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The god of embalming and cemeteries, Anubis is usually
depicted as a jackal or a man with the head of a jackal.
Since jackals were common scavengers in Egyptian
burial sites, the honouring of Anubis in this guise
may have represented a way of protecting the dead
Anubis was an ancient deity to whom prayers for the
survival of the deceased in the Afterlife were addressed
before Osiris rose to prominence as the god of the
Anubis continued to assist in the judgement of the
dead and accompanied the deceased to the throne of
Osiris for the ritual of the Weighing of the Heart.
Bastet or Bast
Bastet, the cat goddess, was worshipped in the ancient
city of Per-Bastet (Bubastis). Although Bastet was a
local deity, she was of great importance to the kings
of Egypt. Cat-like, she had both gentle and fierce aspects
to her nature. To the ancient Egyptians, the cat epitomized
the protective aspects of motherhood, so Bastet was
honoured as one of the mothers of kings.
The son of Osiris and Isis, Horus was a god of the sky
and is usually depicted as a hawk, or a man with a hawk's
head wearing the crown of all Egypt.
He is probably most well-known as the protector of
the ruler of Egypt.
After Osiris was murdered by his brother Seth, Horus
fought with Seth for the throne of Egypt.
In this battle, Horus lost one of his eyes. The eye
was restored to him and it became a symbol of protection
for the ancient Egyptians. After this battle, Horus
was chosen to be the ruler of the world of the living.
Isis was a winged goddess who represented all that was
visible, birth, growth, development and vigour. Having
wings, she was a wind goddess. The kite was sacred to
her, and she could transform herself into this bird
at will. She brought the heavenly scent with her through
the land, leaving lingering scenes of spices and flowers
her wake. She brought fresh air with her into the underworld
when she gave food to the dead. She represented both
the life-giving spring winds of Egypt and the morning
winds that hailed the arrival of the sun each day.
The ancient Egyptians saw Isis as a benevolent goddess,
good and kind. Each pharaoh was her son and Isis loved
all creatures like a mother. She was the chaste and
devoted wife and as a result most highly regarded
among the Egyptian gods. Isis was the daughter of
Nut and Geb and the sister and wife of Osiris. Isis
aided her husband during his reign as the king of
Egypt and searched madly for his body after his death
so that he might be given a proper burial. Isis conceived
her son Horus either through magic or by resurrecting
Osiris. Isis raised Horus in the papyri and lotus
thickets of Chemmis, in the delta area of Lower Egypt
to protect the child from his uncle Seth. Seth wanted
to murder Horus, but Isis hid the child so that some
day he might avenge his fathers death.
Famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding
beauty, queen Nefertiti remains one of the most well
known of the queens of Egypt. Nefertiti was the Wife
of Akhenaten during the Eighteenth Dynasty. She bore
Akhenaten 6 daughters and no sons, and shared a near
co-rulership with the king. Fifteen years after her
appointment to the position of Queen of Memphis, Nefertiti
mysteriously disappeared. Egyptologists have assumed
that this was either due to banishment or her death.
However, little evidence suggests that she actually
died. Similarly, speculation exists as to whether she
was the obscure pharaoh Nefernefuaten.
The available evidence suggests that she was not
an Egyptian, a striking departure, for the Egyptian
Royal House which, to keep the line pure and to follow
the example of Isis and Osiris, usually married the
princes and the princesses to each other.
Brother of Nephthys and Seth, and the brother and husband
of Isis. Osiris was usually depicted in human form wrapped
up as a mummy, holding a crook and flail. He was often
depicted with green skin, alluding to his role as a
god of vegetation. He wore a crown known as the 'atef',
composed of the tall conical white crown of Upper Egypt
with red plumes on each side.
He was killed by his rival and brother, Seth. At
a banquet of the gods, Seth fooled Osiris into stepping
into a coffin, which he promptly slammed shut and
cast into the Nile. Osiris was never seen again, walking
in the land of the living.
The coffin was born by the Nile to the delta town
of Byblos, where it became enclosed in a tamarisk
tree. Isis, the wife of Osiris, discovered the coffin
and brought it back home to guard. Isis gave birth
to Horus after his death, having impregnated herself
with semen from his corpse.
Taking advantage of Isis's absence from her vigil
one day, Seth cut the body to pieces and cast them
into the Nile. Isis searched the land for the body
parts of Osiris, and was eventually able to piece
together his body, whole save for the penis, which
had been swallowed by a crocodile or a fish. Isis
replaced the penis with a reasonable facsimile, and
she was often portrayed in the form of a kite being
impregnated by the ithyphallic corpse of Osiris.
Osiris became the great god of the underworld. He
was associated with funerary rituals, at first only
with those of the Egyptian monarch, later with those
of the populace in general. The pharaoh was believed
to become Osiris after his death. Although he was
regarded as a guarantor of continued existence in
the afterlife, Osiris also had a darker, demonic aspect
associated with the physiological processes of death
and decay, and reflecting the fear Egyptians had of
death in spite of their belief in an afterlife. Osiris
was also a judge of the dead, referred to as the 'lord
Called Ramesses the Great, he lived for 96 years. It
is believed that he had as many as fifty sons and fifty
daughters, though only a few of them are known to us.
His chief, and most likely favorite wife, was Nefertari.
In the seventh year of his father's (Seti I) reign,
Ramesses II became co-ruler of Egypt. Ramesses II and
his father began many restoration and building projects.
These included the building of several temples and the
restoration of other shrines and complexes throughout
Egypt. He built a mortuary complex at Abydos in honor
of Osiris and the famed Ramesseum. Having outlived many
of his older sons, his 13th son ascended to the throne
upon his death in 1298 B.C.E.
With the body of a lion and the head of a king, the
Great Sphinx at Giza was believed to have been built
in 2500 BC. However there is evidence of rain-induced
weathering. If the weathering is indeed caused by rain,
it would mean that the Sphinx has been in existence
since North Africa had a wet climate - more than 12,000
Most Egyptologists regard the Sphinx as a portrait
of the king Khafre, carved from an outcrop of rock
that remained after the quarrying of limestone for
the interior of the Great Pyramid.
The Great Sphinx measures 66 feet high and over 240
feet long. The face of the Sphinx rises 13 feet with
the eyes being 6 feet high. Part of the nose and beard
are now missing, but the beard can still be seen in
the British Museum.
Viewed as protectors and guardians, lesser sphinxes
are often seen at temple entrances.
In Egypt there are three types of sphinx:
Androsphinx, which has the body of a lion with a
human head, like the Great Sphinx.
Crisophinx, which has the body of a lion with a ram
Hierocosphinx, which has the body of a lion with
a hawk's head.
King Nebkheperura Tutankhamun is probably the most famous
of all the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, yet he was a short
lived and fairly insignificant ruler during a transitional
period in history.
Little was known of him prior to Howard Carters methodical
detective work, but the discovery of his tomb and
the amazing contents it held ultimately ensured this
boy king of the Immortality he sought.
It is believed that Akhenaten and a lesser wife named
Kiya were the parents of Tutankhaten, as Tutankhamun
was known at first.
Soon after the deaths of Akhenaten and Smenkhkare,
Tutankhaten became a Boy King at the age of about
nine. He married a slightly older Ankhesenpaaten,
one of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.
After the ousting of the Aten power base they changed
their names to Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun to reflect
the return to favour of the Amun hierarchy.
Due to his young age, Tutankhamun would not have
been responsible for the real decision making. This
would have been handled by two high officials, Ay
(possibly the father of Nefertiti) and Horemheb, commander-in-chief
of the army.
Sometime around the ninth year of Tutankhamun's reign,
possibly 1325 B.C., he died. There is evidence of
an injury to the skull that had time to partly heal.
He may have suffered an accident, such as falling
from his horse-drawn chariot, or perhaps he was murdered.
No one knows. Ay oversaw Tutankhamun's burial arrangements
which lasted 70 days.
Due to Tutankhamun having no heirs, Ay became Pharaoh
and took Ankhesenamun as his queen to legitimise his
rule. What happened to her after that is not known.
Ay ruled for only four years and after his death Horemheb
grabbed power. He soon obliterated evidence of the
reigns of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and Ay and substituted
his own name on many monuments.
One particular statue, found in his tomb, shows the
king harpooning from a boat made of papyrus stems.
The king is represented wearing the crown of lower
Egypt and holding a harpoon. The statue is believed
to represent the king in the performance of a religious
rite which is described in a text on a wall of the
temple of Edfu. The text relates how the god Horus
defeated the evil god Seth and his followers who had
transformed themselves into hippopotami and crocodiles
and attacked Horus in his boat. Horus and his followers
killed the enemy with harpoons. The statue shows Tutankhamun
impersonating the god Horus, of whom he was thought
to be the earthly embodiment. The hippopotamus of
Seth would not be represented because his presence
might be a source of danger to the king in the afterlife.
This statue is often wrongly named 'Tutankhamun Fishing'