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Amun - Egyptian God
Name: Amun (god)
Attributes As Amun: air, wind
Attributes As Amun-Ra: fertility; Creator of all things
A slab of stone, called a stela in archaeological terms, was dug up in an ancient village in Egypt. Writing on the stone indicated that Amun was a god who watched over the poor and gave aid when one prayed in his name. In the writing he was referred to as the Lord of the silent, those who had no voice in matters of law and society. The prayer on the stela asked for Amun to forgive, with mercy and kindness, the one who was praying.
The stela was found at Deir el-Medina around 1922. Deir el-Medina is an ancient Egyptian village which was home to the artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the 18th to 20th dynasties of the New Kingdom period (ca. 1550 - 1080 BCE). The expression of devotion on the stela is to the god, Amun, who was considered the king of gods -- he was self-created, the creator who protected the troubled and poor. Amun, the one most important to the piety of individuals, was the god of air and wind.
Worship of Amun originated in Thebes, in the Upper Kingdom -- Upper Egypt is between the Cataracts of the Nile above what is now Aswan, downriver (the Nile flows north) to the area between Zawyet Dahshur and El-Ayait, which is south of Cairo. In the times of the Pharoahs, Upper Egypt was called Ta Shemau, "the land of reeds".
Amun had many aspects in his role as a deity. At first he was an earthly god, in human form, yet invisible. His name, Amun, meant "Hidden One", for he represented the essential and hidden -- he was known as Hidden One as the wind was an invisible but ever present force in the region. He was also associated with the hidden and unknown creative power which was associated with the primeval abyss. Amun defended rights for the poor to make sure justice was given them. He also was seen as "Protector of the road" for those who traveled in his name. He upheld Ma'at, which is truth, justice, and goodness.
Towards the end of the seventeenth dynasty, 1580 to 1550 BC. the Hyksos were expelled from Lower Egypt. The Hyksos were the Asiatic people who invaded and took over the eastern Nile Delta during the twelfth dynasty, 1991-1778 BC, and ruled Lower Egypt. After Ahmose I, the first pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, expelled the Hyksos from their last stronghold, the role of Amun as a deity changed dramatically.
Because Ahmose's I city of origin was Thebes, capital of a new dynasty, the god Amun became a nationally important deity. New temples were raised and dedicated to Amun. Adoration of Amun grew immensely so that even Greek travelers acknowledged him to be the ruler of all Egyptian gods. The Greeks of Classical Greek saw Amun and his consort, Mut, as associated with their own god and goddess, Zeus and Hera.
The depiction of Amun as ram-headed came about when Egypt conquered Kush. The ram deity, Min, of Kush was a symbol of virility and Amun, absorbing this attribute, became known as Amun-Min.
As Amun became ever more important, he was identified with the sun god, Ra, who was worshiped in other areas of Egypt. Amun was then known as Amun-Ra. A special hymn was dedicated to Amun-Ra, who was considered the Lord of truth and father of all gods.
Amun had transcended from the physical god to a wholly independent one removed from the physical universe and became Amun-Ra, god of fertility and creator of all things and the father of all Egyptian gods.
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