The Gods of Ancient Egypt -- Atum


Other Names: Temu, Tem.

Patron of: the sun, creation, rulership of the gods.

Appearance: rarely human, usually depicted as a crown or as one of his many totem animals. He is sometimes depicted as a black bull carrying the sun disk between his horns.

Description: In the creation myths, Atum is the primal creator. He created himself (or arose out of nothing) and created the first gods, Shu and Tefnut, from his spittle. The Memphite creation myth puts him as the first creation of Ptah, who simply said his name and he came into being.

Atum was revered not only as the father of the gods but also as the father of the pharaohs. The title "Son of Atum" was included in the many titles of the king, even after the pharaohs styled themselves "Sons of Ra."

Worship: Worshipped widely throughout Egypt, with his cult center at Heliopolis.


A composite deity with Ra. The primordial creative force combined with the ruler of the gods. In this form, Atum also symbolized the setting sun and its journey through the underworld to its rising in the east.

See Also:

Tour Egypt Feature Story on Atum

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