The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

Hardback Complete

By (author) Richard H. Wilkinson

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  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 202mm x 260mm x 28mm | 1,238g
  • Publication date: 26 May 2003
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0500051208
  • ISBN 13: 9780500051207
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 388 illus
  • Sales rank: 74,941

Product description

A comprehensive and authoritative illustrated guide to the deities that lay at the heart of Ancient Egyptian religion and society. It examines the evolution, worship and eventual decline of a huge pantheon, from minor figures such as Bas, Babi, Ba-Pef and Taweret to the all-powerful Osiris, Amun, Hathor, Isis and Re. The author considers the differing manifestations, iconography and cult centres of the deities and their fluctuating popularity. He also examines levels of worship, from the king's formal rituals and festivals to popular access and personal piety. The accompanying photographs and drawings depict tomb paintings, temple reliefs, statues and other iconography.

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Author information

Richard H. Wilkinson is Director of the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition and has been engaged in excavation and research in Egypt for many years. He is the author of Reading Egyptian Art, Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art, The Complete Valley of the Kings (with Nicholas Reeves) and The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt.

Review quote

New! The origins, evolution, worship, and eventual decline of ancient Egyptian deities

Editorial reviews

The number of deities worshipped by the Ancient Egyptians was amazingly large - some 1500 of them have been identified by name. Such a vast range of gods and goddesses, some animal, some human and some a mixture of both, can appear confusing, if not completely mystifying. This book examines these myriad deities, the information gathered from a wide variety of sources - written texts, both on scrolls and those written on the walls of the pyramids, temples and tombs, icons and shrines found in the remains of dwelling houses, and architectural decoration. The worship of these deities was an integral part of the daily life of the Ancient Egyptians and shaped their society and culture to an enormous extent, as Wilkinson demonstrates. The book is divided into five main sections - 'The Rise and Fall of the Gods', 'The Nature of the Gods', 'Worship of the Gods', 'Kingship and the Gods', and finally 'Catalogue of the Deities', by far the largest section, accounting for some three quarters of the book. The listing of the gods and goddesses is not a mere alphabetical index, which as the author says would obscure the nature of the Egyptian deities and the dynamic of their relationships with each other; instead they are grouped according to their physical appearance, and all of the major and most of the minor deities are listed. The book is lavishly illustrated in both colour and black and white. There is a chronology of all the dynasties and rulers mentioned in the text, a very detailed further reading list, usefully arranged according to the chapter headings in the book, and a basic index. This is a definitive guide to the subject. (Kirkus UK)

Table of contents

Rise and Fall of the Gods considers the origins of Egypt's deities, the stories of gods who struggled to control cosmic forces of chaos and destruction and could themselves die, and their eventual decline. Nature of the Gods examines the forms, appearances and manifestations of the deities, as well as the transcendence of pre-eminent deities such as Amun and the apparent monotheism of Atenism under Akhenaten. Worship of the Gods introduces the rituals and mysteries of formal Egyptian worship, including the importance of temples and festivals, and examines popular access to the gods and private worship. Kingship and the Gods discusses the all-important position of the king, who served as a bridge between the gods and humanity and who could himself be deified and rule among the gods. The Many Faces of the Divine is a unique catalogue of Egypt's gods and goddesses grouped according to their primary forms, discussing their iconography, mythology and worship and their varying influence across Egypt over time.