"Atum and the snake Apophis
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Apep ("// or "//; also spelled Apepi or Aapep) or Apophis ("//; "Ancient Greek: Ἄποφις) was the "ancient Egyptian deity who embodied "chaos ("ı͗zft in Egyptian) and was thus the opponent of light and "Ma'at (order/"truth). He appears in "art as a giant serpent. His name is reconstructed by Egyptologists as *ʻAʼpāp(ī), as it was written ꜥꜣpp(y) and survived in later "Coptic as Ⲁⲫⲱⲫ Aphōph. Apep was first mentioned in the "Eighth Dynasty, and he was honored in the names of the "Fourteenth Dynasty king "'Apepi and of the "Greater Hyksos king "Apophis.
As the personification of all that was evil, Apep was seen as a giant "snake or "serpent leading to such titles as Serpent from the Nile and Evil "Lizard. Some elaborations said that he stretched 16 "yards in length and had a head made of "flint. Already on a Naqada I (ca. 4000 BC) C-ware bowl (now in Cairo) a snake was painted on the inside rim combined with other desert and aquatic animals as a possible enemy of a deity, possibly a solar deity, who is invisibly hunting in a big rowing vessel.
Also, comparable hostile snakes as enemies of the sun god existed under other names (in the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts) already before the name Apep occurred. The etymology of his name (ꜥꜣpp) is perhaps to be sought in some "west-semitic language where a word root ꜣpp meaning 'to slither' existed. A verb root ꜥꜣpp does at any rate not exist elsewhere in Ancient Egyptian. (It is not to be confused with the verb ꜥpı͗/ꜥpp: 'to fly across the sky, to travel') Apep's name much later came to be falsely connected etymologically in Egyptian with a different root meaning (he who was) spat out; the "Romans referred to Apep by this translation of his name. Apophis was a large golden snake known to be miles long. While in most texts he is described as a giant snake, he is sometimes depicted as a crocodile.
The few descriptions of Apep's origin in myth usually demonstrate that it was born after Ra, usually from his "umbilical cord. Combined with its absence from Egyptian creation myths, this has been interpreted as suggesting that Apep wasn't a primordial force in Egyptian theology, but a consequence of Ra's birth. This suggests that "evil "in Egyptian theology is the consequence of an individual's own struggles against non-existence.
Tales of Apep's battles against Ra were elaborated during the "New Kingdom. Storytellers said that every day Apep must lie just below the horizon. This appropriately made him a part of the "underworld. In some stories Apep waited for Ra in a western mountain called Bakhu, where the sun set, and in others Apep lurked just before dawn, in the Tenth region of the Night. The wide range of Apep's possible location gained him the title World Encircler. It was thought that his terrifying roar would cause the underworld to rumble. Myths sometimes say that Apep was trapped there, because he had been the previous chief god overthrown by Ra, or because he was evil and had been imprisoned.
The "Coffin Texts imply that Apep used a magical gaze to overwhelm Ra and his entourage. Ra was assisted by a number of defenders who travelled with him, including "Set and possibly the "Eye of Ra. Apep's movements were thought to cause earthquakes, and his battles with Set may have been meant to explain the origin of thunderstorms. In one account, Ra himself defeats Apep in the form of a cat.
Ra's victory each night was thought to be ensured by the prayers of the "Egyptian "priests and worshippers at "temples. The Egyptians practiced a number of "rituals and "superstitions that were thought to ward off Apep, and aid Ra to continue his journey across the sky.
In an annual "rite, called the Banishing of Chaos, priests would build an effigy of Apep that was thought to contain all of the evil and darkness in "Egypt, and burn it to protect everyone from Apep's evil for another year.
The Egyptian priests had a detailed guide to fighting Apep, referred to as The Books of Overthrowing Apep (or the Book of Apophis, in Greek). The chapters described a gradual process of dismemberment and disposal, and include:
Spitting Upon Apep
Defiling Apep with the Left Foot
Taking a Lance to Smite Apep
Taking a Knife to Smite Apep
Putting Fire Upon Apep
In addition to stories about Ra's winnings, this guide had instructions for making "wax models, or small drawings, of the serpent, which would be spat on, mutilated and burnt, whilst reciting "spells that would kill Apep. Fearing that even the image of Apep could give power to the demon, any rendering would always include another deity to subdue the monster.
As Apep was thought to live in the underworld, he was sometimes thought of as an Eater of "Souls. Thus the dead also needed protection, so they were sometimes buried with spells that could destroy Apep. The "Book of the Dead does not frequently describe occasions when Ra defeated the chaos snake explicitly called Apep. Only BD Spells 7 and 39 can be explained as such.
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