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Ancient Egypt /
Religion
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Religion / Gods /
Ennead
Ancient Egyptian: pesedjet


In Ancient Egyptian religion, the concept of a cultic unity of 9 gods, usually representing a family through 3 or 4 generations. Enneads could count a different number than 9, in some cases "ennead" was used for a group of related gods.
Most Egyptian temples had both an ennead and a triad. In practically no cases, did the ennead play the same central role as the triad. The ennead had a mythical importance, as explaining the forthcoming and the powers and influence of the triad.
The very most important ennead of Egypt was also the oldest we know of, the Heliopolitan. It was headed by Atum, crossing 3 generations. First came his children, Shu and Tefnut; his grandchildren, Geb and Nut; finally his great grandchildren, Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthys.
These 9 gods all participated in the Heliopolitan creation myth, where the sun emerged from the primeval waters, represented by Nun.
At Memphis there was another ennead, far from as developed in mythology as the Heliopolitan, nor did it bring forth much of a cult. It was headed by Ptah as father, Sekhmet as mother and their son, which in some contexts is Nefertem, in other the deified architect, Imhotep. The following 6 gods ere poorly defined.
At Thebes, the triad (Amon, Mut and Khonsu) was also the top of the regional ennead. Also here, the suceeding gods are largely unknown.
Small cult centres could also develop their enneads, as was the case with the temple at Redesiyah (location unknown) where the ennead was defined to deify King Seti 1. Prior to him, there were the gods Amon, Re, Osiris, Ptah, Isis and Horus. Seth 1 was made into no less than three gods.
The composition of enneads changed over time, reflecting both changes in religious ideas as well as political changes. The latter is a central component to Ancient Egyptian religion, when a new tribe or family climbed to the top of the political ladder, and their local god or gods were not part of the regional religious system, religious structures were redefined to compensate this.





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By Tore Kjeilen