Outside creation lurks Apophis: the biggest, baddest serpent of one hundred percent pure evil that ever dribbled out of the mouth of a creator god by mistake. Ancient Egypt's Big Bad made life difficult for everybody—including the gods—and the gods spent a lot of time battling Apophis back into his lurking pit o' chaos.
If you wake up one morning and the sky is red, it's because Seth's slaughtered Apophis again, so Ra (the sun) can rise. These two have been battling it out every single morning since ancient Egypt wasn't ancient, and maybe even before then. But we have to give it to Apophis: Like that famous bunny in the battery commercials, even though he's lost every sunrise battle (so far), he just keeps on going.
Apophis (Apep, Apepi)
Adversary, The Uncreated, Big Bad, Enemy of Ra, Lord of Chaos, Sneaky Snake
Nowhere (I exist outside creation)
Trying to wreck everybody's everything
The Academy of Pure Evil
I should rule
Neith created me by mistake
All evil thoughts, actions, and spirits are my children
I hate you all
My only appetite is for destruction
Breaking Bad: Sometimes I think you don't need me to be evil.
"I am free of prejudice. I hate everyone equally." – W.C. Fields
Every time George R.R. Martin kills another character in A Game of Thrones, I laugh a little bit harder. Keep it coming!
"Dear Mama" by 2Pac
Am I the only one who's cheering on the Nothing in The NeverEnding Story?
Trust us: You really don't want to see Apophis. But just in case you do happen to run into the embodiment of all the evil that's ever existed, here's a quick identification guide. You know—so you can start running. As fast as humanly possible.
Build: I'm pretty muscular for a giant scary serpent, if I do say so myself.
Complexion: I'm usually sporting dark black scales—some say they're golden, but it's hard to see in eternal darkness. My head is made of flint, and filled with very nasty teeth.
Hair Color:None… I'm a serpent, remember?
Facial Hair: Again, people: none.
Scars/Marks/Tattoos: None, even though Seth cuts me up every sunrise.
Jewelry and Accessories: Good grief—none.
Clothing: What kind of serpent wears clothes? Not this guy.
Armor: I don't seem to need any.
Type of Weapon: Ultimate evil doesn't need a weapon to be dangerous.
All the baddest baddies of history
Inside every evil word and thought
We don't know if she stuttered, tripped over the pronunciation of coelacanth, or had too much wine for breakfast, but Neith let a tiny drop of saliva fall from her mouth unintentionally as she spoke the names of all created beings into existence. That unnamed, unwanted droplet became Apophis, the Uncreator, jealous of everything he wasn't and not willing to accept any apologies.
Jan 1, 1970
A bowl painted with an image of a god in a boat shows a giant angry snake headed straight for it. There aren't any names written next to the pictures, but we're sure we've seen this story before. (Maybe just this sunrise, even…)
Dec 21, 2019
Egypt wasn't a great place to be in the First Intermediate Period—there was civil war, plague, and famine. Maybe it's not so surprising that the first texts that mention Apophis by name show up at this time. He was having a blast!
Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019
Egyptian priests came up with a way to help Seth and his friends in their battles against the Uncreated: prayers and magic spells called The Book of Overthrowing Apophis. In the temples each day, they prayed for Ra's victory, even torturing small wax or clay serpents molded to look like Apophis by burning them, chopping them up, or tying them with ropes and nets.
Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019
Whether it was because they had a mad on because he murdered Osiris, or Isis told them to, or they just weren't as good at reading hieroglyphs as they thought, later priests started to talk about Seth not as Apophis's enemy, but as his minion. Eventually, by the time the Ptolemies took over, Seth and Apophis were thought to be the same god—and both were also considered to be Egyptian forms of the Greek demon Typhon. (And Seth thought he didn't get any respect before that? Wow.)
Just like Seth destroys Apophis at every sunrise, the Egyptian priests destroyed Apophis in his name on Egyptian New Year, the day of Ra's birthday. At sunrise, they took a cake baked in the shape of a serpent, called it a bunch of nasty names, and then carved it up with knives and ate it. Too bad they didn't have raspberry jam to put in the center of their snaky cake…