It is generally accepted that the sacred scarab beetle of egyptian mythology originated from the species Scarabaeus sacer, although the ancient worship of this beetle was eventually extended to all members of the scarab or dung beetle family. The scarab was personified by Khepri, a sun-god associated with resurrection and new life. The ancient egyptians believed that the scarab beetle came into being of itself from a ball of dung (the idea of self-creation). It was worshipped under the name of Khepri, which means 'he who has come into being' or 'he who came forth from the earth'. The god Khepri was associated with the creator-god Atum and was regarded as a form of the sun-god Ra. Just as the beetle pushed its ball of dung over the ground, so Khepri in the form of a scarab beetle, it was thought, rolled the solar disc across the sky each day.
Typical scarab beetle (Geotrupes), similar to the sacred scarab (Scarabaeus)
The scarab was a common type of amulet, seal or ring-bezel found in Egypt from the 6th Dynasty (c.2345 BC) until the Ptolemaic period (c.30 BC). The earliest were purely amuletic and uninscribed; it was only during the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 BC) that they were used as seals. The flat underside of the scarab, carved in stone or moulded in faience (a type of glazed pottery) or glass, was usually decorated with designs or inscriptions, sometimes incorporating a royal name.