One of the OGDOAD. He started out as the God of Wind and Air alongside his wife AMAUNET. But his remarkable staying power led to him becoming the great Sun God in charge of everything. He really should be the God of self-publicity, opportunism and always having the last word.
Long ago and far away, AMUN went in for mystery and abstract ideas. But he always kept an eye on progress and was willing to go with current trends and fashions: a hawk’s head when they were all the rage, colorful fashion accessories and a beard if they were in vogue.
He could be a trendsetter with his red, green and blue plumed headgear, bracelets and necklets. In his dressing room were heads and tails for all occasions — frog, serpent, ape, lion, ram and even a goose, beetle wings and claws. You name it, he would get it.
He kept a low profile during the hassle of the years when ATEN became a dictatorship, but the moment monotheism was over he leapt back. As with any counter-revolution, a strong leader is needed, so he stepped in to become the great Sun God of Thebes and his word was law.
AMUN’s publicity drive also extended to Greece, where he was worshipped under the name Ammon and had his very own oracle. As an Egyptian God of almost unique holiness and majesty, he’s in a league of his own and has interesting parallels with the utterly holy YAHWEH of the Hebrews.
The wandering Israelites must have picked up a lot of cultural tidbits from the Egyptians — and may even have borrowed the idea of monotheism from the short-lived ATEN. But AMUN, whose name means ‘what is hidden’, is name-checked on almost every page of the Bible. Whenever ‘Amen’ crops up at the end of a prayer, he is taking the credit.