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The origins and history of the amun god of thebes

Amun in an Egyptian Context Amun in hieroglyphs As an Egyptian deity, Amun belonged to a religious, mythological and cosmological belief system that developed in the Nile river basin from earliest prehistory to around 525 B. There is no hint that the hymns were addressed to individuals differing in character. Furthermore, this flexibility was what permitted the development of multipartite cults i. The Egyptians viewed both history and cosmology as being well ordered, cyclical and dependable.

As a result, all changes were interpreted as either inconsequential deviations from the cosmic plan or cyclical transformations required by it. The only other aporia in such an understanding is death, which seems to present a radical break with continuity.

The Theban Triad: Amen, Mut and Khons

To maintain the integrity of this worldview, an intricate system of practices and beliefs including the extensive mythic geographies of the afterlife, texts providing moral guidance for this life and the next and the origins and history of the amun god of thebes designed to facilitate the transportation into the afterlife was developed, whose primary purpose was to emphasize the unending continuation of existence.

Etymology Amun's name is first attested to in Egyptian records as imn, which can be translated as "the Hidden One. This veracity of this potential identification is bolstered by the fact that, historically speaking, the cult of Amun did supplant the worship of Min, especially in the area around Thebes from whence it originated.

While the understandings discussed below can broadly be divided into historical periods, it should be noted that the depictions of the god unless otherwise noted were cumulative. For example, Amun's later association with fertility seems to have supplemented rather than overriding his previous characterizations as a creator god and a royal patron. Early cult - Amun as Creator God and patron of Thebes Amun was, to begin with, the local deity of Thebes, when it was an unimportant town on the east bank of the river, about the region now occupied by the Temple of Karnak.

Already characterized as the "Hidden One," the god was identified with the wind —an invisible but immanent presence in the region [12] — and also with the "hidden and unknown creative power which was associated with the primeval abyss [that predated the creation of this world].

Thy established-offering is thine, O Niw Nun together with Nn. Amun tended to be the subject of speculative theology rather than mythical narratives, but he did play a role in the creation myths of Hermopolis [an Upper Kingdom city relatively close to Thebes].

One of his incarnations was as the Great Shrieker, a primeval goose whose victory shout was the first sound. In some accounts, this primeval goose laid the "world egg;" in others, Amun fertilized or created this egg in his ram-headed serpent form known as Kematef [17] "He who has completed his moment". The temple of Medinet Habu in western Thebes was sometimes identified as the location of this primal event. A cult statue of the Amun of Karnak regularly visited this temple [during festival processions] to renew the process of creation.

Given his increasing identification with the creation of the cosmos, it was logical that he be united with Mut, a popular mother goddess of the Theban region.

Within the context of this new family, he was thought to have fathered a son: Most specifically, the eleventh dynasty ca. The name of Amun came to be incorporated in the monikers of many rulers from this dynasty, such as Amenemhe founder of the twelfth dynasty 1991-1802 B. Two main types are seen: Rise to national prominence When the Theban royal family of the seventeenth dynasty drove out the Hyksos, Amun, as the god of the royal city, was again prominent.

Given the oppression of the Egyptians under their Hyksos rulers, their victory which was attributed to the supreme god Amun was seen as the god's championing of the less fortunate. Consequently, Amun came to be seen as a benevolent defender of the disadvantaged, and came to be titled Vizier of the Poor. This identification led to a merger of identities, with the two deities joined into the composite form Amun-Ra. As Ra had been the father of Shu, and Tefnut, and the remainder of the Ennead paralleling Amun's parentage of the OgdoadAmun-Ra was identified as the father of all Egyptian gods.

This merger also saw Amun-Ra adopting the role of sun god, with Ra as the visible aspect of the sun and Amun as the hidden aspect representing the seeming disappearance of the solar disc at night. Throughout the New Kingdom period 1570—1070 B. These rulers were also associated with the god through a popular myth that they were each conceived following a mystical union between their mothers and Amun. Indeed, his most frequent and celebrated incarnation was the woolly sheep with curved "Ammon" horns as opposed to the oldest native breed with long horizontal twisted horns and hairy coat, sacred to Khnum or Chnumis.

In this guise, he was worshiped as a fertility god, both in Egypt and in recently conquered Nubia Kushwhere he incorporated the identity of their chief deity.

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Given their association with fertility, Amun also began to absorb the identity of Min a god representing sexual potencybecoming Amun-Min. This association with virility led to Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning "Bull of his mother": Though the cult of Amun remained a significant social force throughout the Twentieth Dynasty 1190-1077 B. As the sovereignty of the central leadership weakened, the division between Upper and Lower Egypt began to reassert itself; this led to great decrease in the importance of Thebes and all deities associated with the city.

Indeed, Thebes would have rapidly decayed had it not been for the piety of the kings of Nubia towards Amun, whose worship had long prevailed in their country. However, in the rest of Egypt, the popularity of his cult was rapidly overtaken by the less divisive cult of the Osiris and Isiswhich had not been associated with the reviled Akhenaten. Thus, his identity became first subsumed into Ra Ra-Herakhtywho still remained an identifiable figure in the Osiris cult, but ultimately, became merely an aspect of Horus.

When the last Rameses was dead the high-priest of Amen-Ra became king of Egypt almost as a matter of course, and he and his immediate successors formed the XXIst Dynasty, or the Dynasty of the priest-kings of Egypt.

Their chief aim was to maintain the power of their god and of their own order, and for some years they succeeded in doing so; but they were priests and not warriors and their want of funds became more and more pressing, for the simple reason that they had no means of enforcing the payment of the origins and history of the amun god of thebes by the peoples and tribes who, even under the later kings bearing the name of Rameses, acknowledged the sovereignty of Egypt.

Meanwhile the poverty of the inhabitants of Thebes increased rapidly, and they were not only unable to contribute to the maintenance of the acres of temple buildings and to the services of the god, but found it difficult to obtain a living.

In Nubiawhere his name was pronounced Amane, he remained the national god, with priests at Meroe and Nobatia regulating the affairs of government, selecting kings, and directing military expeditions via oracular knowledge. According to Greek historian Diodorus Siculus 90 to 21 B. Such was its reputation among the Greeks that Alexander the Great journeyed there after the battle of Issus, in order to be acknowledged as the son of Amun.

Ammonia, as a chemical compound, was given its name by Swedish chemist Torbern Bergman in 1782. He chose "ammonia" because he had obtained "the gas … from sal ammoniac, salt deposits containing ammonium chloride found near temple of Jupiter Ammon from Egyptian God Amun in Libyafrom Gk. Indeed, as this period also saw an influx of immigrants from Greeceit was also at this point that the Hellenization of Egyptian religion began.

While some scholars suggest that even when "these beliefs became remodeled by contact with Greece, in essentials they remained what they had always been" Adolf Erman. A handbook of Egyptian religion, Translated by A. Archibald Constable, 1907203, it still seems reasonable to address these traditions, as far as is possible, within their own cultural milieu. Handbook of Egyptian mythology. ISBN 157607242831-32. Dimitri Meeks and Christine Meeks-Favard.

Egypt: The God Amun and Amun-Re

Daily life of the Egyptian gods, Translated from the French by G. Cornell University Press, 1996. ISBN 080143115834-37. ISBN 006130077225-26.

Egyptian Gods: Amun

Gods and men in Egypt: Cornell University Press, 2004. Cornell University Press, 2001. ISBN 080148729373-80; Zivie-Coche, 65-67; Breasted argues that one source of this cyclical timeline was the dependable yearly fluctuations of the Nile. Development of religion and thought in ancient Egypt. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.

ISBN 08122104548, 22-24. The gods of the Egyptians; or, Studies in Egyptian mythology. A Study in Two Volumes. II2, notes, "The word or root amen certainly means 'what is hidden,' 'what is not seen,' 'what cannot be seen,' and the like, and this fact is proved by the scores of examples which may be collected from texts of all periods.

In hymns to Amen we often read that he is 'hidden to his children,' and 'hidden to gods and men'. II, 4-7; Pinch, 101-102; Wilkinson, 92-95. II, 12-13; Wilkinson, 95-97. Accessible online at sacred-texts. Retrieved August 14, 2007. The Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Egyptian Heaven and Hell. Legends of the Gods: Dennis, James Teackle, translator.

The Burden of Isis.

Adoration of the Ram: Yale Egyptological Studies New Haven: Yale Egyptological Seminar, 2006. The Story of Christian Origins. Meeks, Dimitri, and Christine Meeks-Favard. Accessed online at [www. Temples of ancient Egypt. Cornell University Press, 1997. Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity.

Accessible online at [3]. Thames and Hudson, 2003.