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A Beginner's Guide to Ancient Egyptian Religion

Book of the Dead of Ani; sheet 4; full colour vignettes; red borders.
AN684664001, British Museum, London, UK.


Central to the practice of religion in ancient Egypt was worship and reverence of the pantheon of gods. A mix of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations of various deities are present throughout the religious texts of this civilisation. Their forms remained relatively unchanged throughout the early eras of ancient Egyptian civilisation.

The first disruption to their presence occurred in the New Kingdom, specifically the Eighteenth Dynasty, during the kingship of the pharaoh Akhenaten. Born Amenhotep IV, he relinquished this name in favour of a new name displying his reverence of what he believed to be the one true god known as Aten. The impact of religion was particularly displayed throughout this period with many monuments to the former gods defaced and even a new artistic style introduced known as Amarna style. Following the death of Akhenaten and the accession to the throne of his son, Tutankhamun, however, the original set of gods and goddesses were returned to the front of religious worship.

The sources available to the left provide information about the various gods and goddesses of the pantheon, as well as resources related to individual gods who often do not get focused upon in the general literature.