The chief deity in Egyptian mythology, Ra, when considered as a sun god, was thought to traverse the daytime sky in a boat, and cross the underworld at night in another one named Meseket. As the mythology developed, so did the idea that the boat Meseket was controlled by a separate ferryman, who became known as Aken.
In Egyptian mythology, the underworld was composed of the general area, named Duat, and a more pleasant area to which the morally righteous were permitted, named Aaru. At the point in history at which Aken arose, Anubis had become merely the god of embalming, and Osiris, though lord of the whole underworld, dwelt specifically in Aaru. Consequently, Aken was identified as ruling the area outside Aaru, Duat in general, on Osiris' behalf.
The Egyptian word for part of the soul Ba was also used as a word meaning ram, therefore, Aken was usually depicted as being ram-headed. As both an underworld deity, and subservient to Osiris, Aken became known as Cherti (also spelt Kherty), meaning (one who is) subservient. The main center of his cult became Letopolis, and it is considered a possibility that his cult caused the development of the myth of the ferryman in other Mediterranean mythologies, such as that of Charon in Greek mythology.
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