Ancient Egypt Facts: Religion

When the ancient Egyptians enjoyed themselves, they would play games, such as one much similar to bowling, where large stones were arranged like pins and small stones served as a ball to knock them down. In this article, you will learn facts concerning religious practices and beliefs of ancient Egypt.

The Afterlife of the Pharaoh

The ancient Egyptians believed that when a pharaoh died, he became Osiris , better known as ‘king of the dead.’ When the new pharaoh came into power, he was looked upon as Horus , ‘god of the heavens and protector of the sun god.’ They used the cycle of the rising and setting of the sun to signify the transition.

Egypt in the Christian Bible

The Old Testament showcases a great deal of ancient Egypt with many references to events taking place in or around the country. Egypt also plays a significant role in the life of numerous people in the Bible, including Moses, Jesus, and Joseph.

Saying Farewell to the Dead

Early ancient Egyptians buried their dead in small pits situated in the desert. With the heat and dry climate of the sand, the bodies became dehydrated at a fast rate. The result was life-like, natural mummies. The Egyptians later adopted the practice of burying their dead in coffins as a way to protect their bodies from wild animals living in the desert. Unfortunately, bodies in coffins decayed when the hot, dry sand did not contribute to their final resting place. It took many centuries for the ancient Egyptians to develop a method that worked just fine for them. They wanted bodies to remain lifelike, so they developed a process of preservation that involved embalming and using strips of linen to wrap the bodies. This is the process we now know as mummification.

Religion in Ancient Egypt

The Romans successfully conquered Egypt in 30 BC, which slightly changed the way the Egyptians practiced their religion. They still worshipped their own gods, but they added in Roman gods to the previous Greek gods they had already incorporated. Slowly, some Egyptians began to convert to Christianity. By the time of the Great Persecution in 303 AD, which aimed to extinguish Christians, Egypt was increasing with more people worshipping Christianity.

Following the Christian conversion of the Roman Emperors and the end of the persecution, the majority of people living in Egypt are thought to have converted to the religion. It was during this time that hermits started springing up in Egypt, where holy men and women would leave behind their families, occupations, and even their farms , to travel beyond the Nile and into the desert. It was their quest to stay in the desert so that they could entirely devote themselves to Christ. When the number of hermits started to increase, they started to join together to create some of the first monasteries. These groups allowed both men and women to enter.