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Islam in the First Civilisations: 2. The Ancient Egyptian Religion

When one thinks of the Ancient Egyptians, one immediately thinks of many gods. Surely there is no sign of monotheism in this civilisation, you’d instinctively assume. Just as a snapshot, observe this list depicting the main (most powerful) Gods from the Ancient Egyptian pantheon, which differed region to region over time – but note it was the sky or sun god that is almost consistently singled out as the most powerful:

  • Horus Early-dynastic 31c BCE: Sky god

  • Ra Old Kingdom 25-24c BCE: Sun god

  • Atum Old Kingdom: god of creation

  • Amun Old Kingdom 21c BCE: Sun god (replaced Mentho) (Amun-Ra became Zeus Ammon in Greece)

  • Mentho Middle Kingdom 19c BCE: war god – originally sun god (Old Kingdom)

Could there be a parallel with what happened with the Mesopotamian gods in Ancient Egypt – where the existence of a hierarchy and a central powerful god at its apex signals its monotheistic roots? In another post, I’ll unpick the oldest history of the Ancient Egyptians. However, I wanted to present two interesting ‘Islamic’ parallels from the New Kingdoms (about 1,550-1,100 B.C.E.).

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Filed under History of Religions