ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian plants: The Persea tree
Main menu Main Index and Search Page History List of Dynasties Cultural chronology Mythology Aspects of Life in Ancient Egypt Glossary of ancient Egyptian terms Herodotus on the pharaohs Ancient Egyptian texts Apologia and Bibliography

Printout
  For best results save the whole webpage (pictures included) onto your hard disk, open the page with Word 97 or higher, edit if necessary and print.
  Printing using the browser's print function is not recommended.

-

Persea

    The persea, Mimusops Schimperi, is a smallish evergreen tree and has small yellow fruit. According to Theophrastus (d. 287 BCE) it was common in Upper Egypt. The oldest finds date to the Old Kingdom: fruit found in Djoser's pyramid.
    On one of the Punt expeditions under Hatshepsut
Trees were taken up in God's-Land, and set in the ground in Egypt ........ for the king of the gods.
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 294
    Breasted added Naville's comment in the following footnote to the previous passage
The pits in which certain trees had been planted were found by the Fund excavations before the lower terrace at the inner end of the dromos. They contained earth and tree stumps which proved to be of the Mimusops, that is the Persea
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, p.121
    Branches of the Persea were often part of funerary bouquets. The wood was used for furniture and other small items. One of the temple inventories records
Cedar: various logs ............ 328
Persea: various logs ........ 4,415
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Four, § 385
    In an inscription of the Speos Artemidos at Beni Hasan the restoration of temples is described and contains this passage:
My divine heart searches for the sake of the future; [my] heart ... that which it had not known forever, because of the command which the hidden persea tree, lord of myriads (of years), communicates.
Reign of Hatshepsut
James Henry Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 298
re, apophis     The Persea is often mentioned in Egyptian mythology. Its fruit symbolised the "Sacred Heart" of Horus. The phoenix was thought to rise from the burning persea tree at Heliopolis. Re was connected with the Persea, the Tree of Life, here he took on the form of a cat:
I am the Cat which fought near the Persea Tree in Anu on the night when the foes of Neb-er-tcher were destroyed.
Who is this Cat?
This male Cat is Ra himself, and he was called 'Mau' because of the speech of the god Sa, who said concerning him: 'He is like (mau) unto that which he hath made'; therefore, did the name of Ra become 'Mau.'
....
As concerning the fight which took place near the Persea Tree in Anu [these words have reference to the slaughter] of the children of rebellion, when righteous retribution was meted out to them for [the evil] which they had done.
The Book of Ani
    Seth, by means of trickery,succeeded in enclosing Osiris in a wooden coffin which he then threw into the Nile.
Isis wandered for many years, in many lands, without luck. She grieved for her beloved husband, and wept unceasingly. Yet he could not be found anywhere she wandered, for his coffin had been caught in the branches of a persea tree that had grown up around it, and was now hidden even more deeply than before. The sacred tree had been selected by the king of Byblos, in the papyrus swamps of the delta, to become the central pillar of his palace. The scent of the tree was so sweet that people came to marvel at the perfume it sent forth.
    Amen, too, was connected with this Tree of Life. A wab-priest of Amen wrote during the Amarna Period about the god he used to serve:
My heart longs for thy look,
O master of the Persea tree,
When thy neck receives garlands of flowers! ....
After Jan Assmann Ägypten, Theologie und Frömmigkeit einer frühen Hochkultur, p.259
 

 
 
 -Home
-Index of Topics
-Ancient Egyptian Botanical
Offsite links(Opening in a new window)
These are just suggestions for further study. I do not assume any responsibility for their content or availability
- Petrie: Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, page 49
© 2002

CSE xhtml validated
-