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Egypt: Amen Worship


Amen Worship

From what has been said it is evident that the worship of Amen-Ra spread through all the country both of the north and south of Thebes, and the monuments prove that it made its way into all the dominions of Egypt in Syria, and the Nubia, and in the Oases. In the Upper Egypt its centers were Thebes, Herakeopolis Magna ; in Lower Egypt they were Memphis, Sais, Xois, Metelis, Heliopolis, Babylon, Mendes, Thmuis, Diospolis, Butus, and the Island of Khemmis ; in the Libyan desert the Oases of Kenemet, {i.e., Farafra, and the great Oasis of Jupiter Ammon ; in Nubia, Wadi Sabua, Abu Simbel, Napata, and Meroe ; and in Syria at several places which were called Diospolis The worship of Amen-Ra was introduced into Nubia by its Egyptian conquerors early in the XIIth Dynasty, and the inhabitants of that country embraced it with remarkable fervor ; and the hold which it had gained upon them was much strengthened when an Egyptian viceroy, who bore the title of "royal son of Cush, " was appointed to rule over the land, and no efforts were spared to make Napata a second Thebes. The Nubians were poverty of their country unable to imitate the massive temples of Karnak and Luxor, and the festivals which they made in his honor, locked the splendour and magnificence of the Theban capital ; still, there was no doubt that, considering the means which they had at their disposal, they erected temples for the worship of Amen-Ra of very considerable size and solidity. The hold which the priesthood of Amen-Ra of Thebes had upon the Nubians was very great, for the troublesome times which followed after the collapse of their power as priest-kings of Egypt, the remnant of the great brotherhood made its way to Napata, and settling down there made plans and schemes for the restoration of their rule in Egypt ; fortunately for Egypt their designs were introduced by the Egyptians under the XVIIIth Dynasty, a fact which is proven by the testimony of the Tell el-Amarna tablets. Thus in a letter from the inhabitants of the city of Tunep, to the king of Egypt {i.e., Amen-hetep III. or son Amen-hetep IV. the writers remind him that the gods worshipped in the city of Tunep are the same as those of Egypt, and that the form of the worship is the same. From an inscription of Thothmes III. at Karnak we know that in the 29th year of his reign this king offered up sacrifices to his gods at Tunep, and it is probable that the worship of Amen-Ra in Northern Syria dates from this time. On the other hand Akizzi, the governor of Khatti had seized and carried off the image of the Sun-God, begs that the king of Egypt will send him sufficient gold to ransom the image, and he does so chiefly on the grounds that in ancient days the kings of Egypt adopted the worship of the Sun-god, presumably from the Syrians, and they called themselves after the name of the god. To emphasize his appeal Akizzi addresses Amen-hetep III. as "son of the Sun-God," a fact which proves that he was acquainted with the meaning of the title "sa Ra," i.e., "son of Ra,", which every Egyptian king bore from the time of the Vth Dynasty onwards. This evidence supports an old tradition to the effect that the Heliopolitain form of the worship of the Sun-god was derived from Heliopolis in Syria.


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