The Greeks called this place Abydos. It
was the seat of worship of Osiris. It
was also called Busiris, "the house of
Osiris". Egyptian tradition says that
the sun ended his daily journey at
Abydos, and entered into the underworld
here, through a gap in the mountains
called "peq". In the 12th dynasty it was
believed that the souls of the dead
entered into the afterlife here.
The double lion god, guardian of the
sunrise and sunset. Guardian of the
peaks that supported the sky. The
western peak was called Manu, while the
eastern peak was called Bakhu.
The akh was the aspect of a person that
would join the gods in the underworld
being immortal and unchangeable. It was
created after death by the use of
funerary text and spells, designed to
bring forth an akh. Once this was
achieved that individual was assured of
not "dying a second time" a death that
would mean the end of one's existence.
This was the horizon from which the sun
emerged and disappeared. The horizon
thus embodied the idea of both sunrise
and sunset. It is similar to the two
peaks of the Djew or mountain symbol
with a solar disk in the center. Both
the beginning and the end of each day
was guarded by Aker, a double lion god.
In the New Kingdom, Harmakhet ("Horus in
the Horizon") became the god of the
rising and setting sun. He was pictured
as a falcon, or as a sphinx with the
body of a lion. The Great Sphinx of Giza
is an example of "Horus in the Horizon".
The name given to the historical time
period under the rule of Amenophis IV /Akhenaten.
During this time period there were
unprecedented changes in the government,
art and religion.
The Underworld. Originally the place
where the sun set, this name was later
applied to the West Bank of the Nile
where the Egyptians built their tombs.
A female demon, she is found in The Book
of the Dead, She plays an important role
in the Hall of Maat.
A charm, often in the form of
hieroglyphs, gods or sacred animals;
made of precious stones or faience. They
were worn like jewelry during life, and
were included within the mummy wrappings
for the afterlife.
A god who's cult center was the temple
of Amun at Karnak. He was considered to
be king of all the gods and the the
creator of all things.
One of three varieties of Egyptian
sphinx, having the head of a man.
A symbol of life, resembling a looped
cross. It was later adapted by Coptic
Christians as their cross. Widely used
as an amulet.
A Greek word meaning; man-shaped. This
term is used for coffins made in the
shape of a human.
A jackal headed god. Guardian of the
The Apis Bull was sacred to Osiris. It
was revered from the earliest times,
through the Graeco-Roman period.
A name for the land of the dead.
The atef crown was worn by Osiris. It is
made up of the white crown of Upper
Egypt and the red feathers are
representative of Busiris, Osiris's cult
center in the Delta.
The god that gained its prominence
during the reign of Akhenaten, who
abolished the traditional cults of Egypt
and replaced them with the Aten. This
created the first monotheistic cult in
The ba can best be described as
someone's personality. Like a person's
body, each ba was an individual. It
entered a person's body with the breath
of life and it left at the time of
death. The ba is associated with
divinity and power. It had the ability
to take on different forms, in this
respect the gods had many bas. The ba of
the deceased is able to move freely
between the underworld and the physical
world. The ba is similar to the ka.
A cat headed goddess. As a sun goddess
she represents the warm, life giving
power of the sun.
The mythical mountain from which the sun
rose. The region of the eastern horizon.
One of two mountains that held up the
sky, the other being Manu. These peaks
were guarded by the double lion god,
A boat in which the gods sailed. The
baroque of Ra carried a host of deities
across the sky each day.
Model baroques were kept in these
shrines in temples. These model baroques
were used to carry deities out of the
temples in festival processions.
These were small temples, attached to
the main temples of the Late and
Greco-Roman Periods. These small temples
are where the god of the main temple was
born, or if the main temple was
dedicated to a goddess it was where she
bore her children.
A stone resembling an obelisk,
representative of a sun ray
An aspect of Ra-Atum in the form of a
phoenix. The patron of the reckoning of
time. The carrier of eternal light from
the abode of the gods to the world of
BOOK OF THE DEAD
This is a collection of magic spells and
formulas that was illustrated and
written, usually on papyrus. It began to
appear in Egyptian tombs around 1600 BC.
The text was intended to be spoken by
the deceased during their journey into
the Underworld. It enabled the deceased
to overcome obstacles in the afterlife.
It did this by teaching passwords that
allowed the deceased to turn into
mythical creatures to navigate around
hazards, while granting the help and
protection of the gods, and proclaiming
the deceased's identity with the gods.
The texts continue the tradition of the
Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts. There
are about 200 known spells and the
choice of spells can vary from copy to
Four jars used to store the preserved
internal organs of the deceased. Each
jar is representative of one of the four
sons of Horus. The term comes from the
Greek , Canopus, a demigod venerated in
the form of a human headed jar.
Papyrus or linen soaked in plaster,
shaped around a body. Used for mummy
masks and coffins.
A circle with a horizontal bar at the
bottom, elongated into an oval within
which king's names are written It is
believed to act as a protector of the
kings name. The sign represents a loop
of rope that is never ending.
From the Greek word meaning; "empty
tomb". A tomb built for ceremonial
purposes that was never intended to be
used for the interment of the deceased.
Texts written inside coffins of the
Middle Kingdom that are intended to
direct the souls of the dead past the
dangers and perils encountered on the
journey through the afterlife. More than
1,000 spells are known.
A more then life size statue, often of a
kings, but also of gods and even private
individuals. These huge statues usually
flank the gates or pylons of temples.
They are believed to act as
intermediaries between men and the gods.
One of three varieties of Egyptian
sphinx, having the head of a ram.
The red crown. This was the crown that
represented Lower Egypt (northern).
Chief priestess of Amun in Thebes, an
office known from the New Kingdom
through the Late Period. The office was
an important vehicle of political
It is believed that the Djed is a
rendering of a human backbone. It
represents stability and strength. It
was originally associated with the
creation god Ptah. Himself being called
the "Noble Djed". As the Osiris cults
took hold it became known as the
backbone of Osiris . A djed column is
often painted on the bottom of coffins,
where the backbone of the deceased would
lay, this identified the person with the
king of the underworld, Osiris. It also
acts as a sign of stability for the
deceased' journey into the afterlife.
This means mountain. The Egyptians
believed that there was a cosmic
mountain range that held up the heavens.
This mountain range had two peaks, the
western peak was called Manu, while the
eastern peak was called Bakhu. It was on
these peaks that heaven rested. Each
peak of this mountain chain was guarded
by a Akerlion deity named AKER, who's
job it was to protect the sun as it rose
and set. The mountain was also a symbol
of the tomb and the afterlife, probably
because most Egyptian tombs were located
in the mountainous land bordering the
Nile valley. In some texts we find
Anubis, the guardian of the tomb being
referred to as "He who is upon his
mountain." Sometimes we find Hathor
taking on the attributes of a deity of
the afterlife, at this time she is
called "Mistress of the Necropolis." She
is rendered as the head of a cow
protruding from a mountainside.
A straight, paved avenue flanked by
The land of the dead. It lies under the
earth and is entered through the western
A group of 9 deities that are associated
with a major cult center. The best known
is the great ennead of Heliopolis, It
consists of Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut,
Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.
A mixture of gold and silver.
A glazed material, with a base of either
carved soapstone or molded clay, with an
overlay of blue/green colored glass.
A door carved or painted on a wall. The
ka would use this door to partake of
Type of offering bearer rendered at the
base of temple walls. They are shown
bringing offerings into the temple. The
male figures are often shown with heavy
pendulous breasts and bulging stomachs,
this plumpness symbolizing the abundance
of the offerings they bring.
An animal skin hanging from a stick. It
was used by the cults of Osiris and
A crop or whip used to ward off evil
Clay cones inserted above a tombs
entrance with the name and title of the
Bread, beer, wine and other food items
provided by mourners or magically,
through inscriptions and pictures in the
This symbol represents a lamp or brazier
on a stand from which a flame emerges.
Fire was embodied in the sun and in its
symbol the uraeus which spit fire. Fire
also plays a part in the Egyptian
concept of the underworld. There is one
terrifying aspect of the underworld
which is similar to the Christians
concept of hell. Most Egyptians would
like to avoid this place with its fiery
lakes and rivers that are inhabited by
A god that is sometimes pictured with
the head of a goose. Geb was called 'the
Great Cackler', and as such, was
represented as a goose. It was in this
form that he was said to have laid the
egg from which the sun was hatched. He
was believed to have been the third
divine king of earth. The royal throne
of Egypt was known as the 'throne of Geb'
in honor of his great reign.
The god of the Nile, particularly the
inundation. He is pictured as a bearded
man coloured blue or green, with female
breasts, indicating his powers of
nourishment. As god of the Northern Nile
he wears papyrus plants on his head, and
as god of the southern Nile he wears
Was the goddess of joy, motherhood,
and love. Hathor was originally
worshipped in the form of a cow,
sometimes as a cow with stars on her.
Later she is represented as a woman with
the head of a cow, and finally with a
human head, the face broad and placid,
sometimes she is depicted with the ears
or horns of a cow.
A white crown. This was the crown of
Upper Egypt (southern).
One of three varieties of Egyptian
sphinx, having the head of a hawk.
From the Greek word meaning "sacred,"
Although this form of the written
language was used throughout Egyptian
history, it's name comes from the later
periods when it was used only in
The Egyptian picture language. From the
Greek word meaning "sacred carving". The
symbols are individual pictures that do
not join together.
The head of the local priesthood.
A falcon headed god. Horus was so
important to the state religion that
Pharaohs were considered his human
manifestation and even took on the name
A king's name. It identifies the king
with a form of the god Horus.
From the Greek word meaning; "bearing
pillars". It is a term used to describe
the grand, outermost halls. They are
believed to represent a grove of trees.
The tent of purification. This is the
place where mummification was preformed.
This is the heart. The Egyptians
believed the heart was the center of all
consciousness, even the center of life
itself. When someone died it was said
that their "heart had departed." It was
the only organ that was not removed from
the body during mummification. In the
Book of the dead, it was the heart that
was weighed against the feather of Maat
to see if an individual was worthy of
joining Osiris in the afterlife.
Isis was a great enchantress, the
goddess of magic. She is often
represented as a woman wearing on her
head the hieroglyphic symbol of her
name, which represents a throne or seat.
From the Greek word meaning; "with erect
penis". Various gods are represented in
this form. Most notably Min and Amun.
The ka is usually translated as
"double", it represents a person's
double. It is what we would call a
spirit or a soul. The ka was created at
the same time as the physical body. It
was believed that the ram-headed god
Khnum crafted the ka on his potter's
wheel at the time of a persons birth. A
persons ka would live on after their
body had died. It was thought that when
someone died they "met their ka". The ka
existed in the physical world and
resided in the tomb (House of the Ka).
It had the same needs that the person
had in life, which was to eat, drink,
etc. The Egyptians left offerings of
food, drink, and worldly possessions in
tombs for the ka to use.
The blue crown was a ceremonial crown.
A scarab headed god. The Egyptians
believed that Khepri pushed the sun
across the sky in much the same fashion
that a dung beetle (scarab) pushed a
ball of dung across the ground.
This is a flame or fire. Fire was
embodied in the sun and in its symbol
the uraeus which spit fire. Fire also
plays a part in the Egyptian concept of
the underworld. There is one terrifying
aspect of the underworld which is
similar to the Christians concept of
hell. Most Egyptians would like to avoid
this place with its fiery lakes and
rivers that are inhabited by fire
A ram headed god. His name means to
create. He was the creator of all things
that are and all things that shall be.
He created the gods and he fashioned
mankind on a potters wheel.
A spiritual entity often mentioned in
association with the ba. It was viewed
as an entirely spiritual and absolutely
Translates as "One who bears the ritual
book". This priests function was to
recite from the ritual texts.
A symbol of birth and dawn; it was
thought to have been the cradle of the
sun on the first morning of creation,
rising from the primeval waters. The
lotus was a common architectural motif,
particularly used on capitals
The concept of order, truth, regularity
and justice which was all important to
the ancient Egyptians. It was the duty
of the pharaohs to uphold maat.
MAMMISI. . See BIRTH HOUSE
The mythical mountain on which the sun
set. The region of the western horizon.
One of two mountains that held up the
sky, the other being BAKHU. These peaks
were guarded by the double lion god,
The Arabic word meaning; "bench". Used
to describe tombs of the Early Dynastic
Period and Old Kingdom. The basic form
resembled a bench.
A protective amulet invoking the divine
favor. It was usually worn on a string
of beads at the back of the neck,
probably as a counterpoise to items of
jewelry worn in front. Many of these
amulets have been found in tombs. They
were supposed to bring fertility to
women and virility to men.
A scribes pallet. Writing was a very
important skill to the ancient
Egyptians. It was practiced by a group
called scribes. The writing equipment
used by scribes consisted of a palette,
which held black and red pigments, a
water jar, and a pen. To be a scribe was
a favorable position, even some kings
and nobles are show proudly displaying
In early times Min was a sky-god whose
symbol was a thunderbolt. His title was
Chief of Heaven. He was also seen as a
rain god that promoted the fertility of
nature, especially in the growing of
MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE
Housewife, title given to married ladies
from the Middle Kingdom onwards.
pertaining to the burial of the dead.
People who provided funerary offerings
for nourishment of the deceased.
Called the "servant of the ka". This was
a Person who was appointed to bring
daily offerings to a tomb.
From the Persian word; "moumiya". A
preserved corpse by either natural or
artificial means. Mummification involved
thoroughly drying the body to remove the
source of decay.
Mut was the divine mother goddess, the
queen of all gods. She is portraied as a
woman wearing a vulture headdress, with
the double crown(Pshent) of upper and
A naturally occurring salt used as a
preservative and drying agent during
mummification. It is a mixture of four
salts that occur in varying proportions:
sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate,
sodium chloride and sodium sulfate.
Shrine in which divine statues were
kept, especially in temple sanctuaries.
A small wooden naos was normally placed
inside a monolithic one in hard stone;
the latter are typical of the Late
Period, and sometimes elaborately
decorated. Also used as a term for
This is the Egyptian word for gold,
which was considered a divine metal, it
was thought to be the flesh of the gods.
Its polished surface was related to the
brilliance of the sun. Gold was
important to the afterlife as it
represents aspects of immortality. By
the New Kingdom, the royal burial
chamber was called the "House of Gold."
The Greek word meaning; "city of the
dead" normally describes large and
important burial areas that were in use
for long periods.
A goddess of the hunt. She may have also
been a war goddess. Neith was pictured
as a woman wearing the red crown of
Lower Egypt, holding a bow and crossed
arrows. Her cult sign was a shield and
A goddess portrayed as a vulture.
Protectress of Upper Egypt.
A striped headcloth worn by Pharaohs.
A goddess, the twin sister of Osiris,
Isis and Seth. She plays an important
role in the Osiris legend. Her name
means 'Lady of the House' it's thought
to be referring to Osiris' Palace.
This seems to be the egyptian word for
the forces that are god or a group of
gods, although the exact meaning is
This translates as "divine subterranean
place". A name for the land of the dead.
Staircase descending into the Nile and
marked with levels above low water; used
for measuring, and in some cases
recording, inundation levels. The most
famous are on Elephantine island and on
Roda island in Cairo.
The chief official of a nome. In the
late Old Kingdom, and early Middle
Kingdom nomarchs gained their office as
hereditary rulers. They governed their
nomes more or less independently of any
central authority. During periods of
highly centralized government, nomes
ceased to have much political
From the Greek, nomos; this is an
administrative province of Egypt. The
nome system started in the Early
Dynastic Period. During some periods,
when there was a highly centralized
government the nomes had little
A swirling watery chaos from which the
cosmic order was produced. In the
begining there was only Nu. See also the
Nut was originally a mother-goddess who
had many children. The hieroglyph for
her name, which she is often seen
wearing on her head is a water pot, but
it is also thought to represent a womb.
As the sky goddess, she is shown
stretching from horizon to horizon,
touching only her fingertips and toes to
From the Greek word meaning; "a spit".
It is a monumental tapering shaft
usually made of pink granite. Capped
with a pyramidion at the top. Obelisks
are solar symbols similar in meaning to
pyramids, they are associated with an
ancient stone called BENBEN in
Heliopolis. They were set in pairs, at
the entrances of temples, and to some
Old Kingdom tombs.
Term describing the group of 8 deities
associated with Hermopolis. It contained
four couples who symbolized the state of
the world before creation. The group
usually consists of: Nun and Naunet,
representing the primeval waters; Huh
and Hauhet, being endless space; Kuk and
Kauket. are darkness; Amun and Amaunet.
represent that which is hidden.
OPENING OF THE MOUTH
This ceremony was performed at the
funeral to restore the senses of the
deceased. The ceremony was done by
touching an adze to the mouth of a mummy
or statue of the deceased, it was
believed to restore the senses in
preparation for the afterlife.
A great religious festival that took
place in Thebes during the inundation.
The god Amun was taken from his temple
at Karnak and brought to visit his wife,
Mut at her temple of Luxor.
Supreme god and judge of the dead. The
symbol of resurrection and eternal life.
Provider of fertility and prosperity to
the living. A bearded man wearing white
mummy wrappings. Wearing the atef crown
and holding the symbols of supreme
power, the flail and crook. His skin is
green to represent vegetation or red to
represent the earth.
Pillar. mostly in an open court or
portico, with a colossal statue of a
king forming its front part; unlike
caryatids in Classical architecture, the
statues are not weight-bearing elements.
Most are mummiform, but not all; the
connection with Osiris is doubtful.
From the Greek word meaning; "potsherd".
A chip or shard of limestone or pottery
used as a writing tablet. Ostraca are
known from all periods. but 19th and
20th-Dynasty examples are the most
common. The texts can be anything from a
simple shopping list to drafts of
All the gods, collectively as a group.
The main Egyptian writing material, and
an important export. The earliest
papyrus dates to the Ist Dynasty, the
latest to the Islamic Period. Oddly
enough, the papyrus plant became extinct
in Egypt, being reintroduced in the
1960's, it is now an important link in
the tourist trade. Sheets were made by
cutting the stem of the plant into
strips. These strips were soaked in
several baths to remove some of the
sugar and starches. These strips were
then laid in rows horizontally and
vertically. Then it was beaten together,
activating the plant's natural starches
and forming a glue that bound the sheet
together. Separate sheets were glued
together to form a roll.
The place where some of the purification
and mummification rituals took place.
This is the sky depicted as a ceiling
which drops at the ends, the same way
the real sky seems to reach for the
horizon. This sign was often used in
architectural motifs; the top of walls,
and door frames. It symbolizes the
This is a king's first cartouche name,
which he adopted on his accession; also
called the "throne name." It consists of
a statement about the god Ra.
Room in front of the naos sanctuary of a
temple. The location of this room varies
with the design of the temple.
This translates as "God's Servant",
There was usually a ranking; the high
priest of Amun at Thebes was called "The
First Prophet of Amun"; below him were
the Second Prophet and so on. The head
of the local cults, was often called
"Overseer of Prophets."
Gateway that stands in front of a pylon.
The Crown of upper and lower Egypt, the
red crown and the white crown put
together to represent a unified Egypt.
Although Egypt was not always a unified
nation it was stronger that
way.Therefore unification was desirable.
Narmer (Menes), the founder of the First
Dynasty around 3100 B.C., was the first
man recorded wearing this crown.
He is a creator god. The patron of
architects, artists and sculptors. It
was Ptah who built the boats for the
souls of the dead to use in the
From the Greek word meaning "gate" It is
a monumental entrance wall of a temple.
Pylons are the largest and least
essential parts of a temple that is
usually built last. Some temples have
more then one set, the temple at Karnak
has 10 Pylons.
Capstone of a pyramid or the top of an
obelisk. The pyramidion was decorated
and became a symbolic object that was
the focal point of the small brick
pyramids of private tombs.
Texts on the walls of the pyramids of
the end of the 5th through 8th
From very early times Ra was a sun god.
He took on many of the attributes and
even the names of other gods as Egyptian
myths evolved. He is often pictured as a
hawk or as a hawk headed man with a
solar disk encircled by a uraeus on his
head. He is often pictured wearing the
double crown of upper and lower Egypt.
ROCK-CUT TOMB. . Method of excavating
tombs that begun during the Middle
Kingdom. The burials in the Valley of
the Kings are perhaps the best known
The Sa was a symbol of protection. Its
origins are uncertain, but it is
speculated that it represents either a
rolled up herdsman's shelter or a
papyrus life-preserver used by ancient
Egyptian boaters. Either way it is
clearly a symbol of protection. From
early times the Sa plays an important
part in jewelry design. It is often used
in conjunction with symbols,
particularly the ankh, was and djed
signs. We often find Taurt, the
hippopotamus goddess of childbirth,
resting her paw on a standing Sa sign.
An Arabic word that means "row", it
describes the rock-cut tombs of the
early 11th Dynasty that consisted of a
row of openings on the hillside.
From the Greek word meaning; "flesh
eater". It was the name given to the
stone container within which the coffins
and mummy were placed.
The dung-rolling beetle was, to the
ancient Egyptians, a symbol of
regeneration and spontaneous creation,
as it seemed to emerge from nowhere; in
fact it came from eggs previously laid
in the sand. Seals and amulets in scarab
form were very common and were thought
to possess magic powers.
This is ritual meant to show royal
regeneration. It was traditionally
celebrated after 30 years of a king's
reign. It is a scene usually found
decorating the mortuary temples of the
A symbol of authority.
This mythical place was originally
called the "Field of the Aanru plants"
It was believed to be islands in the
Delta where the souls of the dead lived.
This was the abode of the god Osiris,
who bestowed goodness upon his
followers, and here the dead could lead
a new existence complete with an
abundance of food of every kind. The
Sekhet-Aanru is in the "Fields of
According to the Osiris cults the Fields
of Peace was the desired location of the
deceased. They would join with their
god, Osiris and become a khu, drink,
plow, reap, fight, make love, never be
in a state of servitude and always be in
a position of authority.
A lion headed goddess. As a sun goddess
she represents the scorching, burning,
destructive heat of the sun. She was a
fierce goddess of war, the destroyer of
the enemies of Ra and Osiris.
The ancient Egyptian term for an
administrative province of Egypt. See
A lotus flower. This is a symbol of the
sun, of creation and rebirth. Because at
night the flower closes and sinks
underwater, at dawn it rises and opens
again. According to one creation myth it
was a giant lotus which first rose out
of the watery chaos at the beginning of
time. From this giant lotus the sun
itself rose on the first day.
This means "the mountain of the
underworld," a common name for the
cemeteries were in the mountains or
desert on the western bank of the Nile.
Early in Egyptian history, Seth is
spoken of in terms of reverence as the
god of wind and storms. He was even
known as the Lord of Upper Egypt. Later
he became the god of evil.
A pool of water. The Egyptians believed
water was the primeval matter from which
aII creation began. Life in Egypt's
desert climate depended on water, and a
pool of water would be a great luxury.
There are many tomb paintings that show
the deceased drinking from a pool in the
A loop of rope that has no beginning and
no end, it symbolized eternity. The shen
also seems to be a symbol of protection.
It is often seen being clutched by
deities in bird form, Horus the falcon,
Mut the vulture. Hovering over Pharaohs
head with their wings outstretched in a
gesture of protection. The word shen
comes from the word "shenu" which means
"encircle," and in its elongated form
became the cartouche which surrounded
the king's name.
The sistrum was a sacred noise-making
instrument used in the cult of Hathor.
The sistrum consisted of a wooden or
metal frame fitted with loose strips of
metal and disks which jingled when
moved. This noise was thought to attract
the attention of the gods. There are two
types of sistrum, an iba, was shaped in
a simple loop, like a closed horse-shoe
with loose cross bars of metal above a
Hathor head and a long handle. The
seseshet had the shape of a naos temple
above a Hathor head, with ornamental
loops on the sides. The rattle was
inside the box of the naos. They were
usually carried by women of high rank.
A crocodile-headed god. Admired and
feared for his ferocity. At the command
of Ra, He performed tasks such as
catching with a net the four sons of
Horus as they emerged from the waters in
a lotus bloom.
A figure with the body of a lion and the
head of a man, hawk or a ram.
A stone slab, sometimes wood, decorated
with paintings, reliefs or texts. They
usually commemorate an event.
This Arabic word means "three
handbreadths". It is used to describe
the typical stone building blocks of
temples of Akhenaten, they are decorated
with scenes in the Amarna style. They
have been found reused at a number of
other building sites.
A goddess who protected pregnant woman
and infants. Also protectress of rebirth
into the afterlife. She is pictured as a
pregnant hippopotamus with human
breasts, the hind legs of a lioness and
the tail of a crocodile.
This consist of the gods Amun, his wife
Mut, and their son Khons.
An ibis headed god. Thoth was said to be
mighty in knowledge and divine speech.
The inventer of spoken and written
language. As the lord of books he was
the scribe of the gods and patron of all
scribes. He is credited with inventing
astronomy, geometry, and medicine. Thoth
was the measurer of the earth and the
counter of the stars, the keeper and
recorder of all knowledge. It was Thoth
who was believed to have written
important religious texts such as The
Book of the Dead.
The exact origin of the tiet is unknown.
In many respects it resembles an ankh
except that its arms curve down. Its
meaning is also reminiscent of the ankh,
it is often translated to mean welfare
or life. As early as the Third Dynasty
we find the tiet being used as
decoration when it appears with both the
ankh and the djed column, and later with
the was scepter. The tiet is associated
with Isis and is often called "the knot
of Isis" or "the blood of Isis." It
seems to be called "the knot of Isis"
because it resembles a knot used to
secure the garments that the gods wore.
The meaning of "the blood of Isis" is
more obscured but it was often used as a
funerary amulet made of a red stone or
glass. In the Late Period the sign was
associated with the goddesses Nephthys,
Hathor, and Nut as well as with Isis. In
all these cases it seems to represent
the ideas of resurrection and eternal
The land of the dead. It lies under the
earth and is entered through the western
This important symbol is named after the
"sound eye" of Horus. According to one
version of the legend Seth, the god of
evil intentions, snatched away the eye
of Horus which then fell to pieces.
Thoth found it and put it together
again. The udjat was regarded as a
powerful protective amulet; it is
frequently found in tombs, on coffins
and on the seal which was placed over
the incision in the mummy through which
the internal organs were removed.
A textual and pictorial compositions
that is found in New Kingdom tombs. It
follows the daily passage of the sun god
across the sky and through the
A symbol of kingship. A rearing cobra
was worn on the king's forehead or
crown. The cobra was associated with the
"eye" of the sun. It was a protector of
the king, spitting out fire.
Literally translated it means "to
answer." It is a small mummiform figure
placed in tombs to do work in the
afterlife on behalf of the deceased. In
some tombs of the late New Kingdom whole
gangs of ushabti workers were included
with different tools for doing different
work. A complete collection would
consist of 401 Ushabti: one for each day
of the year, 365 plus 36 foreman.
This is a symbol of power and dominion.
The Was scepter is carried by deities as
a sign of their power. It is also seen
being carried by kings and later by
people of lesser stature in mortuary
A place where part of purification and
mummification rites took place.
This is a form that the god Horus
Behudety (Horus of Edfu) takes in his
battles with Seth. The god Thoth used
his magic to turn Horus into a sun-disk
with splendid outstretched wings. The
goddesses Nekhbet and Uazet in the form
of uraeus snakes joined him at his side.
The earliest example of this image is
found in the Ist Dynasty. It is used
widely in architecture, on ceilings,
cornices and stelae. It is an image that
is often copied outside Egypt.
The Babylonian and Greek signs of the
zodiac were introduced into Egypt in the
Greco-Roman Period. They were adapted
into Egyptian imagery and used to
decorate ceilings of tombs and temples,
and coffin lids.