Religion was very important to the Ancient Egyptians. Their religion was strongly influenced by tradition, which caused them to resist change. "Egyptians did not question the beliefs which had been handed down to them; they did not desire change in their society. Their main aim throughout their history was to emulate the conditions which they believed had existed at the dawn of creation" (Pg. 81, David, 1988). One of the very strong traditions was that of Divine Kingship. Divine Kingship is the belief that the Pharaoh was not only the King (political ruler) but also a god. The Pharaoh was associated with Horus, son of Re the sun god. Later it was believed that at death he became Osiris, or an Osiris, and would help the Egyptians in their afterlife.
Due to their beliefs, the Pharaoh held an immense amount of power. In addition, the priests in Ancient Egypt were also very powerful. When things were going well, the people believed the priest and pharaoh were doing their jobs well; when things in the country were not going well, the people believed the pharaoh and the priest were to blame.
The religion of Ancient Egypt was a polytheistic (many gods) religion with one short period of monotheism (one god). Their religion hosted about 700 different gods and goddesses. In addition, it was not uncommon for deities to be combined to form a new deity.
One of the more famous aspects of the Egyptian religious beliefs was their ideas of the afterlife. They believed the physical body had to be preserved to allow a place for their spirit to dwell in the afterlife. Because of this, mummification was performed to preserve the body. In addition, large pyramids were constructed as tombs for the pharaohs in the Old Kingdom. Later, rock cut tombs were used to bury the pharaohs. Click on the items below for more information about Egyptian religion.
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