THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT EGYPT

By
W. M. FLINDERS PETRIE
D.C.L., LL.D., LIT.D., PH.D., T.R.S., F.B.A., F.S.A. SCOT.
EDWARDS PROFESSOR OF EGYPTOLOGY,
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON
LONDON
ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO LTD
16 JAMES STREET HAYMARKET
1906
Edinburgh: T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
CONTENTS
CHAP. PAGE
I. THE NATURE OF GODS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. THE NATURE OF MAN, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
III. THE FUTURE LIFE, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
IV. ANIMAL WORSHIP, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
V. THE GROUPS OF GODS. ANIMAL-HEADED GODS, . . . . . 28
VI. THE HUMAN GODS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
VII. THE COSMIC GODS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
VIII. THE ABSTRACT GODS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
IX. THE FOREIGN GODS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
X. THE COSMOGONY, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
XI. THE RITUAL AND PRIESTHOOD, . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
XII. THE SACRED BOOKS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
XIII. PRIVATE WORSHIP, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
XIV. EGYPTIAN ETHICS, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
XV. THE INFLUENCE OF EGYPT, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
INDEX, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
PRINCIPAL WORKS ON EGYPTIAN RELIGION
LANZONE.–_Dixionario di Mitologia Egizia_, 1881-86.
1312 pp., 408 pls. About £4 second hand. (The
indispensable storehouse of facts and references.)
WIEDEMANN.–_Religion of the Ancient Egyptians_, 1897.
307 pp, 73 figs. 12s. 6d. (The best general view of the
subject.)
WIEDEMANN.–Article in supplement to _Hastings’s Dictionary
of the Bible_. (Excellent outline.)
WIEDEMANN.–_Ancient Egyptian Doctrine of Immortality_,
1895. 71 pp., 21 figs., 2 pls. 3s.
MASPERO.–_Dawn of Civilisation_, see pp. 81-222, 1894. 25s.
(A popular outline by a master.)
MASPERO.–_Études de Mythologie_, 1893, 895 pp.
MASPERO.–_Inscriptions des Pyramides de Saqqara_, 1894.
456 pp., 9 pl.
RENOUF.–_Book of the Dead_, 1893-1902. 308 pp., 53 pl. £2.
(The standard translation with the illustrations.)
BUDGE.–_Gods of the Egyptians_, 1904. 908 pp., 131 figs.,
98 pls. £3. 3s. (Useful repertory, but illustrations not
exact.)
SAYCE.–_Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia_, 1902.
509 pp. 7s. 6d. (Useful for comparative view.)
PETRIE.–_Religion and Conscience in Ancient Egypt_, 1898.
176 pp. 2s. 6d. (A study of the nature of conscience,
and the tribal aspect of religion.)
{1}
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT EGYPT

CHAPTER I

THE NATURE OF GODS

Before dealing with the special varieties of the Egyptians’ belief in
gods, it is best to try to avoid a misunderstanding of their whole
conception of the supernatural. The term god has come to tacitly imply
to our minds such a highly specialised group of attributes, that we can
hardly throw our ideas back into the more remote conceptions to which
we also attach the same name. It is unfortunate that every other word
for supernatural intelligences has become debased, so that we cannot
well speak of demons, devils, ghosts, or fairies without implying a
noxious or a trifling meaning, quite unsuited to the ancient deities
that were so beneficent and powerful. If then we use the word god for
such conceptions, it must always {2} be with the reservation that the
word has now a very different meaning from what it had to ancient minds.
To the Egyptian the gods might be mortal; even Ra, the sun-god, is said
to have grown old and feeble, Osiris was slain, and Orion, the great
hunter of the heavens, killed and ate the gods. The mortality of gods
has been dwelt on by Dr. Frazer (_Golden Bough_), and the many
instances of tombs of gods, and of the slaying of the deified man who
was worshipped, all show that immortality was not a divine attribute.
Nor was there any doubt that they might suffer while alive; one myth
tells how Ra, as he walked on earth, was bitten by a magic serpent and
suffered torments. The gods were also supposed to share in a life like
that of man, not only in Egypt but in most ancient lands. Offerings of
food and drink were constantly supplied to them, in Egypt laid upon the
altars, in other lands burnt for a sweet savour. At Thebes the divine
wife of the god, or high priestess, was the head of the harem of
concubines of the god; and similarly in Babylonia the chamber of the
god with the golden couch could only be visited by the priestess who
slept there for oracular responses. The Egyptian gods could not be
cognisant of what passed on earth {3} without being informed, nor could
they reveal their will at a distant place except by sending a
messenger; they were as limited as the Greek gods who required the aid
of Iris to communicate one with another or with mankind. The gods,
therefore, have no divine superiority to man in conditions or
limitations; they can only be described as pre-existent, acting
intelligences, with scarcely greater powers than man might hope to gain
by magic or witchcraft of his own. This conception explains how easily
the divine merged into the human in Greek theology, and how frequently
divine ancestors occurred in family histories. (By the word ‘theology’
is designated the knowledge about gods.)
There are in ancient theologies very different classes of gods. Some
races, as the modern Hindu, revel in a profusion of gods and godlings,
which are continually being increased. Others, as the Turanians,
whether Sumerian Babylonians, modern Siberians, or Chinese, do not
adopt the worship of great gods, but deal with a host of animistic
spirits, ghosts, devils, or whatever we may call them; and Shamanism or
witchcraft is their system for conciliating such adversaries. But all
our knowledge of the early positions and nature of great gods shows
them to stand on an {4} entirely different footing to these varied
spirits. Were the conception of a god only an evolution from such
spirit worship we should find the worship of many gods preceding the
worship of one god, polytheism would precede monotheism in each tribe
or race. What we actually find is the contrary of this, monotheism is
the first stage traceable in theology. Hence we must rather look on
the theologic conception of the Aryan and Semitic races as quite apart
from the demon-worship of the Turanians. Indeed the Chinese seem to
have a mental aversion to the conception of a personal god, and to
think either of the host of earth spirits and other demons, or else of
the pantheistic abstraction of heaven.
Wherever we can trace back polytheism to its earliest stages we find
that it results from combinations of monotheism. In Egypt even Osiris,
Isis, and Horus (so familiar as a triad) are found at first as separate
units in different places, Isis as a virgin goddess, and Horus as a
self-existent god. Each city appears to have but one god belonging to
it, to whom others were added. Similarly in Babylonia each great city
had its supreme god; and the combinations of those, and their
transformations in order to form them in {5} groups when their homes
were politically united, show how essentially they were solitary
deities at first.
Not only must we widely distinguish the demonology of races worshipping
numerous earth spirits and demons, from the theology of races devoted
to solitary great gods; but we must further distinguish the varying
ideas of the latter class. Most of the theologic races have no
objection to tolerating the worship of other gods side by side with
that of their own local deity. It is in this way that the compound
theologies built up the polytheism of Egypt and of Greece. But others
of the theologic races have the conception of ‘a jealous god,’ who
would not tolerate the presence of a rival. We cannot date this
conception earlier than Mosaism, and this idea struggled hard against
polytheistic toleration. This view acknowledges the reality of other
gods, but ignores their claims. The still later view was that other
gods were non-existent, a position started by the Hebrew prophets in
contempt of idolatry, scarcely grasped by early Christianity, but
triumphantly held by Islam.
We therefore have to deal with the following conceptions, which fall
into two main groups, {6} that probably belong to different divisions
of mankind:–
( Animism.
( Demonology.
( Tribal Monotheism. ) At any stage the unity of
( Combinations forming ) different gods may be
( tolerant Polytheism. ) accepted as a _modus vivendi_
( Jealous Monotheism. ) or as a philosophy.
( Sole Monotheism. )
All of these require mention here, as more or less of each principle,
both of animism and monotheism, can be traced in the innumerable
combinations found during the six thousand years of Egyptian religion:
these combinations of beliefs being due to combinations of the races to
which they belonged.
{7}

CHAPTER II

THE NATURE OF MAN

Before we can understand what were the relations between man and the
gods we must first notice the conceptions of the nature of man. In the
prehistoric days of Egypt the position and direction of the body was
always the same in every burial, offerings of food and drink were
placed by it, figures of servants, furniture, even games, were included
in the grave. It must be concluded therefore that it was a belief in
immortality which gave rise to such a detailed ritual of the dead,
though we have no written evidence upon this.
So soon as we reach the age of documents we find on tombstones that the
person is denoted by the _khu_ between the arms of the _ka_. From
later writings it is seen that the _khu_ is applied to a spirit of man;
while the _ka_ is not the body but the activities of sense and
perception. Thus, in {8} the earliest age of documents, two entities
were believed to vitalise the body.
The _ka_ is more frequently named than any other part, as all funeral
offerings were made for the _ka_. It is said that if opportunities of
satisfaction in life were missed it is grievous to the _ka_, and that
the _ka_ must not be annoyed needlessly; hence it was more than
perception, and it included all that we might call consciousness.
Perhaps we may grasp it best as the ‘self,’ with the same variety of
meaning that we have in our own word. The _ka_ was represented as a
human being following after the man; it was born at the same time as
the man, but it persisted after death and lived in and about the tomb.
It could act and visit other _kas_ after death, but it could not resist
the least touch of physical force. It was always represented by two
upraised arms, the acting parts of the person. Beside the _ka_ of man,
all objects likewise had their _kas_, which were comparable to the
human _ka_, and among these the _ka_ lived. This view leads closely to
the world of ideas permeating the material world in later philosophy.
The _khu_ is figured as a crested bird, which has the meaning of
‘glorious’ or ‘shining’ in ordinary use. It refers to a less material
conception than {9} the _ka_, and may be called the intelligence or
spirit.
The _khat_ is the material body of man which was the vehicle of the
_ka_, and inhabited by the _khu_.
The _ba_ belongs to a different pneumatology to that just noticed. It
is the soul apart from the body, figured as a human-headed bird. The
concept probably arose from the white owls, with round heads and very
human expressions, which frequent the tombs, flying noiselessly to and
fro. The _ba_ required food and drink, which were provided for it by
the goddess of the cemetery. It thus overlaps the scope of the _ka_,
and probably belongs to a different race to that which defined the _ka_.
The _sahu_ or mummy is associated particularly with the _ba_; and the
_ba_ bird is often shown as resting on the mummy or seeking to re-enter
it.
The _khaybet_ was the shadow of a man; the importance of the shadow in
early ideas is well known.
The _sekhem_ was the force or ruling power of man, but is rarely
mentioned.
The _ab_ is the will and intentions, symbolised by the heart; often
used in phrases, such as a man being ‘in the heart of his lord,’
‘wideness of {10} heart’ for satisfaction, ‘washing of the heart’ for
giving vent to temper.
The _hati_ is the physical heart, the ‘chief’ organ of the body, also
used metaphorically.
The _ran_ is the name which was essential to man, as also to inanimate
things. Without a name nothing really existed. The knowledge of the
name gave power over its owner; a great myth turns on Isis obtaining
the name of Ra by stratagem, and thus getting the two eyes of Ra–the
sun and moon–for her son Horus. Both in ancient and modern races the
knowledge of the real name of a man is carefully guarded, and often
secondary names are used for secular purposes. It was usual for
Egyptians to have a ‘great name’ and a ‘little name’; the great name is
often compounded with that of a god or a king, and was very probably
reserved for religious purposes, as it is only found on religious and
funerary monuments.
We must not suppose by any means that all of these parts of the person
were equally important, or were believed in simultaneously. The _ka_,
_khu_, and _khat_ seem to form one group; the _ba_ and _sahu_ belong to
another; the _ab_, _hati_, and _sekhem_ are hardly more than metaphors,
such as we commonly use; the _khaybet_ is a later idea {11} which
probably belongs to the system of animism and witchcraft, where the
shadow gave a hold upon the man. The _ran_, name, belongs partly to
the same system, but also is the germ of the later philosophy of idea.
The purpose of religion to the Egyptian was to secure the favour of the
god. There is but little trace of negative prayer to avert evils or
deprecate evil influences, but rather of positive prayer for concrete
favours. On the part of kings this is usually of the Jacob type,
offering to provide temples and services to the god in return for
material prosperity. The Egyptian was essentially self-satisfied, he
had no confession to make of sin or wrong, and had no thought of
pardon. In the judgment he boldly averred that he was free of the
forty-two sins that might prevent his entry into the kingdom of Osiris.
If he failed to establish his innocence in the weighing of his heart,
there was no other plea, but he was consumed by fire and by a
hippopotamus, and no hope remained for him.
{12}

CHAPTER III

THE FUTURE LIFE

The various beliefs of the Egyptians regarding the future life are so
distinct from each other and so incompatible, that they may be
classified into groups more readily than the theology; thus they serve
to indicate the varied sources of the religion.
The most simple form of belief was that of the continued existence of
the soul in the tomb and about the cemetery. In Upper Egypt at present
a hole is left at the top of the tomb chamber; and I have seen a woman
remove the covering of the hole, and talk down to her deceased husband.
Also funeral offerings of food and drink, and even beds, are still
placed in the tombs. A similar feeling, without any precise beliefs,
doubtless prompted the earlier forms of provision for the dead. The
soul wandered around the tomb seeking sustenance, and was fed by the
{13} goddess who dwelt in the thick sycomore trees that overshadowed
the cemetery. She is represented as pouring out drink for the _ba_ and
holding a tray of cakes for it to feed upon. In the grave we find this
belief shown by the jars of water, wine, and perhaps other liquids, the
stores of corn, the geese, haunches and heads of oxen, the cakes, and
dates, and pomegranates which were laid by the dead. In an early
king’s tomb there might be many rooms full of these offerings. There
were also the weapons for defence and for the chase, the toilet
objects, the stores of clothing, the draughtsmen, and even the
literature of papyri buried with the dead. The later form of this
system was the representation of all these offerings in sculpture and
drawing in the tomb. This modification probably belongs to the belief
in the _ka_, which could be supported by the _ka_ of the food and use
the _ka_ of the various objects, the figures of the objects being
supposed to provide the _kas_ of them. This system is entirely
complete in itself, and does not presuppose or require any theologic
connection. It might well belong to an age of simple animism, and be a
survival of that in later times.
The greatest theologic system was that of the kingdom of Osiris. This
was a counterpart of {14} the earthly life, but was reserved for the
worthy. All the dead belonged to Osiris and were brought before him
for judgment. The protest of being innocent of the forty-two sins was
made, and then the heart was weighed against truth, symbolised by the
ostrich feather, the emblem of the goddess of truth. From this
feather, the emblem of lightness, being placed against the heart in
weighing, it seems that sins were considered to weigh down the heart,
and its lightness required to be proved. Thōth, the god who
recorded the weighing, then stated that the soul left the judgment hall
true of voice with his heart and members restored to him, and that he
should follow Osiris in his kingdom. This kingdom of Osiris was at
first thought of as being in the marshlands of the delta; when these
became familiar it was transferred to Syria, and finally to the
north-east of the sky, where the Milky Way became the heavenly Nile.
The main occupation in this kingdom was agriculture, as on earth; the
souls ploughed the land, sowed the corn, and reaped the harvest of
heavenly maize, taller and fatter than any of this world. In this land
they rowed on the heavenly streams, they sat in shady arbours, and
played the games which they had loved. But the cultivation was a toil,
and {15} therefore it was to be done by numerous serfs. In the
beginning of the monarchy it seems that the servants of the king were
all buried around him to serve him in the future; from the second to
the twelfth dynasty we lose sight of this idea, and then we find slave
figures buried in the tombs. These figures were provided with the hoe
for tilling the soil, the pick for breaking the clods, a basket for
carrying the earth, a pot for watering the crops, and they were
inscribed with an order to respond for their master when he was called
on to work in the fields. In the eighteenth dynasty the figures
sometimes have actual tool models buried with them; but usually the
tools are in relief or painted on the figure. This idea continued
until the less material view of the future life arose in Greek times;
then the deceased man was said to have ‘gone to Osiris’ in such a year
of his age, but no slave figures were laid with him. This view of the
future is complete in itself, and is appropriately provided for in the
tomb.
A third view of the future life belongs to an entirely different
theologic system, that of the progress of the sun-god Ra. According to
this the soul went to join the setting sun in the west, and prayed to
be allowed to enter the boat of the {16} sun in the company of the
gods; thus it would be taken along in everlasting light, and saved from
the terrors and demons of the night over which the sun triumphed. No
occupations were predicated of this future; simply to rest in the
divine company was the entire purpose, and the successful repelling of
the powers of darkness in each hour of the night by means of spells was
the only activity. To provide for the solar journey a model boat was
placed in the tomb with the figures of boatmen, to enable the dead to
sail with the sun, or to reach the solar bark. This view of the future
implied a journey to the west, and hence came the belief in the soul
setting out to cross the desert westward. We find also an early god of
the dead, Khent-amenti, ‘he who is in the west,’ probably arising from
this same view. This god was later identified with Osiris when the
fusion of the two theories of the soul arose. At Abydos Khent-amenti
only is named at first, and Osiris does not appear until later times,
though that cemetery came to be regarded as specially dedicated to
Osiris.
Now in all these views that we have named there is no occasion for
preserving the body. It is the _ba_ that is fed in the cemetery, not
the body. It is an immaterial body that takes part {17} in the kingdom
of Osiris, in the sky. It is an immaterial body that can accompany the
gods in the boat of the sun. There is so far no call to conserve the
body by the peculiar mummification which first appears in the early
dynasties. The dismemberment of the bones, and removal of the flesh,
which was customary in the prehistoric times, and survived down to the
fifth dynasty, would accord with any of these theories, all of which
were probably predynastic. But the careful mummifying of the body
became customary only in the third or fourth dynasty, and is therefore
later than the theories that we have noticed. The idea of thus
preserving the body seems to look forward to some later revival of it
on earth, rather than to a personal life immediately after death. The
funeral accompaniment of this view was the abundance of amulets placed
on various parts of the body to preserve it. A few amulets are found
worn on a necklace or bracelet in early times; but the full development
of the amulet system was in the twenty-sixth to thirtieth dynasties.
We have tried to disentangle the diverse types of belief, by seeing
what is incompatible between them. But in practice we find every form
of mixture of these views in most ages. In the {18} prehistoric times
the preservation of the bones, but not of the flesh, was constant; and
food offerings show that at least the theory of the soul wandering in
the cemetery was familiar. Probably the Osiris theory is also of the
later prehistoric times, as the myth of Osiris is certainly older than
the dynasties. The Ra worship was associated specially with
Heliopolis, and may have given rise to the union with Ra also before
the dynasties, when Heliopolis was probably a capital of the kings of
Lower Egypt. The boats figured on the prehistoric tomb at
Hierakonpolis bear this out. In the first dynasty there is no mummy
known, funeral offerings abound, and the _khu_ and _ka_ are named. Our
documents do not give any evidence, then, of the Osiris and Ra
theories. In the pyramid period the king was called the Osiris, and
this view is the leading one in the Pyramid inscriptions, yet the Ra
theory is also incompatibly present; the body is mummified; but funeral
offerings of food seem to have much diminished. In the eighteenth and
nineteenth dynasties the Ra theory gained ground greatly over the
Osirian; and the basis of all the views of the future is almost
entirely the union with Ra during the night and day. The mummy and
amulet theory was not dominant; but the funeral {19} offerings somewhat
increased. The twenty-sixth dynasty almost dropped the Ra theory; the
Osirian kingdom and its population of slave figures is the most
familiar view, and the preservation of the body by amulets was
essential. Offerings of food rarely appear in these later times. This
dominance of Osiris leads on to the anthropomorphic worship, which
interacts on the growth of Christianity as we shall see further.
Lastly, when all the theologic views of the future had perished, the
oldest idea of all, food, drink, and rest for the dead, has still kept
its hold upon the feelings of the people in spite of the teachings of
Islam.
{20}

CHAPTER IV

ANIMAL WORSHIP

The worship of animals has been known in many countries; but in Egypt
it was maintained to a later pitch of civilisation than elsewhere, and
the mixture of such a primitive system with more elevated beliefs
seemed as strange to the Greek as it does to us. The original motive
was a kinship of animals with man, much like that underlying the system
of totems. Each place or tribe had its sacred species that was linked
with the tribe; the life of the species was carefully preserved,
excepting in the one example selected for worship, which after a given
time was killed and sacramentally eaten by the tribe. This was
certainly the case with the bull at Memphis and the ram at Thebes.
That it was the whole species that was sacred, at one place or another,
is shown by the penalties for killing any animal of the species, by the
wholesale burial and even mummifying of every example, and by the
plural form of {21} the names of the gods later connected with the
animals, _Heru_, hawks, _Khnumu_, rams, etc.
In the prehistoric times the serpent was sacred; figures of the coiled
serpent were hung up in the house and worn as an amulet; similarly in
historic times a figure of the agathodemon serpent was placed in a
temple of Amenhotep III at Benha. In the first dynasty the serpent was
figured in pottery, as a fender round the hearth. The hawk also
appears in many predynastic figures, large and small, both worn on the
person and carried as standards. The lion is found both in life-size
temple figures, lesser objects of worship, and personal amulets. The
scorpion was similarly honoured in the prehistoric ages.
It is difficult to separate now between animals which were worshipped
quite independently, and those which were associated as emblems of
anthropomorphic gods. Probably we shall be right in regarding both
classes of animals as having been sacred at a remote time, and the
connection with the human form as being subsequent. The ideas
connected with the animals were those of their most prominent
characteristics; hence it appears that it was for the sake of the
character that each animal was worshipped, and not because of any
fortuitous association with a tribe.
{22}
The baboon was regarded as the emblem of Tahuti, the god of wisdom; the
serious expression and human ways of the large baboons are an obvious
cause for their being regarded as the wisest of animals. Tahuti is
represented as a baboon from the first dynasty down to late times; and
four baboons were sacred in his temple at Hermopolis. These four
baboons were often portrayed as adoring the sun; this idea is due to
their habit of chattering at sunrise.
The lioness appears in the compound figures of the goddesses Sekhet,
Bast, Mahes, and Tefnut. In the form of Sekhet the lioness is the
destructive power of Ra, the sun: it is Sekhet who, in the legend,
destroys mankind from Herakleopolis to Heliopolis at the bidding of Ra.
The other lioness goddesses are probably likewise destructive or
hunting deities. The lesser _felidae_ also appear; the _cheetah_ and
_serval_ are sacred to Hathor in Sinai; the small cats are sacred to
Bast, especially at Speos Artemidos and Bubastis.
The bull was sacred in many places, and his worship underlay that of
the human gods, who were said to be incarnated in him. The idea is
that of the fighting power, as when the king is figured as a bull
trampling on his enemies, and the reproductive power, as in the title
of the {23} self-renewing gods, ‘bull of his mother.’ The most
renowned was the _Hapi_ or Apis bull of Memphis, in whom Ptah was said
to be incarnate, and who was Osirified and became the Osir-hapi. This
appears to have originated the great Ptolemaic god Serapis, as
certainly the mausoleum of the bulls was the Serapeum of the Greeks.
Another bull of a more massive breed was the _Ur-mer_ or Mnevis of
Heliopolis, in whom Ra was incarnate. A third bull was _Bakh_ or Bakis
of Hermonthis the incarnation of Mentu. And a fourth bull, _Ka-nub_ or
Kanobos, was worshipped at the city of that name. The cow was
identified with Hathor, who appears with cow’s ears and horns, and who
is probably the cow-goddess Ashtaroth or Istar of Asia. Isis, as
identified with Hathor, is also joined in this connection.
The ram was also worshipped as a procreative god; at Mendes in the
Delta identified with Osiris, at Herakleopolis identified with
Hershefi, at Thebes as Amon, and at the cataract as Khnumu the creator.
The association of the ram with Amon was strongly held by the
Ethiopians; and in the Greek tale of Nektanebo, the last Pharaoh,
having by magic visited Olympias and become the father of Alexander, he
came as the incarnation of Amon wearing the ram’s skin.
{24}
The hippopotamus was the goddess Ta-urt, ‘the great one,’ the patroness
of pregnancy, who is never shown in any other form. Rarely this animal
appears as the emblem of the god Set.
The jackal haunted the cemeteries on the edge of the desert, and so
came to be taken as the guardian of the dead, and identified with
Anubis, the god of departing souls. Another aspect of the jackal was
as the maker of tracks in the desert; the jackal paths are the best
guides to practicable courses, avoiding the valleys and precipices, and
so the animal was known as Up-uat, ‘the opener of ways,’ who showed the
way for the dead across the western desert. Species of dogs seem to
have been held sacred and mummified on merely the general ground of
confusion with the jackal. The ichneumon and the shrewmouse were also
held sacred, though not identified with a human god.
The hawk was the principal sacred bird, and was identified with Horus
and Ra, the sun-god. It was mainly worshipped at Edfu and
Hierakonpolis. The souls of kings were supposed to fly up to heaven in
the form of hawks, perhaps due to the kingship originating in the hawk
district in Upper Egypt. Seker, the god of the dead, appears as a
mummified hawk, and on his boat {25} are many small hawks, perhaps the
souls of kings who have joined him. The mummy hawk is also Sopdu, the
god of the east.
The vulture was the emblem of maternity, as being supposed to care
especially for her young. Hence she is identified with Mut, the mother
goddess of Thebes. The queen-mothers have vulture head-dresses; the
vulture is shown hovering over kings to protect them, and a row of
spread-out vultures are figured on the roofs of the tomb passages to
protect the soul. The ibis was identified with Tahuti, the god of
Hermopolis. The goose is connected with Amon of Thebes. The swallow
was also sacred.
The crocodile was worshipped especially in the Fayum, where it
frequented the marshy levels of the great lake, and Strabo’s
description of the feeding of the sacred crocodile there is familiar.
It was also worshipped at Onuphis; and at Nubti or Ombos it was
identified with Set, and held sacred. Beside the name of Sebek or
Soukhos in Fayum, it was there identified with Osiris as the western
god of the dead. The frog was an emblem of the goddess Heqt, but was
not worshipped.
The cobra serpent was sacred from the earliest times to the present
day. It was never identified with any of the great deities, but three
goddesses {26} appear in serpent form: Uazet, the Delta goddess of
Buto; Mert-seger, ‘the lover of silence,’ the goddess of the Theban
necropolis; and Rannut, the harvest goddess. The memory of great
pythons of the prehistoric days appears in the serpent-necked monsters
on the slate palettes at the beginning of the monarchy, and the immense
serpent Apap of the underworld in the later mythology. The serpent has
however been a popular object of worship apart from specific gods. We
have already noted it on prehistoric amulets, and coiled round the
hearths of the early dynasties. Serpents were mummified; and when we
reach the full evidences of popular worship, in the terra-cotta figures
and jewellery of later times, the serpent is very prominent. There
were usually two represented together, one often with the head of
Serapis, the other of Isis, so therefore male and female. Down to
modern times a serpent is worshipped at Sheykh Heridy, and miraculous
cures attributed to it (S.R.E.B. 213).
Various fishes were sacred, as the Oxyrhynkhos, Phagros, Lepidotos,
Latos, and others; but they were not identified with gods, and we do
not know of their being worshipped. The scorpion was the emblem of the
goddess Selk, and is found {27} in prehistoric amulets; but it is not
known to have been adored, and most usually it represents evil, where
Horus is shown overcoming noxious creatures.
It will be observed that nearly all of the animals which were
worshipped had qualities for which they were noted, and in connection
with which they were venerated. If the animal worship were due to
totemism, or a sense of animal brotherhood in certain tribes, we must
also assume that that was due to these qualities of the animal; whereas
totemism in other countries does not seem to be due to veneration of
special qualities of the animals. It is therefore more likely that the
animal worship simply arose from the nature of the animals, and not
from any true totemism, although each animal came to be associated with
the worship of a particular tribe or district.
{28}

CHAPTER V

THE GROUPS OF GODS. ANIMAL-HEADED GODS

In a country which has been subjected to so many inflows of various
peoples as in Egypt, it is to be expected that there would be a great
diversity of deities and a complex and inconsistent theology. To
discriminate the principal classes of conceptions of gods is the first
step toward understanding the growth of the systems. The broad
division of animal gods and human gods is obvious; and the mixed type
of human figures with animal heads is clearly an adaptation of the
animal gods to the later conceptions of a human god. Another valuable
separator lies in the compound names of gods. It is impossible to
suppose a people uniting two gods, both of which belonged to them
aboriginally; there would be no reason for two similar gods in a single
system, and we never hear in classical mythology of Hermes-Apollo or
Pallas-Artemis, while Zeus is compounded with half of the barbarian
gods of Asia. So in Egypt, when {29} we find such compounds as
Amon-Ra, or Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, we have the certainty that each name in
the compound is derived from a different race, and that a unifying
operation has taken place on gods that belonged to entirely different
sources.
We must beware of reading our modern ideas into the ancient views. As
we noticed in the first chapter, each tribe or locality seems to have
had but one god originally; certainly the more remote our view, the
more separate are the gods. Hence to the people of any one district
‘the god’ was a distinctive name for their own god; and it would have
seemed as strange to discriminate him from the surrounding gods, as it
would to a Christian in Europe if he specified that he did not mean
Allah or Siva or Heaven when he speaks of God. Hence we find generic
descriptions used in place of the god’s name, as ‘lord of heaven,’ or
‘mistress of turquoise,’ while it is certain that specific gods as
Osiris or Hathor are in view. A generic name ‘god’ or ‘the god’ no
more implies that the Egyptians recognised a unity of all the gods,
than ‘god’ in the Old Testament implies that Yahvah was one with
Chemosh and Baal. The simplicity of the term only shows that no other
object of adoration was in view.
{30}
We have already noticed the purely animal gods; following on these we
now shall describe those which were combined with a human form, then
those which are purely human in their character, next those which are
nature gods, and lastly those which are of an abstract character. The
gods which belonged to peoples who did not conquer or occupy Egypt must
be ranked as foreign gods.
+Animal-Headed Gods+.–Beside the worship of species of animals, which
we have noticed in the last chapter, certain animals were combined with
the human form. It was always the head of the animal which was united
to a human body; the only converse instance of a human head on an
animal body–the sphinxes–represented the king and not a god.
Possibly the combination arose from priests wearing the heads of
animals when personating the god, as the high priest wore the ram’s
skin when personating Amon. But when we notice the frequent
combinations and love of symbolism, shown upon the early carvings, the
union of the ancient sacred animal with the human form is quite in
keeping with the views and feelings of the primitive Egyptians. Many
of these composite gods never emerged from the animal connection, and
these we must {31} regard as belonging to the earlier stage of theology.
+Seker+ was a Memphite god of the dead, independent of the worship of
Osiris and of Ptah, for he was combined with them as Ptah-Seker-Osiris;
as he maintained a place there in the face of the great worship of
Ptah, he was probably an older god, and this is indicated by his having
an entirely animal form down to a late date. The sacred bark of Seker
bore his figure as that of a mummified hawk; and along the boat is a
row of hawks which probably are the spirits of deceased kings who have
joined Seker in his journey to the world of the dead. As there are
often two allied forms of the same root, one written with _k_ and the
other with _g_,[1] it seems probable that Seker, the funeral god of
Memphis, is allied to
+Mert Seger+ (lover of silence). She was the funeral god of Thebes,
and was usually figured as a serpent. From being only known in animal
form, and unconnected with any of the elaborated theology, it seems
that we have in this goddess a primitive deity of the dead. It
appears, then, that the gods of the great cemeteries were known {32} as
Silence and the Lover of Silence, and both come down from the age of
animal deities. Seker became in late times changed into a hawk-headed
human figure.
Two important deities of early times were +Nekhebt+, the vulture
goddess of the southern kingdom, centred at Hierakonpolis, and +Uazet+,
the serpent goddess of the northern kingdom, centred at Buto. These
appear in all ages as the emblems of the two kingdoms, frequently as
supporters on either side of the royal names; in later times they
appear as human goddesses crowning the king.
+Khnumu+, the creator, was the great god of the cataract. He is shown
as making man upon the potter’s wheel; and in a tale he is said to
frame a woman. He must belong to a different source from that of Ptah
or Ra, and was the creative principle in the period of animal gods, as
he is almost always shown with the head of a ram. He was popular down
to late times, where amulets of his figure are often found.
+Tahuti+ or +Thōth+ was the god of writing and learning, and was the
chief deity of Hermopolis. He almost always has the head of an ibis,
the bird sacred to him. The baboon is also a frequent emblem of his,
but he is never figured with the {33} baboon head. The ibis appears
standing upon a shrine as early as on a tablet of Mena; Thōth is the
constant recorder in scenes of the judgment, and he appears down to
Roman times as the patron of scribes. The eighteenth dynasty of kings
incorporated his name as Thōthmes, ‘born of Thōth,’ owing to
their Hermopolite origin.
+Sekhmet+ is the lion goddess, who represents the fierceness of the
sun’s heat. She appears in the myth of the destruction of mankind as
slaughtering the enemies of Ra. Her only form is that with the head of
a lioness. But she blends imperceptibly with
+Bastet+, who has the head of a cat. She was the goddess of Pa-bast or
Bubastis, and in her honour immense festivals were there held. Her
name is found in the beginning of the pyramid times; but her main
period of popularity was that of the Shishaks who ruled from Bubastis,
and in the later times images of her were very frequent as amulets. It
is possible from the name that this feline goddess, whose foreign
origin is acknowledged, was the female form of the god Bes, who is
dressed in a lion’s skin, and also came in from the east (see chap. ix).
+Mentu+ was the hawk-god of Erment south of Thebes, who became in the
eighteenth to {34} twentieth dynasties especially the god of war. He
appears with the hawk head, or sometimes as a hawk-headed sphinx; and
he became confused with Ra and with Amon.
+Sebek+ is figured as a man with the crocodile’s head; but he has no
theologic importance, and always remained the local god of certain
districts.
+Heqt+, the goddess symbolised by the frog, was the patron of birth,
and assisted in the infancy of the kings. She was a popular and
general deity not mainly associated with particular places.
+Hershefi+ was the ram-headed god of Herakleopolis, but is never found
outside of that region.
We now come to three animal-headed gods who became associated with the
great Osiride group of human gods. +Set+ or +Setesh+ was the god of
the prehistoric inhabitants before the coming in of Horus. He is
always shown with the head of a fabulous animal, having upright square
ears and a long nose. When in entirely animal form he has a long
upright tail. The dog-like animal is the earliest type, as in the
second dynasty; but later the human form with animal head prevailed.
His worship underwent great fluctuations. At first he was the great
god of all Egypt; but his worshippers were gradually driven out by the
followers of Horus, {35} as described in a semi-mythical history. Then
he appears strongly in the second dynasty, the last king of which
united the worship of Set and Horus. In the early formulae for the
dead he is honoured equally with Horus. After suppression he appears
in favour in the early eighteenth dynasty; and even gave the name to
Sety I and II of the nineteenth dynasty. His part in the Osiris myth
will be noted below.
+Anpu+ or +Anubis+ was originally the jackal guardian of the cemetery,
and the leader of the dead in the other world. Nearly all the early
funeral formulae mention Anpu on his hill, or Anpu lord of the
underworld. As the patron of the dead he naturally took a place in the
myth of Osiris, the god of the dead, and appears as leading the soul
into the judgment of Osiris.
+Horus+ was the hawk-god of Upper Egypt, especially of Edfu and
Hierakonpolis. Though originally an independent god, and even keeping
apart as Hor-ur, ‘Horus the elder,’ throughout later times, yet he was
early mingled with the Osiris myth, probably as the ejector of Set who
was also the enemy of Osiris. He is sometimes entirely in hawk form;
more usually with a hawk’s head, and in later times he appears as the
infant son of Isis entirely human in form. {36} His special function
is that of overcoming evil; in the earliest days the conqueror of Set,
later as the subduer of noxious animals, figured on a very popular
amulet, and lastly, in Roman times, as a hawk-headed warrior on
horseback slaying a dragon, thus passing into the type of St. George.
He also became mingled with early Christian ideas; and the lock of hair
of Horus attached to the cross originated the _chi rho_ monogram of
Christ.
We have now passed briefly over the principal gods which combined the
animal and human forms. We see how the animal form is generally the
older, and how it was apparently independent of the human form, which
has been attached to it by a more anthropomorphic people. We see that
all of these gods must be accredited to the second stratum, if not to
the earliest formation, of religion in Egypt. And we must associate
with this theology the cemetery theory of the soul which preceded that
of the Osiris or Ra religions.
[1] For instance the words _sek_, to move; _seg_, to go; _sek_, to
destroy; _sega_, to break; _kauy_, cow; _gaua_, ox; _keba_ and _geba_,
sky, etc.
{37}

CHAPTER VI

THE HUMAN GODS

We now turn to the deities which are always represented in human form,
and never associated with animal figures; neither do they originate in
a cosmic–or nature–worship, nor in abstract ideas. There are three
divisions of this class, the Osiris family, the Amon family, and the
goddess Neit.
+Osiris+ (_Asar_ or _Asir_) is the most familiar figure of the
pantheon, but it is mainly on late sources that we have to depend for
the myth; and his worship was so much adapted to harmonise with other
ideas, that care is needed to trace his true position. The Osiride
portions of the _Book of the Dead_ are certainly very early, and
precede the solar portions, though both views were already mingled in
the pyramid texts. We cannot doubt but that the Osiris worship reaches
back to the prehistoric age. In the earliest tombs offering to Anubis
is named, for whom Osiris {38} became substituted in the fifth and
sixth dynasties. In the pyramid times we only find that kings are
termed Osiris, having undergone their apotheosis at the _sed_ festival;
but in the eighteenth dynasty and onward every justified person was
entitled the Osiris, as being united with the god. His worship was
unknown at Abydos in the earlier temples, and is not mentioned at the
cataracts; though in later times he became the leading deity of Abydos
and of Philae. Thus in all directions the recognition of Osiris
continued to increase; but, looking at the antiquity of his cult, we
must recognise in this change the gradual triumph of a popular religion
over a state religion which had been superimposed upon it. The
earliest phase of Osirism that we can identify is in portions of the
_Book of the Dead_. These assume the kingdom of Osiris, and a judgment
preceding admission to the blessed future; the completely human
character of Osiris and his family are implied, and there is no trace
of animal or nature-worship belonging to him. How far the myth, as
recorded in Roman times by Plutarch, can be traced to earlier and later
sources is very uncertain. The main outlines, which may be primitive,
are as follow. Osiris was a civilising king of Egypt, who was murdered
by his brother Set and seventy-two {39} conspirators. Isis, his wife,
found the coffin of Osiris at Byblos in Syria and brought it to Egypt.
Set then tore up the body of Osiris and scattered it. Isis sought the
fragments, and built a shrine over each of them. Isis and Horus then
attacked Set and drove him from Egypt, and finally down the Red Sea.
In other aspects Osiris seems to have been a corn god, and the
scattering of his body in Egypt is like the well-known division of the
sacrifice to the corn god, and the burial of parts in separate fields
to ensure their fertility.
How we are to analyse the formation of the early myths is suggested by
the known changes of later times. When two tribes who worshipped
different gods fought together and one overcame the other, the god of
the conqueror is always considered to have overcome the god of the
vanquished. The struggle of Horus and Set is expressly stated on the
Temple of Edfu to have been a tribal war, in which the followers of
Horus overcame those of Set, established garrisons and forges at
various places down the Nile valley, and finally ousted the Set party
from the whole land. We can hardly therefore avoid reading the history
of the animosities of the gods as being the struggles of their
worshippers.
{40}
If we try to trace the historic basis of the Osiris myth, we must take
into account the early customs and ideas among which the myths arose.
The cutting up of the body was the regular ritual of the prehistoric
people, and (even as late as the fifth dynasty) the bones were
separately treated, and even wrapped up separately when the body was
reunited for burial. We must also notice the apotheosis festival of
the king, which was probably his sacrificial death and union with the
god, in the prehistoric age. The course of events which might have
served as the basis for the Osiris myth may then have been somewhat as
follows. Osiris was the god of a tribe which occupied a large part of
Egypt. The kings of this tribe were sacrificed after thirty years’
reign (like the killing of kings at fixed intervals elsewhere), and
they thus became the Osiris himself. Their bodies were dismembered, as
usual at that period, the flesh ceremonially eaten by the assembled
people (as was done in prehistoric times), and the bones distributed
among the various centres of the tribe, the head to Abydos, the neck,
spine, limbs, etc., to various places, of which there were fourteen in
all. The worshippers of Set broke in upon this people, stopped this
worship, or killed Osiris, as was said, and established the dominion
{41} of their animal god. They were in turn attacked by the Isis
worshippers, who joined the older population of the Osiris tribe,
re-opened the shrines, and established Osiris worship again. The Set
tribe returning in force attacked the Osiris tribe and scattered all
the relics of the shrines in every part of the land. To re-establish
their power, the Osiris and Isis tribes called in the worshippers of
the hawk Horus, who were old enemies of the Set tribe, and with their
help finally expelled the Set worshippers from the whole country. Such
a history, somewhat misunderstood in a later age when the sacrifice of
kings and anthropophagy was forgotten, would give the basis for nearly
all the features of the Osiris myth as recorded in Roman times.
If we try to materialise this history more closely we see that the
Osiris worshippers occupied both the Delta and Upper Egypt, and that
fourteen important centres were recognised at the earliest time, which
afterwards became the capitals of nomes, and were added to until they
numbered forty-two divisions in later ages. Set was the god of the
Asiatic invaders who broke in upon this civilisation; and about a
quarter through the long ages of the prehistoric culture (perhaps 7500
B.C.) we find material evidences of {42} considerable changes brought
in from the Arabian or Semitic side. It may not be unlikely that this
was the first triumph of Set. The Isis worshippers came from the
Delta, where Isis was worshipped at Buto as a virgin goddess, apart
from Osiris or Horus. These followers of Isis succeeded in helping the
rest of the early Libyan inhabitants to resist the Set worship, and
re-establish Osiris. The close of the prehistoric age is marked by a
great decline in work and abilities, very likely due to more trouble
from Asia, when Set scattered the relics of Osiris. Lastly, we cannot
avoid seeing in the Horus triumph the conquest of Egypt by the dynastic
race who came down from the district of Edfu and Hierakonpolis, the
centres of Horus worship; and helped the older inhabitants to drive out
the Asiatics. Nearly the same chain of events is seen in later times,
when the Berber king Aahmes I helped the Egyptians to expel the Hyksos.
If we can thus succeed in connecting the archaeology of the prehistoric
age with the history preserved in the myths, it shows that Osiris must
have been the national god as early as the beginning of prehistoric
culture. His civilising mission may well have been the introduction of
cultivation, at about 8000 B.C., into the Nile valley.
{43}
The theology of Osiris was at first that of a god of those holy fields
in which the souls of the dead enjoyed a future life. There was
necessarily some selection to exclude the wicked from such happiness,
and Osiris judged each soul whether it were worthy. This judgment
became elaborated in detailed scenes, where Isis and Neb-hat stand
behind Osiris who is on his throne, Anubis leads in the soul, the heart
is placed in the balance, and Thōth stands to weigh it and to record
the result. The occupations of the souls in this future we have
noticed in chapter iii. The function of Osiris was therefore the
reception and rule of the dead, and we never find him as a god of
action or patronising any of the affairs of life.
+Isis+ (_Aset_ or _Isit_) became attached at a very early time to the
Osiris worship; and appears in later myths as the sister and wife of
Osiris. But she always remained on a very different plane to Osiris.
Her worship and priesthood were far more popular than those of Osiris,
persons were named after her much more often than after Osiris, and she
appears far more usually in the activities of life. Her union in the
Osiris myth by no moans blotted out her independent position and
importance as a deity, though it gave her {44} a far more widespread
devotion. The union of Horus with the myth, and the establishment of
Isis as the mother goddess, was the main mode of her importance in
later times. Isis as the nursing mother is seldom shown until the
twenty-sixth dynasty; then the type continually became more popular,
until it outgrew all other religions of the country. In the Roman
times the mother Isis not only received the devotion of all Egypt, but
her worship spread rapidly abroad, like that of Mithra. It became the
popular devotion of Italy; and, after a change of name due to the
growth of Christianity, she has continued to receive the adoration of a
large part of Europe down to the present day as the Madonna.
+Nephthys+ (_Neb-hat_) was a shadowy double of Isis; reputedly her
sister, and always associated with her, she seems to have no other
function. Her name, ‘mistress of the palace,’ suggests that she was
the consort of Osiris at the first, as a necessary but passive
complement in the system of his kingdom. When the active Isis worship
entered into the renovation of Osiris, Nebhat remained of nominal
importance, but practically ignored.
+Horus+ (_Heru_ or _Horu_) has a more complex {45} history than any
other god. We cannot assign the various stages of it with certainty,
but we can discriminate the following ideas. (_A_) There was an elder
or greater Horus, _Hor-ur_ (or Aroeris of the Greeks) who was credited
with being the brother of Osiris, older than Isis, Set, or Nephthys.
He was always in human form, and was the god of Letopolis. This seems
to have been the primitive god of a tribe cognate to the Osiris
worshippers. What connection this god had with the hawk we do not
know; often Horus is found written without the hawk, simply as _hr_,
with the meaning of ‘upper’ or ‘above.’ This word generally has the
determinative of sky, and so means primitively the sky or one belonging
to the sky. It is at least possible that there was a sky-god _her_ at
Letopolis, and likewise the hawk-god was a sky-god _her_ at Edfu, and
hence the mixture of the two deities. (_B_) The hawk-god of the south,
at Edfu and Hierakonpolis, became so firmly embedded in the myth as the
avenger of Osiris, that we must accept the southern people as the
ejectors of the Set tribe. It is always the hawk-headed Horus who wars
against Set, and attends on the enthroned Osiris. (_C_) The hawk Horus
became identified with the sun-god, and hence came the winged solar
disk as the emblem {46} of Horus of Edfu, and the title of Horus on the
horizons (at rising and setting) Hor-em-akhti, Harmakhis of the Greeks.
(_D_) Another aspect resulting from Horus being the ‘sky’ god, was that
the sun and moon were his two eyes; hence he was Hor-merti, Horus of
the two eyes, and the sacred eye of Horus (_uza_) became the most usual
of all amulets. (_E_) Horus, as conqueror of Set, appears as the hawk
standing on the sign of gold, _nub_; _nubti_ was the title of Set, and
thus Horus is shown trampling upon Set; this became a usual title of
the kings. There are many less important forms of Horus, but the form
which outgrew all others in popular estimation was (_F_) Hor-pe-khroti,
Harpokrates of the Greeks, ‘Horus the child.’ As the son of Isis he
constantly appears from the nineteenth dynasty onward. One of the
earlier of these forms is that of the boy Horus standing upon
crocodiles, and grasping scorpions and noxious animals in his hands.
This type was a favourite amulet down to Ptolemaic times, and is often
found carved in stone to be placed in a house, but was scarcely ever
made in other materials or for suspension on the person. The form of
the young Horus seated on an open lotus flower was also popular in the
Greek times. But the infant Horus with his finger to his lips {47} was
the most popular form of all, sometimes alone, sometimes on his
mother’s lap. The finger, which pointed to his being a sucking child,
was absurdly misunderstood by the Greeks as an emblem of silence. From
the twenty-sixth dynasty down to late Roman times the infant Horus, or
the young boy, was the most prominent subject on the temples, and the
commonest figure in the homes of the people.
The other main group of human gods was Amon, Mut, and Khonsu of Thebes.
_Amon_ was the local god of Karnak, and owed his importance in Egypt to
the political rise of his district. The Theban kingdom of the twelfth
dynasty spread his fame, the great kings of the eighteenth and
nineteenth dynasty ascribed their victories to Amon, his high priest
became a political power which absorbed the state after the twentieth
dynasty, and the importance of the god only ceased with the fall of his
city. The original attributes and the origin of the name of Amon are
unknown; but he became combined with Ra, the sun-god, and as Amon-Ra he
was ‘king of the gods,’ and ‘lord of the thrones of the world.’ The
supremacy of Amon was for some centuries an article of political faith,
and many other gods were merged in him, and only survived as aspects
{48} of the great god of all. The queens were the high priestesses of
the god, and he was the divine father of their children; the kings
being only incarnations of Amon in their relation to the queens.
+Mut+, the great mother, was the goddess of Thebes, and hence the
consort of Amon. She is often shown as leading and protecting the
kings, and the queens appear in the character of this goddess. Little
is known about her otherwise, and she disappears in the later theology.
+Khonsu+ is a youthful god combined in the Theban system as the son of
Amon and Mut. He is closely parallel to Thōth as being a god of
time, as a moon god, and of science, ‘the executor of plans.’ A large
temple was dedicated to him at Karnak, but otherwise he was not of
religious importance.
+Neit+ was a goddess of the Libyan people; but her worship was firmly
implanted by them in Egypt. She was a goddess of hunting and of
weaving, the two arts of a nomadic people. Her emblem was a distaff
with two crossed arrows, and her name was written with a figure of a
weaver’s shuttle. She was adored in the first dynasty, when the name
Merneit, ‘loved by Neit,’ occurs; and her priesthood was one of the
most {49} usual in the pyramid period. She was almost lost to sight
during some thousands of years, but she became the state goddess of the
twenty-sixth dynasty, when the Libyans set up their capital in her city
of Sais. In later times she again disappears from customary religion.
{50}

CHAPTER VII

THE COSMIC GODS

The gods which personify the sun and sky stand apart in their essential
idea from those already described, although they were largely mixed and
combined with other classes of gods. So much did this mixture pervade
all the later views that some writers have seen nothing but varying
forms of sun-worship in Egyptian religion. It will have been noticed
however in the previous chapters what a large body of theology was
entirely apart from the sun-worship, while here we treat the latter as
separate from the other elements with which it was more or less
combined.
_Ra_ was the great sun-god, to whom every king pledged himself, by
adopting on his accession a motto-title embodying the god’s name, such
as _Ra-men-kau_, ‘Ra established the kas,’ _Ra-sehotep-ab_, ‘Ra
satisfies the heart,’ _Ra-neb-maat_, ‘Ra is the lord of truth’; and
these titles were those by {51} which the king was best known ever
after. This devotion was not primitive, but began in the fourth
dynasty, and was established by the fifth dynasty being called sons of
Ra, and every later king having the title ‘son of Ra’ before his name.
The obelisk was the emblem of Ra, and in the fifth dynasty a great
obelisk temple was built in his honour at Abusir, followed also by
others. Heliopolis was the centre of his worship, where Senusert I, in
the twelfth dynasty, rebuilt the temple and erected the obelisks, one
of which is still standing. But Ra was preceded there by another
sun-god Atmu, who was the true god of the nome; and Ra, though
worshipped throughout the land, was not the aboriginal god of any city.
In Heliopolis he was attached to Atmu, at Thebes attached to Amen.
These facts point to Ra having been introduced into Egypt by a
conquering people, after the theologic settlement of the whole land.
There are many suggestions that the Ra worshippers came in from Asia,
and established their rule at Heliopolis. The title of the ruler of
that place was the _heq_, a Semitic title; and the _heq_ sceptre was
the sacred treasure of the temple. The ‘spirits of Heliopolis’ were
specially honoured, an idea more Babylonian than Egyptian. This city
was a centre of literary {52} learning and of theologic theorising
which was unknown elsewhere in Egypt, but familiar in Mesopotamia. A
conical stone was the embodiment of the god at Heliopolis, as in Syria.
_On_, the native name of Heliopolis, occurs twice in Syria, as well as
other cities named Heliopolis there in later times. The view of an
early Semitic principate of Heliopolis, before the dynastic age, would
unify all of these facts: and the advance of Ra worship in the fifth
dynasty would be due to a revival of the influence of the eastern Delta
at that time.
The form of Ra most free from admixture is that of the disk of the sun,
sometimes figured between two hills at rising, sometimes between two
wings, sometimes in the boat in which it floated on the celestial ocean
across the sky. The winged disk has almost always two cobra serpents
attached to it, and often two rams’ horns; the meaning of the whole
combination is that Ra protects and preserves, like the vulture
brooding over its young, destroys like the cobra, and creates like the
ram. This is seen by the modification where it is placed over a king’s
head, when the destructive cobra is omitted, and the wings are folded
together as embracing and protecting the king.
{53}
This disk form is connected with the hawk-god, by being placed over the
head of the hawk; and this in turn is connected with the human form by
the disc resting on the hawk-headed man, which is one of the most usual
types of Ra. The god is but seldom shown as being purely human, except
when identified with other gods, such as Atmu, Horus, or Amon.
The worship of Ra outshone all others in the nineteenth dynasty.
United to the god of Thebes as Amon Ra, he became ‘king of the gods’;
and the view that the soul joined Ra in his journey through the hours
of the night absorbed all other views, which only became sections of
this whole (see chap. xi). By the Greek times this belief seems to
have largely given place to others, and it had practically vanished in
the early Christian age.
+Atmu+ (Tum) was the original god of Heliopolis and the Delta side,
round to the gulf of Suez, which formerly reached up to Ismailiyeh.
How far his nature as the setting sun was the result of his being
identified with Ra, is not clear. It may be that he was simply a
creator-god, and that the introduction of Ra led to his being unified
with him. Those who take the view that the names of gods are connected
with tribes, as {54} Set and Suti, Anuke and Anak, might well claim
that Atmu or Atum belonged to the land of Aduma or Etham.
+Khepera+ has no local importance, but is named as the morning sun. He
was worshipped about the time of the nineteenth dynasty.
+Aten+ was a conception of the sun entirely different to Ra. No human
or animal form was ever attached to it; and the adoration of the
physical power and action of the sun was the sole devotion. So far as
we can trace, it was a worship entirely apart, and different from every
other type of religion in Egypt; and the partial information that we
have about it does not, so far, show a single flaw in a purely
scientific conception of the source of all life and power upon earth.
The Aten was the only instance of a ‘jealous god’ in Egypt, and this
worship was exclusive of all others, and claims universality. There
are traces of it shortly before Amonhotep in. He showed some devotion
to it, and it was his son who took the name of Akhenaten, ‘the glory of
the Aten,’ and tried to enforce this as the sole worship of Egypt. But
it fell immediately after, and is lost in the next dynasty. The sun is
represented as radiating its beams on all things, and every beam ends
in a hand which imparts life and power to {55} the king and to all
else. In the hymn to the Aten the universal scope of this power is
proclaimed as the source of all life and action, and every land and
people are subject to it, and owe to it their existence and their
allegiance. No such grand theology had ever appeared in the world
before, so far as we know; and it is the forerunner of the later
monotheist religions, while it is even more abstract and impersonal,
and may well rank as a scientific theism.
+Anher+ was the local god of Thinis in Upper Egypt, and Sebennytos in
the Delta, a human sun-god. His name is a mere epithet, ‘he who goes
in heaven’; and it may well be that this was only a title of Ra, who
was thus worshipped at these places.
+Sopdu+ was the god of the eastern desert, and he was identified with
the cone of glowing zodiacal light which precedes the sunrise. His
emblem was a mummified hawk, or a human figure.
+Nut+, the embodiment of heaven, is shown as a female figure dotted
over with stars. She was not worshipped nor did she belong to any one
place, but was a cosmogonic idea.
+Seb+, the embodiment of the earth, is figured as lying on the ground
while Nut bends over him. He was the ‘prince of the gods,’ the power
that {56} went before all the later gods, the superseded Saturn of
Egyptian theology. He is rarely mentioned, and no temples were
dedicated to him, but he appears in the cosmic mythology. It seems,
from their positions, that very possibly Seb and Nut were the primaeval
gods of the aborigines of Hottentot type, before the Osiris worshippers
of European type ever entered the Nile valley.
+Shu+ was the god of space, who lifted up Nut from off the body of Seb.
He was often represented, especially in late amulets; possibly it was
believed that he would likewise raise up the body of the deceased from
earth to heaven. His figure is entirely human, and he kneels on one
knee with both hands lifted above his head. He was regarded as the
father of Seb, the earth having been formed from space or chaos. His
emblem was the ostrich feather, the lightest and most voluminous object.
+Hapi+, the Nile, must also be placed with Nature-gods. He is figured
as a man, or two men for the Upper and Lower Niles, holding a tray of
produce of the land, and having large female breasts as being the
nourisher of the valley. A favourite group consists of the two Nile
figures tying the plants of Upper and Lower Egypt around the {57}
emblem of union. He was worshipped at Nilopolis, and also at the
shrines which marked the boating stages, about a hundred in number all
along the river. Festivals were held at the rising of the Nile, like
those still kept up at various stages of the inundation. Hymns in
honour of the river attribute all prosperity and good to its benefits.
{58}

CHAPTER VIII

THE ABSTRACT GODS

Besides the classes of gods already described there are others who
stand apart in their character, as embodying abstract ideas. Of these
some are probably tribal gods; but the principle of each is so clearly
marked that they must have been idealised by people who were at a
relatively high level of mind. Others are frankly abstractions of
artificial ideas devised in a civilised state, much like the deities
Flora or the Genius of the Roman Emperor. The general inference is
that these gods all belong to the latest of the peoples who contributed
to the mythology, the dynastic rulers of the land.
+Ptah+ the creator was especially worshipped at Memphis. He is figured
as a mummy; and we know that full length burial and mummifying begin
with the dynastic race. He was identified with the earlier
animal-worship of the bull Apis; {59} but it is not likely that this
originated his creative aspect, as he creates by moulding clay, or by
word and will, and not by natural means. He became united with the old
Memphite god of the dead, Seker, and with Osiris, as Ptah-Seker-Osiris.
Thus we learn that he belonged neither to the animal worshippers, the
believers in Seker, nor to the Osiride race, but to a fourth people.
The compound god Ptah-Seker is shown as a bandy-legged dwarf, with wide
flat head, a known aberration of growth. It seems as if we should
connect this with the _pataikoi_ who were worshipped by Phoenician
sailors as dwarf figures, the name being similar. This points to a
connection of the Phoenician race with the dynastic Egyptians. Ptah
was worshipped in all ages down to Greek times.
+Min+ was the male principle. He was worshipped mainly at Ekhmim and
Koptos, and was there identified with Pan by the Greeks. He also was
the god of the desert, out to the Red Sea. The oldest statues of gods
are three gigantic limestone figures of Min found at Koptos; these bear
relief designs of Red Sea shells and sword fish. It seems, then, that
he was introduced by a people coming across from the east. His worship
continued till Roman times.
{60}
+Hat-hor+ was the female principle whose animal was the cow; and she is
identified with the mother Isis. She was also identified with other
earlier deities; and her forms are very numerous in different
localities. There were also seven Hathors who appear as Fates,
presiding over birth. Thus this goddess has a position different from
any other, more generalised, more widely spread, and identified with
many places and ideas. The similarity of such a position, with that of
the Madonna in Italy in relation to earlier worships, suggests that the
widespread devotion to her was of later introduction and superimposed
on varied beliefs. The figure of Hathor sometimes has the cow’s head,
and often has cow’s ears. The myth of Horus striking off the head of
his mother Isis and replacing it by a cow’s head, points to the Horus
worshippers uniting Hathor with Isis. Statuettes of Hathor are not
common; the head was used for an architectural capital and in the form
of the sistrum, a rattle which was employed in her worship.
+Maat+ was the goddess of truth. She is always of human form, and
shown as seated holding the _ankh_, emblem of life, in her hands. She
was never worshipped, and had no temples or shrines, but was
represented as being offered by the kings {61} to the gods. She also
occurs in the names of several kings, and appears in the judgment scene
of the weighing of the heart. She was the only idea of the older
religion which was preserved by Akhenaten in his reformation; he always
names himself as ‘living in truth,’ but as an abstraction and without
the notion of any actual goddess. She is linked with Ptah, Thōth,
and Ra, on different occasions.
+Nefertum+ is a god of late times, in human form, as a youth with a
lotus flower on his head. He appears to have represented growth and
vegetation; and is systematised as a son of Ptah and Sekhet. No temple
of his remains; but his figures, usually of bronze, are common.
+Safekh+ was the goddess of writing. She is named in the pyramid
times, and appears in scenes of the eighteenth and nineteenth
dynasties. Four pairs of elemental gods were worshipped at Hermopolis,
each pair male and female; _Heh_, Eternity; _Kek_, Darkness; _Nu_, the
heavenly ocean; _Nenu_, the Inundation. They are shown as human
figures with the heads of frogs and serpents. There were also
personifications of Seeing, Hearing, Taste, Perception, Strength, and
the ‘true voice’ necessary to intone the magic formulae.
{62}

CHAPTER IX

THE FOREIGN GODS

Besides the incorporation into purely Egyptian usage of all the gods
that we have noticed, there were others who always retained a foreign
character. It is true that Bast, Neit, and Taurt are counted by some
as foreign; but deities who are found from the pyramid times to the
Roman age, and who were the patrons of capitals and of dynasties, must
be counted as Egyptian; and of Taurt we do not know of any foreign
source, nor should we look for any, as the hippopotamus abounded in
Egypt itself.
+Bēs+, though figured from the eighteenth dynasty to Roman times,
yet retained a foreign character. He is a dwarfish, clumsy figure,
wearing a feline skin on his back, with the tail hanging down to his
heels. A female figure wearing the feline skin similarly is known from
the twelfth dynasty. Rarely female forms of Bēs {63} occur in late
times. The source of this type is the Sudany dancer, such as may still
be seen performing in Egypt, and we know that even in the fifth dynasty
dancers called Denga (=Dinka tribe?) were brought as curiosities to
Egypt. Bēs was often figured as dancing with a tambourine; he was
the god of the dance, and protected infants from evil and witchcraft;
hence he appears on the imposts of the capitals of the birth-house at
Dendereh. The animal whose skin he wears is the _cynaelurus guttatus_,
whose name is _bes_. Possibly Bastet, the feline goddess, was
originally a female form of Bēs.
+Dedun+ was a Nubian god, who appears to have been a creative
earth-god. He was unified with Ptah, and is often named in the
nineteenth dynasty.
+Sati+ was a goddess of the cataract region, similar to Hathor, with
cow’s horns. She is called queen of the gods, and seems to have been
the great deity of a frontier tribe.
+Anqet+ was the goddess of the cataract island of Seheyl, and is
figured wearing a high crown of feathers.
+Sutekh+ must not be confounded with the purely Egyptian god Set or
Setesh, though the two were identified. Probably they were one in {64}
prehistoric ages; but Set was the god known to the Egyptians, while
Sutekh was the god of the Hittites from Armenia, where he was
worshipped in their home cities.
+Baal+ was another Syrian god also identified with Set, and sometimes
combined with Mentu as a war-god in the nineteenth dynasty, when Syrian
ideas prevailed so largely in Egypt.
+Reshpu+, or +Reseph+, was occasionally worshipped as a war-god in the
Syrianised age; but no statues or temples are known to him or to Baal.
+Anta+, or +Anaitis+, was a goddess of the Hittites, who appears fully
armed on horseback in the Ramesside times. Ramessu II called his
daughter Bant-anta, ‘daughter of Anta.’
+Astharth+, +Ashtaroth+, or +Astarte+, was another Syrian goddess, who
was worshipped mainly at Memphis, where the tomb of a priestess of hers
is known. Ramessu II named a son of his Merastrot, ‘loved of
Ashtaroth.’
+Qedesh+, ‘the holy one,’ is shown as a nude goddess standing on a
lion; she may be a form of Ashtaroth, as patroness of the _qedosheth_
girls attached to her service. The position on a lion is a well-known
one of Hittite goddesses.
{65}
Figures of foreign goddesses are often found in Egypt; they are of
pottery, coarsely made, nude, and with the breasts held in the hands.
They probably represent Ashtaroth.
We may also here mention some theories about the foreign connections of
the Egyptian gods. The early Sumerians of Babylonia worshipped Asari,
‘the strong one,’ ‘the prince who does good to men.’ This has a strong
resemblance in name and character to Asar, Osiris, of Egypt. But the
connection which is proposed, from both names being written with the
signs of an eye and a place, seems baseless, as the syllabic values of
the signs were reversed in the two languages; either the writing or the
sound of the name must be only a coincidence. Istar, another Sumerian
deity, became softened in Semitic speech to Athtar, the moon-goddess of
Southern Arabia; and the connection of this moon- and cow-goddess with
the similar Hathor of Egypt seems very probable. Ansar was another
Sumerian god, meaning ‘the sky,’ or the spirit world of the sky; and
this might have passed into Anhar, the sky-god, known both in Upper and
Lower Egypt. These connections are all with Sumerian gods, but may
have been derived through their later Semitic forms. They have a
general {66} probability from the names and nature in each instance;
but until we can trace some point of connection in place and in period,
we can only bear these resemblances in mind as material for some larger
view of early history.
{67}

CHAPTER X

THE COSMOGONY

Man in all times and places has speculated on the nature and origin of
the world, and connected such questions with his theology. In Egypt
there are not many primitive theories of creation, though some have
various elaborated forms. Of the formation of the earth there were two
views. (1) That it had been brought into being by the word of a god,
who when he uttered any name caused the object thereby to exist.
Thōth is the principal creator by this means, and this idea probably
belongs to a period soon after the age of the animal gods. (2) The
other view is that Ptah framed the world as an artificer, with the aid
of eight _Khnumu_, or earth-gnomes. This belongs to the theology of
the abstract gods. The primitive people seem to have been content with
the eternity of matter, and only personified nature when they described
space (Shu) as separating the sky (Nut) from the earth (Seb). This
{68} is akin to the separation of chaos into sky and sea in Genesis.
The sun is called the egg laid by the primeval goose; and in later time
this was said to be laid by a god, or modelled by Ptah. Evidently this
goose egg is a primitive tale which was adapted to later theology.
The sky is said to be upheld by four pillars. These were later
connected with the gods of the four quarters; but the primitive four
pillars were represented together, with the capitals one over the
other, in the sign _dad_, the emblem of stability. These may have
belonged to the Osiris cycle, as he is ‘lord of the pillars’ (_daddu_),
and his centre in the Delta was named Daddu from the pillars. The
setting up of the pillars or _dad_ emblem was a great festival in which
the kings took part, and which is often represented.
The creation of life was variously attributed to different great gods
where they were worshipped. Khnumu, Osiris, Amen, or Atmu, each are
stated to be the creator. The mode was only defined by the theorists
of Heliopolis; they imagined that Atmu self-produced Shu and Tefnut,
they produced Seb and Nut, and they in turn other gods, from whom at
last sprang mankind. But this is merely later theorising to fit a
theology in being.
{69}
The cosmogonic theories, therefore, were by no means important articles
of belief, but rather assumptions of what the gods were likely to have
done similar to the acts of men. The creation by the word is the most
elevated idea, and is parallel to the creation in Genesis.
The conception of the nature of the world was that of a great plain,
over which the sun passed by day, and beneath which it travelled
through the hours of night. The movement of the sun was supposed to be
that of floating on the heavenly ocean, figured by its being in a boat,
which was probably an expression for its flotation. The elaboration of
the nature of the regions through which the sun passed at night
essentially belongs to the Ra theology, and only recognises the kingdom
of Osiris by placing it in one of the hours of night. The old
conception of the dim realm of the cemetery-god Seker occupies the
fourth and fifth hours; the sixth hour is an approach to the Osiride
region, and the seventh hour is the kingdom of Osiris. Each hour was
separated by gates, which were guarded by demons who needed to be
controlled by magic formulae.
{70}

CHAPTER XI

THE RITUAL AND PRIESTHOOD

The accounts which we have of the temple ritual are of the later
periods, and we must look to the buildings themselves to trace
differences in the system. The oldest form of shrine was a wicker hut,
with tall poles forming the sides of the door; in front of this
extended an enclosure which had two poles with flags on either side of
the entrance. In the middle of the enclosure or court was a staff
bearing the emblem of the god. This type of shrine and open court was
kept up always, and is like the Jewish type. We find stone used for
the doors in the sixth dynasty, and stone-built temples in the twelfth
dynasty. The earlier type of temple was essentially a resting-place
for the god between the excursions of the festivals. It was open at
both front and back, and a processional way led through it, so that the
priests walked through, taking up the ark of the god, {71} carrying it
in procession, and then returning and depositing it again in the temple
as they passed. This form lasted till the middle of the eighteenth
dynasty; but the fixed shrine was already coming into use then, and
seems to have become the only type after that age. This was emphasised
still more in the twenty-sixth dynasty by the great monolith boxes of
granite which contained not only precious statuettes, but even
life-sized statues of granite. It seems that the processional form of
ritual had been supplanted by the service of a more mysterious Holy of
Holies.
The course of daily service by the priests was of seven parts. 1st.
_Fire-making_–rubbing the fire sticks, taking the censer, putting
incense in it, and lighting it. 2nd. _Opening the Shrine_–going up to
the shrine, loosening the fastening, and breaking the seal, opening the
door, seeing the god. 3rd. _Praise_–various prostrations, and then
singing a hymn to the god. 4th. _Supplying food and incense_–offering
oil and honey and incense, retiring from the shrine for a prayer,
approaching and looking on the god, various prostrations, again
incense, and then prayers and hymns, a figure of Maat (goddess of
truth) was then presented to the god, and, lastly, more incense for all
the companions of the god. {72} 5th. _Purifying_–cleansing the figure
and its shrine, and pouring out pitchers of water, and fumigating with
incense. 6th. _Clothing_–dressing the god with white, green, bright
red, and dark red sashes, and supplying two kinds of ointment and black
and green eye paint, and scattering clean sand before him. The priest
then walked four times round the shrine. 7th. _Purifying_–with
incense, natron of the south and north, and two other kinds of incense.
Probably such a ritual was a gradual growth of successive ages. Where
a living animal was maintained as sacred, the feeding of it was a
considerable service. A court was built at Memphis for the sacred Apis
bull to take his exercise, and special bundles of fodder were provided.
A large tank was made for the sacred crocodile in the Fayum, and the
priests used to follow the reptile around the tank with the offerings
brought by devotees. Similarly at Epidauros is a deep circular trench
cut in the rock, with a central niche; in this a sacred serpent could
be visited and fed without its being able to escape.
The priesthood was elaborated in many different kinds, and varied
grades in each. There were the ‘servants of the god,’ who had charge
of the worship and ritual; the ‘pure men,’ who were {73} occupied with
the acts of offerings and service; the ‘divine fathers,’ who had charge
of the property of a god and the providing for the services; the
‘reciters’; the ‘female singers’; and others; and there were four
grades of most of the classes.
A special divine gift was the _sa_, an essence which was imparted to
the king when he knelt with his back to the god and the divine hand was
placed on him. This was also imparted to a class of priests or
initiated who were described as ‘impregnated with the sa’ of four
different grades. This seems to have been a kind of ordination
imparting special powers.
A fundamental idea was that the king was the priest of the land, and
that all offerings (especially those for the dead) were made by him.
Even though the king could not physically perform all the offerings,
yet when others did so they were only acting on behalf of the priestly
king of the nation. So strongly was this held that the regular formula
for all offerings for the dead was ‘A royal giving of offerings of such
and such things for the _ka_ of such an one,’ or it may be rendered
‘May the king give an offering.’ The act itself is shown on some
funeral tablets, where the king appears as making the offering, {74}
while the person for whom he acts stands behind him.
Much light on the sources of the rise of the priesthood is given by the
titles borne by the priests of the various capitals of the provinces or
nomes. Many of these refer to what were purely secular occupations in
later times, and we thus learn that the priestly character was attached
to the principal person, be he king, or leader in other ways. In one
city it was the King and His Loved Son who were the priests, in another
it was the General, in another the Warrior who became the priest;
elsewhere it was the Great Constructor, in another city the Great
Commander of Workmen; one city raised the Manager of the Inundation to
the priesthood, and very naturally the Great Physician or medicine man
became priest in another place. The Eldest Son was the title of
another priesthood, much as the later kings made their eldest son high
priest. A very curious view of the priestess preceding the
establishment of a priest is given by some cities; one where she was
called the Nurse, and the priest was the Youth, and another city names
the priestess the ‘Appeaser of the Spirit’ and the priest the
‘Favourite Child.’
Purely religious functions are only a minority {75} of the priestly
titles in the Delta, such as the Seer, the Great Seer, the Chief of the
Feast, and the Opener of the Mouth, referring to enabling the statue of
the god to speak, or opening the mouth of the mummy to enable it to
live. A full analysis of the priestly titles would give a picture of
the society in which priesthood arose, but it is a subject which has
not been systematically studied.
{76}

CHAPTER XII

THE SACRED BOOKS

In the latest age of ancient Egypt the religious writings were largely
translated into Greek, at a time when they were studied and collected
as embodying the ideas of a world which was already fading away. This
venerated past kept its hold on the imagination as containing mystic
powers of compelling the unseen, and strange travesties of ancient
formulae, the efficacy of which could not be rivalled by any later
writings which were baldly intelligible. There were four main classes
of writings, on theology, ritual, science, and medicine. Though the
late compilations have almost entirely perished, yet we can gather
their nature from the portions of the original documents which are
preserved from earlier times.
The most popular work in the later dynasties was that which has been
called the _Book of the Dead_ by modern writers. We must not conceive
{77} of it as a bound up whole, like our Bible; but rather as an
incongruous accumulation of charms and formulae, parts of which were
taken at discretion by various scribes according to local or individual
tastes. No single papyrus contains even the greater part of it, and
the choice made among the heterogeneous material is infinitely varied.
The different sections have been numbered by modern editors, starting
with the order found in some of the best examples, and more than two
hundred such chapters are recognised. Every variety of belief finds
place in this large collection; every charm or direction which could
benefit the dead found a footing here if it attained popularity. From
prehistoric days downward it formed a religious repertory without
limits or regulation. Portions known in the close of the old kingdom
entirely vanish in later copies, while others appear which are
obviously late in origin. The incessant adding of notes, incorporation
of glosses, and piling of explanations one on the other, has increased
the confusion. And to add to our bewilderment, the scribes were
usually quite callous about errors in a writing which was never to be
seen or used by living eyes; and the corruptions, which have been in
turn made worse, have left hardly any sense in many parts. At {78}
best it is difficult to follow the illusions of a lost faith, but amid
all the varieties of idea and bad readings superposed, the task of
critical understanding is almost hopeless. The full study of such a
work will need many new discoveries and occupy generations of critical
ingenuity. We can distinguish certain groups of chapters, an Osirian
section on the kingdom of Osiris and the service of it, a theological
section, a set of incantations, formulae for the restoration of the
heart, for the protection of the soul from spirits and serpents in the
hours of night, charms to escape from perils ordained by the gods, an
account of the paradise of Osiris, a different version of the kingdom
and judgment of Osiris, a Heliopolitan doctrine about the _ba_, and its
powers of transformation entirely apart from all that is stated
elsewhere, the account of the reunion of soul and body, magic formulae
for entering the Osirian kingdom, another account of the judgment of
Osiris, charms for the preservation of the mummy and for making
efficacious amulets, together with various portions of popular beliefs.
In contrast to the mainly Osirian character above described, we see the
solar religion dominant in the Book of Am Duat, or that which {79} is
in the underworld. This describes the successive hours of the night,
each hour fenced off with gates which are guarded by monsters. At each
gate the right spells must be uttered to subdue the evil powers, and so
pass through with the sun. The older beliefs in Seker, the god of the
silent land, and Osiris, the king of the blessed world, are fitted in
to the newer system by allotting some hours to these other realms as a
part of the solar journey. A variant of this work is the _Book of
Gates_, describing the gates of the hours, but omitting Seker and
making Osiris more important. These books represent the fashionable
doctrines of the kings in the Ramesside times, and are mainly known
from the royal tombs on which they are inscribed.
Another branch of the sacred books survives in the formal theology of
the schools which grouped gods together in trinities or enneads. These
were certainly very ancient, having been formed under the Heliopolitan
supremacy before the rise of the first dynasty. And if the artificial
co-ordinating of the gods of varied sources is thus ancient, we have a
glimpse of the much greater age of the Osiride gods, and still further
of the primitive gods Seb and Nut, and the earliest worship of animals.
{80} The great ennead of Heliopolis consisted of Shu, Tefnut, Seb, Nut,
Osiris, Isis, Set, Nebhat, and Horus; there were also secondary and
tertiary enneads of lesser gods. When the sun-god Atmu became
prominent, Horus was omitted and the eight other gods were called
children of Atmu, who headed the group, as in the Pyramid texts. The
nine are not composed of three triads, but of four pairs and a leader.
This is on the same type as the four pairs of elemental gods at
Hermopolis under the chief god Tahuti. The triads were usual at most
cities, but were in many cases clearly of artificial arrangement, in
order to follow a type, the deities being of very unequal importance.
At Thebes, Amon, Mut, and Khonsu; at Memphis, Ptah, Sekhet, and the
deified man Imhotep; and in general Osiris, Isis, and Horus, were the
principal triads.
{81}

CHAPTER XIII

PRIVATE WORSHIP

A people so deeply imbued with religious ideas as the Egyptians
doubtless carried their habits of worship beyond the temple gates. But
unfortunately we have no graphic or connected view of their private
devotions. At the present day a few natives will scrupulously follow
the daily ritual of Islam; many keep up some convenient portion, such
as the religious aspect of an evening bath after the day’s work; but
most of the peasantry have little or no religious observances. Perhaps
the average of mankind does not differ very greatly, in various
countries, in its extent of religious observance: and most likely the
ancient Egyptian varied in usages much like the modern.
The funeral offerings for the deceased ancestors certainly filled a
large place in observances; the drink offerings poured out upon the
altar in the {82} chapel, and the cakes brought for the _ka_ to feed
upon, were the main expression of family piety. How serious were such
services is seen by their expansion into endowments for great tombs,
extending to the great temples and priesthoods for the kings. The
eldest son was the sacrificing priest for his progenitors, as in China
and India at present; he was called the _an-mut-f_, or ‘support of his
mother,’ and is figured as leading the worship in the adoration of
deceased kings. But all the sons took part in the sacrifices, and
trapped the birds (_Medum_, x, xiii), or slaughtered the ox for the
_ka_ of their father. Such family sacrifices were the occasions of
social feasts and family reunions; of later times the remains of the
feasts were found strewing the cemetery at Hawara in the tomb chapels;
and to this day both Copts and Mohammedans hold family feasts and spend
the night at the tombs of their ancestors.
All offerings were considered to be presented only by the king, as the
great high-priest of all the land. Every formula of offering began
‘May the king give an offering’; and the figure of the king making the
offering, while the offerer stands behind him, is actually shown as
late as the eighteenth dynasty.
{83}
The primitive belief in the tree-goddess, the Hathor who dwelt in the
thick sycomore tree, and showered sycomore figs abundantly on her
devotees, was a popular worship. It was by no means bound up with the
tomb service, as in one case a red recess in a dwelling room had a
panel picture at the top of it showing the tree goddess giving
blessings to her worshipper (_Ramesseum_, xx).
The latter instance gives the meaning of a curious domestic feature in
the well-to-do houses of the bureaucracy at Tell-el-Amarna. In the
central hall of the house was a recess in the wall painted bright red.
It varied from twenty-three to fifty-one inches wide, and was at least
five or six feet high. Sometimes there is an inner recess in the
middle twenty-five to thirty-three inches wide. From the religious
scene over such a recess it seems that these were the foci for family
worship.
The abundance of little statuettes of gods of glazed pottery, and often
of bronze, silver, and even of gold, show how common was the custom of
wearing such devotional objects. Children especially wore figures of
Bes, and less commonly Taurt, the protecting genii of childhood.
Another feature of popular religion was the {84} harvest festival. The
grain was heaped, the winnowing shovels and rakes stuck upright in it,
and then holding up the boards (which were used to scrape up the grain)
in each hand, adoration was paid to Rannut, the serpent-goddess of the
harvest.
The observance of lucky and unlucky days was prevalent. The fragment
of a calendar shows each day marked good or evil, or triply good or
evil.
The household amulets in the prehistoric days were the great serpent
stones with figures of the coiled serpent; much suggesting an earlier
use of large ammonites. In later times the image of Horus subduing the
powers of evil seems to have been the protective figure of the house.
When we reach Roman times we have a fuller view of the popular worship
in the terra-cotta figures. At Ehnasya, for instance, we find the
following proportions–five of Serapis, five Isis, twenty-four Horus,
four Bes, one goddess of palm trees. It was especially the worship of
Horus that was developed in this line. The kind of shrines used in the
houses are also shown by the terra-cottas. These were wooden framed
cupboards, with doors below, over them a recess between two pillars to
hold the image, and a lamp burning {85} before it, and the whole
crowned with a cornice of uræi. Smaller little lamp holders were also
made to hang up, and very possibly to place with a lamp on a grave. At
present mud hutches are made to place lamps in on holy sites in Egypt.
The terra-cottas have also preserved the forms of the wayside shrines.
These were certainly influenced in their architecture by Greek models,
but the idea is probably much older. The shrines were sometimes a
little chamber, with a domed top, like a modern _wely_ or saint’s tomb,
or sometimes a roof on four pillars with a dwarf wall or lattice work
around three sides. Such were the places for wayside devotions and
passing prayers, as among the Egyptians of the present day.
{86}

CHAPTER XIV

EGYPTIAN ETHICS

Fortunately we have preserved to us a considerable body of the maxims
of conduct from the Pyramid times; and these show very practically what
were the ideals and the motives of the early people. This is only a
small side of the present subject, but it will be found fully stated in
_Religion and Conscience in Ancient Egypt_.
The repudiation of sins before the judgment of Osiris is the earliest
code of morals, and it is striking that in this there are no family
duties. Such an exclusion points to the family being unimportant in
early times, the matriarchate perhaps then excluding the responsibility
of the man. In the earliest form the prominence of duties is in the
order of those to equals, to inferiors, to gods, and to the man’s own
character. In later times the duties to inferiors have almost
vanished, and the inner duties to character are {87} greatly extended,
being felt to lie at the root of all else.
The ideal character was drawn in the maxims as being strong, steadfast,
commanding, direct, self-respecting, avoiding inferior companionships,
active, and above all truthful and straightforward. Discretion,
quietness, and reserve were enforced, and a dignified endurance without
pride was to be attained.
In material things energy and self-reliance were held up, and a
judicious respect for, and imitation of, successful men. Covetousness
was specially reprobated, and luxury and self-indulgence were looked on
as a course which ends in bitterness.
The aspect of marriage depended essentially on property. Where a woman
had property of her own she was mistress of the house, and her husband
was but a kind of permanent boarder. Though in early times, and among
the priestesses later, the choice by a woman was scarcely regarded as
permanent. Where, however, the household depended on the work of the
man, he naturally took the leading part. But the code of abstract
morality, and the dictates of common prudence, between men and women,
were of as high a standard as in any ancient or modern peoples. No
reasonable legislator would wish to {88} add more, although six
thousand years and Christianity have intervened since the Egyptian
framed his life. The family sense of duty in training and advancing a
man’s sons was strongly urged.
In the general interchange of social life perhaps the main feature was
that of consideration for others. A higher standard of good feeling
and kindliness existed than any that we know of among ancient peoples,
or among most modern nations. The council-hall of the local ruler was
the main theatre for ability; and the injunctions to be fearless, and
at the same time gentle and cautious, would improve the character of
any modern assembly. The greater number of precepts however relate to
the judicious conduct toward inferiors. Justice and good discipline
were the necessary basis, but they were to be always tempered by
respect for the feelings and comfort of the servants.
The religious aspect of ethics was almost confined to the respect for
the property and offerings of the gods. But the more spiritual side
was touched in the precept, ‘That which is detestable in the sanctuary
of god are noisy feasts; if thou implore him with a loving heart, of
which all the words are mysterious, he will do thy {89} matters, he
hears thy words, he accepts thine offerings.’
The permanence of the Egyptian character will strike any one who knows
the modern native. The essential mode of justification in the judgment
was by the declaration of the deceased that he had not done various
crimes; and to this day the Egyptian will rely on justifying himself by
sheer assertion that he has not done wrong, in face of absolute proofs
to the contrary. The main fault of character that was condemned was
covetousness, and it is the feeling which wrecks the possibility of
Egyptian independence at present. The intrusion of scheming underlings
between the master and his men is noted as a failing; and exactly this
trouble continually occurs now, when every servant tries to turn his
position to an advantage over those who do business with his master.
The dominance of the scribe in managing affairs and making profits was
familiar in ancient as in modern times. And recent events in Egypt
have reminded us of the old fickleness shown in the saying, ‘Thy
entering into a village begins with acclamations; at thy going out thou
art saved by thy hand.’
{90}

CHAPTER XV

THE INFLUENCE OF EGYPT

How far Egypt in its earlier days had influenced the faiths of other
countries we cannot trace, owing to our ignorance of the early
civilisations of the world. But in the later times the extension of
the popular religion of Egypt can only be paralleled by the spread of
Christianity or Islam. Isis was worshipped in Greece in the fourth
century B.C., and in Italy in the second century. Soon after she won
her way into official recognition by Sulla, and immediately after the
death of Julius a temple to Isis was actually erected by the
government. Once firmly established in Rome, the spread of Imperial
power carried her worship over the world; emperors became her priests,
and the humble centurion in remote camps honoured her in the wilds of
France, Germany, Yorkshire, or the Sahara.
Not only Isis but also Osiris claimed the world’s {91} worship. In the
new form of the Osir-hapi of Memphis, or Serapis, the Ptolemies
identified him with Zeus, both in appearance and by attributes. And,
by the time of Nero, Isis and Osiris were said to be the deities of all
the world. An interesting outline of this subject will be found in
Professor Dill’s _Roman Society from Nero to Aurelius_.
Besides these parent gods their son Horus also conquered the world with
them. Isis and Horus, the Queen of Heaven and the Holy Child, became
the popular deities of the later age of Egypt, and their figures far
outnumber those of all other gods. Horus in every form of infancy was
the loved _bambino_ of the Egyptian women. Again Horus appears carried
on the arm of his mother in a form which is indistinguishable from that
adopted by Christianity soon after.
We see, then, throughout the Roman world the popular worship of the
Queen of Heaven, _Mater Dolorosa_, Mother of God, patroness of sailors,
and her infant son Horus the child, the benefactor of men, who took
captive all the powers of evil. And this worship spread and increased
in Egypt and elsewhere until the growing power of Christianity
compelled a change. The old worship continued; for the Syrian maid
became {92} transformed into an entirely different figure, Queen of
Heaven, Mother of God, patroness of sailors, occupying the position and
attributes already belonging to the world-wide goddess; and the Divine
Teacher, the Man of Sorrows, became transformed into the entirely
different figure of the Potent Child. Isis and Horus still ruled the
affections and worship of Europe with a change of names.
Egypt also exercised an immense influence upon the Church in the
Trinitarian controversy. That was a purely Egyptian dispute, between
two presbyters brought up in the atmosphere of intricacies about the
_ka_, the _khu_, the _khat_, the _ba_, the _sahu_, the _khaybat_, and
the various other entities which constituted man. To carry forward
similar refinements concerning the Divine Nature was as congenial to
such minds as it was incomprehensible to the Western. And the dispute
finally rested on the question of whether ‘before time’ was the same as
‘from eternity.’ Such was the struggle which Arius and Athanasius
thrust upon the Church; a dispute which would never have been heard of
in such a shape but for their Egyptian origin.
In another direction Egypt was also dominant. From some
source–perhaps the Buddhist mission {93} of Asoka–the ascetic life of
recluses was established in the Ptolemaic times, and monks of the
Serapeum illustrated an ideal to man which had been as yet unknown in
the West. This system of monasticism continued, until Pachomios, a
monk of Serapis in Upper Egypt, became the first Christian monk in the
reign of Constantine. Quickly imitated in Syria, Asia Minor, Gaul, and
other provinces, as well as in Italy itself, the system passed into a
fundamental position in mediaeval Christianity, and the reverence of
mankind has been for fifteen hundred years bestowed on an Egyptian
institution.
We thus see how the religious ideas of six thousand years or more have
still survived and continued their power over civilised man, renamed
but scarcely changed; and it is shown how new religious ideas can but
transform, but not eradicate, the ancestral beliefs of past ages.
{94}
INDEX
Bolded page numbers refer to bolded entries on their target page(s).
AAHMES, 42.
_Ab_, represented by heart, 9.
—- the will, 9.
Abusir, temple to Ra, 51.
Akhenaten, 54.
Amen, 51, 68.
Amenhotep III, serpent at Benha, 21.
Amon, +47+.
—- goose, 25.
—- ram, 23, 30, 53.
Amulets developed in XXVI, 17.
Anaitis. _See_ Anta.
Anher, 55, 65.
Animal-headed gods, 28.
Animal worship, 20.
_Ankh_ held by Maat, 60.
Anpu. _See_ Anubis.
Anqet, 63.
Ansar, 65.
Anta, 64.
Anubis, jackal, 24, +35+.
Apap, serpent, 26.
Apis, 23, 72.
Asar. _See_ Osiris.
Asari, 65.
Aset. _See_ Isis.
Ashtaroth, 23, +64+, 65.
Asir. _See_ Osiris.
Astarte. _See_ Ashtaroth.
Astharth. _See_ Ashtaroth.
Aten, 54.
Athtar, 65.
Atmu, 51, 53, 68, 80.
_Ba_, associated with _Sahu_, 9.
—- human-headed bird, 9.
—- in Book of the Dead, 78.
—- requires food, 9, 13.
Baal, 64.
Baboon (Tahuti), 22.
Bant-anta, 64.
Bast, lioness, 22, 33, 62.
Bastet, 33.
Benha, agathodemon serpent, 21.
Bēs, 62.
—- children wear figures of, 83.
Body not preserved in early times, 16.
Bones preserved in prehistoric times, 18.
Book of Am Duat, 78.
Book of the Dead, 37, 38, +76-78+.
Book of Gates, 79.
Bubastis, 22.
Buddhist mission, 92.
Bull, eaten by worshippers, 20.
—- worship, 22, 23.
Burial, offerings, 7.
—- position of body, 7.
Buto, 42.
Byblos, Osiris’s coffin at, 39.
COMPOUND NAMES OF GODS, 28.
Cobra, 25.
Crocodile, 25.
_Dad_, 68.
Dedun, 63.
Demons, 5.
Dendereh, 63.
EARTH, creation of, 67.
Edfu, hawk-worship, 24, 45.
Ekhmim, 59.
Eldest son offers to ancestors, 82.
Entities, two vitalise the body, 8.
Eye of Horus, 46.
FATES, seven Hat-hors, 60.
Fayum, crocodile worship, 25, 72.
Fish worship, 26.
Frog, Heqt, 34.
Future life, 12.
GOD, Christian view of, 5.
—- Hebrew view of, 6.
—- jealous, 5, 54.
—- view of, held by Islam, 5.
Gods, Chinese views of, 3.
—- communications from, 3.
—- divine, merged in human, 3.
—- great gods, 3, 5.
—- grouped owing to political unions, 5.
—- misunderstanding of, 1.
—- mortality of, 2.
—- non-existence of other, 5.
—- offerings to, 2.
—- one to a city, 4.
—- profusion of, 3.
—- Siberian views of, 3.
—- suffering of, 2.
—- Sumerian views of, 3, 65.
—- Turanian views of, 3, 4.
—- wife of, 2.
HARMAKHIS, 46.
Hat-hor, +60+.
—- cow, 23.
—- Sinai temple, 22.
—- tree goddess, 13, 83.
_Hati_, the physical heart, 9.
Hapi, +56+.
—- bull, 23.
Hawk, 24.
Heart, weighed against feather, 14.
_Heh_, 61.
Heqt, 34.
Heliopolis, associated with Ra, 18, 51, 52.
Hermopolis, 32, 61.
Hershefi, ram, 23, 34.
Heru. _See_ Horus.
Hierakonpolis, boats, 18.
—- hawk-worship, 24, 45.
Hippopotamus, 24.
Hittite god Sutekh akin to Set, 64.
—- goddess Anta, 64.
Horus, +35+, +44+, 91.
—- hawk, 24.
—- overcomes noxious creatures, 27, 46.
—- Ra’s eyes obtained for, 10.
—- a self-existent god, 4.
—- stands on _nub_, 46.
—- supersedes Set, 34.
Hyksos, 42.
IBIS, Tahuti, 25.
Ichneumon, 24.
Immortality, Egyptian belief in, 7.
Isis, +43+, 90-92.
—- ennead of Heliopolis, 80.
—- obtains name of Ra, 10.
—- virgin goddess, 4.
Isit. _See_ Isis.
Istar, 65.
Italy and Isis worship, 44, 90.
JACKAL, 24.
_Ka_, the activities of sense and perception, 7.
—- funeral offerings made for, 8, 13, 73, 82.
—- persistence after death, 8.
—- represented by arms, 8.
Karnak, Amon, god of, 47.
Kak, 61.
_Khat_, the material body, 9.
_Khaybat_, the shadow, 9.
—- and witchcraft, 11.
Khent-amenti, god of the dead, 16.
Khonsu, 48.
Khepera, 54.
Khu, represented as a crested bird, 8.
—- the spirit, 7.
Khnumu, +32+.
—- the creator, 32, 67, 68.
—- ram, 23, 32.
Kings’ souls as hawks, 24.
Kings pledged to Ra, 50.
Koptos, 59.
LATOS, 26.
Lepidotos, 26.
Letopolis, Horus, god of, 45.
Lioness, 22.
Libyan people’s goddess was Neit, 48.
MAAT, +60+.
—- figure of, presented to the god, 71.
—- her worship retained by Akhenaten, 60.
Mahes, lioness, 22.
Marriage, aspect of, 87.
Memphis, Ptah worship, 58.
Mena, ibis on tablet, 33.
Mentu, +33+.
—- bull, 23.
Merastrot, 64.
Merneit, 48.
Mert-Seger, +31+.
—- —- serpent, 26.
Milky Way the heavenly Nile, 14.
Min, 59.
Monastic system, 93.
Monotheism, combinations of, 4.
Mosaism, 5.
Mummifying customary in III and IV dyn., 17.
Mut, +48+.
—- vulture, 25.
NAME=_ran_, 10.
—- power of, 10.
Neb-hat, 43. _See_ Nephthys.
Neit, +48+, 62.
Nefertum, 61.
Nekhebt, +32+.
_Nenu_, 61.
Nephthys, +44+, 80.
Nilopolis, worship of Hapi, 57.
_Nu_, 61.
Nut, 55, 67, 79, 80.
OBELISK, emblem of Ra, 51.
On. _See_ Heliopolis.
Onuphis, crocodile worship, 25.
Osiris, +37+.
—- creator, 68.
Osiris in sacred Books, 78-80.
—- kings called, so, 18.
—- ram-worship, 23.
Osirian Kingdom, 13, 78.
—- —- employment in, 14.
—- —- predominant in XXVI dyn., 18.
—- —- situation of, 14.
—- —- slave figures do the work, 15.
Oxyrhynkhos, 26.
PAN identified with Min, 69.
Phagros, 26.
Plutarch, 38.
Polytheism, 5.
Prayer, positive rather than negative, 11.
Priests, titles of, 74, 75.
Ptah, +58+.
—- bull, 23.
—- creator, 67.
Pyramid inscriptions, Osiris, 18.
—- —- Ra, 18.
QEDESH, 64.
RA, 50.
—- bull, 23.
—- combined with Amon, 46.
—- eyes obtained by Isis, 10.
—- hawk, 24.
—- predominant in XIX, 18.
—- progress of, 15.
Ram-worship, 23.
_Ran_, the name, 10.
Rannut, serpent, 26, 84.
Red Sea, Min from, 59.
Religion, purpose of, 11.
Reseph, 64.
Reshpu, 64.
Ritual, 70.
_Sa_, 73.
Safekh, 61.
Sahit, associated with the _ba_, 9.
Sais, Neit worshipped at, 49.
Sati, 63.
Scorpion, 26.
Seb, 55, 67, 79, 80.
Sebek, 25, 34.
Seker, +31+.
—- god of silent land, 79.
—- mummified hawk, 24.
—- united with Ptah, 59.
_Sekhem_, the force or ruling power, 9.
Sekhet, lioness, 22.
Sekhmet, +33+.
Self-satisfaction of Egyptian religion, 11, 89.
Selk, scorpion, 26.
Senusert I., 51.
Serapis, 23, 91.
Serpent, amulet, prehistoric, 21.
—- —- of Amenhotep III, 21.
—- at Epidaurus, 72.
—- cobra, 25-26.
Set, +34+.
—- crocodile, 25.
—- ennead of Heliopolis, 80.
—- god of Asiatic invaders, 41.
—- hippopotamus, 24.
Shamanism, 3.
Sheykh Heridy, serpent, 26.
Shrewmouse, 24.
Shrines, 70, 80.
Shu, 56, 67, 80.
Sistrum in form of Hathor head, 60.
Sopdu, +55+.
—- a mummy hawk, 25.
Soul, continues near cemetery, 12.
—- goes to Osirian Kingdom, 13.
—- journeys in sun-boat, 15.
Speos Artemidos, 22.
Sphinx represents a king, 30.
Strabo, 25.
Sumerian gods, 65.
Sutekh, 63.
Swallow, sacred, 25.
Syria, Osiris’ Kingdom in, 14.
TAHUTI (_see_ Thōth), baboon, +32+.
—- god of wisdom, 22.
—- Ibis, 25, 32.
Ta-urt, children wear figures of, 83.
—- a foreign goddess, 62.
—- hippopotamus, +24+.
Tefnut, lioness, 22.
Theology of Aryans, 4.
—- of Chinese, 4.
—- compound, 5.
—- definition of, 3.
Theology, Monotheism first stage of, 4.
—- of Semitic races, 4.
Thinis, 55.
Thōth (_see_ Tahuti), god of writing, 32.
—- creator, 67.
—- in Osirian Kingdom, 14.
Totemism and animal-worship, 20.
Triads, 79, 80.
Tum. _See_ Atmu.
UAZET, 26, +32+.
—- serpent, 26.
VULTURE, 25.
WITCHCRAFT, 3.
Worship of Egypt spread over the world, 90-93.
Printed by T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty
at the Edinburgh University Press
RELIGIONS: ANCIENT AND MODERN.
ANIMISM.
By EDWARD CLODD, Author of _The Story of Creation_.
PANTHEISM.
By JAMES ALLANSON PICTON, Author of _The Religion of the Universe_.
THE RELIGIONS OF ANCIENT CHINA.
By Professor GILES, LL.D., Professor of Chinese in the University of
Cambridge.
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT GREECE.
By JANE HARRISON, Lecturer at Newnham College, Cambridge, Author
_Prolegomena to Study of Greek Religion_.
ISLAM IN INDIA.
By T. W. ARNOLD, Assistant Librarian at the India Office, Author of
_The Preaching of Islam_.
ISLAM.
By SYED AMEER ALI. M.A., C.I.E., late of H.M.’s High Court of
Judicature in Bengal, Author of _The Spirit of Islam_ and _The Ethics
of Islam_.
MAGIC AND FETISHISM.
By Dr. A. C. HADDON, F.R.S., Lecturer on Ethnology at Cambridge
University.
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT EGYPT.
By Professor W. M. FLINDERS PETRIE, F.R.S.
THE RELIGION OF BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA.
By THEOPHILUS G. PINCHES, late of the British Museum.
BUDDHISM. 2 vols.
By Professor RHYS DAVIDS, LL.D., late Secretary of The Royal Asiatic
Society.
HINDUISM.
By Dr. L. D. BARNETT, of the Department of Oriental Printed Books and
MSS., British Museum.
SCANDINAVIAN RELIGION.
By WILLIAM A. CRAIGIE, Joint Editor of the _Oxford English Dictionary_.
CELTIC RELIGION.
By Professor ANWYL, Professor of Welsh at University College,
Aberystwyth.
THE MYTHOLOGY OF ANCIENT BRITAIN AND IRELAND.
By CHARLES SQUIRE, Author of _The Mythology of the British Islands_.
JUDAISM.
By ISRAEL ABRAHAMS, Lecturer in Talmudic Literature in Cambridge
University, Author of _Jewish Life in the Middle Ages_.
PRIMITIVE OR NICENE CHRISTIANITY.
By JOHN SUTHERLAND BLACK, LL.D., Joint Editor of the _Encyclopaedia
Biblica_.
SHINTOISM.
ZOROASTRIANISM.
MEDIAEVAL CHRISTIANITY.
THE RELIGION OF ANCIENT ITALY.
Other Volumes to follow.