ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: Mehit

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

  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.



also Mehyt, Mekhyt
    Mehit, ,[1] was a leonine goddess known since the Old Kingdom, when she was mentioned in the Pyramid Texts
The Slaughterers ,[5] fall on their face because of you and those who do no set kneel because of you. For it is you who prevents them from slipping from your hands. Come upon them in your name of Mehit
PT 578 [4]
and identified like other lion goddesses with the Eye of Re, and a consort of Onuris. Mehit and Onuris were at times identified as the deities Tefnut and Shu. Like Tefnut Mehit was thought of as a tutelary deity of the king: In the Hibis temple she is depicted with a king, and the cow bed in the sarcophagus chamber was dedicated to Isis-Mehit.[7]
    Mehit was a fierce and dangerous deity like Sekhmet, with whom she was sometimes associated, and a text from hellenistic times contains the following threat against Seth:
When you come from the north, the gods of the North will throw you down, Onuris, Mehit, the great gods of the (northern) Behdet and who are in Hau-nebu (lands north of Egypt), they will fulfill their destination concerning you.
Papyrus of Imhotep, son of Pshentohe [8]
    According to the myth Onuris, whose name means He-who-Brings-back-the-Distant-One, went hunting for a lioness in a desert in Nubia. He caught Mehit, tamed her and brought her back to Egypt, where she became his consort,[2] just as of Shu it was said that he brought Tefnut from Nubia,[3]
    Mehit's main cult centres were at Thinis, where Onuris was the main deity, and at Behdet. She was depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness, at times wearing the atef-crown. The Barbus binny, a fish common in the Nile and bronze statuettes of which were found at Thinis, was associated with the Mehit and Onuris cult.[6]
[1] MdC transliteration, Wb 2, 127.7-9
[2] Geraldine Pinch, Handbook of Egyptian mythology, ABC-CLIO, 2002, p.177
[3] Shaw & Nicholson 1995, p.211
[4] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae web site: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Pyramidentexte => Pyramide Pepis I. => "Wartesaal"/vestibule => Westwand => PT 578. Accessed June 2010
[5] Slaughterers: demons of disease (Wb 3, 236.6-7)
[6] Alan B. Lloyd, Herodotus: Commentary 1-98, Brill, 1994, p.315
[7] Nicole Kloth, Hartwig Altenmüller, Karl Martin, Eva Pardey, Es werde niedergelegt als Schriftstu"ck: Festschrift für Hartwig Altenmüller zum 65. Geburtstag, Buske Verlag, 2003, p.339
[8] After the transliteration and German translation by F. Feder ed., on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website, Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => späte Ritualbücher => Späte Totenliturgien => Papyrus des Imhotep Sohn des Pschentohe New York MMA 35.9.21

© October 2005
Updates: June 2010

CSE xhtml validated