As a result of the fighting, as well as the peaceful joining of individual Egyptian theocrats, two kingdoms were eventually formed: the kingdom of the North, whose divine “ruler” was the falcon – Horus, and the kingdom of the South, which was ruled by the god Seth. The capital of the northern state, ie Lower Egypt, was the city of Behedet in the western part of Delta, while the capital city of the southern state, ie Upper Egypt, was Ombos on the left bank of the upper Nile. Prolonged struggles between these two countries ended in pre-historic times with the victory of Lower Egypt and the unification of the whole country under the divine authority of Horus. In this way, the first united Egyptian state was created with the capital in Heliopolis (Biblical On, northeast of today’s Cairo). Heliopolitan priests created during this period the most important theological and cosmogonic system that was adopted throughout Egypt and survived until Christian times. However, many naivety and contradictions conveyed by tradition have not been excluded from this system.
The first unification of Egypt was not permanent. Upper Egypt rebelled and regained independence, which ended the period later called the “servants of Horus”. So again two countries arose: northern, with the capital in Pe (Buto), and southern, with the capital in Nechen (Hierakonpolis). It was not until around 2850 B.C. that the competition between north and south ended. Menes, king of the southern state, doing the unification of Egypt for the second time.
In the Thinite era (the reign of the first and second dynasties of the pharaohs), Horus, identified with the sun-god and worshiped as Re-Harachte, was the guardian god of the entire united state. At the end of the reign of the Pharaohs of the Second Dynasty there was a religious schism. Pharaoh Peribsen left the capital city of Memphis, moved to Abydos and recognized the hostile Horus Seth as the divine ruler of the state. Chasechemui, the last pharaoh of this dynasty, compromised and recognized Seth and Horus as the divine co-rulers of the country. However, this did not radically resolve the matter, and during the Third Dynasty Horus became the divine ruler of Egypt again. The pharaohs returned to Memphis; the worship of the local god Ptah also began to play a great role.
In the first period of the great weakening of central power, local cults revived in Egypt, and Min and Montu, the deities of powerful southern districts, came to the fore from among the local gods.
During the twelfth dynasty (approximately 1991-1792 BC), there was the exaltation of Amon, who maintained the position of state god in the second transitional period until the Hyksos invasion. Hyksosi in the occupied part of Egypt recognized Seth as the chief deity, while in Upper Egypt the ruling Theban ruler dynasty still granted primacy to Amon.
Theban kings defeated the Hyksos around 1570 B.C.E. This victory was tantamount to Amon’s triumph, and the further military successes of the pharaohs made him the “ruler” of a vast empire. Amon increasingly became a solar and universal deity. With the rise of Amon’s importance and power, the influence of his high priest also increased. Both of these factors led in the years 1377-1358 BCE. to the great religious schism. Beginning with the time of Thutmose IV, the solar god was depicted not in the form of a man, but in the form of a solar disk (Aton). Pharaoh Amenhotep IV made an extremely momentous political move: he took away the management of temple goods from the high priest Amon. Then, seeking to completely eliminate the influence of the priests of Amun, he created a new religion based on worship of the solar disk, and having changed his name to Akhenaten, he began to introduce this religion in his country, without hesitating to use administrative measures. It seems that the pharaoh-reformer received the support of the heliopolitan priests of the god Re. Akhenaten’s religious reform ended in complete failure, and probably at the end of his reign Akhenaten even tried to reconcile with the priests of Amon.
The proper liquidation of the schism began only during the reign of Tutankhamun, and was completed by Haremhab. After the triumph again, Amon assumed the character of a solely solar and universal god. Haremhab’s successors, Pharaohs of Tanis, sought to weaken the influence of the priests of Amon, favoring the worship of the gods Ptaha and Re.
Amon, Re, Ptah and Seth became the four official gods of the Egyptian state, but Amon remained the chief figure. His powerful high priests sought royal power and exercised it in 1085-950 B.C.E. In the next period, lasting until 332 B.C.E., i.e. to the time of Alexander the Great, the phenomenon of power fragmentation and a return to local cults again occurred in Egypt. In the position of state gods there were Amon, Re and Ptah, they were local deities, like Bastet – the goddess-cat from Bubastis, or Neith – the goddess from Sais. The pharaohs of the last three dynasties were already too weak to provide primacy to any of the great deities.
The new rulers of Egypt, the Ptolemy, tried to win over the Egyptians by supporting local cults and building numerous temples. They also used the ancient Egyptian tendency to combine different deities for political or theological reasons, and in order to bind the Greek worshipers with the Egyptians together, they supported the identification of the Egyptian and Greek gods. So, for example, Horus was identified with Apollo, Ammon with Zeus, Ptah with Hephaestus, Hathor with Aphrodite, Osiris with Dionysus. This tendency was favored by syncretism, which is characteristic of Hellenism, by identifying or melting deities as different characters or manifestations of the one God. But despite identifying the gods, there was no religious and political unification in Ptolemaic Egypt. In order to achieve her, the Ptolemy created a new cult of Sarapis, which was to be the state god. Sarapist most likely humanized and Hellenized figure of the local deity of Memphis Oserapis (Osiris-Apis). The new god, who combined the elements of Osiris, Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Asklepios, Helios, Dionysus and Babylonian Marduk, was married to Isis. Sarapis enjoyed great popularity among the Greek population, but was not kindly received by the Egyptians.
So in Egypt he became rather the Greek god of Alexandria. On the other hand, outside of Egypt, the cult of Sarapis and Isis as gods-saviors, associated with the cult of their son Horus (called by the Greeks Harpokrates) and the cult of the god of the dead Anubis, spread very quickly, exerted a strong influence on Hellenism, eventually even reached Britain and Of India, and survived until the fifth century AD Another means by which the Ptolemy sought to unite the population of Egypt was the introduction, alongside the existing Egyptian cult of the ruler, of the official Greek dynastic worship of Ptolemy; both cults concerned the same monarch. In Roman times, the imperial cult played the same role as the cult of Ptolemy.
Here are the chosen gods whose worship has radiated to many cities, dynasties and theological concepts (the list is obviously not exhaustive). Practically each of the following gods could, in the belief of his worshiper, be the creator of the world and the source of other gods:
The god of the moon, wisdom, writing and counting; portrayed as a man with the head of an ibis, often with a brush for writing and a palette in his hands.
Moon god and time lord depicted as an ibis, baboon or human with the head of these animals. Considered a magazine inventor, he became a writer’s guardian. He was also considered the creator of the calendar. Priests from the city of Hermopolis saw him as the creator of the entire cosmos and gods.
Depicted in the form of a man with a crown of pharaohs on his head. In the theology of the city of Heliopolis, he was described as a pre-threshold: the first hill emerged from the ancient Ocean.
He sun god in Heliopolis, later identified with the god Thebes Amon (Amon-Ra); a man with the head of a falcon and with a solar disk.
God of the Sun. His head is decorated with a solar disk. Priests of the city of Heliopolis – combined his worship with the earlier worship of the god Amon. He made pairs with many gods. He was the sun that shone at noon, the owner of a barge that all the gods sail in the sky (that is, inside the goddess Nut) every day from east to west from the land of life to the land of the dead. They sailed to revive themselves and the world of the next day, maintain the order of the cosmos personified in the form of the goddess Maat.
Originally the creator god and god of the dead in Memphis; depicted in the form of a mummy with an open head, with a rod standing on a hieroglyph meaning the truth.
A symbol of fertility, a god in the form of a bull with a solar disk; in some periods Apis was revered as a god who embodied the soul of Osiris.
Depicted as a man with a shaved head, with a scepter in his hand. In Memphis he was considered the creator god of the whole world by the power of thought and word. His holy animal was the bull Apis.
A god in the image of a jackal or wild dog (or a person with the head of a jackal or dog); considered the patron saint of the dead.
God of the dead. His holy animal was a black dog (probably also mistakenly considered a jackal). Anubis helped Osiris in the world of the dead, where he x-rayed the thoughts of man.
God of the sun; depicted in the form of a solar disk, the rays of which ended with open palms.
The solar disk identified with the early reflection of the solar god. He appeared during the eighteenth dynasty; one of her pharaohs, in love with Aton, took the name Akhenaten (meaning “useful to Aton”), founded a new religious capital for all of Egypt, and began persecuting the worship of other gods. Some religious experts see in this event the birth of monotheism – the first in the history of humanity.
The goddess of love and fate, the goddess of heaven, the nurse of the pharaohs and the ruler of distant lands; portrayed as a cow or woman with cow horns.
The goddess of the sky and the personification of the Great Mother, most often depicted in two forms: a woman with a sun disk on her head between the horns or as a cow. She was the eye of Horus and the eye of Re, the tears that made a man. The guardian of women giving birth and the Tree of Life after death. The wives of the pharaohs identified with her. Other goddesses, such as Maat, Isis, Nut, Sachmet, Bastet, Neit, Seszat, and Mut took over her features. As the goddess Uto-Wadzet (attacking cobra), she was the rays of the sun: life-giving and deadly, which was symbolized by ureusz (the sign of the serpent), worn on the forehead by the rulers.
Ruler of the world of the dead and their judge, often depicted in the form of a mummy. Every Egyptian wanted to identify with him after death to take over his power of resurrection (Osiris was killed by the god Set, and other gods resurrected with the help of the goddess Isis).
Patron of the city of Thebes, god of air and harvest, creator of the world; portrayed in the form of a man (sometimes with a ram’s head) with a scepter and in a crown, with two high feathers and a solar disk.
A god with blue skin and a head decorated with two feathers. In his hands he holds a whip and a sign of life anch. Its importance has grown since the eleventh dynasty, when Thebes became the capital of Egypt. He maintained a high position for over 200 years, usually in the Amon-Re pair.
The god of heaven and light, the patron saint of the pharaohs, who were considered his earthly incarnation; portrayed as a man with the head of a falcon in the crown.
Depicted as a falcon or a man with his head. He personified all of Egypt. The Pharaohs identified with Horus and adopted various names. The sun and moon were his eyes, hence the title Lord of Heaven. Pharaoh’s horus was usually surrounded by the goddesses Nechbet (vulture) and Wadzet (cobra), which symbolized the combined Upper and Lower Egypt and personified Hathor
Violent Lord of the Storm, lightning and desert. His holy animal was a strange quadruped (a combination of donkey-antelope-pig-dog). It was possible that he was the most important god of Egypt before the First Dynasty; Horus dethroned him (messages about their fight are famous). Starting from the XXV Dynasty, he becomes the embodiment of evil, identified with the opponent of all the gods of Egypt and people – the serpent Apoptis. Meanwhile, he was previously depicted as standing in the barge Re and piercing the spear of the evil Apopis. It is possible that Seta was considered a god of foreigners, whose opinion was getting worse. There was a conviction that “Horus is the god of Egypt, and Set of all other nations.” He was to be the only god who would not die.
Goddess of love, joy, holidays; woman with the head of a cat or lioness with a basket in her hands. Sometimes depicted simply in the form of a cat.
The spirit, the patron saint of women in labor, expelling the serpent, the god of fun and dancing; portrayed as an ugly gnome with a muzzle of a lion.
The divine patron of architects, scribes, doctors; it is symbolized by the sedentary figure of a scientist with an unfolded papyrus scroll on his lap.
Mother goddess, sister and wife of Osiris; a woman with cow horns and a solar disk on her head, in her hand is a stalk of papyrus, protector of the world, depicted, like Hathor.
The god of the annually dying and reborn nature, later the god of the underworld and the judge of the dead; portrayed as a human mummy in a crown framed by feathers, a beard, in a bent arms scepter and whip.
The creator god who creates man on the pottery disc, the keeper of the Nile; man with the head of a ram with spirally twisted horns.
A god with a ram’s head who made people and gods on a potter’s wheel. Often combined with Re and other gods.