Egyptian Mythology Reexamined: The Gods

Ancient Egypt was the home of one of the oldest civilizations on earth that existed for more than half of recorded history known for building the pyramids as well as mummies. Yet, it’s mythology is ancient and complex as well as lacked central authority so many major cities and areas in the region had their own important gods. Myths often got mixed up with gods having different roles, being combined with others to form new composite gods, and different family relationships as old gods fell into obscurity and new gods rose to prominence. Like many of the prominent Egyptian historical figures such as the royal family, the Egyptian gods did screw around with their siblings. Yet, they had animal heads but they took various forms in art mostly taking on symbolic concepts. Also, it was believed that the Egyptian gods were abstract forces anyway so who knows what these people believed the looked like. So without further adieu, I’ll list the more important gods of Egyptian mythology.

1. Ra

The god of the sun and chief deity as well as one of the most important and worshiped deities in Ancient Egypt. Takes many forms and names. Benevolent, but aloof and withdrawn to his important duties.

The god of the sun and chief deity as well as one of the most important and worshiped deities in Ancient Egypt. Takes many forms and names. Benevolent, but aloof and withdrawn to his important duties.

Domain: Primary sun god as well as sometimes the creator and wind god. King of the Egyptian gods and one of the more important deities for thousands of years. Thus, it goes without saying that he’s the most widely worshiped Egyptian god. Has many other names with each part of the sun or time of day of the sun often having its own name. Also, has a lot of various forms and manifestations as well as traveled on a solar barge. Is often combined with other gods with Atum-Ra and Amun-Ra as the most famous.

Pro: He’s a benevolent deity who embodies the positive and life giving properties of the sun. Is often too busy to be involved with other god’s squabbles since he has many important duties, yet he makes an exception whenever it comes to his archenemy Apophis.

Con: Is often seen as aloof. Tried to avert a prophecy that a child of the sky goddess Nut would be evil by forbidding her to have children on any day of the year (though Thoth managed to find a loophole for her anyway). Also, as Atum-Ra may have created the universe through masturbation, just to let you know.

Symbols and Motifs: Depicted in artwork as a man with a head of a hawk, a scarab (in his form of Khepri), or a ram. Also pictured as a full bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion among others. His symbol is a sun disk. As Amun Ra, his symbols are two vertical plums and the ram headed sphinx.

City: Heliopolis as Atum-Ra and Thebes as Amun-Ra.

2. Hathor

An important goddess in Ancient Egypt, Hathor was one of the most popular and widely worshiped in Ancient Egypt. She was the goddess of love and fertility who helped protect women during childbirth. Yet, she was also a hard drinking party girl you didn't want to anger.

An important goddess in Ancient Egypt, Hathor was one of the most popular and widely worshiped in Ancient Egypt. She was the goddess of love and fertility who helped protect women during childbirth. Yet, she was also a hard drinking party girl you didn’t want to anger.

Domain: Goddess of love, music, dance, drunkedness, fertility, miners, foreign lands, motherhood, beauty, and joy. An important goddess for women and one of Egypt’s most paramount sky deities as well as one of the most significant in Ancient Egypt. Worshiped by royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she’s depicted as “Mistress of the West” welcoming the dead into the next life. In some stories she’s depicted as the wife, daughter, or mother of Ra and sometimes the wife and mother of Horus. Yet, like Ra, she has other manifestations as well. Also one of the oldest gods with predynastic origins.

Pro: She’s a benevolent fun personified goddess as well as said to help women in childbirth. Also, she was very popular among the Ancient Egyptians who had more festivals dedicated to her as well as more children named after her than any other deity in Ancient Egypt. Never suffered from depression or doubt.

Con: Don’t get me wrong but she has a bad side as well as is single minded in pursuit of her goals and has a real nasty alter ego in the form of Sekamet (depending on the version). Not to mention, she’s been linked with just about every major god in the Egyptian pantheon in different versions of the mythology. Also, she’s a hard drinking party girl.

Symbols and Motifs: Often pictured in the form of a cow or a human with cow ears. Her symbol is the sistrum.

City: Dendera.

3. Set

While he was originally depicted as a powerful badass deity, Set was later significantly demonized as a god of evil after he was worshiped as the chief god of the Hyskos. Then again, he did kill his brother and tried to rape his own nephew. Also, don't ask me what the animal his head is supposed to represent.

While he was originally depicted as a powerful badass deity, Set was later significantly demonized as a god of evil after he was worshiped as the chief god of the Hyskos. Then again, he did kill his brother and tried to rape his own nephew. Also, don’t ask me what the animal his head is supposed to represent.

Domain: God associated with chaos, storms, disorder, violence, foreigners, and the desert. Originally he was a powerful protective deity for Upper Egypt guarding Ra on his nightly trips to the underworld and was the only god who could defeat Apophis as well as resist his hypnotic gaze. He was increasingly villainized after Egypt united and Horus worship became dominant, particularly after the Hyskos invasion (a people who identified him as their chief god). Most famous for killing his brother Osiris for the Egyptian throne, and contesting his nephew Horus over it.

Pro: Before Egyptian unification, he was quite the badass in upper Egypt who was the only god capable of defeating Apophis, which was the main reason why Ra employed him on his solar boat in the first place. His favorite food was lettuce which he ate for his fertility problems (being a god of the desert could do that). Also, has ties to a trickster archetype since he’s also capable of shape shifting and he did relent when Horus got his throne back (though he was humiliated in the process). Also, had a following by the Ramaseid dynasty for a time in the New Kingdom who were great fans of his.

Con: Let’s just say that as Horus got popular, Set was increasingly demonized, especially after  Egypt was invaded by a people who worshiped him as their chief god. Killed his brother Osiris for the throne (and possibly for screwing his wife Nephthys {which was more her fault than his} or because Nephthys wasn’t as hot as Isis) and chopped him into 14 pieces and would later (rape or at least try to or perhaps had consensual sex with) his nephew Horus (who challenged him for the throne). His relationship with Nephthys is rather dependent on how people perceived him.

Symbols and Motifs: We’re not sure what animal on his head is supposed to represent which could either be completely made up or the depiction was stylized until it became unrecognizable. Yet, he’s also associated with many animals including jackals, antelopes, hippos, snakes, wild boars, asses, and crocodiles. His symbol is the was-scepter.

City: Ombos and Sepermeru.

4. Bastet

Bastet is the one and only cat goddess to the greatest cat loving civilization in history. Sure she may be a benevolent deity but she can also be quite fierce, especially since she originally appeared in Lower Egypt as an intimidating lioness goddess.

Bastet is the one and only cat goddess to the greatest cat loving civilization in history. Sure she may be a benevolent deity but she can also be quite fierce, especially since she originally appeared in Lower Egypt as an intimidating lioness goddess.

Domain: A cat goddess associated with the sun, fertility, music, dance, protection, joy, love, and lionesses. Was very popular with children and common folk because protected them and kept their fields safe from crop destroying pests (which cats do by eating rats and mice). Called “Lady of the East.”

Pro: She’s a kind hearted cat lover who uses cats to protect the fields from being invested by vermin. After all, she was very popular in Egypt since she in the pantheon of one of the great cat loving civilizations of history. I mean they even mummified cats for God’s sake. Also, kind of a badass since she was seen as the defender of the pharaoh.

Con: She was originally a savage lion goddess akin to Sekhmet in Lower Egypt and could be quite aggressive. When she became a protective deity, her role in the pantheon would diminish as Sekhmet became more prominent after unification.

Symbols and Motifs: She’s often appears as a lioness and, well, small domestic cat. Her symbols are the lion, cat, and sistrum.

City: Bubastis

5. Sekhmet

The lioness headed goddess Sekhmet is perhaps one of the fiercest goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. You don't want to be caught in one of her violent rampages if you ask me. Still, please don't call her a cougar. Just don't.

The lioness headed goddess Sekhmet is perhaps one of the fiercest goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. You don’t want to be caught in one of her violent rampages if you ask me. Still, please don’t call her a cougar. Just don’t.

Domain: A darker counterpart of Bastet and Hathor. A lioness goddess originating in Upper Egypt specializing in war, poisons, vengeance, medicine, menstruation, and plagues. It’s said that her breath formed the desert as well as was seen as a protector of pharaohs and led them in warfare. Sometimes seen as a daughter to Ra.

Pro: Well, she’s a badass who’s seen as the protector of pharoahs and led them in warfare. In Upper Egypt, she was also associated with healing. I mean they worshiped her and had festivals in her honor for a reason. One of her nicknames was “(One) Before Whom Evil Trembles” as well as “One Who Is Powerful.”

Con: She’s a bloodthirsty maniac who went on an almost unstoppable rampage until Ra tricked her into getting drunk with blood colored beer. Among her nicknames are, “Mistress of Dread”, “Lady of Slaughter” and “She Who Mauls.” She’s kind of like a female Ares though let’s just say Ares may be nicer than her in comparison.

Symbols and Motifs: Well, she’s often depicted as a lioness, of course. Her symbols are a sun disk, red linen, and a lioness.

City: Ijtawy, Leontopolis, and Memphis

6. Nephthys

As the more benevolent and more human looking gods, Nephthys is an embodiment of the death experience, divine assistance, and protective guardianship. She helped Isis put Osiris together as well as raise Horus. Yet, in the more popular legends, she's said to conceive Anubis with Osiris but dressing up as Isis.

As the more benevolent and more human looking gods, Nephthys is an embodiment of the death experience, divine assistance, and protective guardianship. She helped Isis put Osiris together as well as raise Horus. Yet, in the more popular legends, she’s said to conceive Anubis with Osiris but dressing up as Isis.

Domain: A funerary goddess associated with death, service, lamentation, and nighttime. Wife and sister of Set though the nature of their marriage is dependent on how the Egyptians perceived Set at the time and in some stories, the mother of Anubis (but with Set, Osiris, or Ra). As the cult of her brother Osiris took prominence, she eventually became associated with death and the afterlife despite her original nature being unknown.

Pro: In the underworld she protects and guides souls of the dead and is a rather benevolent goddess. Helped Isis raise Horus and gather pieces of Osiris after his murder. Said to represent divine assistance and protective guardianship.

Con: In some stories, she’s said to disguise herself as Isis and slept with Osiris, which was a way how Anubis was conceived. This was one of the reasons why Set wanted to kill Osiris.

Symbols and Motifs: She’s usually depicted as a young woman. Her symbols are the house and mummy wrappings.

City: Sepermeru, and Diospolis Parva.

7. Anubis

Anubis is the jackal headed god of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead as well as the more recognizable of the Egyptian gods. Contrary to many depictions, isn't an evil guy but is certainly cool if you know what I mean. Yet, he's now a sex symbol among the furries for some reason.

Anubis is the jackal headed god of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead as well as the more recognizable of the Egyptian gods. Contrary to many depictions, isn’t an evil guy but is certainly cool if you know what I mean. Yet, he’s now a sex symbol among the furries for some reason.

Domain: God of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead as well as the most recognizable of Egyptian gods. Parentage is disputed and varies through source though the most famous account says he’s the son of Osiris and Nephthys through an affair (or rape by deception on her part) but raised as Set’s son. Known for weighing a dead person’s heart against the feather of Maat. Originally one of the more important gods of the dead before Osiris surpassed him. Now a modern sex symbol among the furries.

Pro: Despite being a jackal headed god of the dead, he had great compassion for humanity which led to Set abandoning him. Was also an ally of Horus against Set and helped Isis put Osiris together again.

Con: Has often been depicted as a bad guy in films like The Mummy even though he was far from it. Not to mention, despite his cool jackal head, he plays almost no role in the Egyptian myths. Oh, and if your heart is too heavy, he feeds it to Ammut, Devourer of the Dead.

Symbols and Motifs: Often depicted with a jackal head but is seen as a full jackal in Old Kingdom renditions. His symbols are the fetish and the flail.

City: Aysut and Cynopolis.

8. Osiris

Osiris may look badass in his picture with his blue-green skin but he is one of the big distressed dudes from Egyptian mythology who Set killed after tricking him into a coffin and throwing him in the Nile before chopping him up in several pieces across Egypt. Also, he died after being first resurrection following sex with Isis. Yet, he still got to be Lord of the Dead.

Domain: God of the afterlife, fertile vegetation of the Nile valley,  and of resurrection of rebirth. Son of the primordial gods Geb and Nut as well as husband and brother of Isis (as well as brother to Nephthys and Set) and father of Horus. Oversees the weighing of the heart and lets souls enter the afterlife if they pass the test. Very prominent example of a Life-Death-and-Rebirth god. King of Egypt after his father (or Ra) stepped down and before Set would murder and chop him into 14 pieces scattered around the Nile area. Yet, despite being resurrected, he was unable to return home and became the ruler of the land of the dead.

Pro: Considered a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife as well as the underworld agency that granted all life, including spouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. Has nicknames like, “Lord of Love,” “He Who Is Permanently Benign and Youthful,” and “the Lord of Silence.” Pharaohs were often associated with Osiris in death as he would raise from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic. Was widely worshiped as Lord of the Dead until the Christian Era and would soon eclipse Anubis and Set in popularity.

Con: He’s also one of the first examples of a distressed dude with the misfortune of unintentionally sleeping with Nephthys (in some stories) and trusting his power hungry brother Set afterwards which may have led to his murder when Set tricked him into entering in a coffin and threw him into the Nile. Oh, and when Isis found his body, Set tore it apart and scattered the pieces across Egypt. Thanks to Isis and Anubis, Osiris was reassembled and equipped with a new golden penis (his original got eaten by a fish) as well as resurrected twice, but was never allowed to rejoin the world of the living. The first time he was resurrected, he died almost immediately after having sex with Isis and impregnating her with Horus. The second time, he was shuffled off to the underworld to rule over the dead as a powerful god and venerated as one of Egypt’s chief deities, which is a pretty good deal since the Egyptian underworld is more akin to heaven than in other mythologies but still. Still, he was no badass.

Symbols and Motifs: Often depicted with blue or green skin since he’s well, dead, kind of like a zombie. His symbols are a crook and flail, the Atef crown, ostrich feathers, fish, and mummy gauze.

City: Abydos.

9. Isis

Isis is seen an ideal as the ideal wife and mother in Egyptian mythology as well as a competent queen and skilled sorceress to boot. Best known for restoring her husband-brother Osiris to life as well as securing her son Horus' claim to the throne of Egypt. Though seen as a benevolent goddess, she can be quite a bitch at times.

Isis is seen an ideal as the ideal wife and mother in Egyptian mythology as well as a competent queen and skilled sorceress to boot. Best known for restoring her husband-brother Osiris to life as well as securing her son Horus’ claim to the throne of Egypt. Though seen as a benevolent goddess, she can be quite a bitch at times.

Domain: Goddess of magic, healing, health, marriage, love, children and motherhood as well as protector of the dead. Best known for her struggles against her brother Set to rescue her husband and brother Osiris and secure the Egyptian throne for her son Horus. Seen as an important representation of the pharaoh’s power who was depicted as her child who sat on the throne she provided and artistic representations with the two of them had influence of the Madonna and Child paintings in Western iconography. Was a very popular goddess in Egypt as well as beyond.

Pro: Worshiped as the ideal mother and wife by the Egyptians and was a friend of slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden. Yet, she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, aristocrats, and rulers. Put Osiris back together and back to life (though only long enough to conceive Horus). Still, she is a skilled queen and very powerful sorceress. Also, she’s said to accept Anubis as her stepson at least in the stories in which Osiris is his father.

Con: Despite being seen as a benevolent goddess and paragon of motherly virtue, she has a dark side and was well known to be as deceptive as she is clever. She convinced Ra to tell her his secret name by poisoning him as well as tried to get him to step down so Horus could assume the throne. In one tale, when Horus informs her of Set either (raping or having consensual sex with him) and shows her his hand with Set’s semen, she berated him and cut off his hand. Doesn’t help that she shares a name with an Islamic terrorist organization. Then there’s how she managed to conceive Horus with Osiris, once the latter was, well, dead.

Symbols and Motifs: Usually depicted as a woman but can sometimes have wings. Her symbols are the throne, the sun disk with cow’s horns, sparrow, cobra, vulture, and sycamore tree.

City: Abydos and Philae.

10. Horus

Horus is the falcon headed god of the sky and is associated with the Pharaohs with each of them being his earthly incarnation. He’s best known as the god who struggles against Set to avenge his father’s death and claim the throne of Egypt as his own. Still, you don’t want him to serve you a salad.

Domain: God associated with the sun, moon, sky, righteous vengeance, protection, and kingship. While he’s usually seen as the son of Osiris and Isis, in some stories, he’s their brother (though this could be a different Horus since the name could apply to half a dozen gods and in other accounts he’s depicted as Hathor’s son and possibly his wife). Nevertheless, he’s one of the oldest Egyptian deities worshiped since the Predynastic era to Greco-Roman times. He was also the first known national god in Nekhen in Upper Egypt. Still, the Egyptians considered their pharaoh to be the avatar/personification of Horus on Earth and was one of the reasons why many of Egypt’s female Pharaohs wore fake beards and dressed up as men during their rule. His eyes were thought to be the sun and the moon.

Pro: Let’s just say when his mother Isis struggled secure Horus’ claim to the Egyptian throne over Set, she didn’t have to do much other than raise him, which seems to have paid off. Horus is a genuine badass and had many battles with Set not only to avenge his father’s death but also come on top as the rightful ruler of Egypt despite being blinded and perhaps raped by Set in the process (well, he’s said to lose one eye). Said to cover his wound with a divine serpent Ureaus.

Con: However, in some versions of the myths of his struggle against Set, he may have had what may amount to “hate sex.” Also, even when Set was seen as a not so evil deity, he was still the guy’s rival and their fight was originally a constant struggle. Not only that, but Horus used his own semen on a salad and served it to Set (don’t try this at home, please). Oh, and in one myth, he’s said to have chopped off his mom’s head in a fit of rage when he found out Isis couldn’t destroy Set since he was her brother. Then there’s the fact, he may not be the only Horus in Egyptian mythology.

Symbols and Motifs: He’s mostly depicted with a head of a falcon and sometimes as one himself. In his younger representation, he’s depicted as a normal stunted kid. His symbols are the wedjat eye and the pharaoh crown itself as well as the beard.

City: Nekhen and Behdet Edfu.

11. Bes

Sure he may not look like much but Bes is one of the oldest and most popular Egyptian gods. He was known as a champion for everything good and enemy to everything evil. Still, you didn't want to mess with him.

Sure he may not look like much but Bes is one of the oldest and most popular Egyptian gods. He was known as a champion for everything good and enemy to everything evil. Still, you didn’t want to mess with him.

Domain: Protector of households and in particular children, mothers, and childbirth. Later came to be regarded as defender of everything good and enemy of all that was bad as well as symbolized the enjoyment of life. Though originally thought to be an import from Nubia, recent archaeological evidence suggests he was one of the oldest Egyptian gods even though he wouldn’t enjoy widespread popularity until the New Kingdom.

Pro: Aside from being a deity, he was also a demon fighter as well as could strangle bears, lions, and snakes with his bare hands. Could scare off evil spirits by dancing, shouting, and shaking his rattle. His image appeared on many things in Ancient Egypt, including on the thighs of musicians and dancers.

Con: One of the ugliest gods in the Egyptian pantheon. Also, had no temples and no priests ordained in his name. Oh, and he’s not depicted much in the Egyptian myths.

Symbols and Motifs: Originally depicted as a lion and later as a bearded dwarf. His symbol is an ostrich feather.

City: None.

12. Thoth

The Ibis headed Thoth is a god that wears many hats as well as credited with inventing writing and most areas of knowledge. Plays a roles in a lot of myths as a mediator between good and evil.

The Ibis headed Thoth is a god that wears many hats as well as credited with inventing writing and most areas of knowledge. Plays a roles in a lot of myths as a mediator between good and evil.

Domain: God of the moon, wisdom, knowledge, hieroglyphics, medicine, astronomy, science, magic, and writing. Played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology such as maintaining the universe and along with Maat stood on Ra’s boat. He was later heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead. Served as scribe to the gods, Ra’s counselor and secretary, and the mediating power between good and evil as well as made sure that neither had a decisive victory over the other. Said to be master of physical and divine law and was believed to be self-created.

Pro: He was probably a true renaissance god credited by the Egyptians as the inventor of writing and most if not all the areas of knowledge. Whenever a god was seriously injured in a fight, he would heal them. As arbitrator, he oversaw three epic battles between good and evil and was a great help to Isis after Osiris was murdered.  He also restored Horus when he was slain and in one myth was responsible for tricking Sekhmet into drinking blood-colored wine which ended her rampage. Always spoke the words that fulfilled the wishes of Ra.

Con: Usually remains neutral in many situations. Also, he was credited by the Egyptians for inventing hieroglyphics which everyone knows was a very difficult writing system.

Symbols and Motifs: Usually depicted with the head of an ibis though sometimes appears as a baboon. His symbols are a moon disk and papyrus scroll.

City: Hermopolis.

13. Sobek

Sobek is the god of the Nile and fertility which basically makes him seem as a good Egyptian deity. However, as a god, he is violent and hedonistic who lives up to his sacred animal.

Sobek is the god of the Nile and fertility which basically makes him seem as a good Egyptian deity. However, as a god, he is violent and hedonistic who lives up to his sacred animal.

Domain: God of the Nile, water, the military, pharaonic power, and fertility. In Ancient Egypt, he was complex god who was sometime revered and sometimes reviled as well as rather ambiguous in terms of worship. Served as a protective deity against the Nile’s dangers. Was particularly popular during the Middle Kingdom.

Pro: During the Middle Kingdom, he was associated with Isis as a healer of Osiris and was said to assist her in Horus’ birth. His protective powers and strength were valued when used in the defense of Pharaoh and his people. Could protect the justified dead in the underworld as well as restore their sight and senses.

Con: He is considered a violent, hyper-sexual, and erratic deity prone to his primal whims. Among his nicknames were,  “he who loves robbery,” “he who eats while he also mates,” and “pointed of teeth.” Also, was said to be paired with a number of goddesses as well as was said to take women from their husbands whenever he felt like it.

Symbols and Motifs: His main symbol is the crocodile and is often depicted as either this or with a head of one. Crocodiles were raised and mummified in his name (yes, the Egyptians mummified those animals, too.)

City: Kom Ombo, Faiym, and the appropriately named Crocodilopolis.

14. Maat

Maat is the goddess of truth, justice, and order and it's her feather that is weighed against a person's heart to see if it goes to the afterlife. Other than that, it's all she does.

Maat is the goddess of truth, justice, and order and it’s her feather that is weighed against a person’s heart to see if it goes to the afterlife. Other than that, it’s all she does.

Domain: Personfication of truth, balance, order, law, mortality and justice. Seen as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and deities, who set order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. She was more of an idea than a goddess yet her primary role dealt with the weighing of souls in the underworld that were considered to reside in the heart. Weighing someone’s heart against the feather determined which people got into the afterlife and who did not. Sometimes seen as the daughter of Ra as well as the wife of Thoth.

Pro: She was central to the conceptions of the Ancient Egyptian universe and was seen as a balance of divine order as well as prevents chaos from reigning supreme. It was thought everything would be lost without her.

Con: She has been represented in Egyptian mythology more as an idea than as a goddess. Also, doesn’t have much personality.

Symbols and Motifs: She’s usually represented as a young woman, sometimes with wings. Her symbol is an ostrich feather.

City: All ancient Egyptian cities.

15. Apophis

As the undisputed snake god monstrosity of evil Apophis seeks to reduce the entire universe to a void. Yet, he's literally invincible and can't really be permanently defeated so Ra has to battle him every night.

As the undisputed snake god monstrosity of evil Apophis seeks to reduce the entire universe to a void. Yet, he’s literally invincible and can’t really be permanently defeated so Ra has to battle him every night.

Domain: An embodiment of chaos and god of darkness, storms, earthquakes, and basically anything harmful. Attacked Ra and his entourage every night as they traveled through the underworld and had a hypnotic gaze he used to swallow them which caused a solar eclipse if he succeeded.

Pro: Well, he’s considered as all powerful and being from the land of the dead, he can’t be killed. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help Ra’s case.

Con: Where to begin? I mean he was considered as the Ancient Egyptian god of evil that even the other chaotic gods hate him. All the souls he devours cease to exist and used his hypnotic gaze to lure the gods before eating them which only Set could resist. His mission is to reduce the entire universe into a void and Egyptians wouldn’t dare speak his name, let alone worship him.

Symbols and Motifs: Always depicted as a giant snake.

City: None because he wasn’t worshiped at all.

16. Tawaret

Taweret is the big hippopotamus looking goddess known for protecting expectant mothers. Certainly doesn't adhere to traditional goddess beauty standards yet manages to have multiple lovers and is always seen pregnant. Guess she's doing something right.

Taweret is the big hippopotamus looking goddess known for protecting expectant mothers. Certainly doesn’t adhere to traditional goddess beauty standards yet manages to have multiple lovers and is always seen pregnant. Guess she’s doing something right.

Domain: A protective goddess of childbirth and fertility. Though not a chief god, she was a popular household deity, especially in Middle and New Kingdom Egypt. In the Old Kingdom, she was seen as the wet nurse of the Pharaoh. Said to look constantly pregnant and linked to be married to Apophis and Set (as well as romantically linked to other gods, particularly Sobek).

Pro: She’s seen as a benevolent goddess as well as a protector of women (especially if they’re pregnant). When married to Set, she tries to restrain his evil impulses to protect humanity.

Con: She was initially seen as a more aggressive and unpleasant goddess, before she was known as a protector of expectant mothers. She’s always unfaithful to her husband though nobody seemed to care. Yet, you’d wonder why how she gets around because she’s not an attractive goddess by any means.

Symbols and Motifs: Usually depicted as a bipedal hippopotamus with the paws of a lion, women’s breasts,  and the back of a Nile Crocodile. Her symbols are the sa, ivory dagger, and the hippopotamus, naturally.

City: Not applicable, she was a household deity worshiped throughout Egypt.

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History of the World According to the Movies: Part 2- Ancient Egypt and Near East

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Of course, no post on Ancient Egypt and the Near East would be complete without discussing The Ten Commandments. Of course, we may not be sure that the Exodus happened under the reign of Ramses II or Thutmose III (though Ramses II is a more plausible candidate), or if at all. Yet, we do know that Queen Nefretiri is way overdressed by Ancient Egyptan standards.

History was born with the invention of writing in Mesopotamia in which scribes would record the events taking place on behalf of the king as well as legends relating to their religion and culture. They also were known for ziggurats and The Epic of Gilgamesh one of the first works of literature. Egypt would later follow suit and would later be known as the civilization for hieroglyphics, the Nile, mummification, pharaohs, and the Pyramids. Oh, and that little thing called the Exodus. Then there are the peoples of the Near East like the Sumerians known for writing, inventing the wheel and Gilgamesh, the Phoenicians known for trade, seafaring, purple, and having the first phonetic alphabet, the Akkadians known for a major empire and possibly the Tower of Babel, Assyrians a fierce warrior culture known for their epic beards, the Hittites known for their empire in Turkey, the Philistines, the Caananites, the Old Babylonians known for the Hammurabi Law Code, and the Neo-Babylonians known holding the Jews in captivity as well as the Hanging Gardens. Of course, the two famous civilizations from the Ancient Near East were the Hebrews from the Bible, particularly the Old Testament and the Persians who amassed one of the largest empires at the time as well as are the ancestors of the modern Iranian people (who take great pride being descended from such a glorious people). Movies made in this era are usually epics in the early sword and sandal and biblical genre (at least in the Old Testament, New Testament is for another post), however, many of these films aren’t 100% accurate nor could be. Besides, most of ancient history in this setting was written when real events could be shrouded in myth so it’s difficult to surmise between fact and fiction. Also, archaeological records are incomplete and very few people knew how to read and write at the time. And those literate had to basically write under an autocratic ruler who’d basically slit their throats if they dared say anything bad about him. Nevertheless, genuine ancient historical errors do abound in movies for some reason (meaning they go against the historic record.)

Ancient Egypt:

During the reigns of Ramses II and his family, the Hebrews lived in Egypt as slaves and were forced to build the Pyramids of Giza. (In reality, this notion is false on many levels. For one, the Pyramids of Giza weren’t built by slaves, but paid volunteer workers and during the time of the Old Kingdom and perhaps around the same time as Stonehenge. Thus, it would probably be a rather ancient landmark by the time Moses came around like over a thousand years old to be exact. Second, slavery wasn’t practiced in Egypt until the time of the New Kingdom and by that time, the Egyptians were no longer building pyramids mostly because they were targets of grave robbers. Pharaohs by that time were being buried in elaborate underground tombs instead since why do you think it took over a couple thousand years to find King Tut’s tomb which was discovered like around 90 years ago?)

Ancient Egyptians used curses to punish those who break into the pharaoh’s tomb such as modern day archaeologists. (Actually, if they did, the curses didn’t seem to work. However, they did do something to deter grave robbing which was apparent in Ancient Egypt, which was to stop building pyramids.)

Egyptians resemble Northern and Western Europeans. (Yul Brynner from The Ten Commandments is perhaps the only guy who looks more like an ancient Egyptian than any other Egyptian character in the cast.)

Moses had a chance to become Pharaoh since Nefretiri was in love with him. (For one, many historians are unsure whether Moses was a real historical figure {with Jesus, it’s an entirely different story}. Still, even if he did exist, was raised in the Pharaoh’s household, and was in love with Nefretiri, Moses would’ve had no chance to be Pharaoh since he was not only adopted but also the youngest. Thus, even if Moses were to marry Nefretiri, he’d still have absolutely no chance at being Pharaoh so Ramses didn’t have much competition for the throne. And if he didn’t have any biological brothers or half-brothers to compete with as most movies about Moses imply, then Ramses wouldn’t have to marry Nefretiri because if it was him and Moses, then Ramses was going to be Pharaoh no matter what. Besides, in the Bible, Moses’ mother also lived with the Pharaoh’s family as a nursemaid so Moses grew up knowing that he was a Hebrew. Not to mention, he was most likely raised with Ramses II and we know he got the job and Nefretiri. As a side note, Ramses wasn’t an atheist and it was his granddad who ordered the killing of male Hebrew babies according to scripture.)

Ramses I ordered the killing of male newborn babies. (I highly doubt that any pharaoh would do this seeing that they needed more Hebrew men to do heavy lifting for their building projects and other jobs. Oh, and make babies with the female slaves. Perhaps he did it around the year Moses was born but the slaughter had to stop sometime for he didn’t rule too long.)

No Egyptian men wore makeup or shaved. (All Egyptian men and women wore eyeliner and shaved most of their body hair. Mostly this was done for health reasons and the environment. Also, in The Ten Commandments, it’s unlikely that Moses would have a full head of hair in the beginning as an adult and he’d certainly have eyeliner. I mean he was raised by Egyptians for God’s sake.)

Joshua was a slave in Egypt. (Joshua was Moses’ apprentice when he received The Ten Commandments. However, in the movie The Ten Commandments, Joshua and Moses are depicted at around the same age even though in the Bible, Moses is clearly much older by at least a generation. Thus, though Joshua may have been a slave in Egypt, he most definitely not been shacked up with a slave girl for he would’ve been at least a teenager, maybe even younger than that if he was born around the time. Also, depicting Joshua as a teenager around Exodus would make better sense since Moses was sort of a priest and they did take teenage apprentices {think about the story of Samuel}. Also, there have been teenage commanders in battle like King Tut and Alexander the Great.)

Female Egyptian rulers didn’t wear beards. (They wore a fake one as a symbol of their power as well as show that they were a reincarnation of Horus.)

Imotep is best known for being buried alive because he messed with a Pharaoh’s mistress. (He was an official, priest, and architect who invented the pyramid and modern medicine before Hippocrates. He was also seen as a good chancellor as well as one of the most respected Ancient Egyptians who ever lived who was deified after his death {which was only reserved for Pharaohs} and there are some theories that contend he was the biblical Joseph {the guy with the technicolor dream coat}. Of course, this might be a different Imotep depicted in The Mummy films since the historical one lived 1300 years before this one.)

Akenaten was poisoned by an assassin. (We’re really not sure what he died from. Though Pharaohs had to worry about assassination {mostly from their own relatives} and the Aten religion soon fell out of favor a few years after his death, he could’ve just as easily died from plague or other nasty diseases, which may explain why his tomb was subsequently abandoned with rapidity. However, unlike his son Tutankhamen, he looked pretty average so there’s no evidence he had anything depicted in artistic representations of him.)

Anubis was the god of evil and Ancient Egypt’s Satan. (He wasn’t, not by a long shot. He’s just a god of the dead. Seth was the evil god.)

The Book of the Dead and the Book of Amun-Ra were written on black stone tablets in gold. (Ancient Egyptians wrote their books on papyrus scrolls.)

Hamunaptra was an ancient city in Egypt and nicknamed the “City of the Dead.” (It’s actually in India as a relic of unknown civilization destroyed thousands of years ago.)

There was a mass Egyptian enslavement of Hebrews. (While the Ancient had slaves, it’s uncertain whether they enslaved Hebrews. If they did, they weren’t technically Hebrews yet but Canaanites.)

Ancient Egyptians viewed cats as terrifying demons. (They worshiped them and were among the greatest cat lovers in history.)

Egyptians domesticated camels in the Old Kingdom. (They domesticated them late in the New Kingdom.)

The Ancient Egyptians practiced ritual sacrifice at the time of the Great Pyramid. (This had faded long before the Great Pyramid was built.)

Old Kingdom Egyptians had bronze and iron weapons as well as horses. (Horses and bronze were introduced in Ancient Egypt around 1400 B. C. E. While iron was introduced by the Hittites around 1000 B. C. E.)

Amun-Ra was the Egyptian sun god during the Old Kingdom. (Amun and Ra merged during the Middle Kingdom. The Sun God was Ra during the Old Kingdom.)

Seti won the Battle of Kadesh. (Ramses II actually fought that battle.)

Potiphar was angry at Joseph (son of Jacob) for his wife’s allegations he was trying to rape her while Joseph resisted her advances. (Contrary to Joseph and his Technicolor Dream Coat, Potiphar probably knew that his wife had a habit of making advances to the servants and was kind of a bitch. He probably put Joseph in prison to get him out of the way.)

Ancient Persia:

The Persians gave lesser rights to women. (Actually they treated women rather equally even paying them more in some situations.)

The Persians dressed in Arab clothing and had Arab generals. (They dressed in Persian clothing and had Persian generals.)

The Persians kings saw themselves as gods. (They were Zorastrian and only worshiped one god so Xerxes’ god complex in the 300 movies has no basis in reality since he never saw himself as one.)

Persians had massive orgies and lesbian shows I the kings’ room. (Well, the Bible recounts Xerxes wanting his wife Vashti to show herself naked only to banish her later, but that’s about it.)

Persians beheaded their own people. (I’m not sure that they did. However, they did have very brutal form of capital punishment called scaphism, which was far worse than having your head lopped off. This is according to the Greeks.)

Immortals wore face masks and were soulless monsters. (No, they didn’t and they weren’t.)

Persian Immortals wore black ninja like outfits to battle. (Actually their outfits would’ve been wearing masks, light armor, and outfits of bright colors. They also wore jewelry. Oh, and they also had a full head of hair and funky beards.)

The Persians charged elephants and rhinos at Thermopylae. (They used horses. Seriously, the Persian Empire didn’t extend to Africa. However, it’s said they did use these animals in later battles, just not in Greece.)

Persians were dressed in scantily clad outfits, wore jewelry, shaved their bodies, and looked kind of like Cirque du Soleil rejects as well as kind of gay. They are were also debasing and immoral. (Persian men didn’t look like their representations in 300. Look on the murals. Besides, Xerxes had a full head of hair {as far as we know} and a beard like most ancient Persians did even in the Bible. He also wore a tall hat and elaborate robes, was probably not gay, and didn’t wear a lot of jewelry. He also wasn’t 9 feet tall and if he was bald, you probably wouldn’t know it. As for Persian side, it was a pretty diverse group of ethnicities from the Middle East and Egypt, with diverse religious beliefs {including Judaism}. And as with homosexuality, there was plenty of it in the Spartan army and typical Spartan bridal wear consisted of men’s clothes and a shaved head. Sparta was also known for their enslavement of Helots whose uprising were a common feature in Ancient Greece and was one of the least free city states in Greece unless you were a woman. They also practiced pederasty {yet all Greek city states did to some extent}. And in the Bible, the Persians are depicted as perhaps some of the nicest overlords the Jewish people ever had, if one read Daniel and Esther. So it’s possible that you might have a few Israelites fighting in the Persian Wars. They also didn’t have any slaves and believed in equality.)

Persian Immortals wore shiny masks to hide their horrific faces. (They actually wrapped their faces in cloth so you could see through them. Yet, their shields were only made of wicker. Still, they were called the Immortals because they always maintained the strength of 10,000 men. Whenever an Immortal was killed or wounded, there was always someone to take his place which maintained the cohesion of the unit.)

Persians sent their entire army to Thermopylae. (Xerxes would have done no such thing since he had to rule a large empire back at home. Also, I’m not sure if he would even go to Thermopylae himself though he and Leonidas certainly didn’t meet in person. Yet, he’s said to have been at the Battle of Salamis.)

A Persian weapon of choice was the Khopesh. (It was a Canaanite weapon which hadn’t been used for 1000 years up to that point. This would’ve been the equivalent of sending US paratroopers into Normandy equipped with single shot muskets.)

During the Battle of Salamis, the Persians had a large metal ship that chugs out pitch and a detachment of frogman suicide bombers. (Sorry, but there’s no mention of this in Herodotus nor has there been any archaeological finds. Yet, this makes 300: Rise of an Empire ever the more ridiculous.)

Themistocles killed King Darius at the Battle of Marathon. (King Darius probably wasn’t at Marathon but died well after that of completely natural causes {such as a long illness} four years later.)

Themistocles killed Artemisia during the Battle of Salamis. (She survived the battle and ended up as a trusted adviser to Xerxes, even caring for his illegitimate children. Also, Themistocles ended up joining the Persians, though only after he was exiled to Argos and implicated in a plot with Pausanias by Spartans who didn’t like him. The Persians were the only entity who would take him. So it wasn’t like he betrayed the Greeks, rather the Greeks betrayed him.)

Artemisia and Themistocles shared a moment of unbridled passion. (Contrary to 300: Rise of an Empire, this never happened for Artemisia knew better than to fool around with any man, let alone a Greek.)

Xerxes tried to dissuade Artemisia from pursuing the Greeks during the Battle of Salamis. (Contrary to 300: Rise of an Empire, she advised him against the battle arguing that it was a bad idea to engage the Greeks at sea and was the only one of his allies to do so. Nevertheless, though Xerxes respected her advice, he decided to go through with the naval assault anyway. Thus, it was the other way around. Of course, she was right.)

Artemisia was the Persian naval commander during the Battles of Artemisium and Salamis. (Contrary to 300: Rise of an Empire, she was only a Persian naval commander during the battles. In fact, all the authority she had just consisted of 5 ships she contributed to the Persian force. And she would never be able to command those ships if she wasn’t a queen to begin with.)

Darius invaded Athens because he was annoyed by Greek freedom. (Darius more likely just wanted to add more land to empire and that he was getting sick of the Athenian sponsored revolts in his hometown. Also, Persians didn’t have slaves, unlike the Greeks who did.)

Xerxes burned Athens to the ground. (Contrary to 300: Rise of an Empire, he had no reason to destroy a city of significant strategic value. Many historians have theorized this is just plain Greek propaganda while Herodotus said this was a Persian objective and Xerxes withdrew from the city shortly afterwards. Thus, it’s highly disputed.)

Queen Artemisia was psychotic. (She was just the queen of one of Xerxes’ satraps {provinces} who just happen to take his side during the Greco-Persian Wars. Also, she was even praised by Herodotus for her decisiveness and intelligence despite being Persian and a woman. Of course, he was also from Halicarnassus and she was a legend in his hometown that was ruled by Artemisia’s grandson {where he’d later be exiled}.)

Persian galleys were rowed by slaves. (Ancient Persia didn’t have any slaves.)

The Persians burned every enemy city they encountered. (With the possible exception of Athens, they didn’t. Rather they viewed cities as future vassals to their empire.)

Artemisia’s family was murdered by Greek hopilites and she was held as a sex slave on a Greek ship. (Contrary to 300: Rise of an Empire, she was a princess and was never held as a sex slave. She was queen of Halicarnassus as well as a mother and regent to a young son. Oh, and did I say that her mother was from Crete?)

Old Testament Times:

The Philistines were an uncivilized and an uncultured people. (They may have been the Hebrew enemies in the Bible but they weren’t uncultured by any means and it’s even said in the Bible.)

Jacob had sons by several different women. (The Bible explicitly said he had sons by 4 women with 6 by Leah, 2 by Rachel, 2 by Billah, and 2 by Zilphah. Of course, Rachel was dead by the time Joseph received his coat while Jacob’s other sons needed dance partners in the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. Jacob also had a daughter named Dinah, too. Of course, he should’ve known that his older brothers had wives and concubines.)

Judaism was always monotheistic. (Yes, the early Jews worshiped Yahweh but they had other minor deities until the Babylonian captivity. Also, the Bible does mention that idol worship was prevalent around the time of David, Solomon, and their successors.)

Uriah was a complete asshole who abused his wife. (The Bible says that King David was the bigger asshole since he knocked up the guy’s wife, tried to get Uriah to go home in order to pass him as the kid’s father {which didn’t work}, and had him sent to the front lines where he’d surely be killed. Uriah, on the other hand, was a nice guy as well as very loyal to his king only to be screwed in the process. Not to mention, David also got a lot of other guys killed in the process who basically had nothing to do with the whole Bathsheba thing.)

Early Passover was celebrated in the seder style. (This style wasn’t celebrated until the later rabbinic tradition which was around the time of the Roman Empire. Before then, the typical Passover tradition was sacrificing a lamb.)

Delilah actually loved Samson even though she gave him the haircut of betrayal. (According to the Bible, it’s unclear whether she had any genuine feelings for him.)

Moses wrote the Torah. (Though 4 of the five Torah books are about Moses, it’s more likely they were written at least during the reign of Solomon or the Babylonian captivity.)

Carrying the Ark of the Covenant would make an army invincible. (Let’s just say the Bible says that every time the Hebrews carried it into battle, they were soundly defeated and lost the ark as well without God’s specific direction to do so. The Hebrews were probably glad to get rid of it to get the Lord to stop smiting them.)

Delilah was sent by the Philistines to seduce Samson and deceive him. (According to the Bible, she was already in a relationship with him when the Philistines approached her. Hollywood just can’t miss an opportunity of a good femme fatale love story.)

Joseph received a multi colored coat from his dad Jacob. (Actually, the chances of Joseph having a technicolor dream coat would’ve been unlikely. He probably just received a very fancy coat.)

Nathan slut shamed Bathsheba for committing adultery with King David. (Unlike what David and Bathsheba implies, the Bible doesn’t really say that Bathsheba received any divine punishment whatsoever {or at least any that wasn’t meant for David like her son dying in infancy}. Hell, the next thing we hear about her after the whole thing was that she became the mother of Solomon and later helps secure his succession. And in the Bible, Nathan doesn’t slut shame her or call her out for infidelity. This is because since David is her sovereign king, her husband’s boss, and wanted to sleep with her, Bathsheba was in absolutely no position to refuse. It didn’t matter how she felt about David or whether she was willing or not. If she refused, it might’ve meant prison or death. Or it might’ve meant prison or death for Uriah, too. Any woman in her situation would’ve done the same thing regardless of marital status. Thus, since Bathsheba couldn’t freely consent to adultery, she was not held responsible. Besides, the Bible clearly shows that whole Bathsheba incident was all David’s fault.)

Ancient Mesopotamia and the Near East:

The Akkadians had blood feuds with the Vikings before the pyramids were built. (Of course, you know that this isn’t true when I mention Vikings, especially around 5000 B. C. E.)

Iron swords were available around 5000 B. C. E. (The Iron Age didn’t begin until about 1000 B. C. E.)

Greek warlords regularly commandeered Babylonian forces. (They most likely didn’t though the Babylonians did have a warrior culture in what is now Iraq.)

The Akkadians were a race of deadly assassins. (For God’s sake, they were just people of Akkad known for amassing an empire in the Fertile Crescent created by a ruler named Sargon and his dynasty.)

Memnon was a Greek general. (We’re not sure if this guy ever existed, wherever he’s from.)

Magic black powder was used in the Middle East around 5000 B. C. E. (For God’s sake, why is that in a movie?)

The Scorpion King was a Mesopotamian ruler from 5000 B. C. E.  or an Egyptian ruler around 3000 B. C. E. (There was a real Scorpion king but he was Egyptian who preceded the Pharaoh Menes and lived around 3100 B. C. E. Still, we don’t know much about him.)

The Hittites worshiped Gozer. (Contrary to Ghostbusters, Gozer doesn’t appear on the Hittite deity lists so it’s uncertain.)

The Babylonians had elephant statues. (Elephants aren’t indigenous to the Middle East and it’s unlikely anyone from Babylon ever saw one. Also, refer to Jesus saying about how easier it was for a camel to pass through the eye of an needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. The camel was the biggest animal anyone in the the ancient Near East anyone would’ve seen.)