ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
This chapter by Donald B. Redford discusses the "ever-present struggle between land and sea, fair weather and storm", which "dominat[ed] the mythology of the maritime cities of the eastern Mediterranean", in the form of stories of hero vs monster - tales describing creation and providing "an archetypal rationalization of kingship". The version of the story from northern Syria, with Baal defeating Prince Sea on the coast near Mount Saphon (modern Jebel al-ʾAqraʿ / Kel Dağı), was the most influential: Greek myth placed the battle between Zeus and Typhon in the same area, Athena and Poseidon's rivalry is based on Anat and Yam's, and Marduk's defeat of Tiamat in the Enûma Elish is also drawn from the story.

Variations of the story occur further south, in cities where the worship of the goddess, called Astarte, "seems to outshine" her male consort. ("This may hark back to the Bronze Age when the cult of Asherah, the mother of the gods, as more prominent in the Levant. In the hinterland of the south, indeed, she continued to dominate as the consort of Baʿal and Yahweh.") In Byblos, "the goddess reigned supreme". She was known as "the Mistress of Byblos" - probably Astarte. Byblos also had the tale of the battle with the sea, but he "is worsted, killed and has to be revived by a loyal partner". (The story of Adonis and the Egyptian tale of the Doomed Prince, among others, show traces of this myth.) There were further variations at Sidon and Tyre.

A second storyline involves the "sexually-avaricious Sea who turns his attention to the beautiful goddess, the Baʿal's consort". Derivations include Typhon's pursuit of Aphrodite, the abduction of the Phoenician princess Europa, and Perseus' rescue of the Ethiopian princess Andromeda. Redford drily remarks: "There can be no doubt that the prospect of the innocent, voluptuous beauty ravished by the monster had an irresistable appeal to the collective subconscious of many a community in the Aegean". There are related stories of the goddess Atagatis / Derceto turning into a fish (along with her son) after being thrown or leaping into the water.

At Gaza, Anat, Astarte, Dagon, Reshef, Arsay, and Marnas were worshipped (later as their Greek incarnations, Athena, Aphrodite, Zeus, Apollo, possibly Persephone). "A Ramesside ostracon speaks of a festival of Anat of Gaza for which a 'cover' (? for a shrine?) seems to be one of the requirements". Redford links Plutarch's story of Isis and Osiris with Gaza. As Isis returns from Byblos, bad weather on the River Phaedrus provokes her to dry it up. Next, as Isis inspects Osiris' body at a "deserted spot", a prince of Byblos, Palaestinus, sneakily observes her and is struck dead by Isis' angry look. Plutarch writes: "Some say that... he fell into the sea and is honoured because of the goddess... and that the city founded by the goddess was named after him." Gaza is described with the same Greek word for "deserted spot" in Acts 8:26, and "Palaestinus" is derived from "p3-knʿn", "the town of Canaan".

(Bit more to come from this article; but now it is time for pizza!)

(OK pizza and "Game of Thrones" now complete)

Redford compares the stories from the southern Levant, which feature the water monster, the goddess, and her child, with Egyptian versions, including Astarte and the Sea (the Astarte Papyrus), the Story of the Two Brothers, and Set's hunt for Isis and Horus. "In Egypt, however, the motif has been largely separated from a maritime venue, and is now informed by the denizens and landscape of the Nile valley. The monster now takes shape as a crocodile, or serpent; the hero as ichneumon, falcon or scorpion. Horus defeats the serpent, the creator god subdues the water-monster (crocodile)." So for example, "the great battle... when Re had transformed himself into an ichneumon 46 cubits (long) to fell Apophis in his rage." (That's over 21 m fyi.)

Redford concludes by reminding us that it's impossible to draw a simple "family tree" of these stories, due to "the very general nature of the basic plot, and the mutual awareness and ease of contact enjoyed by eastern Mediterranean communities."
Redford, Donald B.. "The Sea and the Goddess". in Sarah Israelit-Groll (ed). Studies in Egyptology: presented to Miriam Lichtheim. Magness Press, Hebrew University, 1990.
ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
Over in Tumblr, my strange little hobby is trying to identify gods and demons in photos from Egypt. When the name is visible in hieroglyphs, of course, it's a pushover. At other times, I can only make an educated guess from other clues, because the iconography of many deities overlaps: Isis and Hathor; Amun and Khnum; Re and Ra-Horakhty; and the many lioness goddesses can look identical. I'm far less well up on the gods of the Levant, Phoenicia and Syria and Canaan and all that, but the problem of telling them apart seems to be even more pronounced, even for the experts. As Richard D. Barnett writes, "we have lost the keys for interpreting many of the bewildering variety of divine types".

So Barnett only "ventured to identify" one particular form of Phoenician goddess of the Iron Age with Anat (aka 'Anath): "a young girl, dressed in a long Egyptian woman's garment who wears either the great Egyptian triple version of the 'atef crown, called hm hm ('terrible'), or the 'atef crown on horns between two uraeus snakes". She also "wears an Isis-girdle, holds a shield and harpe and sometimes has a long dagger (or daggers) stuck in her girdle at her waist." Barnett describes this goddess as "partially transvestite": not only is she armed, but the hm hm crown is more usually seen on male gods, such as Osiris, Harpocrates, and Ba'al. This is a good match for the Anat of the Ba'al cycle, ready to avenge her brother's death, and representations of Anat from New Kingdom Egypt show her brandishing shield and weapons, as Barnett points out. (I'd add that it matches Papyrus Chester Beatty VII, in which Anat is described as "a woman acting as a warrior, clad as men and girt as women".) However, 'Ashtart (aka Astarte) was similarly depicted in Egypt: "it is clear that she and 'Anath often coalesced".

Barnett's goal is to trace the history of representations of Anat. The Iron Age in Phoenicia, 1200-500 BCE, roughly corresponds with the middle of the New Kingdom in Egypt through to the middle of the Late Period. Barnett writes that "the identification of Isis-Hathor with the Lady of Byblos goes back to the Middle Kingdom" and "the concept of 'Anath and 'Ashtart as war-goddesses is an invention of the Egyptian New Kingdom, and was not known in Phoenicia till the Iron Age." (There may be indications of it as early as the Hyksos period, however.) I guess this is a pretty good indication of the cultural exchange going on between Egypt and the Levant - iconography and gods being traded along with everything else. (Ugarit, however, predates the Iron Age, and 'Anat is pretty bloody warlike in the literature found there!)

It's also possible that 'Anath is represented in a different way - wearing Isis/Hathor's sun-and-horns headdress, flanking a god who could be Ba'al or Reshep, with a goat standing on its hindlegs on his other side. She embraces him (the god, not the goat). Apparently Anat and Hathor were identified with one another in second millennium BCE Syria. Barnett thinks it's more likely this goddess is 'Astarte. But he cautions that "Their roles and representations are in fact still at present very hard to distinguish. The distinction between the representation of the two sister goddesses is something of a mystery, which we are not yet in a position to unravel." Has it been unravelled a bit since 1978? Further investigation is indicated.

Barnett, Richard D. The Earliest Representation of 'Anath. Eretz-Israel 14 1978, pp 28-31.
ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
There are Amduat images over at my Tumblr, dwellerinthelibrary, which focusses on mythology, especially the irresistable visuals of Ancient Egypt. (I can see have a bit of tidying up work to do over there, though!)

The cosmic drama comes to its climax in the seventh hour, as Apophis tries to stop the sun-boat, preventing the sun-god's rebirth and "repeat[ing] the murder of Osiris". (And this battle takes place every night! The Egyptians lived with a constant threat the universe will come to its end. It's like growing up in the eighties.) Apophis dries up the water, and the barque can no longer be towed; it sails on by magical power, provided by Isis, Set (called "the eldest magician"), and the sun-god, who is protected by the Mehen-serpent, while the goddess Selkis puts Apophis in shackles and her assistants chop him to bits.

The sun barque still has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before dawn. The middle register of the eighth hour is another long scene of the barque being towed, including "the four rams of Tatenen, the god of the depths of the earth". Again the ram symbolizes the four ba-souls of Re, here identifying him with Tatenen. (Exactly which four gods those four ba-souls represent changes with the source, in typical Egyptian fashion.)

The upper and lower registers are each divided (by doors again called "knives") into five caverns. The hieroglyph for "cloth" appears repeatedly (often with someone sitting on it), with fresh clothing being provided for the afterlife and as part of the general business of rebirth. Osiris (also protected by the Mehen-serpent) sits in judgment on his foes, who are decapitated (by a cat-eared demon). The sun-god sends the stars "on their way, since their stable orbits are a sign of the continuous order of the cosmos".

This bit blows my mind. "The texts in the vaults describe how the Ba-souls of these beings respond to the generous promises of the Sungod. Human ears hear their jubilation as cries of animals and sounds of nature, like the humming of bees, banging on metal, the screeching of tomcats, the crying of birds, the roaring of bulls, etc. The Sungod, however, is able to recognize what their distorted voices are shouting."

The work of renewal continues in the ninth hour, with bread and beer provided to the dead by three "idols" sitting on what look like neb-baskets. The darkness is illuminated by twelve fire-breathing ureai. In the tenth hour ("With Deep Water and High Banks" – the barque is afloat again, at least part of the time), the solar eyes are restored; eight forms of Sekhmet stand before a seated Thoth, who holds the whole eye. Horus rescues the bodies of drowned people from decomposition (as Isis rescued the parts of Osiris' body from the Nile).

The leftmost figure of the eleventh hour is the "Time Lord" (well, the "Master of Time", with three faces: the sun disc in the middle, and two crowned heads looking left and right (ie backwards and forwards), representing the two Egyptian concepts of time, nḥḥ and dt. Next, Atum repeats the gesture made by Sokar back in the fifth hour, holding (lifting?) the wings of a serpent, with the paired eyes appearing on either side of him. The renewed sun-disc now appears in the prow of the barque; it's preceded by fire-breathing goddesses riding "double serpents", and by twelve gods carrying the Mehen-serpent. Isis and Nephthys, in the form of ureai, carry the red and white crowns.

Meanwhile, the condemned are punished once more, "at depths not visited by the Sungod… 'completely deep, completely dark, completely infinite'", in pits into which armed goddesses and the serpent "Who Burns Millions" spit fire. ("You have not come into being," declares Horus of the Netherworld, "you are upside down!" Take that!)

Finally we've reached the twelfth hour, where gods (including the sun-god) and the blessed dead walk through the body of the Mehen-serpent from tail to mouth, emerging rejuvenated. The sun-god has been reborn as Khepri, and Shu lifts him to the horizon. Osiris remains behind in the Duat - shown as a corpse lying against its curved wall. (Both authors remark that the helpful Mehen-serpent points in the direction as the barque, while Apophis points in the opposite direction. "Nevertheless, later Egyptian texts speculate about Apophis having not only an evil, but also a positive, regenerating aspect." – which makes me think of Set's dual role as Osiris' enemy, but Re's ally against Apophis.)

Hornung has briefly summarized the Amduat, pointing out a few key or interesting highlights, and I've summarized his summary! I'm struck, though, by how much internal logic there is, how much sense it all actually makes (even without the help of Abt's Jungian interpretation, which I've only glanced at). What's also striking is that the Egyptians expended so much thought on the details of what happened in the netherworld – the commands of the creator god were apparently enough to explain goings-on in the realm of the living. Or can we squint and see the complexities of the underworld renewal as a dark reflection of the constant processes of renewal in the natural world?

Thanks again for the loan, [livejournal.com profile] kylaw!

Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung. Knowledge for the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat – A Quest for Immortality. Living Human Heritage Publications, Zurich, 2003.
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

  • ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    The most important part of this enormous book are the photos - especially those of the eponymous treasures being brought up by divers from Herakleion, Canopus, and Alexandria - but here are some notes from the text:
    • The gods' attributes suggest the early settlement of the Nile and the ancientness of their worship: "like the Bedouin, the Egyptian gods hold a staff, goddesses hold a reed; their crowns are made of rushes, often they wear nothing other than a few ostrich plumes or the horns of the animals that are holy to them."

    • Oddly, the Hathor crown worn by Isis is described as including a lunar disc, rather than a solar one. (p 105)

    • Herakleion, the sunken city, is named for Herakles, whose mythology included exploits in Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia; one story had him killing the Egyptian tyrant Busiris, who sacrificed all strangers to Zeus. The truth of the tale was disputed amongst the ancients, but the human sacrifice of foreigners might have had a basis in fact: "Until the abolition of this practice in the sixth century BC, it happened that troublemakers were condemned to be burned alive at one of the numerous sanctuaries where a reproduction of the mummified corpse of Osiris at the point of resurrection was watched over and tended while being burned alive [sic - during the execution, presumably]. The fact of redness was for men, as for animals, a mark of their genetic kinship with Seth and Apopi. As a consequence, Greek pirates - blond or red-haired - who presented this mark underwent this death sentence, which was theologically based and ritualised." The king Busiris could be per-Osiris - one of the temples where this ritual was carried out.

    • From the fifth century BCE, Amun was identified with Zeus, Mut with Hera, and Khonsu with Herakles. The authors describe this as "disconcerting", since the deities have, "at first sight", nothing in common. The child Khonsu, mummified, shown as large as an adult but wearing a sidelock, is "Chons in Thebes Neferhotep"; as a falcon-headed man with the lunar disc for a hat he is "Horus (!), master of joy". "The god identified with Herakles [must have been] 'Chons the child', one of those specifically childlike aspects in which all Egyptian gods were doubled by a Harpokrates, a 'child Horus'", with Khonsu's version being recognisable by the hem-hem and nemes headdresses. The authors explain the identification of Herakles and Khonsu as stemming from their similar origins - the god Amun took the form of the pharaoh to impregnate the royal wife with the next, divine pharaoh, and Zeus took the form of Amphitryon to impregnate Alcmena with the demigod Herakles.

    • I found a couple of examples of Khonsu being given the epithet "Horus, master of joy", such as at Qasr el Aguz.

    • Two statues from Alexandria, a snake and an ibis, probably represent "gods that were particularly venerated by the Alexandrians": Agathodaimon and Thoth, "alias Hermes Trismegistos". The "good genie" Agathodaimon was worshipped from the city's founding by Alexander. "When a shrine was erected small snakes would appear and would then scatter through the city, where the Alexandrians would protect and honour them. The origin of this seems to be linked to the Egyptian serpent Schai, a very popular protector god [whose] partner goddess Renenutet, having been assimilated into Isis Thermoutis - Isis in the form of a uraeus - often appeared alongside Agathodaimon on reliefs." Which may also have contributed to an assimilation of Agathodaimon and Sarapis. (p 204)

    • In their statues etc the Ptolemies had themselves presented according to Egyptian artistic conventions, though occasional Greek details crop up to lend authenticity to the portrait. The first queen "to be represented in the round in a pharaonic style" was Arsinoe II. "His Majesty ordered her [Arsinoe II's] statue to be erected in all the temples - which was acceptable to their priests - because these intentions were known to the gods and her kind deeds to all men." - Mendes Stela (The "queen-wives" continued to be represented like throughout the dynasty, all with "impersonal but splendid" anatomy, much as women in Egyptian art had always been portrayed with "perfect shapes clad in a tight dress". (p 160) Conversely, Isis was represented in the form of a Ptolemaic queen (p 170). Arsinoe II "was especially considered as a notable earthly manifestation of Aphrodite" (and given the epithet "Zephyritis"), "took an active interest in the navy and maritime routes" and according to her cult was "adored" by admirals, sailors, and "indigenous oarsmen" (p 172).

    • In the Arsinoeion in Alexandria, "an engineer had planned to put in place an iron statue which was supposed to have floated in the air by virtue of a magnet"!

    • In one area, divers found the remains of nine "decapitated and mutilated sphinxes" - "the result of vigorous dry blows applied with blunt instruments. This was the normal treatment meted out by Christians to deprive the demons that the pagan gods embodied" of their senses and their ability to move. (I wonder: did this idea, that there were spirits in the statues, originate with the Christians or come from the Egyptian concept of gods inhabiting their representations?) (p 170)

    • From Isis' temple at Narmouthis (p 210):

      All mortals who live on the infinite earth,
      Thracians, Greeks and barbarians too,
      Utter your beautiful name, honoured by all,
      Each in his own tongue, each in his own country.
      The Syrians name you Astarte, Artemis, Nanaia,
      And the people of Lykia Leto, sovereign.
      The men of Thrace name you Mother of the Gods,
      The Greeks Hera, enthroned on high, or even Aphrodite,
      Hestia the benevolent, Rhea, or Demeter.
      But the Egyptians call you Thioui, because you, and you alone,
      Are all the goddesses that people know by other names.

      (Various sources give "The Unique" for Thioui.)
    ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
    Another medical spell (Papyrus Ebers paragraph 2) pleads: "Oh Isis-Werethekau, may you release me, may you liberate me from anything bad (bjn), evil (dw) or harmful (dšr); from the influence of a god, the influence of a goddess; from the dead man or dead woman; from an opponent or an opponent woman", and so forth. My question is - is this a syncretised or equated Isis and Werethekau, or is the spell calling Isis "the great enchantress"? (Hmmm, maybe it's possible to work it out from the determinatives.)

    ETA: Or maybe it's not. (Actually, I'm having weird deja vu about this question. ETA: Oh yeah.)
    Győry, Hedvig. "Some Aspects of Magic in Egyptian Medicine". in Kousoulis, P. (ed). Ancient Egyptian Demonology: studies on the boundaries between the demonic and the divine in Egyptian magic (Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta 175). Leuven ; Walpole, Mass. : Uitgeverij Peeters en Departement Oosterse Studies, 2011. p 152.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    "In the 21st Dynasty a series of new iconographic compositions came into being... [since tomb walls] had ceased being carriers of the... compositions, as a result of the new policy of the Theban Priests Government, their function was taken over by coffins and papyri. The much smaller decorative surface... was a cause of the much greater confidence in pictorial means of expression... as well as the great condensation of the iconographic motifs, and their ambiguity. Practically each scene... bears solar and at the same time, osirian features, showing the great solar-osirian synthesis that... reached its apex in this period."

    Aha! This makes more sense of those bizarre funerary papyri.

    (As an example of the Project's contents, Niwiński describes a frequently-used vignette of three mummiform deities trampling a serpent, identified with both Apophis and Seth. One of the deities is often lioness- or cat-headed, and may represent Isis. I'm making a note of this because I've got some damn thing somewhere or other about Isis being assimilated to Sekhmet or something. Oy, the mess.)


    Niwiński, Andrzej. "The 21st Dynasty Religious Iconography Project: A Task for the Egyptology in the Nineties. Exemplified by the Scene with Three Deities Standing on a Serpent". in Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur Beihefte 3, 1989.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Much of interest! In late Egypt Isis is theologically elevated to the highest status, recalling Inanna's elevation by Enheduanna. Absorbing the attributes of other goddesses, Isis becomes the creator and sustainer of the cosmos, the head of the triad she forms with Osiris and Horus, and not just the Eye of Re but the female Ra. I can't help wondering if, had the process continued, she would have absorbed (or eclipsed) the male creator god himself and become a truly universal goddess.

    Particularly of interest to my Sachmisiac heart, of course, are Isis' characterisation as a "bellicose goddess" and her connections to Sekhmet and Menhyt. (More on this in a subsequent posting.)

    When Hymn IV refers to Isis' b3, it makes a sort of pun on the word for "leopard", b3, using a leopard determinant. Louis Žabkar suggests this indicates her protective / punishing power. Hymn VIII addresses Isis as "You whom the gods have propitiated after (her) rage". Hymn V, which characterises her as Re's protecting uraeus aboard his barque; it calls her "Mightier than the mighty" and "Mistress of flame", and has her lopping off millions of enemy heads and destroying Apep "in an instant". Another inscription at Philae describes her as "more effective than millions of soldiers"; and in another, in which she is explicitly identified with "Sekhmet, the fiery goddess", she tells the king: "I cause your strength to be as that of the raging lion, your power like my power."

    A Roman-era hymn at Philae also calls her "Sekhmet, the fiery one", as well as "Mistress of battle, Montu of conflict / One to whom one cries out on the day of encounter". As Žabkar remarks, "in order to save those she loves [she] does not hesitate to step into the thickness of the battle itself."

    Žabkar points out the political meaning of a warlike Isis authorising the king to fight, especially given Philae's position on the border (the huge figures displayed on the temples' walls must have at least impressed the Nubians). Other examples of this warrior Isis occur at Abydos, and at Aswan, where she's given the title "vanguard of the army" - the opposite of Inanna's position at the back of the fight, egging the soldiers on. :)

    The ferocious hymns are thrilling, but even with the inevitable slight clunkiness of translation, the quieter ones lift up my heart: "She is the one who pours out the Inundation / That makes all people live and green plants grow." Ah. :)

    Žabkar, Louis V. Hymns to Isis in her temple at Philae. Hanover, NH : Published for Brandeis University Press by University Press of New England, 1988.
    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: (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.
    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: (Butterfly hair)
    Neith was one of the four goddesses who protected the canopic jars, along with Isis, Nephthys, and Serqet. She was also a protector of the royal house.

    The click beetle (family Elateridae) has a body which resembles an Egyptian shield, which Neith is often depicted wearing as a headdress. A First Dynasty relief shows the heads and abdomens of two click beetles "incorporated into the symbol of the goddess Neith". Another First Dynasty relief shows one of these beetles holding the was sceptre. Elaterid beetles are brilliantly metallic in colour, and some are bioluminescent, reflecting Neith's association with the rising sun and as the "opener of the way" for souls in the underworld.

    Neith was also associated with the fly, perhaps because of its association with the military.

    ETA: Neith's recognition and influence dwindled over time, perhaps for political reasons; at first known throughout Egypt, later her importance was mostly limited to Sais. She was Khnum's consort at Esna.

    Kritsy, Gene and Ron Cherry. Insect Mythology. Writers Club Press, 2000.
    Motte-Florac, Elisabeth and Jacqueline M.C. Thomas. Les "Insectes" Dans La Tradition Orale. Peeters Publishers, Belgium, 2003.
    Shafer, Byron E. (ed) Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Pratice. Cornell UP, Ithaca, 1991.


    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Plaything of Sekhmet

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