Historie Podcasts

Gudinden Hathor

Gudinden Hathor


Egyptiske guder: Hathor

Hathor var en af ​​de mest populære gudinder i hele Egypten og nød en betydelig kultfølelse gennem historien. Gennem dette udviklede hun sig også til flere gudinder med særprægede funktioner og associationer. Hun er ofte afbildet som enten en kvinde med kohoved eller en kvinde med to krøllede kohorn, der holder mellem dem en solskive og uraeus. Hun er undertiden afbildet som en flodhest, en falk, en kobra eller en løvinde, men ikke så ofte som en ko. Hendes symboler omfatter sistrummet, hornene og solskivehovedbeklædningen, et papyrusrør, en menat (en rituel halskæde, der symboliserer genfødsel med percussive egenskaber) og spejle. Hendes navn kan også staves som Het-Hert, Hetheru eller Hathoor. Hendes navne betyder "Horus hus" med henvisning til himlen, Horus 'bolig og faraos kongefamilie.

Hun er datter af solguden Ra og himmelgudinden Nut og menes at være en af ​​Ra's øjne, der bragte ødelæggelse for menneskeheden i form af gudinden Sekhmet. I mange historier er Hathor hustru til Horus den ældste og mor til Horus den yngre og Ihy (musik- og dansegud).

På grund af hendes popularitet er hun forbundet med flere andre gudinder især i funktion og funktioner. Det menes undertiden, at alle de andre gudinder var former for hende. Hun kan være en solgudinde, en himmelgudinde, en mångudinde, vestens og østens gudinde, frugtbarhedsgudinde, fugtighedsgudinde, frugtbarhedsgudinde, landbrugets gudinde og endda en gudinde for underverdenen. På grund af dette fik hun en række forskellige titler. Hathor er imidlertid strengt taget gudinden for skønhed, musik, dans, glæde, moderskab og kærlighed. Hun blev betragtet som en beskyttende gudinde for kvinderne, især de gravide, og forbandt hende dermed med faraos mor.


Indhold

Billeder af kvæg optræder hyppigt i kunstværkerne i det predynastiske Egypten (før ca. 3100 f.Kr.), ligesom billeder af kvinder med hævede, buede arme, der minder om formen på kvæg horn. Begge billedtyper kan repræsentere gudinder forbundet med kvæg. [2] Køer æres i mange kulturer, herunder det gamle Egypten, som symboler på moderskab og næring, fordi de passer på deres kalve og giver mennesker mælk. Gerzeh-paletten, en stenpalet fra Naqada II-perioden fra forhistorien (ca. 3500–3200 f.Kr.), viser silhuetten af ​​et kohoved med indadgående buede horn omgivet af stjerner. Paletten antyder, at denne ko også var forbundet med himlen, ligesom flere gudinder fra senere tider var repræsenteret i denne form: Hathor, Mehet-Weret og Nut. [3]

På trods af disse tidlige præcedenser nævnes eller afbildes Hathor ikke entydigt før det fjerde dynasti (ca. 2613–2494 f.Kr.) i det gamle rige, [4] selvom flere artefakter, der henviser til hende, kan dateres til den tidlige dynastiske periode (ca. 3100 –2686 f.Kr.). [5] Når Hathor tydeligt fremstår, krummer hendes horn udad, snarere end indad som dem inden for predynastisk kunst. [6]

En kvæg guddom med indadgående kurver vises på Narmer Paletten fra nær begyndelsen af ​​egyptisk historie, både oven på paletten og på bæltet eller forklædet til kongen, Narmer. Egyptologen Henry George Fischer foreslog, at denne guddom kan være Bat, en gudinde, der senere blev afbildet med en kvindes ansigt og indadkrøllede horn, der tilsyneladende afspejler kurven på kohornene. [6] Egyptologen Lana Troy identificerer imidlertid en passage i pyramide -teksterne fra det sene gamle kongerige, der forbinder Hathor med kongens "forklæde", der minder om gudinden på Narmers beklædningsgenstande, og foreslår gudinden på Narmer -paletten er Hathor frem for Bat. [4] [7]

I det fjerde dynasti steg Hathor hurtigt til fremtrædende plads. [8] Hun fortrængte en tidlig krokodillegud, der blev tilbedt på Dendera i Øvre Egypten for at blive Denderas skytsguddom, og hun absorberede i stigende grad kulten af ​​flagermus i naboregionen Hu, således at i Mellemriget (ca. 2055–1650 F.Kr.) smeltede de to guder sammen til en. [9] Teologien omkring faraoen i Det Gamle Rige fokuserede i modsætning til tidligere tiders stærkt på solguden Ra som gudernes konge og fader og protektor for den jordiske konge. Hathor steg op med Ra og blev hans mytologiske kone og dermed guddommelig mor til faraoen. [8]

Hathor antog mange former og optrådte i en lang række roller. [10] Egyptologen Robyn Gillam antyder, at disse forskellige former opstod, da den kongelige gudinde, der blev fremmet af domstolen i Det gamle rige, undergik mange lokale gudinder tilbedt af den generelle befolkning, som derefter blev behandlet som manifestationer af hende. [11] Egyptiske tekster taler ofte om gudindens manifestationer som "Seven Hathors" [10] eller, mindre almindeligt, om mange flere Hathors - så mange som 362. [12] Af disse grunde kalder Gillam hende "en type guddom frem for en enkelt enhed ". [11] Hathors mangfoldighed afspejler de mange træk, egypterne forbandt med gudinder. Mere end nogen anden guddom eksemplificerer hun den egyptiske opfattelse af kvindelighed. [13]

Himmelsgudinde Rediger

Hathor fik epithetene "himmelens elskerinde" og "stjernernes elskerinde", og blev sagt at bo på himlen sammen med Ra og andre solguddomme. Ægypterne tænkte på himlen som en vandmasse, gennem hvilken solguden sejlede, og de forbandt den med vandene, hvorfra solen ifølge deres skabelsesmyter opstod i begyndelsen af ​​tiden. Denne kosmiske modergudinde blev ofte repræsenteret som en ko. Hathor og Mehet-Weret blev begge betragtet som koen, der fødte solguden og placerede ham mellem hendes horn. Ligesom Nut blev det sagt, at Hathor fødte solguden hver daggry. [14]

Hathors egyptiske navn var ḥwt-ḥrw [15] eller ḥwt-ḥr. [16] Det oversættes typisk med "Horus hus", men kan også gengives som "mit hus er himlen". [17] Falkeguden Horus repræsenterede blandt andet solen og himlen. Det "hus", der refereres til, kan være den himmel, hvor Horus bor, eller gudindens livmoder, hvorfra han som solgud fødes hver dag. [18]

Solgudinde Rediger

Hathor var en solguddom, en feminin pendant til solguder som Horus og Ra, og var medlem af det guddommelige følge, der fulgte med Ra, da han sejlede gennem himlen i sin bark. [18] Hun blev almindeligvis kaldt "den gyldne" med henvisning til solens udstråling, og tekster fra hendes tempel ved Dendera siger "hendes stråler belyser hele jorden." [19] Hun blev undertiden smeltet sammen med en anden gudinde, Nebethetepet, hvis navn kan betyde "Ofringens dame", "Lady of Tilfredshed", [20] eller "Lady of the Vulva". [21] I Ra's kultcenter i Heliopolis blev Hathor-Nebethetepet tilbedt som hans gemal, [22] og egyptologen Rudolf Anthes argumenterede for, at Hathors navn refererede til et mytisk "Horus hus" i Heliopolis, der var forbundet med kongedømmets ideologi . [23]

Hun var en af ​​mange gudinder til at tage rollen som Ra's Eye, en feminin personificering af solskiven og en forlængelse af Ra's egen magt. Ra blev undertiden portrætteret inde i disken, hvilket Troy fortolker som, at øjen -gudinden blev betragtet som en livmoder, hvorfra solguden blev født. Hathors tilsyneladende modstridende roller som mor, kone og datter af Ra afspejlede solens daglige cyklus. Ved solnedgang trådte guden ind i himmelgudindens krop, imprægnerede hende og fostrede de guder, der blev født fra hendes livmoder ved solopgang: sig selv og øygudinden, som senere skulle føde ham. Ra affødte sin datter, øjen -gudinden, som igen gav anledning til ham, hendes søn, i en cyklus med konstant regenerering. [24]

Ra's Eye beskyttede solguden fra sine fjender og blev ofte repræsenteret som en uraeus eller opdrætskobra eller som en løvinde. [25] En form for Eye of Ra kendt som "Hathor of the Four Faces", repræsenteret af et sæt med fire kobraer, siges at stå over for i hver af de kardinale retninger for at se efter trusler mod solguden. [26] En gruppe myter, kendt fra Det Nye Rige (ca. 1550–1070 f.Kr.) og frem, beskriver, hvad der sker, når øygudinden hærger ukontrolleret. I begravelsesteksten kendt som Bog om den himmelske ko, Ra sender Hathor som Ra's Eye for at straffe mennesker for at planlægge oprør mod hans styre. Hun bliver løvindegudinden Sekhmet og massakrerer de oprørske mennesker, men Ra beslutter at forhindre hende i at dræbe hele menneskeheden. Han beordrer, at øl skal farves rødt og hældes ud over landet. Øjen -gudinden drikker øllet og forveksler det med blod, og går i sin berusede tilstand tilbage til at være den godartede og smukke Hathor. [27] Relateret til denne historie er myten om den fjerne gudinde fra de sene og ptolemaiske perioder. Øygudinden, nogle gange i form af Hathor, gør oprør mod Ra's kontrol og hærger frit i et fremmed land: Libyen vest for Egypten eller Nubia mod syd. Svækket af tabet af sit øje sender Ra en anden gud, såsom Thoth, for at bringe hende tilbage til ham. [28] Når den er blevet pacificeret, vender gudinden tilbage for at blive en følelse af solguden eller den gud, der bringer hende tilbage. [29] De to aspekter af øygudinden-voldelig og farlig kontra smuk og glædeligt-afspejlede den egyptiske tro på, at kvinder, som egyptologen Carolyn Graves-Brown udtrykker det, "omfattede både ekstreme lidenskaber af raseri og kærlighed". [27]

Musik, dans og glæde Rediger

Egyptisk religion fejrede livets sanselige fornøjelser, der menes at være blandt gudernes gaver til menneskeheden. Egypterne spiste, drak, dansede og spillede musik på deres religiøse festivaler. De parfumerede luften med blomster og røgelse. Mange af Hathors epitet forbinder hende med fest, hun kaldes elskerinde for musik, dans, guirlander, myrra og drukkenskab. I salmer og tempelrelieffer spiller musikere tamburiner, harper, lyrer og sistra til ære for Hathor. [31] Sistrummet, et ranglelignende instrument, var særlig vigtigt i Hathors tilbedelse. Sistra havde erotiske konnotationer og hentydede i forlængelse heraf til skabelsen af ​​nyt liv. [32]

Disse aspekter af Hathor var forbundet med myten om Ra's Eye. Øjet blev pacificeret af øl i historien om ødelæggelsen af ​​menneskeheden. I nogle versioner af Distant Goddess -myten aftog det vandrende Øjes vildskab, da hun blev tilfredsstillet med civilisationsprodukter som musik, dans og vin. Vandet fra den årlige oversvømmelse af Nilen, farvet rødt af sediment, blev sammenlignet med vin og til den rødfarvede øl i ødelæggelsen af ​​menneskeheden. Festivaler under oversvømmelsen inkorporerede derfor drikke, musik og dans som en måde at berolige den tilbagevendende gudinde. [33] En tekst fra Edfu -templet siger om Hathor, "guderne spiller sistrum for hende, gudinderne danser for hende for at fjerne hendes dårlige temperament." [34] En salme til gudinden Raet-Tawy som en form for Hathor ved templet i Medamud beskriver Fyllighedsfesten som en del af hendes mytiske tilbagevenden til Egypten. [35] Kvinder bærer blomsterbuketter, berusede festspillere spiller trommer, og mennesker og dyr fra fremmede lande danser for hende, da hun kommer ind i templets festivalbod. Støjningen fra fejringen driver fjendtlige kræfter væk og sikrer, at gudinden forbliver i sin glædelige form, mens hun venter på templets mandlige gud, sin mytologiske gemal Montu, hvis søn hun skal føde. [36]

Seksualitet, skønhed og kærlighed Rediger

Hathors glade, ekstatiske side indikerer hendes feminine, reproduktive kraft. I nogle skabelsesmyter hjalp hun med at producere selve verden. [37] Atum, en skabergud, der indeholdt alle ting i sig selv, siges at have frembragt sine børn Shu og Tefnut og dermed påbegyndt skabelsesprocessen ved at onanere. Den hånd, han brugte til denne handling, Atums hånd, repræsenterede det kvindelige aspekt af sig selv og kunne personificeres af Hathor, Nebethetepet eller en anden gudinde, Iusaaset. [38] I en sen skabelsesmyte fra den ptolemaiske periode (332-30 f.Kr.) sættes guden Khonsu i en central rolle, og Hathor er den gudinde, som Khonsu parrer sig med for at muliggøre skabelse. [39]

Hathor kunne være konsort af mange mandlige guder, hvoraf Ra kun var den mest fremtrædende. Mut var den sædvanlige gemal af Amun, den fremtrædende guddom under det nye rige, som ofte var forbundet med Ra. Men Mut blev sjældent portrætteret sammen med Amun i sammenhænge relateret til køn eller frugtbarhed, og under disse omstændigheder stod Hathor eller Isis i stedet for ved hans side. [40] I de sene perioder i egyptisk historie blev formen af ​​Hathor fra Dendera og formen af ​​Horus fra Edfu betragtet som mand og kone [41] og i forskellige versioner af myten om den fjerne gudinde var Hathor-Raettawy konsorten af Montu [42] og Hathor-Tefnut, Shu. [43]

Hathors seksuelle side blev set i nogle noveller. I et kryptisk fragment af en historie fra Mellemriget, kendt som "Hyrdens fortælling", møder en hyrde en behåret, dyrelignende gudinde i en marsk og reagerer med terror. På en anden dag møder han hende som en nøgen, dragende kvinde. De fleste egyptologer, der studerer denne historie, tror, ​​at denne kvinde er Hathor eller en gudinde som hende, en der kan være vild og farlig eller godartet og erotisk. Thomas Schneider fortolker teksten som en antydning af, at mellem hans to møder med gudinden har hyrden gjort noget for at berolige hende. [44] I "The Contendings of Horus and Set", en novelle fra New Kingdom om striden mellem de to guder, bliver Ra ked af at blive fornærmet af en anden gud, Babi, og ligger alene på ryggen. Efter noget tid udsætter Hathor sine kønsdele for Ra, får ham til at grine og rejse sig igen for at udføre sine pligter som gudernes hersker. Liv og orden blev anset for at være afhængig af Ra's aktivitet, og historien indebærer, at Hathor afværgede de katastrofale konsekvenser af hans lediggang. Hendes handling kan have løftet Ra's humør, dels fordi det seksuelt vækkede ham, selvom hvorfor han lo ikke er helt forstået. [45]

Hathor blev rost for sit smukke hår. Egyptisk litteratur indeholder hentydninger til en myte, der ikke klart er beskrevet i nogen overlevende tekster, hvor Hathor mistede en hårlok, der repræsenterede hendes seksuelle dragning. En tekst sammenligner dette tab med Horus tab af sit guddommelige øje og Sets tab af hans testikler under kampen mellem de to guder, hvilket indebærer, at tabet af Hathors lås var lige så katastrofalt for hende som lemlæstelsen af ​​Horus og Set var for dem. [46]

Hathor blev kaldt "kærlighedens elskerinde", som en forlængelse af hendes seksuelle aspekt. I rækken af ​​kærlighedsdigte fra Papyrus Chester Beatty I fra det tyvende dynasti (ca. 1189–1077 f.Kr.) beder mænd og kvinder Hathor om at bringe deres kærester til dem: "Jeg bad til hende [Hathor], og hun hørte min bøn ... Hun bestemt min elskerinde [elskede] for mig. Og hun kom af egen fri vilje til at se mig. " [47]

Moderskab og dronning Rediger

Hathor blev betragtet som mor til forskellige barngud. Som antydet af hendes navn blev hun ofte betragtet som både Horus mor og gemal. [48] ​​Som både kongens kone og hans arvtagers mor var Hathor den mytiske modstykke til menneskelige dronninger. [15]

Isis og Osiris blev betragtet som Horus 'forældre i Osiris -myten så langt tilbage som det sene gamle kongerige, men forholdet mellem Horus og Hathor kan stadig være ældre. I så fald kom Horus kun til at blive forbundet med Isis og Osiris, da Osiris -myten opstod under det gamle rige. [49] Selv efter at Isis var fast etableret som Horus 'mor, fortsatte Hathor med at optræde i denne rolle, især når han ammede faraoen. Billeder af Hathor-koen med et barn i et papyrus-kratt repræsenterede hans mytologiske opvækst i en afsondret marsk. Gudindernes mælk var et tegn på guddommelighed og kongelig status. Således repræsenterer billeder, hvor Hathor ammer faraoen, hans ret til at styre. [50] Hathors forhold til Horus gav et helbredende aspekt til hendes karakter, da hun siges at have genoprettet Horus manglende øje eller øjne efter Set angreb ham. [18] I versionen af ​​denne episode i "The Contendings of Horus and Set" finder Hathor Horus med øjnene revet ud og heler sårene med gaselmælk. [51]

Fra slutperioden (664-323 f.Kr.) fokuserede templer på tilbedelse af en guddommelig familie: en voksen mandlig guddom, hans kone og deres umodne søn. Satellitbygninger, kendt som mammisis, blev bygget for at fejre fødslen af ​​den lokale barnegud. Barnguden repræsenterede den cykliske fornyelse af kosmos og en arketypisk arving til kongedømmet. [52] Hathor var mor i mange af disse lokale guder. På Dendera var den modne Horus fra Edfu faderen og Hathor moderen, mens deres barn var Ihy, en gud, hvis navn betød "sistrumspiller", og som personificerede jubelen i forbindelse med instrumentet. [53] På Kom Ombo var Hathors lokale form, Tasenetnofret, mor til Horus søn Panebtawy. [54] Andre børn af Hathor omfattede en mindre guddom fra byen Hu, ved navn Neferhotep, [53] og flere børneformer af Horus. [55]

Den mælkede saft af platanen, som egypterne betragtede som et symbol på liv, blev et af hendes symboler. [56] Mælken blev ligestillet med vand fra Nilens oversvømmelse og dermed frugtbarhed. [57] I den sene ptolemaiske og romerske periode indeholdt mange templer en skabelsesmyte, der tilpassede mangeårige ideer om skabelse. [58] Udgaven fra Hathors tempel i Dendera understreger, at hun som en kvindelig solguddom var det første væsen, der dukkede op fra de oprindelige farvande, der gik forud for skabelsen, og hendes livgivende lys og mælk nærede alle levende ting. [59]

Ligesom Meskhenet, en anden gudinde, der ledede fødslen, var Hathor forbundet med shai, det egyptiske skæbnebegreb, især da hun tog form af de syv hadere. I to skønlitterære værker fra New Kingdom, "Fortællingen om to brødre" og "Fortællingen om den dødsdømte prins", dukker Hathors op ved hovedpersonernes fødsler og forudsiger deres dødsform. [60]

Hathors moderlige aspekter kan sammenlignes med Isis og Muts aspekter, men alligevel er der mange kontraster mellem dem. Isis hengivenhed til sin mand og omsorg for deres barn repræsenterede en mere socialt acceptabel form for kærlighed end Hathors uhæmmede seksualitet, [61] og Muts karakter var mere autoritativ end seksuel. [62] Teksten fra det første århundrede e.Kr. Insinger Papyrus sammenligner en trofast kone, husmorens elskerinde med Mut, mens han sammenligner Hathor med en fremmed kvinde, der frister en gift mand. [62]

Fremmed jord og gods Rediger

Egypten opretholdt handelsforbindelser med kystbyerne Syrien og Kanaan, især Byblos, og placerede egyptisk religion i kontakt med religionerne i denne region. [63] På et tidspunkt, måske så tidligt som i det gamle rige, begyndte egypterne at referere til skytsgudinden for Byblos, Baalat Gebal, som en lokal form for Hathor. [64] Så stærkt var Hathors forbindelse til Byblos, at tekster fra Dendera siger, at hun boede der. [65] Ægypterne undertiden sidestillede Anat, en aggressiv kanaanitisk gudinde, der kom for at blive tilbedt i Egypten under det nye rige, med Hathor. [66] Nogle kanaanitiske kunstværker skildrer en nøgen gudinde med en krøllet paryk taget fra Hathors ikonografi. [67] Hvilken gudinde disse billeder repræsenterer vides ikke, men egypterne vedtog hendes ikonografi og kom til at betragte hende som en uafhængig guddom, Qetesh, [68], som de forbandt med Hathor. [69]

Hathors solkarakter har muligvis spillet en rolle i at forbinde hende med handel: hun menes at beskytte skibe på Nilen og i havene uden for Egypten, da hun beskyttede Ra's bark på himlen. [70] Den mytologiske vandring af øygudinden i Nubia eller Libyen gav hende også en forbindelse til disse lande. [71]

Hathor var tæt forbundet med Sinai -halvøen, [72], som ikke blev betragtet som en del af Egypten, men var stedet for egyptiske miner for kobber, turkis og malakit i Mellem- og Nye Riger. [73] En af Hathors epitet, "Lady of Mefkat", kan have henvist specifikt til turkis eller til alle blågrønne mineraler. Hun blev også kaldt" Lady of Faience ", en blågrøn keramik, som egypterne sammenlignede med turkis. [74] [75] Hathor blev også tilbedt ved forskellige stenbrud. og minesteder i Egyptens østlige ørken, såsom ametystminerne i Wadi el-Hudi, hvor hun undertiden blev kaldt "Lady of Amethyst". [76]

Syd for Egypten menes Hathors indflydelse at have strakt sig over landet Punt, der lå langs Rødehavets kyst og var en vigtig kilde til den røgelse, som Hathor var forbundet med, såvel som med Nubia, nordvest for Punt. [70] Selvbiografien om Harkhuf, en embedsmand i det sjette dynasti (ca. 2345–2181 f.Kr.), beskriver hans ekspedition til et land i eller i nærheden af ​​Nubia, hvorfra han bragte store mængder ibenholt, panterskind og røgelse tilbage kongen. Teksten beskriver disse eksotiske varer som Hathors gave til faraoen. [72] Egyptiske ekspeditioner for at udvinde guld i Nubia introducerede sin kult til regionen i løbet af Mellem- og Nykongedømmerne, [77] og faraoer fra det nye rige byggede flere templer for hende i de dele af Nubia, som de regerede. [78]

Efterliv Rediger

Hathor var en af ​​flere gudinder, der menes at hjælpe afdøde sjæle i efterlivet. [79] En af disse var Imentet, vestens gudinde, der personificerede nekropoliser eller klynger af grave på Nilens vestbred, og selve livet efter døden. Hun blev ofte betragtet som en specialiseret manifestation af Hathor. [80]

Ligesom hun krydsede grænsen mellem Egypten og fremmede lande, passerede Hathor gennem grænsen mellem de levende og Duaten, de dødes rige. [81] Hun hjalp afdøde menneskers ånder med at komme ind i Duat og var tæt forbundet med gravsteder, hvor den overgang begyndte. [82] Thebanske nekropolis blev for eksempel ofte fremstillet som et stiliseret bjerg med Hathors ko, der stammer fra det. [83] Hendes rolle som himmelgudinde var også knyttet til efterlivet. Fordi himmelgudinden - enten Nut eller Hathor - hjalp Ra i hans daglige genfødsel, havde hun en vigtig rolle i oldtidens egyptiske overbevisning, hvorefter afdøde mennesker blev genfødt som solguden. [84] Kister, grave og selve underverdenen blev fortolket som denne gudindes livmoder, hvorfra den afdøde sjæl ville blive genfødt. [85] [86]

Nut, Hathor og Imentet kunne hver i forskellige tekster føre den afdøde ind på et sted, hvor de ville modtage mad og drikke til evig næring. Således optræder Hathor, som Imentet, ofte på grave og byder den afdøde velkommen som sit barn i et saligt efterliv. [87] I New Kingdom begravelsestekster og kunstværker blev efterlivet ofte illustreret som en behagelig, frugtbar have, som Hathor undertiden ledede. [88] Den indbydende gudinde efter døden blev ofte fremstillet som en gudinde i form af et træ, der gav vand til den afdøde. Nut udfyldte oftest denne rolle, men trægudinden blev undertiden kaldt Hathor i stedet. [89]

Efterlivet havde også et seksuelt aspekt. I Osiris -myten genopstod den myrdede gud Osiris, da han kopulerede med Isis og undfangede Horus. I solideologi tillod Ra's forening med himmelgudinden sin egen genfødsel. Sex muliggjorde derfor afdødes genfødsel, og gudinder som Isis og Hathor tjente til at vække afdøde til nyt liv. Men de stimulerede blot de mandlige guddommers regenerative kræfter frem for at spille den centrale rolle. [90]

Gamle egyptere præfikser navnene på den afdøde med Osiris navn for at forbinde dem med hans opstandelse. For eksempel vil en kvinde ved navn Henutmehyt blive døbt "Osiris-Henutmehyt". Med tiden forbandt de i stigende grad den afdøde med både mandlige og kvindelige guddommelige kræfter. [91] Allerede i det sene gamle kongerige blev der undertiden sagt, at kvinder sluttede sig til tilbedere af Hathor i det hinsidige, ligesom mænd sluttede sig til følgende af Osiris. I den tredje mellemperiode (ca. 1070–664 f.Kr.) begyndte egypterne at tilføje Hathors navn til afdøde kvinder i stedet for Osiris. I nogle tilfælde blev kvinder kaldt "Osiris-Hathor", hvilket indikerede, at de havde fordel af begge guddommers genoplivende kraft. I disse sene perioder blev Hathor undertiden sagt at styre efterlivet som Osiris gjorde. [92]

Hathor blev ofte afbildet som en ko, der bar solskiven mellem sine horn, især når den blev vist amme kongen. Hun kunne også fremstå som en kvinde med hovedet på en ko. Hendes mest almindelige form var imidlertid en kvinde iført hovedbeklædning af hornene og solskiven, ofte med en rød eller turkis kappe eller en kjole, der kombinerede begge farver. Nogle gange stod hornene oven på en lav modius eller gribens hovedbeklædning, som egyptiske dronninger ofte bar i det nye rige. Fordi Isis adopterede den samme hovedbeklædning under det nye rige, kan de to gudinder kun skelnes, hvis de er mærket skriftligt. Da hun var i rollen som Imentet, bar Hathor vestens emblem på hovedet i stedet for den hornede hovedbeklædning. [93] De syv hathors blev undertiden portrætteret som et sæt af syv køer, ledsaget af en mindre himmel og guddom efter døden kaldet Vestens tyr. [94]

Nogle andre dyr end kvæg kunne repræsentere Hathor. Uraeus var et almindeligt motiv i egyptisk kunst og kunne repræsentere en række gudinder, der blev identificeret med Eye of Ra. [95] Da Hathor blev afbildet som en uraeus, repræsenterede det de voldsomme og beskyttende aspekter af hendes karakter. Hun optrådte også som en løvinde, og denne form havde en lignende betydning. [96] I modsætning hertil repræsenterede huskatten, som undertiden var forbundet med Hathor, ofte øjengudindens pacificerede form. [97] Når det blev fremstillet som et sycamore -træ, blev Hathor normalt vist med overkroppen af ​​hendes menneskelige form, der stammer fra stammen. [98]

Ligesom andre gudinder kunne Hathor bære en stilk af papyrus som en stav, selvom hun i stedet kunne holde en var personale, et symbol på magt, der normalt var begrænset til mandlige guder. [75] De eneste gudinder der brugte var var dem, ligesom Hathor, der var forbundet med Ra's Eye. [99] Hun bar også almindeligvis et sistrum eller en menat halskæde. Systemet kom i to varianter: en simpel sløjfeform eller den mere komplekse naos sistrum, som var formet til at ligne en naos helligdom og flankeret af volutter, der ligner antennerne på flagermusemblemet. [100] Spejle var et andet af hendes symboler, fordi de i Egypten ofte var lavet af guld eller bronze og derfor symboliserede solskiven, og fordi de var forbundet med skønhed og kvindelighed. Nogle spejlhåndtag blev lavet i form af Hathors ansigt. [101] Den menat halskæde, der består af mange perler, blev rystet i ceremonier til ære for Hathor, på samme måde som sistrum. [72] Billeder af det blev undertiden set som personificeringer af Hathor selv. [102]

Hathor blev undertiden repræsenteret som et menneskeligt ansigt med kvægører, set forfra i stedet for i det profilbaserede perspektiv, der var typisk for egyptisk kunst. Når hun vises i denne form, krøller lokkerne på hver side af hendes ansigt ofte i sløjfer. Dette maske-lignende ansigt blev placeret på hovedstæderne i søjler, der begyndte i det sene gamle rige. Kolonner af denne stil blev brugt i mange templer til Hathor og andre gudinder. [103] Disse kolonner har to eller fire ansigter, som kan repræsentere dualiteten mellem forskellige aspekter af gudinden eller påpasselighed af Hathor i de fire ansigter. Designet af hathoriske søjler har et komplekst forhold til dem fra sistra. Begge sistrum -former kan bære Hathor -masken på håndtaget, og Hathoric -søjler indeholder ofte naos sistrumform over gudindehovedet. [100]

Statue af Hathor, fjortende århundrede f.Kr.

Amulet af Hathor som uraeus iført en naos hovedbeklædning, tidligt til midten af ​​det første årtusinde f.Kr.

Naos sistrum med Hathors ansigt, 305–282 f.Kr.

Spejl med et ansigt af Hathor på håndtaget, femtende århundrede f.Kr.

Leder af Hathor med katte på hovedbeklædningen, fra en klapper, sent andet til begyndelsen af ​​første årtusinde f.Kr.

Det Malqata Menat halskæde, fjortende århundrede f.Kr.

Hathorisk hovedstad fra Hatshepsuts dødshus, femtende århundrede f.Kr.

Forhold til royalty Rediger

I den tidlige dynastiske periode var Neith den fremtrædende gudinde ved det kongelige hof, [104] mens Hathor i den fjerde dynasti blev den gudinde, der var tættest forbundet med kongen. [63] Det senere dynastis grundlægger, Sneferu, har muligvis bygget et tempel for hende, og en datter af Djedefra var den første registrerede præstinde i Hathor. [105] Gamle rigshersker donerede kun ressourcer til templer dedikeret til bestemte konger eller til guder, der var tæt forbundet med kongedømme. Hathor var en af ​​de få guder, der modtog sådanne donationer. [106] Herskerne fra sent gamle rige fremmede især kulturen af ​​Hathor i provinserne som en måde at binde disse regioner til det kongelige hof. Hun har muligvis absorberet egenskaberne ved nutidige provinsgudinder. [107]

Mange kvindelige kongelige, selvom de ikke var regerende dronninger, havde stillinger i kulten under det gamle rige. [108] Mentuhotep II, der blev den første farao i Mellemriget på trods af at han ikke havde nogen relation til det gamle riges herskere, forsøgte at legitimere hans styre ved at fremstille sig selv som Hathors søn. De første billeder af Hathor-koen, der drog kongen, stammer fra hans regeringstid, og flere præstinder af Hathor blev afbildet som om de var hans koner, selvom han måske ikke var gift med dem. [109] [110] I løbet af Mellemriget blev dronninger i stigende grad set som direkte legemliggørende for gudinden, ligesom kongen legemliggjorde Ra. [111] Vægten på dronningen som Hathor fortsatte gennem det nye rige. Dronninger blev portrætteret med hovedbeklædningen til Hathor begyndende i slutningen af ​​det attende dynasti. Et billede af Amenhotep III's sed -festival, der skulle fejre og forny hans styre, viser kongen sammen med Hathor og hans dronning Tiye, hvilket kunne betyde, at kongen symbolsk giftede sig med gudinden i løbet af festivalen. [112]

Hatshepsut, en kvinde, der regerede som farao i det tidlige nye rige, understregede hendes forhold til Hathor på en anden måde. [113] Hun brugte navne og titler, der knyttede hende til en række forskellige gudinder, herunder Hathor, for at legitimere hendes styre i det, der normalt var en mandlig stilling. [114] Hun byggede flere templer til Hathor og anbragte sit eget dødshus, der indarbejdede et kapel dedikeret til gudinden, på Deir el-Bahari, som havde været et kultsted for Hathor siden Mellemriget. [113]

Amuns fremtrædende plads under det nye rige gav større synlighed for hans gemal Mut, og i løbet af perioden begyndte Isis at optræde i roller, der traditionelt tilhørte Hathor alene, som gudinden i solbarken. På trods af disse guddommers voksende fremtrædelse forblev Hathor vigtig, især i forhold til frugtbarhed, seksualitet og dronning i hele Det Nye Rige. [115]

Efter det nye rige overskyggede Isis i stigende grad Hathor og andre gudinder, da hun tog deres egenskaber til sig. [116] I den ptolemaiske periode (305-30 f.Kr.), da grækerne styrede Egypten og deres religion udviklede et komplekst forhold til Egyptens, vedtog og modificerede det ptolemæiske dynasti den egyptiske ideologi om kongedømme. Beginning with Arsinoe II, wife of Ptolemy II, the Ptolemies closely linked their queens with Isis and with several Greek goddesses, particularly their own goddess of love and sexuality, Aphrodite. [117] Nevertheless, when the Greeks referred to Egyptian gods by the names of their own gods (a practice called interpretatio graeca), they sometimes called Hathor Aphrodite. [118] Traits of Isis, Hathor, and Aphrodite were all combined to justify the treatment of Ptolemaic queens as goddesses. Thus, the poet Callimachus alluded to the myth of Hathor's lost lock of hair in the Aetia when praising Berenice II for sacrificing her own hair to Aphrodite, [46] and iconographic traits that Isis and Hathor shared, such as the bovine horns and vulture headdress, appeared on images portraying Ptolemaic queens as Aphrodite. [119]

Temples in Egypt Edit

More temples were dedicated to Hathor than to any other Egyptian goddess. [81] During the Old Kingdom her most important center of worship was in the region of Memphis, where "Hathor of the Sycamore" was worshipped at many sites throughout the Memphite Necropolis. During the New Kingdom era, the temple of Hathor of the Southern Sycamore was her main temple in Memphis. [120] At that site she was described as the daughter of the city's main deity, Ptah. [84] The cult of Ra and Atum at Heliopolis, northeast of Memphis, included a temple to Hathor-Nebethetepet that was probably built in the Middle Kingdom. A willow and a sycamore tree stood near the sanctuary and may have been worshipped as manifestations of the goddess. [22] A few cities farther north in the Nile Delta, such as Yamu and Terenuthis, also had temples to her. [121]

As the rulers of the Old Kingdom made an effort to develop towns in Upper and Middle Egypt, several cult centers of Hathor were founded across the region, at sites such as Cusae, Akhmim, and Naga ed-Der. [122] In the First Intermediate Period (c. 2181–2055 BC) her cult statue from Dendera was periodically carried to the Theban necropolis. During the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, Mentuhotep II established a permanent cult center for her in the necropolis at Deir el-Bahari. [123] The nearby village of Deir el-Medina, home to the tomb workers of the necropolis during the New Kingdom, also contained temples of Hathor. One continued to function and was periodically rebuilt as late as the Ptolemaic Period, centuries after the village was abandoned. [124]

Dendera, Hathor's oldest temple in Upper Egypt, dates to at least to the Fourth Dynasty. [125] After the end of the Old Kingdom it surpassed her Memphite temples in importance. [126] Many kings made additions to the temple complex through Egyptian history. The last version of the temple was built in the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods and is today one of the best-preserved Egyptian temples from that time. [127]

In the Old Kingdom, most priests of Hathor, including the highest ranks, were women. Many of these women were members of the royal family. [128] In the course of the Middle Kingdom, women were increasingly excluded from the highest priestly positions, at the same time that queens were becoming more closely tied to Hathor's cult. Thus, non-royal women disappeared from the high ranks of Hathor's priesthood, [129] although women continued to serve as musicians and singers in temple cults across Egypt. [130]

The most frequent temple rite for any deity was the daily offering ritual, in which the cult image, or statue, of a deity would be clothed and given food. [131] The daily ritual was largely the same in every Egyptian temple, [131] although the goods given as offerings could vary according to which deity received them. [132] Wine and beer were common offerings in all temples, but especially in rituals in Hathor's honor, [133] and she and the goddesses related to her often received sistra and menat necklaces. [132] In Late and Ptolemaic times, they were also offered a pair of mirrors, representing the sun and the moon. [134]

Festivals Edit

Many of Hathor's annual festivals were celebrated with drinking and dancing that served a ritual purpose. Revelers at these festivals may have aimed to reach a state of religious ecstasy, which was otherwise rare or nonexistent in ancient Egyptian religion. Graves-Brown suggests that celebrants in Hathor's festivals aimed to reach an altered state of consciousness to allow them interact with the divine realm. [135] An example is the Festival of Drunkenness, commemorating the return of the Eye of Ra, which was celebrated on the twentieth day of the month of Thout at temples to Hathor and to other Eye goddesses. It was celebrated as early as the Middle Kingdom, but it is best known from Ptolemaic and Roman times. [135] The dancing, eating and drinking that took place during the Festival of Drunkenness represented the opposite of the sorrow, hunger, and thirst that the Egyptians associated with death. Whereas the rampages of the Eye of Ra brought death to humans, the Festival of Drunkenness celebrated life, abundance, and joy. [136]

In a local Theban festival known as the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, which began to be celebrated in the Middle Kingdom, the cult image of Amun from the Temple of Karnak visited the temples in the Theban Necropolis while members of the community went to the tombs of their deceased relatives to drink, eat, and celebrate. [137] Hathor was not involved in this festival until the early New Kingdom, [138] after which Amun's overnight stay in the temples at Deir el-Bahari came to be seen as his sexual union with her. [139]

Several temples in Ptolemaic times, including that of Dendera, observed the Egyptian new year with a series of ceremonies in which images of the temple deity were supposed to be revitalized by contact with the sun god. On the days leading up to the new year, Dendera's statue of Hathor was taken to the wabet, a specialized room in the temple, and placed under a ceiling decorated with images of the sky and sun. On the first day of the new year, the first day of the month of Thoth, the Hathor image was carried up to the roof to be bathed in genuine sunlight. [140]

The best-documented festival focused on Hathor is another Ptolemaic celebration, the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion. It took place over fourteen days in the month of Epiphi. [141] [142] Hathor's cult image from Dendera was carried by boat to several temple sites to visit the gods of those temples. The endpoint of the journey was the Temple of Horus at Edfu, where the Hathor statue from Dendera met that of Horus of Edfu and the two were placed together. [143] On one day of the festival, these images were carried out to a shrine where primordial deities such as the sun god and the Ennead were said to be buried. The texts say the divine couple performed offering rites for these entombed gods. [144] Many Egyptologists regard this festival as a ritual marriage between Horus and Hathor, although Martin Stadler challenges this view, arguing that it instead represented the rejuvenation of the buried creator gods. [145] C. J. Bleeker thought the Beautiful Reunion was another celebration of the return of the Distant Goddess, citing allusions in the temple's festival texts to the myth of the solar eye. [146] Barbara Richter argues that the festival represented all three things at once. She points out that the birth of Horus and Hathor's son Ihy was celebrated at Dendera nine months after the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion, implying that Hathor's visit to Horus represented Ihy's conception. [147]

The third month of the Egyptian calendar, Hathor or Athyr, was named for the goddess. Festivities in her honor took place throughout the month, although they are not recorded in the texts from Dendera. [148]

Worship outside Egypt Edit

Egyptian kings as early as the Old Kingdom donated goods to the temple of Baalat Gebal in Byblos, using the syncretism of Baalat with Hathor to cement their close trading relationship with Byblos. [149] A temple to Hathor as Lady of Byblos was built during the reign of Thutmose III, although it may simply have been a shrine within the temple of Baalat. [150] After the breakdown of the New Kingdom, Hathor's prominence in Byblos diminished along with Egypt's trade links to the city. A few artifacts from the early first millennium BC suggest that the Egyptians began equating Baalat with Isis at that time. [151] A myth about Isis's presence in Byblos, related by the Greek author Plutarch in his work On Isis and Osiris in the 2nd century AD, suggests that by his time Isis had entirely supplanted Hathor in the city. [152]

A pendant found in a Mycenaean tomb at Pylos, from the 16th century BC, bears Hathor's face. Its presence in the tomb suggests the Mycenaeans may have known that the Egyptians connected Hathor with the afterlife. [153]

Egyptians in the Sinai built a few temples in the region. The largest was a complex dedicated primarily to Hathor as patroness of mining at Serabit el-Khadim, on the west side of the peninsula. [154] It was occupied from the middle of the Middle Kingdom to near the end of the New. [155] The Timna Valley, on the fringes of the Egyptian empire on the east side of the peninsula, was the site of seasonal mining expeditions during the New Kingdom. It included a shrine to Hathor that was probably deserted during the off-season. The local Midianites, whom the Egyptians used as part of the mining workforce, may have given offerings to Hathor as their overseers did. After the Egyptians abandoned the site in the Twentieth Dynasty, however, the Midianites converted the shrine to a tent shrine devoted to their own deities. [156]

In contrast, the Nubians in the south fully incorporated Hathor into their religion. During the New Kingdom, when most of Nubia was under Egyptian control, pharaohs dedicated several temples in Nubia to Hathor, such as those at Faras and Mirgissa. [78] Amenhotep III and Ramesses II both built temples in Nubia that celebrated their respective queens as manifestations of female deities, including Hathor: Amenhotep's wife Tiye at Sedeinga [157] and Ramesses's wife Nefertari at the Small Temple of Abu Simbel. [158] The independent Kingdom of Kush, which emerged in Nubia after the collapse of the New Kingdom, based its beliefs about Kushite kings on the royal ideology of Egypt. Therefore, Hathor, Isis, Mut, and Nut were all seen as the mythological mother of each Kushite king and equated with his female relatives, such as the kandake, the Kushite queen or queen mother, who had prominent roles in Kushite religion. [159] At Jebel Barkal, a site sacred to Amun, the Kushite king Taharqa built a pair of temples, one dedicated to Hathor and one to Mut as consorts of Amun, replacing New Kingdom Egyptian temples that may have been dedicated to these same goddesses. [160] But Isis was the most prominent of the Egyptian goddesses worshipped in Nubia, and her status there increased over time. Thus, in the Meroitic period of Nubian history (c. 300 BC – AD 400), Hathor appeared in temples mainly as a companion to Isis. [161]

Popular worship Edit

In addition to formal and public rituals at temples, Egyptians privately worshipped deities for personal reasons, including at their homes. Birth was hazardous for both mother and child in ancient Egypt, yet children were much desired. Thus fertility and safe childbirth are among the most prominent concerns in popular religion, and fertility deities such as Hathor and Taweret were commonly worshipped in household shrines. Egyptian women squatted on bricks while giving birth, and the only known surviving birth brick from ancient Egypt is decorated with an image of a woman holding her child flanked by images of Hathor. [162] In Roman times, terracotta figurines, sometimes found in a domestic context, depicted a woman with an elaborate headdress exposing her genitals, as Hathor did to cheer up Ra. [163] The meaning of these figurines is not known, [164] but they are often thought to represent Hathor or Isis combined with Aphrodite making a gesture that represented fertility or protection against evil. [163]

Hathor was one of a handful of deities, including Amun, Ptah, and Thoth, who were commonly prayed to for help with personal problems. [165] Many Egyptians left offerings at temples or small shrines dedicated to the gods they prayed to. Most offerings to Hathor were used for their symbolism, not for their intrinsic value. Cloths painted with images of Hathor were common, as were plaques and figurines depicting her animal forms. Different types of offerings may have symbolized different goals on the part of the donor, but their meaning is usually unknown. Images of Hathor alluded to her mythical roles, like depictions of the maternal cow in the marsh. [166] Offerings of sistra may have been meant to appease the goddess's dangerous aspects and bring out her positive ones, [167] while phalli represented a prayer for fertility, as shown by an inscription found on one example. [168]

Some Egyptians also left written prayers to Hathor, inscribed on stelae or written as graffiti. [165] Prayers to some deities, such as Amun, show that they were thought to punish wrongdoers and heal people who repented for their misbehavior. In contrast, prayers to Hathor mention only the benefits she could grant, such as abundant food during life and a well-provisioned burial after death. [169]

Funerary practices Edit

As an afterlife deity, Hathor appeared frequently in funerary texts and art. In the early New Kingdom, for instance, Osiris, Anubis, and Hathor were the three deities most commonly found in royal tomb decoration. [170] In that period she often appeared as the goddess welcoming the dead into the afterlife. [171] Other images referred to her more obliquely. Reliefs in Old Kingdom tombs show men and women performing a ritual called "shaking the papyrus". The significance of this rite is not known, but inscriptions sometimes say it was performed "for Hathor", and shaking papyrus stalks produces a rustling sound that may have been likened to the rattling of a sistrum. [172] Other Hathoric imagery in tombs included the cow emerging from the mountain of the necropolis [83] and the seated figure of the goddess presiding over a garden in the afterlife. [88] Images of Nut were often painted or incised inside coffins, indicating the coffin was her womb, from which the occupant would be reborn in the afterlife. In the Third Intermediate Period, Hathor began to be placed on the floor of the coffin, with Nut on the interior of the lid. [86]

Tomb art from the Eighteenth Dynasty often shows people drinking, dancing, and playing music, as well as holding menat necklaces and sistra—all imagery that alluded to Hathor. These images may represent private feasts that were celebrated in front of tombs to commemorate the people buried there, or they may show gatherings at temple festivals such as the Beautiful Festival of the Valley. [173] Festivals were thought to allow contact between the human and divine realms, and by extension, between the living and the dead. Thus, texts from tombs often expressed a wish that the deceased would be able to participate in festivals, primarily those dedicated to Osiris. [174] Tombs' festival imagery, however, may refer to festivals involving Hathor, such as the Festival of Drunkenness, or to the private feasts, which were also closely connected with her. Drinking and dancing at these feasts may have been meant to intoxicate the celebrants, as at the Festival of Drunkenness, allowing them to commune with the spirits of the deceased. [173]

Hathor was said to supply offerings to deceased people as early as the Old Kingdom, and spells to enable both men and women to join her retinue in the afterlife appeared as early as the Coffin Texts in the Middle Kingdom. [92] Some burial goods that portray deceased women as goddesses may depict these women as followers of Hathor, although whether the imagery refers to Hathor or Isis is not known. The link between Hathor and deceased women was maintained into the Roman Period, the last stage of ancient Egyptian religion before its extinction. [175]


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This is a historical overview of the complex ancient Egyptian mythological religious system which focuses on the goddess Hathor's characteristics, and her lasting legacy on Egypt. The narrative is supplemented with images of important people, places, and events from the period. It is extensively footnoted, and includes expert testimony, and excerpts from ancient writings to help ensure historical accuracy. It also includes an excellent bibliography to aid readers seeking additional information.

The ancient Egyptians, as is true with any society made up of inquiring humans, perceived the world as a confusing and often terrifying place of destruction, death and unexplained phenomena. In order to make sense of such an existence, they resorted to teleological stories woven into a supporting mythological religious system. Giving a phenomenon a story made it less horrifying, and it also helped them make sense of the world around them. Unsurprisingly, then, the ancient Egyptian gods permeated every aspect of existence. Today, the goddess Hathor is one of the least known deities in the ancient Egyptian pantheon, and the ancient Egyptians would surely be surprised by this fact. Hathor enjoyed a principal position among the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt for much of Egyptian history. If anything, she was ubiquitous, with several key cult centers at Dendera, Memphis, and Thebes, and she played various roles for Egyptian society. Many deities in world religions often have a small coterie of roles that could be logically spliced together to make a single, divine figure whose character can easily be described, but this is not the case for Hathor. She appears in creation stories as the principle bringing forth the universe and is similarly referred to as the great mother goddess of the sky whose symbolic tree both nourishes and nurtures. Yet she is also the alluring goddess of love whose ecstatic cult practices were born from a grotesque myth involving the floodplains of the Nile being saturated with the blood of humans she massacred. She may be difficult to sum up by a person who has grown up surrounded by the symbols of monotheism, but she is an excellent example of the multi-faceted concepts the ancient Egyptians reconciled in their religion. To understand Hathor, it is necessary to understand how the ancient Egyptians thought.

If you are interested in history but shy away from the voluminous, scholarly (dry or pretentious), and frequently painful to read and comprehend, type history books there is an alternative. I suggest that you look for history books published by Charles River Editors.This excellent book was professionally researched from numerous primary and secondary sources, written, and published by Charles River Editors. This digital publishing house produces hundreds of thoroughly researched, concise, informative, and well written historical texts.This collection is focused on chronicling world history, including the lives and contributions of historically significant persons, the course of important events, and the actions of great nations and peoples. I have read a good number of their offerings and found each volume well written, researched, informative and presented in an unbiased, easy to understand manner.

This book delivers an interesting, straight forward account that is enjoyable to read and easy to comprehend. It is well researched and carefully documented for accuracy. The narrative is engaging and insightful, augmented throughout by contemporary accounts that are informative and interesting. This book provides a balanced, factual narrative regarding the Egyptian religious system and in particular their beliefs regarding the fascinating goddess Hathor, and the ubiquitous role she played in the everyday life od ancient Egyptians for over 3000 years. The results is a fascinating glimpse at the culture and people through 3000 years of history. I enjoyed this book, finding it very insightful and informative. Readers who like ancient history and mythology in general and ancient Egyptian history and mythology in particular will enjoy this book.


Goddess Hathor and the Destruction of the Mankind

One of the most interesting myths about Ra in his declining years is the myth of Hathor as the daughter of Ra and his weapon that he used for punishing the sinful mortal people on earth. It is said that Ra gathered all the gods and goddesses in the Hidden Place where he holds his meetings and told Nun, the primeval, that he would punish the mortal people because of their negligence for him and disrespect for his instructions, but he would not do that until Nun determines the means for torturing them. Nun suggested that he can send his daughter Hathor in the form of a lioness to destroy mankind, as a kind of revenge from those who ridiculed the sun god and annoyed him. Ra agreed on this idea and ordered his daughter to take the form of Sekhmet, a savage lioness, and shed the blood of the mortal men who does not respect Ra any more because he grew old and weak.

She obeyed the command and covered the earth with the blood of her preys and spread terror among the inhabitants of the earth. After a while, Ra felt that he is satisfied with what happened and he does not want to destroy all the mankind. Thus he commanded his daughter to stop killing but she disobeyed him because she became blood thirst who finds her pleasure in torturing mortal beings. Ra was very angry because he is not able to force his daughter to follow his order and he tried to find any means for stopping her. Ra accompanied by the other gods tried to trick her by using a huge amount of the plant of mandrake, a red plant grows in Elephantine Island in Aswan, to use it in making a wine that has the appearance of blood and the impact of narcotics to help her to relax and sleep. When she woke up founding the surface of the earth covered with this blood-like drink, she was satisfied and drank till she went in a deep sleep.

This drink made her more relax and put an end for her desire for bloodshed and destruction and when Ra called her again to come back she obeyed him. This day was regarded as a celebration where the worshipers of Hathor celebrate and drink wine as it is indicated on the walls of the temples of the city of Amen. Some historians believe that this version of the myth of the destruction of mankind was made up to justify the excessive drinking in the annual celebrations in the ancient Egyptian civilization.


Jewels of Note

Decorated with exquisite gold work and stunning enamel work, this bracelet features the goddess Hathor (Isis), who serves as the great mother goddess of Ancient Egypt and Nubia. Here she is depicted in gold, seated on a throne and wearing a sun disk with two cow horns and a rearing cobra, which symbolizes royalty and/or divine authority.

She is set in relief against a dark blue background, a supremely preserved example of the Nubian mastery of enameling. This portion of the bracelet was made out of soda-lime glass of unknown origins, tinted with a slight bit of cobalt to attain the deep blue coloring.

The aqua-colored and red-violet sections of the bracelet show more wear, making analysis difficult. Manganese and copper tint the purplish-red areas, a color not typically seen in Nubian pieces. The aqua color, as seen on this and other pieces from this time period, was likely dyed with manganese, cobalt, copper, and a high level of iron.

These colors were more than decorative. Every god and goddess was associated with different colors. Hathor (also called Isis) was represented by the colors green, blue, and black. <2>Both black and green were associated with everything we now attribute to the color green--life, renewal, growth, and the earth's plant life. <2>Blue was connected to the waters and the heavens, and since Hathor was revered as the mother of all life, it makes sense that her colors would be both earthly and divine.

The red color represents the counterpoint to Hathor's rich contribution to earth. Associated in Ancient Egypt with the color of the desert, red represents the chaos and disorder waiting around every corner.

It sometimes represented death, infertility, and destruction. <1>However, being the color of blood, red might also represent life and protection. <1>It was commonly used to decorate protective amulets, which this bracelet may have been for someone at one time.

To view this spectacular specimen up close, you need only visit the MFA during their open hours between now and May 14, 2017. Details are available on the MFA's website .



Sekhmet and Hathor

Sekhmet, with the head of a lion and the body of a woman, delivered the punishments of the gods. She is associated with healers who were designated “pure-priest of Sekhmet”, especially in incantations against the plague. Amulets of Sekhmet were thought to protect the wearer from a premature death. She is also known as the goddess of the southern sycamore at Memphis.

Hathor was goddess of the sky, the sun, the queen, music, and the arts, and was known as the Divine (or Celestial) Cow.

One story of the two goddesses is told in “The Book of the Divine Cow”, a book of the underworld. This is the source for the story of Sekhmet slaughtering humanity and stopping only after Ra tricks her into drinking 7,000 jars of red-dyed beer. In this story the goddess Hathor turns into the terrifying goddess Sekhmet at the request of her father Ra, and punishes those humans who plotted against him. For three nights the goddess Hathor-Sekhmet wades about in the blood of men, the slaughter beginning at Hensu (Herakleopolis Magna). But the sun god takes pity on the humans who are left, and saves them by causing Hathor-Sekhmet to become drunk on blood-red beer. Hathor-Sekhmet forgets what she is doing, and reverts to being only Hathor.

“The two goddesses, raging Sekhmet and content Hathor, act as two sides of the same nature, extreme expressions of a single passion, the rage that can be coaxed back to placidity, or the love that turns to hate. Fury is expressed in Pharaonic art as a lion, embodying the power to destroy enemies, and a range of protective goddesses was represented in this form. Modern onlookers are often baffled by the use of the same imagery for different deities, image and name combine in every instance to form a differently nuanced expression of one central theme, the protective power of a dangerous force.” Stephen Quirke – Ancient Egyptian Religion

The top photo on this page is Sekhmet, the bottom one is Hathor.

  • Ancient Egyptian Religion by Stephen Quirke.
  • Ancient Egyptian Religious Poetry by Margaret A. Murray and D. Litt.
  • Everyday Life in Ancient Egypt in the Times of Ramesses the Great by Dr. Pierre Montet.

The photos are by GillB and are of items in the Egyptian Collection at the British Museum, London.

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Immortal Cities: Children of the Nile is a game by Tilted Mill Entertainment and is published by Myelin/Sega


The Ancient Egyptian Festival of Drunkenness

Det Festival of Drunkenness is a religiously significant celebration that was held annually (said to be biannually in some places) by the ancient Egyptians. The background story for the celebration of this festival can be found in a text known as The Book of the Heavenly Cow . In this text, there is an ancient Egyptian myth involving the destruction of mankind. According to the myth, human beings were saved from extinction thanks, in part, to alcohol.

The Destruction of Mankind

I The Book of the Heavenly Cow , there is a myth known as the ‘Destruction of Mankind’. This story begins by stating that once upon a time, human beings lived together with the gods, and were ruled over by Ra (Re). It goes on to say that when Ra had grown old, mankind began to conspire against him. Ra became aware of mankind’s scheming, and decided to summon the other gods to his palace, in order to obtain counsel from them.

After explaining his dilemma to the gods, it was suggested to Ra that he ought to release his Eye, so that it might smite down humanity. He agreed with this suggestion, and sent his Eye in the form of the goddess Hathor to punish mankind. In the meantime, the humans fled to the desert, as they became fearful of Ra.

Nevertheless, Hathor, who was transformed into a lion (or the warlike goddess Sekhmet), descended and slew mankind in the desert. In one version of the story, the goddess went on a rampage, and was about to wipe out all of humanity when Ra took pity on mankind. It was through Ra’s subsequent intervention that mankind was saved. In an alternate version of the myth, it seems that Ra had planned the event to save mankind, so that he could be the savior of humanity.

Thus, Ra summoned his messengers, and ordered them to bring him a great amount of haematite from Elephantine. He then ordered the haematite to be ground. In the meantime, barley was also being ground to produce beer. When both substances were ready, Ra had the haematite put into the beer, so that it resembled human blood. It is written that 7,000 jars of this beer were made.

One night, Ra poured out the blood-like beer, which flooded the fields “three palms high.” On the morning of the next day, the goddess saw that the fields were flooded with what seemed to be human blood, and was delighted at the sight. She began drinking the liquid without knowing that it was actually beer, and soon became intoxicated, then fell asleep. As a result, mankind was saved from destruction.

The Day of Celebration

The Festival of Drunkenness is celebrated on the 20th day of Thoth, the 1st month of the ancient Egyptian calendar. The festival of drunkenness was a communal affair and on one level, the celebrations took place in temples. On another level, this festival took place in peoples’ houses and shrines.

Typically, the participants of this festival would be served lots of alcohol, get drunk, and fall asleep. It was not regarded, however, as a social drinking session, but was sacred event. In the temples, the celebrants would be awoken by the sound of drums and music. Upon waking up, they would worship the goddess Hathor.

Other aspects of the ritual celebration included dancing and the lighting of torches, which was performed in the hopes that the devotees of the goddess would receive an epiphany from her. Another activity believed to have been undertaken during the festival was sex. In a hymn regarding the festival, there is a phrase “traveling through the marshes”, and it has been speculated that this is an ancient Egyptian euphemism for having sex.

One explanation for this activity is provided by regarding Hathor in her role as a goddess of love. Alternatively, it may have been linked to the fertility of the land as well. The Festival of Drunkenness was typically celebrated around the middle of August, the period when the Nile began to rise. Therefore, sexual activity during the festival may have also been perceived as a means of bringing the Nile floods back, and thus ensuring the fertility of the land.

Egyptian painting of dancers and flutists, from the Tomb of Nebamun.

And apparently Hathor and drunkenness, too, played a role in Ancient Egyptian funerals.



The horned cow-goddess of love, she was also the deity of happiness, dance and music, and a protector of women. She is depicted as a cow, as a woman with the head of a cow, or as a woman with who wears the stylized cow-horns which hold in them the solar disk. Her symbols also included the papyrus reed, the snake and a rattle called a sistrum.

Early in Egyptian mythology she was known has Horus' mother (later Isis assumed this role). Proof of this is seen in her name, "Hathor" which means the "house of Horus". As the mother of Horus, the queen of Egypt was identified with her. This is natural, as the queen was the mother of the Pharaoh, the living Horus. Isis was often shown with cow-horns like Hathor's on her head when the artist wanted to empha her role as the mother of Horus.

It was said that when a child was born, Seven Hathors came to his bedside to announce his fate. The Seven Hathors were believed to know the future and the moment of death for every Egyptian. A person's destiny depended on the hour of their death and the luck of ill-fortune was connected with it. It was believed that the Hathors would exchange a prince born to ill-fortune with a more fortunate child, therefore protecting the dynasty and the nation. The Hathors were shown as a group of young women playing tambourines and wearing the disk and horns of Hathor. During Ptolemaic times (when Greeks ruled over Egypt), they were identified with the Pleiades.

In the Story of Re, she was created by her father Re as "Sekhmet" as a destroyer of men, who were disobedient to him. Later Re changed his mind, but even he could not stop her from killing men. He then disguised beer as blood and when Sekhmet became drunk, she could no longer kill and was known thereafter as Hathor, a goddess of love.

Her cult was centered in Dendera where she was a goddess of fertility and childbirth. In Thebes she was seen as a goddess of the dead, and the Greeks identified her with Aphrodite (their goddess of love).

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Hathor

Hathor was one of the forty-two state gods and goddesses of Egypt, and one of the most popular and powerful. She was goddess of many things: love, beauty, music, dancing, fertility, and pleasure. She was the protector of women, though men also worshipped her. She had priests as well as priestesses in her temples.

Her center of worship was Dendera, and her veneration began early in Egypt&rsquos history, possibly in the Predynastic Era. She was the daughter of Ra and was sometimes called &ldquoThe Eye of Ra&rdquo (a title shared with Bast and Sekhmet, among others) in her role as the sun god&rsquos defender. As the wife of Horus, she was associated with the mother of the pharaoh in her role as Horus&rsquos nurse, and also with the wife of the pharaoh in her role as Horus&rsquos consort.

In her role as goddess of beauty, she was the patron of cosmetics. Wearing cosmetics was seen as a form of worship to Hathor, and offerings of mirrors or cosmetic palettes to her were common. Every year, her statue would be carried in a boat to Edfu to be reunited with Horus. A festival celebrating their union would then begin.

Billede: RC 64 and RC 1109 Hathor seal and figure at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is an educational institution that uses trans-disciplinary approaches to increasing knowledge about the past, present, and future, especially related to the diversity and relationships in nature and among cultures.


Se videoen: Kanalisering af Gudinden Sophia (Oktober 2021).