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Ra (sometimes spelled Re) is the sun-god of Heliopolis in ancient Egypt. Ra originally meant "mouth" in the Egyptian language, and was a reference to his creation of the deities of the Ogdoad system, excluding the 8 concepts which created him, by the power of speech (compare how Yahweh was said to have created the world). In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was subsumed into the god Horus, as Re-Horakhty (and many variant spellings).The sun is either the entire body of Ra, or just his eye.

The symbols of Ra are the solar symbols of a golden disk or the symbol Symbol of Ra - Egyptian Sun God (circle with a point at its centre). He was also associated with the Phoenix, as he rose again each night in flames.


Deity Status
From the fifth dynasty (ca. 2400 BC) onward he was elevated to the status of a national deity, and much later was combined with the Theban god Amun to become Amun-Ra, the foremost deity of the Egyptian pantheon. In later times, when the earth god Atum evolved into a god of the setting sun, Atum became considered an aspect of Ra. Khepri, the less important god who pushed the sun across the sky each day, eventually was also absorbed into Ra, as the centuries wore on, becoming the aspect of Ra that is the rising sun. Also in later times, Ra was associated with Heryshaf.


Eventually, as another sun-god, Horus, gained more importance, Ra himself was subsumed into just being an aspect of Horus, as Re-Harakhty, which means Ra, Horus of the two horizons.

Amon-Ra's identity with Zeus or Jupiter was acknowledged by the Greeks and Romans. The Greeks even gave the name Diospolis, City of Zeus, to Thebes. He remained paramount for centuries except for a brief suspension during the time of Akhenaten (1350-1334 BC) when monotheistic worship of Aten, the sun disk itself, was imposed on the kingdom of Egypt. He also was worshiped along with Queenstephofk

Solar Barge
In order to pass through Duat (the underworld) each night, so that he might rise in the morning, the fiery Ra was compelled to use a boat to avoid being extinguished by the waters. It was Maat, i.e. order, the antithesis of chaos, that guided the course of the boat. At the helm of the boat stood Thoth, representative of the moon, who symbolically stood next to Horus, who, in early egyptian myth, represented the sky, and whose dark eye was the moon. It was Horus who steered.

Many of the other gods travelled in the boat with them, and one of them, possibly with the assistant Mehen (who may instead simply be nothing more than a boardgame), defended the boat from attack by the monster of darkness, who wished to devour Ra.

In early mythology, it was Set who was the hero defending the boat, and Apep who was the attacker, but in later myth, after Set became regarded as evil, it was Thoth who defended and Set who was the demon. Temporary failure to protect Ra was said to be the cause of solar eclipses, and mere difficulty in doing so was said to cause bad weather.

Hathor and Ra
In a varying myth, Hathor and Ra (or Tefnut and Shu) once argued, and she left Egypt. Ra (or Shu) quickly decided he missed her, but she changed into a cat that destroyed any man or god that approached. Thoth, disguised, eventually succeeds in convincing her to return.


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This article is copied from an article on - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.


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