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5/24/2012

The King as Re | Pharaohs as Egyptian Gods






Although the Egyptian king became one with Osiris upon death, he was also fused with the sun god Re. This idea is at least as old as the Osiride association and is strongly attested from the Pyramid Texts onward. The situation actually parallels that described between the king and the netherworld god.
Just as the living monarch was held to be the son of
Osiris but fused with the deity upon death, so the living king known as the "Son of Re" could fuse with his father Re upon his entry into the afterlife. Deified queens were also frequently associated with the goddess Hathor (or later Isis-Hathor) who was seen as the daughter of Ra.

While the iconography associated with the body of the deceased king - i.e., the mummy, coffin, and sarcophagus - was associated primarily with Osiris, the imagery of royal tomb decoration as seen throughout New Kingdom monuments is primarily linked with the king's assimilation with the sun god.


This assimilation or fusion involves the king's cyclic travel with Ra into, through, and out of the netherworld regions in continuing renewal and rebirth. The imagery of solar assimilation may be varied, however. On the one hand the god-king is said to ride alongside Ra in the celestial boat of the sun god and to act as a judge in the realm of Re while on the other hand he is clearly said to be one with the solar god. Both are depicted iconographically, the latter when the name of Ramesses III is written within a solar image in that king's tomb. In either case, however, the deceased king's divinity is clear
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