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THE early history of the god Amen is somewhat obscure, and his origin is unknown. The name Amen means "hidden (one)," a title which might be applied to many gods. A god

Amen-Ra, King of the Gods, Great Lord of Thebes.

The goddess Amenit, a female counterpart of Amen, dweller in the Northern Apt (Karnak).


[paragraph continues] Amen and his consort Ament or Amenit are mentioned in the Pyramid Texts (UNAS, line 558), where they are grouped with Nau and Nen, and

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with the two Lion gods Shu and Tefnut. This Amen was regarded as an ancient nature-god by the priests of Heliopolis under the Vth dynasty, and it is possible that many of his attributes were transferred at a very early period to Amen, the great god of Thebes. Though recent excavations have shown that a cult of Amen existed at Thebes under the Ancient Empire, it is doubtful if it possessed any more than a local importance until the XIIth dynasty. When the princes of Thebes conquered their rivals in the north and obtained the sovereignty of Egypt, their god Amen and his priesthood became a great power in the land, and an entirely new temple was built by them, in his honour, at Karnak on the right bank of the Nile. The temple was quite small, and resembled in form and arrangement some of the small Nubian temples; it consisted of a shrine, with a few small chambers grouped about it, and a forecourt, with a colonnade on two sides of it. Amen was not the oldest god worshipped there, and his sanctuary seems to have absorbed the shrine of the ancient goddess Apit. The name of Thebes is derived from T-Ape, the Coptic name of the shrine of the goddess Apit, and the city was not known as Nut Amen (the No Amon of the Bible, Nahum 3, 8), i.e., the "city of Amen," until a very much later date.

Although the kings of the XIIth dynasty were Thebans it is possible that they and many of their finest warriors had Sudani blood in their veins, and the attributes that they ascribed to Amen were similar to those that the Nubian peoples assigned to their indigenous gods. To them Amen symbolized the hidden but irresistible power that produces conception and growth in

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human beings and in the animal and vegetable worlds. And in some places in Egypt, and Nubia and the Oases, the symbol of the god Amen was either the umbilicus 1 or the gravid womb. The symbol of Amen that was shown to Alexander the Great, when he visited the temple of Jupiter Ammon in the Oasis of Siwah, was an object closely resembling the umbilicus, and it was inlaid with emeralds (turquoises?) and other precious stones--umbilico maxime similis est habitus, smaragdo et gemmis coagmentatus 2. The name of Amen was carried into Nubia and the Egyptian Sudan by the kings of the XIIth dynasty when they made raids into those countries, and his worship took root there readily and flourished. The booty which was brought back to Thebes was shared by them with Amen, and many captives and slaves were set apart as the property of the god. Soon Amen gained the reputation of the god of successful warriors, and his fame grew and spread abroad, and little by little the attributes and powers of the older gods of Heliopolis, Memphis and Abydos were united to his own in the minds of his priests and followers.

Under the rule of the kings of the XVIIIth dynasty the glory and power of Amen waxed greater and greater, and his fame spread through the Eastern Desert and Syria. As he gave victory to the kings of the XIIth dynasty in Nubia, so he now gave undreamed of success to Egyptian arms in Western Asia; and the Pharaohs returned to Thebes laden with spoil of every kind and with rich gifts from the non-combatant peoples in

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[paragraph continues] Phoenicia and Syria. And Amen might well be declared to be the "god of the world," especially during the reign of Thothmes III. Never before had such wealth flowed into the treasury of the temple of Amen, or Amen-Ra, as he began to be called, and never before had the power of his priests been so great. Amenhetep I, the second king of the dynasty, had been a strong supporter of the cult of Amen, and he seems to have been the founder of the order of the priests of Amen, and certainly endowed the temple in the Northern Apt with great wealth. His prenomen and nomen are often seen occupying prominent places on the coffins of the priests of Amen. The work of establishing the order begun by Amenhetep I was consolidated and extended by Thothmes III, who set the priesthood in order, appointed a high priest, and provided them with rich revenues and gave them large estates for their maintenance. The gifts that the temple of Amen received as a result of the seventeen expeditions made by Thothmes III into Phoenicia and Syria, and into the country in the neighbourhood of the waters of the Upper Euphrates, and the share of the tribute received from Cyprus and the Sudan must have been well-nigh incalculable. The treasury of Amen was so well supplied by Thothmes III, and the affairs of his priesthood so well regulated by him, that his two immediate successors, Amenhetep II and Thothmes IV, were not called upon to make extraordinary raids into Western Asia for the purpose of collecting spoil.

Amenhetep II, about B.C. 1500, devoted his energies to the conquest of the southern portion of the Egyptian Sudan, which he penetrated as far as Wad Ba-Nagaa, a district lying about 80 miles to the north of the modern city of Khartum. But it is doubtful if he possessed any

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effective hold on the Sudan beyond Napata (Jabal Barkal), at the foot of the Fourth Cataract. During one of his wars, or raids, into Syria, he slew a rebel chief and sent his body to Napata to be hung upon the city walls, so that the natives might see it and tremble. We may be sure that the priesthood of Amen at Thebes took great care to inform their colleagues at Napata that it was their god Amen who had given the king the victory. Amenhetep II was a loyal servant of Amen, for on the stele which he set up after his return from Upper Rethennu he says that he came back "with a heart expanded with joy to Father Amen because he had overthrown all his enemies, and enlarged the: frontiers of Egypt, and had slain seven chiefs with his own club whilst they were living in Thekhsi, and had hung their bodies up head downwards on the bows of his boat as he sailed up the Nile to Thebes."

Amenhetep II was succeeded about B.C. 1450 by his son Thothmes IV, who seems to have owed his accession to the throne, not to the priests of Amen, but to the priests of Heliopolis. His mother was not of royal rank, and it is probable that her religious sympathies were with the old solar gods of Heliopolis rather than with Amen, or Amen-Ra, of Thebes. On a huge red granite stele, which stands between the paws of the Sphinx at Gizah immediately in front of its breast, is cut an important inscription which throws light on the subject of the accession to the throne of Thothmes IV. According to the text, the young prince Thothmes was hunting at Gizah and sat down to rest himself under the shadow of the Sphinx. Whilst there he fell asleep, and the fourfold Sun-god, Heraakhuti-Khepera-Ra-Tem, appeared to him in a dream and promised him the crowns of Egypt if he would clear away from the Sphinx and his temple the

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desert sand, which had swallowed them up. Now the Sphinx was believed to be the image and dwelling-place of Temu-Heraakhuti, a solar god in whom were united the attributes and powers of Tem, the oldest sun-god of Heliopolis, and Heraakhuti, a still older sun-god. Thothmes did as the god wished, that is to say, as the priests of Heliopolis wished, and by so doing forwarded their

Heraakhuti, i.e., Horus of the Two Horizons, the Great God. Ra, the mid-day form of the Sun-god, is often depicted in this form.

Temu, Lord of the Two Lands, of Anu (On) Great God, Governor of the Nine Gods. He was probably the oldest man-headed god in Egypt.


political aspirations and secured their assistance in obtaining the throne. During his short reign of about nine years Thothmes IV made raids into Syria and the Egyptian Sudan, and the temple of Amen no doubt obtained a share in the spoil which he brought back-in fact, an inscription at Karnak contains a list of the gifts that he

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made to Amen on his return from a very successful raid. We may note in passing that although the name of Amen forms part of his personal name, his Nebti name was "Stablished in sovereignty like Tem."

The opening up of Western Asia by the victorious arms of Amasis I and his successors was followed by a great increase in the communications that passed between Egypt and the peoples of Syria, Mitanni, Assyria and Babylonia. The trade between these countries increased, and the merchant caravans carried not only the wares and products of one country into the other, but also information about the manners and customs and religions of the various peoples with whom they came in contact. Thothmes IV appears to have been the first Egyptian king who entered into friendly relations with the kings of Karaduniyash (Babylonia) and Mitanni. Tushratta, king of Mitanni, tells us, in a letter 1 which he sent to Amenhetep IV, that the father of his father, Amenhetep III, sent to his grandfather, Artatama, and asked for his daughter to wife; in other words, Thothmes IV wanted to marry a princess of Mitanni. Six times did Thothmes IV make his request in vain, and it was only after the seventh asking that the king of Mitanni gave his daughter to the king of Egypt. As Queen of Egypt she was styled "Hereditary Princess, Great Lady, President of the South and the North, Great Royal Mother, MUT-EM-UAA."

The princess would naturally come to Egypt escorted by a number of her people, and it is very probable that she and her followers introduced into

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[paragraph continues] Egypt religious views that were more in harmony with those of the priests of Heliopolis than of the votaries of Amen.

Little is known of the kingdom of Mitanni and its people. There is one letter in Berlin written in the language of Mitanni, and the Assyriologists who have made a special study of it assign to the language a place among the "Caspian group," and are inclined to compare it with Georgian; and they give it an Aryan origin. 1 The names of four of their gods are mentioned in the text of a Treaty found at Boghaz Keui, and the Mitannians swore by them to observe this Treaty. These gods are:--1. Mi-it-ra-ash-shi-il. 2, U-ru-wa-na-ash-shi-il. 3, In-tar. 4, Na-sha-atti-ya-an-na. And their identifications with the Indian gods Mitra (Mithras), Varuna, Indra and Nasatiya seem to be certain. The solar and celestial character of these Indian gods has much in common with that of the solar gods of Heliopolis, and if the princess of Mitanni who married Thothmes IV carried her worship of them into Egypt, it is easy to believe that her religious sympathy and support would be given to Tem and his cognate gods, and not to Amen. With her arrival at Thebes there came an influence

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which was hostile to Amen, but her husband's reign was too short for it to produce any great material effect.

Thothmes IV was succeeded by his son by Queen Mutemuaa, who ascended the throne under the name of Amenhetep (III); thus the name of the god Amen once again formed part of the personal name of the reigning king. The meaning of this name, "Amen is content, or satisfied," is significant. He reigned for about thirty-six years, probably in the latter half of the fifteenth century B.C. A legend 1 was current in Egypt under the Ancient Empire in which it was asserted that the god Ra came to earth and, assuming the form of a priest of Ra, the husband of one Ruttet, appeared to his wife and, companying with her, begot three sons, each of whom became King of all Egypt. From that time every king prefixed to his personal name the title SA RA, "son of Ra." Nearly two thousand years later the great Queen Hatshepsut decorated her temple at Der al-Bahari with bas-reliefs, on which were sculptured scenes connected with her conception and birth. In these the god Amen, in the human form of her father Thothmes I, is seen companying with Queen Aahmes, and the inscriptions prove that Hatshepsut believed that she was of the god's seed and that his divine blood flowed in her veins. 2 As Amen had in the XVIIIth dynasty assumed all the powers and attributes of Ra of Heliopolis, the father of the kings who ruled from Memphis, it was only fitting that he should assume human form and become the physical father of the kings who ruled from his city of Thebes. The same

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Click to enlarge


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fiction was promulgated by the priests of Amen in respect of their god and Amenhetep III. According to the bas-relief in the sanctuary of the temple which he built in the Northern Apt in honour of Amen, Mut and Khensu, Amen came to Queen Mutemuaa in the human form of Thothmes IV, and begot by her the son who reigned as Amenhetep III. Both scenes and texts were copied from the bas-reliefs in Hatshepsut's temple, which in turn were probably copied from some popular document compiled by the priests of Amen at the beginning of the XVIIIth dynasty, perhaps with special reference to Amenhetep I.

Whatever views Amenhetep III held concerning Amen and his worship, he did not allow them to interfere with or obstruct his public allegiance to that god. This fact is proved by his building operations at Luxor and the gifts which he made to the temples and priesthood of Amen throughout the country. But he honoured other Egyptian gods besides Amen, for he built a temple at Elephantine to Khnemu, a very ancient god of the region of the First Cataract. To commemorate his victory over the Nubians in the fifth year of his reign, he built the great temple called Het Kha-em-Maat at Sulb, in the Egyptian Sudan. He dedicated it to Father Amen, Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, to Khnemu and to "his own Image living upon earth, Neb-maat-Ra. 1" On a bas-relief published by Lepsius 2 we see him worshipping himself, as Lord of Ta-Kenset. In several of the scenes sculptured on the walls he is represented making offerings to Amen-Ra, Khnemu and other gods, and he is


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Khnem, who became incarnate in a species of ram.

Anqit, the female counterpart of Khnem.

Sati, daughter of Khnem and Anqit.

The Triad of the First Cataract, in whose honour Amenhetep III built a temple at Elephantine.


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frequently accompanied by his wife Ti. At Saddenga he built a temple to Ti as the goddess of the Sudan.

In Egypt, at all events, the people were not prohibited from worshipping the old gods of


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Amenhetep III worshipping himself as a member of the Triad in the Temple of Sudan.


the country, and that his own high officials did so openly is evident from the grey granite stele of the architects Her and Suti in the British Museum. 1 The stele is in the form of the door of a tomb and has a plain cornice and a raised

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border. In the upper Part of the central panel are the two utchats, or eyes of the Sun and Moon, and the winged disk, and below these are figures of Osiris and Anubis; the figures of the architects and their wives are obliterated. In the inscriptions above the panel Her beseeches: I, Hathor of Thebes, the mistress of the goddesses,

Hathor of Thebes, who was incarnate in the form of a cow and a woman.

Mut, Lady of Asher, a female counterpart of Amen-Ra.


to grant to him a coming forth into the presence [of the god]; 2, Khensu to give him all good sweet and pleasant things; and 3, Hathor of Thebes to receive them in the temples. Suti beseeches: 1, Amen-Ra to give him sepulchral meals in Hermonthis; 2, Mut to give him all good things; and 3, Hathor of the cemetery to give him beautiful life and pleasure upon earth.

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On the right-hand side of the panel Her beseeches: 1, Ra-Heraakhuti, lord of heaven, to let him see Aten and to look at the Moon as he did upon earth; 2, Anpu (Anubis) to give him a beautiful funeral after old age and a burial in the western part of Thebes; and 3, the divine Queen Nefertari to give him the sweet breath of the north wind, coolness and wine, and a coming forth into the presence [of the God].

On the left-hand side of the panel Suti beseeches: 1, Osiris, Governor of eternity, to give him cakes and offerings in the presence of Un-Nefer; 2, Seker, lord of the coffin chamber, to let him go in and out of the underworld, without obstruction to his soul, at pleasure; and 3, Isis, the mother of the god, to grant him power to move freely about in the Peqa (at Abydos) under a decree of the great god.

Here, then, we have these two high officials, the one overseer of the works in the temple of Karnak, and the other overseer of the works in the temple of Luxor, men of learning and culture, praying for the goodwill, help and favour of Hathor of the city, of Hathor of the cemetery, of Mut, the consort of Amen. of Khensu, son of Amen and Mut, of the old Sun-god Ra-Heraakhuti, of Anpu, god of the tomb, of Nefertari, the deified Queen of Amasis I, of Osiris, god and judge of the dead, of Isis, his consort, and of Seker, the old god of the Underworld of Memphis. Amen is not mentioned with these old gods, into whose hands Her and Suti were content to commit their souls after death. But Amen was the great god of their city, and to him they owed their occupation and daily bread, and they acknowledged his power in the hymn which they caused to be cut on the panel of their funerary stele. The importance of this hymn is considerable, for the stele is dated, in

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line 15, by the mention of the name of the king they served, Amenhetep III. It is quite short, consisting of less than eight lines, and it tells us little about Amen. The opening words say that it is a hymn to Amen when he rises as Heraakhuti; that is to say, it is addressed to Amen in his character of a solar god. It might equally well be addressed

Khensu, a Moon-god, third member of the great Theban Triad Amen-Ra, Mut and Khensu.

Anpu, or Anubis, son of Set and Nephthys.


to Ra or Horus or any solar god. The writer calls the god a "daily beauty that never fails to rise," and identifies him with Khepera, an ancient god of creation, who is mighty in works. His rays which strike the face cannot be known (or estimated), and the brilliantly bright and shining

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metal called tcham cannot be compared for splendour with his beautiful appearance. The caps on the pyramidions of obelisks were made of tcham metal, and the brightness of them could be seen many leagues away. In line 3 Amen is said to have been ptah-tu, i.e., he was "designed," just as an object is designed, or plotted out, by a draughtsman, and the correct meaning of the

Sebak, an ancient Crocodile-god.

Net (Neith), the female counterpart of Sebak, or Sebek.


word may be that Amen designed his own form. Next the god "plated his limbs," i.e., he made them to have the appearance of plates made of tcham metal. This statement is followed by the words, "[He] gives birth, but was not himself born: Only One in his characteristics, qualities, powers and operations."

Thus we learn that Amen was, like Khepera, self-designed, self-created, self-existent in a form that

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was never born as ordinary creatures are, and that he was One and Alone without equal, or fellow, or counterpart. The writer next refers to the duration of the god's existence, as the traverser of eternity, and the passer over the roads of millions of years with his form. His splendour is the splendour of heaven, and though "all men see his passage, he is

Her-Semsu, or Horus the Aged.

Her-pa-khart (Harpokrates), or Horus the Child.


hidden from their faces" (in his character of the "hidden" god). He travels over the celestial waters vast distances in a moment of time every day. There is no cessation in his work, and every one sees him, never ceasing to do so. When he sets he rises upon the denizens of the Tuat, and his rays force their way into the eyes [of the dead] (?) When he sets in the western horizon men fall asleep and

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become motionless like the dead. With these words the Hymn to Amen comes to an end.

But during the lifetime of these twin brothers, Her and Suti, the cult of Aten must have made considerable progress at Thebes, for, in spite of their loyalty to Amen, and to the old solar gods of the country, and to Osiris and Isis being manifest, they caused a Hymn to Aten to be engraved on their funerary stele. It has no title, and follows the Hymn to Amen immediately, beginning with the words, "Homage to thee, ATEN of the day!" He is called "creator of men and women, maker of their lives," and is identified with the "Great Hawk of many-coloured plumage." He performed the act of creation which "raised" himself up [out of the primeval watery abyss]. "The creator of himself he was not born." He is next identified with the "Aged Horus," the dweller in Nut, the oldest solar god or sky-god in Egypt, and is acclaimed joyfully at rising and setting. He created the earth (?). The next words, Khnem Amen Henmemit, are difficult. If the writer of the hymn meant to identify Aten with Khnem-Amen, a god of the region of the First Cataract, that is understandable, but how, then, is Henmemit, if that be the correct reading, to be fitted in? 1 Aten is next called "Conqueror of the Two Lands from the greatest to the least." Another difficulty meets us in the words "glorious mother of gods and men," and the words that follow, "gracious artificer, most great, prospering in her work," seem to apply to this mother. Perhaps the writer of the hymn wished to compare Aten to such a mother, or he may have regarded Aten

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as father-mother. After another line containing obscure allusions we read, "How marvellous is production of him who raises up his beauty from the womb of Nut, and who illumines the Two Lands with his Aten (Disk)! He the Pautti (the primeval matter out of which the world and all in it were made) created himself. He is the LORD ONE. He made the Seasons out of the

Her-netch-tef-f, or Horus the Avenger of his Father.

Her-aakhuti as Ment, or Menthu, the War-god of Hermonthis.


months, Summer because he loves heat, and Winter because he loves the cold; [during the former] he makes men's bodies to become exhausted. The apes sing hymns to him when he rises daily." What follows on the stele concerns the lives of Her and Sub, and the text is translated on pp. 46-68.

Judging by what is said in the Hymn to Aten,

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the origin, nature and attributes of Aten closely resemble those of Amen. Both gods are identified with the oldest gods in Egypt. Each is declared to be self-created and not to have been born, therefore not begotten, and to each is applied the epithet "ONE." It is interesting to note that Aten is identified with Pautti, the oldest of all the gods, and with the Aged Horus, or Horus the Elder. As Aten is said to be. the maker of Summer and Winter and the months, it is clear that a tradition, probably going back to pre-dynastic times, associated him with the primitive Year-god. This Hymn shows that our two architects regarded Aten as a thoroughly Egyptian god, and as one who could be and ought to be worshipped side by side with Amen, who had condescended to become the begetter of their lord and master, Amenhetep III.

Notwithstanding the influence of his mother the Mitannian princess, and of his wives, some of whom also came from Mitanni, Amenhetep strongly supported the cult of Amen throughout the country, and kept on good terms with the: priesthood of Amen. The consolidation of that order by Thothmes III has already been mentioned, and it would seem that this king instituted, or, at all events, sanctioned the daily performance of a very important service in the sanctuary of Amen in the temple of Karnak. In the sanctuary there was placed a naos, or shrine, containing a gold or gilded wooden figure of Amen, with moveable head, arms and legs; sometimes a boat took the place of the shrine, and in such cases the figure of the god was set inside the cabin. The figure might represent the god standing upright or seated on a throne. During the service the king, or his deputy, purified the sanctuary and himself by burning incense and pouring out


Click to enlarge

Plate III.
Head of a colossal statue of Amenhetep III, wearing the uraeus, the symbol of sovereignty, above his forehead. Found by Mr. H. Salt (luring the excavations which he made near the Colossi in Western Thebes.
British Museum, Northern Egyptian Gallery

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Plate IV.
Stele of Her and Suti, twin brothers who were overseers of the works of Amenhetep III at Thebes. The text contains a Hymn to Amen, and a Hymn to Aten.
British Museum, No. 475


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libations of fresh water. He then advanced to the naos, broke the seal which closed its doors, and made obeisance to the figure of the god. Having performed further rites of purification on the figure, he advanced and embraced it, in order that the soul of the god might enter into his body. The naos was closed, and the king left the sanctuary, but he returned immediately, when the naos was reopened, and he performed further acts of obeisance, and made offerings which included a figure of the goddess Maat or TRUTH. Next the king dressed the figure in symbolic garments, and purified it, and anointed it with scented unguents and perfumes, and placed on it a necklace, amulets, rings, etc. By these acts the king intended to imply that he, the son of a god, was adoring his father, just as children in general adore their fathers and mothers in the tomb. During some of these ceremonies the god laid his hands on the body of the king, and by so doing transmitted to him the fluid of life, which enabled the king to live day by day, and to rule over his people with wisdom and justice. Now the king himself might well perform his part in this great, solemn service at Thebes, but he could not be at the same time at Abydos or elsewhere in Egypt. Therefore in Thebes and other cities deputies were chosen to represent the king, and they were everywhere regarded with the reverence that was due to the performers of such exalted duties. During the performance of these rites and ceremonies hymns were chanted to Amen or Amen-Ra, and of these the following are specimens: 1:--

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I. "Homage to thee, O Amen-Ra, Lord of Thebes,
Thou Boy, the ornament of the gods!
All men lift up their faces to gaze upon him.
Thou art the Lord, inspiring awe, crushing those who would revolt [against thee].
Thou art the King of all the gods.
Thou art the great god, the Living One.


Menu Ka-mut-f, or Menu, Bull of his mother, a god of new birth and virility, with whom Amen and Amen-Ra were identified.


[paragraph continues] Thou art beloved for thy words,
[Which are] the satisfaction of the gods.
Thou art the King of heaven, thou didst make the stars.
Thou art the tcham metal (gold) of the gods (i.e., the gold out of which the gods are made).

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[paragraph continues] Thou art the Maker of heaven, thou didst open the horizon and make the gods to come into being according to thy behests.
[O] Amen-Ra, Lord of the Throne of the Two Lands, President of the Apit, Amen-Ra, Bull of his mother, who art upon thy great throne, Lord of rays, Maker of multitudes, god of the lofty plumes, thou art the King of the gods, the Great Hawk, who makest the breast to rejoice. Thou art praised by all rational beings [because] they have life."

II. Watch, being at peace! Thou watchest in peace. Watch, Amen-Ra, Lord of the Throne of the Two Lands, in peace.
Watch, being at peace! Thou watchest in peace. Watch, Chief in On, Great One in Thebes, in peace.
Watch, being at peace! Thou watchest in peace. Watch, Creator of the Two Lands (Egypt), in peace.
Watch, being at peace! Thou watchest in peace. Watch, thou who didst build up thyself, in peace.
Watch, being at peace! Thou watchest in peace. Watch, Creator of heaven and the hidden things of the two horizons, in peace.
Watch, being at peace! Thou watchest in peace. Watch, O thou to whom the gods come with bowings, Lord who art feared,
Mighty One whom the hearts of all rational beings hold in awe, in peace." (Ibid., p. 122.)

III. "Image of the Eldest Son, Heir of the earth before thy father the Earth [Geb and] thy mother Nut, Divine Image, who camest into being in primeval time,

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when a god did not exist, and when the name of nothing whatsoever had been recorded, when thou didst open thy two eyes and didst look out of them light appeared unto every man. When shadow is pleasing to thy two eyes, day exists no longer.
Thou openest thy mouth, thy word is therein.

Geb, the Earth-god, Father of the Gods, Great God, Lord of Eternity.

Nut, the Sky-goddess, the Lady of Heaven, who gave birth to Osiris and Isis and Set and Nephthys.


[paragraph continues] Thou stablishest heaven with thy two arms, and the West (Ament) in thy name of Amen.
Thou art the Image of the Ka (or Double) of all the gods, Image of Amen, Image of Atem, Image of Khepera, Image of the Lord of all the earth, Image of the Lord who is crowned King of the South and North in the North and South, Image who gavest birth to the gods, who gavest birth

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to men, who gavest birth to everything, the Lord of life, thou Living One, who possessest power greater than that of all the gods. Thou hast conquered the Nine Gods, thou hast presented to them their offering. Thou hast bound them together, thou hast made them to live. O thou Image who hast created their doubles (?), thou hast

Ptah, lord of Maat, king of the Two Lands (Egypt), the great Man-god of Memphis.

Sekhmit, the great lady, the lady of heaven, the mistress of the Two Lands (Egypt). She was a female counterpart of Ptah.


given that which Horus has obtained for himself from the Company of the gods. Thou art like a god who designs with thy fingers, Eke a god who designs with thy toes. Thou hast become the Lord of everything, Aten who came into being in primeval time, god of the two high plumes. Thou Begetter, thou hast created more than all the gods." (Ibid., p. 129.)

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A papyrus at Leyden contains a series of very interesting hymns to Amen, and the following extracts are quoted from it.

IV. "'Thou sailest, Heraakhuti, and each day thou dost fulfil the behest of yesterday. Thou art the maker of the years and captain of the months; days and nights and hours are according to his stride. Thou makest thyself new to-day for yesterday; though going in as the night thou art the day. The One Watcher, he hates slumber. Men sleep on their beds, but his eyes watch. (Chap. VI.)

Fashioning himself none knows his forms. (Chap. VIII.)

Mingling his seed with his body to make his egg to come into being within himself. (Chap. VIII.)

The Aten (Disk) of heaven, his rays are on thy face.

He drove out the Nile from his cavern for thy Pautti. The earth is made thy statue. Thy name is victorious, thy souls (or Will) are weighty.

Hawk destroying his attacker straightway. Hidden (or secret) Lion roaring loudly, driving his claws into what is under his paws, Bull for his town, Lion for his people. The earth shakes when he sends forth his voice. Every being is in awe of him, mighty in power there is none like him. He is the Beneficent Power of the births of the Nine gods. (Chap. IX.)

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Loosing evils, driving away sicknesses. A physician healing the eye without medicines; Opener of the eye, destroyer of the cast in it. Being in the Tuat he releases him whom he loves. Removing from Destiny according to his heart's desire. Possessing eyes and ears he is on every path of him that loves him.

He hears the petitions of him that invokes him. Being afar off he comes in a moment to him that calls him.

He adds to the term of life and he shortens it. To him whom he loves he gives more than Fate has allotted to him.

To the man who sets him in his heart he is more than millions.

With his name one man is stronger than hundreds of thousands. (Chap. XI.)

Thou didst exist first in the forms of the Eight Gods [of Hermopolis], and then thou didst complete them and become ONE.

Thy body is hidden in the Chiefs, thou art hidden as Amen at the head of the gods.

Thy form was that of Tanen in order to give birth to the Pautti gods in thy primeval matter. Thou dost enter fathers making their sons. Thou didst first come into being when there was no being in existence. All the gods came into being after thee. (Chap. XIII.)

Amen came into being in primeval time, none knows the form in which he appeared. No god existed before him, there was no other god with him to declare his form.

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He had no mother for whom his name was made. He had no father who begot him, saying, It is even myself. He shaped his own egg; the divine god, becoming of himself; all the gods were created after he came into being. (Chap. XIV.)

One is Amen, he hides himself from them, he conceals himself from the gods.

The man who utters his secret (or mystery) name, which cannot be known, falls down upon his face straightway and dies a violent death. No god knows how to call upon him." (Chap. XV.) 1

The extracts given in the last section are taken, from a work on Amen which was not intended to be sung in the temples. It is, more or less, a, philosophical treatise on the origin, nature, and powers of the god, showing that he is the source of all life, animate and inanimate. The existence of other gods is admitted, but they are merely forms of him, the great god whose three characters or persons were called Amen (of Thebes), Ra (of Heliopolis) and Ptah (of Memphis). His ONENESS, or Unity, was absolute. We may now give an extract from the famous Hymn to Amen which is preserved in a papyrus in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, 2 and was undoubtedly sung by men and women to the accompaniment of music in the temples.

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§ I. Bull, dwelling in On, President of all the gods,
Beautiful god, Meriti (he who is loved),
Giving all life of warmth
To all beautiful cattle.

§ II. Hail to thee, Amen-Ra, Lord of the Throne of the Two Lands!
First One in the Apts (i.e., Karnak),
Bull of his mother, first one of his pasture,
Extended of stride, first one of the Land of the South,
Lord of the Matchaiu (Nubians), Governor of Punt,
Prince of Heaven, Eldest one of Earth,
Lord of things which are, stablisher of creation, stablisher of all creation.

§ III. ONE, through his unrivalled powers among the gods, Chief of all the gods,
Lord of Truth, Father of the gods,
Maker of men, creator of beasts,
Lord of the things that are, creator of the plant of life (wheat),
Maker of green plants, making to live the cattle.

§ IV. POWER, produced by Ptah,
Beautiful Boy of love,
The gods ascribe praises to him,
Maker of things below and of things above, illumining Egypt,
Sailing over the heavens in peace.
King of the South and North RA
Whose word is true, Chief of the Two Lands (Egypt),

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[paragraph continues] Great of power, Lord of awe,
Chief, making the earth like his form,
Dispenser of destinies (or plans) more than any god.

§ IX. Casting down his enemy into the flame,
His eye overthroweth the Sebau fiends.
It maketh her spear stab Nun (the abyss of heaven),
It maketh the serpent fiend Nak vomit what he hath swallowed.

§ X. Hail to thee, Ra, Lord of Truth!
Hidden one in his shrine, Lord of the gods,
Khepera in his boat.
He sent out the Word, the gods came into being,
Temu, maker of men,
Making different their characters and forms, making their life,
Distinguishing by their skins one from the other.

§ XI. He hearkeneth to the groan of the afflicted,
Being gracious to him that crieth to him,
Delivering the timid man from the bully.
Judging between the oppressor and the helpless one.

§ XV. Image ONE, maker of everything that is,
ONE ALONE, maker of things that are.

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[paragraph continues] Men proceed from his eyes,
The gods come into being by his utterance;

Maker of green herbs, Vivifier of the cattle,
The staff of life of the Henmemet beings,
Making the fish to live in the river,
And the geese in the sky,
Giving air to the creature in the egg,
Making to live feathered fowl,
Making khennur birds to live,
And creeping things and insects likewise,
Providing food for the mice in their holes,
And making the birds to live on every branch.

§ XIX. Chief of the Great Nine Gods,
ONE ALONE, without a second


16:1 See Daressy, Une Nouvelle Forme d'Amon in Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Egypte, tome IX, p. 64 ff.

16:2 Quintus Curtius, lib. IV, §7. See also Naville, Le Dieu de l'Oasis de Jupiter-Amon in Comptes Rendus de l'Académie, 1906, p. 25.

20:1 Preserved in Berlin; see Winckler, Die Thontafeln von Tell-el-Amarna, No. 24, p. 51.

21:1 Bork, Die Mitanni Sprache, Berlin, 1909.

22:1 See Erman, Die Märchen des Papyrus Westcar, Berlin, 1890.

22:2 See Naville's edition of the texts, Vol. II, pl. 46-55.

24:1 Neb-maat-Ra is the prenomen of Amenhetep III

24:2 Denkmäler, III, 85.

26:1 No. 475, Bay 9. Old No. 826. See A Guide to the Egyptian Galleries, p. 134.

32:1 The true reading may be hememit and so be connected with the word to "roar"--Khnem Amen of the roarings. Amenhetep IV dedicated a scarab to a god of roarings (British Museum, No. 51084).

35:1 A hieroglyphic transcript of the hieratic text will be found in Moret, Le Rituel du Culte Divin Journalier en Égypte, Paris, 1902, p. 69.

42:1 For transcripts of the hieratic texts, translations, etc., see, Gardiner in Aegyptische Zeitschrift, Bd. 42 (1905), p. 12 ff.

42:2 A complete transcript of the hieratic text into hieroglyphs, with a French translation, has been published by Grébaut, Hymne à Ammon-Ra, Paris, 1875.

Next: A Hymn to Amen and Aten