Thoth, just one of ancient Egyptian deities that was associated with knowledge and wisdom, was credited with many important inventions by the ancients, including the development of hieroglyphics and the 365-day calendar; he was even present at the weighing of the hearts ceremony held for deceased people, telling Osiris when (if) the heart and the feather of truth were in perfect equilibrium on the scale.
While serving in his role of determining the calendar, Thoth was typically shown as having the body of a man with the head of an ibis.
As god of equilibrium he was depicted as a man with the head of a baboon or a baboon. A member of the Ogdoad, the group of eight primary deities in ancient Egypt, Thoth's main sanctuary was found in Hermopolis, which was located in the region where Upper and Lower Egypt met.
This may come as a bit of a surprise to you, as Laozi is credited with being the founder of Taoism, but many historians today question whether he was a historic or legendary figure. While the Tang Dynasty emperors and other people have traced their lineage to Laozi, others worship him as a god, the Supreme Old Lord. Did he write the "Tao Te Ching", or was it just a compilation of the works of many authors? That is still to be determined!
It is known, however, that after the teachings of Taoism became popular, that he was worshiped as a god. Legends say that Laozi was born after his mother carried him for 62 years, and that he lived to be 990 years old! In fact, they called him the god of wisdom because he was born a mature man with a gray beard and long earlobes, outward symbols of his wisdom. Whether fact or fiction, there is no doubt that Laozi's teaching of living in harmony with nature is still important today.
While the ancient Greeks are given much credit for shaping religious beliefs in ancient Rome, one cannot forget that the Etruscans also wielded a lot of influence there. Menrva, also spelled Menerva (look more familiar now?!), was a member of the Etruscan triad that also included her mother, Uni, goddess of love, and her father, Tinia, god of the sky. Also associated with war, art, and medicine, Menrva was one of the Etruscan gods who hurled lightning; it was believed that the future could be told based upon the site of the lightning strike.
Odin was the Norse god of poetry, death, and magic. How wise was he? He gave up an eye so that he could drink from the well of Uršr in order to gain all the knowledge of the world. Of course, he also learned from the severed head of Mimir, a warrior who was beheaded during war. Yikes! Odin was also able to drink the Mead of Poetry, which turned those who drank it into scholars. According to Norse legend he also gave mankind runes, the Scandinavian alphabet.
With a name that means "the feathered serpent", Quetzalcoatl enjoyed control of many domains, including life and light. He was the patron of priests and invented the calendar and books, as well as the protector of artisans; in addition he was the god of the sun, wind, and air.
The Aztec believed he had created their world, but was banished after drinking pulque and participating in some questionable activities. They believed that he would return one day before the end of the world. There is still debate among historians today concerning whether the Aztecs really believed that Hernan Cortes was the god Quetzalcoatl.
Ganesha, the Hindu deva or god with the head of an elephant and body of a man, is the god of good luck, wisdom, and success. In addition he is the patron of letters and the arts and sciences. Known as the Lord of Obstacles, it is believed that worshiping him served to remove them; this belief makes Ganesha a very important deity; however, he is also said to place obstacles before those who need them for one reason or another.
He is also the god of letters and writing.
In Scottish and Irish mythology, Ogma was the god of learning and speech, who created the Ogham, which is the first Irish writing. In addition, Ogma was a poet, and writer, who was part of a group known as the gods of skill. Two epic poems, "The First Battle of Magh Tuiread" and "The Second Battle of Magh Tuiread", also talk about his prowess as a warrior.
In fact, one source said that Ogma was so ready for battle that he had to be chained in order to be held back to insure that he would launch his attack at the right time.
8. Ahura Mazda
The belief in Ahura Mazda is associated with Zoroastrianism, the religion founded by Zoroaster sometime in the 7th or 6th century BC. He professed that Ahura Mazda, with a name that means Lord of Wisdom, was the creator deity, and accompanied the Persian army into battle. With a focus on the belief in heaven and hell, angels, free will, and a judgement day for the dead, Zoroastrianism became the state religion of the Persian Empire, probably during the time of its founding by Cyrus the Great. Its concept of how to live on earth for a heavenly reward encouraged all - even the king - to attempt to lead a good life.
Although Zoroastrian is an ancient religion, it is still being practiced today. While the concept of Ahura Mazda has changed over time, the spirit continues to represent the good side.
Nabu was the son of the main god of the Babylonian pantheon, Marduk, the patron deity of Babylon. Also worshiped by the Assyrians, Nabu had many attributes, such as the god of wisdom, scribes, and literacy. He was also credited with the invention of writing. The Greeks associated Nabu with the god Apollo because Nabu was also an oracle.
The Muisca was an early group who lived in Columbia before the Spanish came. Bochica was depicted in a way similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl, and was much like the Greek Hermes in his duties and contributions. It was believed that Bochica was the founder of their civilization, teaching the people how to plant crops, organize their groups, and live together peacefully.
After he retired from the world, the people forgot his teachings and were threatened by a flood. Bochica returned to save them; after that he stayed nearby and many people visited his cave for lessons in wisdom.