God Apophis

 The serpent god of the Underworld, Apophis represents all that is  malicious and evil. As a primeval force of darkness and  chaos, Apophis is the opposite of the sun god, Re, and  his life-giving rays. The great serpent was the most  wicked and eternal adversary of Re, who was forced  to battle and defeat him each night.

Apophis’s greatest  threat to the sun god was that if Re was not watchful,  Apophis would capsize and destroy the solar boat as it  sailed through the hours of the night, making it impossible for the sun to appear on the horizon each day.  Apophis could also take the form of a mammoth  crocodile and attack the sun god on land or water.  The sound of his voice was so terrifying that even  the great god Re shuddered when the serpent roared. 

One of Apophis’s names is “Earth Shaker,” and  violent storms and earthquakes were attributed to  his wrath.  We find Apophis’s origin in Egyptian creation  myths—especially the story from Hermopolis,  where he first appears as both serpents and frogs.  Here, Apophis represents the first energy, a primeval  force thriving in chaos and darkness in a time before  maat and divine order existed. 

Help in fighting the forces of the evil serpent  could be found in the  Book of Overthrowing Apep  (Apophis), a collection of spells and rituals that could  be used against the demon. Originating in the New  Kingdom (1550–1069 b.c.), the most complete text  is found in the Bremner-Rind Papyrus. Drawings in  the papyrus show the “great serpent” subdued with  knives and chains in order to diminish his power.

  Priests in the temple of Amun-Re at Thebes chanted  the spells and called upon the powerful magic of  Isis and Thoth when they listed all the ways that  Apophis must be subdued:

 (1) Spell for spitting on Apep.

(2) Spell for crushing Apep with the left foot. 

(3) Spell for smiting Apep with a lance. 

(4) Spell for binding Apep with chains. 

(5) Spell for smiting Apep with a knife.  

(6) Spell for burning Apep with fire. 

Each part of Apophis’s body was mentioned with  the specific method of destroying him. Sometimes  wax figures were fashioned of Apophis and bound  with red and black string, then pierced with knives  and burned. To further ensure the destruction of  Apophis, his secret name was inscribed on a new  papyrus and burned over flames.  So detested was the evil Apophis that Chapter  27 of the Book of the Dead tells of a local goddess,  Henen-su, who turned herself into a cat and killed  Apophis, the “Prince of Darkness.”


 A southern war god whose cult, com- plete with a temple and cadre of priests, flourished  in the eastern desert at Meroe in southern Nubia  (modern Sudan). The long and tumultuous relationship between Egypt and Nubia produced an  exchange of ideas and religion that was to influence  both countries profoundly. 


  When the Egyptians saw Apedemak, the fierce lion, guarding his temple, they  equated him with their own fierce gods. Apedemak’s  Egyptian-style temple in Nubia is covered with  perfect Egyptian hieroglyphs praising him as “the  splendid god at the forefront of Nubia” and “lion of  the south, strong of arm.”