It is impossible to appreciate the art and architecture of Ancient Egypt without a knowledge of Egyptian religion , this , however , is a complicated and difficult subject , incompletely understood , and cannot be dealt with in a summary manner the bulk of ancient Egyptian literature is religions in nature , much of it consisting of humans , spells , charms and some very intricate , texts , inscribedon the walls of temples , and tombs on stelae,papyri , sarcophagi, mummy cases and coffins , it was a processional religion in which minute details were given to the rotes and rituals to be carried out daily .
The earliest religions writing are the pyramids texts, written on the walls of the burial chambers and annexes of the sand sixth dynasty rulers with in the pyramids , in Middle Kingdom these were transferred from the structures of the tombs onto the coffins , giving them the name coffin texts in turn , in the New Kingdom , these are replaced by what are known as the Book of Dead , rolls of papyri buried with the dead man in his coffin , and describing the various ways to get to the after world .
Many of these texts, like those in the pyramids deal with aperiod earlier that that in which they were inscribed, as do the long inscription on the walls of the Ptolemaic and Roman temples which contain material of a much earlier date.
The Gods and Myths
The vast numbers of Egyptian Gods portrayed on monuments can be daunting, but many of them are merely different aspects of the same God, and in the course of time more and more of the gods became assimilated to a few important ones.
In the earlier time there were 3 important Cosmogonies, those of Heliopolis,Hermopolis and Memphis, themost important of which was the Heliopolitan Cycle which eventually became almost universally accepted, partsof the other systems being incorporated within it.
Heliopolis was the Center of the various aspects of Sun worship.
The theory developed by the priests there of the Creation of the World was that originally there was nothing but a watery waste or abyss of Chaos known as NuN, Personified as a God. From this Chaos rose a mound, as an Island of Sand emerged from the River as the inundation receded.
On this mound appeared Atum , the Original Sun God always portrayed in human Form and later identified with Re.
From Atum came the dual deities of the Sky, Shu (air) and Tefnut(moisture)they in turn Created Geb (the earth god) And Nut (the Sky goddess) who produced Osiris, Isls, Seth, and Nephtis sometimes included was Horus the Elder. But if he is excluded, the remainder were known as the Divine Ennead (Nine)
Of- Course, other Creator gods and myth developed in other districts.
Amun transferred from Hermoplis to Thebes also Creator God Creates the world, Horus appears as a Creator God perched on the primeval mound as a falcon.
Khnum, Creates the mankind on the potter’s wheel.
In addition to the great Creation legends.There were other myth Cycles such as the battle between Horus and Seth
Belief of Resurrection
The pyramids Temples and Tombs are the most notable achievements Of the Ancient Egyptian Civilization. These buildings reflect the deeply held religious of the Egyptians – developed over 5000 years of history…
We cannot understand this Culture without knowledge of their religion. Understand the ancient Egyptian religion present difficulties, because of these thousands of years Separate us from them and the written records are often unclear..
Life After Death
The Ancient Egyptian were one of the first people to believe in life after death, this belief so powerful where, when this belief, start, originate?
There are two theories to account for this idea; the first is that unknown prophet may have disseminated the ideas from the ancient developed over many years. More likely possibility is that their religious developed as a result of their observation of natural world .In particular the cycle of nature,the background to the belief in resurrection.
The Egyptian saw the sun daily course as a reflection of human life .In the morning the Sun rose and it’s comparative weakness was like a new born baby, at midday the sun in full strength was like a man at the peak of his power, in the evening the sun’s gradual decline and setting over the horizon was the decline of old age and deathBut in the morning the sun rose again and so the belief grew that after death would be a new life. Other aspects of nature also confirmed this belief .The moon was reborn after completing its cycle. Nile flooded every year to renew the earth do that crops would spring up again after each harvest. The reward of eternal life in kingdom of Osiris would be reserved for those souls were found worthy at the last judgment. The heart of deceased would weighed against the feather of justice– representing the goddess Maat – the god that would record the result – but evil person would be swallowed up by some beast called ” Ammit ” .