Who was the Egyptian god Ra?

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The sun god Ra on his solar boat, traveling across the sky from east to west.

The sun god Ra on his solar boat, traveling across the sky from east to west.

Ra (sometimes spelled Re) was the ancient Egyptian god of the sun. He was already well known in the Old Kingdom, by 3000 BC. Ra had the sun (a circle) balanced on his head, as you can see in the picture.  He carried the sun in a boat from sunrise in the east to sunset in the west every day, accompanied by his followers.

Egyptian model of a boat

Egyptian model of a boat

You could compare Ra to the Indian god Vishnu or to the Greek god Helios. The Greek sun god travels in a horse-drawn chariot, because the Greeks usually traveled in horse-drawn chariots, but the Egyptian sun god travels in a boat, because Egyptians usually traveled by boat up and down the Nile River.

Just remember: There is but one God! He is the Sun God! Ra! Ra! Rah!

Learn by doing: Egyptian afterlife project
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Bibliography and further reading about the Egyptian god Ra:

Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, by Leonard Fisher (1999). For younger kids.

Isis and Osiris, by Geraldine Harris (1997). A retelling of the story for kids.

The Egypt Game (Yearling Newbery), by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (reprinted 1985). A great kids’ story about kids who pretend to be Egyptian gods and goddesses.

Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice, by John Baines, David Silverman, and Leonard Lesko (1991). Pretty hard going, but it will tell you everything you need to know about Egyptian religion.

Isis in the Ancient World, by R.E. Witt (1997). Mostly about the spread of Isis worship to Greece and the Roman Empire.

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By | 2017-06-19T01:07:18+00:00 June 19th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Religion|0 Comments
Cite this page: Carr, K.E. Who was the Egyptian god Ra?. Quatr.us Study Guides, June 19, 2017. Web. November 22, 2017.

About the Author:

Karen Carr

Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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