Ancient egyptian beliefs about cats
The Winged Cat: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Deborah Nourse LattimoreAttractive as this text is, as a picture book it is quite opaque, confusing rather than illuminating Egyptian mythology for the young reader (who, apparently, is the target audience). The narrative premise is this: a young girl and a greedy high priest are ordered by the pharaoh to make a journey to the underworld to determine who is telling the truth about the death of a cat. The girl, Merit, is able to pass through the twelve gates by reading, but what, exactly, she is reading is not clear. Several gods are alluded to, but their roles and domains are not clarified in the text, nor is there any explanation for ushabtis woven into the narrative. In most introductory texts for children about Ancient Egypt, Ra is typically identified as the sun god; in The Winged Cat, however, Horus is confusingly named in that role. In light of these details, I believe that only someone with a good basic grounding in Ancient Egyptian beliefs about religion, the afterlife, and the complex and overlapping pantheon of Egyptian deities would find the book accessible. If it is used in the classroom, Id recommend it for upper middle school. Its not suitable for the younger set of kids that I had in mind to read it to. Not recommended.
Why were Cats so Important in Ancient Egypt?
Cats in ancient Egypt
The next time your chubby tabby or Persian puffball curls up for a nap on your lap, you can thank the ancient Egyptians. DNA evidence suggests that wild cats first "self-domesticated" in the Near East and Egypt roughly 10, years ago when spotted felines wandered into early agricultural societies to feed on grain-stealing rodents and stuck around for the free scraps and backrubs from grateful humans. But the level of devotion ancient Egyptians showed toward their cats went far beyond a pet owner's warm affection. Over the millennia, cats in Egypt evolved from useful village predators to physical embodiments of the gods and symbols of divine protection. Carlos Museum in Atlanta. Hartwig wants to make one thing clear, though: Egyptians did not worship cats, but they did believe that cats held a bit of divine energy within them. The most widespread belief was that domestic cats carried the divine essence of Bastet or Bast , the cat-headed goddess who represented fertility, domesticity, music, dance and pleasure.
Gods associated with Cats
The ancient Egyptians were respectful towards the animals that shared their world and associated many of them with deities or positive human characteristics. However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat. Cats were closely connected to a number of gods and goddesses, and there is evidence that they were considered to be demi-gods in their own right. As an inscription in the Valley of the Kings states;. As a primarily agrarian society, the ancient Egyptians had a distinct problem with mice, rats and snakes all of whom threatened the grain stores. It is thought that the ancient Egyptians learned that wild cats preyed on these scavengers and so began to leave out food such as fish heads to tempt the cats to visit them regularly. This suited the cats perfectly as being close to human settlements not only provided them with a ready supply of food the vermin and the food left by humans but also helped them to avoid larger predators.
All rights reserved. Ancient Egyptians worshipped many animals for thousands of years. Animals were revered for different reasons. Dogs were valued for their ability to protect and hunt, but cats were thought to be the most special. Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them.