What was the significance of the Egyptian Gods in Ancient Egyptian Society?
This is a specific area I've tried to find about in my Essay - it's not my question. Thanks :)
I've looked at the role they played, but I'm not really too sure what the main points are.
Ancient Egypt was a polytheistic society in which proper respect for the Gods was an important responsibility. Their concept of the Gods changed from time to time, but not their importance. Their chief God was Re, the Sun, who was shown with the head of a hawk and the body of a man. During the Middle Kingdom, the concept of Re was conjoined with the worship of Amon to create the God Amon-Re, again the Sun. The following is a hymn to Amon-Re:
Splendid you rise in heaven's lightland,
O living Aten, creator of life!
When you have dawned in eastern lightland,
You fill every land with your beauty
You are beauteous, great radian,
High over every land
Your rays embrace the lands,
To the limit of all that you made.
Your rays nurse all fields
When you shine, they live, they grow for you,
You made the seasons to foster all that you made,
Winter to cool them, heat that they taste you,
You made the sky to shine therein,
To behold all that you made;
You alone, shining in your form of living Aten,
Risen, radiant, distant, near.
You made millions of forms from yourself shine,
Towns, villages, fields, the river's course:
All eyes observe you upon them,
For you are the Aten of daytime on high.
The Nile River was not a God, but was highly venerated, so much so that hymns to the Nile were frequently written and recited. Life after death was an important element of Egyptian religion, as indicated by the practice of Mummification. The Egyptians also worshipped a God of Mummification, known as Anubis.
A brief attempt at monotheism was instituted by Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who insisted on worship of a single god, Aten, representing the Sun. He even changed his name to Akhenaton to honor this god. After his death, his movement quickly dissipated.
Cult religions also appeared through Egypt, particularly the worship of Osiris, a god of the earth and fertility and who was associated with the Nile. Followers believed that he had been transformed into the god of the underworld who weighed the hearts of deceased persons against a feather. Those who had lived good lives had light hearts and were rewarded with immortality; those whose hearts were heavy with sin were not so rewarded.