divine kings: In Egypt, a pharaoh accorded divine status, though most rulers in the Near East claimed to be merely the priests or agents of the gods. In some societies, especially in ancient kingdoms or empires, the king was regarded as a god or identified with some god. In early Egypt, the divine king would be identified with the sky-god (Horus) and with the sun-god (Re, Amon, or Aton). Similar identifications were made in early China and early Erech in Mesopotamia. The first king has been regarded as a god and his successors as sons of the god in a number of societies -- in Africa, Polynesia, Japan, Peru, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan. Some early kings such as Gilgamesh were deified after death; many kings of the late 3rd and early 2nd millennia BC claimed to be gods in their lifetimes.