| TEMPLES and
gods of ancient EGYPT
Over a period of 5000 years, the ancient provinces of Egypyt and the route
of the Nile have been modified several times, but we want to give the reader
some real feeling of this ancient civilization, which is not only an important
cradle of humanity, but also the place where monotheism
1. The CITIES and gods of the ancient provinces
or districts of LOWER EGYPT,
(also called "the Kingdom of the North," or the DELTA of the
District 01 - MEMPHIS : the goddess Mennefer.
a/ First HENOU, a falcon god seen on
the prow of the boats of the dead going towards the next life.
b/ "SOKARIS", a precursor of Osiris,
was represented as a man enveloped in a shroud , and was in charge of guarding
the necropolis of Saqqarah. His female partner Sokaret was also seen in some
c/ This was the city of the creation god
PTAH, his companion SEKHMET the
lioness, (a powerful and dangerous goddess), and
of their son NEFERTOUM, (the Lotus flower
that the sun god Re smells each morning), represented as a lion.
District 02 - LETOPOLIS: ancient city near Heliopolis
a/ LETOPOLIS, where the god KERTY
was worshipped as a reclining ram; (occasionally he would change into the
form of a shepherd.) In other cities,
he was represented as a lion or a bull.
b/ Also the city of the Falcon god
MEKHENTYIRTY, whose right eye was the Sun and the left the Moon.
He was later assimilated to be the god HAHOERIS, (Horus the Great).
District 03 - KOHM el-Hisn : temple to
the cow goddess Sekhathor.
District 04 - NAUCRATIS
District 05 - BUTO and SAIS :
a/ BUTO (Tell el-Farein) was the home of a cult to the
cobra goddess OUADJYT, who was the partner
of the great god HORUS. Buto or LETO
was the city formed by combining Pe and Dep. According to Herodotus, Buto
was famous during Persian times for its oracles.
b/ SAIS : Here reigned the creation
goddess NEITH, the queen of lower Egypt,
who wore a red crown. Represented as a woman carrying a bow and arrows, she
was the mother of the crocodile god Sobek.
District 06 - XOIS/ Pa Khasouou :
This was a swampy area, where wild bovid animals roamed. Greco-Roman remains
have been found here.
District 07 - DAMANHOUR :
City consecrated to the god HORUS, symbolized
by the solar disk surrounded by wings and two uraeus.
District 08 - PITHOM : Cult of the main
District 09 - BUSIRIS :
Cult of the ancient ram god ANDJTY (who
wore two feathers on his head); and later there
were ceremonies of the last branch of the Osiris
cult, which the famous Pillar- Djed symbolized by a trunk
of a pruned tree.
District 10 - ATHRIBIS :
The god KHENTYKHETY, a crocodile, was
accompanied by the big black bull KEMOUR,
who was to become an expression of Osiris as a funeral god.
District 11 - LEONTOPOLIS :
The lion god MAHeS of the Middle Empire.
In this same city, the god SHOU, the
great god of the air and the son of Re, married his sister
TEFNOUT, and they were worshipped in
the shape of two lions sitting back to back.
District 12 - SEBENNYTOS (Sammanoud,
the holy calf). Birthplace of Manethon
District 13 - HELIOPOLIS (to the north
of present-day Cairo).
This was the city of the sun, and worshipped
a/ Re the sun god, assimilated
the sacred bull MNEVIS
b/ the creation god ATOUM and his two
wives, IOUSAAS and
NEBETHETEPET, who formed the feminine
aspect when Atoum created the world by his desire. Nebethetepet was progressively
associated with the great goddess Hathor.
District 14 - SILE
District 15 - HERMOPOLIS el-Baqlieh
District 16 - MENDES :
The god Banebdjedet, ( Ba, the Lord of
Mendes) was a ram god associated with
the fish goddess Hatmehyt.
District 17 - BALAMOUN
District 18 - BUBASTIS :
The cat Goddess BASTET had two aspects:
one beneficent, where she was a protector of the home and embodied serenity,
and another more dangerous aspect as a lioness.
District 19 - TANIS :
(or the ancient city of AVARIS), which would become the capital under
the second intermediate period of the Hyksos invaders.
District 20 - QANTIR or Pi-Ramses :
Here they worshipped the falcon god
SOPDOU (a principal divinity),
partner to the goddesses Khensit, (Uraeus
aspect), and Shesemtet, who was one of
the four dangerous faces of the goddess HATHOR. These three divinities watched
over the eastern borders of the country to prevent hostile invasions.
2. CITIES and divinities of the districts
of MIDDLE EGYPT :
District 22 - LISHT :
Residential city of the XIIè dynasty. To the west was the step pyramid
of Snefrou, and those of Amenemhat I and Sesostris I, as well as several
District 21 - ancient city of ATFIH :
(or Aphroditopolis), paid homage to the
goddess Bat, (later assimilated as the
great nurturing goddess HATHOR), the
first of the sacred cows.
District 20 - The FAYUM :
Three ancient cities bordered the great
lake Moeris (which contained 3% salt). The lake was surrounded by marshes
full of crocodiles. Soknopaiou or Qasr
El Salvador El-Sagha, was dedicated to the god
Sobek, and to the lesser gods
Karanis and Bacchias.
To the south of Lake Moeris (in Egyptian Pa-yom: the sea), was located the
large city of CROCODILOPOLIS, which became
Medinet el-Fayum, then Arsinoe. Here
are the ruins of a mysterious labyrinth,
which probably inspired the legend of the Minotaur of Crete.
District 19 - HERACLEOPOLIS :
This was the Egyptian capital under the XIth dynasty. Even though certain
cults worshipped Hathor, Somtous, Bebon and Nehebkaou,; the chief divinity
was the ram god HERYSHEF.
District 18 - OXYRHYNCHOS - Nothing remains
of this city today.
District 17 - CYNOPOLIS :
Here the chief god was the funeral divinity ANUBIS
(which was a black dog, and son of the white cow Hesat) He was
the guardian of all the necropoles of Egypt.
District 16 - BENI-HASSAN :
Here is the temple of Ramses II, and also an underground cave dedicated to
the lioness goddess PAKHET, the terrifying
daughter of Re.
District 15 - HERMOPOLIS : Great religious
city of the ancient times (before Thebes).
This city was built on a hill (which had existed
from primeval times) where the 3 great
myths of creation were born :
a/ first myth which mentioned the OGDOADES
or creation gods:
Noun and his partner Nanner= infinite primeval waters,
Heh and his partner Héhet= the Cosmos,
Temenou and Temenet, (who were replaced by AMON
and Amaunet, )
Niou and his companion Niout who personified the void.
b/ Thot sends his exotic bird (probably an IBIS), to a hill where
it laid a cosmic egg, the universe!
c/ The birth of Re in the calyx
of a lotus flower, which was also the
source of primeval waters. As the sun disappears and is born again every
evening, the lotus flower opens in the morning and closes again at night.
At Hermopolis they also worshipped: OUNOUT, the
goddess with the face of the Uraeus, and
NEHEMETAOUY the companion of the god
THOT, while in the NEW EMPIRE they worshipped: the
SHEPES god, called "the venerable",
represented as a celestial entity of
light who materialized on earth as a man with a solar disk on
Close to Hermopolis is the solar city
TELL EL-ARMANA,) the former capital of
KING Amenophis IV or Akhenaton.
District 14 - MEIR and KOUSSIA (CUSAE) :
The necropolis of the nobles of the district.
District 13 - ASSIOUT- LYCOPOLIS :
where they worshipped an old dog black who buried the bones of the dead!
Tombs of Djefahapi, of Itybi and his son Kheti.
District 12 - ABOUHIG - Aboutig, where
there were warehouses (of cereals).
District 11 - ANTAEOPOLIS (Now Qaou el-Kebir
= the high mountain):
In a huge temple (now gone), they venerated the
lioness goddess MATIT, who was replaced
by the falcon god NEMTY.
District 10 - TAHTA (Djaroukha) :
In this city Aménophis III gave his wife TIYI a large palace surrounded
by 80 hectares of agricultural land and an artificial lake with sluices to
irrigate the land.
District 09 - AKHMIN - PANAPOLIS (or APOU)
- Family of three gods :
the god MIN of fertility, (also venerated
at Coptos near Thebes), represented by a standing man with an erect phallus.
the fierce lioness goddess " REPIT" (also
honored on the island of Philae in the form of a uraeus), became assimilated
to APERETISET, (the former goddess companion
of MIN, with the hairstyle of Hathor). Min and RepiT form a triad with their
District 08 - THIS : (capital of the
This city was under the protection of divine pair of gods
ONOURIS, and of the
lioness goddess MEHYT, who like Tefnout
embodies the eye of Re or abundance.
* ABYDOS (near This) venerated
KHENTY-IMENTY, the black funeral dog
that Osiris had replaced during the ancient
empire. Thus Abydos became the capital of the revived
cult of the god Osiris.
District 07 - HEOU or DIOSPOLIS PARVA :
Cult of the ancient goddess BAT, who
had a woman's face and decorated ears, but the horns of a cow. Assimilated
with Hathor during the first dynasties.
District 06 - DENDEREH (Tentyris) :
Sanctuary of HATHOR the cow goddess,
who was assimilated as Isis during the
old kingdom. As for the temples consecrated to Horus and IHY, there is nothing
remaining of them, except the door of the sanctuary
of IHY, (son of Horus.)
District 05 - COPTOS - MIN :
The ancient fertility god with an erect phallus. The statue to him at Coptos
is identical to that in the city of Akhmin, on the road toward the Red Sea.
His cult dates back to archaic times and is devoted to the Moon.
District 04 - THEBES - the great religious capital
of Egypt :
- KARNAK, the site of the biggest sanctuary
devoted to AMON (who was partner to Re, the sun
god) .He married the goddess
MOUT, who had a temple here from the beginning of the New Empire.
She was mother, wife and daughter of Amon, and she
conceived a son named
who became assimilated with the Moon.
Her head was covered with the skin of a vulture, (or she was represented
as a lioness). She is associated, in legend and myth, with the goddess Lointaine,
who used to run away in order to bring the floods necessary for the germination
of the seeds.
- LUQSOR or Luxor. It is in this city,
situated three km from Karnak, that AMON
(in the form of Amenemope) came every year during the feast of
the Opet to visit and unite with the mother goddess
IPET (or Amonet), who became the mother
- ERMANT or HERMONTIS - Former capital
of the IVth district, built on the western bank of the Nile, where they erected
a great temple to the war god MONTOU,
who had the head of a falcon. His apogee was during the XIIth dynasty, succeeding
the bull god Boukhis.
Montou's feminine partner was
Tjenenet, who was replaced by
Ounyt and Rattaouy (two divine forms of
Re). In the New Empire, this
warrior god was replaced by the great god
On the west bank of the Nile, the thebain priests came at new year to celebrate
the cult of Amon-Re and the coming of the floods, which were so necessary
at sowing time. King Ramses III constructed his
millions years castle here.
The great thebain necropolis had the name of Khefe : ( one who stands before
The goddess protector of this necropolis, (situated west of Thebes) was named
MERESGER, and she appeared in the
shape of a snake or an Uraeus. In the
Valley of the queens, she became the companion of Ptah.
District 03 - MO'ALLA (H) : (The centre of the ancient
Here was honored HEMEN, the god who was
half-man, half-falcon. The Texts on the Pyramids show him hunting hippopotami
with a harpoon, in order to destroy the forces of chaos.
- ESNA where one venerated the two great
divinities KHNOUM and NEITH.
Khnoum was a great creation god who moulded
human beings from clay on a potter's wheel: he had two wives :
Nebetou, (the goddess of the oases, who
gave him a son: Heka), and MENHYT,
the fierce lioness goddess who appeared
also as the distant goddess, (the daughter of Re).
NEITH was a creation goddess descended
from Sais, (of the delta) whose cult traveled the Nile during the Old Kingdom,
as far as Esna.
- KOMIR -There was a temple dedicated to
NEPHTHYS, (sister of Osiris and Isis),
and this was shared by
ANOUKIS, the wife and daughter of Khnoum.
District 02 - HIERACONPOLIS or NEKHEN :
A mythical city located beside NEKHEB, where the god Horus ruled, with the
ancient vulture goddess Nekhbet.
- ELKAB or NEKHEB was in pre-dynastic
times dedicated to the worship of the Great white wild cow :
became the mother of the Pharaoh, the
latter symbolically becoming a young bull! The cult of the goddess Sematouret
was gradually replaced by that of the vulture goddess
Nekbet. Her nest was made of three wild
lilies, which grew abundantly in the Valley of the Nile at this
- at EDFOU, they worshipped the
falcon god HAOERIS, also called
HORUS the Great. At Heliopolis, he was
considered to be the 5th child of Geb and of Nout. At Edfou he fought the
enemies of the sun, while at KOM OMBO he
became the spouse of the goddess Tasenetneferet, the sister associated with
the myth of the distant flooding.
- also at EDFOU, there was an ancient cult to the
scorpion goddess HEDEDET, who was replaced by
Isis and Selquit (the scorpion goddess
who watched over the sarcophagi).
District 01 - KOM OMBO (Ombos) :
The crocodile god Sobek shared a temple
with the solar falcon god : Haroeris.
- Elephantine Island and the carriers
of granite (from Aswan). Cult of the cobra goddess
- Sehel Island :
the goddess ANOUKIS, of Elephantine (from
her hairstyle, we surmise she was probably of African origin). Sometimes
she is Satis' daughter, sometimes the wife of the god Khnoum.
- Philae Island -
The god MANDOULIS was represented in
as a lion from lower Nubia.
as a young man, whose companion was the cobra goddess
OUADJYT or Satis, the goddess
of Elephantine. In the New Empire, this
island had an important temple in honor of the
goddess Isis. When the island was flooded
by the Aswan dam, UNESCO transferred the temple
to the island of Agilkia.
- 1st cataract or falls : Here was the
great goddess SATIS, (who wore the white
crown of Upper Egypt). It was decorated with two antelope horns. With
ANOUKIS, they were among the group
surrounding the great local god KNOUHM, (of Esna), who had long been considered
a god of creation.
Divinities of the Plateaux of
The Nubian falcon god who was assimilated to Horus. He had the form of a
lion during the ancient Empire.
This Nubian god, according to a legend, took the form of
ONOURIS / SHOU, brought back the distant,
and united with her on the island of Philae.
Following the example of Bubastis and Leontopolis (two cities situated in
the Nile delta), Nubia returned to the cult of the
lion during the
third intermediate period, (-1080 to
-655), this animal being their symbol of strength against foreign invaders.
In KALABSHA, the lion god of Lower-Nubia
sometimes appeared as a child, or sometimes as an adult in the company of
the cobra goddess OUADJYT (from Buto),
or of Satis, goddess of the first cataract
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