ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
  • Falsone, Gioacchino. "Anath or Astarte? A Phoenician Bronze Statuette of the Smiting Goddess". in Religio Phoenicia: acta colloquii Namurcensis habiti diebus 14 et 15 mensis Decembris anni 1984. Namur, Société des études classiques, 1986.

    This article discusses the rare bronze figurines of goddesses in the "smiting god" pose - left foot forward, both arms bent 90°, right one raised, weapons held in both hands (usually lost). The particular statue being discussed also wears the Isis/Hathor horned sundisc, which other Syro-Palestinian goddesses wear (possibly including Anat) but "in a peaceful attitude".

    "Athtart (Ashtart/Astarte) is less often mentioned and more obscure [than Anat], but may have had some similar functions. Some scholars have stressed her war attitude and her roles in hunting and chariotry. Later she becomes more sensual and less warlike. In the Iron Age, in fact, Anath seems to disappear or, at any rate, loses her importance, while Astarte assumes her functions and becomes the chief female deity of the Phoenician pantheon." (p 74)

  • te Velde, Herman. Seth, God of Confusion: a study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion. 2nd ed. Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1977.
  • Gardiner, Alan H. Hieratic papyri in the British Museum. Third series, Chester Beatty gift. London, British Museum, 1935.
  • Dawson, Warren (1936). Observations on Ch. Beatty Papyri VII, VIII and XII. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 22, 1936, pp 106–108.


  • In the Contendings of Horus and Set, the goddess Neith suggests that Set be married off to Anat and Astarte, while Horus gets the throne. "However," remarks te Velde, "the gods do not entertain this proposal."

    However, Set is linked sexually with Anat in Papyrus Chester Beatty VII, which possibly tells the story of Set raping (?) Anat while she was bathing, and how "the poison" ("the same Egyptian word was often used for 'seed', 'semen', and both senses are here intended together", remarks Gardiner) went up to his own forehead, making him sick. Anat begs Re to save Set. Re addresses her as "'Anat the divine, she the victorious, a woman acting as a warrior, clad as men and girt as women", and says ("cryptically"): "[Is it not?] a childish punishment (for?) the seed-poison put upon the wife of the god above [ie, Re] that he should copulate with her(?) in fire and open her(?) with a chisel?" In the end Isis arrives in the form of "a Nubian woman" and heals Set (and thus the patient, afflicted by scorpion poison).

    te Velde notes that Set has sex with 'Anat "who 'is dressed like man'", and quotes W.R. Dawson in a footnote: "The method by which Seth took his pleasure of 'Anat is interesting, as it further illustrates his already well-known homosexual tendencies." (p 37) However, both authors seem to be assuming that Anat was bathing fully clothed. ETA: Dawson's point is that Anat was on her hands and knees; otherwise, she would have drowned. But he also concedes that it wasn't anal sex, since "defloration resulted". tl;dr Egyptologists are weird.

    Gardiner: "That 'Anat became the consort of Seth is also implied by the obelisk of Tanis", on which Anat is called "the great cow(?) of Seth". (p 62)

    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    In her chapter for the Feminist Companion to the Bible, Lana Troy contrasts the Egyptian creation stories with the Biblical version of events. In the latter, gender only becomes "relevant" when human beings appear. In Egypt, however, says Troy, "the origin of all life, the source of both creators and creation, was not asexual, or presexual, but androgynous..." (p 239). (ETA: Englund remarks that the "absolutely homogenous" origin must contain "a potential heterogenity" to produce plurality; for the Egyptians, that heterogenity was the duality of gender, which was "only latent, only exist[ing] as a predisposition". (pp 20-21). I can't help thinking of the Big Bang - the tiny random flaws which gave rise to the large-scale structures of our universe, the asymmetry between matter and anti-matter, and most of all, the four forces which split apart from each other in those first fractions of a second.)

    For example: Nun, the Father of the Gods, is a vast watery container, a sort of uterus; Nut, possibly his female counterpart, is the equivalent heavenly body of water through which the sun barque travels to be reborn each morning. The male creator deity Atum masturbates, swallows his semen, and spits out his children Shu and Tefnut; his hand becomes hypostastized as a goddess in her own right, and his mouth plays the role of a womb. Atum's Eye is also a female hypostasis, his "active element", which can retrieve Shu and Tefnut and return them to him. te Velde remarks that this female aspect of Atum or re is "carried over to Tefnut", Eye of Re (p 249); he connects the Eye's retrieval of the twins to the story of the Distant goddess, in which Shu or another god must in turn retrieve the sulking Eye of Re. Troy points out that the eye is womblike, a container of water whose tears produce the human race (p 263). Even in the Theban creation, where the waters of Nun are the god's semen, his semen becomes personified as a goddess!

    OTOH, in the creation story from Esna, the creatrix Mehetweret appears to be solely female. Troy suggests this was conceivable to the Egyptians where male-only reproduction was harder to imagine. ETA: But Cooney - see below - quotes from an Esna hymn which describes Neith, aka Mehetweret, as "two-thirds male and one-third female". Also at Esna, Khnum not only "moulds" people, but also both begets and gives birth to them. (ETA: Englund: "All the gods of the Heliopolitan Ennead are hypostases of the androgynous Atum" (p 11).)

    To come back to Troy, while male and female are both needed for the creation, they're not equal partners. She remarks, "Just as male fertility is incidental in the Esna version of creation, at Thebes the feminine reproductive mode is largely subsumed as an attribute of the male creator." (p 258) But the female aspect of the creator can also act independently, for example, in the conflict between father and daughter when the Eye returns to discover she's been replaced (resolved by the creator placing her on his forehead as the uraeus). (p 265)

    One point which Troy makes which struck me as odd, however, was her suggestion that Seth and Nephthys "appear to reflect male and female characteristics in their most absolute form... The name Nephthys, in Egyptian Nbt-Hwt, 'Mistress of the House', suggests a personification of the womb", by parallel with Hathor's name, Hwt-Hr, "House of Horus", "referring to her role as his mother". But, as Troy notes, Set and Nephthys are childless (can you imagine how it might complicate the mythology if they weren't?!). Although later she is considered to be the mother of Anubis, surely Nephthys' most important role is as a sister, not a mother. te Velde points out that she is even "sometimes said to lack a vulva". (Pinch: "Perhaps because of her sham marriage, Nephthys is described in one of the Pyramid Texts [Utterance 534] as 'an imitation woman with no vagina.'" (p 171)) te Velde remarks that she "plays those parts in mythology that women without a husband filled in the Egyptian society, ie as a wailing-woman and nursemaid." (p 253) (ETA: Pyramid Text 1154 says of the king, "Isis has conceived (šsp) him, Nephthys has begotten (wtt) him."!)

    Anywho, Troy concludes by pointing out that gender is "an indissoluble link between the divine and mortal worlds", something humans share with the gods. (By contrast, in the Bible, gender is "the culmination of the creator's labours", which is also "elevating".)

    ETA: Bit more from my box o' photocopies. Kathlyn M. Cooney describes five Late Period / Ptolemaic bronze figurines of pantheistic deities, which combine not just human and animal elements, but male and female as well. "By combining numerous divine forms into a complex composite, these creative divinity figures incorporate as many magical and divine powers (b3w) as possible into one small statuette." Other than the creator gods, androgynous deities like this are rare (the ithyphallic Mut being one example). Cooney suggests such a figure combines "male potency for creation" with "female protection, as the catalyst and vessel for healing", and perhaps manifests the primal creator god "in visible form that is accessible to worshippers". (Another example would be Atum's parents in the Late Period Memphite Theology - Ptah-Nun, and Ptah-Naunet.)

    ETA: Set's birth was "the beginning of confusion (hnnw)." :) (te Velde, p 252)

    __
    Cooney, Kathlyn M. Androgynous Bronze Figurines in Storage at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. in D'Auria, Sue H. (ed). Servant of Mut : studies in honor of Richard A. Fazzini. Leiden, Boston, Brill, 2008. pp 63-69.

    Englund, Gertie. Gods as a Frame of Reference: On Thinking and Concepts of Thought in Ancient Egypt. Boreas 20 1991, pp 7-28.

    Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian mythology : a guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt. Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press, 2004.

    te Velde, Herman. "Relations and Conflicts between Egyptian Gods, particularly in the Divine Ennead of Heliopolis", in Struggles of Gods. Papers of the Groningen Work Group for the Study of the History of Religions. Berlin, New York : Mouton, 1984. pp 239-257.

    Troy, Lana. "Engendering Creation in Ancient Egypt: Still and Flowing Waters." in Brenner, Athalya and Carole Fontaine (eds). A Feminist Companion to Reading the Bible: approaches, methods and strategies (The Feminist Companion to the Bible, vol. 11). Sheffield, England, Sheffield Academic Press, 1997. pp 238-268.

    Mut

    Jun. 24th, 2011 08:13 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
    I'm still gradually adding notes to my catch-all posting on Sekhmet; here's one for the closely related goddess Mut. (Also see the goddess: ithyphallic mut tag.)

  • Capel, Anne K. and Glenn E. Markoe (eds). Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt. New York, Hudson Hills Press in association with Cincinnati Art Museum, 1996.
    It's possible that the numerous Sekhmet statues found at Mut's Karnak temple were actually made for Amenhotep III's funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile, but later dispersed by Ramesses II. It was during his reign that the Isheru festival began to be celebrated at Karnak, and also that Mut really began to be called the Eye of Re (she's occasionally given this title, as well as "Lady of Terror", in the late 18th Dynasty), so the Sekhmet statues could have created or enhanced the link between Mut and the Eye of Re. (Even before this she could be shown as lioness-headed.) Mut is "one of the few goddesses who can appear as a cat, among whose meanings is the dangerous goddess appeased". The Ptolemaic entrance to the precinct shows the pharaoh as a musician: "I am the perfect sistrum player for the Golden Lady, who pacifies the heart of my mistress every day". [Hang on, isn't the Golden Lady Hathor? Find this text!] A Third Intermediate Period hymn from the daily temple ritual links Mut and Sekhmet as Eyes of Re "and refers to Mut's return and her appeasement, which includes rituals of music and dance." A possible political motive for linking Mut with Sekhmet would be their spouses: Amun-Ra of Thebes in Upper Egypt, and Ptah of Memphis in Lower Egypt. On one of Amenhotep III's statues, the two goddesses are called "united"; in the Ptolemaic period they could be seen as the serene and destructive aspects of the one goddess.
  • Bryan, Betsy M. "The Temple of Mut: New Evidence on Hatshepsut's Building Activity". in Roehrig, Catharine H., Cathleen A. Keller, and Renée Dreyfus (eds). Hatshepsut: from Queen to Pharaoh. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven, Yale University Press, 2005.
    "The earliest cult place for Mut may have been constructed in the Middle Kingdom or the Second Intermediate Period, but remains of the original structure have yet to be identified." Hmmm, I'm not sure if that refers to the site at Karnak, or elsewhere. Further reading will clarify.

    "While the oldest known written reference to the temple dates to the Seventeenth Dynasty, it may be that a structure was erected in stone only in the Eighteenth Dynasty - perhaps during Hatshepsut's rule... during the co-regency Hatshepsut chose to carry out construction at the temple of Mut." Also at this time, "Mut's role as the divine consort of Amun-Re was emphasized in rituals for the god at Thebes". Describing the Hathor shrine, Bryan remarks that "Hatshepsut seems to have sought a special relationship with the goddess, presenting herself as a reborn Hathor".
  • te Velde, Herman. "Towards a Minimal Definition of the Goddess Mut". in Jaarbericht van het Voor-Aziatisch-Egyptisch Genootschap Ex Oriente Lux 26 (1979-1980), pp 3-9.
    Mut is more than the divine mother and spouse; she is often depicted with her consort Amun, but was also worshipped by herself - "near Antaeopolis as mistress of Megeb, in Memphis as Mut in the house of Ptah, in Gizeh as Mut-Khenty-Abu-Neteru, and at Heliopolis as Mut hr-snwt.s.)

    Te Velde remarks that Mut "does not play a striking part in Egyptian mythology". Mentions of Mut in the Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts, and Book of the Dead are rare; in fact, she "hardly appears" until the 18th Dynasty. The earliest known representation of Mut is on a magic wand dating from about 1730 BCE (ie MK, Dynasty 13).

    The Isheru or Asheru was a "crescent-shaped lake", first given that name in the time of Amenhotep I, "where lioness-goddess were appeased". There was an Isheru of Wadjet near Memphis, of Bastet in Bubastis, of Sekhmet in Memphis.

    Mut's name is found in more personal Egyptian names than any other goddess, including many men's names.
  • te Velde, Herman. "Mut, the Eye of Re." in S. Schoske (ed). Akten des vierten Internationalen Ägyptologen-Kongresses München 1985 3, (Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur Beihefte 3), pp 395-403. Hamburg, Helmut Buske Verlag.

    The first mention of Mut is on a 17th Dynasty stela. Her relationship with Amun was not "fundamental in origin": even at Thebes, she had her own temple, and her own relations with other gods.

    At Luxor, a temple decoration dating from Amenhotep III's reign portrays Mut with a lioness head; but she was first called "Eye of Re" in the reign of Ramesses II (and was increasingly given this title from then on). The cult of the Eye of Re "received its established form in Ramesside times". A text from the time of Thutmose III mentions the "festive navigations" of Wadjet, Bastet, and Shesemtet; but in Ramesside times, it's always the navigation of Mut.
  • Troy, Lana. "Mut Enthroned". in van Dijk, J. (ed.), Essays on Ancient Egypt in Honour of Herman te Velde, Groningen, 1997, pp.301-315.

    The block containing Crossword Hymn to Mut includes a relief of a "line-up of at least nineteen gods" making "a gesture of adoration". "Mut as bearer of the Double Crown, mistress of heaven, the eye and daughter of Re, becomes in this hymn a vision of the solar goddess, daughter, mother, regent, and creator." She is "his daughter of his two eyes, she having appeared as his mother, through whom he is protected". She is the fiery uraeus on his brow, his crown, and his throne, and is herself "female king", "the occupant of the throne", her "authority emanat[ing] from Re"; rather than being identified with Ma'at, her relationship with Ma'at is that of a ruler, nourished by and creating Ma'at. "The text is replete with references to this goddess as a manifestation of the sun" -"the one who makes the lands live with her rays, this Sound Eye of Re", "the Akhet who illuminates the entire land with her rays". She is creator of water, land, and vegetation, gods, and human beings. The whole thing creates "a mirror image, in feminine form, of the male solar creator".

    Mut and Amaunet as Amun's co-consorts "create a reference to the Two Ladies". (The shared attribute of the red crown connects both goddesses to Neith, an "alter ego" of Mut in the Crossword Hymn.

    The goddess' two forms as "the uterine eye and the phallic uraeus suggests an androgyny which gives this daughter the capacity for independent creation." If she is separated from her father, he becomes helpless, she becomes dangerous; their reunion, in which she is pacified and gives birth to their son, is the basis of festivals and literature. She is "a female version of the Kamutef".


    __
    Capel, Anne K. and Glenn E. Markoe (eds). Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt. New York, Hudson Hills Press in association with Cincinnati Art Museum, 1996.
    Bryan, Betsy M. "The Temple of Mut: New Evidence on Hatshepsut's Building Activity". in Roehrig, Catharine H., Cathleen A. Keller, and Renée Dreyfus (eds). Hatshepsut: from Queen to Pharaoh. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven, Yale University Press, 2005.
    te Velde, Herman. "Mut, the Eye of Re." in S. Schoske (ed). Akten des vierten Internationalen Ägyptologen-Kongresses München 1985 3, (Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur Beihefte 3), pp 395-403. Hamburg, Helmut Buske Verlag.
    te Velde, Herman. "Towards a Minimal Definition of the Goddess Mut". in Jaarbericht van het Voor-Aziatisch-Egyptisch Genootschap Ex Oriente Lux 26 (1979-1980), pp 3-9.
    Troy, Lana. "Mut Enthroned". in van Dijk, J. (ed.), Essays on Ancient Egypt in Honour of Herman te Velde, Groningen, 1997, pp.301-315.
     
  • ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Well waddaya know. That neglected goddess, Nephthys, did have a cult, at least in one place - Dakhleh, where she and Set were worshipped as the Mistress and the Lord of the Oasis.

    A small statue of a goddess found at Deir el-Haggar temple, wrecked by robbers intent on getting the gilding off, was tentatively identified as Nephthys - which would be interesting, since it's labelled "Eye of Re". I'd thought that only a certain constellation of goddesses were given that title - Sekhmet, Mut, Hathor, etc - but now I'm curious as to just how many goddesses the title is attested for (and at what times).

    The statue's the earliest attestation for Seth-worship at Dakhleh, probably dating from the 21st Dynasty. In the oases, Seth was most commonly represented by the falcon rather than the Seth-animal - like the falcon-headed Seth spearing Apophis at Hibis, there's another spearing a scorpion at Ismant el-Kharab. All this contrasts with the rest of Egypt, where Seth's cult was generally suppressed after the Twentieth Dynasty.

    ETA: in Seth: God of Confusion, te Velde notes that at Deir el-Haggar, "Vespasian offers flowers to Set and Nephthys" (p 116) and also that "there seems to have been a chapel of Nephthys" in Set's temple in Sepermeru (p 131).
    __
    Kaper, Olaf E. "The Statue of Penbast: on the Cult of Set in the Dakhleh Oasis". in van Dijk, Jacobus (ed). Essays on Ancient Egypt in Honour of Herman te Velde. Groningen, Styx, 1997.
    te Velde, H. Seth, God of Confusion: A Study of His Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion. Brill, Leiden, 1977.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
    So many photocopies and PDFs... I'm so much better at collecting them than I am at reading them, or posting about them. In this posting I want to gather together a whole lot of notes about the Egyptian goddess Bast or Bastet; when I've finished rummaging through all the research I've accumulated, I'll post again with a summary.

    This way to the cumulative note-taking... )And some links:

    Bastet, the cat - a report from excavations at Tel Basta, February 2009

    Aegis of Sekhmet or Bastet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    ETA: lots of stuff in the Bastet tag in my Tumblr!

    __
    Ambers, Janet et al. A new look at an old cat: a technical investigation of the Gayer-Anderson cat. British Museum Technical Research Bulletin 2 2008.
    Arnold, Dorothea. An Egyptian Bestiary. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series 52(4) spring, 1995), pp. 1+7-64.
    Cartwright, Harry W. The Iconography of Certain Egyptian Divinities as Illustrated by the Collections in Haskell Oriental Museum. The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 45(3) April 1929 pp. 179-196.
    Review by Henry George Fischer of Tell Basta by Labib Habachi. American Journal of Archaeology 62(3) July 1958, pp. 330-333.
    Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology: a guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
    Raffaele, Francesco. An unpublished Early Dynastic stone vessel fragment with incised inscription naming the goddess Bastet. Cahiers Caribéens d'Egyptologie , 7-8, 2005.
    Schorsch, Deborah and James H. Frantza. A Tale of Two Kitties. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, winter 1997/1998, pp 16-29.
    Scott, Nora E. The Cat of Bastet. Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin ns 17(1) summer 1958, pp 1-7.
    Spalinger, Anthony J. "Social and Religious Implications of the New Military System". in War in Ancient Egypt: the New Kingdom. Malden, MA; Oxford, Blackwell, 2005.
    Te Velde, H. "The Cat as sacred animal of the goddess Mut." In M. Heerma van Voss et al (eds). Studies in Egyptian Religion. Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1982.
    - Some Remarks on the Structure of Egyptian Divine Triads. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 57, August 1971, pp 80-86.

    Set

    Jul. 4th, 2006 10:51 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    This journal's about goddesses, but I've been curious about the Ancient Egyptian god Set (aka Seth, Setekh, Sutekh), the god of storms, the desert, and foreign countries. Set is the murderer of Osiris and enemy of Horus, yet also stands alongside Horus in the prow of the solar barque, the boat that carries the sun-god Ra, fighting the serpent Apophis who's trying to end the world. At times he was an outcast - even identified with Apophis - but at other times an important state god. He could even be united with Horus and worshipped as "he with the two faces". How can a god of evil also be an ally of good?

    Read more... )
    ___

    Morenz, Seigfried. Egyptian Religion. Methuen, London, 1973.
    Sauneron, Serge. The Priests of Ancient Egypt. Cornell UP, Ithaca, 2000.
    te Velde, H. Seth, God of Confusion: A Study of His Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion. Brill, Leiden, 1977.

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