Statue of the god Ptah.

Eden, Janine and Jim / Flickr / CC BY 2.0


Ptah is the creator god of the Memphite theology. Self-generated, Ptah, the god of the primeval mound (Tatenen), created by thinking of things in his heart and then naming them by means of his tongue. This is referred to as Logos creation, a label that references the Biblical "in the beginning was the Word (Logos)" [John 1:1]. The Egyptian gods Shu and Tefnut came into being from the mouth of Ptah. Ptah was sometimes equated with the Hermopolitan chaos pair Nun and Naunet. Besides being a creator god, Ptah is a chthonic god of the dead, who seems to have been worshiped since the early dynastic period.

Ptah is often depicted with a straight beard (like earthly kings), shrouded like a mummy, holding a special scepter, and wearing a skull cap.

Examples: Herodotus equated Ptah with the Greek blacksmith god, Hephaestus.


  • "A Memphite Triad, by L. Kákosy. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (1980).
  • "The Earliest Known Three-Dimensional Representation of the God Ptah," by Earl L. Ertman. Journal of Near Eastern Studies (1972).
  • "An Egyptian Etymology: Egypto-Coptic mȝč," by Carleton T. Hodge. Anthropological Linguistics (1997).
  • "Egyptian mythology" The Oxford Companion to World mythology. David Leeming. Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • "Herodotus' Account of Pharaonic History," by Alan B. Lloyd. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte (1988).
  • "Otiose Deities and the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon," by Susan Tower Hollis. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (1998).
  • The Shabako Stone
  • Shabaka Stone
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Your Citation
Gill, N.S. "Ptah." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Gill, N.S. (2020, August 28). Ptah. Retrieved from Gill, N.S. "Ptah." ThoughtCo. (accessed September 28, 2022).