Deities of Ancient Egypt

A set of 36 double-sided educational cards of Ancient Egyptian gods and godesses.




Assignment

Introduce Ancient Egyptian religion and deities to children, museum visitors and Ancient Egyptian enthusiasts in a simple, organized and visually interesting way.

 

Inspiration

I got interested in Ancient Egypt in 7th grade by reading a historical fiction novel Pharaoh by Boleslaw Prus. Since then, I had learned the entire list of pharaohs by heart, attempted to teach myself to read and write hieroglyphs and coded a website about the major monuments. This set of cards is yet another product of my fascination with this culture.

You will find 36 double-sided cards describing the most famous Ancient Egyptian deities, an introduction to the religion, glossary of common terms and symbols and the transliterated hieroglyphic alphabet.




The Basics of Ancient Egyptian Religion




Based on polytheism, or the worship of multiple gods, Ancient Egyptian religion guided everyday life. Counting over 2,000 deities, as Ancient Egyptians deified many aspects of nature and life, the religion is one of the most intricate that ever existed. To explain their behavior and roles, the mythology featured many legends. One of the most important ones was the Heliopolitan creation myth.

Ancient Egyptians believed that in the beginning, there was an infinite, lifeless ocean known as Nun, out of which a mound of earth emerged, where Atum settled. Alternately, some versions of the myth speak of the sun god Ra emerging first, settling on a giant lotus flower that appeared on the water surface. Ra then gave light to the universe. The myths then merge, with either Ra or Atum creating Tefnut, goddess of water, and Shu, god of air. They in turn give birth to the sky goddess Nut and the earth god Geb, defining the four elements: earth, water, air and sky.

Despite Ra's orders, Geb and Nut married. Ra got angry and ordered Shu to separate them. But Nut was already pregnant, although unable to give birth, as Ra had decreed she could not give birth in any month of any year.

Nut sought the help of Thoth, god of wisdom,who gambled with the moon for extra light, adding five extra days to the 360-day calendar. During those five days, Nut gave birth to Osiris, god of regeneration; Isis, goddess of motherhood; Set, god of male sexuality; and Nephthys, Set's female counterpart. All four deities together created the forces of life.

Since Ra held the power of creation through naming things, he named all the plants and animals, creating a complete world. From his tears, mankind emerged. Satisfied, Ra descended to the world and ruled Egypt as the first pharaoh.



Sample Cards


Course

Mapping & Diagramming, Prof. Karen Moyer
Carnegie Mellon University

Timeframe

4 weeks
Completed May 2010

Made With

Adobe InDesign Adobe Illustrator Adobe Photoshop