Gods and Goddesses

Sobek, a Nile God
Sobek, a Nile God

Religion played a big part in the lives of the Ancient Egyptians.

They believed in more than two thousand (2.000) gods and goddesses, which means they were polytheistic. Each god took care of just a few things, instead of everything like Islam's 'Allah' or Christianity's 'God'.

All parts of life were covered and there were gods for beer, plants, digestion, the high seas, gardens, partying, etc. Many of them had lots of duties and were with time combined with each other in a great number of ways.

Many of the gods and goddesses were identified with particular animals. There was often a connection between the god or goddess and the actions of the animal. For example, the goddess of war, named Sekhmet was sometimes shown with the head of a lioness to show that she was ferocious.

Some of the most important gods and goddesses were:

Anubis

Anubis is known as a jackal or wild dog. He was the god of funerals and death and was often painted on the walls of the tombs as he was thought to protect the dead. Anubis also supervised embalming and was believed to have embalmed Osiris.

Bastet

Bastet has a cat´s head. She is the goddess of cats, women and children. Ancient Egyptians believed that cats were sacred. They killed the ratsand mice which ate grain and caused diseases. Some cats were even mummified.

Bes

Bes was a small human like god who wore a feathered headdress and a lion skin. His full face is always shown and he is very ugly so he can scare evil spirits away. He protected women in childbirth, children and families against evil influences.

Horus

Horus is usually shown as a falcon and is known as a sky god. He was also the son of Osiris and Isis. Horus lost his eye fighting Seth after Seth killed his father. 

He was believed to give power to each pharaoh.

Isis

Isis was the wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus. She recovered Osiris´s body after he was killed by Seth and brought him back to life.

She was the goddess of motherhood and love.

Osiris

Osiris is shown as a human. He was killed by his brother Seth, who was jealous and wanted to take his place as king. Osiris´s wife, Isis, found him and brought him back to life. 

Osiris was the god of the underworld. All pharaohs became an Osiris when thay died. 

Ra

Ra is shown as a falcon with the sun on his head. He was the god of creation.

Ancient Egyptians believed that he created the world and the rising sun was the symbol of creation and renewal.

Sekhmet

Sekhmet is the lion-headed goddess. Priests of Sekhmet were one of the oldest groups of doctors and veterinary surgeons.

Sekhmet was the goddess of medicine, war and pestilence.

Seth

Seth is shown with a long greyhound like body, curved muzzle, almond eyes and long straight pointed ears.

He is the god of chaos. Seth murdered his brother Osiris and plucked out Horus´s eye.

Thot

Thot had two forms, the ibis bird with a long beak and the baboon.

Thot was the god of wisdom and writing. It was Thot who helped Isis to bring back Osiris back from the dead.

CLICk on the picture to learn more about Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.

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Activity

Match the picture of the gods and goddesses with their names: