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Are the references to historical facts in SG1 based on actual facts or are they made up in story lines for the show?

Specifically I was asking about the history to the Egyptian gods Ra, Apophis etc. Are they based on ancient Egyptian history or did the writers of the show add their own gods (as it seems every few episodes a new god is introduced).

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    The references are based on figures from actual Egyptian mythology, not history. Specifically it expands on multiple pre-existing mythologies, Egyptian, Norse, and British. There were many demons and deities in those collective mythos... literally hundreds of names for the writers to use. I don't know if everything they mention stems from a pre-existing being, but at least Ra and Apophis (Apep) are pre-existing characters... – Gorchestopher H May 22 '12 at 3:35
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    Have you tried looking for information on any of those gods? (Like Ra?) – Izkata May 22 '12 at 23:40
  • @GorchestopherH Imhotep was a real historical figure. He showed up for maybe 2 episodes later on in the series. – Izkata May 22 '12 at 23:42
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    @1.21gigawatts Some of their characters aren't based on anything. But then again, they don't claim that all of them are. Chances are that when someone references the ancient Egyptian god of [fill in the blank] that there was actually a god to that effect, and it had a name they'd be able to use given a bit of research. Again, not everything in the show was based on pre-existing mythology, everything is a pretty strong word. The difficulty in explaining every point that doesn't come from an established mythos is the reason no one is answering. – Gorchestopher H May 23 '12 at 1:27
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    @Izkata You definitely don't need my permission to do so. Instead, I'll provide a list of mention-worthy Egyptian gods and a list of mention-worthy Egyptian kings: phoebe.dws.acs.cmu.edu/~shawn/egypt/gods.html and touregypt.net/kings.htm If any of those coincide with things in Stargate, they are based on something. – Gorchestopher H May 23 '12 at 12:51
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Stargate, the original movie: Only Ra, Egyptian God of the Sun, was in it. The credits to the film also listed Anubis and Horus as temple guards to Ra, but they are not named on screen, do not appear to be the same race as Ra, and were supplanted by Goa'uld in the shows.

Everything else:

  • All the System Lords were mythological figures in real life

    • Egyptian

      • Anubis, Egyptian god associated with mummification and the afterlife
      • Apep and Apophis appear to be the same being in mythology (an evil god, the deification of darkness and chaos), but have been split up into two separate System Lords for Stargate
      • Bastet, Goddess of cats, and the sun and the moon
      • Hathor, Goddess of love, beauty, motherhood, foreign lands, mining, and music
      • Heru'ur has no direct equivalent in mythology, but takes the place of Horus in Stargate.
      • Isis, Goddess of motherhood, magic, and fertility
      • Osiris, Egyptian God of the Afterlife. In a female host in Stargate due to unfortunate circumstances
      • Sokar was originally an Egyptian Falcon god, but at some point before appeared in Stargate, that Goa'uld took the part of the devil.
    • Japanese

      • Amaterasu, Goddess of the Sun and the Universe in the Shinto religion.
    • Greek

      • Ares, God of War
      • Cronus, Titan
      • Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Military Strategy
    • Roman

      • Egeria, water nymph
    • Celtic

      • Camulus, God of War
    • Hindu

      • Kali, Goddess of Destruction
      • Nirrti, Goddess of Death and Corruption
    • Babylonian

      • Belus in a Greek text in a Babylonian context refers to the god Bel Marduk, who is worshipped as the God of War (among other things).
      • Marduk, God of Creation. This does not appear to be the same Marduk as Belus/Bel Marduk.
    • African

      • Moloc, which has the much more common spelling of Moloch, is an Ammonite god, and was worshipped by the Canaanites, Phoenician, and other cultures in North Africa.
      • Olokun, an Orisha in the Yoruba religion. The Orisha are spirits/deities that reflect one aspect of god.
    • Irish

      • Morrigan appears to have been a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignity, although she was not referred to as a goddess in the mythology.
    • Slavic

      • Svarog, Possibly god of celestial fire and blacksmithing.
    • Chinese

    • Misc/Uncertain of locality

      • Ba'al is a title with many possibilities, but an alternative spelling I've often seen is Baal, a demon who is one of the seven princes of Hell.
      • Ishkur, also known as Adad and Hada, is a god in the Babylonian-Assyrian pantheon.
      • Kur is labeled as "Sumerian and Assyrian Dragon/Dragon Lord" on the Stargate Wikia, but his place in mythology is a bit more complex. Kur is 1) a mountain or mountain range, 2) possibly the Sumerian underworld, or related to it, 3) possibly an Anunnaki, or 4) a snake-like dragon. It seems to depend on the era.
  • As I mentioned in one of the comments, even (at least some of the) Goa'uld who were not System Lords came from history/mythology:

    • Imhotep was a minor Goa'uld who appeared in just one episode. In reallife, Imhotep was a chancellor who was promoted to divinity after his death.
  • Next are the Asgard. Almost all the named ones come from Norse mythology - which makes sense, as in-series, the Asgard inspired the Norse myths.

    • These are the ones that have a directly copied name:
      • Aegir
      • Fenrir
      • Freyr
      • Heimdall
      • Loki, named after the Norse god of mischief
      • Thor
      • Tyr
    • These are the ones I'm unsure of, or have a slightly different name:
      • An
      • Famrir (Former host to Ra, he was seen for a single scene in the original Stargate movie)
      • Hermiod, named after the Norse god Hermóðr
      • Penegal
      • Sujanha, who did not appear in any TV series or movie
      • Zeus, who did not appear in any TV series or movie. However, according to his bio page, Zeus was originally a Goa'uld in the Greek pantheon. Long after he left, an Asgard crash landed in the vicinity, lost his memories, and took up the name after the humans there mistook him for their former god, Zeus.
  • The Nox appear to be based upon the Greek Dryads, or some similar myth.
  • The Ancients aren't anything as a whole, but:
    • Atlantis was a spaceship/city combination that held the most advanced technology the Ancients ever developed.

These two go with the list of Ancients references, but are much more spoilery than any of the above:

* Merlin was an ancient who was originally named Moros. We met him before his ascension, as Moros, in an episode of Stargate Atlantis.

* Morgan le Fay was born as Ganos Lal, and like Moros, had ascended and then retaken human form.

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  • Zeus isn't a Norse god AFAIK...Odin is the king of the Norse gods. – NominSim May 23 '12 at 23:41
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    @NominSim You are correct, Zeus is the king of the Greek gods. I did say "almost all the named ones". I have the feeling that whatever medium that character appeared in, the writer(s) didn't pay attention to the show's mythology. – Izkata May 23 '12 at 23:43
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    Fun fact: Apophis is the Greek version of the Egyptian name Apep. – Gorchestopher H May 24 '12 at 0:12
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    I would also add that many had multiple names depending on gao'uld dialect and they correspond to different mythos from different cultures. Daniel has been known to list the aliases for some. – ewanm89 Jul 9 '12 at 2:32
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    @Izkata Actually also Anubis, Horus and another one that I don't remember were represented in the Stargate movie. They were the guards. :D – Alenanno Oct 2 '13 at 8:49
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In light of providing a real answer, here is a webpage dedicated to your question: http://www.katspace.com/fandom/stardig/

In summary, there are lots of references to all things ancient Egyptian. I am not able to find every reference that was aimed Egypt-wards in Stargate, but that page provides links to lists of notable ancient Egyptian topics.

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As others said before, the deistic figures come from mythologies of different nations. What is sometimes a deviation of mythological stories are the relations between the figures, at least when we consider Goa'uld and Egyptian mythology.

Most of the facts are "true", for example, Ra really was a rival to Apophis. But wasn't his brother, as said in the series. They were somewhat complementary, representing light and darkness, but it is not said they were brothers. Ra defeated Apophis with great help of Seth. However, because of further events, Seth was really scorned by other gods, as mentioned in series, refer to The Jaffa Joke:

In mythology, Isis and Osiris really formed a couple. This is also true about Ra and Hathor in some versions of the myths. In the series, Ra and Hathor are the parents of Heru-ur (Horus). Most of the time these are Isis and Osiris that are mentioned as his parents, but Ra and Hathor are also mentioned sometimes. This is in fact hard to make a division between certain deities like Isis and Hathor. Egyptians viewed not only gods, but all existing things as connected, as different formations of one, general substance.

I'm not surprised by any inconsistencies that occur within mythology and the Goa'uld world. If Goa'ulds lied to people about being gods, they also could lie about their relations.

(My main reference at the moment is "Religia starożytnego Egiptu" - "Religion of Ancient Egypt" by Wiesław Bator.)

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  • +1, and more "inconsistencies" would also have arisen due to their continued interactions after leaving Earth – Izkata Jan 24 '13 at 0:22
  • Thanks Nuoritover. BTW I couldn't find the book one you mentioned, maybe it is not in English? Do you have a link or an equivalent? – 1.21 gigawatts Jan 25 '13 at 18:52
  • This book is written in Polish, I translated the title myself, so that you know what it is about. I checked my bookshelf for other positions on Egyptian mythology to recomend to you, but I found all are from Polish authors. But I'm sure you will find some good positions in English. I would only be careful with "popular science" one - they sometimes lie to make the story more interesting. – nuoritoveri Jan 27 '13 at 14:28

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