from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Atum in hieroglyphics
Old empire

Middle realm

Tem / Atum
New kingdom


G17 G43 A40

Tem / Temu
Tm / Tmw
Tem / Temu
Saïten period ( 26th dynasty )

Atum / Tem / Temu

Atum (also Tem , Tem-Re , Atum-Re , Temu , Tema ) was the ancient Egyptian great original deity from Iunu ( Heliopolis ). He was a creator and a heavenly deity. In the pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom , Atum is already documented as "the foremost of the great nine " as well as his epithet "He who created himself".

Name and presentation

The name was spelled differently in the course of ancient Egyptian history. In the spelling of the New Kingdom , the name Tem, Temu had the meaning of "all human beings", "the universe ", "everything" and "to be complete".

Atum is usually represented in human form with the Upper and Lower Egyptian double crown ( Pschent ), which unites the white crown of the south and the red crown of the north , but also with a bow and arrow. With reference to its earth and primeval nature, other manifestations are snakes , ichneumons , rams , lions and monkeys. In connection with the sun, it is represented as a scarab .


The heliopolitanische cosmogony of secular creation understands Atum as the light God as sun during his first sunrise was the earthly life still in it. The divine two sexes, Shu , god of air, and Tefnut , goddess of fire , emerged from it through separation . In the belief of the ancient Egyptians, this world and the hereafter ( Duat ) were also the creation of Atum. But while Re was the sun of the day in Heliopolis , Atum was worshiped at sunset and at night as the evening manifestation of the universal sun god.

The pyramid texts equate Atum with Re, which was later called Atum- Re-Harachte . Atum was associated with the phoenix and, since the New Kingdom, with Apis . Thus the primordial god Atum united in himself the qualities of all-lord, creator, king of the gods and the king, of the sun, of the earth and was also together with Geb the protector of the dead. On the other hand, it later has a magical meaning, as the "hand of Atum" could drive away storms. As the primordial god of Heliopolis, Atum claimed the royal dignity in the kingdom of gods, which, after the unification of the empire , should encompass both countries (Upper and Lower Egypt). At all times in Egyptian history, the promises of the divine kingship on the inheritance, the "throne of Atum", play a major role.

The goddess of Hetepet , referred to as "Mistress of Hetepet", became the female complement of Atum very early on, which is why her nickname is "God's hand that gave birth to the Ninth". In the 18th dynasty this goddess is called Hathor and is sometimes depicted as a cow.

Cult and cult places

Atum was revered as the all-lord and creator of the world, whose sacred object is the so-called Benben stone, which represents the primordial hill. Since the Old Kingdom Atum was mainly worshiped in Heliopolis (On) and had a temple there, the so-called Hut-Benben ( ḥw.t bnbn ), "the house of the original hill". This temple was connected to the "House of the Phoenix" ( ḥw.t bn.w ) or was part of it. Atum was believed to be the most important deity in Heliopolis. Inscriptions often refer to Atum as "Lord of Heliopolis".

Other places of worship were in Per-Atum and Teku in the Pithom region in the 8th Lower Egyptian, eastern Harpunengau . In Herakleopolis , the tomb of Atum was venerated.

Atum was closely connected with the ancient Egyptian king ( Pharaoh ), which is reflected in numerous cult rituals. So it is Atum who accompanies the king at the time of the New Kingdom together with the Theban god Month in the Amun temple of Karnak. A papyrus from the late period , which is now in the Brooklyn Museum in New York , tells of the importance of God at the Egyptian New Year celebrations .

See also


Web links

Notes and individual references

  1. sensitive Tem according pyramid text saying 258c .
  2. Christian Leitz u. a .: LGG (= Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta. Vol. 113). P. 411.
  3. ^ Pyramid texts 1660 and 1587; according to Manfred Görg: Egyptian religion: roots - ways - effects . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2007, p. 49.
  4. Note: according to Proverb 1248 Pyramid Texts, Atum was the "self-originated"
  5. Earlier assumptions that Tefnut symbolized moisture have since been rejected in Egyptology , according to Jan Assmann: Death and Beyond in Ancient Egypt . Beck, Munich 2001, p. 30.
  6. a b Rolf Felde: Egyptian gods. 2nd expanded and improved edition, R. Felde Eigenverlag, Wiesbaden 1995, p. 11.
  7. ^ Hans Bonnet: Lexicon of the Egyptian religious history. Hamburg 2000, p. 298.
  8. a b Richard H. Wilkinson: The world of the gods in ancient Egypt: Faith - power - mythology. Stuttgart 2003, p. 101.