Similarities between Greek and Egyptian Mythologies

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The ancient world was comprised of mysteries. There were no scientific explanations for the structure of the world, the existence of humans, or the meaning of life. To explain these dilemmas they turned to religion and mythology. However, as were often isolated geographically there was no universal answer to any of these questions, though many cultures many have derived similar solutions to certain questions, despite being separated by large physical distances, such as the Greeks and Egyptians. Although there are minor differences, Greek and Egyptian mythologies share many similarities. One parallel between Greek and Egyptian creation stories is that they both begin with a God or Gods being created from the universe. The creation of the Greek world began when Eros(cupid) sprang from the great, shapeless mass of chaos and was later followed by Gaea(Earth), Erebus(darkness), and Nox(night). These later deities would become the ancestors of all other Greek Gods and Goddesses.(Footnote pg 56 The Literature and Mythology of Ancient Egypt) Similarly in Egyptian mythology, Ra came into being, and gave life to other Gods, “After I had come into being as the only God, there were three gods aside from me[Shu, Tefnut, and Nun].”(Kaster 56) Eventually, Shu and Tefnut begot Geb and Nut, who in turn created Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. Creation by universe is a common factor in both Greek and Egyptian creation stories. Another parallel between Greek and Egyptian creation stories is the concept of birth involving only one parent. For example, Athena is commonly described as “having sprung into life, fully armed, from the head of Zeus . . .”(Murray 95). Some myths also describe Aphrodite’s birth as involving one parent, Uranus. ... ... middle of paper ... Osiris, who weighed the souls against the Feather of Truth. (Footnote pg 127-134 The Literature and Mythology of Ancient Egypt) The concept of an afterlife is common in both Greek and Egyptian tales. Despite a few minor differences, Greek and Egyptian traditions appear quite similar. The many parallels may be a result of the connections between these two cultures. Though they were separated by the Mediterranean Sea, they often traded with each other, leading to a spread of ideas. Another reason is that Egypt was once governed by Greeks, such as the Ptolemaic Kings, who furthered the spread of Greek ideas and traditions in Egypt. Though their rule in Egypt ended with the suicide Cleopatra VII, their influence had a lasting impact. Greek and Egyptian cultures were connected through trade and rulers and as a result their mythology shares many similarities.
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