The principles behind ancient Egyptian religion, cosmologies and gods were manifested in symbols and metaphors that were drawn largely from the world around them. Inextricably linked with all aspects of daily life, religion explained the cycles of nature and sustained the political system by which the Egyptians lived. In an excerpt from Egypt and the Egyptians, Douglas J. Brewer and Emily Teeter explain the fundamental principles of Egyptian theology. They reveal the ritual actions of the king and the everyday actions of his subjects that the Egyptians believed kept the forces of chaos at bay, as well as the duties required of individuals to ensure a secure afterlife. Copyright 2002 the University of Chicago and Cambridge University Press.