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All of the Egyptian gods and goddesses had their own superhuman abilities. Some, such as Thoth, possessed superior knowledge and intellect, while Isis knew the secrets of magic. Other gods were credited for their creative abilities and many of the deities could be syncretically combined to incorporate multiple powerful attributes into one figure. For instance, Re was often combined with Amun, the New Kingdom warrior god, to create Amun-Re. In what is perhaps a peculiar or unique element of ancient Egyptian theology and myth, the powerful aspects of a deity could exist simultaneously with their weaknesses. Re could age, become enfeebled, and even die, but he was reborn daily and would ride a mystical solar barge. <ref> Hornung, p. 155</ref> The multi-faceted, complex attributes of the Egyptian deities were often not as apparent in the daily rituals of the religion, but they were on display in the culture’s few narrative myths.
As Egyptologist Jan Assman has discussed, the ancient Egyptian <i>concept</i> of a particular deity, which he termed “icon,” was more important to the Egyptians than any narrative in which the god appeared. He noted that Egyptian myths combined the idea of icons and stories in a way where there was really little distinction, unlike the Greeks. The fact that the icon of a god was paramount essentially fixed it in a static position, which prevented the development of a traditional myth cycle. <ref> Assman, Jan. <i> The Search for God in Ancient Egypt.</
ref> Translated by David Lorton. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2001), p. 112</ref> With that said, <i>The Destruction of Mankind</i> is one of the more effective Egyptian myths in terms of demonstrating the nature of several icons.
===<i>The Destruction of Mankind</i>===