Egyptian Religion Essay

1065 words - 5 pages

Modern World History

Gabrielle Wilhelm

September 12, 2011

Egyptian Religion
Religion is defined by many people as a belief in a “greater power” as well as personal morals. Most religions usually include a system of values as well as various practices. Egyptian religion included their ancient gods, the mythology of the gods, and other parts of their religion. For example their religion explained and included creation, death and the afterlife, and the cults that worshiped the gods. In Egypt, the king or pharaoh played a very important part in their religion and what the gods expected of the people also. Egyptian religion consisted of many myths and rituals too. Religion was a ...view middle of the document...

Due to Egyptians having so many gods, they also had many myths. Some of them, such as those surrounding Ra, Horus and Seth became central to the Egyptian religion, most likely because of their connection to Kingship. However, other myths involving Hathor as a healer, for example, were very important to more common Egyptians, as were myths concerning Bes, a goddess of childbirth and the home. There were many other myths, sometimes connected and overlapping with others, that explained creation, dealt with the afterlife, and even the end of times.
Ma'at was different than the gods but also a very important factor in their religion. As a symbol of truth, balance and order, an individual could violate Ma'at by their actions, as well as the nation as a whole. The King represented Egypt before the gods, and in making offerings to the gods he attempted to secure order and peace, or Ma'at. The king was the single link between the divine and the profane, as well as the representative of the gods on Earth. The king was always responsible for maintaining Ma'at on behalf of the country, usually by maintaining and supporting the cult centers, fending off foreign powers and by maintaining the system of values. The ancient Egyptians believed that failure to maintain Ma'at as a country could cause divine intervention. A major example of this intervention would be that the Egyptian gods provided only low Nile floods, which would lead to famine, enemy invasions or even complete disorder in the country.
Cults were used to worship the Egyptian gods. In ancient Egypt it included the priests who carried out rituals for the gods, and the center of the Egyptian cult was the temple. Inside the sanctuary of the temple was the cult statue, which was the god worshiped in that cult center. Cult rituals were really based on the gods talking to one another, which included the king. The king acted in the divine performance as a god. Rituals for worshiping the gods were also a large part of ancient Egyptians lives. Centered on offerings, it included many daily functions, such as washing and clothing the gods, or at least the...

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