Ancient Roots • An Astronomical Wonder
The Undying Stars • Family Affair
The First Year • Chaos and Order
Before the pharaohs and their pyramids...before the bounty of the Nile...even before time itself, there was only water an eternal ocean without boundaries and the all-powerful god Amun. In time, Amun decided to create the world. He first made a lesser god, Atum, to act for him. Atum formed the world in his mind; then he voiced his thoughts, and the world was born.
First came a void in the cosmic ocean a space for Egypt and its people. The Nile and the air filled the void, and then came land a single mound of earth thrusting from the darkness of the Nile. Finally, the Sun rose and the world was complete.
This ancient Egyptian story of creation was an attempt to explain the order of the universe: the cycles of life and death...the annual flooding of the Nile...the succession of divine kings...and the stars' march across the night sky. Order was so
important that it had its own goddess, Ma'at. Each sunrise was a moment of creation just like the first a sign that order was maintained, and the forces of the universe were in harmony.
Perhaps more than any other factor, this quest for cosmic order was what motivated the Egyptians to watch the sky, and to worship its inhabitants.
And they regulated their daily lives by the natural order in the heavens. By following the rhythms of the sky, the Egyptians paid tribute to the gods, and ensured that the cycles of life would continue.