The Theban Triad

The meaning of ‘triad’

Triad refers to a group of three figures. In ancient Egypt, there were a number of triads. These triads mostly consist of gods and goddesses; sometimes also significant kings. So, the ‘Theban Triad’ was one of them.

The Theban Triad: Origin

The ‘Theban Triad’ refers to a trinity group of the three divine personalities. They are God Amun, Goddess Mut and their son God Khonsu. These three gods and goddesses were most popular in the region of Thebes in ancient Egypt. Thus, this situation helped the formation of this triad. Specifically, the pharaohs of the 18th and 25th dynasty showed huge respect for this triad. Now, let’s discuss the three members of this triad briefly.

the triad of thebes

Amun: King of the gods and goddesses

Amun was the main member of the Theban Triad. People in Thebes widely worshipped him. Ancient Egyptians believed that Amun was the king of gods and goddesses.

amun the king of gods

Back-story of Amun

In the initial stage, Amun was primarily a local god based on Thebes. The meaning of his name is ‘the hidden one’. It was the Middle Kingdom until when his local influence was there. But this scenario changed during the New Kingdom. This was the time when the Theban kings came to power.

There were several creation mythologies in ancient Egypt. There was a reason for this. As every time with the change of the authority of power, new theology took birth to emphasize the power of the present ruler as most divine and royal. This same thing happened to the creation of Theban theology.

After grabbing the power, the Theban rulers and their priests formed their own theology where they transformed a local god Amun to a national god as well as the king of all gods and goddess. Archaeological evidence reflects how much respect this god earned., as the temple at Karnak, dedicated to this god indicates this.

Mut: the divine mother goddess

In Theban theology, the consort of Amun is Mut. She is the divine mother. In her iconographic representation, she is in a vulture form or in human form sometimes vulture headdress. She also wears a pschent crown. It is a double as it refers to the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt.

mut the mother goddess

Mut: Eye of Ra

Sometimes Mut is considered as the ‘Eye of Ra’. It happens when Amun assimilates with Ra, the sun god. It was the late time period of the New Kingdom when this goddess started to become ‘the mother of the sun’.

Khonsu: god of the moon

Khonsu is the child of Amun and Mut. but in other traditions, he has other family backgrounds. In Lower Egypt, he is considered as the child of Ptah and Sekhmet. He is mainly a moon god.

different forms of khonsu

The representation of Khonsu

There are different forms of Khonsu, Sometimes, he is depicted as a child, sometimes as a mummy or sometimes as a falcon-headed man.