Picture from the "Book of the Dead". One of the two figures with an orange disk is Re-Harakhti, the other may be Re. The other two figures are pharaohs.
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Image courtesy James Wasserman, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Chronicle Books.
Re was known as the sun-god and the creator in ancient Egypt. He took on many forms, each depending on where he was. Usually Re was portrayed with a hawk head, wearing a fiery disk like the Sun on his head. Surrounding the disk was a cobra-goddess, representing his power to bring death. In the Underworld, the god took the form of a ram-head. In this form, Re even had power over Osiris, ruler of the Underworld.
Re was considered the creator of our world. In the beginning of time, an egg rose from the primeval waters. Once out of his shell, Re had two children, Shu and Tefnut, who became the atmosphere and clouds. They had more children, Geb and Nut, who became the Earth and the stars. They in turn had two sons, Seth and Osiris, the father of Horus.
It is said that Re wept one day, which lead to the creation of humans from his tears. He also created the four seasons for the Nile, a very important river in Egypt. Re combines with Horus to form Re-Harakhte, god of the Sun and the heavens.
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