ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
  • J. Gwyn Griffiths. [review of] Elkab I. Les monuments religieux a I'entrie de l'ouady Hellal by Phillipe Derchain. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 59 (Aug., 1973), pp. 257-259. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3856146

    "In this region the desert landscape confronts huge formations of rock, and Derchain believes that a ritual attested in reliefs and inscriptions is that of welcome to the goddess who returns from Nubia in the manner of Hathor-Tefnut. Thus the central scene in the Ramesside chapel (pl. 33), fragmentary though it is, shows an object (now missing) being offered to Re-Harakhty; it is being presented by Nekhbet, who is followed by Onuris and Thoth. Derchain... argues that the missing object is a wedjat-eye... he suggests also that the scene is unique in representing the return of the 'distant goddess' who is here embodied in Nekhbet." Griffiths agrees that the object is a wedjat-eye, but thinks it, and not Nekhbet, represents the stray Eye of Re.

    "Derchain's notes are always instructive, and among the points of mythological interest are the assimilation of Nephthys and Tefnut (p. 38), an association of Nephthys and Thoth (p. 41), the designation of Cleopatra III as 'strong bull, female Horus' (p. 49) [...] On p. 63 Derchain seems intrigued by a mention of Sothis in a context where Nesert, the uraeus, is identified with Bastet. There is a good deal of evidence for an association of Sothis and Bastet and the eye of Re".

    [See the first comment about that "association between Nephthys and Thoth".]

  • Cauville, Sylvie. Le panthéon d'Edfou à Dendera. BIFAO 88 (1988), p. 7-23

    This includes an illustration of a snake-headed Nephthys and a lion-headed Isis, winged and brandishing ostrich feathers. The inscription calls her "Isis who protects her son with her wings".

    Wish I could get a higher-quality picture than this:

    leontocephale isis

  • Kákosy, László and Ahmed M. Moussa. A Horus Stela with Meret Goddesses. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, Bd. 25 (1998), pp. 143-159. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25152758

    This is about a stela from Thebes, from the first half of the first millennium BCE, held in the Museum of Seized Antiquities in Cairo. Unusually, even though it's got Horus on the crocodiles, it's got a prayer to Amun, traditional enemy of crocs, with some great lines: "Amun is the triumph. The name of Amun is more powerful than millions. More forceful is Amun-Re(?) than every amulet and your own eye." But of course what attracted my attention was this part of the spell: "Your mouths are sealed by Re, your gullets are blocked by Sakhmet. A voice of lamentation (is heard) from the temple of Neith, a loud wailing from the mouth of the Cat. The gods (say): 'what is it, what is it' ... Re, did you not hear the loud sound in the night on that bank of Nedit and the long silence among all the gods and all the goddesses... There is a voice of lamentation in the temple of Neith, a wailing, a wailing (in) the mouth of the Cat because of those (things) which Mag has committed." Mag or Mega is a crocodile, the son of Seth, often the target of spells like this. But who is the Cat?

    ETA: Links!

    I'm reverse-engineering Mesopotamian hit songs

    Maya Blue Paint Recipe Deciphered

    Scholars Race to Recover a Lost Kingdom on the Nile (Kush; June 19, 2007)

    6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered (Trypillian culture)

    Ancient 'Egyptian blue' pigment points to new telecommunications, security ink technology

    Unmasking the gods (28 February 2002; "the remains of a ritual costume worn by an Egyptian priest some 2,500 years ago")

    Tattoos: The Ancient and Mysterious History

    Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel

    Mysterious 'Spellbook' From Ancient Egypt Decoded

  • Tutu

    Sep. 5th, 2013 08:30 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    I'm awfully keen on Tutu (here he is in my Tumblr). I shall now bore for the Commonwealth on the subject. Or, to put it another way, here is a catch-all posting for this unusual Egyptian deity. :)

    Tutu or Tithoes originated in Sais, came to prominence in the Late and Graceo-Roman periods, and was worshipped throughout the country. He started off as a vanquisher of Apophis, but became popular as the master of demons. He is most often depicted as a sphinx.

    Tutu has power over the demons that cause disease and misfortune - a group with various titles: the Seven Demons of Neith, the ḫ3tyw (butcher demons) of Sekhmet, and the šm3yw (wandering demons) of Bastet. The demons, who may also be dispatched by Mut or Nekhbet, are also called šsrw "arrows" (from the bow of Neith), hbyw "messengers", or wpwtyw "messangers". They often appear as armed, animal-headed men. (Khonsu, the son of Mut, Nefertem, the son of Sekhmet, and Mahes, the son of Bast or Sekhmet, could also control their mothers' squads of demons.) Tutu may be depicted with these demons, and given titles such as ḥry šsrw "master of demons".

    Tutu is frequently called '3 pḥty "great of strength", which is also the name of the first of Neith's demons. He's also called "who comes to the one calling him", which expresses his availability to the ordinary person who needs help. He's also called "lord of the Book" (of Life and Death), "who saves men from evil", and even "the divine demon".

    Tutu is typically portrayed in the form of a sphinx, though he does also pop up in human form, especially in temples; and occasionally as a lion-headed man. As a sphinx, Tutu may be accompanied by a griffin, representing the Roman goddess Nemesis; with the Wheel of Fortune; and/or with a winged sun indicating his divine status - though his demonic nature was expressed by addition of weapons, snakes, or scorpions to his paws. Another goddess, Petbe, was equated with Nemesis and may have contributed Tutu's snaky tail: "In the Demotic 'Tefnut Legend',' writes Kaper, 'Petbe is described as a griffin, 'whose tail is that of a serpent'."

    Tutu is often depicted facing out of images, like Bes - as Frankfurter points out, this gives him extra apotropaic power. He typically wears the tni crown (two ostrich feathers, sun disc, twisting rams' horns). His sphinx body may have a crocodile head emerging from the chest, an entire croc body slung under the sphinx, a lion's head joined to the back of the human head (and a crocodile or ibis head joined, in turn, to the lion), He may wear Roman soldiers' dress, including one example of a gorgoneion, and another of a lion's face in its place. A few sphinxes have wings - Kaper is reminded of the verb ḫsḫ, "be fast", which could be determined with a griffin or a sphinx.

    Tutu's consort, Tapshay, Tapashay, or Tapsais, was worshipped alongside him and Neith at Ismant el-Kharab (ala Kellis, the only place Tapshay was worshipped, and the only temple dedicated to Tutu). She wears the red crown, Hathor's feathered crown, or both, as in this bronze statuette. Olaf Kaper speculates "she may have been a private person who was divinised after her death". (At Shenhur, Tutu was the consort of Isis of Shenhur.)

    Frankfurter, David. "The local scope of religious belief". in Religion in Roman Egypt: assimilation and resistance. Princeton, N. J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
    Kaper, Olaf E. The Egyptian God Tutu: a Study of the Sphinx God and Master of Demons with a Corpus of Monuments (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 119). Dudley, Mass. : Peeters, 2003.
    Kaper, Olaf E. The God Tutu at Kellis: On Two Stelae Found at Ismant el-Kharab in 2000. in Gillian E. Bowen and Colin A. Hope (eds). The Oasis papers 3 : proceedings of the Third International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project. Oxford : Oxbow, c2003.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (lioness)
    A footnote in Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven gives a list of "almost forty [Egyptian] goddesses with leonine associations". Using the footnote's spelling, they are:

    Matit ("The Dismemberer")
    Mehit ("The Seizer")
    Pakhet ("The Mangler")
    the lioness of Athribis

    Blimey, I've never even heard of some of those! What a find! Hmm, I count 34, and I think some of those might be the same goddess with different names. OTOH, there's one missing - Henut-Mestjet or Mestjet (known from just one stela). ETA: And another - the goddess Ai!

    ("Leonine associations" is a bit vague. Many of these goddesses are routinely represented as a lioness-headed woman - but what's the connection for the others?)

    I'll add more stuff to this posting as I go along:
    • Djedet is "a protective goddess" in The Book of Traversing Eternity, although not in a liony way.

    • Geraldine Pinch notes that "Hathor, Lady of Mefkat... appears in lioness-headed form on a stela from Serabit el-Khadim."

    • Another addition: Seret is attested by an inscription on a 5th Dynasty statue. (Note to self: Le Role et le Sens p 386; Reallexikon der Religionsgeschichte p 199, Fisher 200.932 2 )

    • Here's Matit in the Lexikon. She was worshipped alongside the falcon deity Anty at Deir el Gebrawi in the Twelfth Nome of Upper Egypt. Here she is in Constant de Wit's Le Role Et Le Sens Du Lion Dans Legypte Ancienne. She had a male counterpart, the god Mati.

    • Wepset appears in the Coffin Texts (CT I, 376/7a-380/1a), in which fire is given "several different names, including Wepset and w3w3.t-flame." (Willems 1996.) She is the Eye of the Sun and the Distant Goddess ("Wawat" is Lower Nubia). "Shu is regularly identified with Onuris" and in this spell Shu is said to "extinguish the flame, to cool Wepset and extinguish the w3w3.t-flame which dispels the mourning of the gods." Willems also notes that a female w3w3.t-flame, personifying "the burning poison in a person's body" is cooled "in a magical text on the Socle Béhague (h25-26)". (p 317)

    • Seems like a reasonable place to throw in these snippets from The Life of Meresamun: "The multiple flexible strands of the menat are represented as a broad collar with falcon terminals around the neck of a female deity, most commonly Hathor but sometimes also Isis or the feline-form goddesses Tefnut, Sekhmet, Menhit, and Bastet." (p 37) "Among deities, Hathor, Mut, Sekhmet, and Tefnut are shown wearing them and, for unknown reasons, the menat was the characteristic emblem of the male god Khonsu." (p 39) Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven notes that lioness-headed goddesses "are known in relief as early as the Old Kingdom and in three dimensions from the New Kingdom." (p 138)

    • A statue of Prince Hetep-Seshat and his missus lists amongst his titles "prophet of Khentichemi [Khenti-kheti?], prophet of Banebdjedet, prophet of Horus and Seth... prophet of Bastet, prophet of Shesemtet." He was a busy lad.

    • Aperet-Isis formed a triad at Akhmim with Min and Kolanthes. (ETA: Aha! Henadology reports that Arepet-Isis is actually an epithet of Repyt.)

    • Isis was depicted with a lioness head on Sidonian amulets.

    Capel, Anne K. and Glenn E. Markoe. Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: women in ancient Egypt. New York, Hudson Hills Press in association with Cincinnati Art Museum, 1996.

    Pinch, Geraldine. Votive Offerings to Hathor. Oxford, Griffith Institute, 1993.

    Teeter, Emily and Janet H. Johnson (eds). The Life of Meresamun : a temple singer in ancient Egypt. Chicago, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2009.

    Willems, Harco. The Coffin of Heqata (Cairo JdE 36418) (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 70). Peeters Publishers and Department of Oriental Studies, Leuven, Belgium, 1996.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (lioness)
    Been going through the photocopies in my piling system. Egad, what a muddle. One which I rescued from the wrong box, from Terrie Waddell's book Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness, is a fascinating chapter on "the way in which cats have been associated with women when it comes to affecting a heightened sense of mystery, suspicion, duplicity, temptation, eroticism and evil." Combining "enigmatic sexuality with predatory behaviour", the "female/cat mix" appears again and again in pop culture; Waddell traces its origins back to the demonisation of female deities associated with cats.

    There may be something to this. You don't have to look far to find any number of goddesses and other mythological characters associated with cats large and small. Waddell mentions the Maenads, "thought to lure 'respectable' women out of their homes and onto the streets during Dionysian festivals". The goddess on the Burney Relief perches atop two lions. Ishtar and Qudshu stand atop lions; Atargatis and Allat are accompanied by lions. (Nor is the association limited to the West: the Hindu goddess Durga rides a tiger or a lion, as does Nana, and the dakini Simhavaktra has a lion's head.)

    Plus, of course, there are the Egyptian goddesses portrayed with lioness heads - the more I look, the more of these I find: Sekhmet, Bastet (whom Waddell says was a psychopomp?), Tefnut, Pakhet, Wadjet, Menhit, Wenenut, Werethekau, Ai, Henut-Mestjet, and more. (There are lion gods as well, but not so many, and none so prominent, except the lion-headed Bes.) The association is not limited to the divine: Waddell quotes from Carol Andrews' Amulets of Egypt, pointing out that "cat fetishes were a component of the insignia of female royalty" in the New Kingdom, and of course there's the often-seen image of domestic tranquility, the cat under the chair of the mistress of the house, as well as sayings like "When a man smells of myrrh, his wife is a cat before him - when a man is in trouble, his wife is a lioness before him." (From the Instructions of Ankhsheshonq - but is the 'lioness' nagging him, or defending him?)

    But here's where we enter unfamiliar (to me, anyway) territory. Waddell quotes Donald Engels' Classical Cats: "The cult of Isis and her sacred cat companion Bubastis was widespread and influential throughout the Roman Empire..." Waddell remarks, "The cult of Bastet... continued via its fusion with the goddess worship of Artemis, Diana and Isis well into the Middle Ages... If [these sects] threatened the Christian West, then it's not surprising that cats, the signifier of these matri-centred religions, were consider satanic."

    Hmmm. I'll have to have a look at Engels' argument in more detail, along with exploring Isis' worship outside Egypt, an area I've only recently started to poke around in.

    ETA: The useful essay on Bastet at per-Bast.org remarks: "Previous to the Graeco-Roman influence on Egypt, Bast was exclusively solar; being the Eye of Ra, She had to be. It is only after She is linked to Artemis that She becomes lunar." This may be the missing link I've been looking for - how, in modern Neo-Paganism, Bastet is sometimes characterised as the Left Eye and therefore the moon, in a neat parallel with Sekhmet, the solar Right Eye. I don't think the Egyptians themselves made that comparison, but it does seem like a logical development from the idea that Bastet is a benevolent form of Sekhmet. (The link Isis - Bastet - Artemis could also explain why Sharon Kelly Heyob puzzlingly describes Isis as a "moon goddess" in The Cult of Isis in the Graeco-Roman World.)

    Waddell, Terrie. "The Feline/Female Morph: Myth, Media, Sex and the Bestial". in Waddell, Terrie (ed). Cultural Expressions of Evil and Wickedness: Wrath, Sex, Crime. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, 2003, pp 74-96.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Endymion)
    Some more figures of interest (to me!) from Dr. Cruz-Uribe's catalogue of the gods of Hibis Temple:

    • Mut - lioness-headed, enthroned, holding the wedjat eye (p 2)
    • Mut foremost of the temple of Ptah - enthroned, mummiform, holding something (lost), wearing skullcap. (p 14)
    • "Female figure, with arms at sides, stands between two cats seated on stands." (p 13) Next to:
    • Mut, foremost of the "Horns of the gods". Falcon-headed, with small disc and uraeus, arms at sides. (p 13)
    • Mut, foremost of the temple of Ptah. Standing, wedjat eye on head. [Helck MDAIK 23 1968 p 123 line 11; Gardiner AEO II 125; Holmberg, Ptah, p 190] (p 13)

    • Sekhmet the great, beloved of Ptah - recumbent lion on pedestal (p 14) [Germond p 341]
    • Sekhmet, lady of (possibly siw or sinw?) - hedgehog (?) on pedestal. [Germond 92 no 26; Brunner-Traut Spitzmaus 161; Aufrere BIFAO 85 1985 23] (p 39-40)
    • Sekhmet in the mansion of the ka - enthroned, mummiform, lioness-headed, atef crown. (Shares a platform with Ptah.) (p 42)
    The ear is questionable. It may only be damage to wall. )
    Cruz-Uribe, Eugene. Hibis temple project, Vol 1: Translations, commentary, discussions and sign list. San Antonio, Texas, Van Siclen Books, 1988.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    The Lexikon gives, as one of the names of Bastet, B3stt-irt-Hr, "Bastet, the Eye of Horus", represented as a standing lioness-headed mummy wearing the white crown, and written like this:

    However, there's a note that both reading and interpretation are uncertain. So - this is my idea of fun - I've been banging and crashing about trying to find the original, which is on a naos for the god Sopdu dedicated by Nectanebo II. I got a crash course in inventory numbers trying to find "CG 70021". In the end, though, I simply stumbled across what I needed: the free online text of The shrine of Saft el Henneh and the land of Goshen by Edouard Naville.

    Read more... )

    ETA: and now, the punchline: a naos from Bubastis has Bastet call herself (unambiguously, this time!) "Eye of Horus".
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    I'm very curious about the identification of the Eye of Re with the Eye of Horus, and what this has to do with the identification of goddesses like Bastet and Wadjet. First stop: the Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen, a huge dictionary listing every deity name and giving their attestations. In German. It's very educational, especially when there are words like "Kopfschmuck" to be learned.

    Anywho, the Lexikon lists numerous instances of Bastet being conflated with another goddess:

    ETA: Bastet-Sothis

    And, amongst various titles:

    Bastet, Eye of Horus

    Not to mention... )

    That gives me plenty to go on. But something I'm not clear on is how Egyptologists know to use a hyphen - that is, when the name is a conflation of the goddesses and when it isn't. Why is Mwt-Tm "the mother of Atum" and not "Mut-Atum"? Mostly the conflations are just long strings of names, but in some cases, such as Bastet-Sekhmet and Menhit-Neith, they're unmistakenly a single word, with all the determinatives coming together at the end instead of ending each individual name. And does the order of the names carry any meaning?

    Leitz, Christian. Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen. Dudley, MA, Peeters, 2002-2003.


    May. 29th, 2010 07:40 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    In March last year I began a long-term project of taking notes from all the photocopies and downloads I'd gathered on the goddess Bast or Bastet. I think I've finally finished. :)

    Here, as threatened, is my brief (and very much not comprehensive!) summary:

    Bastet's name becomes common in the Second and Third Dynasties, but isn't attested before then. She was the protectress of royalty in the late Old Kingdom.

    The Libyan pharoahs of the 22nd Dynasty adopted Bastet as their tutelary deity and rebuilt her temple at Bubastis. It's not until then that the familiar cat goddess appears. Until then, Bastet is a lioness, with similar iconography to Sekhmet (and it can be difficult to tell them and other lioness goddesses apart). Bastet was called "Eye of Re" and "Eye of Atum", the daughter of Atum-Re, or his consort (and, by him, the mother of Mahes or of Horhekenu.) Like Sekhmet, she sent disease in the form of "the slaughterers of Bastet". However, in Dynasties 12 and 18, Bastet could be paired with Sekhmet as the gentler of the two, for example, in descriptions of the pharaoh's beneficence vs his righteous anger; but his ferocity in battle could also be compared with Bastet's.

    Cats became house pets during the Middle Kingdom; perhaps this is what changed the cat's image from wild to docile. Votive statues of Bastet are always in cat or cat-headed form, not lioness. The cat version of the goddess is often accompanied by her aegis, a sistrum, and a basket possibly containing kittens. During the 22nd Dynasty, cat necropolises appear, in which mummified cats are left in large numbers as votive offerings, including cats killed for the purpose.
    Good grief, when you write it down like that, it doesn't look like anything! And yet, a little over a year ago, I didn't know any of it.

    More stuff:
    • Another skerrick: In CT 1186, Heqata addresses a rerek-snake called "traveller of Shu" and "envoy of Bastet". (p 139)

    • You don't want to miss the Henadology entry for Bast!

    • The 30th Dynasty pharaoh Nekhthorheb II did a lot of building work at Bastet's temple in Bubastis, including adding two granite shrines, one of which has been reconstructed, and housed "a processional image of Bastet". The shrine has a tw3-p.t scene showing pharaoh holding up the sky. Daniel Rosenow remarks: "Each primary deity of a temple is interpreted as the creator god, he or she has to support heaven, as every king has to hold up the heaven of the temple." The goddess, seated, holding a lotus sceptre, lion-headed but with no headdress, identifies herself as "Bastet, lady of the shrine and eye of Horus".

    • Also found at Tell Basta: a depiction of the "cult statues" of Shesemtet and Wadjet, probably intended to be carried in barques. Both goddesses are depicted standing with empty hands and lioness heads with no headdress.

    • Bastet's son Mahes (aka Mihos, Miysis, etc) had a little temple of his own next to his mum's big temple at Bubastis - a rectangular structure to the north of the main temple, with "red-granite palm and papyrus bundle columns". There's nothing left now but the foundations. Like the later Ptolemaic mammisis, the temple linked the child-god's birth to that of the king, in this case Osorkon II.

    • Some snippets found in Traversing Eternity. From the Ceremony of Glorifying Osiris in the God's Domain, Graeco-Roman ritual/funerary text: "Hathor will guard you in Hetepet, and Bastet will protect you in Bubastis. She will instil fear of you before all. She will magnify your strength against your foes." (Maybe it's just the translation, but this suggests the "she" is both Hathor and Bastet.) Similarly, in Papyrus Harkness: "Neith the triumphant, Bastet, and Sekhmet will overthrow your enemy."

      Crown, Vanessa. Antecedents to the Ptolemaic Mammisis. Egyptology in Australian and New Zealand 2009: proceedings of the conference held in Melbourne, September 4th-6th. BAR International Series 2355. Archaeopress, Oxford, 2012. pp 9-14.
      Rosenow, Daniela. The Naos of 'Bastet, Lady of the Shrine' from Bubastis. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 94, 2008, pp 248-264.
      Mark Smith. Traversing Eternity: texts for the afterlife from Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
      Willems, Harco. The Coffin of Heqata (Cairo JdE 36418) (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 70). Peeters Publishers and Department of Oriental Studies, Leuven, Belgium, 1996.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    El-Kordy, Z. La Déesse Bastet. (Cairo, 1968)

    I've been puzzled by this reference for ages! In case anyone else has also been chasing after it, it turns out to be an unpublished thesis from Cairo University. The author is Dr. Zeinab El Kordy.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Mistress of Tepnef)
    A Ptolemaic temple of Bastet has been found near Alexandria. National Geographic has some nice photos from the excavation.

    Here's an absolutely spectacular Sekhmet t-shirt design. I don't quite understand how the site's design competition works, but by jove I'd buy that for a dollar. (You can see me blithering, awestruck, in the comments. :)
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    "Words to be said by (to? before?) Bastet, mistress of Bubastis, the fear of whom is great in Iunet [Dendara], The Eye of Atum in Tarer [Dendara], the great Eye of Re who shines on the horizon, who brings light to men of light, whose face is beautiful, the uraeus of Horakhty.

    While the Mistress of the Two Lands, the Powerful One in the Divine, whose numen is recognised in the Temple of the Sistrum, shines in the sky, illuminates the shadow, brings light to all the shadow with her rays, she is the mistress of light amongst the goddesses, the people look on when she shines."

    Inscription from the temple of Hathor at Dendara (2nd register, tableau II, in which the pharoah offers the wadjet-eye) - my dubious translation from Cauville's French!


    Cauville, Sylvie. Dendara: Traduction. Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta 81. Leuven, Peeters, 1998.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Words to be said:

    Oh Re, come to your daughter for a scorpion has stung her on a lonely road! Her cries have reached heaven. Come to your daughter! The poison has entered her body and it has spread in her flesh. She has put her mouth to the ground. See, the poison has entered her body! Do come with your power, with your rage, with your wrath! See, it is concealed from you, now that it has entered the whole body of this cat under my fingers!

    Do not be afraid, my glorious daughter. Here I am behind you. I am the one who is going to slay the poison that is in all the limbs of this cat.

    You cat here - your head is the head of Re, the lord of the Two Lands who punishes the subjects and all the rebels. The fear for him is in all the lands of all the living for ever.

    You cat here - your eyes are the eye of the lord of the Glorious Eye who spends light on the Two Lands with his eyes, who spends light on a face on a road in darkness.

    (Each part of the cat in turn is identified with a deity - nose with Thoth, ears with the Lord-of-all, mouth with Atum, neck with Nehebkau, thighs with Montu, shanks with Khonsu-in-Thebes-Neferhotpe, arms (paws) with Horus. Here are some examples:)

    You cat here - your breast is the breast of Thoth, the lord of righteousness.
    He has given you air to let your throat inhale. He has given air to the intestines of this cat.

    You cat here - your heart is the heart of Khentekhtai, the lord of Athribis, the chief of the gods who keeps hearts and breasts firmly in their places. He has kept your heart in its place, your breast in its frame.

    You cat here - your hands (claws) are the hands of the Great Ennead and of the Little Ennead. Your hands (claws) are saved from the poison of any biting snake.

    You cat here - your belly is the belly of Osiris, the lord of Busiris. He has not permitted the poison to exercise any of its power in the belly of this cat.

    You cat here - your feet are the feet of Amun, the great one, the lord of Thebes. He has kept your feet on the ground, he has slain the evil poison that is in all the limbs of this cat.

    You cat here - your footsoles are the footsoles of Isis and Nephthys, who passed through all the lands. They make the poison pass on to the earth for this cat.

    You cat here - your buttocks are the buttocks of Mehet-Weret.

    You cat here - there are no limbs in you devoid of a god. Each one of them is the protection of your body, from your head to your footsoles. They have slain and punished the poison of any male snake, any female snake, any scorpion and any reptile that is in any limbs of this cat under my fingers... See, Isis has spun and Nepthys has woven against the poison... Oh evil poison which is in all the limbs of this cat, which suffers - come, go down to the earth!


    Borghouts, J.F. Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts. Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1978. (Spell 87, pages 56-58.)
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Oh my gawd, there's a healing spell on the Metternich stela in which a cat stung by a scorpion identifies herself with Bastet and appeals to Ra. That is the best thing I ever heard. (ETA: Actually, it's the exorcist who calls the cat "Daughter of Re".)
    ikhet_sekhmet: (lioness)
    My interest has been captivated by this particular manifestation of the goddess! Quoth Miroslav Verner:
    "The renewed mortuary cults at the Abusir pyramids survived, however, for only a short period and then died out forever. Abusir fell into complete oblivion for almost half a millennium. People returned there only at the beginning of the New Kingdom when the cult of the goddess Sakhmet developed in the ruins of [the Fifth Dynasty king] Sahure's mortuary temple [possibly because of] the relief of the lion goddess which once adorned the wall of the corridor around the temple's open court, and the precise significance of which was not grasped by simple people. The cult of the so-called 'Sahure Sakhmet' rapidly acquired an importance which transcended the level of popular culture. It endured until the end of the New Kingdom."
    "Sakhmet-of-Sahure is mentioned in graffiti, and in a cartouche of Thutmose IV, which (says John Baines) means the cult probably started somewhere between his reign and the reign of Thutmose III. Betsy Bryan states that Thutmose IV "usurped" the relief and "reused" it for Sekhmet's cult, adding his cartouches to an existing relief of Sahure offering to Bastet, probably "to stress his link with the northern gods in whose territory he may have been a relative unknown". (But now I'm not sure if this was a different relief to the one Verner suggests inspired the cult, or the same one!)

    ETA: Here, hang on a minute! Three years ago I blogged: "The earliest known scene of a wine offering is from the king Sahure's Pyramid temple. He's shown offering wine to Sekhmet, with an inscription that reads in part, 'Wine and libation for the ka of the Mistress of the Two Lands, Sekhmet of Sahure'." Far out, how many reliefs are we talking about - one, two, three? ETA ETA: At least two, according to Amr Aly Aly Gaber, who reports that two festivals of the goddess were celebrated in Deir el Medina, and suggests that Sekhmet-of-Sahure might have been a deified version of Sahure himself.

    ETA from Paul Ghalioungli: "Her [Sekhmet's] figure, engraved on the walls of Sahoure's Temple at Abousir (Vth dynasty) acquired fame for the miracles it wrought, and special chapels attended by her own special clergy were consecrated to her in the temples of Egypt, where she became the object of universal worship."

    ETA from Květa Smoláriková: "The peak of this cult, which dates mainly to the end of the 18th Dynasty, survived with a limited intensity through the two subsequent dynasties, as the construction and restoration inscriptions indicate. Numerous stelae and graffiti prove that Sekhmet of Sahure was held in high esteem by all classes of population, including foreigners. With no continuous support from the rulers, the cult of Sekhmet declined to the level of a purely local sanctuary, which it held during the whole Late Period, and perhaps even to the end of the Ptolemaic Period."

    ETA from Françoise Dunand and Christiane Zivie-Coche: "Moreover, Egyptians generally had a certain prediection for places that were already 'old' in their eyes, charged with historical prestige or with a mythological aura..." They cite the cult of Sekhmet in Sahure's chapel as an example. "The old building was transformed into a veritable chapel that grew in size over the centuries and was administered by a clergy."

    ETA from Alexander J. Peden: "The Vth Dynasty mortuary temple of King Sahure at Abû Sîr is the site of one of the latest visitors' graffiti known from Pharaonic Egypt. This late hieratic graffito, penned in black ink, is dated to Year 5 of Amasis and records the presence of one Khaemwase son of Pami, a prophet of Sekhmet-of-Sahure. This cult, established during the mid XVIIIth Dynasty, seems to have been based in the south part of the Sahure temple. Our partially preserved late hieratic text is the final dated evidence for this devotion and for visitors of any kinds to the temple until the Graeco-Roman era."

    Intriguingly, there is apparently part of an Eighteenth Dynasty stela showing Sekhmet-of-Sahure at the National Museum in Warsaw (Inv. 199303).

    Baines, John. The destruction of the pyramid temple of Sahure. Göttinger Miszellen 4, 1973, pp 9-14.
    Bryan, Betsy M. The Reign of Thutmose IV. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
    Dunand, Françoise and Christiane Zivie-Coche. Gods and men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395 CE. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.
    Gaber, Amr Aly Aly. "Aspects of the Deification of some Old Kingdom Kings". in Eyma, A.K. and C.J. Bennett (eds). A Delta-Man in Yebu: occasional volume of the Egyptologist's Electronic Forum 1, 2003.
    Ghalioungui, Paul. The House of Life: Per ankh. Magic and medical science in ancient Egypt. Amsterdam, B.M. Israel, 1973.
    Peden, Alexander J. The graffiti of pharaonic Egypt: scope and roles of informal writings (c. 3100-332 B.C.) (Probleme der Ägyptologie 17). Boston, Brill, 2001.
    Smoláriková, Květa. Abusir VII: Greek imports in Egypt: Graeco-Egyptian relations during the first millennium B.C.. Prague, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University, 2002.
    Verner, Miroslav. Forgotten pharaohs, lost pyramids: Abusir. Prague, Academia Skodaexport, 1994.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    On to Hathor and the other sun-eyes, Sekhmet and Tefnet.

    Hathor, writes Bleeker, has an "inflammable temperament", which can be calmed by the sound of the sistrum (p 59-60) - possibly imitating the sound of the wind in the reeds in the wild cow's marshy home - and by dancing and general festivity - music, acrobats, drinking, etc. At Edfu one text describes the gods playing the sistrum and the goddesses dancing "to dispel her bad temper". (p 57) At Deir el-Bahri there's "a representation of a festive procession held on New Year's day in which Libians (sic) demonstrate their famous art of dancing... to commemorate the arrival from Nubia of Tefnet". (p 56)

    Like Tefnut, Hathor is a sun-eye and an angry goddess who needs pacifying. "... Hathor was thought to be identical with Wpš, 'the beautiful shape of Tefnet', or in other words the appearance of he goddess whose rage has cooled down and who is benevolent." (p 68) A calendar makes the link between the two goddesses explicit, with Hathor's festival on 19-21 Tybi said to celebrate her return from Bwgm, the foreign land from which Thoth brought Tefnut home. (p 91)

    Hathor is "the mistress of fear" (p 83) of whom it was said, "Hathor is as wrathful as Sechmet and as joyful as Bast." (p 70)

    Right, that'll do for now. More in a bit...

    Bleeker, C.J. Hathor and Thoth: Two Key Figures of the Ancient Egyptian Religion. Leiden, Brill, 1973.
    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.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    "All the great gods and goddesses, as well as some of their less well-known divine colleagues, appear as amulets. Thus among lion-headed figures are found not only Sekhmet, Bastet and Wadjyt but Pakhet and Mehyt and the fierce god Mahes." (p 12)

    "The problem is that the Egyptians believed most of their gods were able to manifest themselves in animal form, but there were not enough types of animal to suffice. Thus any one species might represent a number of different gods... Sekhmet, Tefnut, Mehyt, Pakhet and Bastet, even Wadjyt, might all appear as an amulet of a lion-headed woman." (p 14)

    Cat-shaped amulets, representing Bastet, were most popular in the Third Intermediate Period. (p 12)

    Andrews, Carol. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. British Museum Press, London, 1994.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
    Last bits from Complete Gods and Goddesses:

    Bastet )

    Sekhmet )


    Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, London, 2003.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Because I want to take it back to the library!

    Mut )

    Neith )

    (I'm trying not to duplicate info already present in earlier postings, which you can of course find by clicking on the appropriate tags.)

    Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, London, 2003.


    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Plaything of Sekhmet

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