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Atum

by Micha F. Lindemans
The primeval Egyptian sun god and creator of the world. He is the evening aspect of the sun, representing the setting sun. Later he was syncretized with Re as the god Atum-Re. According to the myths, he was the first substance (a hill) who emerged from the primeval waters. Amut created the deities Shu and Tefnut from his spittle or from his semen in the act of masturbation.

Atum was especially worshipped at Heliopolis, where he was the head of the Ennead cult. He was represented by the black bull Mnewer, who bore the sun disk and uraeus between its horns. As the father of the pharaoh, he played an important part in the coronation rites. Atum was depicted as old man symbolizing the setting sun, but he also appeared also a snake, a scarab, and a mangust (pharaoh hat). The snake, bull, lion, lizard and ichneumon are his sacred animals.

The Memphite creation myth stated that Atum was conceived in the heart of Ptah and was created by his word. Literally, "he who completes, or perfects".


Article details:

  • Also known as:
    Tum
    Temu

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