As we navigate through one of the oldest mythologies known to man, we are met Thoth, the God who was said to create the 365-day calendar, and Ra, the Sun God, who perhaps is one the most recognizable figures in all mythology. Strap in Archivers, saddle up your camel, and lets visit the Top 10 Mythological Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
Ra: The God of Sun and Radiance
The Sun God of Ancient Egypt, he was king of the gods, the supreme power in the universe and giver of life. It was thought that Ra was swallowed by the sky every evening as the sun dipped below the horizon, and he traveled through the world of the dead by night just to be reborn in the morning. Sun temples with openings to let in the sunlight were built in his honor. His influence was so powerful and popular that by the fifth dynasty, the Pharaoh was referred to as the son of Ra, and Ra was incorporated into the throne name of every Pharaoh onward.
Heru: Sky God
More commonly known as Horus, he is depicted as a falcon or a falcon-headed man. He also typically appeared as a man or child wearing the sidelock of youth. The hero can be translated to "the distant one" or "the one on high". Birthed after his father's death, Heru grew up and sought vengeance on his father's killer. Different versions of battle between Heru and Set are recorded but they all end the same, with Heru victorious. Young men looked up to Heru as the perfect example of a devoted son and was the protector of the Pharaoh.
Hathor: Mistress of Life
The Patron goddess of women, love, beauty, pleasure, and music, she also takes on the role of the mother and childbirth much like Isis. Egyptians would hold festivals in her name which included singing, dancing, and alcohol. More people named their child after Hathor than any other god or goddess. She was beautiful, but not depicted as conceited or shallow. She was represented in three forms: A cow, a woman with cow ears, or woman wearing a headdress of a cow's horn. Hathor even played a role in the underworld providing food for the dead when they arrived.
Osiris: God of the Dead and Living
After being murdered by his brother Set, Osiris became the king of the underworld and the judge of the souls of the dead. Every soul would have to undergo a grueling journey to be judged against the feather of Ma'at just to enter his domain. Representing the Egyptian belief in rebirth, Osiris is also the god of agriculture, bringing forth new vegetation and the annual flood of the Nile river. Appearing as a mummified corpse with the traditional beard, crown, flail, and cozier, he also is colored green or black to represent the fact he is dead.
Aset: Queen of the Throne
Most commonly known by her Greek given name Isis, she is Queen of the Gods, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. Associated with motherhood and childbirth, most of her followers became great healers and midwives, some even were rumored to have magical powers. After her husband was murdered by Set, she with Anubis and Thoth, devised the first ritual mummification to preserve her husband. She is famously presented wearing the vulture headdress with a royal serpent on the brow, but sometimes represented as a goddess wearing a headdress that resembles a throne.
Anubis: Protector of the Dead
Originally the god of the underworld, the position would be taken by Osiris, while Anubis became associated with embalming and funeral rites. He was worshiped as the inventor of embalming and assisted with the rites to ferry the souls admitted to the underworld. He had three important jobs: Embalming the bodies, performing the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, and most importantly, he monitored the Scales of Truth to protect the souls from any deceit and an eternal death. Often portrayed as a man with the head of a jackal, this is likely due to jackals hanging around graves and tombs where the dead were buried.
Set: God of Storms
Considered a trickster, Set was the god of strange and frightening events such as eclipses and earthquakes. He was master of storms, disorder, and warfare. A troublesome god, even at birth, Set ripped violently from his mother's womb instead of being born normally. Set murdered his brother Osiris, would usurp the throne of Egypt and gained the disapproval of the other gods. His reign was short lived as Horus eventually defeated Set, taking back his father's throne. With all his misgiving, it is no wonder Set was depicted as the black boar who devoured the moon each month, and was associated with all animals considered unclean and dangerous.
Thoth: God of Wisdom and Knowledge
Patron of Scribes and of the written word, Thoth was thought to have invented writing, medicine, and magic. He worked as the scribe of the gods, recording death verdicts in the hall of Ma'at for the underworld, and even maintained the library of the gods. According to myth, he earned 5 extra days from a gambling match with the moon, inventing the 365-day calendar, and replacing the inaccurate 360-day calendar. And if that wasn't enough, there is said to be a "Book of Thoth" in which contains the secrets of the universe. Anyone who read it would become a powerful sorcerer, but be cursed by their knowledge.
Ma'at: Goddess of Harmony, Justice, and Truth
Ma'at is the embodiment that the universe was structured and balanced, through evidence of the rising and setting of the sun, or the predictable course of the stars and seasons. She represented the ethical and moral principles of the Egyptian people as they fought to keep chaos at bay. Although she has been depicted as a winged goddess, more often she is seen as a woman wearing a crown with a single ostrich feather. Ancient Egyptians believed that a person's soul was judged in the Hall of Ma'at when they died, where their heart, which represented conscience, was weighted against the feather of Ma'at on scales that represented balance and justice. If the heart was heavy, it was thrown into the lake of fire. If the heart was balanced with the feather they gained eternal life.
Ptah: God of Craftsmen
Architect of the universe and patron to all crafts, Ptah was worshiped throughout all of Egypt. He existed before all things, conceiving the universe by imagining it within his heart, then giving life to it through his voice. Mainly associated with artists, craftsmen, and anything involved with creation, he also shares credit for inventing the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, in which a ritual is performed to give the deceased the use of his organs in the Afterlife. His repertoire doesn't end there, as he is hailed as a great protector of Egypt, where in one case he sent all vermin within the fields to chew through the bowstrings of the Assyrian invaders, sending them home in panic.