religion of ancient east: egyptian gods

Terms in this set (26)

Min (Greek Menes) was worshipped from Egyptian predynastic times through Roman times. He had many different titles and functions, but overall he was considered the God of Fertility, and a bestower of sexual powers. He was also a Rain God, protecting the fertility of nature, and a God of Harvest and Vegetation. Originally, he was known as a Sky God and was given the title "Chief of Heaven". As Lord of the Eastern desert, he protected travelers and traders who traveled from his cult center at Koptos to the Red Sea. As Lord of Foreign Lands he was protector of nomads and hunters. Worshipped by the miners and men who quarried stone at Hammamut, he was given the title "Min, Male of the Mountain" and he was venerated for supplying stone for the sarcophagi. During the New Kingdom he was honored in the coronation rites of the Pharaohs to ensure their sexual vigor and reproduction of a male heir. He also presided over the Sed festival, a royal jubilee marking the 30th year of a Pharaoh's reign, and every few years thereafter. During this festival, the Pharaoh had to run around a course set by priests, while carrying different objects. This had the function of symbolically rejuvenating the Pharaoh to give him a long life and the fertility of his youth.
Lettuce was his sacred plant, and it was thought to be an aphrodisiac. In Egyptian literature, lettuce symbolized the vagina. Egyptian long leaf lettuce grew tall, straight stalks which secreted a milky white liquid when cut. This milky substance, referred to as "white bull", was considered a symbol of "divine sperm" and fertility. Remember the story you read about Horus and Seth and Horus putting sperm on lettuce in Seth's garden and then the trial where Horus' sperm is summoned from Seth's body. Min was portrayed as an ithyphallic (having an erect penis) bearded man with a crown of two feathers. His legs were very close together, as if they were wrapped like a mummy. He had one arm down to his side with his fingers grasping the base of his penis, and his other arm raised wielding a flail (whip). His erect penis symbolized fertility and the embodiment of the masculine principle, but also had a punitive purpose meant to terrify and perhaps symbolically sodomise defeated
enemies. In the New Kingdom, he was often depicted as a white bull, and his temple was crowned with a pair of bull horns. The Greek historian Herodotus connected Min (Menes) with Narmer, though one is a god and one is a real person.
Re was depicted as a man with the head of a falcon with a solar disk above it. However, Re was depicted in many forms depending on where he was and if it were an image of a co- deity. The Re god can be seen in the Book of the Dead. He was worshipped all though out Egypt and was a central god of the Egyptian pantheon. He was the "King of the Gods" and was therefore the patron of the pharaoh. He was the main sun god who had the role of commanding the "chariot that rode across the sky during the day." He was also considered to be self-created and the father of all other creation. Re is an aging god who was not believed to live on earth but lived in the sky where he watched over the world. Re at sunrise is Khepera, represented by a sacred scarab. Around noon, he is Re and has full power. At sunset he is growing old and is Tem. At night he entered the underworld where he was depicted as a man with a ram head. Some composite deities exist with Re such as Amun-Ra, Ra-Atum, and Ra-Horakhty.
Ra in his solar boat sailing across the sky. To the right is the goddess Nut, who represents the sky. He will sail through her body and reemerge the next morning and again sail across the sky.As Amun-Ra, he was seen as the first being and originator of the Ennead. As Re-Horakhty he was believed to rule all parts of the created world. Today, some people believe that the Egyptian religion was somewhat like a monotheistic religion with Re at its center. The pyramids are proposed to represent the light extending from the sun to the monument connecting the kings with Re. The worship of Re was at its peak during the New kingdom. The major cult center of Re was Heliopolis (called Innu, "Place of Pillars, Heliopolis is Greek for "Sun City").