The Impact of the Egyptian Religion to its Civilization
The Egyptian religion defined the 3,000 years of belief in Afterlife, Egyptian gods, and divinity of the pharaoh. It unified the people under one name and conquered the ancient World with their monuments, innovations and legacy. Read on to find out more about the foundations of their faith.
Enough for too much Gods
The ancient Egyptians believed in a lot of gods. Stories told about them tell that they directly control natural phenomena such as rain or drought. Although terrifying, Egyptians depict them as beings that guide the humans in their everyday lives. The gods have the power but also frail because they also feel emotions like we do.
If you want to marvel at the beauty of a goddess, you must first describe her characteristics. Let's take Hathor as an example. As an Egyptian goddess, Hathor embodies the ideals of love and motherhood. For an ancient Egyptian, he will picture her as a woman with the head of a cow! For them, cows don't only know how to munch grasses. These creatures also take care for their young just like our mother that cares for us. However, Egyptian gods do not have forms like a falcon-head man or a human with a scorpion's body. The Egyptian religion only uses these pictures to describe their gods. Much like ghosts or spirits, their true nature is unknown.
Rest assured that there are lots of Egyptian gods in each category of life. Although they seemed to be religious, they only handpick the gods that suit their needs. For your craftsmen ailments, there is Ptah. For your fertility needs, Taweret, the pregnant hippo, answers to your needs! If someone feels sick, no problem! With 700 gods and goddesses found at the Egyptian religion, rest assured that even a simple toothache is taken care of!
Journey to Afterlife
The Egyptians first introduced the concept of Afterlife among the first civilizations. They believed if a person dies, he travels through numerous obstacles to reach the Hall of Maat. On this hall, his heart will be weighed against the feather of truth. If your heart appears lighter, eternal life is ensured. Bad news if they found you unworthy. Ammit, a demon that resembles the hybrid of a crocodile, a lion and a hippo, eats your heart for breakfast!
Anyway, the belief of the Egyptians to Afterlife complicates their burial customs. As you can see on their elaborate tombs for pharaohs and nobles, it can take for up to 20 years to build one. They also introduced mummification. It allows them to travel safely through eternal life and by any chance, they want proper judgement, rather than hunted by demons of the underworld!
Role of the Pharaoh in the Egyptian Religion
The acts of the Egyptian gods extend further from natural phenomena. In the Egyptian kingship, they believed that the pharaoh climbs the status near of the gods. As for his role as king, he must govern the country with fairness. He must please the gods by ensuring continued offerings and building of temples in their behalf. Technically, the Egyptian pharaoh rules the world! With this much power in his hands, the ancient Egyptians worked hand in hand in one goal. His status unites Egypt and keeps them in a straight line!
United under One God
In the history of their religion, a pharaoh named Akhenaten emerged and radically changed their religious beliefs. Their religion at that time focused on one god called Aten, or the disk of the sun. Akhenaten occupied himself much with religion that he forgot his responsibilities to his country, such as good governance and management of their economy. This made him infamous towards the people and thus, by the end of his reign, the next pharaoh restored the old traditions of Egypt. Vandalisms found on Akhenaten's account proved this point home. Many Egyptians showed their frustration towards him.
The Fading Religion of Ancient Egypt
You might ask, "Why the Egyptians stopped practicing their beliefs?" It all started out when the Romans conquered Egypt. When the Romans started to adopt its beliefs on Christianity, they ordered to close down temples in Egypt. Although the Egyptian religion endured for some time, it quietly moved into the history books. After its long struggle, the religion in ancient Egypt finally closed down its curtain.
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