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The earliest philosophical treatment of air is found in ancient Egypt in the form of Shu. According to the ancient texts, Shu was one of the ENNEAD that dwelled at the temple in On (Heliopolis) and represented one of the fundamental elements. The tradition says that the Ra, the Supreme Deity, created Shu and his sisters, Tefnut, Geb, and Nut, as the four basic elements of the Universe. Shu represented air, Tefnut represented moisture, Geb represented Earth, and Nut represented the sky.

Shu's function, like that of the other elements, was critical to the sustaining of the cosmic order put in place by Ra. Shu, as air, was responsible for lifting Nut above Geb, that is, separating the sky from the Earth. In this function, Shu ...

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