The Fascinating Culture of Ancient Egypt
The study of Humanities is an evident study of human society, culture and course religion. When learning about the human struggle religion is a key concept. From ancient to modern there are over 4,200 different types of religions. In our lectures, we have looked over a handful of religious systems from the early creation myths to modern beliefs. The ancient Egyptian religion is one that has always fascinated me. The Egyptians never found a name for their religion since they have only ever known it as the only one. They presumed to believe they were the only ones to exist. The religion of Ancient Egypt was known to be polytheistic. This means that there was a worship in more than one god and multiple deities.
Numeral aspects influenced the origin of the ancient Egyptians. To begin with, the first evidence of Egyptian religion came around the time period of 3100–2686 BC which was referred to as the Early Dynastic Period. Egypt’s form of life was told by the stories speaking upon and shared through the creation of the world by the gods. The religion is massively reliant on the Nile River. The Nile River is the longest river in the world and was a major perk to speeding up civilization. Trading and business evolved from the Nile. It was their source of life in ancient times. Their creator God was known as Atum who had appeared from the watery chaos. His name translates to perfection. Aside from Atum, the formal religious practice is generally centered around the Pharaoh. What sets the Egyptian religious apart from different cultures is the fact that their ruler was also seen as their God.
The Pharaoh’s role was to maintain a rational order in the world and acted between people and the Gods. Moreover, it is said that their universe was in pure darkness. Once there was nothing but water containing no form or purpose. Atum, the God of creation felt loneliness and mated with his own shadow to have two children. These children came to be known as Shu, who was the god of air. It is said that Atum spat him out. Atum then vomited out his daughter Tefnut, known as the goddess of moisture. Tefnut gave the principles of order while her brother Shu provided the principles of life. As their story forms, it is evident to see how many gods come in to play their roles.
The Egyptians had numerous beliefs. From their Gods to after and eternal life, there is a large scale that depicts their beliefs. To begin with, a fun fact is that Egyptians worshipped cats because they believed their gods took on the form of cats when on Earth. Their most famous belief is the funerary custom of mummification. The process of mummification was popular among the ancient Egyptians because it was a way to preserve the skin and flesh of a human corpse. The reason why they mummified the dead was that they believed that their bodies would come of importance in the afterlife. Speaking of the afterlife, the Egyptians viewed death as only a short interruption on the way to the afterlife.
This explains why they needed their bodies to be preserved. Various other religions also believed in life after death but the Egyptians made sure that the process was handled carefully and efficiently for their loved ones who passed on. Moving forward, another ancient Egyptian belief was known to be that the Pharaoh was supposed to marry a sister or cousin to ensure that royalty and loyalty stayed within the immediate family solely. Finally, these beliefs along with hundreds of others helped the Egyptians in various ways at the time. From farming, education, trading and creating a vast civilization, their religion and beliefs kept them together.
Ancient rituals were performed often in Egypt. For example, a common ritual would occur at funerals. The funerals would have dancers and mourners. And there would be what is called the “Opening of the Mouth” ceremony. This ritual quite literally means to open the mouth of the dead body and it will return to the body in the afterlife for the use of his faculties. The ritual was also meant to open the eyes, ears, and nose to again carry out its common functions. Then finally, the coffin would be put into the burial chamber, ready for the afterlife.
In conclusion, ancient Egyprian religion has so much to offer, and it can easily relate to the time and people who developed it. These stories were written in the pyramid walls in hieroglyphics. The way we were able to translate it was through rosetta stone, different generations all try to crack their codes. The Egyptians were very adequate and educated since they had an efficient writing and number system. They were great builders as they built massive and historical pyramids. Their stories continue to live on through their writings and shared myths and pass on to the people of today.
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