Page:The Religion of Ancient Egypt.djvu/98

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THE GODS OF EGYPT.
83

Egyptian religion were the public admitted to the temples as worshippers. All the temples we know were royal offerings made to the divinity of the locality, and none but the priestly personages attached to the temple itself had free access to its precincts. But the image of the god and those of the divinities associated with him were often brought out in solemn processions, in which the entire population took part.


Triads and Enneads.

In the principal temple of each province, the chief deity was associated with other gods; hence the expression θεοι συνναοι of the Greek inscriptions; hence from an early period triads (consisting of the principal god, a female deity and their offspring), or enneads, consisting of nine gods. Thus at Thebes the triad consisted of Amon, Nut and Chonsu; at Abydos, of Osiris, Isis and Horus. No special importance was attached by the Egyptians to the number three and it is a mistake to look for triads everywhere, for the number of gods varied according to the place; the number nine was much more frequent, and this is often nothing more than a round number, signifying either the gods of a locality or the entire Pantheon.


Local Character of Egyptian Worship.

As each deity was connected with some locality, his name was generally followed by a phrase indicating