Religious Developments in Egypt: Amon Ra and Osiris Essay

      The development of religion in Egypt goes back as far as the civilizations beginnings. Egyptian religion had always worshipped many different deities and each had their own powers and territories as defined by the religion and mythology that helped develop it.

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        The Egyptians did not believe that things were dependent on their own efforts but rather on the will of the gods. They spent much of their lives preparing for the afterlife. They believed that living a good life would ensure the good life they were promised after death. This was accepted as fact and did not need to be reinforced by sermons or religious figures such as priests.

    Priests oversaw the festivals dedicated to the gods and kept the Book of the Dead, which contained the beliefs and ideals of the Egyptian religion.

     Amon Ra and Osiris were the two main Gods and all others were subservient to them. Amon Ra was the sun god and ruled the universe. He was usually depicted as a man with a rams head wearing a sun disk. Osiris was the god of the Underworld and ruled the afterlife. He has been depicted as a mummy, wearing a crown and holding a crook and flail in his hands.

     Amon Ra determined the outcome of agriculture, war, trade and almost anything regarding daily life. If he was pleased, then things would go well for the people. If he was displeased, then things would not be successful.  People believed that Amon Ra would take care of things in the way he saw fit and did not question it. To please Amon Ra by leading a good life while living was also to please Osiris and ensure a good afterlife when they crossed over to the underworld.

      Osiris, the god of the underworld, decided whether one was worthy to live a good afterlife. He ruled the underworld and it was through him that true immortality was achieved. The Egyptians painstakingly prepared for the afterlife, using their current life proof that they were

worthy. They were buried with all the household goods, clothing, jewelry and anything else they might need in the next life to be comfortable.

     Most people who could afford it were mummified. It was important to be buried with all the body parts since one could not enter the afterlife without them. The myth of Osiris was that he had been murdered by Seth and cut into sixteen pieces. His wife, Isis, found all the pieces to ensure he would become whole again. During the time she was hunting for the parts, Osiris became the god of the underworld and stayed there eternally as ruler.

    Both remained strong symbols of the Egyptian religion until the monotheist religions began spreading across Egypt, replacing the once mighty Gods.

Works Cited

“Egyptian Religion.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2004.

David, Rosalie. The Experience of Ancient Egypt. London: Routledge, 2000.

James, E. O. The History and Diffusion of Religion in the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean The History and Diffusion of Religion in the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. New York: Putnam, 1960. .

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