Amen in Dynasty XVIII

Amen in Dynasty XVIII

Some assume that Amen (Amun, Amon) was a relatively modern god within the context of ancient Egyptian religion. His worship at Thebes, where the earliest known Temple dedicated to him was located, is only documented from the 11th Dynasty onward. Amen represented one of ancient Egypt’s most complex theologies. In his most mature form, Amen became a hidden, secret god. In fact, his name (Imn), or at lest the name by which the ancient Egyptians called him, means “the hidden one” or “the secret one” (though there has been speculation that his name is derived from the Libyan word for water, aman. However, modern context seems to negate this possibility). In reality, however, and according to mythology, both his name and physical appearance were unknown, thus indicating his unknown essence. He gained most of his prestige after replacing the war god Montu as the principle god of Thebes during Egypt’s New Kingdom, when he was recognized as the “King of Gods”. At that time, because of Egypt’s influence in the world, he actually became a universal god. In fact, by the 25th Dynasty, Amen was even the chief god of the Nubian Kingdom of Napata and by the Ptolemic, or Greek period, he was regarded as the Egyptian equivalent of Zeus. However, he is actually mentioned in the pyramid text from the Old Kingdom (5th Dynasty, Unas), which shows him to be a primeval deity and a symbol of creative force. This text seems to assign great antiquity to his existence. Amen grew so important spiritually and politically by the time of the New Kingdom that Egypt became something of a Theocracy. At the apex of his worship, Egyptian religion approached monotheism. The other gods became mere symbols of his power, or manifestations of Amen. In essence, he became the one and only supreme deity. With the expulsion of the Hyksos rulers of Egypt, Amen’s growth was accelerated due to the absolution of both Egyptian power and Amen as a protector of both the Egypt…


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