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Egyptian Religion!

By Cassy Allan and Sabrina Zhang!

Introduction:

Egyptian Religion is extremely complicated, not only are there large amount of gods, goddesses and patrons, but the gods and more, but the gods that each person worships can be different too. Also, after Ptolemy the fifth was linked to Egypt, the Egyptians started to worship the Greek god and goddesses as well! Plus, there are no main gods because gods are important in one part of the country, can have no importance at all in another area. Also, throughout the dynasties, the kinds of gods the Egyptians worshipped changed too. At first it was the basic gods that the Egyptians thought of, but as time grew, each time other infiltrated the country, a new set of gods were introduced to them. Not only are there an uncountable number of gods, but also the rituals and religious things they do are a large of their life. There are religious things to wear, things to do on different days and more. Even the social order has to do with religion. Because of religion, the country is separated into different parts. That why people say Egypt was so vulnerable and was controlled by different people throughout the years.



Deaths and Burials:

The people in Egypt believed strongly in the afterlife. That is one of the main reasons why they filled people's grave with many things. Usually, the tomb is full of everyday necessities like clothes, soap and more, but occasionally, peasants don't have anything in their grave because they are too poor. On the other hand, the king's tomb is completely different, not only is it filled with riches like gold, sliver, ivory and more, it also has paintings and other sculptures. The tomb is also full of religious thing that include statues, amulets and other things that are suppose to represent different god. The graves of most Pharaohs that have been found have already been robbed of its goods; most of the people that rob the graves are people who build the pyramids. That’s why most of the Pharaoh’s Tombs have already been robbed of its riches.




Mummies and Mummification:

Mummies are an important part of the Egyptian religion, because the Egyptians strongly believe in the afterlife, so they preserve the deceased's body because they will need their body in order to go to the afterlife. Mummification is an extremely difficult process, it started by using a small hook to take out the brain through the nose, and cutting the side of the body open and taking out the liver, stomach, intestines and lungs. The heart is left within the body, while the rest of the organs are preserved. The body is then covered with a kind of natural salt called Natron that kills the bacteria that eat away at the body after it dies. After 40 days the salt is taken away and the body is stuffed with linen, sawdust, spices and more to return it back to the original shape, then, the body is rewrapped with linen that had been soaked in resin. It is wrapped in many layers, and because of that, priests put good luck charms, jewels and more in between the layers. Priests say charms and spells over the body and then the mummy is ready to be put into the coffin. And the deceased ready to start on his journey. This process is called embalmment and the god Anubis would be drawn on the coffin to ensure a safe afterlife.
mummy.JPG
a tomb in Egypt



Because cats were worshiped in Egypt, the cats after the owners died would then be slaughtered and wrapped up like a mummy!
Because cats were worshiped in Egypt, the cats after the owners died would then be slaughtered and wrapped up like a mummy!
This would be a jar that the inner organs would be kept in after mummification. (Notice it has the head of Anubis god of embalmment as the lid)
This would be a jar that the inner organs would be kept in after mummification. (Notice it has the head of Anubis god of embalmment as the lid)

Anubis god of embalmment and Hathor god of day and air
Anubis god of embalmment and Hathor god of day and air


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Temples and Rituals:

There is usually one large temple for every city, inside the temple; the priests worship the god or goddess that looks after that city. There are specific rules for cleaning the temple and looking after the temple, because people thought that if the temple were not kept in that exact way, the gods would be angered and leave their city forever, therefore disaster would befall that city. The temple is a place only for priests, because every temple is a sacred place, it is believed to be where the gods lived. The priests take care of the god’s every need. But only the high priests can be right beside the god inside the temple. Every temple has a tall statue of the god they worship. Some of the statues of the more important gods may even be made of gold. The high priests job includes sealing the place of the statue at night, breaking the seal in the morning, lighting incense, placing new offerings, washing the statue, praying, singing to the gods and resealing the place again at night. Also sacrifices would be most commonly given to Osiris to have a good after-life, and to the Dwarf god Bes to be able to have children.

Restored Egyptian Temple!
Restored Egyptian Temple!




Pharaohs and Priests:

Even the social order is affected by religion; at the top of the levels is the Pharaoh. Do you ever wonder why even though the Pharaoh is cruel and senseless, the people of Egypt still did not rebel? Of course you might consider the army but that is not the reason. The reason is that the Pharaoh is a god to the people. They believe that the Pharaoh is a god himself, and anything done to the Pharaoh would be reflected back through their way of living, and more. Priests also hold a lot of power, because they are people that take care of the god’s every need. Therefore they are above the peasants. But along with all this comes responsibility. Whenever nice things happen to Egypt, like a harvest or more water, the credit goes to the Pharaoh and Priests, but when disaster befalls Egypt, this also goes to the Pharaoh and Priests. So there are good and bad sides to this. Pharaohs were even thought to be able to speak to the gods!





The Gods and Goddesses:

The Egyptians worshiped many god and goddesses. This is called pantheonism*. There were about 700 gods and goddesses and not all of them were good and sometimes there were two gods that did the same job such as Horus and Amunet. To start there was Ra the sun god and was thought to have pulled the sun over the sky for night and day, Amun-Ra god of creation and king of the gods, Osiris god of the underworld, Isis is wife of Osiris and goddess of magic and light, and there was Horus god of day and air. As well as the lesser gods and goddesses: Set god of war and storms, Sekhmet goddess of war and disease, Hathor the goddess of music, dance, and happiness. Sobek is the god of water and is shown usually as a crocodile, Bastet is goddess of joy and motherhood, and Khum made babies from clay and is god of potters. There was Thoth the god of moon and education, Amunet is the goddess of air and has a snakehead, Anuket is the goddess of the Nile, and then there is Apep the god of chaos! For a further list of all of the gods and goddesses go to www.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Egyptian_gods. To add to this large pantheon of gods and goddesses, after Ptolemy the V reigned over Egypt, the Egyptians started to worship both Egyptian and Greek gods and goddesses!


* Pantheonism- the worshiping of many gods and/or goddesses


Bibliography:

~ Goodenough, Simon. Egyptian Mythology. Singapore: New Line Books, 2006.
~ Hart, George. Ancient Egypt. San Francisco: Time Life Books, 1996.
~ Harvey, Gill. Ancient Egypt. Usborne Publishing,
~ Matthews, Rupert. Ancient Egypt At A Glance. New York: Peter Bedrick Books, 1997.
~ “http://www.crystalinks.com/egyptemples.html
~"www.flickr.com"
~http://historylink101.net/egypt_1religian.htm</span
~www.kingtutshop.com/PhPainting/EyeOfHorus.htm
~ www.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Egyptian_gods
~ video from www.youtube.com

Bibliography assignment:
~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_religion
~http://historylink101.net/egypt_1/religion.htm
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