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In a country which has been subjected to so many inflows of various peoples, languages, and cultural patterns as has Egypt, one may expect to find a great diversity of deities and a complex and inconsistent theology. To differentiate the principal gods is the first step toward understanding the growth of the Egyptian religion. For in instances where polytheism can be traced back to its earliest stages we find that it usually has developed from a combination of monotheistic beliefs. It is improbable to suppose that a people would unite two gods, both of which belonged to them originally; there would be no reason for two similar gods in a single system, for example, we never hear in classical mythology of Hermes-Apollo or Pallas-Artemis, or Zeus, compounded with half of the barbarian gods of Asia. So in Egypt, when we find such compounds as Amon-Ra, or Ptah-Shahar-Osiris, we can assume that each name in the compound is derived from a different tribe of people, and that a unifying operation has taken place on gods that belonged to entirely different sources.