What animals were represented in gods in ancient Egypt?

  • I cannot find many animals that were represented as gods and I am writing an essay on ancient Egypt.

  • Animals representations are quite common in Egyptian mythology. Here is a partial list of Ancient Egyptian deities with animal associations and attributes:

    Lion: Aker
    Pat Remler: Egyptian Mythology, A to Z. Infobase Publishing, 2010, ISBN 1438131801, pp. 4 & 5.

    Lion/Hippopotamus/Crocodile: Ammit, the Soul Eater
    Hart, George (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition. Routledge.

    Falcon: Anti
    "The Contendings of Horus and Seth" in William Kelly Simpson (ed.), The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 1972

    African Golden Wolf (formerly Jackal): Anubis
    Wilkinson, Toby A. H. (1999), Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge.

    Serpent: Apophis
    C.Wolterman, in Jaarbericht van Ex Oriente Lux, (2002)

    The Mighty Bull: Apis
    Kahl, J. "Ra is My Lord": Searching for the Rise of the Sun God at the Dawn of Egyptian History, 2007, p.59.

    Lion/Vulture/Hawk/Snake: Ash
    Hart, George, The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (2nd ed.), 2005, London: Routledge
    Francoise Dunand, Christiane Zivie-Coche, Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395 CE, Cornell University Press 2005, p.344

    Baboon: Babi
    Hart, George (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition. Routledge.

    Ram: Banebdjedet
    Handbook of Egyptian mythology, Geraldine Pinch, p 114-115, Oxford University Press, 2004

    Cat: Bast
    Serpell, "Domestication and History of the Cat", p. 184.

    Grey Heron: Bennu
    Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, 2003. p. 212

    Cow: Hathor
    Religion in ancient Egypt: gods, myths, and personal practice, Byron Esely Shafer, John Baines, Leonard H. Lesko, David P. Silverman, p. 24 Fordham University, Taylor & Francis, 1991

    Fish: Hatmehit
    Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, 2003. p.228–229

    Scorpion: Hedetet
    Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, 2003. p. 230

    Falcon: Horus
    Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, 2003. p. 202

    Scarab Beetle: Khepri
    Hart, George (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Routledge. pp. 84–85

    The Wily Mongoose: Mafdet
    Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, 2003. p. 196

    Cobra: Meretseger
    "Essays on ancient Egypt in honour of Herman te Velde", Herman te Velde, Jacobus van Dijk, p71, Brill Publishers, 1997

    Vulture: Nekhbet
    Bailleul-LeSuer, Rozenn (ed), Between Heaven and Earth: Birds in Ancient Egypt. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. pp. 61–62, 138

    Lioness: Sekhmet
    Oxford Living Dictionaries

    Aardvark/Donkey/Jackal/Fox(?): Set
    te Velde, Herman (1967). Seth, God of Confusion: A Study of His Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion. Probleme der Ägyptologie 6. Translated by van Baaren-Pape, G. E. (2nd ed.). Leiden: E. J. Brill.

    Crocodile: Sobek
    Bresciani, Edda. "Sobek, Lord of the Land of the Lake". In Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt, edited by Salima Ikram, 199–206. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2005

    Hippopotamus: Taweret
    Jennifer Houser-Wegner, "Taweret," in The Ancient Gods Speak : A Guide to Egyptian Religion, ed. Donald Redford (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 351-352.

    Ibis: Thoth
    Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1 p. 401

    Baboon: Thoth
    Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians Vol. 1 p. 403

    Hare: Unut
    Erik Hornung, Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many, Cornell University Press 1996, p. 82


    To help you with your research efforts, I'm including a note about how I went about compiling information for this answer.

    I did a search for Egyptian gods and found a Wikipedia page with an extensive list of Egyptian Deities. (The list may not be 100% complete, but should be sufficient for undergraduate work. IMPORTANT: Wikipedia on it's own is not generally considered acceptable as a source, but the better articles will include citations to scholarly sources, which are acceptable. Any information that does not carry a citation is considered unreliable and must be externally validated. For university-level work, you are expected read the cited source material, which may involve going to the library;)

    Using the master list, I checked each entry, checked for citations, then aggregated into a list of animal-deities. For the most part, I avoided repetition of animals. (There are numerous other instances of Egyptian gods represented as lions and lionesses, which relate to warfare, including Mehit, Menhit, Apedemak, Maahes son of Bast, Pakhet and Sheshmetet.)

    The wiki for the well-known goddess Sekhmet has a distinct lack of citations, so I went to the Oxford Dictionaries. For your purposes, this may be a suitable reference. For instance, the entry on mighty Apis.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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