Egyptian Gods. Detailed information regarding Egyptian Gods, Egyptian Goddesses, Egyptian Mythology, Ancient Egypt and much more.
Gods and Goddesses
Gods and Goddesses Index
Egyptian Mythology
Egyptian Mythology Index
Discussion Board

Book Tickets Now For The Tutankhamun Exhibition At O2 Exhibition Centre (Formerly the Millennium Dome).


The ankh (pronounced 'ahnk') was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that stood for the word Ankh, which means life. Gods may carry it by the loop, or bear one in each hand crossed over their breast. Latinists interpreted the symbol as a crux ansata, "cross with a handle".

What it was intended to represent remains a mystery to Egyptologists. Some have speculated that it was a stylized womb.

Sir Alan Gardiner speculated that it represented a sandal strap, with the loop going around the ankle. The word for sandal strap was also spelled Ankh, although it may have been pronounced differently. No single hypothesis has yet been widely accepted.

The ankh appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other art; it often appears at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images that represent the deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead person's mummy. The ankh symbol was often carried by Egyptians as an amulet, either alone, or in connection with two other hieroglyphs that mean "strength" and "health." Mirrors were often made in the shape of an ankh. Sometimes, in art, the Ankh was shown being touched by a god onto a person, which usually symbolised conception.

A similar symbol was used to represent the Roman goddess Venus. This symbol, known benignly as Venus' hand-mirror, is much more associated with a representation of the female womb. In astrology the same symbol is used to represent the planet Venus, in alchemy to represent the element copper, and in biology to identify the female sex.

The importance of the Ankh, and its symbolism to the Egyptians, lead to it being adopted by the early Christian church in Egypt (which eventually became the Coptic Church). Elsewhere, the main christian symbol at the time was a stylised alpha, resembling a fish, and therefore known as Ichthys, the Greek word for fish. However, the symbol of a cross eventually spread throughout Christianity, and the distinct circular part of the Ankh was kept well into mediaeval times, the Ankh symbol often being used as a Christian talisman.


Egyptian Mythology Menu

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.


Egyptian Dreams Gift Shop - Statues, Papyrus Paintings, Belly Dance Supplies, Jewellery, Perfume Bottles, Egyptian Leather and much more.

Visitors Currently Online:

Total Unique Visitors:

Total Pageviews:
Unique Visitors Today:
Pageviews Today:

Want to exchange links? Click here!

Home :: Gods and Goddesses :: Egyptian Mythology
Canopic Jars :: Leather Goods :: Oil Burners :: Bookmarks :: Paintings :: Pyramids
Scarabs :: Statues :: Site Map :: Links

Copyright © 2005 - All Rights Reserved. is wholly owned by Egyptian Dreams