Quiz Tuesday Sept 29

Based on lectures, use overhead terms
from online syllabus to study

Be here, be on time, no late quizzes!

Creation myths/cosmologies

Heliopolitan cosmology

Nun (watery abyss) --> sun god

cyclical time



So Hermopolitan cosmology

Ogdoad ("group of 8"):

Amun & Amunet ("hidden")
Heh/Huh & Hehet/Hauhet ("infinite", "boundary-less")
Tenem & Tenemet ("directionless"), alternate Nun and Naunet
Kek(u) & Kekut/Kuk & Kauket ("darkness")


Memphite cosmology


Speech as act of creation

Khnum, from Elephantine

Potter's wheel


Nature of time in ancient Egyptian thought

Regular cycle of agriculture

Cyclical thinking/cyclical time

Time in ancient Egypt


Cyclical vs. non-cyclical

Neheh vs. Djet

Neheh: Neverending recurrence of same (cyclical)

Djet: points in time at a standstill (non-cyclical)

[Linear time: progression of points on a line]

Night and day

One year: seasons of Inundation, Growth and Harvest

Longer cycles: the reign of the king

Dating by years of king's reign, each year a cycle within larger cycle of king's reign, next king begins cycles over again

Ideal: each king continues cycle, each reign replicates

Cyclical time crucial to Egyptian understandings of creation, eternity, the gods

Back to Osiris Myth

Divine relations, kingship

Creation of humans, other things?

Myth "Destruction of Humanity" aka "Book of the Divine Cow"

Sun god Re (sometimes spelled Pre)


"Eye of Re" = Sakhmet/Hathor

Blood/blood-colored beer

Festival of Drunkenness

Second part of myth:

"retirement" of sun god

"Heavenly cow"

Gods set up human government, administration, etc.

Human government, administration, etc. mirrors divine

Organization and hierarchy of gods

Groups of gods: based on existing social structures

-Family Groups
-Tribal Groups

Pairs of gods

Parent/child; siblings

"married" pairs

-2 separate entities (Osiris & Isis, Amun and Mut, etc.)
-2 similar entities (Amun and Amunet)*

*Note: -t or -et is feminine ending in Egyptian

Amun & Mut vs. Amun & Amunet


Osiris & Isis

Brother-sister marriage

-wife Satet and daughter Anuqet
-wives Satet and Anuqet

Triads (3 gods)
-Khnum, Satet, Anuqet
-Osiris, Isis, Horus
-Amun, Mut, Khonsu

"Unmarried" gods and goddesses:
- Unrelated pairs (often personify related concepts)
- Singles (often foreign or magical)

Larger groups of 4 or 5

Eight (Ogdoad)

Common group of 9 gods: "Ennead" (group of 9 = 3 triads)

Larger groups, often multiples of 3 and/or 7:
- 42 Judges of Dead
- 49 Guardian spirits

Organization of gods

Greater, lesser, intermediate

Factors for ranking?

-Local importance

Visual cues for ranking:
-Size (biggest most important)
-Position (most important in front)
-Equals often same size and facing each other

Ranking is contextual

Divine "court" of important gods (like court of a king)
Example: Ennead of Re

Laws of gods: Legal "courts" (reflect ancient Egyptian litigiousness?)


Administration of the gods

government, laws, regulations



Thoth: Mediator, advocate, scribe

Foreign gods:

Example of goddesses Anat and Astarte

Egyptian gods like Hathor and Seth often associate with foreign gods