She is the mother of Nefertum. She was the daughter of the sun god Ra and is associated with the concept of the Eye of Ra (the all-seeing eye) and the Distant Goddess (a female deity who leaves Ra and returns to bring transfromation). Although Herodotus claims that this festival outstripped all others in magnificence and excess, in reality there were many festivals celebrating many gods which could claim the same. Sekhmet is closely associated with the pharaoh and his kingship. The goddess Bastet has been associated with Nefertum, the god of perfume and sweet things. 04 Jan 2021. Although she was greatly venerated, she was equally feared as two of her titles demonstrate: The Lady of Dread and The Lady of Slaughter. Images of Bastet began appearing around 3,000 b.c.e., in which she was portrayed as a lioness, or as a woman’s body with a lioness’ head. Scholar Geraldine Pinch writes: From the Pyramid Texts onward, Bastet has a double aspect of nurturing mother and terrifying avenger. She protected the home from evil spirits and disease, especially diseases associated with women and children. They are closer than most might think. Bastet, in fact, was second only to Isis in popularity and, once she traveled through Greece to Rome, was equally popular among the Romans and the subjects of the later Roman Empire. (2016, July 24). He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. Her name also is rendered as B'sst, Baast, Ubaste, and Baset. The people of Egypt came annually to the great festival of Bastet at Bubastis which was one of the most lavish and popular events of the year. Sekhmet and Bastet: Why They Aren’t the Same, Nymphs of the Underworld and Their Powers, Hippodamia Greek Mythology: A Story of Incest and Betrayal, How Procne and Philomela Got Their Revenge. Mark, Joshua J. Sekhmet is a solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of Ra and often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bastet. Bastet was the ancient Egyptian goddess of protection and cats. They had pointed snouts, triangular swiveling ears and seemed to resemble a house cat in appearance. She drank it and passed out, sleeping for three whole days. She is sometimes rendered in art with a litter of kittens at her feet but her most popular depiction is of a sitting cat gazing ahead. The battle with Apep could disrupt the balance of the world. Whereas her twin sister Sekhmet was seen as the protectress of Upper Egypt, Bastet was revered as the deity who protected Lower Egypt. The Egyptians refused to fight for fear of harming the animals and offending Bastet and so surrendered. The iconography of the goddess changed, however, perhaps as her nature began to be viewed as milder than that of other lioness deities. **I do not own the music or the images appearing in the video. She was also born from the fire of Ra's eyes. Since the Second Dynasty, Bastet was worshiped as a deity, most commonly in Lower Egypt. First, she tells him, he must sign over all his property and possessions to her. In the beginning, she had a lioness head, but it changed to that of a cat in time. Today we are going to focus on two slightly similar, but still different Egyptian Goddesses: Sekhmet and Bastet! Set Up a Bastet Altar. He further makes restitution to the inhabitants of the tomb by traveling to another city and retrieving mummies buried there who were part of the tomb inhabitant's family so they can all be reunited in one place. Feared as much as respected, her fierce temper and hot blood were known to be deadly to those that did not honor her father. The most dominant role of Bastet is similar to some other feline goddesses – and that is protection of the king. Books While they are signing the papers Taboubu disappears into another room and returns wearing a linen dress so sheer that he can see "every part of her body through it" and his desire for her grows almost uncontrollable. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say (Histories, Book II.60). Bastet was the daughter of Ra, sister of Sekhmet, the wife of Ptah, and the mother of Mihos. Mark, Joshua J. When the people of ancient Egypt rebelled against him, Ra claimed they plotted against him, and sent Hathor to punish humanity, but her bloodlust transformed her into Sekhmet. For s… Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. She has a strong presence in pop culture and a … The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. She is recognized in many ways, and predominately around creating and putting out Fires. Although she was greatly venerated, she was equally feared as two of her titles demonstrate: The Lady of Dread and The Lady of Slaughter. Although scholars disagree on who Taboubu represents, her close association with Bastet as the daughter of one of the goddesses' priests makes this deity a very likely candidate. Sekhmet’s name was derived from the word word sḫm, which translates into “power or might”. He is so consumed with lust that he agrees to this and moves to embrace her. One spell advises pretending to be the 'son of Bastet' in order to avoid catching the plague. (178). The only difference is that Bastet is the mild heat from the sun, while Sekhmet is the vicious heat. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 24 Jul 2016. They associated Apollo with Horus, the son of Isis (Heru-sa-Aset) and so called the goddess known as Bast ba'Aset (Soul of Isis) which would be the literal translation of her name with the addition of the second 'T' to denote the feminine (Aset being among the Egyptian names for Isis). Bronze Cat from Egyptby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). When the temple was excavated in 1887 and 1889 CE over 300,000 mummified cats were found. Herodotus describes this temple: Save for the entrance, it stands on an island; two separate channels approach it from the Nile, and after coming up to the entry of the temple, they run round it on opposite sides; each of them a hundred feet wide, and overshadowed by trees. "Bastet." A few words of who She is and what She does. Lion and cat and woman, goddess of war and fertility—the Egyptian goddess Bast (also known as Bastet) contains multitudes. The predatory nature of Taboubu, once she has Setna where she wants him, is reminiscent of the cat toying with the mouse. Herodotus presents a vivid picture of the people traveling to Bubastis for the festival: When the people are on their way to Bubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. The scholar Richard H. Wilkinson comments on this: In her earliest known form, as depicted on stone vessels of the 2nd dynasty, Bastet was represented as a woman with the maneless head of a lioness. Wilkinson, commenting on her universal popularity, writes: Amulets of cats and litters of kittens were popular New Year gifts, and the name of Bastet was often inscribed on small ceremonial 'New Year flasks', probably to evoke the goddess as a bestower of fertility and because Bastet, like other lioness goddesses, was viewed as a protective deity able to counter the darker forces associated with the 'Demon Days' at the end of the Egyptian year. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. It was believed that every day she would ride through the … Although Bastet is usually shown as a domestic feline, she can also take the form of a lioness. English: In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet was originally the warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing for Upper Egypt. Web. Setna then understands he has been punished for his transgression in the tomb and quickly returns the book. For me, the major difference is that Bastet is more of a local protector, so to speak, in that cats were kept and revered as pets and members of the family. She bears the solar disk and the Uraeus which associates her with Wadjet and royalty. A stone wall, carven with figures, runs round it; within is a grove of very tall trees growing round a great shrine, wherein is the image of the goddess; the temple is a square, each side measuring a furlong. For punish meant, he decided to send his daughter, Hathor, in the form of a lioness which became Sekhmet. Bastet appears early in the 3rd millennium BCE in her form as an avenging lioness in Lower Egypt. Late Period–Ptolemaic Period On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134. The main character of the Setna tales is Prince Setna Khaemwas who is based on the actual prince and High Priest of Ptah Khaemweset (c. 1281 - c. 1225 BCE), the son of Ramesses II. (178). Sekhmet, the eye of the Sun God Ra, is “the mighty one”, the Goddess of the hot noontime sun, is one of the most powerful Goddesses of Egypt. Bastetby Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright). Setna then pulls off his clothes, takes Taboubu, and leads her quickly to the bedroom. Try (178), Bastet was so popular that, in 525 BCE, when Cambyses II of Persia invaded Egypt, he made use of the goddess to force the Egyptian's surrender. Knowing of their great love for animals, and cats especially, he had his soldiers paint the image of Bastet on their shields and then arranged all the animals that could be found and drove them before the army toward the pivotal city of Pelusium. A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bast was dressed in green and faced east. As they travel by river to Bubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. He asks about her and learns her name is Taboubu, daughter of a priest of Bastet. Bastet or Bast (Ancient Egyptian: bꜣstjt, Coptic: Ⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥⲧⲉ /ʔuːˈβastə/) was a goddess of ancient Egyptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dynasty (2890 BCE). In the later Coffin Texts (c. 2134-2040 BCE) she retains this role but is also seen as a protector of the dead. In this story young Prince Setna steals a book from a tomb, even after the inhabitants of the tomb beg him not to. She is associated with both Mau, the divine cat who is an aspect of Ra, and with Mafdet, goddess of justice and the first feline deity in Egyptian history. What is the relationship between Bastet and Sekhmet? Mark, J. J. While she's not the only cat goddess from ancient history, Bastet is probably the most famous cat goddess today. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Bastet Sekhmet. Setna instantly agrees to this; his children are murdered and their bodies thrown into the street. Book. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. Sekhmet is no more the "angry" side of Bast than Bast is the "pacified" side of Sekhmet; if any Egyptian deity occupies this role, it would be Het-hert, Who clearly becomes Sekhmet after She has gone forth to slaughter those who disobeyed the will of the Creator (Ra or Tem). Bast, beloved, banish all our fears. In some renditions of the story, Bastet killed Apep in the night in her cat form. When Apep had the upper hand, earthquakes and storms occurred. Ra fought each night against Apep with the help of his daughter Bastet. Both Sekhmet and Bastet are closely connected to the sun god Ra. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); We use cookies to improve your experience on our website and to show you relevant ads. In time, as Bastet became more of a familial companion, she lost all trace of her lionine form and was regularly depicted as a house cat or a woman with the head of a cat often holding a sistrum. A freelance writer and former part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. However, during the Third Intermediate Period and by the 22nd Dynasty or Bubastite Dynasty (945-715 BCE), this goddess began to be depicted with the head of a cat instead of a lioness. Her form and powers changed over the years. He plucked out his eye, which formed into a terrifying lion-headed goddess. Further, women in Egypt were held in high regard and had almost equal rights which almost guaranteed a goddess who protected women and presided over women's secrets an especially high standing. Shortly afterwards he is in Memphis, near the Temple of Ptah, when he sees a beautiful woman accompanied by her servants and lusts after her. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. She was the War goddess and the protector of women, family and pleasure. Considered as the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt, ‘Bast’ was known as ‘Sekhmet’ in Upper Egypt, who was also a lioness deity of warfare. Sylvain Pinault , , Stéphane Mekki , Laurence Manceau , , Etienne Brousse . Sekhmet also is a solar deity, often considered an aspect of the goddesses Hathor and Bast. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. She married Ptah. Bastet is the goddess with the head of either a lion and a head. (115). Ancient History Encyclopedia. But Ra was always managed to win before the end of the day. Just like Mafdet, the feline protector of the pharaoh’s chambers, and the ferocious Sekhmet, the lioness who destroyed his enemies, Bast has been seen as the one who mothered the king and protected him.. She is associated with both Mau, the divine cat who is an aspect of Ra, and with Mafdet, goddess of justice and the first feline deity in Egyptian history. Her name was originally B'sst which became Ubaste, then Bast, then Bastet; the meaning of this name is not known or, at least, not universally agreed upon. As with many of the other festivals throughout Egypt, Bastet's celebration was a time to cast aside inhibitions much in the way modern revelers do in Europe during Carnivale or in the United States at Mardi Gras. We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. Like other fierce goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon, she was called the “Eye of Re.” Aegis of Sakhmet or Bastet 664–30 B.C. Dedicated to the beloved Sekhmet. Here are some of her Divine Names from the Hymns of the Temple of Horus at Edfu: The goddess was worshipped primarily at Bubastis but held a tutelary position at Saqqara and elsewhere. Herodotus is the primary source for information on the cult of Bastet and, unfortunately, does not go into great detail on the particulars of her worship. She holds him off, however, and tells him that his children must be sent for and must also sign the documents agreeing to this so that there will be no problems with the legal transference. Another well researched and informative book by the hand of author Lesley Jackson. Bast or Bastet the Egyptian Cat goddess, Late period after 600 BC. Â. Sekhmet and Bastet: Why They Aren’t the Same - Cryptids Guide Sekhmet is known as Goddess of the West wearing red and Bastet is named the Goddess of the East dressed in green. Mother of the gods, no gods existed Till thou camest there and gave them life. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. She was married to Ptah, the god of healing.They balanced each other. Ra becomes angered upon seeing this and sought a way to gain retribution. As protectress, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, after Sekhet, the lioness, and consequently of the chief god Ra. Hello, Sign in. Setna agrees to this also and sends for his children. The lion and cat were considered ideal symbols of solar power and came to embody the original power of sekhem. As noted, she was as popular among men as women in that every man had a mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or daughter who benefited from the care Bastet provided. Designate a shelf, tabletop, or credenza as Bastet’s altar. Cat Mummyby Mary Harrsch (Photographed at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Calif.) (CC BY-NC-SA). In some versions, she wakes up to see Ptah, God of creation and fertility, and falls in love. Even so, scholars have come to no agreement on the meaning of her name. The "slaughterers of Bastet" were said to inflict plague and other disasters on humanity. The aegis was an element of … Sekhmet & Bastet: The Feline Powers of Egypt is a detailed study of the history, mythology, symbolism and worship of the lion and cat goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Her cult center at Bubastis in Lower Egypt became one of the richest and most luxuriant cities in Egypt as people from all over the country traveled there to pay their respects to the goddess and have the bodies of their dead cats interred in the city. Bastet is the Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women's secrets, cats, fertility, and childbirth. By the time of the Pyramid Texts (c. 2400-2300 BCE) she was associated with the king of Egypt as his nursemaid in youth and protector as he grew. Ra, the first pharaoh and king of the gods, was initially a wise and just ruler. Sekhmet & Bastet by Lesley Jackson. As with many deities in Egyptian religion, she also played a role in the afterlife as a guide and helper to the dead although this was not one of her primary duties. In Bastet's case, although she became milder, she was no less dangerous to those who broke the law or abused others. The temple is in the midst of the city, the whole circuit of which commands a view down into it; for the city's level has been raised, but that of the temple has been left as it was from the first, so that it can be seen into from without. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town. The Egyptians believed that she was one of the later daughters of Ra, the creator sun god. In another myth, Ra became very angry at mankind since they did not respect the gods anymore. Bastet was extremely popular throughout Egypt with both men and women from the Second Dynasty of Egypt (c. 2890 - c. 2670 BCE) onward with her cult centered at the city of Bubastis from at least the 5th century BCE. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. (System Lord Plot Hooks) They were roughly 6.5 feet tall, with short soft fur covering their bodies. Place a statue or … The most obvious understanding would be that, originally, the name meant something like She of the Ointment Jar (Ubaste) and the Greeks changed the meaning to Soul of Isis as they associated her with the most popular goddess in Egypt. A road, paved with stone, of about three furlongs' length leads to the entrance, running eastward through the market place, towards the temple of Hermes; this road is about 400 feet wide, and bordered by trees reaching to heaven. In spite of her rather violent nature, she was a kind goddess that many people worshiped. Both Bastet and Sekhment took their early forms as feline defenders of the innocent, avengers of the wronged, from Mafdet. Geraldine Pinch claims that "her name probably means She of the Ointment Jar" as she was associated with protection and protective ointments (115). They celebrated the festival of the goddess by drinking, dancing, making music, and displaying their genitals" (116). Ra named this new goddess "Sekhmet", and command… Retrieved from Both Bastet and Sekhmet took their early forms as feline defenders of the innocent, avengers of the wronged, from Mafdet. Pharaoh informs him that his children still live and that everything he has experienced has been an illusion. by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). The Tale of Setna and Taboubu (part of the work known as First Setna or Setna I) is the middle section of a work of Egyptian literature composed in Roman Egypt history and currently held by the Cairo Museum in Egypt. In the passage above, Herodotus makes note of how the women in the boats mocked those on shore and this would have been done to encourage them to leave off their daily tasks and join the celebration of the great goddess. In one myth, Ra was in battle with Apep, an evil snake deity of chaos. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The British Museum, London When Upper Egypt in the South conquered Lower Egypt in the delta area, the Pharaoh brought the cult of Sekhmet with him. Strictly Tabubue: The Legacy of an Egyptian Femme Fatale by Steve Vinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. This "raising of the skirts" by the women, described by Herodotus, had as much to do with freedom from social constraints as it did with the fertility associated with the goddess. Cats were also greatly prized in Egypt as they kept homes free of vermin (and so controlled diseases), protected the crops from unwanted animals, and provided their owners with fairly maintenance-free company. Wilkinson writes: The goddess's popularity grew over time and in the Late Period and Graeco-Roman times she enjoyed great status. She was the warrior daughter and defender of Ra, who sent her to fight his archenemy Apep. As such, humanity began to stop worshipping Ra, ultimately forgetting to uphold Ma'at. I really loved this book for many reasons. She is sometimes considered an alternate form of Bastet. In Bastet's association with Mau, she is sometimes seen destroying the enemy of Ra, Apophis, by slicing off his head with a knife in her paw; an image Mau is best known by. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt. It is the demonic aspect that mainly features in the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead and in medical spells. The Greeks associated her closely with their goddess Artemis and believed that, as Artemis had a twin brother (Apollo) so should Bast. Bastet, however, was also sometimes linked with the god of perfume and sweet smells, Nefertum, who was thought to be her son and this further links the meaning of her name to the ointment jar. Since she is the goddess of destruction and him of creation, they became symbol of healing and reestablished balance. To stop her, Ra offered her a beer mixed in with red dye, to make it look like blood. Geraldine Pinch, citing Herodotus, claims, "women were freed from all constraints during the annual festival at Bubastis. One of the most important aspects of Bastet's festival was the delivery of mummified cats to her temple. He has never seen any woman more beautiful in his life and sends her a note asking her to come to his bed for ten gold pieces but she returns a counter-offer telling him to meet her at the Temple of Bastet in Saqqara where she lives and he will then have all he desires. (Histories, II.138). Last modified July 24, 2016. Although the story may be interpreted in many different ways, Geraldine Pinch argues that this section of the tale can most clearly be understood as an illustration of how Bastet punishes transgressors. But when they have reached Bubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. Sekhmet, also spelled Sakhmet, in Egyptian religion, a goddess of war and the destroyer of the enemies of the sun god Re. Sekhmet of the Boat, the wicked fear thee Trampling down all evil and all strife. The Egyptians built 700 monuments to worship her. The Sekhmet were a species of feline Goa'uld hosts mostly utilized by Bastet. by Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright), by Mary Harrsch (Photographed at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Calif.) (CC BY-NC-SA). With the documents signed he again moves toward her but, no, she has a third demand: his children must be killed so that they will not try to renege on the agreement and embroil her in a long, drawn-out court battle. Bastet is sometimes rendered in art with a litter of kittens at her feet but her most popular depiction is of a sitting cat gazing ahead. Cite This Work It seems both men and women served as her clergy and, as with the other Egyptian deities, her temple at Bubastis was the focal point of the city providing services ranging from medical attention to counseling to food distribution. The historian Polyaenus (2nd century CE) writes how, after his victory, Cambyses II hurled cats from a bag into the Egyptian's faces in scorn that they would surrender their city for animals. The connection between the two goddesses somehow lessened, and Bastet lost her role as a goddess of war. Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Over the centuries, however, he became old and senile. In ancient Greek religion, she was known as Ailuros (Koinē Greek: αἴλουρος "cat"). 506 likes. "Bastet." Commonly referred to as the violent and aggressive manifestation of the Eye of Ra, Sekhmet had a sister called Hathor.Unlike Sekhmet, Hathor was a gentler peace-loving goddess. She went on a rampage, but she lost control, induced by bloodlust, and no one could stop her. miwu: list of offerings for Sekhmet and Bast [compiled by many sources] Sekhmet: Sand; Spices and spicy foods (cinnamon, ginger particularly) Frankincense, copal, and dragon's blood incense Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet is the Egyptian goddess of war and destruction. Sekhmet was associated both with disease and with healing and medicine. Lege… It is suggested that Bastet enjoyed … They had whiskers, sharp teeth and thin, razor-sharp claws on each hand. When Upper and Lower Egypt unified, her importance as a war goddess dwindled a bit, with Sekhmet … The popularity of this goddess, however, made her celebration of particular significance in Egyptian culture. She bears the Uraeus, which associates her … Ancient History Encyclopedia. As he is embracing her she suddenly screams and vanishes - as does the room and villa around them - and Setna is standing naked in the street with his penis thrust into a clay pot. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Â, Bastets & Sekhmetsby Kotomi Yamamura (CC BY-NC-SA). Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands. In the myth, Sekhmet came to being after Ra gazed upon the earth. Other names of the Festival of Bast include, Procession of Bast or Bast Guards the Two Lands. Both females are at times Goddesses of the Sun. Khaemweset, known as the "First Egyptologist", was famous for his restoration and preservation efforts of ancient Egyptian monuments and, by the time of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, was greatly revered as a sage and magician. The main cult centre of this deity was the city of Bubastis - Tell Basta - in the eastern Delta, and although only the outlines of the temple of Bastet now remain, Herodotus visited the site in the 5th century BC and praised it for its magnificence. This was to better differentiate between the two. She is believed to protect the pharaoh during war as the warrior goddess of Upper Egypt. License. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Sekhmet-Bastet Goddess of Fire With great concern over the continued and growing fires around us, the Goddess Sekhmet comes to mind.

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