Who was the God Hapi

The oldest Egyptian text to mention Hapi was “Texts of Unas” where Hapi is mentioned as “Hep”. Hapi was believed as the god of Nile River which played the most important role in constructing the Egyptian civilization. It was believed that ‘Hapi’ actually was the name of Nile River during the pre-dynastic period in Egypt. Generally, he was considered as the god of water and fertility.


Importance of Nile River

The Nile River contributed the most in forming the base of ancient Egyptian civilization. The economic base of ancient Egypt was mainly agriculture. The rich black mud or generally known as silt on the fertile lands on the banks of Nile River made the agriculture prosperous. This silt came from the overflowing of Nile River.

Role of Hapi

According to myths of ancient Egypt, Hapi lived in the caves near the Nile cataract. It was located on the border between Egypt and Nubia. It was believed that Hapi brought the silt to the banks of Nile. This is the key thought that played the main role in forming the concept of the god of Nile, Hapi.

“Arrival of Hapi”

Basically, the annual flooding of Nile River was known as Hapi in the ancient Egyptian context. Thus the coming of the annual flooding of Nile was known as “Arrival of Hapi”. During this occasion, common people of Egypt used to worship Hapi extensively in order to get the blessing of Hapi prosperous agricultural.

“Arrival of Hapi” used to be a great celebration in ancient Egypt. Apart from the most important role of Hapi in bringing the silt to Egypt, another three gods; Khnemu, Anqet and Satet were believed to be the three guardians of Nile. They were believed to play the role of making sure in releasing the right amount of silt.

Classification of the God

Based on the vastness of flood, people of ancient Egypt made two classifications to address Hapi. When the flood came with its vast expansion, it was used to be called ‘Large Hapi’. On the other hand, when the flood came with comparatively less vast expansion, it was used to be called ‘Small Hapi’.

Hapi was further classified on the regional basis. While worshipped in Upper Egypt region, he was known as ‘Hap-Reset’. In this iconographic depiction of Hapi, he is shown wearing the papyrus of Upper Egypt on his headdress.

On the other hand, while worshipped in Lower Egypt region, he is shown wearing the lotus of Lower Egypt on his headdress.

“Maker of Barley and Wheat”

There were several titles used for addressing Hapi in ancient Egypt. One of these titles was “maker of barley and wheat”. The reason behind the formation of this title is very simple.

Water and proper soil are essential for the production of any type of crops. Hapi as the god of Nile was believed to bring these two main elements of production that is why this title may have been given to him.


In the iconographic depiction of Hapi, he is shown in androgynous form as a plump man with large female breasts. The colour of his skin varied from blue to green. This colour blue indicates water and colour green indicates vegetation that’s mean he indicates fertility as a whole.

Osrid, Papyrus Reed and Lotus

He wears false beard known as ‘osrid’ or ‘the divine beard’ which may have been indicating his association with the pharaohs. Papyrus reed and lotus were his significant symbol.

Lotus represented the symbol of fertility. Papyrus reed indicated its necessity as an element for making writing sheets, boats and other things.

Symbols of Unified Egypt

Another interesting fact is that lotus as a symbol of Upper Egypt and papyrus as a symbol of Lower Egypt actually indicated the unified power of the country of Egypt. Sometimes he is also depicted with a head of a hippo.


Other Mythologies Related to Hapi

There were other myths also related to Hapi. He was believed to be a destructive power against the enemies of Egypt. Another myth presented Hapi a supreme god where Hapi was associated with Nun, the deity of primaeval waters of chaos, believed to be the father of sun god as well as the father of all living beings.

According to a different type of myths, he was believed to be the husband of several goddesses such as Isis, one of the most ancient goddesses of Egypt; Nekhbet, patron goddess of Upper Egypt and Wadjet, patron goddess of Lower Egypt.

Cult Center

Hapi was popular throughout Egypt. But his main base of worship was Gebel-El-Silisila, 65 km north of Aswan region. He was also worshipped at Elephantine.

Importance of Hapi

Because of his strong association with fertility, Hapi gradually became one of the most popular deities in ancient Egypt. But the thing that is very much questioning that no specific temple was founded, which is totally dedicated to god Hapi.


In general, the flood is seen as a devastating natural action. But it is really very interesting to see that flood was a very much desirable wise to people of ancient Egypt. The reason behind this can be traced in its geographical formation where flooding was required as the oxygen of this dry land.