ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
Ancient Egyptian composite deities were commonplace, but deities which combined male and female were almost unheard of. Is there a male god who can be identified as the mysterious "ithyphallic Mut" in the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak?

One possibiliy is Amun-Re, who (according to the Lexikon) appears at Medinet Habu as a lion-headed god wearing a sun-disc, with flail and crook, and wearing a long robe. And, in fact, I think there's an image of that deity in Alain Guilleux's discussion of the Karnak figure.

I've been interpreting the figure at Khonsu's temple as mummiform, but a raised hand could indicate a clinging robe rather than bandages (for example, the also unidentified cow- or bull-headed figure standing behind). Though the Medinet Habu god is seated and has its arms crossed, rather than having a hand raised below the flail, what's striking is that here is a male deity closely related to Khonsu represented with the lion-and-sun combo much more familiar from goddesses.

There are some similar figures: Amun-Min, lion-headed, ithyphallic, with flail, with falcon tail and with uraeus in place of sundisc, in the tomb of Thaty in the Bahariya Oasis; and this puzzling figure, ithyphallic (before someone decided to make him decent with a chisel!), with lion-head, Amun-crown, and flail. I don't even know what temple this is!


Oct. 9th, 2012 11:20 am
ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
Too good to squirrel away in a links posting! :D

'Cult Fiction' Traced to Ancient Egypt Priest

"A recently deciphered Egyptian papyrus from around 1,900 years ago tells a fictional story that includes drinking, singing, feasting and ritual sex, all in the name of the goddess Mut."
ikhet_sekhmet: (Angel of the Birds 2)
From a review in BAOS 357 Feb 2010 of The Origins of Aphrodite by Stephanie Lynn Budin, a book upon which I must lay my grubby paws because of its examination of goddesses (Inanna/Ishtar, Ishara, Asherah, Astarte, Qudshu) and cults (in Ugarit, Alalakh, Megiddo, Beth Shan, Tel Mevorakh, Lachish, Egypt) which may have influenced A.
  • "sex goddess versus fertility/mother goddess"
  • Cults of A. found "throughout Greece, the Aegean islands, Egypt, Magna Graecia, and in the Black sea region."
  • "Aphrodite entered Greece via Crete from Cyprus", "imported into Cyprus through the Phoenician settlement of Kition" and "amalgamated with a native goddess worshipped at Amathus and Paphos"
  • Adonis was the consort of the Cypriot Aphrodite and was lost in A.'s "transition to the west"
From "Gods as a Frame of Reference" by Gertie Englund:
  • Egyptian theologians "did not study and interpret a basic text but they kept on creating new texts" (p 8)
  • "Many of the endless number of gods appearing in Egyptian texts and iconography were never the object of a cult and knowledge about them probably never passed the gates of the temple... However, the lack of a cult does not mean that a god is a purely speculative philosophical creation. The popular god Bes did not have a cult and no temple was dedicated to him." (p 19)
  • "There are surprisingly few adjectives in the Egyptian language... description is given in the form of an expression of identity. What one identifies with or identifies oneself with are gods. The gods who are personified concepts are used as concepts." (p 21)
  • The "rule which linguists call 'repression of sense'" may make Egyptian thought look as though it lacks abstract ideas and metaphors (p 22)
  • Someone who's got rich off flax and linen might be called the "husband of Tait" (p 22)
  • The House of Life is a microcosm - a library whose books describe the whole world (p 24)
  • Gods and humans maintain cosmic balance through "exchange of gifts", in which "Man offers what he has produced" (sounds like one of those nature/culture things to me)
  • "The myths offer as it were key scenarios of typical difficulties and problems", and by identifying with them, people could connect with the divine and receive "consolation and guidance" (p 24 - 25). A familiar thing to me as a Pagan, and I'm sure to most religious people.
  • While we think in "causalities", the Egyptians thought in "homologies", and approach which allows multiple assumptions about the same thing to be "valid simultaneously" - "a multitude of convert angles of approach" to the "undescribable". (p 26) (te Velde remarks: "working out the relationships between gods… was an important and favourite task of Egyptian priests". :) (p 240)
From te Velde Relations and Conflicts:
  • "The Asiatic goddess Astarte can be given citizenship or godhood in Egypt and can be adopted as daughter of Ptah [in spite of which] exotic peculiarities, such as riding naked upon a horse, a thing hardly done by Egyptian goddesses, are not denied her." (p 240)

  • Amun had a close, ancient, but "rather vague and undefined relationship" with Amaunet, his fellow Karnak deity. "In the course of the 16th Century B.C. the cult of the goddess Mut, who had already been worshipped for centuries in the little provincial town of Megen, was introduced into the capital." Mut is first Amun's daughter, then his wife, and they are inseparable from this point on. (pp 240-1)

  • Regarding variations of the Ennead: "Already in the Pyramid Texts the retiring figure of the goddess Nephthys is sometimes replaced by the goddess Neith" (p 242) Karnak's great ennead had fifteen gods – the nine Heliopolitans plus Montu, Tjenenet and Iunet, Horus, Hathor of Gebelein, and Sobek; the little ennead was Thoth, Harendotes, Wepwawet of the south, Wepwawet of the north, Sobek lord of the Iuntiu, Ptah-upon-his-great-throne, Ptah-at-the-head-of-the-gods, Anubis lord of Ta-djeser, Dedwen-at-the-head-of-Nubia, Dewenawi, Merimutef, and Horus' four sons. Abydos' ennead numbered nine: Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, Re, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, and Wepwawet; or seven: two Khnums,two Wepwawets, Thoth, Horus, and Harendotes; or twelve: Osiris, Harendotes, Isis, Nephthys, Min, Iunmutef, Re-Harakhty, Onuris, Tefnut, Get (Geb?), Thoth, and Hathor. (p 243) Untersuchungen zum Gotterkreis der Neunheit by Winifred Barta contains a list of eighty-four enneads! (p 244)

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

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.
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.


Nov. 3rd, 2011 06:19 pm
ikhet_sekhmet: (nebty)
Here I am back from jury duty with a pile o' material about this moon / left eye business. But the first of my photocopies is about three different amulets, so, in typical random style, let me scribble my notes about the irrelevant one first. :)

The author, Carol Andrews, discusses a therioanthropomorphic amulet at the BM (EA 57334) with, unusually, the head of a wild boar. For the Egyptians, the boar symbolises chaos and evil; Andrews argues that this is probably an amulet of Set, but might possibly be "the rare Libyan deity Ash, who presided over the western desert and vinegrowing areas of the Delta". Ash could be represented with Set's head, and his name could be ridden with the Set animal as a determinative.

Now, as well as taking the form of ol' square-ears, Ash is (possibly) shown at least once in three-headed form - lion, snake, and vulture - not unlike the three-headed Mut, aka Sekhmet-Bast-Ra, of the Book of the Dead Chapter 164 - lioness, human, and vulture. (Margaret Murray makes an interesting connection between the three-headed Ash and a similar figure in the 1545 Cosmographia Universalis.)

ETA: Also from Margaret Murray: Ash is shown with Set's head, wearing the white crown, and "associated with a royal vineyard", on Second Dynasty seals from Abydos and Naqada - specifically, the royal tombs of Perabsen and Kha-Sekhemui. He appears in human form as "Lord of Libya", with Amentet, in the Fifth Dynasty on a "sculptured slab of Sahure". He's also mentioned in the Pyramid Texts and the Book of the Dead. The last known attestation is the 26th Dynasty coffin which portrays him with three heads. Also unusual about 'Ash is his lack of a tail, the band across his chest, and the snake he carries in his hand.

Murray remarks that "Multiple-headed gods are always rare in Egypt and are, I think, foreign deities and not indigenous." In his description of the coffin, Alan Shorter describes such "composite divinities" as cropping up "not unfrequently in reliefs and paintings of the later


Andrews, Carol. "The Boar, the Ram-Headed Crocodile and the Lunar Fly". in Studies in Egyptian Antiquities: A Tribute to T.G.H. James (Occasional paper 123). London, British Museum, 1999. pp. 79 - 81.
Murray, Margaret. The God 'Ash. Ancient Egypt and the East, December 1934 (volume 2), pp 115-117
Shorter, Alan. A Possible Late Representation of the God 'Ash. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 11, No. 1/2 (Apr., 1925), pp. 78-79.


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)
    Jotting some quick notes from different papers in this collection:

    • "there are no reliable records of Mut before the Second Intermediate Period" (p 25)
    • Of a vulture statue inscribed to Amenemhat III, "beloved of Sekhmet, lady of Ankhtaui": "The syncretism of Nekhbet and Sekhmet is well known" ("eg they may be interchangeable in the Coffin Texts") (p 26)
    • "On a jamb fragment from Coptos, Senusret I is depicted as receiving life from Bastet and Nekhbet" (p 27) And here's a picture (from Petrie's Koptos, 1896)
    • "There is no evidence that Mut was originally depicted as a vulture, unlike the archetypal vulture goddess Nekhbet... Only after the New Kingdom was Mut sometimes depicted as a vulture." Before then, she was only shown as a woman, a lioness, or a lioness-headed woman. (p 242)
    • In Egyptian art the vulture can be shown as protector or carrion-eater, an ambiguity which parallels that of the uraeus, so that the Two Ladies "also form another contradictory duality". (p 243)
    • But, like fellow scavenger the jackal, for the Egyptians the vulture "usually has a positive meaning" and "the greatest care was taken not to link the vulture (mwt) with death, or allocate to her a role as consumer of the dead ('m mtw)." (p 243)
    • The Greeks, for whom the vulture was icky, substituted the eagle in the Septuagint (eg Deut 32:11.)
    • (Contrast Inanna, who eats corpses on the battlefield like a dog, sez I!)
    • The Egyptian association between the vulture, femininity, and motherhood (eg the vulture headdress worn by queens, goddesses, and eventually any deceased woman) may explain Greek myths that there were no male vultures, and the females were impregnated by the wind. (p 244)
    • A fragment, probably from Karnak, shows Ptolemy XII worshipping Mut, called "Raet in the circuit of the sun disc" (as at Hibis) and "hand of the god". (p 137)
    • Perhaps Sekhmet and Mut became associated through "the traditional parallelism of Lower and Upper Egypt, the creator god Ptah and his consort Sekhmet" at Memphis and "the creator god Amun and his consort Mut" at Thebes. (p 223)
    D'Auria, Sue H. (ed) Servant of Mut: studies in honor of Richard A. Fazzini. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2008.
    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)
    Well. I finally worked out why I couldn't locate a copy of The Temple of Hibis in el-Khargha Oasis III: The Decorations: only 300 copies were printed. Even the Library of Congress doesn't have one. Unless there's a source I've missed, that leaves me and the rest of the world lacking illustrations of most of the temple, including those tantalising sanctuary which catalogued every god in the country. Argh!

    What I do have access to is Eugene Cruz-Uribe's Hibis Temple Project I, which contains detailed descriptions of over 650 figures from the sanctuary, cross-referenced to Decorations (as well as plates additional to Davies). There's every combination you can imagine of man, woman, mummy, ram, lion, falcon, crocodile, and inanimate object; I have an itch to enter the lot of them into a spreadsheet.

    ETA: In Behind closed eyes, Kasia Szpakowska describes the "helpful deities" found on headrests who fight "nightmare-causing spirits": including griffins, and "fantastic creatures containing the most recognisable portions of powerful animals such as crocodiles, lions, panthers, hippos, hawks, and the Seth-animal." Similar critters appear on magic wands for the protection of pregnant women. (p 173) That's exactly the principle at Hibis, isn't it? These patchwork gods have the powers of multiple animals and spiritual objects.

    It's only quite recently that I've really learned anything about Egypt past the New Kingdom. I always vaguely dismissed the Graeco-Roman stuff as somehow inauthentic. But the Late Period seems to have been a weirdly fruitful time for Egyptian religion. Hibis is seriously late, started off by the Saites and mostly completed by the Persians. I first heard of the temple when I came across a mention of a possible representation of Sekhmet in the form of a mongoose. More recently, I've been trying to track down a drawing or photograph of this figure:

    Plate 2, Register III, no. 8. "'Mut, the Great.' Lion-headed figure, arm upraised supporting flail, hand grasping erect phallus. For parallel to this figure see the temple of Khonsu, PM 2(2), p 242. See LA IV, p. 247, no. 23; Lanzone, Dizionario I, p. 336, pl. 138, and Budge, Gods II, p. 28. For discussion on the concept of an ithyphallic goddess, see J. Ogden, BES 7 (1985/6): 31 and fig. 6." (p 2)
    As you may imagine, I'm in hot pursuit of these references. Other figures which pique my interest include Nekhbet as a falcon-headed woman (p 10), a cat-headed and possibly female Re-Horakhty, a female Thoth (p 6), and this:

    Plate 3, Register VIII, no. 27. "'Mut, the eye of Re, lady of strength(?), lady of [...]." The use of the udjat-eye for irt eye is not common. Only portion of an udjat-eye remains of entire figure." (p 21)
    There are some photos of the temple's figures to be found online:
    A search for "Hibis" on flickr.com will bring up various sets of pix:
    Cruz-Uribe, Eugene. Hibis temple project, Vol 1: Translations, commentary, discussions and sign list. San Antonio, Texas, Van Siclen Books, 1988.
    Davies, Norman de Garis. The Temple of Hibis in El Khārgeh oasis, pt.3. The decoration. Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition, New York, 1953.
    Szpakowska, Kasia. Behind closed eyes: dreams and nightmares in ancient Egypt. Swansea, Classical Press of Wales, 2003.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    Lemme see if I can round up what I've got so far. Lots more references to follow up, but this will do for a start.

    It looks like there are two basic versions of ithyphallic Mut:
    1. Mummiform, lioness-headed, with flail; seen at the Temple of Hibis and the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak;

    2. Winged, three-headed, with a man's head wearing the double crown, and a lioness head and a vulture head each wearing the double-plumed crown, described and illustrated in Chapter 164 of the Book of the Dead. ETA: Champollion included a version of this figure in his Pantheon Egyptien.
    The ithyphallic Mut at Hibis is Mwt-'3t, Mut the Great; she holds her phallus in one hand. (Davies; Cruz-Uribe, p 2, referring to Davies, Plate 2, Register III, no. 8) The version at Karnak shows only the upraised hand, above which a flail sort of floats, and wears the solar disc with a uraeus. (More snaps here.)1 ETA: There's a drawing of this scene in Lepsius' Denkmaeler aus Aegypten (p 219, figure b).

    ETA: Jorge Ogdon identifies the goddess part of the Karnak figure as Sekhmet: "It is relevant that the ithyphallic form of Min is here mixed with Sekhmet, the 'fiery eye' of Re [and] the 'terrible aspect' of Re sent by the god to destroy men, and, therefore, the Karnak relief depicts a 'terrible aspect' of sexual symbolism and of Min himself." (Ogdon believes Min's iconography is aggressive and apotropaic - both the erect phallus, and the arm raised in what he sees as a gesture of repulsion.)

    The three-headed edition, aka Sekhmet-Bastet-Raet (or Sekhmet-Bast-Ra - the final t is not written) is also called "Mother of Škks" and "royal wife of Rhk".

    The Lexikon also mentions an ithyphallic Sekhmet-'3t, standing and holding a snake in one hand, crowned by the solar disc. She appears on a healing statue (Turin 3031).

    And now, a brief excursus on the Temple Of Amun-Re at Hibis. There seem to be a lot of ithyphallic deities at Hibis - well, there are a lot of deities at Hibis, full stop! 359 in the Sanctuary alone. It's just god-o-rama in there, a catalogue of every god in Egypt. Lots of sole examples of deities, and lots of mysteries: for example, who's the crocodile-headed goddess holding a sidelock (Plat 2, Register II, no. 13)?! And Sekhmet portrayed as a mongoose. Or a hedgehog. Scholars are divided. Basically, everyone in the Late Period was dropping acid.

    (Note to self: the lion-headed mummiform ithyphallic god with flail in "Late Period Temples" is Wenep, not Mut - Cruz-Uribe p 32. The plate in Hoskins shows the same wall, but a lot of the drawings don't match. ETA: A similar deity - but who, and where?)
    Cruz-Uribe, Eugene. Hibis temple project I: Translations, commentary, discussions and sign list. San Antonio, Texas, Van Siclen Books, 1988.
    Davies, N. de Garis. The Temple of Hibis in El-Khargeh Oasis III (Publications of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Expedition 17), the Museum, New York, 1953. [NB: not to be confused with the combined edition of volumes I and II brought out in 1973. Cruz-Uribe's book refers to plates in vol. III.)
    Ogden, Jorge. Some notes on the iconography of the god Min. Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar 7, 1985/6, pp 29-41.

    1I found a 2005 forum comment from Dr. Cruz-Uribe in which he states this is more likely to be a male deity, possibly Min, "given its position on the wall and the context". It's cheeky for an amateur like me to dispute his opinion, but the resemblance with the Mut at Hibis is striking, as is the presence of the solar disc and uraeus, and perhaps also the figure of Khonsu standing behind her.

    ETA: Another participant in the forum discussion remarks that the figure "is located in room 12 of the temple of Khonsu, west wall (PM II, p. 242, no. 109)." That matches Porter and Moss' Topographical Biblography, vol 2, p 242: "Room XII. L.D.Text,iii, pp. 69 [bottom] - 70 [top]." "(109) [1st ed. 82; Loc. KM. 620] Ramesses IV censing and librating to lion-headed and bull-headed gods. L.D. iii 219 [b]; PRISSE, Mon. pl. xxxvi [I]; CHIC. OR. INST. photos. 3247,3439." The refs are to (Loc:) Nelson, H. Key plans showing locations of Theban temple decorations. University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications, 56, 1941 (Closed Access DS42.4 .C45 vol 56, also Fisher F 932 9); Lepsius Denkmaeler (219 [b] linked above); and Prisse, A. Monuments égyptiens, 1847. (Fisher F709.32 1).


    May. 19th, 2010 07:14 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (lunar eclipse)
    The EEF Guide to Internet Resources for Ancient Egyptian Texts

    Paleolithic Notation Bibliography: "...over 400 academic articles, books, dissertations, and related publications (excluding book reviews and non-academic material) that discuss or evaluate the theory that some Paleolithic (primarily European Upper Paleolithic) artifacts contain non-representational graphic marks that served as tallies, calendars, astronomical notations, numerals, or other mnemonic devices."

    The Brooklyn Museum's Mut Precinct stuff - reports, photos, dig diary, etc.

    Mexican Saints (including La Santa Muerte), National Geographic May 2010

    Sigmund Freud's collection of antiquities includes a ripping Syrian Ishtar.

    Finally, here's Sekhmet being a supportive Mrs Ptah. Aw.


    Mar. 29th, 2010 02:24 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    The "Holy One" - serious article from a neo-Pagan journal about the identity of the goddess Qudshu; good pictures and bibliography.

    The Edfu Project - "a freely accessible online library of monographs, articles, and manuscripts on material about the Edfu district".

    The Dawn of Civilization: Writing, Urban Life, and Warfare - December 2009 Discover magazine article about Tell Brak in Syria. Also from the magazine: World's First Grain Silos Discovered at Dhra in Jordan, and Oldest Musical Instrument Found, a bone flute from Hohle Fels. And lots more in the Preghistoric Culture section.

    Maat-Ka-Re Hatshepsut includes maps, photos and info from the maintainer's visits to Egyptian sites, including Speos Artemidos and the Temple of Mut.

    ETA: Computers unlock more secrets of the mysterious Indus Valley script, University of Washington News, August 2009

    Finally, via [livejournal.com profile] tysolna:

    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Pharaonic-Era Sacred Lake Unearthed in Egypt, ABC News 15 October 2009 [Temple of Mut at Tanis]

    Messages from the past become easy to read: USC researchers are producing crisp images of inscriptions and artifacts from biblical Israel and other Near Eastern locales and putting the pictures online. [Using a thing that looks like the Large Hadron Collider!] LA Times 2 November 2009

    An introductory "Thematic Essay" on Ugarit from the Met.

    And from the Met as well, a stunning Lotiform Cup from the Third Intermediate Period.

    The Real Story of Nazi Egyptology, Heritage Key 1 September 2009. "Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Germany will automatically focus on the peoples akin to us in terms of race and mind; Egyptology and Assyriology will recede into the background." Blimey.

    A splendid Durga at the National Gallery of Australia. Note that the goddess' lion is biting the buffalo demon on the bum.

    Also from the NGA: the remarkable Bronze Weaver, a 1400 year old statue from Indonesia.

    Stone Age humans crossed Sahara in the rain, New Scientist 9 November 2009

    Babylon's Ancient Wonder, Lying in Ruins, Washington Post 28 July 2009

    An oldie but a goodie: New Women of the Ice Age, Discover April 1998

    Ivory 'Venus' is first depiction of a woman [Venus of Hohle Fells], New Scientist 13 May 2009

    Brutal Destruction of Iraq's Archaeological Sites Continues, Huffington Post 21 September 2009

    Beads: Ritual and Ornamentation – What Africa's Khoe-San were wearing 77,000 years ago, Heritage Key 3 November 2009

    Check Your Venus Fantasies at the Door, Gentlemen, Archaeology 15 May 2009

    "God is the potter, not Harry". Hee.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    I've accumulated a bunch of bookmarks - time for a linky links posting! :)

    From July 2008: Afghan secrets revealed on Google Earth: archaeologists use satellite photos to find and map sites.

    From April 2008: Move over, Stonehenge: the sanctuary at Göbekli Tepe, in Syria, dated to around 9500 BCE.

    From January 2008: Great Ancient City Unearthed in Syria: "Archaeologists say Brak was one of the earliest and largest cities in the region — and therefore the world. That assertion is shaking up Near Eastern archaeology, since scholars long assumed that the first substantial cities arose in southern Mesopotamia." And here's a picture.

    APIS: Advanced Papyrological Information System

    The 2007 blog of the Brooklyn Museum dig in the Temple Precinct of the Goddess Mut, Karnak concluded with images of women and goddesses from the site.

    From 2004: Egyptian Lion Mummy Found in Ancient Tomb

    From 2006: Egyptian Temple Yields 17 Statues of Lion-Headed Goddess

    ETANA: Electronic Tools and Ancient Near East Archives

    King Padibastet's Tomb - the Virtual Egyptian Museum

    Also from 2006: Sex and booze figured in Egyptian rites

    And from 2007: Where did I put that blade? Toolkit surfaces after 14,000 years

    An odd little item from 2003 about The Cursing of Agade and the "miserable history" of modern Iraq.

    What was Jiroft? Could the archaeological site in Iran be the lost city of Aratta?
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Hathor was a sky goddess - hence her name, "House of Horus". Watterson writes, "The Egyptians thought of her as a gigantic cow which straddled the earth, her legs marking the four cardinal points. Between her horns she carried the sun's disk; her belly was the sky, her hide and udders were the stars and planets." (p 113)

    The Narmer Palette is the earliest known representation of Hathor, and was probably an offering for Hathor's shrine. Watterson suggests the part-human, part-bovine face, uniquely shown from the front, was originally the goddess' fetish, and becamne stylised as her Bat symbol - the sistrum, Hathor's sacred rattle, could take this shape. Her son Ihy holds one.

    The Greeks equated Hathor with Aphrodite. She "was especially reversed by women." Wine and beer, and music and dance, were important in her rituals; "the king himself sang and danced before the goddess". (p 118) Along with Bes and Ta-weret, she was concerned with childbirth, and also suckled the king. The Seven Hathors, who foretold the fates of newborn children, appear in The Tale of the Two Brothers and The Doomed Prince.

    In the afterlife, Hathor, "Lady of the Sycamore", lived in a sycamore tree, which provided protection, food, and drink to the deceased. During the 18th Dynasty, she was merged with another cow goddess, Mehet-weret, becoming the patroness of the Theban necropolis. She was the goddess of foreign lands, and was worshipped at a mine in Sinai as "The Lady of Turquoise".

    Denderah, site of Hathor's most important temple, takes its name from the Egyptian Ta-neteret, "the goddess". Her statue went in procession each year for a sacred marriage to Horus of Edfu. She was identified with local goddess in many towns, for example with Mut at Thebes, and with Wadjet at Buto; she was so often identified with Isis that they'd basically fused by the Late Period.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    The California Museum of Ancient Art has numerous lectures available on CD. I've listened to several and they're terrific - talks given to a general audience by major experts.

    Buy, beg, borrow or steal the 2003 Channel 4 series Ancient Egyptians, which brings real events from the hieroglyphic record to life, complete with actors speaking in reconstructed Ancient Egyptian language. It's gripping, full of murder and drama and amazing things.

    Westenholz, Joan G. King by Love of Inanna - an Image of Female Empowerment?. Nin 1, 2000, pp 75-89. (I've been looking for this journal for ages!)

    "Dig Diary" of years of work at the Temple of Mut at Karnak.

    Day of the Vulture - a 2003 Mother Jones article about archaeological looting in Iraq.
    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)
    Just a few snippets.

    Quirke says that Bastet "originally took leonine form, until the first millennium BC when she was shown instead as a cat".

    "Tefnut... took the leonine form, and appeared in a late version of the story as the goddess-eye who had to be coaxed back to Ra from Nubia... The goddess Mut, consort of Amun in the New Kingdom and later, drew on the imagery of both vulture and lioness, but stood more often as a woman, as did Hathor when representing human sexual love." Quirke notes it was Thoth who brought Tefnut home. Wadjyt, more familiar as a cobra, could also be represented as a lioness.

    Later in the book he mentions "Pakhet, 'the scratcher', who took the role of raging leonine goddess at the limestone quarries in the desert valley south-east of Bani Hasan in Middle Egypt, and Maihesa, 'the wild lion', worshipped as son of the lenoine goddesses Bast and Sekhmet in the Delta cities Bubastis and Taremu (rendered Leontopolis, 'city of the lion', by the Greeks."

    Quirke, Stephen. Ancient Egyptian Religion. New York : Dover, 1997.


    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Plaything of Sekhmet

    September 2017

    S M T W T F S
         1 2
    101112 13141516


    RSS Atom

    Style Credit

    Expand Cut Tags

    No cut tags
    Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:53 am
    Powered by Dreamwidth Studios