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Ancient Egypt: Gods, Afterlife, & Burial Traditions
Egyptian religion was a combination of beliefs and practices which, in the modern day, would include magic, mythology, science, medicine, psychiatry, spiritualism, herbology, as well as the modern understanding of 'religion' as belief in a higher power and a life after death. Religion played a part in every aspect of the lives of the ancient Egyptians because life on earth was seen as only one part of an eternal journey, and in order to continue that journey after death, one needed to live a life worthy of continuance.
By Joshua J. Mark, 'Ancient Egyptian Religion' in Ancient History Encyclopedia, published on 20 January 2016, accessed 27/03/2017 <http://www.ancient.eu/Egyptian_Religion/>
The colossal site of Karnak is one of the largest temple complexes in the world, with an incredibly rich architectural, ritual, religious, economic, social and political history. The Amun-Ra precinct, which includes an astonishing number of individual temples, shrines and processional ways, stands as a micro-cosmos of ancient Egypt. Enter the temple precinct and discover its rich religious, political and architectural history.
Learn about each of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, and the myths and symbols that surround them. From Ra the sun god who created all life on earth to Isis the motherly goddess who gave birth to Horus, the ancient Egyptians worshiped a large variety of fascinating Gods.
The deities in the following gallery are just 12 out of a possible 2,000 gods and goddesses who were worshipped in ancient Egypt. Some of them were major deities wielding great religious, temporal and political power, others being not much more than demons and genies, or living creatures chosen by ordinary Egyptians to be their personal gods.
Egyptian Mythology was the belief structure and underlying form of ancient Egyptian culture from at least c. 4000 BCE (as evidenced by burial practices and tomb paintings) to 30 CE with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt. Every aspect of life in ancient Egypt was informed by the stories which related the creation of the world and the sustaining of that world by the gods.
Religion in ancient Egypt was fully integrated into the people's daily lives. The gods were present at one's birth, throughout one's life, in the transition from earthly life to the eternal, and continued their care for the soul in the afterlife of the Field of Reeds. The spiritual world was ever present in the physical world and this understanding was symbolized through images in art, architecture, in amulets, statuary, and the objects used by nobility and clergy in the performance of their duties.
The Pyramid Texts are a collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the time of the Old Kingdom. Written in Old Egyptian, the pyramid texts were carved on the walls and sarcophagi of the pyramids at Saqqara during the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom. The spells, or "utterances", of the pyramid texts are primarily concerned with protecting the pharaoh's remains, reanimating his body after death, and helping him ascend to the heavens, which are the emphasis of the afterlife during the Old Kingdom. The spells delineate all of the ways the pharaoh could travel, including the use of ramps, stairs, ladders, and most importantly flying. The spells could also be used to call the gods to help, even threatening them if they did not comply.
The most enduring Egyptian view of death was that it was a paradise, a continuation of life on earth but lacking any disappointment, loss, or distress. A text known as The Lay of the Harper [scroll down to the bottom of the page], dating from the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE) encourages its audience to make the most of the time because death is a certainty.
The Library is open 8.00 to 4.30 Mon-Thurs, 8.00 to 3.30 Fri. Extended hours for Year 12 students: 8.00 - 5.30 Mon-Thurs. We also have a selection of games available to play during recess and lunch. Only games from the Library are to be played.