egypt) as "Jackal Ruler of the Bows" and it was thought that the god would protect the burial physically and spiritually. One of his epithets, "tpy-djuf" ("he who is on his mountain") refers to him guarding the necropolis and keeping watch from the hill above the Theban necropolis. He was also given the epithet "khentyamentiu" ("foremost of the westerners" i.e. the dead) because he guarded the entrance to the Underworld.He was originally thought to be the son of Ra and Hesat, Ra's wife (who was identified with Hathor), but later myths held that he was the child of Osiris and Nephthys, or Set and Nephthys. He was sometimes described as the son of Bast because of her link to the perfumed oils used in embalming. His wife, Anput (his female aspect) was only really referred to in association with the seventeenth nome of Upper Egypt. It is thought that they were the parents of Kebechet, the goddess of the purification. Dogs and jackals often patrolled the edges of the desert, near the cemeteries where the dead were buried, and it is thought that the first tombs were constructed to protect the dead from them. Anubis was usually thought of as a jackal (sAb), but may equally have been a wild dog (iwiw) He was usually depicted as a man with the head of a jackal and alert ears, often wearing a red ribbon, and wielding a flail. He was
sometimes depicted as a jackal (such as in the beautiful examples from the tomb of Tutankhamun) but only rarely appears as a man (one example is in the cenotaph temple of Rameses II at Abydos). His fur was generally black (not the brown associated with real jackals) because black was associated with fertility, and was closely linked to rebirth in the afterlife. In the catacombs of Alexandria he was depicted wearing Roman dress and the sun disk flanked by two cobras. Anubis was worshipped throughout Egypt, but the center of his cult was in Hardai (Cynopolis) in the the seventeenth nome of Upper Egypt. To the east of Saqqara there was a place known as Anubeion, where a shrine and a cemetery of mummified dogs and jackals was discovered. He was also worshipped at cult centers in Abt (the the eighth nome of Upper Egypt) and Saut (Asyut, in the thirteenth nome of Upper Egypt).
Apep (Aapep, Apepi or Apophis) was the ancient Egyptian spirit of evil, darkness and destruction who threatened to destroy the sun god Ra as he travelled though the underworld (or sky) at night. Originally Set and Mehen (the serpent headed man) were given the job of defending Ra and his solar barge. They would cut a hole in the belly of the snake to allow Ra to escape his clutches. If they failed, the world would be plunged into darkness. However, in later periods Apep was sometimes equated with Set who was after all a god of chaos. The dead themselves (in the form of the god Shu) could also fight Apep to help maintain Ma´at (order). Like Set, Apep was also associated with various frightening natural events such as unexplained darkness such as solar eclipse, storms and earthquakes. They were both linked to the northern sky (a place that the Egyptians considered to be cold, dark and dangerous) and they were both at times associated with Taweret, the demon-goddess. However, unlike Set he was always a force
for evil and could not be reasoned with. Apep is not mentioned by name until the Middle Kingdom, but depictions of large serpents on Predynastic pottery may relate to him or to any of the variety of serpent gods or demons who appear in early texts (such as the Pyramid Texts) as representatives of evil or chaos. However, the mythology surrounding him largely developed during the New Kingdom in funerary texts such as the Duat (or Amduat). During the Roman Period, he was called "he who was spat out" and considered to have been born of the saliva of the goddess Neith. He was depicted as a huge serpent often with tightly compressed coils to emphasis his huge size. In funerary texts he is usually shown in the process of being dismembered in various ways. In a detailed depiction in the tomb of Ramesses VI twelve heads are painted above the head of the snake representing the souls he has swallowed who are briefly freed when his is destroyed, only to be imprisoned again the following night. In an alternative depiction inscribed in a number of tombs of private individuals Hathor or Ra is transformed into a cat who slices the huge serpent with a knife. The serpent was also represented by a circular ball, the "evil eye" of Apep, in numerous temple scenes. Apep was known by many epithets, such as "the evil lizard", "the encircler of the world", "the enemy" and "the serpent of rebirth". He was not worshipped, he was feared, but was possibly the only god (other than The Aten during the Amarna period) who was considered to be all powerful. He did not require any nourishment and could never be completely destroyed, only temporarily defeated. Apep led an army of demons that preyed on the living and the dead. To defeat this malevolent force a ritual known as "Banishing Apep" was conducted annually by the priests of Ra. An effigy of Apep was taken into the temple and imbued with all of the evil of the land. The effigy was then beaten, crushed smeared with mud and burned. Other rituals involved the creation
of a wax model of the serpent which was ritually dismembered and the burning of a papyrus bearing an image of the snake. The "Book of Apophis" is a collection of magical spells from the New Kingdom which were supposed to repel or contain the evil of the serpent. Apep was hated and feared by the Egyptians, but two of the Hyksos rulers chose his name as their coronation names (although they used a slightly different spelling).
During the reign of Akhenaten the Aten was installed as the principle god of ancient Egypt, and the worship of many of the traditional gods of ancient Egypt was rejected. The Aten was not a new god but an obscure aspect of the sun god worshipped as early as the Old Kingdom. "Aten" was the traditional name for the sun-disk itself and so the name of the god is often translated as "the Aten" (for example, in the coffin texts of the Middle Kingdom) the word "Aten" represents the sun disc, and in the 'Story of Sinuhe' (also from the Middle Kingdom) Amenemhat I is described as soaring into the sky and uniting with Aten, his creator. During the New Kingdom, the Aten was considered to be an aspect of the composite deity Ra-Amun-Horus. (Ra represented the daytime sun, Amun represented the sun in the underworld and Horus represented the sunrise). Akhenaten proclaimed "the Aten" (the visible sun itself) to be the sole deity, taking sun worship a stage further. Because of the naturalistic qualities of some of the art works of the time, some have suggested that his religion was based on the scientific observation that the sun's energy is the ultimate source of all life. In its early stages Atenism is best described as a henotheistic religion (a religion devoted to a single god while accepting the existence of other gods) but it developed into a proto-monotheistic system. The full extents of his religious reforms were not apparent until the ninth year of his reign. As well as proclaiming the Aten the only god, he banned the
use of idols with the exception of a rayed solar disc. He also made it clear that the image of the Aten only represented the god, but that the god transcended creation and so could not be fully understood or represented. This aspect of his faith bears a notable resemblance to the religion of Moses, prompting Freud to suggest that Akhenaten was the first Monotheist. A number of hymns to the Aten were composed during Akhenaten's reign, some apparently by the king himself. They describe the wonders of nature and hail the sun as the absolute and universal lord of all things. In particular, the Hymn to the Aten (recorded in the tomb of Ay, the vizier Akhenaten who became pharaoh after Tutankhamun) has become famous as many commentators have argued that it closely echoes Psalm 104 which describes the wonders of nature and ascribes ultimate power to Yahweh, the Hebrew God. There is indeed a certain similarity in the type of language and the content matter, but those who argue the two texts are the same are perhaps exaggerating slightly. The Aten was worshipped in the open sunlight, rather than in dark temple enclosures, as the old gods had been. However, far from being open to the people, only Akhenaten (and his family) could connect with the god. In the Hymn to the Aten, Akhenaten states "there is none who knows thee save thy son Akhenaten". Perhaps unsurprisingly, excavations at Akhetaten (Armarna) have indicated that the ordinary people did not take to the new religion but continued to worship the old gods in private.