In Egyptian mythology, Ptah was the chief deity of the ancient city of Memphis. He was worshiped as the creator of all things and the patron of various crafts, such as sculpting and metalworking. At Memphis, Ptah belonged to a group of three deities that included the goddess Sekhmet and the young god Nefertum. However, legends about Ptah spread throughout Egypt and beyond, and he was sometimes combined with the gods Seker and Osiris to form a new god.

Egyptian creation stories say that Ptah made the other gods by first imagining them in his heart and then using his voice to breathe life into them. He went on to produce other creatures from metal, stone, and wood. He also brought forth towns and religious shrines, and he established ceremonies for worship.

deity god or goddess

patron special guardian, protector, or supporter

incarnation appearance of a god, spirit, or soul in earthly form

oracle priest or priestess or other creature through whom a god is believed to speak; also the location (such as a shrine) where such words are spoken

In Memphis, Ptah's temple housed a sacred bull known as Apis. Considered an incarnation of the god, the bull served as Ptah's oracle. In works of art and temple decorations, Ptah is shown wearing a skullcap, close-fitting garments, and a short beard and carrying a staff that symbolizes his authority.

See also Egyptian Mythology ; Osiris .

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