This unique bird derives its name from the Latin vultur, and although it does not kill its own prey, it is considered a raptor and a predator. It has a magnificent wingspan and an ability to soar effortlessly for great lengths of time. It is one of the most misunderstood birds, and yet it was one of the most powerful and mystical in many cultures. Tutankhamun, the famous Egyptian pharaoh, displayed the Vulture's head and the risen snake (cobra) as the symbols of his ruler-ship. The first letter of the Egyptian alphabet is represented by the Vulture symbol and is pronounced "ah". The Vulture is a very powerful emblem and is a promise that all hardship was temporary and necessary for a higher purpose. In Greek mythology, the Vulture is the descendant of the Griffin, and was the symbol of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, good and evil, a guardian and an avenger. The Greek god Aries, son of Zeus and Hera and the god of war used the Vulture as his bird symbol. The Vulture is the avenger of nature spirits. Ancient Assyrians believed the Vulture or griffin was the Angel of Death, and the union between the day and night. The Egyptian Goddess Maat is usually depicted carrying a Vulture and was considered the personification of the order of the world.