General, Research, Technology

Whom and why did the Ancient Egyptians sacrifice?

Historians believe that in Ancient Egypt there was at least 5 thousand gods... Scientists explain their large number by the fact thateach locality had its own deities. And each of them had its own purpose. Some were responsible for the harvest, others ensured victories in wars for the Egyptians, and still others saw off the dead to the afterlife. The Egyptians sincerely believed that if the gods were angry with them, they would be in trouble. And that is why, like representatives of many other civilizations of antiquity, they made sacrifices to the gods. The Egyptians sacrificed a wide variety of animals, and they offered some cats, and others - completely different living creatures. There were times when even people were sacrificed... Within the framework of this material, I propose to understandhow the Egyptian sacrifices took place and who participated in them. Not all living creatures were used as victims - there were certain rules.

Sacrifices were common in ancient Egypt


  • 1 Sacrifices in Egypt
  • 2 Sacrifices to the gods
    • 2.1 Cats
    • 2.2 Bulls and calves
    • 2.3 Birds
    • 2.4 Human sacrifice

Sacrifices in Egypt

The rituals of sacrifice in Egypt took place in different ways. Sometimes the Egyptians just lit incense like incense... The so-called resins that, when burnedemit pleasant odors. Such a ritual was carried out and continues to exist in different nations. Some people believe that by lighting incense, the gods become more favorable to them. The ancient Egyptians also sincerely believed in this, and in some cases the sacrifices took place in this very, most peaceful way.

In ancient Egypt, even people were sacrificed. Usually they were servants and criminals

But in most cases, sacrificeslooked very wild - at least that's how modern people would perceive them. Sacrifices were offered on special altars, also known as altars. Sometimes living creatures were simply bled and thereby killed, and in some cases they were set on fire. Most of them had their heads chopped off and terrible curses were read over them. After that, the heads were sent to sail along the Nile River or sold to Greek merchants. The Egyptians never used animal heads for food.

Interesting fact: perhaps it was Egyptian rituals that contributed to the emergence of the phrase "curse on your head".

Human sacrifice was rare andpeople got used to them for a long time. Altars for bloody rituals were first built outside the cities. Only later, thanks to the priests who performed the rituals, bloody sacrifices became the norm. This, at least, is stated in some scientific documents.

See also: How were the Egyptian pyramids built?

Sacrifices to the gods

Scientists already know perfectly well who and whythe Egyptians sacrificed. During archaeological excavations, they discovered mummies of a huge number of birds, cats and other animals. In the images inside the Egyptian pyramids, you can see many gods with animal heads. Consequently, each deity demanded a sacrifice in the form of certain types of living creatures.


As paradoxical as it may sound, Egyptiansconsidered cats sacred animals, but at the same time sacrificed them. As a rule, they were intended for the goddess of joy Bastet, who was depicted as a man with the head of a cat. The sacrifice cats were raised inside the temples. After a certain time, mummies were made of them and placed on the altar. At the same time, cats were considered one of the most important animals in Egypt - if a driver accidentally ran over a cat, it was stoned to death. And in memory of the deceased cat, the owners shaved off their eyebrows. I talked about the mummies of cats found in Egypt in this material.

Mummies of cats

Bulls and calves

The Egyptians treated bulls and calves veryselectively. These animals were usually sacrificed to the goddess of motherhood Isis. Only animals with perfectly light skins were suitable for sacrifice. If there was even a speck on the body, it was considered spoiled. Most likely, the owners of such "defiled" creatures were only glad of this - their cattle remained with them. After a certain rite, the bodies of animals were simply burned. The severed heads, as mentioned above, were set off on a voyage along the Nile River.

Goddess Isis


Recently the scientific journal Scientific Reports hadtells how the Egyptians sacrificed birds. Over the decades of excavations, archaeologists have found millions of mummies of various birds. But most of all, ibis birds were sacrificed, of which there were a lot on the territory of Ancient Egypt. Now they are very rare, because their population was greatly reduced during ancient rituals. Usually birds were intended for the gods Thoth, Ra and Horus, who were just depicted with bird heads. The Egyptians caught them in the wild - if they were grown on purpose, then in the insides there would be remnants of the same food that the Egyptians ate. And inside the mummies, food remains were different.

Mummy bird ibis

Human sacrifice

Human sacrifices in Egyptreally were - it's not fiction. The Pharaohs who ruled Ancient Egypt were considered gods in human form. People were convinced that everything that the rulers had at their disposal should go with them to the afterlife. But the pharaohs possessed not only jewelry, but also personal servants. So, when the ruler died, his servants sacrificed themselves and also died. They were helped to decide on this by the belief that after death there is another life. The bodies of several dozen servants were found in the burial chamber of Pharaoh Khor Aha. According to archaeologists, men between the ages of 20 and 25 died from suffocation.

Sacrifice illustration

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On the topic of Ancient Egypt I also recommendread the material about the discovery of several 2,500-year-old mummies. This is an important event for the scientific community, so the news is noteworthy. In the article, I also mentioned the curses of the pharaohs - do they really exist?