Geb Egyptian god is one of the most important deities of Egyptian mythology. He is part of the Ennead pantheon and is one of the earliest Egyptian gods to ever exist. He is also most famously known as the god of Earth.
In this article, we’ll be taking a deep dive into this deity’s life and existence.
Who is Geb in Egyptian Mythology?
Geb was the ancient Egyptian deity of the Earth who was also part of the official Ennead of Heliopolis. His life story is very interesting as he is an important god and also has associations with other important gods of the original Ennead.
Egyptian mythology honors its gods and goddesses greatly. To understand the life history of this famous god, we must first understand Egyptian mythology in detail.
Egyptian mythology is one of the earliest known mythologies to mankind. The gods of these mythologies were mostly half-human and half-animal. Each god has a specific power and attributes that they use to mostly help people and make them make their lives better. In appreciation of this help, the Egyptian people worshipped, sacrificed and prayed to the gods, making theirs largely a give and take relationship.
The Egyptians built many temples and shrines to pay respects and pray to their gods and goddesses. In every Egyptian tomb and pyramid, the texts found had a large number of incantations regarding their gods and deities.
Egyptian mythology had gods and goddesses associated with everything: the sun, sky, Earth, fire, animals, agriculture, war, victory, love, childbirth and so much more.
According to historians, Egyptian mythology started with the first-ever god that came into being, Atum. Atum breathed himself to life, and after that, all the other gods and goddesses were created by him.
The first-ever god and goddess created by Atum were Shu and Tefnut. These gods were primarily siblings, but in Egyptian mythology, it was very common for siblings to get married and bond.
Geb is known to be the son of Shu and Tefnut. Shu was the god of air and Tefnut was the goddess of moisture. He is one of the earliest gods in the history of Egyptian religion and, consequently, the religions of the world.
Because the Egyptian civilization is the oldest civilization, all that we know about their culture, religion and ways of life is through the scriptures and texts found in the tombs, pyramids or passed down by the earliest historians.
As Geb was the result of the union between the god of air and water, he became the god of the Earth. Geb is one of the most important deities in mythology because of his attributes and also because of some other characteristics that he later developed.
Geb resided in the Cosmos with Shu, Tefnut and Nut, who was his sister and later his wife. She was the goddess of the sky. These four deities lived in peace until Geb and Nut created the next generation of gods, and shortly after came mankind.
Geb: Name and Symbolism
The name Geb is incorrectly written in many places in the texts. This is because Geb was one of the earliest gods to ever exist, so when the action of writing started in the Egyptian civilization, people mistakenly put the wrong consonants.
Nevertheless, Geb is referred to by various names such as Seb, Keb or Gebb. The literal meaning of Geb in the Egyptian dialect means “the lame one,” but this surely is a mistake because how can the god of Earth be lame?
Geb is symbolized as a combination of four elements: barley, goose, bull and viper. He is portrayed as a normal, handsome man wearing an Egyptian attire of golden, white and blue color with a goose over his head. Geb is heavily portrayed in this way in the book of the dead.
Geb was the Egyptian god of Earth. This means that everything that occurred on the Earth came under his jurisdiction. In many places, it was said that Geb’s laugh brought about earthquakes on Earth. In addition to earthquakes, Geb was responsible for tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and all other natural disasters.
The ancient Egyptian god of Earth was known for growing various minerals, gems and stones inside the Earth, and this Egyptian god of nature was also responsible for letting crops grow, greatly adding to the powers of Geb. All earthly vegetation, calamities and phenomena were under Geb’s control and order.
Geb mated with his sister, Nut, and the next generation of gods were created. These new gods had many attributes but none of them had as much power as Geb, Nut, Tefnut and Shu.
Geb was also most famously known as the father of the gods and goddesses in Egyptian mythology. He was the third divine pharaoh, reigning after Shu and before Osiris. Each of his offspring plays the most important role in shaping Egyptian culture and the forthcoming generations of gods and men.
Geb and Nut
Nut is the ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky who is known to swallow the sun every night and birth it again in the morning. Geb and Nut have a peculiar relationship as Shu and Tefnut’s union gave rise to the both of them.
Nut is more often portrayed as a woman with an arched body covered with stars. Nut later became Geb’s sister-wife, and both of them lived in the Cosmos.
It was believed that ancient Egyptian gods Geb and Nut were born gripped tightly in each other’s arms. They had to be physically separated by their father, Shu, who was the god of the air.
According to this ancient legend, the Egyptians believed that this is why the land of the Earth and the sky are separated with air between them. This actually gives a very poetic meaning to the separation between the sky and the Earth.
According to historians, Geb and Nut gave birth to the final members of the Ennead of Heliopolis, which were Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set. Osiris was chosen as the chief of mankind while the others also had many important roles to play in maintaining and sustaining mankind and Earth.
Geb and the Greek God Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus is the youngest god among the 12 titans. He was the god of agriculture, harvest, vegetation, fertility, the destructive forces of time, and later the King of the Titans. He was the son of Gaia and Ouranós in Greek mythology and later married the Titaness Rhea.
If the mythologies and religion of the Greeks and Egyptians are related, Geb was related to the Greek god Cronus. This was because Cronus and Geb held very similar positions in both mythologies as father of the gods.
They were also heavily associated with the functioning of the Earth. Due to these similarities, the two gods, Cronus and Geb, were equated at many different instances in various mediums.
Worship and Temples
The Egyptian people were very big on worshipping gods and goddesses. Religion was a big part of the lives of the Egyptian people and they spared no expenses when it came to spending it on their gods, goddesses and deities. Geb was a huge deity in Egyptian mythology, which meant that he was worshipped with full vigor, enthusiasm and festivities.
The god Geb was worshipped inside the temples, which were specifically made for him and various other gods of the pantheon. The temples were filled with precious works of art, gems, stones and statues.
Priests and priestesses looked after the temple and, by extension, the gods. People would come from far away lands to attend rituals and festivities of the temples and, more importantly, to offer sacrifices in the name of their god.
These sacrifices were made to make their god happy and satisfied.
Legacy of Geb
Geb is the grandson of Atum, the first-ever god in the history of Egyptian mythology. He is the son of Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the god of water/moisture. Geb married Nut and gave rise to Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set, all of whom would grow to have the most extraordinary role in Egyptian mythology. This is the legacy of Geb, and without even mentioning his real abilities as a god, his associations have already given him so much power.
If we talk about the powers of Geb as a god, they are various. Starting with the most prominent one, Geb is the god of the Earth. By that, it means that he is the god of every small and big phenomenon on Earth.
His laugh causes earthquakes, he allows the vegetation to grow from the Earth, and he placed the minerals and all other gems and stones inside the earth, caves and mines. His attributes are numerous and are all related to the people living on Earth.
The legacy of Geb is surely everlasting, and the people of that time made sure to keep it alive for many generations to come. Even after the rise of the next era of gods, the status of Geb is unmatched and will remain so.
Geb was one of the most popular and well-loved deities in ancient Egyptian mythology.
Here are some of the main points we discussed about him in the article above:
- Geb was the ancient Egyptian god of the Earth.
- He was also known as the father of gods.
- Because he was known as the father of the gods and was the god of the Earth, he was equated with the Greek god, Cronos.
- Nut was the sister-wife of Geb.
- They mated and gave rise to Osiris, Isis, Nephthys and Set.
- Geb’s laughter is said to cause earthquakes. Aside from this, he also allows the vegetation to grow from the Earth and places the minerals and all other gems and stones inside the earth, caves and mines.
- Geb was very famously worshipped as he was the third divine god.
Although the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses have now mostly lost their following and worshippers, their legacies live on through these great stories and tales. With a fascinating story and worthy legacy, Geb is one of the most interesting deities to ever come out of Egyptian mythology.