Amunet is a primordial goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. Her name, jmnt, is a feminine noun that means "The Hidden One", she is a member of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, who represented aspects of the primeval existence before the creation: Amunet was paired with Amun — whose name means "The Hidden One" too, with a masculine ending — within this divine group, from the earliest known documentation. Such pairing of deities is characteristic of the religious concepts of the ancient Egyptians, being the Ogdoad itself composed by four balanced couples of deities or deified primeval concepts, it seems that Amunet may have been artificially conceived by theologians as a complement to Amun, rather than being an independent deity. The Pyramid Texts mention the beneficent shadow of Amun and Amunet: O Amun and Amunet! You pair of the gods. By at least the 12th dynasty, Amaunet was superseded as Amun's partner by Mut as cults evolved or were merged following Mentuhotep II's reunification of Egypt — but she remained locally important in the region of Thebes, where Amun was worshipped.
There she was seen as a protector of the pharaoh, playing a preeminent role in rituals associed with the coronation of the pharaoh and Sed festivals. In the Festival Hall of Thutmose III, Amaunet is shown with the fertility-god Min while leading a row of deities to visit the Pharaoh in the anniversary celebration. In spite of Amaunet's stable position as a local goddess of Egypt's most important city, her cult had little widespread following outside the Theban region. At Karnak, Amun's cult center, priests were dedicated to Amaunet's service. Amaunet was depicted as a woman wearing the Deshret "Red Crown of Lower Egypt" — as in her colossal statue placed in the Record Hall of Thutmose III at Karnak during the reign of Tutankhamun — and carrying a staff of papyrus; the exact reason for this iconography is uncertain. In some late texts from Karnak she was syncretized with Neith, although she remained a distinct deity as late as the Ptolemaic Kingdom: she is carved on the exterior wall of the Festival Hall of Thutmose III in Karnak suckling pharaoh Philip III of Macedon, who appears after his own enthronement, as a divine child.
Hart, George, A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Routledge, 1986, ISBN 0-415-05909-7. Wilkinson, Richard H; the Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, 2003, ISBN 0-500-05120-8
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
A solar deity is a sky deity who represents the Sun, or an aspect of it by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms; the Sun is sometimes referred to by its Greek name Helios. The English word sun stems from Proto-Germanic *sunnǭ; the Neolithic concept of a "solar barge" is found in the myths of ancient Egypt, with Ra and Horus. Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as Horus as a god of the sky and sun; as the Old Kingdom theocracy gained power, early beliefs were incorporated with the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology. Atum became Ra-Atum, the rays of the setting sun. Osiris became the divine heir to Atum's power on Earth and passes his divine authority to his son Horus. Early Egyptian myths imply the sun is within the lioness, Sekhmet, at night and is reflected in her eyes. Mesopotamian Shamash plays an important role during the Bronze Age, "my Sun" is used as an address to royalty.
South American cultures have a tradition of Sun worship, as with the Incan Inti. Proto-Indo-European religion has the sun as traversing the sky in a chariot. In Germanic mythology this is Sol, in Vedic Surya, in Greek Helios and as Apollo. In Proto-indo-European mythology the sun appears to be a multilayered figure, manifested as a goddess but perceived as the eye of the sky father Dyeus. During the Roman Empire, a festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun was celebrated on the winter solstice—the "rebirth" of the sun—which occurred on December 25 of the Julian calendar. In late antiquity, the theological centrality of the sun in some Imperial religious systems suggest a form of a "solar monotheism"; the religious commemorations on December 25 were replaced under Christian domination of the Empire with the birthday of Christ. The Tiv people consider the Sun to be the son of the supreme being Awondo and the Moon Awondo's daughter; the Barotse tribe believes that the Sun is inhabited by the sky god Nyambi and the Moon is his wife.
Some Sara people worship the sun. Where the sun god is equated with the supreme being, in some African mythologies he or she does not have any special functions or privileges as compared to other deities; the ancient Egyptian god of creation, Amun is believed to reside inside the sun. So is the Akan creator deity and the Dogon deity of creation, Nommo. In Egypt, there was a religion that worshipped the sun directly, was among the first monotheistic religions: Atenism. Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religion; the earliest deities associated with the sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Hathor, Bast and Menhit. First Hathor, Isis, give birth to and nurse Horus and Ra. Hathor the horned-cow is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, is a wet-nurse to Horus. From at least the 4th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, the sun was worshipped as the deity Re, portrayed as a falcon headed god surmounted by the solar disk, surrounded by a serpent. Re gave warmth to the living body, symbolised as an ankh: a "T" shaped amulet with a looped upper half.
The ankh, it was believed, was surrendered with death, but could be preserved in the corpse with appropriate mummification and funerary rites. The supremacy of Re in the Egyptian pantheon was at its highest with the 5th Dynasty, when open air solar temples became common. In the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, Ra lost some of his preeminence to Osiris, lord of the West, judge of the dead. In the New Empire period, the sun became identified with the dung beetle, whose spherical ball of dung was identified with the sun. In the form of the sun disc Aten, the sun had a brief resurgence during the Amarna Period when it again became the preeminent, if not only, divinity for the Pharaoh Akhenaton; the Sun's movement across the sky represents a struggle between the Pharaoh's soul and an avatar of Osiris. Ra travels across the sky in his solar-boat; the "solarisation" of several local gods reaches its peak in the period of the fifth dynasty. Rituals to the god Amun who became identified with the sun god Ra were carried out on the top of temple pylons.
A Pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for'horizon' or akhet, a depiction of two hills "between which the sun rose and set", associated with recreation and rebirth. On the first Pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies in the presence of Isis and Hathor. In the eighteenth dynasty, the earliest-known monotheistic head of state, Akhenaten changed the polytheistic religion of Egypt to a monotheistic one, Atenism of the solar-disk and is the first recorded state monotheism. All other deities were replaced by the Aten, including Amun-Ra, the reigning sun god of Akhenaten's own region. Unlike other deities, the Aten did not have multiple forms, his only image was a disk—a symbol of the sun. Soon after Akhenaten's death, worship of the traditional deities was reestablished by the religious leaders who had adopted the Aten during the reign of Akhenaten. In Aztec mythology, Tonatiuh was the sun god; the Aztec people considered him the leader of Tollan. He was known
Atum, sometimes rendered as Atem or Tem, is an important deity in Egyptian mythology. Atum's name is thought to be derived from the verb tm which means to finish, thus he has been interpreted as being the "complete one" and the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle. As creator he was seen as the underlying substance of the world, the deities and all things being made of his flesh or alternatively being his ka. Atum is one of the most important and mentioned deities from earliest times, as evidenced by his prominence in the Pyramid Texts, where he is portrayed as both a creator and father to the king. In the Heliopolitan creation myth, Atum was considered to be the first God, having created himself, sitting on a mound, from the primordial waters. Early myths state that Atum created the god Shu and goddess Tefnut by spitting them out of his mouth. To explain how Atum did this, the myth uses the metaphor of masturbation, with the hand he used in this act representing the female principle inherent within him.
Other interpretations state. In the Old Kingdom the Egyptians believed that Atum lifted the dead king's soul from his pyramid to the starry heavens, he was a solar deity, associated with the primary sun god Ra. Atum was linked with the evening sun, while Ra or the linked god Khepri were connected with the sun at morning and midday. In the Book of the Dead, still current in the Graeco-Roman period, the sun god Atum is said to have ascended from chaos-waters with the appearance of a snake, the animal renewing itself every morning. Atum is the god of post-existence. In the binary solar cycle, the serpentine Atum is contrasted with the ram-headed scarab Khepri—the young sun god, whose name is derived from the Egyptian hpr "to come into existence". Khepri-Atum encompassed sunset, thus reflecting the entire cycle of morning and evening. Atum was a self-created deity, the first being to emerge from the darkness and endless watery abyss that existed before creation. A product of the energy and matter contained in this chaos, he created his children—the first deities, out of loneliness.
He produced from his own sneeze, or in some accounts, Shu, the god of air, Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. The brother and sister, curious about the primeval waters that surrounded them, went to explore the waters and disappeared into the darkness. Unable to bear his loss, Atum sent the Eye of Ra, to find his children; the tears of joy he shed upon their return were the first human beings. Atum is depicted as a man wearing either the royal head-cloth or the dual white and red crown of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, reinforcing his connection with kingship. Sometimes he is shown as a serpent, the form he returns to at the end of the creative cycle, occasionally as a mongoose, bull, lizard, or ape. Atum's worship centered on the city of Heliopolis; the only surviving remnant of Heliopolis is the Temple of Re-Atum obelisk located in Al-Masalla of Al-Matariyyah, Cairo. It was erected by Senusret I of the Twelfth dynasty, still stands in its original position; the 68 ft high red granite obelisk weighs the weight of about 20 African elephants.
Myśliwiec, Karol. Studien zum Gott Atum. Band I, Die heiligen Tiere des Atum. Gerstenberg. ISBN 978-3806780338. Myśliwiec, Karol. Studien zum Gott Atum. Band II, Epitheta, Ikonographie. Gerstenberg. ISBN 978-3806780406
Canopic jars used by the ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera of their owner for the afterlife. They were either carved from limestone or were made of pottery; these jars were used by the ancient Egyptians from the time of the Old Kingdom until the time of the Late Period or the Ptolemaic Period, by which time the viscera were wrapped and placed with the body. The viscera were not kept in a single canopic jar: each jar was reserved for specific organs; the name "canopic" reflects the mistaken association by early Egyptologists with the Greek legend of Canopus. Canopic jars of the Old Kingdom were inscribed and had a plain lid. In the Middle Kingdom inscriptions became more usual, the lids were in the form of human heads. By the Nineteenth dynasty each of the four lids depicted one of the four sons of Horus, as guardians of the organs; the canopic jars were four in number, each for the safekeeping of particular human organs: the stomach, intestines and liver, all of which, it was believed, would be needed in the afterlife.
There was no jar for the heart: the Egyptians believed it to be the seat of the soul, so it was left inside the body. Many Old Kingdom canopic jars were found empty and damaged in undisturbed tomb context; therefore it seems. Instead it seems that they were part of burial rituals and were placed after these rituals empty into the burial; the design of canopic jars changed over time. The oldest date from the Eleventh or the Twelfth dynasty, are made of stone or wood; the last jars date from the New Kingdom. In the Old Kingdom the jars had plain lids, though by the First Intermediate Period jars with human heads began to appear. Sometimes the covers of the jars were modeled after the head of Anubis, the god of death and embalming. By the late Eighteenth dynasty canopic jars had come to feature the four sons of Horus. Many sets of jars survive from this period, in alabaster, calcareous stone, blue or green glazed porcelain; the sons of Horus were the gods of the cardinal compass points. Each god was responsible for protecting a particular organ, was himself protected by a companion goddess.
They were: Hapy, the baboon-headed god representing the north, whose jar contained the lungs and was protected by the goddess Nephthys. Hapy is used interchangeably with the god Hapi, though they are different gods. Duamutef, the jackal-headed god representing the east, whose jar contained the stomach and was protected by the goddess Neith Imsety, the human-headed god representing the south, whose jar contained the liver and was protected by the goddess Isis Qebehsenuef, the falcon-headed god representing the west, whose jar contained the intestines and was protected by the goddess Serqet. Early canopic jars were placed inside a canopic chest and buried in tombs together with the sarcophagus of the dead, they were sometimes arranged in rows beneath the bier, or at the four corners of the chamber. After the early periods there were inscriptions on the outsides of the jars, sometimes quite long and complex; the scholar Sir Ernest Budge quoted an inscription from the Saïte or Ptolemaic period that begins: "Thy bread is to thee.
Thy beer is to thee. Thou livest upon that on which Ra lives." Other inscriptions tell of purification in the afterlife. In the Third Intermediate Period and dummy canopic jars were introduced. Improved embalming techniques allowed the viscera to remain in the body. Copious numbers of the jars were produced, surviving examples of them can be seen in museums around the world. Jar burial Budge, Sir Edward Wallis; the mummy. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-108-01825-8. David, A. Rosalie. Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-8160-3312-9. Gadalla, Moustafa. Egyptian Divinities – The All who are The One. Greensboro, N. C.: Tehuti Research Foundation. ISBN 1-931446-04-0. Murray, Margaret A.. The Splendor, Egypt. Mineola, N. Y: Dover. ISBN 978-0-486-43100-0. Shaw, Ian; the Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-9096-2. Spencer, A. Jeffrey; the British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press. ISBN 978-0-7141-1975-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Dodson, Aidan.
The Canopic Equipment of the Kings of Egypt. Routledge. ISBN 978-0710304605
Ancient Egyptian deities
Ancient Egyptian deities are the gods and goddesses worshipped in ancient Egypt. The beliefs and rituals surrounding these gods formed the core of ancient Egyptian religion, which emerged sometime in prehistory. Deities represented natural forces and phenomena, the Egyptians supported and appeased them through offerings and rituals so that these forces would continue to function according to maat, or divine order. After the founding of the Egyptian state around 3100 BC, the authority to perform these tasks was controlled by the pharaoh, who claimed to be the gods' representative and managed the temples where the rituals were carried out; the gods' complex characteristics were expressed in myths and in intricate relationships between deities: family ties, loose groups and hierarchies, combinations of separate gods into one. Deities' diverse appearances in art—as animals, humans and combinations of different forms—also alluded, through symbolism, to their essential features. In different eras, various gods were said to hold the highest position in divine society, including the solar deity Ra, the mysterious god Amun, the mother goddess Isis.
The highest deity was credited with the creation of the world and connected with the life-giving power of the sun. Some scholars have argued, based in part on Egyptian writings, that the Egyptians came to recognize a single divine power that lay behind all things and was present in all the other deities, yet they never abandoned their original polytheistic view of the world, except during the era of Atenism in the 14th century BC, when official religion focused on the impersonal sun god Aten. Gods were assumed to be present throughout the world, capable of influencing natural events and the course of human lives. People interacted with them in temples and unofficial shrines, for personal reasons as well as for larger goals of state rites. Egyptians prayed for divine help, used rituals to compel deities to act, called upon them for advice. Humans' relations with their gods were a fundamental part of Egyptian society; the beings in ancient Egyptian tradition who might be labeled as deities are difficult to count.
Egyptian texts list the names of many deities whose nature is unknown and make vague, indirect references to other gods who are not named. The Egyptologist James P. Allen estimates that more than 1,400 deities are named in Egyptian texts, whereas his colleague Christian Leitz says there are "thousands upon thousands" of gods; the Egyptian language's terms for these beings were nṯr, "god", its feminine form nṯrt, "goddess". Scholars have tried to discern the original nature of the gods by proposing etymologies for these words, but none of these suggestions has gained acceptance, the terms' origin remains obscure; the hieroglyphs that were used as ideograms and determinatives in writing these words show some of the traits that the Egyptians connected with divinity. The most common of these signs is a flag flying from a pole. Similar objects were placed at the entrances of temples, representing the presence of a deity, throughout ancient Egyptian history. Other such hieroglyphs include a falcon, reminiscent of several early gods who were depicted as falcons, a seated male or female deity.
The feminine form could be written with an egg as determinative, connecting goddesses with creation and birth, or with a cobra, reflecting the use of the cobra to depict many female deities. The Egyptians distinguished nṯrw, "gods", from rmṯ, "people", but the meanings of the Egyptian and the English terms do not match perfectly; the term nṯr may have applied to any being, in some way outside the sphere of everyday life. Deceased humans were called nṯr because they were considered to be like the gods, whereas the term was applied to many of Egypt's lesser supernatural beings, which modern scholars call "demons". Egyptian religious art depicts places and concepts in human form; these personified ideas range from deities that were important in myth and ritual to obscure beings, only mentioned once or twice, that may be little more than metaphors. Confronting these blurred distinctions between gods and other beings, scholars have proposed various definitions of a "deity". One accepted definition, suggested by Jan Assmann, says that a deity has a cult, is involved in some aspect of the universe, is described in mythology or other forms of written tradition.
According to a different definition, by Dimitri Meeks, nṯr applied to any being, the focus of ritual. From this perspective, "gods" included the king, called a god after his coronation rites, deceased souls, who entered the divine realm through funeral ceremonies; the preeminence of the great gods was maintained by the ritual devotion, performed for them across Egypt. The first written evidence of deities in Egypt comes from the Early Dynastic Period. Deities must have emerged sometime in the preceding Predynastic Period and grown out of prehistoric religious beliefs. Predynastic artwork depicts a variety of human figures; some of these images, such as stars and cattle, are reminiscent of important features of Egyptian religion in times, but in most cases there is not enough evidence to say whether the images are connected with deities. As Egyptian society grew more sophisticated, clearer signs of religious activity appeared; the earliest known temples appeared in the last centuries of the predynastic era, along with images that resemble the iconographies of known deities: the falcon that represents Horus and several other gods, the crossed arrows that stand for Neith, the enigmatic "Set animal" that represents Set.
Many Egyptologists and anthropologists have suggested theories about how the gods
The Osiris myth is the most elaborate and influential story in ancient Egyptian mythology. It concerns the murder of the god Osiris, a primeval king of Egypt, its consequences. Osiris's murderer, his brother Set, usurps his throne. Meanwhile, Osiris's wife Isis restores her husband's body, allowing him to posthumously conceive their son, Horus; the remainder of the story focuses on Horus, the product of the union of Isis and Osiris, at first a vulnerable child protected by his mother and becomes Set's rival for the throne. Their violent conflict ends with Horus's triumph, which restores Maat to Egypt after Set's unrighteous reign and completes the process of Osiris's resurrection; the myth, with its complex symbolism, is integral to ancient Egyptian conceptions of kingship and succession, conflict between order and disorder, death and the afterlife. It expresses the essential character of each of the four deities at its center, many elements of their worship in ancient Egyptian religion were derived from the myth.
The Osiris myth reached its basic form in or before the 24th century BCE. Many of its elements originated in religious ideas, but the struggle between Horus and Set may have been inspired by a regional conflict in Egypt's Early Dynastic or Prehistoric Egypt. Scholars have tried to discern the exact nature of the events that gave rise to the story, but they have reached no definitive conclusions. Parts of the myth appear in a wide variety of Egyptian texts, from funerary texts and magical spells to short stories; the story is, more detailed and more cohesive than any other ancient Egyptian myth. Yet no Egyptian source gives a full account of the myth, the sources vary in their versions of events. Greek and Roman writings On Isis and Osiris by Plutarch, provide more information but may not always reflect Egyptian beliefs. Through these writings, the Osiris myth persisted after knowledge of most ancient Egyptian beliefs was lost, it is still well known today; the myth of Osiris was influential in ancient Egyptian religion and was popular among ordinary people.
One reason for this popularity is the myth's primary religious meaning, which implies that any dead person can reach a pleasant afterlife. Another reason is that the characters and their emotions are more reminiscent of the lives of real people than those in most Egyptian myths, making the story more appealing to the general populace. In particular, the myth conveys a "strong sense of family loyalty and devotion", as the Egyptologist J. Gwyn Griffiths put it, in the relationships between Osiris and Horus. With this widespread appeal, the myth appears in more ancient texts than any other myth and in an exceptionally broad range of Egyptian literary styles; these sources provide an unusual amount of detail. Ancient Egyptian myths are vague; each text that contains a myth, or a fragment of one, may adapt the myth to suit its particular purposes, so different texts can contain contradictory versions of events. Because the Osiris myth was used in such a variety of ways, versions conflict with each other.
The fragmentary versions, taken together, give it a greater resemblance to a cohesive story than most Egyptian myths. The earliest mentions of the Osiris myth are in the Pyramid Texts, the first Egyptian funerary texts, which appeared on the walls of burial chambers in pyramids at the end of the Fifth Dynasty, during the 24th century BCE; these texts, made up of disparate spells or "utterances", contain ideas that are presumed to date from still earlier times. The texts are concerned with the afterlife of the king buried in the pyramid, so they refer to the Osiris myth, involved with kingship and the afterlife. Major elements of the story, such as the death and restoration of Osiris and the strife between Horus and Set, appear in the utterances of the Pyramid Texts. Funerary texts written in times, such as the Coffin Texts from the Middle Kingdom and the Book of the Dead from the New Kingdom contain elements of the myth. Other types of religious texts give evidence for the myth, such as two Middle Kingdom texts: the Dramatic Ramesseum Papyrus and the Ikhernofret Stela.
The papyrus describes the coronation of Senusret I, whereas the stela alludes to events in the annual festival of Khoiak. Rituals in both these festivals reenacted elements of the Osiris myth; the most complete ancient Egyptian account of the myth is the Great Hymn to Osiris, an inscription from the Eighteenth Dynasty that gives the general outline of the entire story but includes little detail. Another important source is the Memphite Theology, a religious narrative that includes an account of Osiris's death as well as the resolution of the dispute between Horus and Set; this narrative associates the kingship that Osiris and Horus represent with Ptah, the creator deity of Memphis. The text was long thought to date back to the Old Kingdom and was treated as a source for information about the early stages in the development of the myth. Since the 1970s, Egyptologists have concluded that the text dates to the New Kingdom at the earliest. Rituals in honor of Osiris are another major source of information.
Some of these texts are found on the walls of temples that date from the New Kingdom, the Ptolemaic era, or the Roman era. Some of these late ritual texts, in which Isis and Nephthys lament their brother's death, were adapted into funerary texts. In these texts, the goddesses' pleas were meant to rouse Osiris—and thus the dece