ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian bestiary: Bees
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Bees

Source: Excerpt from 'Ancient Egypt', Time-Life Books
    Wild or domesticated bees were cherished for their honey, the main sweetener for many food stuffs. The bees' industriousness was proverbial even back in ancient Egypt. The Satire of the Trades describes the efforts of the barber to keep body and soul together as follows:
He wears out his arms to fill his belly, like bees who eat (only) according to their work.

    The bee was used to symbolize Lower Egypt, while the sedge stood for Upper Egypt. Senusret III is praised in on of his hymns:
(He has come) after uniting the two lands, adding the sedge to the bee.
pLondon UC 32157 [1]

    The sky goddess Nut was a member of the Ogdoad and gave birth to Osiris and his siblings, who came to rule the world of men:
Nut, you have appeared as a bee, for you have power over the gods and their kas, their inheritance, their food and all their things.
Pyramid of Pepi I, PT 444-445 [2]

Footnotes:
[1] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften => 4. Poetische Literatur => Königshymnen => pLondon UC 32157 = pKahun LV.1 => Recto: Hymnen auf Sesostris III
[2] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Pyramidentexte => Pyramide Pepis I. => Sargkammer => Westwand => Fläche über und links neben dem Sarkophag => PT 444-445
 

 
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Update: October 2009

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