Bennu /ˈbɛnuː/] is an ancient Egyptian deity linked with the Sun, creation, and rebirth. He may have been the original inspiration for the phoenix legends that developed in Greek mythology. According to Egyptian mythology, Bennu was a self-created being said to have played a role in the creation of the world. He was said to be the ba of Ra and to have enabled the creative actions of Atum. The deity was said to have flown over the waters of Nun that existed before creation, landing on a rock and issuing a call that determined the nature of creation. He also was a symbol of rebirth and, therefore, was associated with Osiris.
Some of the titles of Bennu were "He Who Came Into Being by Himself", and "Lord of Jubilees"; the latter epithet referred to the belief that Bennu periodically renewed himself like the sun was thought to do. His name is related to the Egyptian verb wbn, meaning "to rise in brilliance" or "to shine".
New Kingdom artwork shows Bennu as a huge grey heron with a long beak and a two-feathered crest. Sometimes Bennu is depicted as perched on a benben stone (representing Ra and the name of the top stone of a pyramid) or in a willow tree (representing Osiris). Because of the connection with Osiris, Bennu sometimes wears the Atef crown, instead of the solar disk.
In comparatively recent times, a large species of heron, now extinct, lived on the Arabian Peninsula. It shares many characteristics with Bennu. It may have been the animal after which Bennu was modeled by the ancient Egyptians during the New Kingdom.
Like Atum and Ra, the Bennu was probably worshipped in their cult center at Heliopolis. The deity also appears on funerary scarab amulets as a symbol of rebirth.
The Greek historian Herodotus, writing about Egyptian customs and traditions in the fifth century BC, wrote that the people at Heliopolis described the "phoenix" to him. They said it lived for 500 years before dying, resuscitating, building a funerary egg with myrrh for the paternal corpse, and carrying it to the temple of the Sun at Heliopolis. His description of the phoenix likens it to an eagle with red and gold plumage, reminiscent of the sun.
Long after Herodotus, the theme ultimately associated with the Greek phoenix, with the fire, pyre, and ashes of the dying bird developed in Greek traditions.
The name, "phoenix", could be derived from "Bennu" and its rebirth and connections with the sun resemble the beliefs about Bennu, however, Egyptian sources do not mention a death of the deity.
Aten also Aton, Atonu, or Itn (Ancient Egyptian: jtn, reconstructed [ˈjaːtin]) was the focus of Atenism, the religious system established in ancient Egypt by the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten. The Aten was the disc of the sun and originally an aspect of Ra, the sun god in traditional ancient Egyptian religion. Akhenaten, however, made it the sole focus of official worship during his reign. In his poem "Great Hymn to the Aten", Akhenaten praises Aten as the creator, giver of life, and nurturing spirit of the world. Aten does not have a creation myth or family but is mentioned in the Book of the Dead. The worship of Aten was eradicated by Horemheb.
The solar Aten was extensively worshipped as a god in the reign of Amenhotep III when it was depicted as a falcon-headed man much like Ra. In the reign of Amenhotep III's successor, Amenhotep IV, the Aten became the central god of the Egyptian state religion, and Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten to reflect his close link with the new supreme deity. The principles of Aten's religion were recorded on the rock tomb walls of Akhetaten. In the religion of Aten (Atenism), night is a time to fear. Work is done best when the sun, Aten, is present. Aten cares for every creature, and created a Nile river in the sky (rain) for the Syrians. Aten created all countries and people. The rays of the sun disk only holds out life to the royal family; everyone else receives life from Akhenaten and Nefertiti in exchange for loyalty to Aten. Aten is depicted caring for the people through Akhenaten by Aten's hands extending towards the royalty, giving them ankhs representing life being given to humanity through both Aten and Akhenaten. In Akhenaten's Hymn to Aten, a love for humanity and the Earth is depicted in Aten's mannerisms:
Aten bends low, near the earth, to watch over his creation; he takes his place in the sky for the same purpose; he wearies himself in the service of the creatures; he shines for them all; he gives them sun and sends them rain. The unborn child and the baby chick are cared for; and Akhenaten asks his divine father to 'lift up' the creatures for his sake so that they might aspire to the condition of perfection of his father, Aten.
Akhenaten represented himself not as a god, but as a son of Aten, shifting the previous methods of pharaohs claiming to be the embodiment of Horus. This contributes to the belief that Atenism should be considered a monotheistic religion where "the living Aten beside whom there is no other; he was the sole god".
There is only one known instance of the Aten talking, "said by the 'Living Aten': my rays illuminate…"
Aten is an evolution of the idea of a sun-god in Egyptian mythology, deriving a lot of his concepts of power and representation from the earlier god Ra but building on top of the power Ra represents. Aten carried absolute power in the universe, representing the life-giving force of light to the world as well as merging with the concept and goddess Ma'at to develop further responsibilities for Aten beyond the power of light itself.
In Greek mythology, Hyperion (/haɪˈpɪəriən/; Greek: Ὑπερίων, romanized: Hyperíōn, 'the high one') was one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky) who, led by Cronus, overthrew their father Uranus and were themselves later overthrown by the Olympians. With his sister, the Titaness Theia, Hyperion fathered Helios (Sun), Selene (Moon) and Eos (Dawn).
Hyperion's son Helios was referred to in early mythological writings as Helios Hyperion (Ἥλιος Ὑπερίων, "Sun High-one"). In Homer's Odyssey, Hesiod's Theogony, and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, the Sun is once in each work called Hyperionides (Ὑπεριωνίδης, "son of Hyperion"), and Hesiod certainly imagines Hyperion as a separate being in other writings. Ιn Βook 19 of Homer's Iliad, Homer calls the sun-god "Hyperion", a byname of the Sun, Hyperion's son. In later Greek literature, Hyperion is always distinguished from Helios; the former was ascribed the characteristics of the "God of Watchfulness, Wisdom and the Light", while the latter became the physical incarnation of the Sun. Hyperion is an obscure figure in Greek culture and mythology, mainly appearing in lists of the twelve Titans:
Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and their nature.
As the father of Helios, Hyperion was regarded as the “first principle” by Emperor Julian, though his relevance in Julian's notions of theurgy is unknown.
He was said to be breathtakingly beautiful. Hyperion’s name comes from he Greek for “the one who watches from above.” He is said to be the first to understand the cycles of the sun, the stars, the moon and the dawn or to even have ordered them in the first place.