Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slavery in Ancient Egypt

This is a hotly debated topic and there is no way to address it in one post however I am going to hit on the basics. There are three main questions to address. What is the definition of slave and servant in Ancient Egypt? How does the Ancient Egyptian definition of slave compare to more modern and contemporary (to the Egyptians) definitions of slave? How did one become a slave in Ancient Egypt?

With these questions I think we can address a lot of the comments commonly made about slavery in Ancient Egypt. I am actually going to address these questions in reverse of how I listed them above.

How did someone become a slave in Ancient Egypt?

The most common way was probably prisoner of war. Egyptian history shows that often the soldiers of defeated armies became slaves. Most were used as laborers or as house servants.

The second most common method was likely debt. Debt slaves were more like the concept of indentured servants in Europe where someone would work as a slave/servant until the debt had been paid. Debt slaves did not lose their rights due to their service.

By birth the children of a slave, particularly debt slaves who had not paid off the debt, would remain slaves until the debt was paid or the terms of the slavery was fulfilled.

Punishment! Pharaohs, Viziers and the like could give forced labor as a punishment for a crime.

Voluntary slavery. We might not even call this slavery by modern terms. Families or individuals would give themselves, their families or their children into service of an individual. Those taking them on as slaves would provide them with protection and give economic stability to the people. Usually these individuals would pay so much to their "owner" for a set period of time at a set rate. As far as I have read these individuals also kept their rights as citizens.

The slave trade of other nations brought slaves into Egypt and they were sold or given as tribute. There were no slave markets in Egypt through most of its history as existed in many other parts of the ancient world.  Slave trades were usually for specific skills; dancers, weavers, people who spoke extra languages, craftsmen or on occasion a noble or pharaoh searching for exotic looks.

How is slavery defined by Egypt and ourselves?

In modern times we identify slavery as being owned, forced to toil, abuse, domination and persons as property. Our modern definitions would be on par with how Romans, for example, felt about slaves.

The Egyptians however did not feel the same about slavery. Slaves in Egypt often, more often than not, kept their civil rights. Slaves were also often freed for various reasons. Decent treatment of those in service (and slaves) is written in the moral conduct of the religion. Treating a slave well in Ancient Egypt was part of judgement and the weight of the heart on the scales. In addition, freeing a slave after a fair amount of work had been done was written as a boon for the heart at judgement as well.  Egyptian slaves did not all toil on temples. Anything from a field worker to a tax collector; watchmen to temple members could be the duty of a slave. Egyptian slaves could also own property, their own businesses and personal possessions which is contradictory to many of the modern ideas of slavery. Slaves could perhaps marry and definitely co-habitate with both slaves and non-slaves in committed unions with the allowances of the master. Slaves maintained legal rights as well and could speak up as witnesses or in their defense if accused of a crime. Egyptian slaves also could have higher status than free Egyptians. For example, the slave of a temple high priest that was say in charge of ensuring the temple always had enough incense could easily have a higher stature in the Egyptian society than a free field worker. The final interesting tidbit about Egyptian slaves is often the Mistress of the House (ie the owner's wife) would care for and raise the slave children because children were not permitted to be used for labors of adults. It was also forbidden for a master to sell the children or spouses of a union he had sanctioned as ok. Egyptian slave families were rarely broken up aside from grown children being gifted or sent to other locations to work.

Another problem with the word slave in Ancient Egypt is that there is little difference between the usage of slave and servant. For example, priests would interchangeably call themselves slaves and servants of their god. Also, all bets were off when outsiders took over Egypt, particularly the Greeks who brought large numbers of slaves and increased the use of Greek style, more modern style, slavery into Egypt.

It leaves the question of how much slavery was in Egypt by modern standards? Was any of this even slavery by our understanding of the word? This is still something that is contested in research but more and more there is a leaning toward less examples of slavery in Egypt based on our modern understanding of the word compared to how these Egyptians lived.

Some sources for identification of slaves and the life of a slave in Egypt include:

The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt
Grimal's History of Ancient Egypt
Romer's History of Ancient Egypt
Life of the Ancient Egyptians
The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization
Some on the Slavery in Egypt during Roman times.
The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt: A Modern Investigation of Pharaoh's Workforce

The next post I will tackle the idea of slaves as pyramid and temple builders which will be closely related to that last book about the pyramid builders. I would have included it here but I think this post is quite long enough.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Ruler for a Ruler

I made a claim a couple posts back that the Egyptians were the first to have what modern man would call or recognize as a ruler. The Egyptian ruler is most often called a cubit stick or a cubit rod. Rods of various forms had been found. Wooden rods were most likely those actually used by craftsman in their labor or architects while drawing or building. Stone cubit rods have also been found and it is suggested these were strictly ceremonial. (though some ceremonial cubit rods were also wood.) This makes perfect sense. A heavy stone ruler a foot and a half long would be unwieldy for drafting or carrying around all day. Also, a stone rod would likely break often when dropped or hit wrong against the stone or bricks being measured. However, it is not unusual that Egyptians created a ceremonial replica because this is a common trend both in their spiritual practices and in their death practices.

So, what is a cubit?

A cubit is the standard Egyptian measurement comparable to the modern foot or meter. There are two cubits used. The short cubit which is the distance from the elbow to the tip of the fingers of the pharaoh. The royal cubit is the distance from the elbow to the fingertips plus a palm width. The royal cubit was the standard cubit in use.
Like the foot or meter, cubits were also broken into smaller measurements. These increments were 6 palms for the short (7 palms for the royal), 4 fingers for each palm, a finger was then broken into fractions from halves to 1/16th. 1/16th of a finger seems to be the smallest measure the Egyptians used. 1/16th of a finger is approximately .12 cm (mm) or .05 inches. To give you an idea of how small this is the width of 1/16th of a finger is approximately the width of a standard earring post or an 16-18 gauge piece of piercing jewelry. It is this precision that was likely to allow for such perfection in their buildings as far as fitting stones together.

Two other measurements were common the short span and the great span. Short Span is the distance between the thumb and the pointer finger when they are spread as far as possible. The Great Span is the distance from the thumb to the little finger when they are spread as far as possible.

Great Span
Short span

This leads us to why the Egyptians were the first in history, that we know of, to show up with a standardized ruler. Large scale building and moving of materials. The ruler is a necessary tool when you consider an architect on the Giza Plateau telling some overseer in a stone quarry how big to make the stone blocks. The second reason for a ruler was the obsessive way the Egyptians measured the flooding of the Nile. Priests needed a standard to exist over many generations so that Nile floods and Nile predictions could be made. 

A workman's cubit rod at the Liverpool Museum.

A little more about the cubit rod.

The rods had other markings on them besides the tick marks for measuring. Most of the rods included inscriptions invoking gods related to science and craft. Th inscription from the wooden rod above is:
"A boon which the King gives (to) Amun-Re and (to) Ptah, Lord of the Two Lands, and (to) Thoth, Lord of Divine Words, great god who dwells in Hermopolis, that they may give life, prosperity and health, and a good lifespan, following their Ka's, for the Ka of the Servant in the Place of Truth, Any."

In addtion to the inscription ceremonial cubit rods had lists of the nomes arranged by their order from Lower Egypt to Upper Egypt. These nome inscriptions were usually listed by the image or name of the god of that nome.

Ceremonial cubit rod at the Louvre showing the names of the nomes along the top
as well as the measurement symbols along the edge.
(Remember to read right to left like an Egyptian.) Photo by Jon Bodsworth.

Close up of the Louvre Cubit rod
Notice on the rod that the fractions are very clear. The mouth glyph which indicates that it is a fraction and then the number after. We can also more clearly see the second line from the top which names the sections of the cubit and then the upper most line with the names of the nomes.

Fragment of a stone, ceremonial cubit rod on display
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Quick Cubit Conversion Chart:

(Conversions are approximations from measuring a variety of cubit rods)
- 1 Short Cubit = 45cm = 18 inches
- 1 Royal Cubit = 53 cm = 21 inches
- 1 Royal Cubit = 1 Short cubit + 1 palm
- 1 Royal Cubit = 7 Palms
- 1 Palm = 4 Fingers
- 1 Royal Cubit = 28 Fingers
- 1 Great Span = 2 Palms

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Everyone's Favorite Math Subject - Fractions

As we saw with numbers, the Egyptian had glyphs to represent fractions. The symbol is portions of the eye broken into representative sections. (For the previous discussion about eyes you can go back to this post and read about them.) Suffice to say that there are some disagreements over time whether this eye is the Eye of Horus or the Eye of Ra or the Wadjet or none of these between the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom. For the sake of this discussion I am just going to call it an eye instead of trying to decide what time period is right to use or what word would be right.

The Eye fractions as presented at
The First International Conference on Ancient Egyptian Science .
Since this illustration it has been suggested that the eyebrow stroke is 1/8.
Looking at it in pieces we can imagine writing a fraction. The Egyptians did not write fractions the same way we do. All Egyptian fractions are one over some number with the exception of 2/3. We'll leave 2/3 for later. Right now we will focus on how an Egyptian might write other fractions.

For example:
We would write 3/4 where an Egyptian would write the glyphs for 1/4 and 1/2 together to show 3/4.
If we write 3/8 the Egyptians would write 1/4 and 1/8 together.

It might seem clunky at first but even very complex fractions could be quite beautiful. Most standards leave the sections in the place of the eye form. So our Egyptian 3/8 would be a brow and pupil drawn in the normal placement. To get a better idea here are all of the pieces in the standard places.

Another set of fraction symbols exist in the Egyptian set of glyphs. These glyphs were used at the same time as the Eye glyphs were.

The final thing about fractions is conversions. The Egyptians used conversions and fractions particularly in food related topics such as grain but have been found related to other subjects. These conversions would be very similar to modern conversions between different units. I will discuss more about conversions in another post when the topic of geometry is at hand.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Numbers game

The Ancient Egyptians had separate hieroglyphs for numbers. Unlike our modern language where we have numbers (1,2,3....) and words for them (one, two, three...) the Egyptians had one symbol that meant both the numeral and the word. For the Ancient Egyptians words and symbols went hand in hand so there is no surprise in knowing the hieroglyphs given for a number were related to spiritual and cultural connection of those numbers.

1-9 are simply tick marks. Part of the reason for the first nine being tick marks is because it is believed that the human mind can instantly recognize single digit numbers without counting.

10 is a cattle hobble. This is something that would partially bind the cattle's legs so they could walk but not run. It is believed that like many African cultures the Egyptians saw 10 cattle as almost a base currency.

100 is a coil of rope. This is likely due to a connection to work and labor. "Gangs" of workers in Egypt are sometimes listed as 100 men.

1,000 is a lotus flower. The lotus was the number of joy and satisfaction.

10,000 is the upraised finger. This is a symbol of command which makes sense for a number like 10,000 which would be the count of a very large army or contingent of workers in Ancient Egypt

100,000 is the tadpole symbol of rebirth. 100,000 is related to cosmic cycles in Egyptian mythology.

1,000,000 is a man/god raising his hands in praise. Million was a sacred number reserved most often for offerings or blessings to deities or pharaohs. ex. May he live in peace for millions of years or may he find himself satisfied with millions of loaves of bread.

That's a little on numbers. We'll continue this discussion tomorrow or the next day with fractions.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Made to Measure

I thought today we would take some time to talk math and Ancient Egypt, though, I am going to handle it in sections over the next few days. I wanted to start with some Egyptian mathematical firsts.

They were the first to:
-have what a modern person would recognize as a ruler to measure.
-have a standardized measurement system for both architecture and science; including building, math, astronomy, weather studies and the like.
-have a standard of fractions.
-use the number one million, and often millions of millions.
- explore the geometry of hemispheres, circles, rectangles, triangles, cylinders and of course pyramids.
-have examples of multiplication.
-have a calculation to control recipes: beer strength as a function of grain.
- add very small fractions such as 1/500th
-write down problems involving scaling shapes.
-write problems involving calculations of volume.
-write formulas for the area of a circle.

If you are interested in the above you can take a peek at the following resources.
Works of Nora E Scott on the Egyptian Cubit Rods.
Egyptian papyri that contain math topics and math problems:
-Moscow Mathematical Papyrus
-Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll
-Lahun Mathematical Papyri
-Berlin Papyrus (Usually referred to as a medical papyrus due to the inclusion of prenatal medicine and pregnancy test information.)
-Akhmim wooden tablets
-Reisner Papyrus
-Rhind Mathematical Papyrus

A rather poor scan of the Rhind papyrus. approx. 1650 BC

Sunday, June 10, 2012

More poetry

There are rare occasions when I get the muse to write poetry. Rarer still is my desire to share it. I wrote this piece about the worship of Thoth and endeavored to include the kind of flow and imagery that the Egyptians used in their poetry. Hope you all enjoy it.

The Wise Night Bird

The glow of stars above,
Uncountable but for your eyes.
Hands of grace play power upon the sheets
Exactness of thought unadulterated by
… desire, want or need

He who knows the numbers of all…
That might be, could be or should be,
Guide the path with paradisiacal scrawl.
In words and thoughts be seed.

Quiet, yet of many words,
Speak light into my ear
Ever wise night bird
What glides from the fine reed?

Equilibrium, self-devised
The path between the divide
To kingly wisdom you advise.
Whisper softly your creed.

Hand and breath of veracity
Gentle sage of wetland fields
Balance my heart with perspicacity
Forever I follow your lead.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Poetry

Poetry is relatively common in Egyptian culture. Many examples of Ancient Egyptian poetry has been found. Most I have read rely on metaphor and similes for description and effect. I have only seen one of these in the original Egyptian so I am not really sure if rhyming was common. Of course, translating into English the rhyming patterns would be lost. One of my favorite Ancient Egyptian poems is the following. It is a love sonnet/poem of a sort that says a lot about Egyptian ideals of beauty.

She looks like the morning star,
Rising at the beginning of the year.
Shining bright, fair of skin.
Lovely is the look in her eyes.
Sweet is the speech of her lips.
She has not a word too much.
Upright neck, shining breasts,
Her hair like real lapiz lazuli.
Her arms are gold, her fingers like lotus buds.
Heavy thighs, narrow waist,
Her legs parade her beauty.
With graceful step she treads the ground
And captures my heart by her movements.
She causes all men's necks to turn to see her.
Joy has he whom she embraces.
When she walks abroad she is like the Eye of the Sun.
-Old Kingdom Poem.

I really love the way this reads. You could imagine a man in any time period writing something about a woman he loves with similar words to these ones. That is something I found reading Ancient Egyptian poems is that the content seems to be those things that every age and person thinks about.

Another very interesting love poem. This one I am unsure of the time period but I believe it is New Kingdom.
I wish I were your mirror
so that you always looked at me.
I wish I were your garment
so that you would always wear me.
I wish I were the water that washes your body.
I wish I were the unguent,
O woman, that I could annoit you.
And the band around your breasts,
and the beads around your neck.
I wish I were your sandal
So that I may always walk with you.

If you want to learn more there is an awesome piece about Egyptian poetry here on National Geographic's website.

There is also a much longer love poem to be found here.

Google books also has a book available. I have yet to read this one titled Reading Ancient Egyptian Poetry by R.B. Parkinson.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Music: Akhnaten by Philip Glass

This is an opera based on the life of the controversial pharaoh Akhnaten (or Ankhenaten or Akhenaten depending on who is spelling it.) who brought Egypt under the religion of the Aten. The opera includes musical interludes, chorus, single vocals and spoken word which makes it very interesting. Much of the singing is in Ancient Egyptian and taken from primary source materials which is one of the things I love about this opera. While the spoken word parts are in English the structure of the language reads very much like an ancient text which I believe only adds to the mystique of this opera. There is a very clear feel of a temple or sacred space to the music and vocal presentations in this opera which I think works very well considering Akhnaten's influence on religion.

More information on the opera can be found here including some photographs of the costumes used in a production of the opera. If you are thinking about acquiring this truly beautiful opera it is available as both a two cd set and as mp3.

Bust of Akhenaten

You can also watch/listen to the opera on youtube. Act 2 Scene 3 (about 23 minutes into the 2nd video) is one of my favorite parts in the entire opera.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Snakes of the Duat

All Snake names are in bold.

We are wrapping up this series of posts with snakes that are found in the Duat, afterlife or sometimes wrongly called the Underworld. These serpents for the most part are neither good or evil but guardians of various areas.

Snakes of the Hours of the Night

Ash-hrau - A 5 headed multi-tailed serpent that is so twisted that the tails and heads nearly touch. Though it is not explicitly called good or evil (the reason I included it here) .. the idea of it being twisted in an unnatural position could allude to it being destructive (evil) and likely associated with being of unsound mind.. ie insane.

Teka-Hra - Giant serpent that guards the doorway to the 5th hour of the night.

Tepen - Serpent in the 5th hour of the night that carries the offerings the living have made to Seker. Possibly responsible for delivering all offerings from the living to the gods and goddesses of the Duat.

Akhen  - the serpent who guards the 7th hour of the night. His name means "to split". The duty of the serpent is to ensure the boat of Ra is protected as it passed through this hour of the night.

Kheti - A huge serpent in the 8th hour of the night that spits fire on those who have gone against the Rites of Osiris, i.e. the rites of death and dying. As far as I can tell this means a person who has not put in the discipline to memorize the formulae needed to pass through the Duat.

Ab-ta - A huge snake guarding the 9th hour of the night. Ab-ta is joined by two other snakes; Anhefta and Ermen-ta. In order to pass the pylon (gate) to the tenth hour of the night the soul must recite the proper spells to these three snakes.

Tepi- a huge and frightening serpent found in the 9th hour of the night. Tepi has 4 human heads, 4 breasts, 4 pairs of arms and 4 pairs of legs with a serpent body.

Sethu - Giant serpent that carries a spear and guards the entrance to the 10th hour of the night in the Duat.

Showing some of the serpents from the Duat from the Book of the Dead.

Other Snakes related to the Duat
Ami-Hemf - He can be found on top of Bakhau, mountain of the Sunrise. There he protects and guards the exit of the sun. It is said that Ami-Hemf was 50 feet long and held the title "Dweller in His Flame" which possibly references his connection to Ra and sunrise.

Ap-Taui - A god who has two snake heads and sometimes depicted with no arms. This deity who Ra gave life to administers to Ra's needs as he travels on the solar boat, though I have only seen references to Ap-Taui related to the Duat (night).

Bitje - a monstrous and gigantic serpent encountered during the 9th hour of the night. Bitje has a head at both ends and no tail.

Imy-Hemef - "Dweller in his Flame" is how the name translates relating this snake to the rising of the sun. He lives on Bakhau, the mountain of the sunrise and aids Aker in keeping watch at the Eastern horizon.

Nehebkau - Serpent and mother goddess in the Duat. She is associated with food in the Duat. She is shown as a serpent with human legs.

Shetu- a giant serpent that can disappear into its own body when Ra is not speaking.

Tchet-s- a winged serpent encountered in the Duat.

Some more Duat serpents shown on the walls of the tomb of Seti I.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Snakes against Creation

All Snake names are in bold.

Next we will look at those snakes that are said to be out to destroy order and creation.

Foremost of the "evil" snakes: Apep
Apep rules over mist, darkness, chaos and certain storms. His one goal was to prevent the sun from rising. (Think of the comic book archenemy who will do anything to stop the hero from succeeding. This is very much what Apep is to Ra, creation and order. Priests of Ra burned effigies, usually in wax, of Apep to help the gods drive him back to the darkness and allow the sun to pass and rise again. It was believed if a person or god encountered Apep the only way to destroy him was to curse him in all of his names. Those names include:
Am, Aman, Amen, Betshu, Hau-Hra, Hemhemti, Hem-taiu, Iubani, Iubau, Karau-anementi, Kenementi, Khak-ab, Khan-ru, Khermuti, Khesef-hra, Nai, Nesht, Qerneru, Qettu, Saatet-ta, Sau, Sebv-ent-seba, Sekhem-hra, Serem-taui, Sheta, Tetu, Turrupa, Uai, Unti, Aaapef, Ap, Apap, Pepi and others.

It was also believed that to speak or write the name of Apep was bad luck and destructive to creation. In order to avert this happening his name was written with decapitated serpent glyphs or curses were laid upon his name as it was spoke. Often he was called the "nameless one" due to the reluctance to say his name.  Another way to divert the bad of saying or writing his name was to depict him with spears piercing him or with someone attacking him with a knife.

Apep had minions/children named the "Children of Rebellion" because their goal was to overthrow order and balance.

"Overthrowing of Apep" is a phrase commonly added to protection spells/amulets/items.

Historically, there is some evidence that Apep is the origins of mythology about Rahabh in Hebrew texts and Tiamat in Babylon.

The Slaying of Apep

Akeneh - A serpent demon who is discussed in the Texts of Unas. The text describes how to destroy this demon serpent and other serpents and evil beasts.

Rerek - a form of Apep that was considered to be Set in the later periods during his demonization and association with Typhoon. This is another monstrous and destructive serpent much like Apep himself.

Senenahemthet - A huge serpent like Apep that must be repelled. Most notably referenced in the pyramid texts of Unas.

Tcheser-tep- A serpent who is included in the texts of Unas and listed as one that needs to be repelled. In the texts of Unas butchers and cooks those who come into the Halls of Ma'at with unworthy bodies, perhaps damaged mummies?

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Snakes of Ma'at

All Snake names are in bold.

I thought we would start with those snakes that aid order or creation.

The Female Ogdoad - All had serpent heads (the 4 females follow:)
Ament - Wife of Amun. Her name, like Amun, means "hidden". She waited in the land of the sunset, i.e. at the Western horizon and offered nourishment to all who approached. Any who accepted were bound to the land of Osiris (the Duat) and never able to return to Earth. She also welcomed the dead to the boat of Amun(Ra). In some inscriptions she is shown as a ram headed woman breastfeeding Horus. Her sacred temple is Karnak as consort of Amun and Hermopolis as one of the primordial beings.

Naunet- Consort of Nun and goddess of water, oceans and rushes of creativity.

Hehet - Consort of Heh and goddess of immeasurable things. She and her consort helped create the sun.

Keket- Consort of Kek and goddess of darkness. She enables the sun and stars to shine.

Statuary showing some of the serpent Ogdoad.


Uadjet - Also sometimes called Buto, which is probably Greek, after the area sacred to her. Uadjet is shown as a snake that sometimes has a red crown and/or wings. She is a goddess of protection, particularly the pharaoh. She guards the pharaoh from her place on his brow on many crowns. In some mythology she also protects the coffin containing Osiris' body when Isis hides it in the swamps of the Buto region. As Uatchet she is said to help Isis hide Horus and bring Hathor to the Horus child to ensure he was nourished while Isis was away. As Wadjet, "the green one" she is the symbol of the force of growing things and growth.

Uraeus- The divine cobra. This is the fire breathing cobra that protects Ra. The Uraeus destroy the enemies of Ra and the Sun by burning them to ash. The Uraeus is the symbol of royalty and power and shown on many of the royal crowns. Uraeus are the divine symbol of the goddess Uadjet. Uraeus is not a deity but a group of sacred and divine cobras. There are many hundreds of Uraeus but all serve the same purpose.
Uadjet/the Uraeus on the mask of Tut. Beside is the vulture goddess Nekhbet.

Fa- The god of Fate. He bears and cares for the great serpent Mehen.

Heka- Serpent god of magic. Heka itself is the Egyptian word for magic.

Heptet - A goddess associated with death and Osiris. She has the body of a woman and a head of a bearded snake. She wears the uraei, horns and solar disk as well as the Atef crown which show her association with kingship. In both hands she holds knives. Heptet is sometimes thought to be a goddess that assisted Anubis with the mummification of Osiris but I have not found any direct references to this myself.

Mehen - The great serpent who defends Ra against Apep in the Duat. Mehen is one of the few snakes that is mentioned as a she in some hymns. Mehen is helped at various times by Set and/or Horus. Mehen is a serpent of great importance since he repels Apep and ensures the sun continues to rise.

Mehen shown encompassing Ra on the solar boat.

Neutral snakes?
I didn't know where to put these snakes that are not referenced as good or evil. So here they are, snakes with no mention of relationship to chaos or order.

Ankhi - A huge snake with a mummified god growing out of each side of the body. I haven't been able to find much more out about this serpent.

Henkhisesui- One of the gods of the 4 winds. Shown as a man with a snake head and four wings.

Qerhet - Goddess of nomes. She is the patron of the 8th nome of Lower Egypt and she oversees the separation of Egypt into nomes. It is not clear whether she is a serpent or serpent headed.

Setcha - a mythical animal with the head of a serpent and the body of a leopard.


I have finally finished all the posts related to snakes and snake beings in Egyptian myth. I feel this is as comprehensive as I can be but I am sure there are probably some I have missed. I have also omitted a lot of the extra spellings and extra names for each snake. Instead of listing names I listed the one most commonly used or referred to in books. The snakes are in three sections.. those against creation, those in the service of Ma'at and those associated with the Duat/afterworld.

You will find that most snakes are positive or neutral in nature. However, it is often thought that snakes are a negative in Egypt because the major evil in mythology.

Without further ado... I am going to start posting about the snakes.