Comparison of solar deities, specifically Ra, Surya, Apollo.


stic religions and enjoyed much respect and honor and were depicted in the religious scriptures with their great deeds, relations with other deities and mortal people, myths and so on. However, they belong to different cultures: Apollo is a Greek god of Olympic period, Ra is a supreme solar deity of Old Kingdom period, and Surya is a Hindu deity referring to the sun (Gopal, 1990, p.76) and embodying the so-called “supreme light”. All three deities are male and very powerful, but Ra is granted more power as the creator. Ra is believed to have created himself and to be the supreme deity in ancient Egyptian religion, while Apollo was born from Zeus and Leto and Surya is the son of Dyaus Pita and Aditi (both are sons of the supreme gods of the pantheons, yet some sects consider Surya the Supreme Deity). Both Apollo and Surya have siblings: Apollo’s antipode and the lunar deity is his twin sister Artemis, and Surya is considered one of seven brothers Adityas, the cosmic deities.

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One more distinction of Ra is the form of his portrayal: Surya and Apollo are entirely anthropomorphic deities depicted both in sculpture and in iconography as humanlike beings. while Ra has many guises and can be depicted as a calf, child, lion or a man with the head of a falcon.

The similarity to be highlighted between Apollo and Surya is their main attributes – both have chariots, yet Apollo’s one drawn by white swans and Surya’s chariot is horse-drawn (seven horses embodying sunrays or colors of rainbow). Ra, on the other hand, does not have such an attribute, having a sun disk, a scepter and uraeus, a serpent placed on his crown.

Ra and Apollo’s worship cults are characterized by certain centers of worship and places of origin. For Ra, the place of origin and the principal center of worship is Heliopolis, while Delphi is the center of Apollo’s cult, where the temple with his oracles was located.

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