Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest known to man with records dating back to 3000 B.C. Although known primarily for the construction of the great pyramids, Egypt has a rich religious history, one of the first known written languages and a government of 31 dynasties spanning 3,300 years.
Religion was the center of the Egyptian civilization. A pharaoh was considered a monarch who acted as a vessel between god and man thus the shrines built upon their death known as the pyramids. The polytheistic beliefs were similar to that of Greek mythology and included heavy ritualistic leanings.
The well-known gods were Ra the sun god, Isis the mother goddess and Anubis the funerary god. Ra was considered the highest deity who merged into the god Horus and ruled all parts of the world.
Isis was considered the mother god and is one of the few that crossed cultures into Greco-Roman civilization and is still considered to be a goddess by modern day pagan religions.
Anubis the funerary god was responsible for death and afterlife. One of the most frequently depicted gods of the Egyptian civilization with the head of a jackal, Anubis is closely tied with the pharaohs and the pyramids as his roll of the god of death.
Anubis is often found in the ancient hieroglyphic writing system so deeply associated with Egyptian civilization. Cave drawings have been found all over the world yet it is hieroglyphics that holds the highest attention. Samples of Egyptian hieroglyphics date as far back as 4,000 B.C. and grew over the millenniums to include more than 5,000 symbols. The art was lost due to other forms of writing being introduced and the loss of the priests and scholars who were able to produce and interpret the writings.
Anubis had a large role in hieroglyphics due to the elaborate beliefs of the after-life and “ka” the life force and the belief that life would continue if the ka were given food which is why so many food and other items were located in the pharaoh’s tombs. The rituals were preserved in writing and are not only the most well-known but also the best preserved, thus why Anubis has such a high profile in Egyptian civilization.
The religious beliefs construed the multiple dynasties divided into approximately 31 over 3,000 years. The general agreement is there were multiple dynasties both inherited as in a monarchy and those created or merged based on belief systems.
The four major dynasties consist of the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, the New Kingdom and the Late Period. Tutankhamun is the most widely known pharaoh of all of Egypt with his dynasty being from 1332 BC to 1323 BC in the New Kingdom era. The discovery of his tomb in 1922 exploded Egyptian civilization and culture into the forefront of modern history.
The influence of this North African region continues to fascinate modern man. The Egyptian civilization is one of the largest and most complex known to man. Physical reminders left to modern man are represented by the great pyramids, especially that of King Tutankhamun, while religious remnants can be seen in modern day pagan religions with the continued worship of the mother goddess, Isis and scholars are still deciphering the fascinating language of hieroglyphics that is still being decoded to this day.