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Introduction > Religion in the Lives of Anccient Egyptians  

Religion in the Lives of the Ancient Egyptians

Because the role of religion in Euro-American culture differs so greatly from that in ancient Egypt, it is difficult to fully appreciate its significance in everyday Egyptian life. In Egypt, religion and life were so interwoven that it would have been impossible to be agnostic. Astronomy, medicine, geography, agriculture, art, and civil law — virtually every aspect of Egyptian culture and civilization — were manifestations of religious beliefs.

Most aspects of Egyptian religion can be traced to the people's observation of the environment. Fundamental was the love of sunlight, the solar cycle and the comfort brought by the regular rhythms of nature, and the agricultural cycle surrounding the rise and fall of the Nile. Egyptian theology attempted, above all else, to explain these cosmic phenomena, incomprehensible to humans, by means of a series of understandable metaphors based upon natural cycles and understandable experiences. Hence, the movement of the sun across the sky was represented by images of the sun in his celestial boat crossing the vault of heaven or of the sun flying over the sky in the form of a scarab beetle. Similarly, the concept of death was transformed from the cessation of life into a mirror image of life wherein the deceased had the same material requirements and desires.

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Figure 1: A priest of Hathor. »

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