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Origin of the name RE.
Etymology of the name RE.
Meaning of the baby name RE.


.  Egyptian.  The same as (q.v.), meaning "To Make, to Dispose."

    RÊ, ra (less correctly RA).  The name by which the sun god was most generally known in ancient Egypt.  According to the Egyptian myths Rê appeared upon the surface of the primeval ocean and, overcoming the powers of darkness, brought order out of chaos and assumed the government of the world.  He reigned for a long period, but finally grew old, the gods became unruly, and the great goddess Isis, who was profoundly versed in magical lore, took advantage of his failing strength to wrest from him by a stratagem his secret name, the source of his power.  Even men rebelled against him, and in his anger he sent down the goddess Hathor to destroy them, but he relented at the sight of the terrible slaughter and turned the goddess from her purpose.  Wearied at length with the struggle, Rê gave up the government of the world and retired to rest in heaven upon the back of the celestial cow.  With the spread of the solar religion throughout Egypt, Rê was identified with a number of local deities who were regarded as special manifestations or phases of the same god.  Horus of Edfu, e.g., was the morning sun rising upon the horizon or the sun of spring coming forth in renewed activity after the gloom of winter.  Tum or Atum of Heliopolis, the great centre of solar worship, was the sun setting in the west, and Osiris represented the same phase.  The identification was gradually extended to divinities like Ammon of Thebes and Min of Koptos, who originally possessed no solar character whatever, and in course of time nearly every divinity in the Egyptian pantheon came to be identified with Rê.  Amenophis IV, of the eighteenth dynasty, carrying this theological tendency to its logical conclusion, endeavored to establish a species of monotheism based upon the worship of Rê, under the new name of Aten or the solar disk, as the universal source of life, but the reformed religion died with its founder.  Rê is usually represented as a hawk-headed man holding in one hand the symbol of life and in the other the royal sceptre.  Upon his head is the solar disk in the coil of the uræus serpent.  In the Book of the Dead the god is conceived as sailing through the heavens during the day in his bark, giving light to the world, and as continuing his voyage at night through the lower world, to rise again the following day.  As he advances his brilliant rays overwhelm the fiends who would impede his progress.  The Egyptian Pharaohs were believed to be direct descendants of the god, and from the time of the fifth dynasty the title Son of Rê formed an essential part of the royal titulary.  Consult E. A. T. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians (London, 1904), and Adolf Erman, Die ägyptische Religion (Berlin, 1905). (The New International Encyclopedia, v.19, 1916)


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