Egyptian Gods, Temples,
Ancient Egyptians had a large number of gods, who often
appeared as human, animal, or a combination of the two, as
in these temple carvings. Sobek was the crocodile-headed
god, while the more important Horus was the falcon-headed
god the sky. The Pharaohs were gods as well.
Here is the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who broke with the old system
to worship only a single god representing the sun. His heresy
died with him, as all the traditional gods returned.
The Colossi of Memnon were guardians of Akhenaten's
Funeral Temple. They remain, but the temple is completely
gone, along with nearly everything else Akhenaten built.
Queen Nefertiti, Akhenaten's wife, now enjoys great fame
thanks to this single statue, which I photographed in
Berlin's Egyptian Museum.
Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC, and the
Greeks became the last Pharaohs, under the Ptolemy Dynasty
founded by one of Alexander's generals. This temple carving
shows a Ptolemy Pharaoh with two Egyptian goddesses. The
Greeks fully embraced their responsibilities as Pharaohs,
building new temples to worship Ancient Egyptian gods.
These relatively modern temples, built in the traditional
Egyptian style, are remarkably well preserved. This is
Temple of Philae, grandest of them all from this period. It
was dedicated to the Goddess Isis, who now narrates the
Philae sound and light show. Even after the Romans took
over from Cleopatra, the last Ptolemy Pharaoh, Rome also
helped to build this temple and maintain the ancient gods.
Everything changed when Rome embraced Christianity.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free video of Egypt by clicking on:
King Tut, Ramses, and Me