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Beautiful Large Angel Scupture / statue spreading her wings Isis or Maat 18cm

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Beautiful Large Angel Scupture / statue spreading her wings Isis or Maat 18cm














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50% off the shipment cost of your second item purchased and sent with this one (as long as selected postage is the same type and lower cost - if other item has higher cost postage you get 50% off the postage of this item)!!!!
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Measurements:
Height: 14.5cm / 5.5 inches
Width: 18cm / 7 inches
Depth: 7cm / 3 inches
 

Isis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
Isis
Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility
Isis.svg
The goddess Isis portrayed as a woman, wearing a headdress shaped like a throne and with an Ankh in her hand
Major cult center PhilaeAbydos
Symbol the throne, the sun disk with cow's horns, the sycamore tree
Consort Osiris
Parents Geb and Nut
Siblings OsirisSetNephthys and Horus
Offspring Horus
Temple of Isis in Philae, Egypt

Isis (Ancient Greek?σις, original Egyptian pronunciation more likely "Aset" or "Iset") is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patroness of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves,sinnersartisans, the downtrodden, but she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats, and rulers.[1] Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the hawk-headed god of war and protection (although in some traditions Horus's mother was Hathor). Isis is also known as protector of the dead and goddess of children.

The name Isis means "Throne".[2] Her headdress is a throne. As the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh's power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. Her cult was popular throughout Egypt, but her most important temples were at Behbeit El-Hagar in the Nile delta, and, beginning in the reign with Nectanebo I (380–362 BCE), on the island of Philae in Upper Egypt.

In the typical form of her myth, Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day. She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus with him. Isis was instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by Set. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after having gathered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set.[3]

This myth became very important during the Greco-Roman period. For example it was believed that the Nile River flooded every year because of the tears of sorrow which Isis wept for Osiris. Osiris's death and rebirth was relived each year through rituals. The worship of Isis eventually spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, continuing until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era.[4] The popular motif of Isis suckling her son Horus, however, lived on in a Christianized context as the popular image of Mary suckling the infant son Jesus from the fifth century onward.[5][6]

 

 

Etymology[edit]

st t
H8
B1
OR
st t
y
I12
Isis
in hieroglyphs

The name Isis is the Greek version of her name, with a final -s added to the original Egyptian form because of the grammatical requirements of the Greek language (-s often being a marker of the nominative case in ancient Greek).

The Egyptian name was recorded as ?s.t or ?s.t and meant "She of the Throne". The true Egyptian pronunciation however remains uncertain, becausehieroglyphs do not indicate vowels.

For convenience, Egyptologists arbitrarily choose to pronounce her name as "ee-set" or "ah-set". Sometimes they may also say "ee-say" because the final "t" in her name was a feminine suffix, which is known to have been dropped in speech during the last stages of the Egyptian language.

Principal features of the cult[edit]

Origins[edit]

Isis depicted with outstretched wings (wall painting, c. 1360 BCE)

Most Egyptian deities were first worshipped by very local cults, and they retained those local centres of worship even as their popularity spread, so that most major cities and towns in Egypt were known as the home of a particular deity. The origins of the cult of Isis are uncertain, but it is believed that she was originally an independent and popular deity in predynastic times, prior to 3100 BCE, at Sebennytos in the Nile delta.[3]

The first written references to Isis date back to the Fifth dynasty of Egypt. Based on the association of her name with the throne, some early Egyptologists believed that Isis's original function was that of throne-mother.[citation needed] However, more recent scholarship suggests that aspects of that role came later by association. In many African tribes, the throne is known as the mother of the king, and that concept fits well with either theory, possibly giving insight into the thinking of ancient Egyptians.

Classical Egyptian period[edit]

During the Old Kingdom period, Isis was represented as the wife or assistant to the deceased pharaoh. Thus she had a funerary association, her name appearing over eighty times in the pharaoh's funeral texts (the Pyramid Texts). This association with the pharaoh's wife is consistent with the role of Isis as the spouse of Horus, the god associated with the pharaoh as his protector, and then later as the deification of the pharaoh himself.

But in addition, Isis was also represented as the mother of the "four sons of Horus", the four deities who protected the canopic jars containing the pharaoh's internal organs. More specifically, Isis was viewed as the protector of the liver-jar-deity, Imsety.[7] By the Middle Kingdom period, as the funeral texts began to be used by members of Egyptian society other than the royal family, the role of Isis as protector also grew, to include the protection of nobles and even commoners.[citation needed]

Isis nursing Horus (Louvre)

By the New Kingdom period, in many places, Isis was more prominent than her spouse. She was seen as the mother of the pharaoh, and was often depicted breastfeeding the pharaoh. It is theorized that this displacement happened through the merging of cults from the various cult centers as Egyptian religion became more standardized.[citation needed]When the cult of Ra rose to prominence, with its cult center at Heliopolis, Ra was identified with the similar deity, Horus. But Hathor had been paired with Ra in some regions, as the mother of the god. Since Isis was paired with Horus, and Horus was identified with Ra, Isis began to be merged with Hathor as Isis-Hathor. By merging with Hathor, Isis became the mother of Horus, as well as his wife. Eventually the mother role displaced the role of spouse. Thus, the role of spouse to Isis was open and in the Heliopolis pantheon, Isis became the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus/Ra. This reconciliation of themes led to the evolution of the myth of Isis and Osiris.[7]

Temples and priesthood[edit]

In Egypt, Isis would have received the same sort of rituals as other Egyptian Deities, including daily offerings. She was served by both priests and priestesses throughout the history of her cult. By the Greco-Roman era, many of her priests and priestesses had a reputation for wisdom and healing, and were said to have other special powers, including dream interpretation and the ability to control the weather, which they did by braiding or not combing their hair.[citation needed] The latter was believed because the Egyptians considered knotsto have magical powers.

The cult of Isis and Osiris continued up until the 6th century CE on the island of Philae in Upper Nile. The Theodosian decree (in about 380 CE) to destroy all pagan temples was not enforced there until the time of Justinian. This toleration was due to an old treaty made between the Blemyes-Nobadae and the emperor Diocletian. Every year they visited Elephantine and at certain intervals took the image of Isis up river to the land of the Blemyes for oracular purposes before returning it. Justinian sent Narses to destroy the sanctuaries, with the priests being arrested and the divine images taken to Constantinople.[8] Philae was the last of the ancient Egyptian temples to be closed.

Iconography[edit]

Associations[edit]

V39
"tyet"
Knot of Isis
in hieroglyphs

Due to the association between knots and magical power, a symbol of Isis was the tiet or tyet (meaning welfare/life), also called the Knot of IsisBuckle of Isis, or the Blood of Isis, which is shown to the right. In many respects the tyet resembles an ankh, except that its arms point downward, and when used as such, seems to represent the idea of eternal life or resurrection. The meaning of Blood of Isis is more obscure, but the tyet often was used as a funerary amulet made of red woodstone, or glass, so this may simply have been a description of the appearance of the materials used.[9][10][11]

The star Sopdet (Sirius) is associated with Isis. The appearance of the star signified the advent of a new year and Isis was likewise considered the goddess of rebirth and reincarnation, and as a protector of the dead. The Book of the Dead outlines a particular ritual that would protect the dead, enabling travel anywhere in the underworld, and most of the titles Isis holds signify her as the goddess of protection of the dead.

Probably due to assimilation with the goddess Aphrodite (Venus), during the Roman period, the rose was used in her worship. The demand for roses throughout the empire turned rose production into an important industry.

Depictions[edit]

Isis nursing Horus, wearing the headdress of Hathor.

In art, originally Isis was pictured as a woman wearing a long sheath dress and crowned with the hieroglyphic sign for a throne. Sometimes she is depicted as holding a lotus, or, as asycamore tree. One pharaoh, Thutmose III, is depicted in his tomb as nursing from a sycamore tree that had a breast.

After she assimilated many of the roles of Hathor, Isis's headdress is replaced with that of Hathor: the horns of a cow on her head, with the solar disk between them, and often with her original throne symbol atop the solar disk. Sometimes she also is represented as a cow, or with a cow's head. She is often depicted with her young child, Horus (the pharaoh), with acrown, and a vulture. Occasionally she is represented as a kite flying above the body of Osiris or with the dead Osiris she works her magic to bring him back to life.

Most often Isis is seen holding an ankh, the sign for "life" and a simple lotus staff, but in late images she is sometimes seen with items usually associated with Hathor, the sacredsistrum rattle and the fertility-bearing menat necklace. In The Book of Coming Forth By Day Isis is depicted standing on the prow of the Solar Barque with her arms outstretched.[1]

Mythology[edit]

Sister-wife to Osiris[edit]

Isis Nursing Horus.[12]The Walters Art Museum.

During the Old Kingdom period, the pantheons of individual Egyptian cities varied by region. During the 5th dynasty, Isis entered the pantheon of the city ofHeliopolis. She was represented as a daughter of Nut and Geb, and sister to Osiris, Nephthys, and Set. The two sisters, Isis and Nephthys, often were depicted on coffins, with wings outstretched, as protectors against evil. As a funerary deity, she was associated with Osiris, lord of the underworld, and was considered his wife.

Rare terracotta image of Isis lamenting the loss of Osiris (eighteenth dynasty) Musée du LouvreParis.

A later myth, when the cult of Osiris gained more authority, tells the story of Anubis, the god of the underworld. The tale describes how Nephthys was denied a child by Set and disguised herself as her twin, Isis, to seduce him. The plot succeeded resulting in the birth of Anubis.

In fear of Set's retribution, Nephthys persuaded Isis to adopt Anubis, so that Set would not find out and kill the child. The tale describes both why Anubis is seen as an underworld deity (he becomes the adopted son of Osiris), and why he could not inherit Osiris's position (as he was not actually the son of Osiris but his brother Set), neatly preserving Osiris's position as lord of the underworld. It should be remembered, however, that this new myth was only a later creation of the Osirian cult who wanted to depict Set in an evil position, as the enemy of Osiris.

The most extensive account of the Isis-Osiris story known today is Plutarch's Greek description written in the 1st century CE, usually known under its Latin title De Iside et Osiride.[13]

In that version, Set held a banquet for Osiris in which he brought in a beautiful box and said that whoever could fit in the box perfectly would get to keep it. Set had measured Osiris in his sleep and made sure that he was the only one who could fit the box. Several tried to see whether they fit. Once it was Osiris's turn to see if he could fit in the box, Set closed the lid on him so that the box was now a coffin for Osiris. Set flung the box in the Nile so that it would drift far away. Isis went looking for the box so that Osiris could have a proper burial. She found the box in a tree in Byblos, a city along the Phoenician coast, and brought it back to Egypt, hiding it in a swamp. But Set went hunting that night and found the box. Enraged, Set chopped Osiris's body into fourteen pieces and scattered them all over Egypt to ensure that Isis could never find Osiris again for a proper burial.[14][15]

Isis and her sister Nephthys went looking for these pieces, but could only find thirteen of the fourteen. Fish had swallowed the last piece, his phallus. She created a golden phallus, with the help of Thoth, and attached it to Osiris’s body. She then transformed into a kite and with the aid of Thoth’s magic conceived Horus the Younger. The number of pieces is described on temple walls variously as fourteen and sixteen, and occasionally forty-two, one for each nome or district.[15]

Mother of Horus[edit]

Yet another set of late myths detail the adventures of Isis after the birth of Osiris's posthumous son, Horus. Isis was said to have given birth to Horus at Khemmis, thought to be located on the Nile Delta.[16] Many dangers faced Horus after birth, and Isis fled with the newborn to escape the wrath of Set, the murderer of her husband. In one instance, Isis heals Horus from a lethal scorpion sting; she also performs other miracles in relation to the cippi, or the plaques of Horus. Isis protected and raised Horus until he was old enough to face Set, and subsequently, became the pharaoh of Egypt.

Magic[edit]

It was said that Isis tricked Ra (i.e. Amun-Ra/Atum-Ra) into telling her his "secret name" by causing a snake to bite him, the antidote to whose venom only Isis possessed. Knowing his secret name thus gave her power over him. The use of secret names became central in many late Egyptian magic spells. By the late Egyptian historical period, after the occupations by the Greeks and the Romans, Isis became the most important and most powerful deity of the Egyptian pantheon because of her magical skills. Magic is central to the entire mythology of Isis, arguably more so than any other Egyptian deity.

Isis had a central role in Egyptian magic spells and ritual, especially those of protection and healing. In many spells her powers are merged with those of her son Horus. His power accompanies hers whenever she is invoked. In Egyptian history the image of a wounded Horus became a standard feature of Isis's healing spells, which typically invoked the curative powers of Isis' milk.[17]

Greco-Roman world[edit]

Interpretatio graeca[edit]

Isis (seated right) welcoming theGreek heroine Io as she is borne into Egypt on the shoulders of the personified Nile, as depicted in a Roman wall painting from Pompeii

Using the comparative methodology known as interpretatio graeca, the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) described Isis by comparison with the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mysteries at Eleusis offered initiates guidance in the afterlife and a vision of rebirth. Herodotus says that Isis was the only goddess worshiped by all Egyptians alike.[18]

Terracotta figure of Isis-Aphrodite from Ptolemaic Egypt

After the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great and the Hellenization of the Egyptian culture initiated by Ptolemy I Soter, Isis became known asQueen of Heaven.[19] Other Mediterranean goddesses, such as Demeter, Astarte, and Aphrodite, became identified with Isis, as was the Arabian goddess Al-Ozza or Al-Uzza (??????? al ?ozza) through a similarity of name, since etymology was thought to reveal the essential or primordial nature of the thing named.[20] An alabaster statue of Isis from the 3rd century BCE, found in Ohrid, in the Republic of Macedonia, is depicted on the obverseof the Macedonian 10 denar banknote, issued in 1996.[21]

Isis in the Roman Empire[edit]

Roman Isis holding a sistrum and oinochoe and wearing a garment tied with a characteristic knot, from the time of Hadrian (117–138 CE)

Tacitus writes that after the assassination of Julius Caesar, a temple in honour of Isis had been decreed, but was suspended by Augustus as part of his program to restore traditional Roman religion. The emperor Caligula, however, was open to Eastern religions, and the Navigium Isidis, a procession in honor of Isis, was established in Rome during his reign.[22] According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Caligula donned female garb and took part in the mysteries he instituted. Vespasian, along with Titus, practised incubation in the Roman IseumDomitian built another Iseum along with a Serapeum. In a relief on the Arch of Trajan, the emperor appears before Isis and Horus, presenting them with votive offerings of wine.[22] Hadrian decorated his villa at Tibur with Isiac scenes. Galerius regarded Isis as his protector.[23]

The religion of Isis thus spread throughout the Roman Empire during the formative centuries of Christianity. Wall paintings and objects reveal her pervasive presence at Pompeii, preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. In Rome, temples were built and obelisks erected in her honour. In Greece, the cult of Isis was introduced to traditional centres of worship in DelosDelphiEleusis and Athens, as well as in northern Greece. Harbours of Isis were to be found on the Arabian Sea and the Black Sea. Inscriptions show followers in Gaul, Spain, Pannonia, Germany, Arabia, Asia Minor, Portugal and many shrines even in Britain.[24] Tacitus interprets a goddess among the Germanic Suebi as a form of Isis whose symbol (signum) was a ship.[25] Bruce Lincoln regards the identity of this Germanic goddess as "elusive."[26]

The Greek antiquarian Plutarch wrote a treatise on Isis and Osiris,[27] a major source for Imperial theology concerning Isis.[13] Plutarch describes Isis as "a goddess exceptionally wise and a lover of wisdom, to whom, as her name at least seems to indicate, knowledge and understanding are in the highest degree appropriate... ." The statue of Athena inSais was identified with Isis, and according to Plutarch was inscribed "I am all that has been, and is, and shall be, and my robe no mortal has yet uncovered."[28] At Sais, however, the patron goddess of the ancient cult was Neith, many of whose traits had begun to be attributed to Isis during the Greek occupation.

The Roman writer Apuleius recorded aspects of the cult of Isis in the 2nd century CE, including the Navigium Isidis, in his novel The Golden Ass. The protagonist Lucius prays to Isis as Regina Caeli, "Queen of Heaven":

You see me here, Lucius, in answer to your prayer. I am nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen of the ocean, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are, my nod governs the shining heights of Heavens, the wholesome sea breezes. Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names ... the Egyptians who excel in ancient learning and worship call me by my true name...Queen Isis.[29]

Ruins of the Temple of Isis in Delos

According to Apuleius, these other names include manifestations of the goddess as Ceres, "the original nurturing parent"; Heavenly Venus (Venus Caelestis); the "sister of Phoebus", that is, Diana or Artemis as she is worshipped at Ephesus; or Proserpina (GreekPersephone) as the triple goddess of the underworld.[30] From the middle Imperial period, the title Caelestis, "Heavenly" or "Celestial", is attached to several goddesses embodying aspects of a single, supreme Heavenly Goddess. The Dea Caelestis was identified with theconstellation Virgo (the Virgin), who holds the divine balance of justice.

Greco-Roman temples[edit]

On the Greek island of Delos a Doric Temple of Isis was built on a high over-looking hill at the beginning of the Roman period to venerate the familiar trinity of Isis, the Alexandrian Serapis and Harpocrates. The creation of this temple is significant as Delos is particularly known as the birthplace of the Greek gods Artemis and Apollo who had temples of their own on the island long before the temple to Isis was built.

In the Roman Empire, a well-preserved example was discovered in Pompeii.The only sanctuary of Isis (fanum Isidis) identified with certainty in Roman Britain is located in Londinium (present-day London).[31]

Isis in black and white marble (Roman, 2nd century CE)

Late antiquity[edit]

The cult of Isis was part of the syncretic tendencies of religion in the Greco-Roman world of late antiquity. The names Isidoros and Isidora in Greek mean "gift of Isis" (similar to "Theodoros", "God's gift").

The sacred image of Isis with the Horus Child in Rome often became a model for the Christian Madonna with the Child Jesus and many of the epithets of the Egyptian Mother of God came to be used for the Christian Mother of God.[32]

 

 

 

 

Maat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
Maat
Goddess of truth and justice
Maat.svg
Maat was both the goddess and the personification of truth and justice. Her ostrich feather represents truth.
Major cult center All ancient Egyptian cities
Symbol the ostrich feather
Consort Thoth (in some accounts)
Parents Ra

Maat or ma'at (thought to have been pronounced *[mu?.?at]),[1] also spelled mat or mayet, was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, lawmorality, andjustice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe fromchaos at the moment of creation. Her (ideological) counterpart was Isfet.

The earliest surviving records indicating Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, were recorded during the Old Kingdom, the earliest substantial surviving examples being found in the Pyramid Texts of Unas (ca. 2375 BCE and 2345 BCE).[2]

Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same. After the rise of Ra they were depicted together in the Solar Barque.

After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat.[3] Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.

Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.[4]

 

 

Maat as a principle[edit]

Winged Maat

Maat as a principle was formed to meet the complex needs of the emergent Egyptian state that embraced diverse peoples with conflicting interests.[5] The development of such rules sought to avert chaos and it became the basis of Egyptian law. From an early period the King would describe himself as the "Lord of Maat" who decreed with his mouth the Maat he conceived in his heart.

The significance of Maat developed to the point that it embraced all aspects of existence, including the basic equilibrium of the universe, the relationship between constituent parts, the cycle of the seasons, heavenly movements, religious observations and fair dealings, honesty and truthfulness in social interactions.[6]

The ancient Egyptians had a deep conviction of an underlying holiness and unity within the universe. Cosmic harmony was achieved by correct public and ritual life. Any disturbance in cosmic harmony could have consequences for the individual as well as the state. An impious King could bring about famine or blasphemy blindness to an individual.[7] In opposition to the right order expressed in the concept of Maat is the concept of Isfet: chaos, lies and violence.[8]

In addition to the importance of the Maat, several other principles within ancient Egyptian law were essential, including an adherence to tradition as opposed to change, the importance of rhetorical skill, and the significance of achieving impartiality, and social justice. In one Middle Kingdom (2062 to c. 1664 BCE) text the Creator declares "I made every man like his fellow". Maat called the rich to help the less fortunate rather than exploit them, echoed in tomb declarations: "I have given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked" and "I was a husband to the widow and father to the orphan".[9]

To the Egyptian mind, Maat bound all things together in an indestructible unity: the universe, the natural world, the state, and the individual were all seen as parts of the wider order generated by Maat.

The underlying concepts of Taoism and Confucianism resemble Maat at times.[10]

Maat and the law[edit]

Maat wearing feather of truth

There is little surviving literature that describes the practice of ancient Egyptian law. Maat was the spirit in which justice was applied rather than the detailed legalistic exposition of rules (as found in Mosaic law of the 1st millennium BCE). Maat was the norm and basic values that formed the backdrop for the application of justice that had to be carried out in the spirit of truth and fairness. From the 5th dynasty (c. 2510-2370 BCE) onwards the Vizier responsible for justice was called the Priest of Maatand in later periods judges wore images of Maat.[11]

Later scholars and philosophers also would embody concepts from the wisdom literature, or Sebayt.[citation needed] These spiritual texts dealt with common social or professional situations and how each was best to be resolved or addressed in the spirit of Maat. It was very practical advice, and highly case-based, so that few specific and general rules could be derived from them.

During the Greek period in Egyptian history, Greek law existed alongside Egyptian law. The Egyptian law preserved the rights of women who were allowed to act independently of men and own substantial personal property and in time this influenced the more restrictive conventions of the Greeks and Romans.[12] When the Romans took control of Egypt, the Roman legal system which existed throughout the Roman Empire was imposed in Egypt.

Maat and scribes[edit]

Scribes held prestigious positions in ancient Egyptian society in view of their importance in the transmission of religious, political and commercial information.[13]

Thoth was the patron of scribes who is described as the one "who reveals Maat and reckons Maat; who loves Maat and gives Maat to the doer of Maat".[14] In texts such as the Instruction of Amenemope the scribe is urged to follow the precepts of Maat in his private life as well as his work.[15] The exhortations to live according to Maat are such that these kinds of instructional texts have been described as "Maat Literature".[16]

Maat as a goddess[edit]

U5
a
t C10
or H6
or U5
D36
X1 Y1
Z1 Z1 Z1 Z1
or U1 Aa11
X1
C10
or C10
or U5
D42
X1
Y1
Z2
I12
or U5
D42
X1
H6 C10 Y1 Z3
or H6 X1
H8
C10
Goddess Maat[17][18]
in hieroglyphs

Maat was the goddess of harmony, justice, and truth represented as a young woman,[19] sitting or standing, holding a was scepter, the symbol of power, in one hand and anankh, the symbol of eternal life, in the other. Sometimes she is depicted with wings on each arm or as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head.[20] Depictions of Maat as a goddess are recorded from as early as the middle of the Old Kingdom (c. 2680 to 2190 BCE).[21]

The sun-god Ra came from the primaeval mound of creation only after he set his daughter Maat in place of Isfet (chaos). Kings inherited the duty to ensure Maat remained in place and they with Ra are said to "live on Maat", with Akhenaten (r. 1372-1355 BCE) in particular emphasising the concept to a degree that, John D. Ray asserts, the kings contemporaries viewed as intolerance and fanaticism.[22] Some kings incorporated Maat into their names, being referred to as Lords of Maat,[23] or Meri-Maat (Beloved of Maat). When beliefs about Thoth arose in the Egyptian pantheon and started to consume the earlier beliefs at Hermopolis about the Ogdoad, it was said that she was the mother of the Ogdoad and Thoth the father.

In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single "Feather of Ma'at", symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat. The heart was considered the location of the soul by ancient Egyptians. Those people with good and pure hearts were sent on to AaruOsiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition.

The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing.

Temples of Maat[edit]

The earliest evidence for a dedicated temple is in the New Kingdom (c. 1569 to 1081 BCE) era, despite the great importance placed on Maat. Amenhotep III commissioned a temple in the Karnak complex, whilst textual evidence indicates that other temples of Maat were located in Memphis and at Deir el-Medina.[24]

Maat themes found in the The Book of Going Forth by Day and on tomb inscriptions[edit]

A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead written on papyrus showing the "Weighing of the Heart" in the Duat using the feather of Maat as the measure in balance

One aspect of ancient Egyptian funerary literature which often is mistaken for a codified ethic of Maat is Spell (Chapter) 125 of the Book of the Dead or Papyrus of Ani (known to the ancient Egyptians as The Book of Going Forth by Day). The lines of these texts are often collectively called the "Forty-Two Declarations of Purity". These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb and so cannot be considered a canonical definition of Maat. Rather, they appear to express each tomb owner's individual practices in life to please Maat, as well as words of absolution from misdeeds or mistakes, made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased.

Many of the lines are similar, however, and they can help to give the student a "flavor" for the sorts of things which Maat governed — essentially everything, from the most formal to the most mundane aspects of life.

The doctrine of Maat is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Negative Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani. The following are taken from public domain translations made by E. A. Wallis Budge in the early part of the 20th century; more recent translations may differ in the light of modern scholarship.

 

42 Negative Confessions (Papyrus of Ani)[edit]

  1. I have not committed sin.
  2. I have not committed robbery with violence.
  3. I have not stolen.
  4. I have not slain men and women.
  5. I have not stolen grain.
  6. I have not purloined offerings.
  7. I have not stolen the property of the god.
  8. I have not uttered lies.
  9. I have not carried away food.
  10. I have not uttered curses.
  11. I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
  12. I have made none to weep.
  13. I have not eaten the heart [i.e., I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
  14. I have not attacked any man.
  15. I am not a man of deceit.
  16. I have not stolen cultivated land.
  17. I have not been an eavesdropper.
  18. I have slandered [no man].
  19. I have not been angry without just cause.
  20. I have not debauched the wife of any man.
  21. I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god).
  22. I have not polluted myself.
  23. I have terrorized none.
  24. I have not transgressed [the Law].
  25. I have not been wroth.
  26. I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
  27. I have not blasphemed.
  28. I am not a man of violence.
  29. I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
  30. I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
  31. I have not pried into matters.
  32. I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
  33. I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
  34. I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
  35. I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
  36. I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
  37. I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
  38. I have not acted with evil rage.
  39. I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
  40. I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead.
  41. I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
  42. I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.[25]

Assessors of Maat[edit]

"The Assessors of Maat" are the 42 deities listed in the Papyrus of Nebseni, to whom the deceased make the Negative Confession in the Papyrus of Ani.[26]

 

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