Atum, god of Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Atum

Ancient Egypt and the Egyptian Solar god Atum, the god of creation, the sun and 'father' of the Pharaohs


Atum, god of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Atum, the Egyptian solar god of creation, the first of all the gods and the 'father of the Pharaohs. Atum emerged from the primeval ocean of chaos called Nun as the sun god at the beginning of time and was the creator of the world. According to ancient Egyptian mythology and their creation myth Atum spat out the elements of moisture and air that became the Goddess Tefnut and the God Shu. The sun was thought to have been a primary factor in the process of creation and so Atum was worshipped as a solar deity. Atum was later subsumed (meaning absorbed) as the
Ra, the Supreme Solar God is also closely associated with other ancient gods.

Who was Atum?
Atum was the first god, the Egyptian solar god of creation, god of the setting sun and 'father' of the Pharaohs. The Pharaohs of Egypt claimed descent from him and this connection is reflected in images of Atum in which he is depicted wearing the crowns or the headdresses worn by the Pharaohs.

Atum - Combined with New gods
As the culture of the Egyptians developed some of their older gods were subsumed (meaning absorbed) into newer gods. This practice is called 'syncretism' which means the fusion of religious beliefs and practices to form a new system. The Egyptians combined different deities into the identity of a single entity. The names of these composite gods were linked, creating names such as gods such as:

  • Atum-Ra - the sun god
  • Atum-Khepri - connected with the rising sun, the scarab beetle and the mythical creation of the world
  • Atum-Horus - the solar god and protector of the monarchy

The name of Atum was eventually dropped and these gods were known by their new single names. The practise of syncretism, where an old god combines with a new god, causes significant confusion as the attributes and symbols associated with the older god merge into those of the new god. This results in Atum being closely associated with Ra, Khepri and Horus and his symbols change and expand according to the beliefs of the time. He is therefore referred to as embodiments of the newer gods

Atum and the Sun Gods
Each of these gods were solar deities, or sun gods:

  • Atum was the setting sun which travelled through the underworld every night
  • Khepri was the rising sun
  • Horus the solar god of god of the east and the sunrise
  • Ra was the midday sun
  • Ra-Harakhte was the winged solar disk

He was therefore identified with the setting sun who had to be regenerated during the night, to appear as Khepri at dawn and as Ra at the sun’s high point.


The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses


Facts about Atum, Father of the Pharaohs
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Atum, the sun god of creation and the ancestor of the Pharaohs:

Atum Profile & Fact File

Egyptian Name:Atum aka Atem or Tem
Role & Function:The function of this ancient god is described as being the god of creation and the sun
Status:He was a member of the Ennead, the name given to the nine original, most important, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses of the cosmogony of Heliopolis (the birthplace of the Gods)
Symbols:The Pshent, the dual white and red crown or the headdress of a Pharoah, false plaited beard, crook and flail, snake, lion, bull, lizard and baboons
Alternative Names:Tem, "Great He-She" meaning the complete one
Name of Parents:According to ancient Egyptian Mythology he was self-created, emerging from the primeval ocean called Nun 
Names of Children:The goddess Tefnut and the god Shu
Cult Center:Atum, was worshipped in the ancient city of Heliopolis




  • Interesting research information and Facts about the Egyptian god Atum
  • Atum, the Egyptian solar god of creation
  • Stories and Legends in Egyptian Mythology associated with Atum
  • Facts and information about the gods and deities of of classical Egypt for schools, research and kids
  • Atum, the Egyptian solar god of creation and 'father' of the Pharaohs

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses


Facts about Atum in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Atum, the Egyptian solar god of creation. The facts about Atum provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Atum in Egyptian Mythology.

Mythical and History Facts about Atum

Fact 1 :

The first of the Egyptian gods, he was self-created
Fact 2 :He was a sun god and the creator
Fact 3 :He was depicted wearing the Pshent crown and the osird beard
Fact 4 :Syncretized with Ra, the god of the rising sun, as the god Atum-Ra
Fact 5 :Atum and Re were both represented by the black bull Mnevis, bearing the sun disk and uraeus (cobra) between its horns
Fact 6 :The ancient Egyptians regarded him as the father of the pharaoh
Fact 7 :The gods of the Heliopolitan Ennead were descended from Atum
Fact 8 :His principal cult center was located at Heliopolis
Fact 9 :He was identified with the setting sun who had to be regenerated during the night, to appear as Khepri at dawn and as the sun god Ra at the sun’s high point
Fact 10 :Ancient Egyptians believed that he was a bisexual god, with characters of both male a female in his body, the “Great He-she” which really meant “the complete one”

Egyptian gods - Isis, Osiris, Atum and Horus

Egyptian gods - Isis, Osiris, Atum and Horus

Atum the 'Father' of the Pharaohs
Atum was the Egyptian solar god of creation and the 'father' of the Pharaohs. Atum played an important part in the ceremonies and rites of coronation. The Egyptian Pharaohs, the kings of Egypt, claimed descent from Atum and this connection is reflected in pictures, artefacts and
Hieroglyphics of Atum in which he is depicted wearing the crowns or the headdresses worn by the Pharaohs. The headdress or crown he is most associated with is called the Pshent which was the red and white double crown that represented a unified Egypt. Atum can be seen wearing the Pshent crown in the above hieroglyph.

The Beard of Atum - the 'Osird'
Atum is also depicted wearing a false plaited beard that was tightly knotted, plaited and hooked behind the ears. The type of false beard worn by Atum was called an “osird” or “the divine beard.” The end of the beard was distinguished with an upward pointed curl. The beard was considered to be a divine symbol of the gods at important religious and ceremonial occasions. Depictions of Pharaohs, both the Kings and some Queens, are seen wearing false beards emphasizing their status as living gods and were worn on important religious and other ceremonial occasions. Living kings or queens wore a beard with a straight edge. Only when they died could they wear the upward pointing curl of the “osird” denoting that the pharaoh had become a god.


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