Egyptian gods: list, family tree, meaning

In ancient Egypt, people believed in not just one deity, but in many. There were around 1,500 gods and goddesses. You can find out below which were among the most important.

Egyptian gods – definition

Under the term «Egyptian gods» become the deities of Ancient Egypt (3032 BC to 395 AD) understood.

Ancient Egypt existedr 3000 years. During this long period of time, the understanding of religion within the empire changed again and again. In part it even came about through the question of who was now the supreme deity of Egypt conflicts. But despite the The Egyptian belief in gods was subject to changes and disputes throughout this entire period.

Egyptian gods – cult of gods

There was one in ancient Egypt polytheistic religionwhich means one at multiple gods and goddesses rather than just one deity. Each of them had one or several specific tasks or skillswith which he/she should support the people.

Religions with only one god are monotheistic. For example Christianity, Judaism or Islam.

Egyptian gods – meaning

Belief in gods was an important part of Egyptian culture and played an important role in everyday life. However, there was social and geographic differences.

The senior and significant deities (such as Amun, Re, or Osiris) were on State level worshiped by the elite. dedicated to you priests their great temples. The pharaoh was considered the divine mediator between these deities and the earth.

In everyday life, on the other hand, the deities played a more important role, those for tasks such as field work, health or family ties were responsible. So they prayed them in hope for support with ordinary things, like a good harvest or good weather.

The place a god or goddess came from was also important for his or her recognition. So there were some City/village deities that had little national significance. For example, Amun was a local god from Thebes who only gained national prominence after Egypt’s capital was moved to Thebes.

The temple was the main place where the gods were worshipped. In ancient Egypt, each of the 1,500 deities actually had their own small or large temple.

Egyptian gods – list

To at 1,500 gods and goddesses to keep track of, the Egyptian deities were in different categories divided. You can see a selection and the best-known representatives here:

CategoriesFunctionExamplemain gods and goddesses

  • superior to the other deities
  • particularly revered
  • At the head of the main gods and goddesses stood the supreme deity.
  • The main gods and goddesses could differ from time to time. Usually were that the deities of the ruling dynasty.
  • supreme deity:
    • Old Kingdom: Re
    • New Kingdom: Amun (Amun-Re)
    • Under Akhenaten: Aten
  • known main gods: Osiris, Isis, Anubis

sun gods and goddesses

  • The cult of the sun was an important part of Egyptian mythology.
  • Main god: Re
  • Parts of the Sun/Re:
    • Khepre: morning sun
    • Aton: midday sun
    • Atum: evening sun

local gods and goddesses

  • City/village gods and goddesses
  • local «principal gods and goddesses»
  • They were mostly worshiped only at the local level
  • Amun at Thebes before being recognized nationally
  • Min: God of the eastern desert region

triads («families of gods»)

  • Group of gods («family») of three members: god, goddess and child god
  • were worshiped together, especially at the local level
  • Osiris (god) + Isis (goddess) + Horus (child god)

gods and goddesses of death

  • of great importance for the Egyptian death cult
  • Osiris: God of the afterlife and the underworld
  • Anubis: Part of the judgment of the dead

Horus sons

  • sons of Horus
  • important gods within the Egyptian death cult
  • guarded the organs of the deceased
  • Amset (liver)
  • Hapi (spleen)
  • Duamutef (stomach)
  • Kebechsenuef (intestines)

Many of the deities in ancient Egypt, however, not only had one, but several functions and tasks. For example, the god Min was also a god of fertility, harvest and vegetation.

Presentation of the main deities

The following is a closer look at the mythological tribal history of the Egyptian gods and on some of the most famous main gods and goddesses thrown.

Egyptian Gods – Family Tree

The pedigree of Egyptian gods exist in multiple versionsbecause it is disputed who the «father of the gods» was Re, the sun god, or Atum, the god of creation? Often they will both deities also equated, which makes clear naming difficult.

The associated creator myth was as follows: From Re/Atum emerged Shu and Tefnut. Together with their children Geb and Nut, these two created the space and the world. The next generation with Isis, Osiris, Nephythys and Seth then created the first life.

Basically, the Egyptian gods could be represented in three different forms:

  • a human shape
  • a beast-man form
  • a purely animal form

sun god Re

Of the sun god re (also: Ra) was probably the most important and most important Egyptian god. He embodied the divine sun. Because in contrast to other creation stories, according to Egyptian myth, the sun was not created, but was a god from the beginning.

Translated, Re also meant «sun».

Since re frequently associated with other gods, he had many different manifestations. Among other things, the shape of the «Re Harachte»a combination of Re (sun disk with uraeus serpent) and Horus (falcon man).

Figure 2: Depiction of the sun god Re in the form of «Re-Harachte». Source:

According to the myth, Re sailed across the sky in his barge by day. At night he then descended into the underworld and had to survive in it until he was reborn the following morning and his journey began again.

The cult of the gods around Re is one of the oldest in Egypt. As early as the 3rd dynasty, i.e. still in the Old Kingdom, the sun god was worshiped and quickly rose to the highest deity.

Would you like to learn more about the different dynasties and historical periods of ancient Egypt? Then have a look at the explanations «Egyptian Empire» and «Ancient Egypt»!

Amun and Amun-Re

A special connection existed between the sun god Re and the God Amun.

Amun was also since known as Old Kingdom. He was a Wind and fertility god. Since the 11th Dynasty (Middle Kingdom) he was Main god of the city of Thebes.

The Egyptians called the combination of Re and Amun «Amun-Re»the also as «King of the Gods» was designated. In a way, it is a further development of the Re.

Amun-Re was a sun, wind and fertility god at the same time, and in the New Kingdom he became main god from whole Egypt. only under During Akhenaten’s rule, the belief in Amun-Re was briefly supplanted in favor of the «Aton belief».

Interestingly, the Greeks and Romans equated Amun with Zeus and Jupiter, respectively. Thus, the Romans allowed the Amun faith to live on even after conquering the Egyptian Empire.


atum was considered creator god and was partly equated with Re. Because of his similarities and connections to the latter, Atum was also referred to as the «king of the gods and the earth» and the protector of the dead. Especially for the pharaohs he had a special meaning. This can be seen, for example, in the designation for the royal throne, the «Throne of Atum».


Also Aten was known and represented since the Old Kingdom the solar disc of midday sun dar. Initially one more subordinate sun god, he became under Akhenaten elevated to the status of the main god or supreme divine being and thus stood above all other gods.

This can be seen as an attempt by Akhenaten to make Egyptian religion monotheistic close but the Success is controversial. It is believed that despite the Aten belief, other deities continued to be worshiped by the people.

Under Akhenaten reign also changed the representation of Aten. In the beginning was the representation Re-Harachtes taken over, but later Aton was called Sun disc with rays emanating from it (Ray Aton) shown.

In this form, Aton’s presence was taken into account Creation of life, warmth and brightness the same while using his absence darkness, death and evil was connected. He was also responsible for time with his movement through the sky.

After the death of Akhenaten, Aton lost relevance again and belief in the old gods and goddesses was resumed.

Figure 3: Depiction of the Aten. Source:

Osiris and Isis

Osiris was the god of underworld, of the hereafter and judge of the judgment of the deadbefore which every departed soul had to justify itself. isis was the wife of Osiris and a Kill- such as tutelary goddess. Both deities were already worshiped in the Old Kingdom.

Isis especially guarded and protected all suffering beings, what unites you maternal character gave.

At the same time, the Egyptians were afraid of her, because Isis was said to have the power to silence the dead when they entered the underworld allow. This was serious, because anyone who could not pronounce their name in front of Osiris, the judge of the underworld, was automatically condemned to eternal darkness.

In ancient Egyptian belief, the realm of the dead consisted of two different areas:

  1. Sekhet-iaru, the «fields of rushes» illuminated by the night sun. If you survived the judgment of the dead, you were freed from your sins and allowed to enter the realm of eternal life.
  2. keku semau, the eternal darkness that lay outside the known world. If you were condemned by the court of the dead, your soul was banished there.

Figure 4: Depiction of Osiris. Source:


The God anubis was among the gods of the dead and was part of the judgment of the dead. His duties were mummification and performing the rites of the dead. Also, Anubis stood in close connection to Osiris and was even referred to as his son in some myths.

Anubis was often in his animal form of dog/jackal shown.

Figure 5: Anubis in his animal form. Source:

According to an Egyptian myth, Osiris was killed by his brother Seth and his corpse was scattered in small pieces throughout Egypt. Isis and Anubis then went together in search of Osiris’ body parts.

When they found all the pieces, Anubis is said to have put them back together and mummified Osiris. Using her magic, Isis was then able to bring her husband back to life.


Already since the Old Kingdom was the god Horus as a War, king and sky god known. According to myth, he was the son of Osiris and Isis. At times, however, he was also equated with Re, which can be seen, for example, in the depiction of the sun god in the form of Re-Harachte.

Horus was mainly for the pharaohs of great importance. The office of king was often associated with the position…