Ancient Egyptians Mythology Myths of Ancient Egypt were not just mere stories, but they were the observation of a very intellectual and imaginative group who saw meaning and reason in every aspect of their life. Ancient Egyptians saw god’s divinity in everything like the setting and rising of the sun, the flooding of the Nile River, the desert, the changing climate, wars, birth, and death. And from each one of these observations, they wondered in the ideas such as creation, origin, afterlife, and reincarnation. The ancient Egyptian created their own stories, religion, and various gods that influenced their culture, society, and their whole life. It even influenced other cultures, such as Greek and Roman cultures. Egyptians had hundreds of gods and goddesses that are related to physical elements such as the sun, the Nile, the earth, the sky, and many others, also they had deities for abstract entities like creativity, knowledge, and death.
Egyptian mythology is the collection of myths from ancient Egypt, which describe the actions of the Egyptian gods as a means of understanding the world around them. The beliefs that these myths express are an important part of ancient Egyptian religion. Myths appear frequently in Egyptian writings and art, particularly in short stories and in religious material such as hymns, ritual texts, funerary texts, and temple decoration. These sources rarely contain a complete account of a myth and often describe only brief fragments. Inspired by the cycles of nature, the Egyptians saw time in the present as a series of recurring patterns, whereas the earliest periods of time were linear. Myths are set in these earliest times, and myth sets the pattern for the cycles of the present. Present events repeat the events of myth, and in doing so renew maat, the fundamental order of the universe. Amongst the most important episodes from the mythic past are the creation myths, in which the gods form the universe out of primordial chaos; the stories of the reign of the sun god Ra upon the earth; and the Osiris myth, concerning the struggles of the gods Osiris, Isis, and Horus against the disruptive god Set. Events from the present that might be regarded as myths include Ra’s daily journey through the world and its otherworldly counterpart, the Duat. Recurring themes in these mythic episodes include the conflict between the upholders of maat and the forces of disorder, the importance of the pharaoh in maintaining maat, and the continual death and regeneration of the gods.
Origins The development of Egyptian myth is difficult to trace. Egyptologists must make educated guesses about its earliest phases, based on written sources that appeared much later. One obvious influence on myth is the Egyptians’ natural surroundings. Each day the sun rose and set, bringing light to the land and regulating human activity; each year the Nile flooded, renewing the fertility of the soil and allowing the highly productive farming that sustained Egyptian civilization. Thus, the Egyptians saw water and the sun as symbols of life and thought of time as a series of natural cycles. This orderly pattern was at constant risk of disruption: unusually low floods resulted in famine, and high floods destroyed crops and buildings. The hospitable Nile valley was surrounded by harsh desert, populated by peoples the Egyptians regarded as uncivilized enemies of order. For these reasons, the Egyptians saw their land as an isolated place of stability, or maat, surrounded and endangered by chaos. These themes—order, chaos, and renewal—appear repeatedly in Egyptian religious thought.