The Sun Boat

Ancient Egypt for kids - The Sun Boat

The mythology of ancient Egypt and the Sun Boat of Ra, the solar barque or sun barge


Sun Boat or Solar Barque
Discover interesting facts and information about the legends and mythology of Ancient Egypt and the Sun Boat of Ra.
Ra, the Supreme Solar God was believed to traverse the sky each day in a solar barque, or sun boat, and pass through the realms of the underworld (Duat) each night on another solar barge to reappear in the east every morning. These two sun boats in which Ra was supposed to sail over heaven were called the Atet, or Matet, the boat in which he journeyed from sunrise until noon, and the Sektet boat in which he journeyed from noon until sunset. According to ancient Egyptian mythology he was attacked in the Underworld and battled against Apep, the mighty or serpent or snake god, that typified of evil and darkness. Explore the fascinating world of Sun Boat. Additional interesting facts about the mysterious gods of Egypt are also available via:

Facts about the Sun Boat of Ra
Who was Ra? Ra was the Egyptian sun deity and creator god.  The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Ra:

Solar Barge Fact File


Names:The sun boat, the solar barque, the sun barge
Morning Sun Boat:The morning sun boat was called the Atet, or Matet. The Matet was the first of two boats traveled in by Ra the sun god, as he traveled the sky daily
Evening Sun Boat:The evening sun boat was called the Sektet boat. Ra journeyed from noon until sunset on the Sektet boat to the terrifying realm  of the Underworld (Duat)
The Sun Boat:The Sun Boat as called "The Boat of a Million Years" or the 'Barque of Ages'
Apep:Under the ship swims a giant snake or deadly serpent called Apep who attacks and battles with Ra. Apep was viewed as the greatest enemy of Ra, and therefore given the title 'Enemy of Ra'. Apep had a terrifying roar would cause the underworld to rumble
The Battles:The defeat of Apep each night, in favour of Ra, was thought to be ensured by the prayers of the Egyptian priests and worshipers at temples. Ra was also helped by other gods.
The 'Eater-up of Souls':Apep of the Underworld was perceived as an 'Eater-up of Souls'. The souls of the deceased  also needed protection and spells to help them were included in the Book of the Dead

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses


The Sun Boat in Egyptian Mythology
According to Ancient Egyptian mythology the sun boat was believed to carry the solar god Ra across the heavens. The Sun Boat was a great ship, called the 'Barque of Ages' or "The Boat of a Million Years", in which Ra and his companion gods sailed through the sky giving light and heat to the world and then through the dangerous journey of the night, sailing through the underworld (Duat). The companion gods of Ra helped defend the solar god against the evil serpent Apep, an act that represented the victory of right over wrong. The Sun Boat was also the barge in which the gods traveled  between the worlds of earth and heaven. There were many prayers and spells to help the solar god Ra and the other gods in the sun boat overcome Apep the evil serpent. These spells and prayers were incanted by the Egyptian priests and the worshipers at the sun temples.

The Sun Boat (sun barque or barge of Ra

Picture of the Sun Boat with Ra depicted with a crown of rams horns encircled by the sun disk against Apep

The Sun Boat and the Book of the Dead
A hymn to Ra is included in the Papyrus of Ani a Book of the Dead that includes reference to the Matet sun boat and the Sektet sun boat as follows:.

"Hail, thou Disk, thou lord of rays, who risest on the horizon day by day! Shine thou with thy beams of light upon the face of Osiris Ani, who is true of voice; for he singeth hymns of praise unto thee at dawn, and he maketh thee to set at eventide with words of adoration, May the soul of Ani come forth with thee into heaven, may he go forth in the Matet boat, may he come into port in the Sektet boat, and may he cleave his path among the never-resting stars in the heavens.

The Sun Boat in Egyptian Mythology
The companions of the solar god Ra in the sun boat included a variety of different gods, mainly those who featured in the mythology of the collection of nine gods called the Ennead of Heliopolis. The nine solar gods and deities were named Atum (Ra), Geb, Isis, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Set, Shu and Tefnut. The gods Horus and Anubis were the sons of Osiris and were part of the extended 'divine family'. A lesser known god called Anti was occasionally depicted on the sun boat. Anti was the 'Guardian of the sunrise', depicted as a Hawk-headed man on a crescent-shaped boat.

The Sun Boat, or solar barge

Picture of the Sun Boat, surrounded by the giant figure of the goddess Nut "She who protects". Ra is depicted at the front of the sun boat, crowned by the sun disk in the company of gods who featured in the creation myth


Sun Boat

  • Interesting information and Facts with pictures of the divinities and deities of ancient Egypt
  • History associated with Sun Boat
  • Facts and information about the gods and deities of of classical Egypt for schools, research and kids
  • Facts and info about Sun Boat for kids and schools
  • The Sun Barque of ancient Egyptian mythology

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses


Interesting Information and Facts about the Sun Boat
The following chart, or fact sheet, details pictures and interesting Facts about the Sun Boat. The Fact Sheet details many facts and fascinating pieces of interesting information, history, mythology and legends about the deities of ancient Egypt.

Facts about the Sun Boat

Solar Barge Fact 1:

A "sun boat" (also "solar barque", "solar barge" and "solar boat") is a mythical representation of the sun riding in a boat.
Solar Barge Fact 2:The Ancient Egyptians used to bury a "solar boat" near the tomb of their pharaoh because they believed that their ruler needed transportation in the afterlife.
Solar Barge Fact 3:According to ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, the soul of the dead accompanied the sun on its eternal journey in the Upper Waters (the heavens) around the world. A boat or at least a model of a boat was therefore included in every tomb.
Solar Barge Fact 4:The solar barge was called the 'Boat of Millions' because all of the gods and the souls of the dead might be needed in its crew to fight evil.
Solar Barge Fact 5:The Sun god Ra was often depicted alone on the Day boat but was accompanied by other gods in the night boat
Solar Barge Fact 6:The Solar Barge was believed to be subject to attacks by not only Apep but also dangerous crocodiles, and snakes
Solar Barge Fact 7:The prow and stern of the solar barge were often depicted with images of crowns, snakes, animal and human heads

the Mesektet Boat, glorious its trappings, and its colours are of amethyst and emerald, jasper and turquoise, lazuli and the lustre of gold.

Solar Barge Fact 8:The Matet Boat was described as glorious in its trappings, and its colors were of amethyst, emerald, jasper and turquoise, lazuli and the lustre of gold. Whereas the Sektet boat was plain and without trappings of grandeur.

Facts about the Sun Boat


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