Characters / Egyptian Mythology
Egyptian Mythology is incredibly ancient and complex. It lacked a central authority, with major cities and areas having their own important gods. Myths often got mixed
up, with gods having different roles, being combined with others to form new composite gods, and different family relationships as old gods fell into obscurity and new gods rose to prominence.
Ra was the primary Egyptian sun god and sometimes creator god. Ra was the king of the deities. During Egypt's brief flirtation with monotheism, Aten (Aton) was raised as the only deity during the Amarna period, to the woe of the Amon-Ra clergy. The pharaoh Akhenaton sought to enhance his own power and depower the clergy. After his death, worship of Ra was made central again. As the most important deity for thousands of years, Ra was often combined with other deities, including the most famous Atum-Ra and Amon-Ra. He had many other names, with each part of the sun or time of day of the sun often having its own name. One of the most common myths about him was that he sailed across the sky in a solar barge during the day and through the underworld at night. He would bring warmth to the day, but faced the dangers of the Eldritch Abomination
, Apep (Apophis), in the form of a giant serpent. Due to his important duties, Ra rarely involved himself in the squabbles of his children gods. Overall, Ra was seen as a benevolent deity who embodied the positive traits of the sun, though he was rather aloof, preferring to withdraw from the squabbles of the other gods, except when it came to Apophis.
- Animal Motifs: He was usually depicted in artwork as a man with the head of a hawk, a scarab (In his form as Khepra), or a ram. He was also pictured as a full-bodied ram, beetle, phoenix, heron, serpent, bull, cat, or lion, among others.
- Archenemy: Of Apophis
- Big Good: Reality could not exist if he died.
- King of the Gods: An ancient example.
- Light 'em Up
- The Power of the Sun: He was thought to embody its positive, life-giving qualities and traveled on a solar barge.
- Shapeshifter: During dawn and the morning hours he is depicted as a Scarab who pushes the sun upwards, at noon he becomes the iconic eagle-man, and finally at dusk he becomes the more human Atum, the God of the setting sun.
- You Can't Fight Fate: He tried to avert a prophecy that a child of the sky goddess, Nut, would be evil, by forbidding her from having children on any day of the year. Thoth gambled with the moon and won moonlight to create five extra days so Nut could give birth anyway (hence why the Egyptian calendar had twelve months of 30 days even, and an extra thirteenth month of just five days).
Hathor was the goddess of love, music, drunkeness
, motherhood, beauty
, and joy. She was an important goddess to women and one of Egypt's most important sky deities. Cows were sacred to her. In different stories she is stated to be a wife or daughter of Ra and sometimes the wife or mother of Horus. She had a dark side embodied by the goddess of war, Sekhmet.
Set was a god associated with chaos, storms and the desert. Originally, he served as a powerful protector deity of Upper Egypt. He guarded Ra on his nightly trips to the underworld and was the only god who could defeat the serpent Apophis and resist his hypnotic gaze. When Egypt was unified and the worship of Horus became dominant, Set was increasingly villainized, particularly after Egypt was invaded by a people who identified him with their own chief god. The most famous story about him is his killing of his brother Osiris for the throne of Egypt and his contests with Horus over it.
- Animal Motifs: We're not sure what animal, though. Possibly a Fennec fox, otherwise it's just called the 'Set animal'
- Adaptational Villainy: Originally a protective deity, he was demonized into a God of Evil when Egypt split into Upper and Lower sections, and lost further ground as the Horus cult gained in popularity.
- Badass: Before his demonization, he was known for beating the serpent Apophis by himself.
- The Beastmaster: He's associated with many animals, including jackals, hippos, snakes, wild boars, crocodiles, asses, and antelopes.
- Berserk Button: He killed his brother in order to get the throne, but possibly because Osiris slept with his wife, Nephthys.
- Big Bad: In the Horus myths.
- Brother-Sister Incest: With Nephthys.
- Cain and Abel: The most famous story about him involves him arranging the death of his brother, Osiris.
- Cartoon Creature: No one really knows which animal his head was supposed to represent. Either it was completely made up, or the depiction was stylized until it became unrecognizable.
- Some believe it might be an animal that's now extinct.
- Depraved Bisexual: Had tried to humiliate Horus by raping him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He hated the vile Apep as much the other gods. So much so, he help Ra defeat him every night.
- Evil Uncle
- Face–Heel Turn: Demonized after the Hyksos invasion. (He was also the god of foreigners.)
- God of Evil: While Set started out as the noble protecter of Ra, his murder of his brother Osiris and... intense rivalry with his nephew Horus, along with his association with foreign invaders, chaos, and the desert, led to him being demonized.
- Groin Attack: He is on the receiving end of one in some myths - Horus castrates him.
- Heel–Face Turn: After Horus got the throne back.
- Murderers Are Rapists: He murdered his brother and raped his nephew.
- Order Versus Chaos: Set is a god of chaos.
- Real Men Eat Meat: Averted; despite being a tough warrior god, his favorite food was lettuce. It was considered an aphrodisiac, and he had fertility problems.
- Trickster: The Alternative Character Interpretation of Adaptational Villainy and I Did What I Had to Do lends to this as a Lighter and Softer interpretation, with a comparison to Loki of Norse Mythology.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: An Alternative Character Interpretation of Cartoon Creature above, which also ties in with Trickster: the nonsensical creature head symbolizing transformation at will.
Bast was a cat goddess associated with the sun, fertility, music, and lionesses. She was very popular with children and the common folk because she protected them and kept their fields safe from crop-destroying pests (which cats do by eating rats and mice). Bast had a whole city (Bubastis) devoted to her cult. Later re-appropriated by Robert Bloch into H.P. Lovecraft
's Cthulhu Mythos. She also appears in Neil Gaiman
Sekhmet, Bastet and Hathor's darker counterpart, was a lioness goddess who specialized in war, poisons, and plagues. She was an Omnicidal Maniac
and literal Blood Knight
, until she was tricked into getting drunk with blood-colored beer. She may or may not be an alternate form of Hathor. Sekhmet was often a protector of the pharaohs and a personification of the darker side of the sun (drought, all-consuming fire etc...).
Nephthys was a funerary goddess, mother of Anubis (in some stories), and wife of Set. She feared her husband deeply, and as such, abandoned Anubis when Set discovered Anubis' real father was Osiris. She eventually became associated with death and the afterlife after Osiris' cult took prominence, but her original nature is unknown. She was one of several goddesses who welcomed the dead into the afterlife.
Anubis, the jackal god of mummification, judge of souls, and lesser god of the dead, is the most recognizable of all Egyptian gods. His parentage is disputed depending on the source, but he is usually considered the son of Osiris and Nephthys through an affair, and raised to believe he was Set's son. However unlike Set, Anubis had great compassion for humanity and their differences went so far as to lead to Set abandoning him. Isis took pity on him and revealed that her husband was his true father. He later became one of Horus's chief allies against Set. He weighs every dead person's heart against the feather of Ma'et (Justice); if it's too heavy from wicked deeds, the heart gets eaten by a nearby monster, Ammut the Devourer of the Dead. Otherwise, the righteous dead person may proceed to the Afterlife.
Osiris is the god of the afterlife, of the fertile vegetation of the Nile valley, and of resurrection and rebirth. He is the son of the primordial earth god Geb and sky goddess Nut, along with his siblings Isis, Nephthys, and Set. Along with his Isis and Anubis, he oversees the weighing of the heart and lets souls enter the afterlife if they pass the test. He is a very prominent example of a Life-Death-Rebirth god. He was the king of Egypt after his father Geb (or in other versions Ra) stepped down. Set tricked him into entering a coffin and killed him by throwing him into the Nile. When his wife Isis managed to find the body, Set tore it apart, scattering his pieces across Egypt. His pieces were found and he was eventually resurrected thanks to the efforts of Isis and Anubis. Yet, because he had died, he stayed in the land of the dead, becoming its ruler.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Has greenish skin in most artwork, representing his dominion over life and fertility.
- Back from the Dead
- Brother-Sister Incest: His wife Isis is most commonly also his sister.
- Came Back Wrong: Osiris seems to be a cross between Destination Host Unreachable and Inhuman Human.
- Destination Host Unreachable: After being murdered by Set, Osiris was resurrected twice but couldn't stay in our world either time. The first time, he died almost immediately after having sex with Isis and impregnating her with Horus. The second time, he was shuffled off to the the underworld to rule over the dead. This wasn't such a bad deal for him, though, as in Egyptian mythology the underworld is a pretty nice place, more akin to heaven than to other mythological underworlds. And Osiris stayed a powerful god and was venerated by the people of Egypt as one of their chief deities.
- Inhuman Human: Maybe, as he's usually portrayed as a blue- or green-skinned mummy after his resurrection. He was still able to impregnate Isis, though.
- Cain and Abel: With Set.
- Dark Is Not Evil: For the same reasons as Anubis above.
- Distressed Dude: The Ur-Example. A central point of Egyptian mythology is the story of Isis having to rescue him (and resurrect him with the help of Anubis) after he had been killed by Set.
- The Good King: His reign as King of Egypt was considered a Golden Age.
- Too Dumb to Live: He trusted his brother Set, after cheating with his wife. Set, up till then, had been more popular than him for protecting Ra.
Isis was the goddess of magic, healing, and motherhood. Her struggles against her brother Set to rescue her murdered husband-brother Osiris and secure the throne of Egypt for her son Horus formed a hugely popular saga in ancient times. An annual festival of Osiris was held to commemorate the event, always including a re-enactment of the myth. One of Isis's titles was She Who Knows All Names
(a fairly menacing moniker, as name-based cursing was considered lethal by the Egyptians), and indeed, she was said to be the only being who knew Ra's true name.
- Action Girl
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Even though she still is a benevolent goddess, Isis convinced Ra to tell her his secret name by poisoning him. She's also well known to be clever and deceptive.
- Brother-Sister Incest: With Osiris.
- The Coup: After forcing Ra to tell her his secret name, she fired him to step down so Horus could assume the throne.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: With the Greeks and Romans, most foreign gods were usually identified as one of the Olympian gods, but Isis became so popular during the Hellenistic Period that many goddesses from around the Mediterranean were being identified as her.
- Hot Witch: She is the goddess of magic.
- I Love the Dead: With Osiris' corpse, though she also brought him back to life.
- I Will Find You: She had to search for Osiris's body twice (once when he was killed by Set by way of being thrown into the Nile in a coffin, and again when Set tore his body into pieces and scattered them across Egypt).
- Lady of Black Magic: The only god who could compete with her based on sheer breadth and power of spells was Thoth.
- Mama Bear: She went to great lengths to make Horus king and protect him from Set.
- Not What it Looks Like: In one myth, after one of Osiris' deaths, his coffin was sealed inside a pillar in a noblewoman's house. Isis posed as a nurse to the woman's child to get close to her husband, and grew fond of the boy. One day the mother found Isis had set her son on fire and snatched him away... but those flames would have made the kid immortal, and now he was just like any other child.
- Scary Scorpions: Averted. Isis was associated with scorpions, but she was one of the more benevolent deities, and the association is likely to have originated from female scorpions' carrying their young on their backs to defend them, corresponding to Isis' role as a mother figure and her own protection over baby Horus.
The name Horus can apply to any of a half a dozen gods in different roles and relationships. In some stories, he is a brother of Set, Isis, and Osiris. Most commonly, he is thought of as the child of Osiris and Isis. He contested with Set over the throne of Egypt, a struggle lasting decades, before winning. He became a god associated with the sun, moon, sky, war, righteous vengeance, and kingship. The Egyptians considered their pharaoh to be the avatar/personification of Horus on Earth.
- All-Loving Hero
- Animal Motifs: The falcon.
- Bi the Way/Foe Yay: Had what amounts to "hate sex" with Set.
- Blow You Away: The god of the sky.
- God Emperor: The Pharaohs were held to be his earthly incarnation.
- Eye Scream: Had one of his eyes gouged out by Set.
- Hijacked by Jesus: Often shoehorned into the Jesus role, especially by people who watched Zeitgeist. Let's make a couple of things clear: Horus was not born on December 25th (...maybe, though his birthdate was not relevant in cultus), and was most assuredly not born of a virgin. He did resemble Jesus in that he was a deity associated with healing and with resurrection - though he only "resurrected" if you go by greek notions that he was his father, Osiris, reborn.
- Lunacy: Although he was associated with the Sun, he was also associated with the Moon, and it was thought that both were his eyes, the moon being the less bright eye because he was blinded by Set in their battles.
- Petting Zoo People: Had the head of a falcon.
- The Power of the Sun: Another sun god.
- You Killed My Father: The source of his feud with Set.
Bes, a capering dwarfish god who may have been imported from Nubia. He protected children from harm and, as an opponent of evil, symbolized the enjoyment of life. Unlike the other Egyptian gods, he was represented facing forward instead of in profile.
- Canon Immigrant: His unusual design was often attributed to being an import to Egypt, but recent archaeological evidence suggests he's actually one of the oldest Egyptian gods.
- Hijacked by Jesus: Was likely Hijacked By Jesus to become Saint Bessus, venerated in northern Italy (they both wear ostrich plumes).
- Non-Standard Character Design
Thoth is the god of the moon, wisdom, medicine, astronomy, magic, and writing. He can appear as an ibis, ibis-headed man, or baboon. In one myth he was the one responsible for tricking Sekhmet into drinking blood-colored wine and ending her rampage.
- Bookworm: Thought to have invented writing and most if not all areas of knowledge.
- Mediator: Mediated the struggles between Horus and Set to ensure neither became too powerful, and to bring their violent conflict to an end.
- The Smart Guy
Sobek, a crocodile-god of the Nile, water and fertility, and occasionally patron god of the army. Seen occasionally as a creator deity, and often associated with Ra.
- Making a Splash
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Sometimes revered, sometimes reviled, he was rather ambiguous in terms of worship. He brought fertility, but his sacred animal is extremely dangerous, and he was said to take women from their husbands whenever he felt like it.
Ma'et, a personification of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice, the complete opposite of Apep/Apophis. The feather which symbolized her was used by Anubis to weigh and test the hearts of the dead. She was married to Thoth in some traditions. The order of the cosmos, which Ma'et embodied, was established by Ra at the dawn of time and had to be continually defended from the forces of chaos to prevent the universe from collapsing.
He is the embodiment of chaos and god of darkness, storms, earthquakes, and basically anything harmful. He attacked Ra and his entourage every night as they traveled through the underworld, and had a hypnotic gaze he'd use before trying to swallow them (if he succeed, it was one explanation for a solar eclipse). After the Hyksos invaded Egypt and identified Set with their chief god, his characteristics were combined with Set, who then became known as the god of evil.
- Ascended Extra: Double-subversion; she is not among the chief deities, but she was a well-known household goddess.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Although married to the above-mentioned Set, she is generally a benevolent goddess. She protects women (pregnant women in particular), and she restrains her husband from doing evil.
- Expansion Pack Past: Started off as evil, then regarded as benevolent. She may also be another aspect of the above-mentioned Hathor.
- Expy: Has one in the form of the soul-eating demoness Ammit. Where Tawaret gives life, Ammit takes it away.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: No one seems to have a problem with her cheating on her husband, probably because he is the Big Bad.
- Good Is Not Nice: Sometimes has to lasso her husband to keep him in line and protect humanity.
- I Have Many Names: Tawaret, Tuaret, Reret, just to name a few
- Interspecies Romance: A very ironic one; she's a hippo, and her lover Sobek is a crocodile. In Real Life, these particular animals do not get along.
- Kavorka Woman: Takes the form of a hippo with pendulous breasts, but she has multiple lovers and is pretty much always pregnant, so she must be doing something right!
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: Seems to always be pregnant.
- Really Gets Around: Is married to Set, and has Bes and Sobek (and several other gods) as lovers. Sobek seems to be her favorite, though.
- Mama Bear: Protector of pregnant women and babies
- Mix-and-Match Critter: Has characteristics of a hippo, a lion, and a human, and sometimes a crocodile.
- Mother of a Thousand Young