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In one of his many forms, Ra has the head of a falcon and a sun-disk rests on his head.
In one of his many forms, Ra has the head of a falcon and a sun-disk rests on his head.

Ra ( and later Amun-Ra; reconstructed as *ri:ʕu) is the ancient Egyptian sun god. He is a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion by the fifth dynasty. Identified primarily with the mid-day sun, the chief cult centre of Ra first was based in Heliopolis (ancient Inunu) meaning "City of the Sun". In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was subsumed into the god Horus, as Re-Horakhty (and many variant spellings). He commanded sky, earth, underworld. He was associated with the falcon. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... RA or Ra can refer to: // Registered Architect, a designer who is licensed by a government to practice architecture Research assistant, a graduate student employed by a college or university for the purpose of academic research Resident assistant, a college student charged with supervising students living in a residence hall... Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of the unattested ancestor of one or more languages. ... Khafres Pyramid and the Great Sphinx of Giza, built about 2550 BC during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom,[1] are enduring symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeastern Africa concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River... Egyptian goddess Isis protecting a mummified pharaoh, a late Ptolemic relief from the Philae Temple, which was first built in the thirtieth dynasty, c. ... Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Fifth Dynasty. ... Noon is the time exactly halfway through the day, written 12:00 in the 24-hour clock and 12:00 noon in the 12-hour clock. ... Heliopolis (Greek Ἡλίου πόλις) was one of the most ancient cities of Egypt, and capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome. ... For other uses, see Horus (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Sky (disambiguation). ... This article is about Earth as a planet. ... For other uses, see Underworld (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Falcon (disambiguation). ...


According to E. A. Wallis Budge he was the one god of Egyptian monotheism, of which all other deities were aspects, manifestations, phases, or forms of this deity.[1] Ra itself, however, was also a monotheistic god. A Hymn to Ra (approx. 1370s BC) was written to stress the pantheistic nature of Ra to combat encroaching polytheism. In it, several deities are described, not as beings in their own right, but certain forms of Ra. For example: E. A. Wallis Budge in his office at the British Museum around the turn of the century. ... Centuries: 15th century BC - 14th century BC - 13th century BC Decades: 1420s BC 1410s BC 1400s BC 1390s BC 1380s BC - 1370s BC - 1360s BC 1350s BC 1340s BC 1330s BC 1320s BC Events and Trends Significant People The end of the rule of Amenophis III Categories: 1370s BC ... Pantheism (Greek: πάν ( pan ) = all and θεός ( theos ) = God) literally means God is All and All is God. It is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. ...

"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, thou exalted Power, who dost enter into the habitations of Ament, behold [thy] body is Atum."
"Praise be unto thee, O Ra, thou exalted Power, who dost enter into the hidden palace of Anubis, behold [thy] body is Khepera." [2]

Ra is most commonly pronounced 'rah'. It is more likely, however, that it should be pronounced as 'ray', hence the alternative spelling Re rather than Ra. It is not known for sure what Ra's name means, but it is thought it may be a variant of or linked to 'creative', if not an original word for 'sun'. As his cult arose in the Egyptian pantheon, Ra often replaces Atum as the father, grandfather and great-grandfather of the deities of the Ennead, and becomes the creator of the world. Ra then was seen to have created Sekhmet, who becomes Hathor, the cow goddess, after she has sufficiently punished mankind as an avenging Eye of Ra, and so he is often said to be the father of both and brother to the god, Osiris. Nearly all forms of life were supposedly created by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret name. Eventually, humans were created from Ra's tears or sweat, leading to the Egyptians calling themselves the "Cattle of Ra". In Egyptian mythology, Ament was an underworld goddess who lived in a tree at the edge of a desert, where she welcomed newly-deceased souls into the underworld. ... History Atum (alternatively spelt Tem, Temu, Tum, and Atem) is an early deity in Egyptian mythology, whose cult centred on the Ennead of Heliopolis. ... For other uses, see Anubis (disambiguation). ... Khepri as a scarab beetle, pushing the sun across the sky In Egyptian mythology, the god Khepri was generally depicted as a scarab, which is what the name means. ... --68. ... The Ennead (a word derived from Greek, meaning the nine) is a grouping of nine deities, most often used in the context of Egyptian mythology. ... For other uses, see Sekhmet (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Hathor (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Symbolism

Ra is primarily depicted as a man in artwork, wearing a pharaoh's crown (a sign of his kingship over the deities) and the sun disk on his head. Often he had a falcon's head, much like Horus. Sometimes, Ra is portrayed differently according to the position of the sun in the sky. At sunrise he was the young boy Khepri, at noon the falcon-headed man Harakhty, and at sunset the elder Atum. This constant aging was suggested by the Egyptians as the reason Ra stayed separate from to world and let Osiris or Horus rule in his place. This idea is often coupled with the myth in which Isis is able to trick an elderly Ra, having ruled on earth as a human pharaoh, into revealing his secret name, and thus the secret of his power. Ra shared many of his symbols with other solar deities, in particular Horus. Khepri as a scarab beetle, pushing the sun across the sky In Egyptian mythology, Khepri (also spelt Khepera, Kheper, Chepri, Khepra) is the name of a minor god. ... History Atum (alternatively spelt Tem, Temu, Tum, and Atem) is an early deity in Egyptian mythology, whose cult centred on the Ennead of Heliopolis. ... For other uses, see Osiris (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Horus (disambiguation). ... This article discusses the ancient goddess Isis. ...


The Bennu bird is Ra's ba and a symbol of fire and rebirth. The sun disk, also shown as the hieroglyphic ⊙ ; Ankh, symbolizing the life given by the sun; Obelisk, representative of the rays of the sun and worshiped as a home of a solar god; Pyramids, aligned east/west Falcon; Bull; Uraeus, a cobra commonly seen wrapped around the sun disk. The Uraeus is the associated form of the goddess Wadjet, who was often depicted as a cobra, an animal thought only to be female and reproducing through parthenogenesis. Some traditions relate that the first uraeus was created by the goddess Isis who formed it from the dust of the earth and the spittle of the sun-god. The uraeus was the instrument with which Isis gained the throne of Egypt for her husband Osiris. As the sun, Ra was thought to see everything. The Bennu bird serves as the Egyptian correspondence to the phoenix, and is said to be the soul of the Sun-God Ra. ... Akh redirects here. ... Mask of Tutankhamuns mummy featuring a uraeus from the eighteenth dynasty when the cobra image of Wadjet from the original uraeus had been joined by the white vulture image of Nekhbet because of the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt The Uraeus (plural Uraei or Uraeuses, from the Greek... In Egyptian mythology, Buto (papyrus colored--referring to the color of the cobra) was a snake (especially cobra) goddess and patron of the oracle in the city of the same name. ... Egyptian Cobra, Naga haje This article is about snakes. ... This article discusses the ancient goddess Isis. ...


Together with Atum, Ra was believed to have fathered Shu and Tefnut, who in turn bore Geb, Nut. These in turn were the parents of Osiris, Isis, Set (also known as Seth) and Nephthys. All nine made up the Heliopolitan Ennead. Shu may refer to: Scoville Heat Unit is a measurement of how hot a chile pepper is. ... In Egyptian mythology, Tefnut is a goddess of water and fertility, indeed her name means moist waters (i. ... Geb (also spelt Seb, and Keb) was the personification of the earth, amongst the group who believed in the Ennead, a form of Egyptian mythology centred in Heliopolis, Since the Egyptians held that their underworld was literally that, under the earth, Geb was sometimes seen as containing the dead, or... In Egyptian mythology, Nuit or Nut was the sky goddess, in contrast to most other mythologies, which usually have a sky father. ... For other uses, see Osiris (disambiguation). ... This article discusses the ancient goddess Isis. ... Set In Ancient Egyptian mythology, Set (also spelled Seth, Sutekh or Seteh) is an ancient god, who was originally the god of the desert, storms, and chaos. ... Nephthys In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys (spelled Nebet-het, and Nebt-het, in transliteration from Egyptian hieroglyphs) is one of the Ennead of Heliopolis, a daughter of Nut and Geb, and the sister/wife of Set. ... The Ennead (a word derived from Greek, meaning the nine) is a grouping of nine deities, most often used in the context of Egyptian mythology. ...


Ra and the Sun

For the Egyptians, the sun most basically represented light, warmth, and therefore, growth. This made Ra very important to Egyptians, and it is probably therefore no coincidence that he came to be seen as the ruler of all. The sun was either seen as the body or eye of Ra.


The sun was thought to travel in a boat, to protect its fires from the primordial waters of the underworld it passed through during the night. Ra traveled in the sunboat with various deities, including Ma'at who guided the boat's course and Set and Mehen who defended against monsters in the underworld. These monsters included Apep, the serpent who tried to stop the sunboat's journey every day by consuming it. So, the Egyptians saw the sunrise as the rebirth of the sun through Nut, the sky, and thus attributed the concept of rebirth and renewal to Ra, strengthening his role as a creator god. For other uses, see Maat (disambiguation). ... For the Cypriot football team, see APEP Kyperounda FC. An Egyptian deity wards off the snake-like Apep [1] In Egyptian mythology, Apep (also spelled Apepi, and Aapep, or Apophis in Greek) was an evil demon, the deification of darkness and chaos (isfet in Egyptian), and thus opponent of light... In Egyptian mythology, Nuit or Nut was the sky goddess, in contrast to most other mythologies, which usually have a sky father. ...


Composites

As with most widely worshiped Egyptian godforms, Ra's identity was often confused with other gods as different regional religions were merged in an attempt to unite the country.

Amun and Amun-Ra
Amun was a member of the Ogdoad, representing creation energies with Amaunet, and was a very early patron of Thebes. He was believed to create via breath, and thus was identified with the wind rather than the sun. As the cults of Amun and Ra became increasingly popular in Upper and Lower Egypt respectively, they were combined to create Amun-Ra, a solar creator god. It is hard to distinguish exactly when this combination happened, with references being made in pyramid texts to Amun-Ra as early as the V Dynasty. The most common belief is that Amun-Ra was invented as the new state deity by the (Theban) rulers of the New Kingdom to unite worshipers of Amun with the older cult of Ra, beginning around the XVIII Dynasty. Ironically, the cult of Amun-Ra was effectively just as monotheistic as Akhenaten's worship of Aten, and the cult became so powerful that it rivalled the monarchy.
Atum and Atum-Ra
Atum-Ra (or Ra-Atum) was another composite deity formed from two completely separate deities. However, Ra shared more similarities with Atum than with Amun. Atum was more closely linked with the sun, and was also a creator god of the Ennead. Both Ra and Atum were regarded as the father of the gods and Pharaohs, and were widely worshiped. So, it was almost inevitable that the two cults were merged under the name of Atum-Ra.
Tomb painting Ra-Horakhty wearing the crown of Wadjet.
Ra-Horakhty
In Egyptian mythology, Ra-Horakhty was more of a title, or manifestation, than a composite god. It translates as "Ra (who is) Horus of the Horizons". It was intended to link Horakhty (as a sunrise-orientated aspect of Horus) to Ra. It has been suggested that Ra-Horakhty simply refers to the sun's journey from horizon to horizon as Ra, or that it means to show Ra as a symbolic god of hope and rebirth. (See earlier section: Ra and the sun) This link was probably encouraged by Ra and Horus' common link to the sun and the Pharaoh.
Khepri and Khnum
Khepri was the scarab beetle that rolled up the sun in the mornings, and was sometimes seen as the morning manifestation of Ra. Similarly, the ram-headed god Khnum was also seen as the evening manifestation of Ra. The idea of different gods (or different aspects of Ra) ruling over different times of the day was fairly common, but variable. With Khepri and Khnum taking precedence over sunrise and sunset, Ra was often the representation of midday, when the sun reached its peak at noon. Sometimes different aspects of Horus were used instead of Ra's aspects. In Thelema's Liber Resh vel Helios, Ra represents the rising sun, with Hathor as the midday sun and Tum as the setting sun.
Ptah
Ra was rarely combined with Ptah; the sun "crosses" over Ptah in the under world before Ptah is reborn, thus there would be no sun-Ray when this happens. Other combinations can and do exist, the rising sun with sun ray, and the noon sun with sunray, and sitting sun with sunray. But as per the Memphite creation myth he was often said to be Ptah's first creation, through his divine will, especially when associated with Atum or Amun.

For other uses, see Amun (disambiguation). ... Amun (also spelt Amon, Amoun, Amen, and rarely Imenand, and spelt in Greek as Ammon, and Hammon) was the name of a deity, in Egyptian mythology, who gradually rose to become one of the most important, before disappearing back into the shadows. ... History Atum (alternatively spelt Tem, Temu, Tum, and Atem) is an early deity in Egyptian mythology, whose cult centred on the Ennead of Heliopolis. ... This article is about Atum, the Egyptian deity. ... Image File history File links Ra-Horakhty. ... Image File history File links Ra-Horakhty. ... In Egyptian mythology, Buto (papyrus colored--referring to the color of the cobra) was a snake (especially cobra) goddess and patron of the oracle in the city of the same name. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Khepri as a scarab beetle, pushing the sun across the sky In Egyptian mythology, Khepri (also spelt Khepera, Kheper, Chepri, Khepra) is the name of a minor god. ... Khnum on the right shown with his consort Menhit on the outside wall at the temple in Esna In Egyptian mythology, Khnum (also spelled Chnum, Knum, or Khnemu) was one of the earliest Egyptian gods, originally the god of the source of the Nile River. ... Ptah also refers to the asteroid 5011 Ptah Ptah In Egyptian mythology, Ptah (also spelt Peteh) was the deification of the primordial mound in the Ennead cosmogony, which was more literally referred to as Ta-tenen (also spelt Tathenen), meaning risen land, or as Tanen, meaning submerged land. ...

Worship

His cult began to grow from roughly the Second Dynasty, establishing Ra as the sun god. By the IV Dynasty the Pharaohs were seen to be Ra's manifestations on earth, referred to as "Sons of Ra". His worship increased massively in the V Dynasty, when he became a state deity and Pharaohs had specially aligned pyramids, obelisks and solar temples built in his honour. The first Pyramid Texts began to arise, giving Ra more and more significance in the journey of the Pharaoh through the underworld. Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for the Second Dynasty. ... The Pyramid Texts are a collection of Ancient Egyptian religious texts from the time of the Old Kingdom, mostly inscriptions found in pyramids. ... For other uses, see Pharaoh (disambiguation). ...


By XI Dynasty, Ra had become much like the theist Christian God. Mythology told that he had created the world for man, and that evil was a result of mankind's actions. In this respect Ra was closely affiliated with Ma'at, goddess of law and truth. It was even implied that he would punish the evil after death. The Middle Kingdom saw Ra being increasingly combined and affiliated with other deities, especially Amun and Osiris.


During the New Kingdom, the worship of Ra becomes yet more complicated and grand. The walls of tombs were dedicated to extremely detailed texts that told of Ra's journey through the underworld. Ra was also now said to carry the prayers and blessings of the living with the souls of the dead on the sunboat. The New Kingdom appears to be when the idea that Ra aged with the sun was most popular. The New Kingdom is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BCE and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt. ...


Many acts of worship included hymns, prayers and spells to help Ra and the sunboat overcome Apep. For the Cypriot football team, see APEP Kyperounda FC. An Egyptian deity wards off the snake-like Apep [1] In Egyptian mythology, Apep (also spelled Apepi, and Aapep, or Apophis in Greek) was an evil demon, the deification of darkness and chaos (isfet in Egyptian), and thus opponent of light...


Though worship of Ra was very widespread, his cult center was in Heliopolis in Lower Egypt, the home of the Ennead that he was thought to be the head of as Atum. The Holiday of 'The Receiving of Ra' was celebrated on May 26 in the Gregorian calendar. Map of Lower and Upper Egypt Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. ... is the 146th day of the year (147th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


Notes

  1. ^ (Budge Egyptian Religion p. 29)
  2. ^ (Budge Egyptian Religion p. 127)

Composites

  • Collier, Mark and Manley, Bill. How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: Revised Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
  • Salaman, Clement, Van Oyen, Dorine, Wharton, William D, and Mahé, Jean-Pierre. The Way of Hermes: New Translations of the Corpus Hermeticum and The Definitions of Hermes Trismegistus to Asclepius. Rochester: Inner Traditions, 1999.

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