Egypt: Archeology, Egyptologists, Hieroglyphics and Gods: Part 4

Granite Bay Graphic Design Egypt Microsite IconA GBD Microsite: The Egyptians, Their Ancient Symbols, Their Gods & The Egyptologists: Part 4

Ancient Egyptian Symbols— Hieroglyphics“The stars represent the souls of the dead.”

Celebrating the Explorers

Egyptologist Burton, James

Born in London in 1788 to James Haliburton (who changed his name to Burton) and Elizabeth Westly, James Burton was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he received his B.A. in 1810 and M.A. in 1815. Between 1815 and 1822 Burton worked for the architect Sir John Soane and traveled in Italy with his secretary, Charles Humphreys, where he met Egyptologists Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, Edward William Lane, and Sir William Gell. In 1822 Burton accepted an invitation from Pasha Mohammed Ali to work as a mineralogist in a search for coal with the Geological Survey of Egypt. Burton had absolutely no mineralogical knowledge, however, and left the Geological Survey in 1824. He turned his attention to the ancient monuments of Egypt. In 1825, he traveled south on the Nile making his way from Cairo to Abu Simbel. En route, Burton spent several months in ancient Thebes. He excavated at Madinat Habu and Karnak and in several of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It was during these months that he first entered KV 5 and sketched a plan of its initial chambers. Between 1825 and 1828, Burton published a volume of hieroglyphic inscriptions. Little is known of Burton’s whereabouts between 1825 and 1834, but on Christmas Day in 1835 he returned home to England with animals, servants and slaves, including his wife, Andreana, a Greek slave girl who had been purchased for him in his earlier years in Egypt. Shortly thereafter, his family disowned him. Burton is perhaps best known for his drawings and plans of ancient Egyptian monuments, which are valuable because they can be used to compare the condition of the archaeological sites in the early nineteenth century and today. In addition, throughout his years in Egypt, Burton collected Egyptian antiquities, most of which were auctioned off at Sotheby’s in 1836 to repay his debts. The only item of his collection which was not auctioned was a mummy and coffin, now in the Liverpool Museum. James Burton died in Edinburgh in 1862, and was buried with the epitaph “a zealous investigator in Egypt of its language and antiquities.”

Egyptologist Caviglia, Giovanni Battista

An early explorer in Egypt, Caviglia was a temperamental, uneducated Italian who spent his early life as a sea captain. Nevertheless, he found his true calling in Egyptology, at a time when perhaps adventurous men were more suited to the profession than today’s scholars. He was employed by various European collectors and work with a number of early explorers, including personalities such as Henry Salt. Salt paid Caviglia to excavate the Sphinx, but apparently the two men had a falling out after Caviglia spent most of his time looking for mummy pits. He is noted at the first explorer to carry out major excavations at Giza, and specifically investigated the Davison Chamber in the Great Pyramid, hoping to find a secret room. Apparently Caviglia was a very religious man who felt the Pyramid’s held mystic secrets.

Ancient Egyptian Symbols— Hieroglyphics and Their Meaning

1, Amenta—Symbol of the Underworld

2. The Tree of Life—Destiny & Eternal Life

3. Menet—Symbol of Fertility & Birth

4. Sistrum—Symbol of Music & Good Fortune

5. Seba—Symbol of Stars, Time, Traveling & New Beginnings [B]

Learn more about each symbol below.

The Egyptian Gods

Aton: Sun God

The Ancient Egyptian God Atum on a Granite Bay Graphic Design MicrositeAton was a sun god worshiped in ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten in the 18th Dynasty. He was depicted as a sun disk with rays ending in hands, representing his life-giving power. Unlike many other Egyptian gods, Aton was considered the sole deity and was not part of a larger pantheon. This belief was promoted by Akhenaten, who believed that Aton was the only true god and that all other gods were false idols. Under Akhenaten’s rule, the traditional temples and shrines dedicated to other gods were closed down, and new temples were built to honor Aton. The pharaoh also changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten, which means “he who is pleasing to Aton.” Aton was associated with the sun’s life-giving properties and was considered the source of all life and creation. His worship emphasized the importance of harmony, beauty, and truth, and many of the hymns written in his honor praised his power and majesty. Despite its short-lived prominence, the cult of Aton had a lasting impact on Egyptian religion and art. The depictions of Aton as a sun disk with rays ending in hands, which represented his life-giving power, were a departure from traditional Egyptian iconography and significantly influenced the development of art during the period. [C, D]

Bes: God of Entertainment

The Ancient Egyptian God Bes on a Granite Bay Graphic Design MicrositeYes was a small but essential god in ancient Egyptian mythology. He was a god of entertainment, dance, and music and was often depicted as a short, plump, and bearded figure with a lion’s mane and tail. Bes was considered a protector of women and children and was often invoked to ward off evil spirits and danger. He was believed to have the power to chase away demons and other malevolent forces and was often depicted as a fierce warrior armed with a sword and shield. Bes was also associated with childbirth and was believed to have the power to help women during labor and delivery. He was often depicted on the walls of temples and homes and was believed to bring good luck and fortune to those who honored him. Despite his small stature, Bes was a popular and influential god in ancient Egypt, and his influence can be seen in many aspects of Egyptian culture, including art, music, and dance. His image was often used in amulets and talismans and was believed to be a powerful protector of homes and families. Today, Bes remains a popular figure in Egyptian art and mythology, and his image can be found in museums and collections worldwide. His legacy as a god of entertainment and protection continues to be felt today. [C, D]

More About the Ancient Egyptian Symbols Above

[1] Amenta One of the most unique symbols in ancient Egypt is the Amenta which represents the land of the dead and the underground also known as Duat. The symbol was originally created to represent the horizon where the sun sets and a representation of the Nile’s west bank which was the place where the ancient Egyptian buried their dead. Note: The Amenta represents an ancient Egyptian symbol of the underworld, the land of the dead, and showcases the horizon where the sun sets plus it represented the Nile’s west bank where the ancient Egyptians buried their dead. Learn more at Egypt Tours Portal.

[2] The Tree of Life Every ancient civilization across the world has had its own version of the tree of life which was linked to the strong presence of water. All across Egypt, the three of life was an ancient Egyptian symbol that has a deep effect on their way of mythology. Many Egyptians believed that the three provided eternal life and full knowledge of the cycles of time. The symbol of the tree of life was connected to the sun and believed it has the shape of a palm and a sycamore tree which was believed to grow at the gates of heaven. It is connected with the creation myth and the nine gods of the Ennead of Heliopolis. The first appearance of the Tree of Life was in Heliopolis at the temple of the sun god Ra. The tree of life also known as the sacred Ished tree was the seat of the Bennu bird a.k.a the phoenix and was connected with the Djed symbol. Note: The tree of life “The Sacred Ished Tree of Life” is an ancient Egyptian symbol for eternal life, regeneration, and knowledge of the divine plan or the equivalent to a map of destiny. It is an icon featured a lot in the mythology of Egypt, the fruit of the life tree is able to provide eternal life and the knowledge of the cycles of time, destiny, and the divine plan of the gods. The fruit was only available for the pharaohs and not the common mortals.
Learn more at Egypt Tours Portal.

[3] Menet The Menet symbol is a strong religious symbol that comes in the shape of a necklace with a characteristic shape and counterweight. The Name Menet was also the name of the goddess Hathor of love, joy, and celebration. The ancient Egyptian symbol came in the shape of a necklace that was connected to the Hathor & Apis Bulls as a protective amulet. The Menet was shown as a symbol of birth, life, fertility, and regeneration. The Necklace was very popular in the new kingdom as it brought good & fortune and provides divine protection against evil spirits in this life & the afterlife and was used as a conduit for passing the power of Hathor to all her followers. Note: Menet Is an Ancient Egyptian Symbol of Fertility, Life, Birth, Good Health, Rebirth, Renewal, Potency, and the Afterlife. The Symbol was in the shape of a necklace found on many goddesses and found only in the elite of ancient Egyptian society. During the festival of Hathor, her priestesses will shake the Menat and the sistrum in each household which symbolizes the coming of good health and a life of fortune. Learn more at Egypt Tours Portal.

[4] Sistrum The ancient Egyptians were very creative in every aspect of their lives including music as they constructed musical instruments such as the sistrum which consists of a handle and a U-shaped metal frame made of bronze or brass, between 30 to 70 cm in width, plus it carried small moveable rings that produced a sound. It was used as an important instrument in the Egyptian cosmogony in religious ceremonies in the worship of Hathor plus the shaken it was to avoid the flooding of the Nile. Isis the goddess of motherhood and Bast the cat goddess of protection was also featured with a sistrum. Note: The Sistrum is an ancient Egyptian symbol of music, good luck, good fortune, good health, joy, life, festival, dance, and eroticism. It was believed that this sound appeases and attracts the attention of the gods and goddesses so it was used to reduce the devastating effects of the flooding of the Nile. Learn more at Egypt Tours Portal.

[5] Seba The Star amulet also known as Seba is an ancient Egyptian symbol that represents the stars which had a deep effect on architectural elements as it was used to decorate a number of temples and tombs plus their advances in astrology developed their calendar and their beliefs in the afterlife. The word Seba means ‘learning’ or ‘discipline’ and is associated with doorways and gates. The symbol is associated with gates and doorways and the concepts of learning and discipline. The Egyptians believed that the stars represent the souls of the dead and the followers of Osiris. The Egyptian sky goddess, Nut is also shown adorned with five-pointed stars. The stars had a great deal of influence on the development of their calendar which was dictated to their beliefs in life after death. Note: The Seba is an ancient Egyptian symbol of the stars, religion, time, the afterlife, the Duat, the star-gods, and constellations. It is connected to the ideas of new beginnings, learning, traveling, guidance, and discipline. [D] Learn more at Egypt Tours Portal.

[A] is from a feature by Jimmy Dunn in “Tour Egypt”.
[B and D] are from Egypt Tours Portal.
[C] is from Egypt Time Travel.
[D] The artwork of the gods is by Jeff Dahl. It appears on wikipedia and is licensed under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.