ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian bestiary: Frogs and toads

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Frogs and toads

Heqat
    Frogs, as creatures of the underworld, symbolized the creation of life. The original male deities of Hermopolis were often depicted with frog heads and the frog was the holy animal of the goddess of birth Heqat. In the Khontamenti temple at Abydos many little frogs made of faience and stone were found, votive offerings to Heqat.[3]
    A frog also accompanied the god of the Nile. The amphibians certainly were great friends of the water. As Ankhsheshonq had it in his Instruction:
The frogs praise Hapy, the mice eat the emmer.
The Instruction of Ankhsheshonq
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.3, p.177
The Nileflood was generally a happy occasion, celebrated by people and animals alike, among them frogs and toads:
The lotos flowers which have arisen out of the flood proclaim the joy.
All the reptiles are happy because of the event.
[All the] creepy-crawlies skip around.
Those living in holes in the ground relive their childhood.
The frog croaks.
Faces are bright, they begin rejoicing.
The whole land has become green.
Nile hymn [2]
    One of the Egyptian words denoting 'frog' is wHm-anx, meaning literally 'He who repeats life'. A harper's song wishes the listener well:
If you were as a perfect living person, may you renew yourself in your time and command years like a frog, and may you return as you were.
Harper's song from Saujet el-Meitin [1]

Footnotes:
[1] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften: 4. Poetische Literatur => Harfnerlieder => Harfnerlieder Texte seit LA" II, 1977 => Nefersecheru (Saujet el-Meitin) => Harfnerlied
[2] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften: 4. Poetische Literatur => Hymnen an die Überschwemmung => oDeM 1675 => Ein Nilhymnus
[3] Lurker 1998, p.75
 

 
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Update October 2009

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