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

Detailed articleAncient Egypt



























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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Religion / Concepts and Symbols /
Ankh



Ankh
Ankh

In Ancient Egyptian Religion, the hieroglyphic sign for life. It is formed like a T with a large loop on top, it even resembles the Christian cross.
The ankh would often be used together with other hieroglyphs to express concepts of health and happiness.
The background for the form of the ankh has been debated: It may represent a sandal strap (with the ankle in the loop), a penis sheet, a stylized womb, a primitive representation of the human genitalia or a combination of the symbols of Osiris (cross) and Isis (oval).
The ankh sign is often seen being held by kings and queens and other people deceased, usually held by the hand in its loop. It is also often seen presented by the gods to the king.
The ankh sign would be adopted by the Coptic church, who would recreate it into the more commonly known cross. It is sometimes alleged that the Coptic cross is close to the shape of the ankh, but this is not correct. It may, however, be correct to say that the Christian cross is wholly, or partly, derived from the ankh. Either by redefining the shape and its content into a Christian context, or as form to read into the Roman cross of execution the positive elements from Egyptian religion, like life after death.





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By Tore Kjeilen