Ancient Egypt remains one of the most intriguing civilisations in human history, with their dedication to their deities and the afterlife leaving a whole host of clues about the lives of the people and their beliefs.
The history of Egypt is so closely tied to the construction of great monuments to gods, goddesses, and pharaohs that what we now call ancient Egyptian mythology is one of the best-known aspects of the time. Helping this, along with the time-defying structures, is that the Egyptian pantheon of deities was among the largest, most complex, and visually striking of ancient civilisations, as described by Britannica, allowing us in the modern day to explore, enjoy, and even adapt the deities and tales. Pop culture has helped to keep the mythology in the public conscious, but if you fancy the trip, you can delve far deeper into the ancient lore.
A constant presence in entertainment media
Few themes are as iconic and instantly recognisable as that of ancient Egypt. The pharaoh headdresses, pyramids, Sphinx, desert, and theriocephalic gods are as eye-catching as they are intriguing, particularly in entertainment media that relies on delivering the spectacular. While it didn’t stick the landing according to the review from Roger Ebert, Gods of Egypt turned a profit with a $150 million box-office haul, showing that, even with low review scores and poor CGI, the theme can still draw in a vast audience. Perhaps the most famous and beloved, though, would be The Mummy. Blending the mythological theme with action and campy comedy, it ranks as Variety’s top pick for Brendan Fraser movies, remaining a very rewatchable film. We’re also seeing more derived from ancient Egyptian myth in the box-office-busting superhero genre, with Black Adam on the way and Marvel’s mini-series Moon Knight, which features Taweret, Khonshu, and Ammut.
Where the ancient Egyptian theme is the most prevalent in the entertainment media landscape, however, is online casino gaming. Not needing to write scripts or hire actors, online slots can draw from the key elements of what makes Egypt so famous while infusing it into the game itself. The popularity of the theme is unquestioned, which is why the online casino Betway features Mask of Amun, Cairo, Ark of Ra, and Wild Link Cleopatra among its Top Games. With the way in which features come into play, the mystical nature of ancient Egyptian lore lends itself to the medium. Of course, one of the main ways that people delve into myths in their spare time is through the many books that chronicle the fascinating tales. Of the range, The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends, published by Thames & Hudson, is one of the most comprehensive and accessible. With so many ways to enjoy the myths, it’s not a surprise that people want to experience the real thing with a trip to Egypt.
Best places to visit for Egyptian mythology
Whenever people look into going to Egypt, the capital city Cairo is usually the first, and sometimes the only, port of call. The sprawling city has everything that you’d want from an exotic trip, and it’s close enough to many of the iconic sights of the ancient world. Soon, the city will be an even greater attraction for those seeking connections to the ancient world, with the opening of GEM (the Grand Egyptian Museum) forging the largest archaeological museum on the planet. Not too far away from the capital, Heliopolis stands as the most sacred site along the great river Nile, and yet, it was almost completely forgotten, per Archaeology.org. It’s here that pharaohs would build shrines to the gods Atum and Ra, creating both a city and an incredibly religious site.
Much further south, on the east side of the Nile, the Karnak Temple Complex and Luxor Temple – in what was Thebes – represent grand undertakings of the ancient Egyptian people to pay respect to their deities. Amun was the primary god of worship at Karnak Temple, as was his wife, Mut, and their son, Khonsu. Luxor Temple, however, became the most significant place of worship as the capital of the New Kingdom, built up by several pharaohs as the place of the First Occasion, per the WMF. Further south still, and closing in on Lake Nasser, sits Philae Temple. The temple walls recount the tale of Isis returning Osiris to the living, having Horus, and then mummifying Osiris, as detailed by the Rosicrucian, with the temple predominantly being dedicated to Isis. If you’d rather trek north of Cairo, you might just find yourself in Bubastis (otherwise known as Per-Bastet or Tell-Basta). This ancient city served as the centre for worshipers of Bastet, the gentle, cat-headed goddess half of the entity Sekhmet.
We’re lucky to be able to immerse ourselves in the creative and iconic mythology of ancient Egypt, but to truly experience the grandeur with which these deities were worshiped, you’ll have to travel to the country.