With their powers combined, the gods of Ancient Egypt proved to be an unstoppable force that could stop rampaging monsters from destroying the galaxy. Check out the (horribly dubbed) anime coming to the west next year!

The gods of ancient Egypt were a complex lot. Where some ancient people might be content to have their gods just be regular, boring old humans with magical powers, the Egyptians had gods with animal heads and other animal traits. On top of that, they would often merge these gods with one another in different combinations and sometimes they would merge their own gods with aspects of gods from other cultures. This syncretism would occur at various times throughout Egyptian history though it seems to have happened more regularly with the passage of time. One of the most clear and famous examples of this is Amun-Ra. Amun was long considered an important god in Egyptian myth and appears as one of the eight principle deities known as the Ogdoad which were worshiped in Hermopolis. He would later be seen as the patron deity in the city of Thebes, replacing the war god Montu. It wasn’t until after a major rebellion in Thebes that Amun rose to national importance. After these events, the Egyptian rulers and priests combined Amun with the sun god, Ra to signify his position as king of all gods. Where other gods were created, Amun-Ra was seen as self-manifested and was even considered the creator god himself. Owing to these events, Amun-Ra even began to be worshiped outside of Egypt and would also be merged with foreign divinities such as Zeus.

Personally, I am unsure what traits he took on as Zeus-Ammun, but I am guessing there would have to be a penchant for turning into animals and trying to get some action from women that were not his wife.

All of this just goes toward conveying the concept of syncretism in ancient Egypt, which was a major factor in how their religion progressed. There are many examples of this blending of gods and goddesses and, to me, it reads a bit like how language itself shifts and changes with time. Sometimes these links were formed to identify familial relationships and kinship between gods. Other times, it could be used to express that one god is the manifestation or image of another deity. Finally, gods could be combined to create not just personalities that one could worship or identify with, but also to form entirely new religious concepts or to personify a story or mythological idea.

It’s an extremely complex and nuanced practice that, I must admit, I am not as well versed in as I would like to be, but it is incredibly fascinating. While there is an element of this kind of religious language in a lot of mythologies, ancient Egypt as always struck me as utilizing it more than any other. Next time you read a story from Egyptian myth, try asking yourself about the subtext present there. The depth within Egyptian mythology has always surprised and delighted me, perhaps you will find the same.