In ancient Egyptian mythology, Atum was a creator god associated with Heliopolis, a city near the Nile River delta that was a center of sun worship. In some accounts, Atum created himself. In others, he was produced by four frogs and four snakes, symbolizing the chaos of earliest times.

chaos great disorder or confusion

According to one creation myth, Atum made the first divine couple: Shu, god of air, and Tefnut, goddess of moisture. From the union of this pair came the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. Images of Atum often show him as an elderly bearded man, sometimes wearing the combined crowns of Lower and Upper Egypt. Over time, the myths of Atum merged with those of Ra (Re), the great sun god. Later Ra became linked with Amun, another creator god, emerging as Amun-Ra, an all-powerful supreme being. As a result, Atum became associated with the setting sun.

See also Amun ; Ra (Re ).

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