Ancient Egyptian Religion
Religion was very important to ancient Egyptian life and affected every aspect of it. Ancient Egyptian religion was polytheistic, which means they worshiped many different deities, unlike many religions like Christianity that worship only one god, with the exception of the short period of monotheism during the reign of Akhenaten, a pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt who ruled for 17 years and mainly worshiped the Aten. With this exception, ancient Egyptian religion is said to have much more than one thousand gods and goddesses. Some of which were worshiped all over the country, whereas others only in different local areas.
Frequently, many gods and goddesses were represented as being a mixture of a human and an animal, it was believes that animals like bulls, cats and crocodile were holy ones. Ancient Egyptians believed gods were involved in all aspects of nature and society, and many deities were believes to exist in many diverse displays, having multiple mythological positions. A very important Egyptian god is Osiris, the god of the afterlife and underworld. A very famous Egyptian religious belief was the idea of afterlife. They believed the preservation of an individual’s body was crucial for their spirit to reach the afterlife; this is why they mummified people to preserve their bodies. Osiris was the god that made this peaceful afterlife achievable, not only that, but he was considered as the one that grew vegetation and the annual inundation cycles of the Nile River.
Another ancient deity was Isis, which was not only worshiped by ancient Egyptian religion, but also throughout Greek and Roman Empire. She was considered the goddess of health, marriage, and love. People venerated her as the ideal image of a wife and mother, and believed she was a friend to everyone, from wealthy people and rulers to slaves and sinners. Isis is often believed to be the mother of Horus, one of the oldest and most important deities of ancient Egyptian religion. Horus was the god of war, sky and protection, and was pictured as a falcon headed-man. He was associated with both the Upper and Lower Egypt, and was worshiped even before the unification of both.
Another extremely important aspect about ancient Egyptian religion was their temples, these impressive buildings covered with carved stones that represented scenes about battles and rituals with the gods and goddesses. They believed temples were the home of all the gods and goddesses. Each city had temples dedicated to a different deity; this was a place for he or she to be worshiped at, a place where men could communicate with the gods. Carved stones that represented scenes about battles and rituals with the gods and goddesses covered these impressive buildings. The priest was a very imperative role in Egyptian society. As they took care of the gods and goddesses needs and were allowed to enter parts of the temple nobody else could.