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From the earliest recorded civilizations to those of later ages, sun gods have played a significant role in nearly all ancient cultures around the world. Often regarded as chief deities and supreme beings within pantheons, these solar deities were often credited with powers that could be beneficial or destructive depending on various circumstances.
Historically, there are many similarities between various solar gods from different cultures in the ancient world. This is mostly because there are commonalities among cultures arising from similar environmental factors. For example: In most locations throughout the world, sunlight is necessary for plant life to grow and thrive. The sun also plays an important role in regulating seasons and keeping climate patterns consistent.
In this article we’ll take a brief look at some of the most popular Sun Gods from various Ancient World mythologies, including
The Muses also loved him. Apollo, the Greek Sun God, is ancient mythology’s most well-known sun god. Apollo was among the most worshiped, complicated, and historically important Greek gods. He was also the god of the arts, healing, and foretelling the future. He was linked to the famous Delphic Oracle, which was known all over the ancient world.
In Greek mythology, Apollo was born to Zeus and Leto, the Titaness of Athens. Artemis, the Moon Goddess, is his twin brother. Apollo was born on the sacred island of Delos, which Zeus raised from the sea to give Leto a place to stay after Hera cursed the Titaness, never to find a place on Earth to give birth. Apollo was beautiful when he was born, and everyone loved him immediately.
In Japanese mythology, Amaterasu, the Shinto Goddess of the Sun, has a very important but strange role.
She is not a major creation goddess or one of the oldest like many of her western counterparts. Her most important myth at the Amato-no-Iwato (Heaven’s Rock Cave) shows that she was also kind of weak and unlucky.
In that story, Amaterasu runs away into a cave after getting into a fight with her annoying brother, Storm God Susanoo. By doing this, she took away all the light from the world. The other gods then throw a loud party outside the cave to get her to come out. They also put jewels and a mirror on a tree close by.
Surya, who represents the sun, has traditionally been one of Hinduism’s most popular deities. Vedic hymns praise him as a remover of darkness and a giver of knowledge. He is usually shown as a king riding a chariot pulled by seven horses, one for each color of visible light. Historians also think that Surya took on some of the traits of other Vedic gods who were also related to the sun over time.
Surya is the father of many important heroes and gods in Hindu mythology. Manu, the first person; Yama, the God of the Dead; and the Ashvins, the twin divine doctors, are among these. Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, was Surya’s wife. Karna was Arjuna’s biggest rival, but he died tragically.
People say that Surya’s brilliance is so strong that even the gods’ weapons are made from it. For example, Surya’s solar essence is said to be used to make Shiva’s trident the strongest weapon in Hinduism. The same is true for the Chakra, which is Vishnu’s symbol.
Surya is one of the five main gods in the Smarta religion. The five are seen as the same thing and a way to reach the ultimate reality. (Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, and Shakti are the other four gods.) The worship of Surya, the sun god, has gone down a lot in the last few hundred years, but there were temples to Surya all over India at its height. Some of them are still standing, like the Sun Temple of Konark. Hindu holidays like Pongal still honor the sun god in the present day.
Surya also shows up in both Buddhist and Jain writing. Persian and Greek styles can also be seen in early pictures of him. Surya is an important name in Hindu astrology because it is a Hindu/Vedic name for the Sun.
Tenochtitlan is named after the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli, a sun and war god. The “Hummingbird” is probably one of the scariest Mesoamerican gods for people today.
Huitzilopochtli, like the Sun, has to be fed on human blood and hearts regularly. So, people were regularly killed in the temples of the gods.
In one of the gods’ stories about how they came to be, the reason for this scary need is given. After passing by or holding a ball of Hummingbird feathers, the goddess Coatlicue became pregnant with Huitzilopochtli. Many of the goddess’s adult children, including the Moon Goddess Coyolxuhqui, were upset that she was pregnant. They then planned to kill her.
The one who gives life. Who made things? The terrible Apep serpent’s enemy for all time.
In ancient Egyptian religion, Ra was thought to be the one who made all life. His name, Ra, is also the word for “sun,” so people thought of him as both the Sun and the Sun itself. He rides with other gods in a barge across the day sky every day.
At night, he goes below the Earth, where he is constantly attacked by Apep, a huge snake that represents chaos. But Ra will always win because he has a group of gods protecting him.
Egyptologist Richard H. Wilkinson says that Ra is “perhaps Egypt’s most significant deity.” This perspective is based on more than simply Ra’s alleged superior strength, capacity for fostering life, or role as a major deity. The Pyramid Texts, which are the world’s oldest known religious texts, talk about the sun god, so, likely, he was already widely worshiped around 2400–2300 BC. The texts even said that the sun god is the god who takes good souls to the Field of Reeds, which is a paradise.
Lugh is more accurately the God of Light in the Celtic religion. But because the “many skilled” is linked to many different things, like war, smithing, arts, and oaths, the Victorians thought he was the same as Apollo. In addition, his name means “light” or “brightness.”
Lugh is famous for his skill with both the spear and the sling. He was also known as “the long arm.” People say he has a magical spear that he can never miss and a deadly stone that he can throw. He may have also made horse racing and the Celtic game Fidchell.
Lugh is known as a young and handsome warrior, so it shouldn’t be surprising that his military victories are also legendary. Lugh is best known for beating the rival Fomorian tribe when he took over as chief of the godly Tuatha Dé Danann tribe. Several Celtic myths talk about monsters with only one arm, leg, and eye.
During this war, Lugh even beat Balor, his mother’s father. Before this war, the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomorians were at peace and married each other’s daughters. Balor had a huge eye that could stop people in their tracks. Lugh killed his grandfather with his spear and put the monster’s head on a pole so that the monster’s dangerous eye could look at the Fomorians and make them weak.
The ancient Indo-Iranian religion worshiped Mithra, the God of the Sun, Justice, and Oaths.
Mithra is a god with a long and complicated history. His worship began in Iran and Northern India before 3000 BC. The Indian god Mitra called a god of contracts and sunrises in Vedic texts, is probably a different form of the same god.
Then, Zoroastrianism added the god to a group of three, including the creator Ahura Mazda and the god Apam Napat. The Persian religion also says that Mithra is one of the three judges a soul meets before going to the afterlife. One who can’t be lied to because he knows everything about how people feel. In other words, a way to get things done.