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Famous Egyptian Dragons

history | > famous dragons

Babylonian | Canaanite/Hebrew | > Egyptian | Iranian

- Aker, was a dragon representing the Earth. It bound the coils of Apep. It was believed to preside over the point where the eastern and western horizons of the Underworld met. Aker aids the forces of light by binding and chaining the serpent when Ra passes through the underworld.

Ancient Egypt: Apep

- Apep [also known as Apophis], a terrifying great sea-serpent, lay in wait in the Egyptian underworld to ambush the sun god, Ra, who had to voyage through it each night ready to rise again. Apep would viciously attack the boat Ra was in as he crossed the sky during the day, and when there was an eclipse, it was believed to be due to Apep swallowing the vessel whole. Despite Apep's menace, he never gained complete victory over his eternal enemy. However Apep was also never believed to have been fully vanquished. The reddening of the sky at dusk was said to demonstrate that the serpent had been overcome by the sun's strength.

- Ankh-neteru was a serpent god. Afu Ra [the sun god] had his boat pulled by twelve gods through Ankh-neteru's body, entering the tail and exiting the mouth. This results in Afu Ra being transformed into Khepera, the ancient god associated with the creation of the world.

- Denwen came about during the third millennium B.C. and is described as a fiery serpent. He would have caused an inferno that would have destroyed all of the gods had he not been thwarted by the Egyptian King.

- Nehebkau, a servant of Ra, was an Egyptian serpent with human arms and legs. It was the great serpent upon which the world rested, and is sometimes represented with a man's body and holding the eye of Horus. Nehabkau was known to guard the entrance of the Underworld and accompanied the sun god on his nightly journey through it as well.

[full size] Ouroboros during the Alexandrian period in Egypt.
The enclosed words mean "all is one".

- Ouroboros is a "tail eater" dragon who constantly holds its tail in its mouth. First discovered in Egypt as early as 1600 BC, Egyptians worshipped Ouroboros, as Sata, (Satan) or "Tuat", on whose back the sun god rose through the underworld each night. In Greece, it is the symbol of the universe and eternity. The serpent devouring its own tail to sustain its life is an eternal cycle of renewal, symbolising the cyclic Nature of the Universe - that creation comes forth of destruction, and life out of death. The serpent biting its tail is found in other mythological cultures as well, including Norse myth, where the serpent's name is Jormungand.

The Uraeus
The Uraeus from Civilization.ca

- The Uraeus was the symbol of sovereignty, worn on the royal Egyptian headdress. It is used as a protective symbol, as the Egyptians believed that the cobra would spit fire at any approaching enemies.

- Wadjet was an Egyptian serpent guardian sent by Osiris to protect Pharoah and control the Nile. The cobra goddess was the patroness of Lower Egypt. Wadjet was part of the Osirian myths and was always viewed as a protector of Egypt, depicted as a woman with a cobra head or as a cobra about to strike at the nation's enemies.

next [Iranian]


Books -
1. Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology
by Arthur Cotterell & Rachel Storm

Websites -
> Ancient Egypt: The Mythology - Apep
> Wadjet, Goddess of Lower Egypt
> What IS the ouroboros?
> Apep, Water Snake-Demon of Chaos, Enemy of Ra...