ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: The creator god Khnum
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Khnum

Khnum     Khnum was god of fecundity and creation from the Cataract area.
He changes his form to Suwadjenba of Pi-neter [1],
Who makes all things in his field,
He grows trees, he raises crops,
To nourish all by his products.
He alters his form to beneficent Nourisher,
On top of nestling-hill,
To fashion all men and beasts.
Hymn to Khnum
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.3 p.114.
    Originally a ram-god, his sanctuary was on Abu (Elephantine Island); a man with a ram's head and corkscrew-like horns, who guarded the source of the Nile and the flow of its waters - in the words of the Great Hymn to Khnum: drenches this land with Nun, and developed into a demiurge who shaped the world on his potter's wheel. His creativeness was not limited to the initial act of creation, but he continued to further life:
He makes women give birth when the womb is ready,
So as to open --- as he wishes;
He soothes suffering by his will,
Relieves throats, lets everyone breathe,
To give life to the young in the womb.
Hymn to Khnum
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.3 p.112.

    Kings would make pilgrimages to Khnum's temple to secure the inundation (and with it, the life of the Two Lands) for another year. Khnum is given two consorts (or alternately, one consort and a daughter): Satet and Anuket. The situation of this island perhaps lent to Khnum's ability to predict or secure a viable inundation. Khnum also had an important cult at Esna, south of Thebes.

    Khnum was identified with many other gods. The Great Hymn of Khnum lists his forms of apparition in various localities: Ba-of-Re in "First-of-towns", Ba-of-Shu at Iunyt, Ba-of-Osiris in Shas-hotep, Ba-of-Geb in Herwer, Horus-Metenu in Semenhor. He was a protector as Lord-of-the-booth (i.e. Anubis) looking after the embalmment of Osiris. Senusret III thought of him as a warrior god protecting the country
Khnum, binder of the (Nine) Bows, smiter of the Shasu
J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 170
    Thoth (known to the Greeks as Hermes Trismegistus), the Egyptian god of the moon and of wisdom and learning, is shown marking his life span, while Khnum (Khnemu) is shaping his son on the potter's wheel.

 


[1] M. Lichtheim: Pi-neter was the name of a sanctuary located to the north of the main temple
 

 
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