AMUN - AMUN-RE - Also AMMON; AMON; AMUN; AMEN "Hidden."
A bearded Man wearing a cap surmounted by two tall plumes. A ram, a ram headed man, or a ram headed Sphinx.
Self created at the beginning of time - linked to the Zep Tepi
- believed to be the physical father of all Pharaohs.
Some assume that Amun (Amen, 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
He gained most of his prestige after replacing the war god Montu as the principle god of Thebes - now Luzor - 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, Amun-Re 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 - line 558), which show him to be a primeval deity and a symbol of creative force. This text seems to assign great antiquity to his existence.
Amun-Re 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 Amun-Re. In essence, he became the one and only supreme deity.
He was one of the eight Heh gods of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, where his original consort was Amaunet (Ament). His worship may have originated at Hermopolis, but another possibility was that he functioned early on as a less prominent god at Thebes, where he eventually flourished. The Nubians, however, believed that he originated at Gebel Barkal, located in the modern north of the Sudan.
In the middle of the 16th Dynasty
, with the expulsion of the Hyksos rulers of Egypt, Amun's growth was accelerated due to the vindication of both Egyptian power and Amun-Re as a protector of both the Egyptian state and the Monarchy.
At that time, temples were built and dedicated to Amun throughout Egypt, including the Luxor Temple and the Great Temple at Karnak. His importance during this and later periods is evidenced by the grander and extravagance of these temples. They were enlarged and enriched over the centuries by rulers of Egypt who were eager to express their devotion to Amun-Re.
In fact, his growth to that of a national god mirrored the growth of Thebes in importance. This growth was accelerated when Amenemhet I took control of the thrown at Thebes, and founded the 12th Dynasty
However, the apex of his worship probably occurred during the New Kingdom onward at Thebes, where the important Opet festival was dedicated to Amun. During the Opet festival, the statue of Amun was conveyed by boat from the temple of Karnak to Luxor in order to celebrate Amun's marriage to Mut in his aspect of Ka-mut-ef (literally, "bull of his mother"). In this capacity, Amun was recognized for his procreative function. Together, Amun and Mut conceived their son, Khonsu, a moon god, to make of the Thebes Triad.
The sacred animal of Amun was originally the Goose, and like Geb, he was sometimes known as the "Great Cackler". Later, Amun was more closely associated with the Ram, a symbol of fertility. The sacred animal of Amun was originally the Goose.
At various times he also sometimes appears as a man with the head of a frog, the head of a uraeus, the head of a crocodile, or as an ape. However, when depicted as a king, he wears the crown of two plumes, a symbol borrowed from Min, and often sits on a throne. In this form, he is one of nine deities who compose the company of gods of Amen-Ra.
In the Greek period (and somewhat earlier, in order to ascribe many attributes to Amun-Re, he was sometimes depicted in bronze with the bearded head of a man, the body of a beetle with the wings of a hawk, the legs of a man and the toes and claws of a lion. He was further provided with four hands and arms and four wings.