Ancient Mythology

Ra | Egyptian Mythology

(also Re)

In ancient Egyptian myth, Ra was the sun god, and chief of the cosmic gods of the Egyptian people. Ra was often regarded as the creator, or the father. Although not all myths depict Ra as the first god, many popular versions of Egyptian mythology tell that Ra emerged from chaos at the beginning of time. (A common beginning myth, much like the emergence of Gaea in Greek mythology). Ra was most commonly depicted as a hawk, and sometimes as a lion.

Many early rulers of Egypt claimed that they were descended from Ra, and even used the gods name as a part of their own. The title sa Ra (or sa Re), which means “son of Ra”, was first used by the pharo Djedefre.

According to ancient myth, Ra lived on the Earth at the beginning of the world, as the king of all—god and human alike. As Ra grew older, he grew tired of his duties. This caused many humans to question his abilities. Ra sent his Eye—which is deified as the goddess Hathor—to kill those who doubted him. He then left the Earth for the Sky.

The ancinet Egyptians saw Ra's departure as a result of a flaw of humanity, not of the god. After all, Ra did help to repair the damages caused by his ascension: He had the god Thoth take his place in maintaining order while he voyaged through Duat during the night. Ra also appointed a king to reside on Earth. First, other gods filled this role, including Geb amd Osiris, and the role was latter passed on to human succesors—the pharos.

Ra was often identified with Amon.

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