Directory of Ancient Egyptian Gods

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Suggested Reading List

Select the first letter of the Ancient Egyptian God you are looking for from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the directory.


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Amaunet

One of the eight primal deities or divine forces known as the Ogdoad.
Amon

One of the eight divine forces of chaos known as the Ogdoad. Amon was worshipped as a fertility god at Thebes in Upper Egypt and became a national deity in the Second millennium BC. His name was fused with that of the supreme solar deity, RA, to create Amon-RA, one of the four great creator deities [ the others being Atum, Khnum and Ptah ]. Amon-Ra was the hidden power who created the gods. According to one account the snake form of Amon was the earliest being to exist in the primeval waters.
 
Anat

A female warrior deity of Syrian (Canaanite) origin: She is derived from the goddess Anath. In Egyptian mythology Anat is the daughter of the solar deity Ra. She was usually depicted carrying a shield, spear and axe. Anat was also a cow goddess.
 
Anubis

The jackal-headed god of embalming, also known as Anpu. He is sometimes said to be the son of the god Osiris, the first king or pharaoh on earth, and his sister Nephthys. After Osiris was killed by his brother Seth, Anubis embalmed the body and wrapped it in linen bandages making Osiris the first mummy. Anubis later defended the corpse against the attacks of Seth. After death Osiris became ruler of the underworld. Anubis, as one of the most important officials, guided the deceased through the underworld into the presence of Osiris and oversaw their judgment.
 
Apep

A great serpent or dragon of the underworld, also known as Apophis. Apep, lord of darkness, was the arch-enemy of the sun god and attacked his barque every night as it travelled through the underworld. The barque was successfully defended by the hosts of the dead, led by Seth, the strongest of the gods.
 
Astarte

A warrior goddess of Middle Eastern origin (her Mesopotamian counterpart was Inanna/Ishtar), said by the Egyptians to be the daughter of the sun god or of the creator god Ptah. Astarte was a wife of the god Seth.
 
Atum

One of the four principle creator deities (the others being Amon, Khnum and Ptah). Atum, whose cult centre was at Heliopolis, first emerged from the primeval chaos in the form of a serpent, but was usually represented in human form. Like other creator deities, the god represented a totality which contained both male and female. He caused the first division into male and female when he put his semen in his mouth and sneezed or spat it out, creating the first divine couple, Shu and Tefenet. As Ra-Atum, he represented the evening sun.
 
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Bastet

The Cat-headed goddess of love, sex and fertility. Like the ferocious war goddess Sekhmet, Bastet was originally a lioness deity, but from c.900BC she began to be represented as a cat, perhaps because of her gentler nature. She was sometimes depicted with kittens, which symbolized her role as a fertility deity. Mummified cats were often buried near her shrines.
 
Bes

A protective deity. Bes, usually portrayed as a hideous but jovial dwarf, was revered as the god of pleasure and entertainment and as a protector of the family, especially of children and women in childbirth.
 
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Ennead, The

The collective name given to the great deities otherwise known as the Nine Gods of Heliopolis, who feature in the fullest ancient Egyptian account of the creation of the world. The first of the Ennead (derived from the Greek ennea, meaning nine) was the sun god Atum or Ra-Atum, who came into existence on the mound that rose from the Nun, the dark primordial waters. He planned all creation and then put his semen in his mouth, spitting or sneezing it out to produce the next two members of the Ennead, Shu, the god of air, and Tefenet, the goddess of wetness and water. This was the first division into male and female. Shu and Tefenet went to explore the Nun, and Atum, fearing them lost, sent his eye (a powerful divine force thought to be his daughter) to find them. When the eye returned with his children, the god wept tears of joy which became the first humans. Shu and Tefenet had intercourse and produced the next two deities of the Ennead, the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. Geb and Nut also had intercourse but embraced so tightly that their children could not be born until they were separated by their father, Shu. The air god supported Nut above the earth with the assistance of eight beings known as the Heh gods, thereby making room for living creatures and giving them air to breathe. Nut eventually gave birth to two sets of divine twins; Osiris and Isis, and Seth and Nephthys. Osiris, who was the eldest child, became the first ruler of Egypt.
 
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Geb

The god of the Earth, the offspring of Shu, the god of air, and Tefenet, the goddess of wetness and water.
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Hathor

A powerful and complex goddess with numerous attributes. Hathor was the protector of women, whom she assisted in conception and childbirth. As the guardian of children, she suckled the young god Horus in the form of a cow, and later restored his sight after the god Seth tore out his eyes. She was also the protector of lovers. Hathor was associated with death and rebirth. She greeted the souls of the dead in the underworld and offered them refreshments of food and drink.
 
Heh and Hehet

A pair of primal deities embodying infinity. They formed part of the group of eight divinities known as the Ogdoad.
 
Horus

The falcon-headed god, the son of the goddess Isis and the god Osiris. Seth caused the death of his brother Osiris, the first king of Egypt, and seized his throne. Isis retrieved her husband's body and hovered over it in the form of a sparrowhawk, fanning enough life back into him for her to conceive a son, Horus. She knew Seth would harm her child, so she fled the Nile delta and gave birth to Horus at Chemmis near Buto. With the assistance of other deities, such as the goddesses Hathor and Selqet, Isis raised Horus until he was old enough to challenge Seth and claim his royal inheritance.
 
The sun god invited Horus and Seth to put their cases before the Ennead. Seth declared that he should be king because only he was strong enough to defend the sun during its nightly voyage through the underworld. Some deities accepted this argument, but Isis persuaded them to change their minds.

Seth refused to proceed with Isis there, so he adjourned the tribunal to an island to which Isis was refused access. However, the goddess bribed Nemty, ferryman of the gods, to take her across. Then she tricked Seth into agreeing that it was wrong for a son to have his inheritance stolen. Seth complained about her trickery and the gods punished Nemty by cutting off his toes.

Further confrontations between Horus and Seth proved inconclusive. In the end the gods wrote to Osiris, who threatened to send demons to the realm of the gods if Horus was not made king of Egypt at once. The sun god found in favour of Horus.

Horus was seen as a sky god whose left eye was the moon and whose right eye was the sun. The Eye of Horus or Wedjat (whole one) Eye was frequently depicted in Egyptian art.
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Imhotep

An architect and priest-minister of the pharaoh Djoser (27th century BC). Imhotep, a historical figure, was revered as a demi-god of wisdom, medicine and magic. His parents were apparently the creator deity Ptah, the god of crafts and intellect, and a human mother.
 
Isis

A great goddess, the wife and sister of Osiris, the sister of Seth and Nephthys, and the mother of Horus. Isis, one of the nine great deities known as the Ennead, is featured in myth principally as the devoted wife of Osiris, the first king on earth, and mother of Horus. As the devine exemplar of the dedicated wife and mother, Isis was the center of an important cult which spread over, and out of, the borders of ancient Egypt.

The goddess's adversary was her brother Seth, who brought about the death of Osiris and stole his throne. Isis retrieved her husband's corpse and protected it from Seth, using magic powers to halt or reverse the decay. In one account, Isis hovered over the body as a sparrowhawk and fanned enough life into Osiris with her wings to enable her to conceive a son, the god Horus. Isis protected Horus from Seth and assisted him to regain his birthright, the Egyptian kingship, from his uncle.
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Kek and Keket

A pair of primal deities embodying darkness. They formed part of the group of eight divinities known as the Ogdoad.
 
Khepry

A divine scarab beetle which was the dawn manifestation of the sun god. Khepry is typically represented pushing the sun up into the the sky, an image derived from the scarab rolling a ball of dung. To the Egyptians, the scarab beetle was a symbol of rebirth, regeneration and transformation.
 
Khnum

One of the four principal creator gods of the Egyptians, the others being Amon-Ra, Atum and Ptah. Khnum was shown as a potter who molded deities, humans and animals from clay on his potting wheel, and then breathed life into them. He was usually depicted as a man with the head of a ram, his sacred animal and a symbol of male creative power. Khnum was believed to control the rising of the waters of the Nile, an annual phenomenon crucial to the fertility of the land and life itself.
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Maat

The goddess of truth and justice. Maat, the daughter of the sun god and wife of Thoth, embodied divine order and harmony. She was depicted standing or squatting, with her symbol, an ostrich feather, in her headdress. In the underworld, the heart - or the conscience - of a dead person was weighed against the feather of Maat; or Truth. If the heart was burdened by sin so that it was heavier than the feather, the deceased was devoured by a monster. If the scales balanced, the deceased became a spirit among the gods. * See The Book of the Dead for a complete description of this process.
 
Meresger

A snake goddess of the mountain peak overlooking the royal tombs of Thebes (modern Luxor). She was generally benevolent and had the power to cure disease, but she could also inflict sickness on sinners.
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Naunet

A primal deity embodying the primeval waters. Naunet and her male counterpart Nun formed part of the Ogdoad, eight divinities which personified the forces of chaos.
 
Neith

The great mother goddess. According to one account, she emerged from the Nun, the primordial waters waters, and created deities and humans. When she spat into the Nun her spittle became Apep, the sepent of chaos. She was also the mother of Sobek, the crocodile god.

During the struggle of Horus and Seth over Egypt's kingship, the gods and goddesses wrote Neith seeking her advice. She replied that to compensate for giving up the throne to Horus, Seth should receive Anat and Astarte, two goddesses of foreign origin, as wives. This judgment probably implies that Neith considered Seth unworthy of marriage to native goddesses.

Neith was a formidable figure who was also associated with hunting and warfare. Her sign or emblem was a shield displaying two crossed arrows. The center of her cult was at Sais (modern Sa el-Hagar) in the Nile delta.
 
Nekhbet

The vulture goddess of the Southern city of Nekheb (modern el-Kab) and the patron goddess of Upper Egypt. With Wadjet, the patron goddess of Lower Egypt, Nekhbet was the protector of the Egyptian Pharaoh and was often depicted as a vulture hovering with her wings spread above the royal image. She was also the goddess of childbirth, and was identified by the Greeks with the goddess Eileithyia.
 
Nephthys

A goddess, the daughter of Geb and nut, sister of Isis, Osiris and Seth. Nephthys, less prominent in Egyptian myth than her siblings, married Seth but produced no children, so she committed adultrey with Osiris and consequently bore the god of embalming, Anubis. She deserted Seth after he had brought about the death of Osiris and then she lamented with Isis over her brother's corpse. It was the custom at Egyptian funerals for two women to impersonate Nephthys and Isis and lament over the body of the deceased.
 
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- Suggested Reading -

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By: Anthony C. DiPaolo, M.S.
Revised: November 12, 2009.
Copyright 1997 by Anthony C. DiPaolo, M.S. / Osiris Web Design.
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tony19@ix.netcom.com