A funeral is a ceremony connected with the burial, cremation, or interment of a corpse, or the burial with the attendant observances. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember and respect the dead, from interment, to various monuments and rituals undertaken in their honor. Customs vary between religious groups. Common secular motivations for funerals include mourning the deceased, celebrating their life, offering support and sympathy to the bereaved; the funeral includes a ritual through which the corpse receives a final dispositon. Depending on culture and religion, these can involve either the destruction of the body or its preservation. Differing beliefs about cleanliness and the relationship between body and soul are reflected in funerary practices. A memorial service or celebration of life is a funerary ceremony, performed without the remains of the deceased person; the word funeral comes from the Latin funus, which had a variety of meanings, including the corpse and the funerary rites themselves.
Funerary art is art produced in connection with burials, including many kinds of tombs, objects specially made for burial like flowers with a corpse. Funeral rites are as old as human culture itself, pre-dating modern Homo sapiens and dated to at least 300,000 years ago. For example, in the Shanidar Cave in Iraq, in Pontnewydd Cave in Wales and at other sites across Europe and the Near East, archaeologists have discovered Neanderthal skeletons with a characteristic layer of flower pollen; this deliberate burial and reverence given to the dead has been interpreted as suggesting that Neanderthals had religious beliefs, although the evidence is not unequivocal – while the dead were buried deliberately, burrowing rodents could have introduced the flowers. Substantial cross-cultural and historical research document funeral customs as a predictable, stable force in communities. Funeral customs tend to be characterized by five "anchors": significant symbols, gathered community, ritual action, cultural heritage, transition of the dead body.
Funerals in the Bahá'í Faith are characterized by not embalming, a prohibition against cremation, using a chrysolite or hardwood casket, wrapping the body in silk or cotton, burial not farther than an hour from the place of death, placing a ring on the deceased's finger stating, "I came forth from God, return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate." The Bahá'í funeral service contains the only prayer that's permitted to be read as a group - congregational prayer, although most of the prayer is read by one person in the gathering. The Bahá'í decedent controls some aspects of the Bahá'í funeral service, since leaving a will and testament is a requirement for Bahá'ís. Since there is no Bahá'í clergy, services are conducted under the guise, or with the assistance of, a Local Spiritual Assembly. A Buddhist funeral marks the transition from one life to the next for the deceased, it reminds the living of their own mortality. Christian burials occur on consecrated ground.
Burial, rather than a destructive process such as cremation, was the traditional practice amongst Christians, because of the belief in the resurrection of the body. Cremations came into widespread use, although some denominations forbid them; the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said "The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed. Congregations of varied denominations perform different ceremonies, but most involve offering prayers, scripture reading from the Bible, a sermon, homily, or eulogy, music. One issue of concern as the 21st century began was with the use of secular music at Christian funerals, a custom forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church. Antyesti "last rites or last sacrifice", refers to the rite-of-passage rituals associated with a funeral in Hinduism, it is sometimes referred to as Antya-kriya, Anvarohanyya, or Vahni Sanskara. A dead adult Hindu is cremated, while a dead child is buried; the rite of passage is said to be performed in harmony with the sacred premise that the microcosm of all living beings is a reflection of a macrocosm of the universe.
The soul is believed to be the immortal essence, released at the Antyeshti ritual, but both the body and the universe are vehicles and transitory in various schools of Hinduism. They consist of five elements: air, fire and space; the last rite of passage returns the body to the five origins. The roots of this belief are found in the Vedas, for example in the hymns of Rigveda in section 10.16, as follows, The final rites of a burial, in case of untimely death of a child, is rooted in Rig Veda's section 10.18, where the hymns mourn the death of the child, praying to deity Mrityu to "neither harm our girls nor our boys", pleads the earth to cover, protect the deceased child as a soft wool. Among Hindus, the dead body is cremated within a day of death; the body is washed, wrapped in white cloth for a man or a widow, red for a married woman, the two toes tied together with a string, a Tilak placed on the forehead. The dead adult's body is carried to the cremation ground near a river or water, by family and friends, placed on a pyr
Jackals are medium-sized omnivorous mammals of the genus Canis, which includes wolves and the domestic dog. While the word "jackal" has been used for many small canids, in modern use it most refers to three species: the related black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal of sub-Saharan Africa, the golden jackal of south-central Eurasia, more related to other members of the genus Canis. Jackals and coyotes are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers, their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals and reptiles, their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h for extended periods of time. Jackals are most active at dawn and dusk, their most common social unit is a monogamous pair, which defends its territory from other pairs by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with their urine and feces.
The territory may be large enough to hold some young adults, which stay with their parents until they establish their own territories. Jackals may assemble in small packs, for example, to scavenge a carcass, but they hunt either alone or in pairs; the English word "jackal" dates back to 1600 and derives from the French chacal, derived from the Persian شغال shoghāl, in turn derived from the Sanskrit सृगाल sṛgālaḥ meaning "the howler". Similarities between jackals and coyotes led Lorenz Oken, in the third volume of his Lehrbuch der Naturgeschichte, to place these species into a new separate genus, named after the classical Greek word θώς "jackal", but his theory had little immediate impact on taxonomy at the time. Angel Cabrera, in his 1932 monograph on the mammals of Morocco, questioned whether or not the presence of a cingulum on the upper molars of the jackals and its corresponding absence in the rest of Canis could justify a subdivision of that genus. In practice, Cabrera chose the undivided-genus alternative and referred to the jackals as Canis instead of Thos.
Oken's Thos theory was revived in 1914 by Edmund Heller. Heller's names and the designations he gave to various jackal species and subspecies live on in current taxonomy, although the genus has been changed from Thos to Canis; the wolf-like canids are a group of large carnivores that are genetically related because they all have 78 chromosomes. The group includes genus Canis and Lycaon; the members are the dog, gray wolf, golden jackal, Ethiopian wolf, black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal and African wild dog. The latest recognized member is the African golden wolf, once thought to be an African branch of the golden jackal; as they possess 78 chromosomes, all members of the genus Canis are karyologically indistinguishable from each other, from the dhole and the African hunting dog. The two African jackals are shown to be the most basal members of this clade, indicating the clade's origin from Africa. Canis arnensis arrived in Mediterranean Europe 1.9 million years ago and is the ancestor of modern jackals.
The paraphyletic nature of Canis with respect to Lycaon and Cuon has led to suggestions that the two African jackals should be assigned to different genera, Schaeffia for the side-striped jackal and Lupulella for the black-backed jackal or Lupulella for both. The intermediate size and shape of the Ethiopian wolf has at times led it to be regarded as a jackal, thus it has been called the "red jackal" or the "Simien jackal". Experiments in Germany with breeding poodles and golden jackals have produced hybrids; the results showed that, unlike wolf–dog hybrids, jackal–dog hybrids show a decrease in fertility, significant communication problems, an increase of genetic disorders after three generations of interbreeding, much like coydogs. In Russia, golden jackals are one of the founder breeds of the Sulimov dog, a working dog owned by Aeroflot and used for bomb detection in airport security. Like foxes and coyotes, jackals are depicted as clever sorcerers in the myths and legends of their regions.
Anubis is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion. The jackal is mentioned 14 times in the Bible, it is used as a literary device to illustrate desolation and abandonment, with reference to its habit of living in the ruins of former cities and other areas abandoned by humans. It is called "wild dog" in several translations of the Bible. Serer religion and creation myth posits the jackal was among the first animals created by Roog, the supreme deity of the Serer people. Pablo Neruda's poem "I Explain a Few Things" describes Francisco Franco and his allies as "... Jackals that the jackal would drive off...". In Rudyard Kipling's collection of stories The Jungle Book, the mad cowardly golden jackal Tabaqui is a companion of Shere Khan. In the King James translation of the Bible, Isaiah 13:21 refers to'doleful creatures', which some commentators suggest are either jackals or hyenas. Literature in India and Pakistan compares jackal with lion in terms of courage.
A famous saying is "One day life of a lion is better than a hundred years life of a jackal". Several jackals are featured prominently throughout the Swiss Family Robinson. The'Jackal' is the famed nickname of Adrius au Au
A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but meaningful clothes, but the idea has been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word tradition itself derives from the Latin tradere meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time. Various academic disciplines use the word in a variety of ways; the phrase "according to tradition", or "by tradition" means that whatever information follows is known only by oral tradition, but is not supported by physical documentation, by a physical artifact, or other quality evidence. Tradition is used to indicate the quality of a piece of information being discussed. For example, "According to tradition, Homer was born on Chios, but many other locales have claimed him as theirs."
This tradition may never be disproven. In another example, "King Arthur, by tradition a true British king, has inspired many well loved stories." Whether they are documented fact or not does not decrease their value as cultural history and literature. Traditions are a subject of study in several academic fields in social sciences such as anthropology and biology; the concept of tradition, as the notion of holding on to a previous time, is found in political and philosophical discourse. For example, it is the basis of the political concept of traditionalism, strands of many world religions including traditional Catholicism. In artistic contexts, tradition is used to decide the correct display of an art form. For example, in the performance of traditional genres, adherence to guidelines dictating how an art form should be composed are given greater importance than the performer's own preferences. A number of factors can exacerbate the loss of tradition, including industrialization and the assimilation or marginalization of specific cultural groups.
In response to this, tradition-preservation attempts have now been started in many countries around the world, focusing on aspects such as traditional languages. Tradition is contrasted with the goal of modernity and should be differentiated from customs, laws, routines and similar concepts; the English word tradition comes from the noun from the verb tradere. According to Anthony Giddens and others, the modern meaning of tradition evolved during the Enlightenment period, in opposition to modernity and progress; as with many other generic terms, there are many definitions of tradition. The concept includes a number of interrelated ideas. Tradition can refer to beliefs or customs that are Prehistoric, with lost or arcane origins, existing from time immemorial. Traditions were passed orally, without the need for a writing system. Tools to aid this process include poetic devices such as alliteration; the stories thus preserved are referred to as tradition, or as part of an oral tradition. Such traditions, are presumed to have originated at some point.
Traditions are presumed to be ancient and important, though they may sometimes be much less "natural" than is presumed. It is presumed that at least two transmissions over three generations are required for a practice, belief or object to be seen as traditional; some traditions were deliberately invented for one reason or another to highlight or enhance the importance of a certain institution. Traditions may be adapted to suit the needs of the day, the changes can become accepted as a part of the ancient tradition. Tradition changes with changes from one generation to the next being seen as significant. Thus, those carrying out the traditions will not be consciously aware of the change, if a tradition undergoes major changes over many generations, it will be seen as unchanged. There are various fields of tradition. Beliefs or customs instituted and maintained by societies and governments, such as national anthems and national holidays, such as Federal holidays in the United States. Beliefs or customs maintained by religious denominations and church bodies that share history, culture, and, to some extent, body of teachings.
For example, one can speak of Christianity's tradition. Many objects and customs can be traditional. Rituals of social interaction can be traditional, with phrases and gestures such as saying "thank you", sending birth announcements, greeting cards, etc. Tradition can refer to larger concepts practiced by groups, organizations or societies, such as the practice of national and public holidays; some of the oldest traditions include citizenship. It can include material objects, such as buildings, works of art or tools. Tradition is used as an adjective
Egypt the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, across the Mediterranean lie Greece and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt. Egypt has one of the longest histories of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 6th–4th millennia BCE. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt saw some of the earliest developments of writing, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of scientific and popular interest. Egypt's long and rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman Turkish, Nubian.
Egypt was an early and important centre of Christianity, but was Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority. From the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century, Egypt was ruled by foreign imperial powers: The Ottoman Empire and the British Empire. Modern Egypt dates back to 1922, when it gained nominal independence from the British Empire as a monarchy. However, British military occupation of Egypt continued, many Egyptians believed that the monarchy was an instrument of British colonialism. Following the 1952 revolution, Egypt expelled British soldiers and bureaucrats and ended British occupation, nationalized the British-held Suez Canal, exiled King Farouk and his family, declared itself a republic. In 1958 it merged with Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which dissolved in 1961. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Egypt endured social and religious strife and political instability, fighting several armed conflicts with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967.
In 1978, Egypt signed the Camp David Accords withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and recognising Israel. The country continues to face challenges, from political unrest, including the recent 2011 revolution and its aftermath, to terrorism and economic underdevelopment. Egypt's current government is a presidential republic headed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, described by a number of watchdogs as authoritarian. Islam is the official religion of Egypt and Arabic is its official language. With over 95 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa, the Middle East, the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa, the fifteenth-most populous in the world; the great majority of its people live near the banks of the Nile River, an area of about 40,000 square kilometres, where the only arable land is found. The large regions of the Sahara desert, which constitute most of Egypt's territory, are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centres of greater Cairo and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
The sovereign state of Egypt is a transcontinental country considered to be a regional power in North Africa, the Middle East and the Muslim world, a middle power worldwide. Egypt's economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East, is projected to become one of the largest in the world in the 21st century. In 2016, Egypt became Africa's second largest economy. Egypt is a founding member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, Arab League, African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. "Miṣr" is the Classical Quranic Arabic and modern official name of Egypt, while "Maṣr" is the local pronunciation in Egyptian Arabic. The name is of Semitic origin, directly cognate with other Semitic words for Egypt such as the Hebrew "מִצְרַיִם"; the oldest attestation of this name for Egypt is the Akkadian "mi-iṣ-ru" related to miṣru/miṣirru/miṣaru, meaning "border" or "frontier". There is evidence of rock carvings in desert oases. In the 10th millennium BCE, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers was replaced by a grain-grinding culture.
Climate changes or overgrazing around 8000 BCE began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralised society. By about 6000 BCE, a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic era, several predynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt; the Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade; the earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the predynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BCE. A unified kingdom was founded c. 3150 BCE
The lion is a species in the family Felidae. The lion is sexually dimorphic. Male lions have a prominent mane, the most recognisable feature of the species. A lion pride consists of related females and cubs. Groups of female lions hunt together, preying on large ungulates; the species is an keystone predator, although they scavenge when opportunities occur. Some lions have been known to hunt humans, although the species does not; the lion inhabits grasslands and savannas but is absent in dense forests. It is more diurnal than other big cats, but when persecuted it adapts to being active at night and at twilight. In the Pleistocene, the lion ranged throughout Eurasia and North America but today it has been reduced to fragmented populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and one critically endangered population in western India, it has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996 because populations in African countries have declined by about 43% since the early 1990s. Lion populations are untenable outside designated protected areas.
Although the cause of the decline is not understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are the greatest causes for concern. One of the most recognised animal symbols in human culture, the lion has been extensively depicted in sculptures and paintings, on national flags, in contemporary films and literature. Lions have been kept in menageries since the time of the Roman Empire and have been a key species sought for exhibition in zoological gardens across the world since the late 18th century. Cultural depictions of lions were prominent in the Upper Paleolithic period; the lion's name, similar in many Romance languages, is derived from Latin: leo and Ancient Greek: λέων. The word lavi may be related. Felis leo was the scientific name used by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, who described the lion in his work Systema Naturae; the genus name Panthera was coined by German naturalist Lorenz Oken in 1816. Between the mid-18th and mid-20th centuries, 26 lion specimens were described and proposed as subspecies, of which 11 were recognised as valid in 2005.
They were distinguished on the basis of appearance and colour of mane. Because these characteristics show much variation between individuals, most of these forms were not true subspecies because they were based upon museum material with "striking, but abnormal" morphological characteristics. Based on the morphology of 58 lion skulls in three European museums, the subspecies krugeri, nubica and senegalensis were assessed distinct but bleyenberghi overlapped with senegalensis and krugeri; the Asiatic lion persica was the most distinctive and the Cape lion had characteristics allying it more with persica than the other sub-Saharan lions. The lion's closest relatives are the other species of the genus Panthera. Results of phylogenetic studies published in 2006 and 2009 indicate that the jaguar and the lion belong to one sister group that diverged about 2.06 million years ago. Results of studies published in 2010 and 2011 indicate that the leopard and the lion belong to the same sister group, which diverged between 1.95 and 3.10 million years ago.
Hybridisation between lion and snow leopard ancestors, may have continued until about 2.1 million years ago. In the 19th and 20th centuries, several lion type specimens were described and proposed as subspecies, with about a dozen recognised as valid taxa until 2017. Between 2008 and 2016, IUCN Red List assessors used only two subspecific names: P. l. leo for African lion populations and P. l. persica for the Asiatic lion population. In 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group revised lion taxonomy, recognises two subspecies based on results of several phylogeographic studies on lion evolution, namely: P. l. leo − the nominate lion subspecies includes the Asiatic lion, the regionally extinct Barbary lion, lion populations in West and northern parts of Central Africa. Synonyms include P. l. persica, P. l. senegalensis, P. l. kamptzi, P. l. azandica. Some authors referred to it as'Northern lion' and'northern subspecies'. P. l. melanochaita − includes the extinct Cape lion and lion populations in East and Southern African regions.
Synonyms include P. l. somaliensis, P. l. massaica, P. l. sabakiensis, P. l. bleyenberghi, P. l. roosevelti, P. l. nyanzae, P. l. hollisteri, P. l. krugeri, P. l. vernayi, P. l. webbiensis. It has been referred to as'southern subspecies'. Early phylogenetic research was focused on East and Southern African lions, showed they can be divided in two main clades. Lions in eastern Kenya are genetically much closer to lions in Southern Africa than to lions in Aberdare National Park in western Kenya. In a subsequent study and bone samples of 32 lion specimens in museums were used. Results indicated lions form
Papyrus is a material similar to thick paper, used in ancient times as a writing surface. It was made from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge. Papyrus can refer to a document written on sheets of such material, joined together side by side and rolled up into a scroll, an early form of a book. Papyrus is first known to have been used in Egypt, as the papyrus plant was once abundant across the Nile Delta, it was used throughout the Mediterranean region and in the Kingdom of Kush. Apart from a writing material, ancient Egyptians employed papyrus in the construction of other artifacts, such as reed boats, rope and baskets. Papyrus was first manufactured in Egypt as far back as the fourth millennium BCE; the earliest archaeological evidence of papyrus was excavated in 2012 and 2013 at Wadi al-Jarf, an ancient Egyptian harbor located on the Red Sea coast. These documents date from c. 2560–2550 BCE. The papyrus rolls describe the last years of building the Great Pyramid of Giza.
In the first centuries BCE and CE, papyrus scrolls gained a rival as a writing surface in the form of parchment, prepared from animal skins. Sheets of parchment were folded to form quires from. Early Christian writers soon adopted the codex form, in the Græco-Roman world, it became common to cut sheets from papyrus rolls to form codices. Codices were an improvement on the papyrus scroll, as the papyrus was not pliable enough to fold without cracking and a long roll, or scroll, was required to create large-volume texts. Papyrus had the advantage of being cheap and easy to produce, but it was fragile and susceptible to both moisture and excessive dryness. Unless the papyrus was of perfect quality, the writing surface was irregular, the range of media that could be used was limited. Papyrus was replaced in Europe by the cheaper, locally produced products parchment and vellum, of higher durability in moist climates, though Henri Pirenne's connection of its disappearance with the Muslim conquest of Egypt is contested.
Its last appearance in the Merovingian chancery is with a document of 692, though it was known in Gaul until the middle of the following century. The latest certain dates for the use of papyrus are 1057 for a papal decree, under Pope Victor II, 1087 for an Arabic document, its use in Egypt continued until it was replaced by more inexpensive paper introduced by the Islamic world who learned of it from the Chinese. By the 12th century and paper were in use in the Byzantine Empire, but papyrus was still an option. Papyrus was made in several prices. Pliny the Elder and Isidore of Seville described six variations of papyrus which were sold in the Roman market of the day; these were graded by quality based on how fine, firm and smooth the writing surface was. Grades ranged from the superfine Augustan, produced in sheets of 13 digits wide, to the least expensive and most coarse, measuring six digits wide. Materials deemed unusable for writing or less than six digits were considered commercial quality and were pasted edge to edge to be used only for wrapping.
Until the middle of the 19th century, only some isolated documents written on papyrus were known, that museums displayed them as curiosities. They did not contain literary works; the first modern discovery of papyri rolls was made at Herculaneum in 1752. Until the only papyri known had been a few surviving from medieval times. Scholarly investigations began with the Dutch historian Caspar Jacob Christiaan Reuvens, he wrote about the content of the Leyden papyrus, published in 1830. The first publication has been credited to the British scholar Charles Wycliffe Goodwin, who published for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, one of the Papyri Graecae Magicae V, translated into English with commentary in 1853; the English word "papyrus" derives, from Greek πάπυρος, a loanword of unknown origin. Greek has a second word for it, βύβλος; the Greek writer Theophrastus, who flourished during the 4th century BCE, uses papyros when referring to the plant used as a foodstuff and byblos for the same plant when used for nonfood products, such as cordage, basketry, or writing surfaces.
The more specific term βίβλος biblos, which finds its way into English in such words as'bibliography','bibliophile', and'bible', refers to the inner bark of the papyrus plant. Papyrus is the etymon of'paper', a similar substance. In the Egyptian language, papyrus was called wadj, djet; the word for the material papyrus is used to designate documents written on sheets of it rolled up into scrolls. The plural for such documents is papyri. Historical papyri are given identifying names — the name of the discoverer, first owner or institution where they are kept—and numbered, such as "Papyrus Harris I". An abbreviated form is used, such as "pHarris I"; these documents provide important information on ancient writings. When, in the 18th century, a library of ancient papyri was found in Herculaneum, ripples of expectation spread among the learned men of the time. However, since these papyri were badly charred, their unscrolling and deciphe
Ancient Egyptian religion
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals that formed an integral part of ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians' interaction with many deities believed to be present in, in control of, the world. Rituals such as prayer and offerings were provided to the gods to gain their favor. Formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, the rulers of Egypt, believed to possess a divine power by virtue of their position, they acted as intermediaries between their people and the gods, were obligated to sustain the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain maat, the order of the cosmos. The state dedicated enormous resources to the construction of the temples. Individuals could interact with the gods for their own purposes, appealing for help through prayer or compelling the gods to act through magic; these practices were distinct from, but linked with, the formal rituals and institutions. The popular religious tradition grew more prominent in the course of Egyptian history as the status of the pharaoh declined.
Egyptian belief in the afterlife and funerary practices is evident in great efforts made to ensure the survival of their souls after death, providing tombs, grave goods, offerings to preserve the bodies and spirits of the deceased. The religion lasted for more than 3,000 years; the details of religious belief changed over time as the importance of particular gods rose and declined, their intricate relationships shifted. At various times, certain gods became preeminent over the others, including the sun god Ra, the creator god Amun, the mother goddess Isis. For a brief period, in the theology promulgated by the Pharaoh Akhenaten, a single god, the Aten, replaced the traditional pantheon. Ancient Egyptian religion and mythology left behind many writings and monuments, along with significant influences on ancient and modern cultures; the beliefs and rituals now referred to as "ancient Egyptian religion" were integral within every aspect of Egyptian culture. The Egyptian language possessed no single term corresponding to the modern European concept of religion.
Ancient Egyptian religion consisted of a vast and varying set of beliefs and practices, linked by their common focus on the interaction between the world of humans and the world of the divine. The characteristics of the gods who populated the divine realm were inextricably linked to the Egyptians' understanding of the properties of the world in which they lived; the Egyptians believed that the phenomena of nature were divine forces of themselves. These deified forces included animal characteristics, or abstract forces; the Egyptians believed in a pantheon of gods, which were involved in all aspects of nature and human society. Their religious practices were efforts to sustain and placate these phenomena and turn them to human advantage; this polytheistic system was complex, as some deities were believed to exist in many different manifestations, some had multiple mythological roles. Conversely, many natural forces, such as the sun, were associated with multiple deities; the diverse pantheon ranged from gods with vital roles in the universe to minor deities or "demons" with limited or localized functions.
It could include gods adopted from foreign cultures, sometimes humans: deceased pharaohs were believed to be divine, distinguished commoners such as Imhotep became deified. The depictions of the gods in art were not meant as literal representations of how the gods might appear if they were visible, as the gods' true natures were believed to be mysterious. Instead, these depictions gave recognizable forms to the abstract deities by using symbolic imagery to indicate each god's role in nature; this iconography was not fixed, many of the gods could be depicted in more than one form. Many gods were associated with particular regions in Egypt. However, these associations changed over time, they did not mean that the god associated with a place had originated there. For instance, the god Montu was the original patron of the city of Thebes. Over the course of the Middle Kingdom, however, he was displaced in that role by Amun, who may have arisen elsewhere; the national popularity and importance of individual gods fluctuated in a similar way.
Deities had complex interrelationships, which reflected the interaction of the forces they represented. The Egyptians grouped gods together to reflect these relationships. One of the more common combinations was a family triad consisting of a father and child, who were worshipped together; some groups had wide-ranging importance. One such group, the Ennead, assembled nine deities into a theological system, involved in the mythological areas of creation and the afterlife; the relationships between deities could be expressed in the process of syncretism, in which two or more different gods were linked to form a composite deity. This process was a recognition of the presence of one god "in" another when the second god took on a role belonging to the first; these links between deities were fluid, did not represent the permanent merging of two gods into one. Sometimes, syncretism combined deities with similar characteristics. At other times it joined gods with different natures, as when Amun, the god of hidden power, was linked with Ra, the god of the sun.
The resulting god, Amun-Ra, thus united the power that lay behind all things with the greatest and most visible force in nature. Many deities could be given epithets that seem to indicate that they were greater than any other god, suggesting some kind of u