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Ancient Egypt /
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

Detailed articleAncient Egypt

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Other spellings: Apep; Apepi, Aapep




In Ancient Egyptian Religion, snake-god or demon of the underworld, symbolizing chaos, evil, darkness and non-existence. He was the opposite of Ma'at.
Apophis appear to have been introduced during the Middle Kingdom, there are no sources of his before this period.

Apophis was the opponent of Re, attacking his solar barque every night on its journey through the underworld. With a magical gaze, Apophis hypnotized him and the other gods, all except Seth. Apophis did all possible to stop the barque, including swallowing the waters on which it sailed.
Apophis would eventually be defeated, and other gods assisted Seth in fighting Apophis, principally female deities, like Isis, Neith and Serket. In some myths, it was Shu who protected Re from Apophis though the night.
Some myths tell that Apophis actually did swallow Re, but that this was part of the forthcoming rebirth of his.
The "Eye of Apophis" was a central mythological motif, representing what humans should avoid and fight.
Apophis was told to have existed since the beginning of time, dwelling in the primeval waters.
Connected to the cycles of Re, Apophis was identified with otherwise unexplainable and frightening natural events, like storms and earthquakes. Such extremes could be understood as connected to Apophis gaining the upper hand in the nightly battle. Solar eclipse was explained as Re being swallowed by Apophis during the day.

Apophis is usually shown as merely a snake. In most cases, Apophis is depicted after having been defeated. He is a common feature on New Kingdom funerary papyri.

Apophis was not worshipped in any way, rather he was fought with spells and rites. Appropriate measures for this were described in the Book of Apophis. In the Late Period, spells against Apophis were read every day, and a wax serpent was cut in pieces and burnt. Another method was to draw a serpent on a papyrus, putting it inside a box and burnt it.

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By Tore Kjeilen