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The ankh was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that stood for the word ʿnḫ, meaning life. Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. It is also known as the Egyptian Cross, or as crux ansata, Latin for "cross with a handle". "Ankhs" are viewed as a protective symbol, by those who study old Egypt, in terms of their use by ordinary people in that time.