THE MYTHS THAT MADE THE SAND KINGDOM
Ancient time Egypt when gods and goddesses ruled the Earth and gave everything meaning. Explore the Sand Kingdom represented through its purest side of tales and myths that ancient Egyptians built their world around
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: James Ballard
03 February 2020
Egypt has one of the most complex and detailed history of gods and goddesses in the ancient world. Hundreds of them have been worshipped in the past, all of which have different contribution to modern-day Egypt. The culture of the country is multilayered and fascinating. Myths and tales are passed down from generation to generation having been turned to an anthem of the powerful cultural implication of Egypt. It is difficult to visit this place and not feel like you’ve been transported to a time you don’t belong in. Pyramids, tombs and sarcophagus are a breeze of civilisation we admire and still try to understand its core – and possibly never will.
Egypt is a place that historians and travellers alike have been tried to define and translate in its own ways. We turn towards the Egyptians to see their understandings of the universe in an attempt to capture the idyll of the country from what could possibly be defined as its most authentic side. Here are some of the myths that defined the Sand Kingdom.
Ra. The God of Sun.
Ra was believed to have travelled each day through the embrace of darkness known as Apep. Fire was often associated with the Sun where Ra was in its kingdom. Each day he would board a boat and rise from the east to battle the crocodile-like Apep so that the Sun could rise. Egyptians had the utmost respect for the God of Sun. On stormy days when the sky would be dominated by clouds and rainstorms would hide the sun away, Egyptians believed that Ra lost its fight against Apep and he couldn’t go any further as the crocodile masked god swallowed his boat.
Anubis and the Underworld
Anubis was Osiris’ son from his sister Nephthys. He belonged to the underworld. The god with a jackal head served the guardians of the world of the nonliving. Anubis was responsible to bring the souls of those who die to the underworld so that the ceremony of “The Weighting of the Heart” can be completed. The heart was then weighted in from of the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth on the Scales of Truth. The soul was only allowed to cross if the heart weighted less then it. If it was heavier, the demon Ammit would make sure that the person would die “a second time” and his soul would not pass in the underworld. Anubis is illustrated in many places where Egyptians left their mark.
Girl with Rose-Red Slippers
Rhodopis was a beautiful Greek girl, who was sold in slavery in Egypt. Her beauty and the kindness of a man resulted in him buying her out and giving her a nice house to live in. He gave her beautiful clothes, jewellery and expensive gifts until one day an eagle stole her red slipper. The magnificent bird brought the shoe to Pharaoh Amasis who found the girl and they fell in love. They got married and lived happily for the rest of their days to even die on the same day. This myth was the first story of what is known as the modern-day Cinderella tale.
Sphinx and the Prince
Everyone wanted to sabotage Thutmose, the great-grandson of Hatshepsut. He was the favourite child, who therefore possessed great freedom. Thutmose wanted to prove himself and his worth. He was angry at everybody, who saw him only as Hatshepsut’s favorite and one day he left the kingdom. He rode all across the desert until he reached the sphinx built for Pharaoh Khafra. The sphinx turned out to be no other than his father and predicted that Thutmose would become a great ruler, he must only free him from the trap of the sand. The prince promised to do so after he became the Pharaoh and kept his word. Later, he became known as one of the greatest Egyptian Kings in the history of ancient Egypt.
Khonsu. The God of Moon.
Together with Thoth by his side, Khonsu, son of Amun and Mut, marked the passage of time. He was the god of moon, praised by Egyptians for the Moon’s ability to travel across the sky. Khonsu’s name translates to “traveller” and he was illustrated as a man with lunar disk and a head of a hawk. In ancient Egypt, the moon was associated only with the most noble qualities such as honour and bravery. Khonsu was believed to have had powers against all things evil. Later on, he was also worshipped as the god of fertility and love.
Bastet and Cats
It is no secret that Egyptians worshipped cats. They are illustrated in many ways in different aspects representing the culture of ancient Egypt – from items used on daily basis to places that signified messages with which people send the dead in the underworld such as sarcophagus. Bastet was a woman with a cat head, who is one of the main reasons Egyptians are considered to have worshipped cats with such loyalty. She was a patroness of women and the protector of home. Even back in those days, cats were praised for their ability to protect the food by chasing away mice. Cats nature to be nice and at the same time vicious was the reason Bastet was known to have two personalities.