Understanding the role of the deities in ancient Egyptian cosmology requires much more than learning the names and attributes of a few. In fact there were hundreds of deities and their roles remained fluid over the centuries as particular gods rose and fell from prominence. One god or goddess may start to take on the attributes of another as changes in the Egyptian social world dictated it.
The gods mostly closely associated with the pharaoh played a minor role in the life of the average Egyptian who farmed or made crafts (pottery, textiles, buildings, sculptures, etc.). The national gods were responsible for maintaining cosmic and social order in Egypt whereas the average person worshipped gods who could protect their health and bring them love and happiness.
By the Middle Kingdom (1991-1786 BCE) all of the following gods and goddesses had assumed an integral role in Egyptian cosmology which remained relatively constant throughout the dynastic period.
Nekhbet, vulture goddess of Upper Egypt and
Wadjit, cobra goddess of Lower Egypt
wearing the crowns of their kingdoms
Ma'at and Osiris, god of the afterlife
Crown of Justification of Tutankhamen
Ma'at - goddess of truth and justice
Nephthys, goddess of death and decay
and sister Isis, goddess of wifely and motherly love
Seth - god of evil and chaos
Horus as man with falcon head wearing
crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt
Thoth - god of scribes and of wisdom
Anubis - god of embalming
Another Crown of Justification - with vulture and cobra heads Last revised: July 4, 2000
Amit - the heart devourer
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Last revised: July 4, 2000