Contents 1 Common elements 2 Cosmogonies 2.1 Hermopolis 2.2 Heliopolis 2.3 Memphis 2.4 Thebes 3 References


Common elements[edit] The different creation myths have some elements in common. They all held that the world had arisen out of the lifeless waters of chaos, called Nu. They also included a pyramid-shaped mound, called the benben, which was the first thing to emerge from the waters. These elements were likely inspired by the flooding of the Nile River each year; the receding floodwaters left fertile soil in their wake, and the Egyptians may have equated this with the emergence of life from the primeval chaos. The imagery of the pyramidal mound derived from the highest mounds of earth emerging as the river receded.[5] The sun was also closely associated with creation, and it was said to have first risen from the mound, as the general sun-god Ra or as the god Khepri, who represented the newly-risen sun.[6] There were many versions of the sun's emergence, and it was said to have emerged directly from the mound or from a lotus flower that grew from the mound, in the form of a heron, falcon, scarab beetle, or human child.[6][7] Another common element of Egyptian cosmogonies is the familiar figure of the cosmic egg, a substitute for the primeval waters or the primeval mound. One variant of the cosmic egg version teaches that the sun god, as primeval power, emerged from the primeval mound, which itself stood in the chaos of the primeval sea.[8]


Cosmogonies[edit] The different creation accounts were each associated with the cult of a particular god in one of the major cities of Egypt: Hermopolis, Heliopolis, Memphis, and Thebes.[9] To some degree these myths represent competing theologies, but they also represent different aspects of the process of creation.[10] Hermopolis[edit] The creation myth promulgated in the city of Hermopolis focused on the nature of the universe before the creation of the world. The inherent qualities of the primeval waters were represented by a set of eight gods, called the Ogdoad. The god Nu and his female counterpart Naunet represented the inert primeval water itself; Huh and his counterpart Hauhet represented the water's infinite extent; Kek and Kauket personified the darkness present within it; and Amun and Amaunet represented its hidden and unknowable nature, in contrast to the tangible world of the living. The primeval waters were themselves part of the creation process, therefore, the deities representing them could be seen as creator gods.[10] According to the myth, the eight gods were originally divided into male and female groups.[11] They were symbolically depicted as aquatic creatures because they dwelt within the water: the males were represented as frogs, and the females were represented as snakes.[12] These two groups eventually converged, resulting in a great upheaval, which produced the pyramidal mound. From it emerged the sun, which rose into the sky to light the world.[13] Heliopolis[edit] In Heliopolis, the creation was attributed to Atum, a deity closely associated with Ra, who was said to have existed in the waters of Nu as an inert potential being. Atum was a self-engendered god, the source of all the elements and forces in the world, and the Heliopolitan myth described the process by which he "evolved" from a single being into this multiplicity of elements.[14][15] The process began when Atum appeared on the mound and gave rise to the air god Shu and his sister Tefnut,[16] whose existence represented the emergence of an empty space amid the waters.[17] To explain how Atum did this, the myth uses the metaphor of masturbation, with the hand he used in this act representing the female principle inherent within him.[18] He is also said to have "sneezed" and"spat" to produce Shu and Tefnut, a metaphor that arose from puns on their names.[19] Next, Shu and Tefnut coupled to produce the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut, who defined the limits of the world.[20] Geb and Nut in turn gave rise to four children, who represented the forces of life: Osiris, god of fertility and regeneration; Isis, goddess of motherhood; Set, the god of chaos; and Nephthys, the female complement of Set. The myth thus represented the process by which life was made possible. These nine gods were grouped together theologically as the Ennead, but the eight lesser gods, and all other things in the world, were ultimately seen as extensions of Atum.[21][22] Memphis[edit] The Memphite version of creation centered on Ptah, who was the patron god of craftsmen. As such, he represented the craftsman's ability to envision a finished product, and shape raw materials to create that product. The Memphite theology said that Ptah created the world in a similar way.[23] This, unlike the other Egyptian creations, was not a physical but an intellectual creation by the Word and the Mind of God.[24] The ideas developed within Ptah's heart (regarded by the Egyptians as the seat of human thought) were given form when he named them with his tongue. By speaking these names, Ptah produced the gods and all other things.[25] The Memphite creation myth coexisted with that of Heliopolis, as Ptah's creative thought and speech were believed to have caused the formation of Atum and the Ennead.[26] Ptah was also associated with Tatjenen, the god who personified the pyramidal mound.[25] Thebes[edit] Theban theology claimed that Amun was not merely a member of the Ogdoad, but the hidden force behind all things. There is a conflation of all notions of creation into the personality of Amun, a synthesis which emphasizes how Amun transcends all other deities in his being "beyond the sky and deeper than the underworld".[27] One Theban myth likened Amun's act of creation to the call of a goose, which broke the stillness of the primeval waters and caused the Ogdoad and Ennead to form.[28] Amun was separate from the world, his true nature was concealed even from the other gods. At the same time, however, because he was the ultimate source of creation, all the gods, including the other creators, were in fact merely aspects of Amun. Amun eventually became the supreme god of the Egyptian pantheon because of this belief.[29] Amun is synonymous with the growth of Thebes as a major religious capital. But it is the columned halls, obelisks, colossal statues, wall-reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions of the Theban temples that we look to gain the true impression of Amun's superiority. Thebes was thought of as the location of the emergence of the primeval mound at the beginning of time.[30]


References[edit] ^ Leeming, David Adams (2010). Creation Myths of the World. Santa Barbaro: ABC-CLIO. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-59884-174-9.  ^ Hart, George (2004). Egyptian Myths. Austin, Texas: University of Texas. p. 9. ISBN 0-292-72076-9.  ^ M.V., Seton-Williams (1999). Egyptian Legends and Stories. U.S.A: Barnes & Noble Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 0-7607-1187-9.  ^ Allen, James P. (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University Press. p. 466. ISBN 0-521-77483-7.  ^ Fleming, Fergus; Alan Lothian (1997). The Way to Eternity: Egyptian Myth. Amsterdam: Duncan Baird Publishers. pp. 24, 27, 30. ISBN 0-7054-3503-2.  ^ a b Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 144. ^ Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. pp. 206–207. ISBN 0-500-05120-8.  ^ Leeming, Creation Myths of the World, p.104 ^ Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, pp. 24-28. ^ a b Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 126. ^ Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, p. 27. ^ Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 78. ^ Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, pp. 27-28. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 143–145. ^ Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 99-100. ^ Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, p. 24. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 145. ^ Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, pp. 18, 99. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 143. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 44. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, pp. 144-145. ^ Wilkinson, Complete Gods and Goddesses, p. 99. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, pp.172-173. ^ Seton-Williams, Egyptian Legends and Stories, p.13 ^ a b Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, p. 25. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, p. 172. ^ Hart, Egyptian Myths, p.22 ^ Fleming and Lothian, Way to Eternity, pp. 28-29. ^ Allen, Middle Egyptian, pp.182-183. ^ Hart, Egyptian Myths, pp.22-24 v t e Ancient Egypt topics Outline Index Major topics Glossary of artifacts Agriculture Architecture (Egyptian Revival architecture) Art Astronomy Chronology Cities (list) Clothing Cuisine Dynasties Funerary practices Geography Great Royal Wives History Language Literature Mathematics Medicine Military Music Mythology People Pharaohs (list) Philosophy Religion Sites Technology Trade Writing Egyptology Egyptologists Museums Book Category Ancient Egypt portal WikiProject Commons v t e Ancient Egyptian religion Mythology Paganism Pantheism Polytheism Emanationism Soul Neter-khertet Aaru Duat Isfet Numerology Deities Aker Akhty Ammit Amun Amunet Am-heh Anat Andjety Anhur Anput Anti Anubis Anuket Apedemak Apep Apis Apt Aqen Arensnuphis Ash Astarte Aten Atum Babi Banebdjedet Bastet Bat Bata Ba-Pef Bes Buchis Dedun Four sons of Horus Duamutef Hapi Imset Qebehsenuef Geb Ha Hapi Hathor Hatmehit Hedetet Heh Heka Hemen Hemsut Heqet Hermanubis Hesat Horus Heryshaf Hu Iabet Iah Iat Ihy Imentet Imhotep Isis Iunit Iusaaset Kebechet Kek Khensit Khenti-Amentiu Khenti-kheti Khepri Kherty Khnum Khonsu Kothar-wa-Khasis Maahes Ma'at Mandulis Medjed Mafdet Mehen Mehet-Weret Mehit Menhit Meret Meretseger Meskhenet Min Mnevis Montu Mut Nebethetepet Nebtuwi Nefertem Nehebkau Nehmetawy Neith Nekhbet Neper Nephthys Nu Nut Osiris Pakhet Petbe Ptah Qebui Qetesh Ra Raet-Tawy Rem Renenutet Renpet Repyt Resheph Sah Satis Sekhmet Seker Serapis Serket Seshat Set Shai Shed Shesmetet Shezmu Shu Sia Sobek Sopdet Sopdu Souls of Pe and Nekhen Tatenen Taweret Ta-Bitjet Tefnut Tenenet Thoth Hermes Trismegistus Tjenenyet Tutu Unut Wadjet Wadj-wer Weneg Wepset Wepwawet Werethekau Wosret Creatures Aani Abtu Bennu Griffin Hieracosphinx Medjed Serpopard Sha Sphinx Uraeus Symbols Ankh Atef Atet Benben Book of Thoth Cartouche Crook and flail Deshret Djed Egyptian obelisk Egyptian pool Ennead Eye of Horus Eye of Ra Flooding of the Nile Hedjet Heku Hemhem crown Hennu Imiut fetish Khepresh Kneph Land of Manu Maat Kheru Matet boat Menat Mortuary temple Nebu Nemes Neshmet Ogdoad Ouroboros Pschent Pyramid power Scarab Seqtet boat Serekh Shen ring The Indestructibles Tyet Ushabti Was-sceptre Winged sun Writings Amduat Books of Breathing Book of Caverns Book of the Dead Book of the Earth Book of Gates Coffin Texts Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld Litany of the Eye of Horus Litany of Re Pyramid Texts Beliefs Atenism Curse of the Pharaohs Funerals Offering formula Philosophy Temples Book Ancient Egypt portal Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ancient_Egyptian_creation_myths&oldid=815141831" Categories: Egyptian mythologyCreation myths


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