Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments in agriculture, writing urbanization, central government and organized religion before most nations of the world. Given this history, the Afro-Asiatic country remains a force to reckon with in the history books.
Also, given its religious culture, Ancient Egypt had gods for almost everything. Ranging from chores to dangers, there was a god to be worshiped in order to keep life in balance.
It is said Ancient Egypt believed in more than 2000 gods. Some of these gods, include Sobek, Hapi, Anubis, Bes, Tefnut, and Ra, among others. This article will focus on Ra, the god of the sun. If you want to know more about him, read on.
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Egypt As a Country
It is said to be Afro-Asian because it borders Asia in the southwest and Africa in the northwest, which makes it a transcontinental country. It is famous for its beautiful beaches, hotels, famous monuments, such as the Giza pyramid, Great Sphinx and Luxor temples.
Also, Egypt has beautiful weather that is neither too cold nor too hot, which is ideal for tourists. Other activities to enjoy include diving and snorkeling along the red sea, touring the remote oases, Coptic monasteries and climbing Mount Sinai, among other activities.
Ancient Egypt civilization became successful partly because it adapted to the River Nile conditions which favor agriculture and tourism. Adopting irrigation measures produced surplus crops for commercial and domestic use.
Ra, the Sun God
He became among the most important gods during the 24th Centuries BC. He was identified largely as the god of the noon sun. He was believed to rule in most parts of the world; the earth, sky and the underworld.
This made him the god of the sun, kings, order and the sky. He is described as a falcon that shares characteristics with Horus, the god of the sky.
Ra is believed to have created all forms of life. Some accounts say humans were created from Ra’s tears and sweat, the reason Egyptians call themselves “cattle of Ra“. Ra is believed to have had a number of religious roles depending on the part of the created world he ruled.
The Sun As a Creator
The sun controls the ripening of crops planted by man, and it is the giver of life. Due to these life giving roles, Egyptians revered the sun as a god. Ra or the sun was worshiped as the representation of life, creator of the universe and giver of life.
Since people worshiped Ra as a principal god, he had a strong power on them. This made him the widely worshiped god in Egypt and was even named “king of the gods”.
Ra had many representations in name and form. They include that of a man with a falcon head, Atum (when he existed alone in a watery mass), among others. It is believed in the beginning, Atum existed alone in a watery mass in Nun.
In the Underworld
Ra was believed to travel on two solar barques, with the help of his boats. They are Mandjet, also known as the boat of million years or morning boat and the evening boat (Mesektet).
These boats would take Ra through the sky and the underworld, sometimes called Duat. As Ra drove his Mesektet, he was in his ram-headed form while he was accompanied by other gods as he rode his sun boat. In the underworld, he would visit all his different forms.
Ra is often represented as a man that has a falcon head. This is due to his amalgamation with another sky god, Horus. He has a solar disc with a cobra on top of his head.
According to a number of myths, the solar disc represents the eye of Ra. Ra’s chief cultic center was Lunu, which today is in the suburbs of Cairo.
Ra was considered one of the major gods of Ancient Egypt. This is because he is believed to be the source and giver of life. Some myths believe humans were created out of Ra’s sweat and tears hence Egyptians refer to themselves as “cattle of Ra”.