Atum Repelling Apep, Serpent of Chaos

Updated: Dec 11, 2021


My reproduction of a scene from the ancient Egyptian Book of Gates features the creation god Atum repelling the serpent of chaos, Apep (Apophis). It is based on a wall painting from the tomb of Ramesses I in the Valley of the Kings (KV16).


The Book of Gates is a funerary text dating from the New Kingdom. It narrates the passage of a newly deceased soul into the next world, corresponding to the journey of the sun through the underworld during the hours of the night.

During the soul’s journey, they face many dangers and challenges, including attack from the serpent god of chaos and evil, Apep. Atum, a creator god, is shown protecting the deceased from the snake, surrounded by the words from the Third Hour of the Book of Gates:

What Atum has done for Ra
to glorify the god
to overthrow the rebel.
(Spoken by Atum) “You are upside down so you can't stand
You are bewitched so that you can't find yourself
My father has triumphed over you,
I have triumphed against you
I have driven you away on behalf of Ra
I have punished you on behalf of Akhty"

𓁹𓏏𓈖𓏏𓍃𓈖𓇳𓏤𓀭

What Atum has done for Ra

𓊃𓅜𓐍𓏏𓏛𓊹𓏤

to glorify the god

𓊃𓐍𓂋𓏏𓀒 𓋴𓃀𓐨𓆙

to overthrow the rebel.


𓊃𓐍𓂧𓂻𓎡𓂜𓏏𓅱𓅪 𓊢𓂝𓂻𓎡

(Spoken by Atum) “You are upside down so you can't stand

𓎛𓂓𓀁 𓎡𓂜𓏏𓅱𓅠𓐝𓎡

You are bewitched so that you can't find yourself

𓐙𓌳𓂝(𓊤)𓇋𓏏𓆑 𓀀𓀭𓂋𓎡

"my father has triumphed over you,

𓐙𓌳𓂝𓊤𓀀𓂋𓎡

I have triumphed against you

𓂧𓂋𓂡𓀀𓏏𓏲𓈖𓂋𓁚

I have driven you away on behalf of Ra

𓊃𓊃𓃹𓈖𓅪𓀀𓏏𓅱𓈖𓈌𓏏𓏭

I have punished you on behalf of Akhty"


𓏏𓍃𓐝 =Atum

𓉻𓊪𓊪 = Apep or Apophis

𓊃𓌉𓆓𓇳𓆑𓎡𓎡𓇰 = he illuminates the darkness