Figure 2. Thutmes III imposing order over chaos, the enemies of Egypt, on the seventh pylon at Karnak

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 6 — Art for Eternity

Part 1 of this series set forth the foundation principles of Egyptian religion as cosmic order (maat), duality, and divine magic (heka), which we saw expressed in tomb architecture in Part 5. Now in Part 6 we will continue our exploration of the tomb, looking for evidence of those concepts as they are expressed in art.  [more…]

Edition - April, 2012

Book Review: Egyptian Myth - A Very Short Introduction

Book Review: Egyptian Myth – A Very Short Introduction

Williams reviews Egyptian Myth – A Very Short Introduction by Geraldin Pinch. Pinch has a formidable task. In 125 pages, Pinch outlines the framework within which Egyptian myths are contextualised before outlining the mythology itself. Such a brief book could have been facile but instead Williams is impressed by Pinch’s achievement. He explains why. [more…]

Figure 8. Hieroglyphic writing: medu-netjer, "the words of god"

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 3 – Temples, Festivals and Personal Piety

By Brian Alm Published on Egyptological, Magazine Edition 3, December 7th 2011   Introduction Thus far we have covered the fundamental concepts and ideologies that informed the religion of ancient Egypt — cosmic order (maat), the duality of paired principles, and divine magic (heka) — and how theology explained Creation and equipped humankind with the […] [more…]

Edition - July, 2011

Book Review: Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt by Emily Teeter

If you’ve read Emily Teeter’s other books on Egyptology or her catalogues for the exhibits she manages at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, you will expect this book to be full of great detail and thorough scholarship, delivered with ease in a flowing style that makes it a fast read and enjoyable throughout. If those are your expectations, you will be rewarded.  [more…]

A few thoughts about duality and the desert

A few thoughts about duality and the desert

Brian Alm’s excellent introductory article on ancient Egyptian religion in Edition 1 of Egyptological, the first in a series of five articles on the topic, includes a section on duality. I have often pondered the extent to which the Egyptians segregated religious belief, which potentially formed an explanatory but idealized model of life, from everyday pragmatism. Duality is a good case in point.  [more…]

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 1. The Conceptual Foundations

Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part 1. The Conceptual Foundations


This article, the first of a five-part series on Ancient Egyptian religion, will lay these conceptual foundations for all that follows: cosmic order, maat; duality, the balance of binary aspects of a whole; and magic, heqa, which makes everything possible. Subsequent articles will cover the major theologies, Creation myths and associated deities, resurrection and eternity, and the religion as it is expressed in temple and tomb architecture, ritual, art and writing. [more…]

Wedjat Eye, photo by Jon Bodsworth

Eye of Ra, Eye of Horus

Introduction. The Eye of Ra, Eye of Horus and wedjat eye are all different names given to representations of eyes with similar distinctive markings which appear throughout Ancient Egypt on tomb and temple surfaces, on objects and in the form of jewellery and amulets. The underlying beliefs and ideas associated with these representations are often confusing, particularly given that the different forms of the eye are not always well characterized and distinguished from each other. [more…]