Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses Apophis
Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
Apophis: Giant Snake
Atum: Snake, Mongoose, Lion, Bull, Ape
Bastet: Lion, Cat
Hathor: Cow, Lioness
Isis: Kite, Cow
Khepri: Scarab Beetle
Nekhbet: Vulture, Snake
Re: Falcon, Cobra, Scarab, Ram
Taweret: Hippopotamus, Lion, Crocodile
Thoth: Ibis, Baboon
Wadjet: Vulture, Snake
Apophis: force of chaos (Giant Snake)
The great enemy of the sun god Re, Apophis represented the powers of chaos and non-existence and was depicted in the form of a giant snake. Although ancient Egyptian mythology noted that he had existed before the creation of the world, Apophis is not mentioned in texts until the Middle Kingdom. It is likely that this god of chaos emerged in the ancient Egyptian pantheon as a response to the political and economic chaos of the First Intermediate Period (the period before the Middle Kingdom).
Although references to him occur beginning in the Middle Kingdom, it is the New Kingdom funerary texts that provide us with most of our information about Apophis. The ancient Egyptians believed that each night the sun god had to pass through the many dangers of the Underworld during the twelve hours of the night before being reborn each morning. During this journey, the sun traveled on the solar bark and every morning before the newborn sun rose out of the Underworld, the giant serpent Apophis attacked. Many deities accompanied the sun god on his journey and day after day defeated the monster Apophis.
While Apophis was depicted as a giant snake, he is almost always shown as being contained, in the process of being killed, pierced by numerous knives, or even cut into many pieces. For the Egyptians images were very powerful—to depict something was to make it come into being. Therefore, whenever they represented a dangerous force like Apophis, they almost always represented him in an incapacitated form in order to keep the image from doing harm.