Apophis

Apophis In Egyptian mythology, Greek name of the Egyptian Apep, or Aaapef, giant serpent, sometimes a crocodile, and night demon. According to some ancient accounts, Apophis was a form of Set, god of evil and darkness. Each night Apophis battled with the sun god Ra, whose spells and flames eventually destroyed the serpent. This nightly combat took place right before Ra’s ascension from Duat, the underworld. In the ancient Egyptian ritual text Books of the Overthrowing of Apophis, a rite was to be recited in the temple of the sun god, cataloging in great detail the destruction that was to befall Apophis. The monster’s statue or representation was to be speared and gashed and every bone of his body cut by knives. His head, legs, and tail were to be scorched, singed, and roasted until the whole was consumed by fire. The same fate awaited Apophis’s monstrous helpers, Sebau and Nak, as well as other shadows and offspring of night. Another myth explained that Apophis sprang from the saliva of the goddess Neith while she was still living in the primeval waters. The idea of the Apophis snake may derive from the African python, which can open its mouth wide enough to swallow a human.

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Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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