A-Z of Egyptology

A-Z of Egyptology

Apophis
Giant serpent whose evil intention is to destroy creation.
Anubis
God of funerals and death and son of Set and Nephthys. He is often seen painted on the walls of tombs as he was thought to protect the dead. He is shown as a jackal or wild dog.
Bast
Goddess of cats, women, and children. She can be both gentle and fierce. Shown as a cat headed woman. Welcomed in Egyptian homes as the goddess of hearth and home.
Duat
One of the ancient names for the afterworld, the dark realm of death in Egyptian mythology, situated west of the Nile. The sun passes through on its return journey from west to east and it is here that the souls are judged by Osiris.
Face of Horror
Set’s minion who bears the hideous face of a decaying corpse and the feet of a rooster.
Geb
God of the earth. He is husband to the sky Goddess Nut and father to Osiris, Isis, Horus, Set, & Nephthys. Geb was one of the most important of Ancient Egypt’s gods. His parents were Shu, the God of winds, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture.
Horus
God of the Sky. He is one of the most important gods in the Egyptian pantheon and son of Isis and Osiris. Horus is known as the Falcon God and is believed to have given power to each pharaoh. Horus lost his eye fighting Set.
Isis
Goddess of motherhood and love. Isis is the wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus. She recovered Osiris’s body and brought him back to life after he was killed by Set.
Magicians
There were two kinds of magicians in ancient Egypt; the first were trained priest-magicians who served in large temples and were part of the religious hierarchy. These magicians had a special place in the temple - they worked in the House of Life. The second type of magicians were “lay” magicians. These men and woman practiced magic but were not attached to any temple.
Magic Wands
Instruments meant to turn away or avert evil spirits. These were most often carved of ivory and inscribed with magical figures to protect their owners. Wands were often used for drawing magical circles on the ground to create a “safe spot” that would repel evil spirits.
Nephthys
Godess of the Night. She is the daughter of Geb and Nut, the sister of Osiris, Isis, and Set and the mother of Anubis. Nephthys was regarded as the female counterpart of Set. Nevertheless she always appears as the faithful sister and friend of Isis, and helped the widowed goddess to collect the scattered limbs of Osiris and to reconstitute his body.
Nut
Goddess of the sky. She is wife of the Earth God Geb and mother to Osiris, Isis, Horus, Set, & Nephthys. She cunningly gave birth to her 5 children on the five extra days of the Egyptian calendar defying Ra’s decree that she could not bear children during any month of the year. She is believed to be the daughter of the gods Shu and Tefnut and the granddaughter of Ra.
Osiris
God of the dead. He is husband to Isis, father to Horus and the first born child of the earth God Geb and his wife Nut, the sky Goddess. Osiris is shown as a bearded man wrapped like a mummy wearing an atef crown. His hands protrude from his white mummy bandages and hold the crook and the flail, two symbols of power in ancient Egypt.
Per Ankh/House of Life
A small temple or building where records were kept. Much like a modern day library, they served as a centre for education. Records typically included medicine, astronomy, geography, law, mathematics, and even interpretation of dreams. Magicians studied magical texts and other sciences. They served as custodians of all the knowledge of the temple and guarded their secrets carefully.
Ra
God of Creation. Ra was the almost universally-worshipped king of the Gods and all-father of creation. He is believed to have created the world. He appears as a pharaoh wearing the sun disk on his head.
Rosetta Stone
A large black inscribed stone discovered during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian Campaign (1798-1799). The stone enabled early linguists to translate and read the myths of Ancient Egypt. The stone has three different scripts, including hieroglyphs, Demotic, a late form of Egyptian writing, and Greek.
Sekhmet
Goddess of Medicine and War. She was often shown as a Lion-headed goddess, sometimes with a sun disk on her head.
Serpopards
Referred to as “longnecks”, these creatures bear both reptilian and leopard features.
Serqet
Scorpion Goddess and servant of Set. She was thought to have power over venomous snakes and scorpions. She was generally viewed as a protective goddess, but also had a dark side.
Set
God of Evil, chaos, and darkness. Son of Geb and Nut, husband and brother to Nephthys, and brother to Osiris and Isis. He murdered his brother Osiris out of jealousy, scattered pieces of his ’ plucked out the eye of Horus. Associated with the color red.
Shabiti
These are magical, clay figures. Shabti is the Egyptian word for “answerer”.
Shu
God of Winds and father of Nut, the Sky Goddess. Under the edicts of Ra and Ma'at, Shu keeps Nut and Geb eternally separated.
Thoth
God of wisdom and writing. He had two forms, the ibis bird and the baboon. He helped Isis bring Osiris back from the dead.