Aker: God of Earth

Who is god Aker?

In ancient Egypt, Aker was a god of earth. He was a very ancient deity. He had two form- singular & plural form. In singular form, he is ‘Aker’. In plural form, he is ‘Akeru’.

The singular form ‘Aker’ is the one who is responsible for opening the gate of the earth. He was the deification of horizon. He does it to allow the king to pass into the underworld. The king faces various serpent demons during this journey. Aker protects the king by seizing them.

Akeru were primaeval earth deities. But they had no specific mythology of their origin. According to Pyramid Texts, they trembled before the king.

The iconography of the god Aker

Discussing the iconography, there are two stages in Aker’s representation. In the early stage, Aker is represented as a strip of land with anthropomorphic heads at each end. These ends represented the entrance & the exit of the underworld.

In the later stage, Aker is represented as the foreparts of two lions. Sometimes these lions replace with Sphinxes. These two are joined back to back. They represent the two horizons. In this representation, he holds knives. These knives symbolize his protective role to the entrance to the underworld.

image of aker

This is the most common iconography of god Aker. Because this iconography can be observed in most of the cases where this god appears. Later, these two lions came to be known as ‘ruti’. They also had specific names. These were Tuau & Sef. Tuau means today & Sef means yesterday.

Association with the sun god Ra

Some of Aker’s representations show his association with the sun god Ra. His representation looks like a bowl or socket. Because his association with socket can be noticed. Because there is a socket in the boat of the sun god. This socket holds the mast on the deck of the boat.

sun god ra

On the other hand, the later funerary papyri also reveal Aker’s association with Ra. Because it shows shun god Ra travelling over the back of the image of Aker.

boat of ra

The cult of Aker

The god Aker first appeared during the Early Dynastic period. He later became an important cosmo-geographic type god. But he had no cult of his own. He may have been incorporated into the popular religion. As there is some evidence to support this hypothesis.

Ancient Egyptians believed that Aker neutralized poisons in the body of those who were bitten by a snake. So, Aker had some sort of popularity in spite of not having any independent cult.

Ancient Egyptians placed the image of Aker at the doors of palaces & tombs. Because they believed that he could protect everyone against all evil spirits.

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