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Naunet redirects here.
Nun, god of the waters
Nu or Nun
God of the waters and the Abyss
Parents None
Siblings Possibly Atum
Consort Atum in theory, Neith
Children Ra

In Egyptian mythology, Nu ("Watery One") or Nun ("The Inert One") is the deification of the primordial watery abyss. In the Ogdoad cosmogony, the name nu means "abyss".

The Ancient Egyptians the envisaged the oceanic abyss of the Nun as surrounding a bubble in which the sphere of life is encapsulated, representing the deepest mystery of their cosmogony.[1]In Ancient Egyptian creation accounts the original mound of land comes forth from the waters of the Nun.[2] The Nun as a concept is the source of all that appears in a differentiated world, encompassing all aspects of divine and earthly existence. In the Ennead cosmogony Nun is perceived as transcendent at the point of creation alongside Atum the creator god.[1]

Nu, being a concept, was viewed as not having a gender, but also had aspects that could be represented as female or male as with most Egyptian deities. Naunet (also spelt Nunet) is the female aspect, which is the name Nu with a female gender ending. The male aspect, Nun, is displayed with a male gender ending. As with the other three primordial concepts of the Ogdoad, Nu's male aspect was depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed man. In Ancient Egyptian art, Nun also appears as a bearded man, with blue-green skin, representing water.

Naunet is represented as a snake or snake-headed woman.

Beginning with the Middle Kingdom Nun is described as "the Father of the Gods" and he is depicted on temple walls throughout the rest of Ancient Egyptian religious history.[1]

As with the other Ogdoad concepts, Nu did not have temples or any center of worship. Even so, Nu was sometimes represented by a sacred lake, or, as at Abydos, by an underground stream.

Nu is depicted with upraised arms holding a "solar bark" (or barque, a boat). The boat is occupied by eight deities, with the scarab deity Khepri standing in the middle surrounded by the seven other deities. Other groupings include Naunet and Nun, Amaunet and Amun, Hauhet and Heh, and Kauket with Kuk.

During the late period when Egypt became occupied the negative aspect of the Nun (chaos) became the dominant perception, reflecting the forces of disorder that were set loose in the country.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology", Daniel R. McBride, Berkley, 2003, ISBN 0-425-19096-X
  2. ^ "Ancient Egypt", David P. Silverman, p. 120, Oxford University Press US, 2003, ISBN 019521952X


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