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Ancient Egyptian deities: Arensnuphis

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Arensnuphis

also Arhensnuphis, Arsnuphis, Harensnuphis etc
 
    Arensnuphis, jr.j-Hms-nfr [1] was apparently originally a Nubian god who was also worshipped at Philae in Upper Egypt in Graeco-Roman times. He was depicted in the shape of a man, but was at times referred to as lion of the South in the Temple of Dendur built during the reign of Augustus.[2] Another one of his epithets was the beautiful Medjay, come from Punt.[3]
    Nothing is known of his nature, though his name meant good or perfect companion,[6] which may have been descriptive of his character.

Appearance

    At Musawwarat es Sufra in Nubia Arensnuphis is shown wearing a long gown, leading a gazelle with his left and holding a bouquet of flowers in his right hand.[3] His head and that of the god Sabomakal are set above the main entrance to the central temple, flanking Amen's ram's head. Another temple's entrance at Musawwarat is guarded by figures of these two gods, holding lions on leashes.[4] Often he wore a feathered crown and held at times a spear in his hand.[5]

Associations

    He was associated with Shu, being referred to at times as Shu-Arensnuphis,
Words to be spoken by Shu, son of Re, Arensnuphis, the great god, lord of the abaton,[13] who gives breath to all noses, who gives life like Re, eternally.
Inscription in a Ptolemaic chapel at Dakka [7]
with Onuris
May the perfect god live, son of Khnum, born by Satis, nourished by Anukis, king of Upper and Lower Egypt, lord of the double country, living hand of Amen, image of Re, beloved of Arensnuphis, lord of the abaton.
Inscription in a Ptolemaic chapel at Dakka [8]
and, as the good companion, with Isis, a Lady of the abaton–in whose temple at Philae he had a kiosk–and Hathor:
Words to be said by Shu, son of Re, Arensnuphis, the great god, lord of the abaton, the perfect companion of Hathor.
Inscription in a Ptolemaic chapel at Dakka [9]

Worship

    Arensnuphis apparently began to be worshipped in Upper Egypt in the third and second century BCE, after he had had a cult in Nubia for two to three hundred years. In a joint venture with the Meroitic king Arqamani Ptolemy IV erected an Arensnuphis sanctuary on the island of Philae,[10] and from the time of Ergamenes (218-200 BCE) there is evidence of worship at Dakka.[11] in the temple at Dendur 75 km south of Aswan the emperor Augustus was shown worshipping Arensnuphis.[5][12]
Footnotes:
[1] jr.j-Hms-nfr, (Wb 1, 105.8)
[2] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Leuven Online Index of Ptolemaic and Roman Hieroglyphic Texts, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven => Dendour => porte monumentale => face ouest => montant sud => 3e reg: Hnk snTr
[3] Bonnefoy 1992, p.244
[4] Temporini & Haase 1972, p.2838
[5] Wilkinson 2003 p.98
[6] Shaw & Nicholson 1995, p.37
[7] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Leuven Online Index of Ptolemaic and Roman Hieroglyphic Texts, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven => Dakka => façade chapelle d'Ergamenes => décoration extérieure => pilier d'angle est => 3e reg: [Hnk mAa.t]
[8] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae => Leuven Online Index of Ptolemaic and Roman Hieroglyphic Texts, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven => Dakka => façade chapelle d'Ergamenes => porte romaine => décoration extérieure => frise => partie ouest Ergamenes
[9] Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Leuven Online Index of Ptolemaic and Roman Hieroglyphic Texts, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven => Dakka => chapelle d'Ergamenes => paroi ouest => 1 reg => 1e scène: rdi.t pr
[10] Wilkinson 2003, p.98
[11] Bonnefoy 1992, p.244
[12] These reliefs are now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.(Shaw & Nicholson 1995, p.37)
[13] abaton, Greek for jA.t-wab.t, the pure mound–where parts of the body of Osiris were buried.
 
Bibliography:
Yves Bonnefoy (ed.), Greek and Egyptian Mythologies, University of Chicago Press, 1992
Shaw & Nicholson 1995
Hildegard Temporini, Wolfgang Haase (eds.), Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung, Volume 1, Part 2, Walter de Gruyter, 1972
Wilkinson 2003
 

 
© March 2010

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