Egyptian religion was polytheistic. The gods who inhabited the bounded and ultimately perishable cosmos varied in nature and also capacity. Words netjer (“god”) described a much broader range of beings 보다 the deities of monotheistic religions, including what might be termed demons. As is practically necessary in polytheism, gods were neither all-powerful nor all-knowing. Their power was immeasurably better than the of human being beings, and they had actually the ability to live nearly indefinitely, to survive fatal wounds, to it is in in more than one ar at once, to influence people in visible and invisible ways, and also so forth.

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Most gods were usually benevolent, however their favour might not it is in counted on, and they had to be propitiated and also encouraged to inhabit their cult photos so that they can receive the cult and also further the reciprocity of divine and also human. Some deities, especially such goddesses as Neith, Sekhmet, and also Mut, had strongly ambivalent characters. The god Seth embodied the disordered facets of the bespeak world, and also in the 1st millennium bce he happened seen together an adversary who had actually to be eliminated (but would continue to be present).



Deities had principal manifestations, and also most were linked with one or much more species the animal. For gods the most vital forms to be the falcon and bull, and for goddesses the cow, cobra, vulture, and also lioness. Rams to be widespread, while part manifestations were as modest together the millipede that the god Sepa. Some gods were an extremely strongly linked to certain animals, as Sebek was with the crocodile and Khepri with the scarab beetle. Thoth had actually two animals, the ibis and also the baboon. Some pet cults were only partly combined with certain gods, notably the ram of Mendes in the Delta and the Apis and Mnevis bulls in ~ Memphis and Heliopolis, respectively. Pets could express aspects of a deity’s nature: some goddesses to be lionesses in your fiercer element but were cats once mild.


Thoth, stood for in human type with ibis head, detail from the greenfield Papyrus, c. 950 bce; in the brother Museum, London.

These variable creates relate to aspects of the human being that were common to gods and also people. The most far-reaching of these were the ka, which to be the an essential essence that a human that was transmitted from one generation come the next, the ba, which granted freedom of movement and also the ability to take it on various forms, principally in the next world, and the akh, the transfigured soul of a human being in the next world.

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The chief type in which gods were stood for was human, and also many deities had only person form. Amongst these deities were an extremely ancient figures such together the fertility god Min and the creator and also craftsman Ptah. The cosmic god Shu, the the air and also sky, and also Geb, of the earth, had actually human form, together did Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, deities who listed a design of person society. In holy place reliefs the god were portrayed in person form, i beg your pardon was main to decorum. God having animal manifestations were because of this shown with a person body and also the head of your animal. The opposite convention, a person head and an pet body, was supplied for the king, who was displayed as a sphinx with a lion’s body. Sphinxes could receive various other heads, significantly those that rams and also falcons, associating the kind with Amon and Re-Harakhty. Demons were represented in much more extravagant forms and also combinations; these came to be common in the 1st millennium bce. Along with the cult that animals, they were mocked by Greek and Roman writers.