ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: Menhyt
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Menhyt

also Menhit
 
    Menhyt (MdC transliteration mnHy.t) lion goddess associated with Uto, embodiment of the Red Crown and with Neith. She was referred to as the Slaughterer [1] and early on she was identified, like other lion goddesses, with the Eye of Re. The Coffin Text spell 952 associates her with Uto (Wadjet), the goddess of Lower Egypt. [2] She was a minor goddess of mostly local importance, but Seti I referred to himself as beloved of Menhyt[3] In later times she was also connected to Hathor.
    Menhyt's cult centre was at Iunit (modern Esna), where she was the consort of Khnum[6] At the temple of Esna during Ptolemaic times the sixth day of the second month of Inundation was the holy day of Menhyt, when women played their tambourines in her honour, and three weeks later, on the 28th the feast of Menhyt-Nebetu was celebrated with a procession of the goddess to make the country grow green again. [4] The 16th day of the second month of Summer Esna saw a celebration in honour of three lion goddesses, it being the feast days of Menhyt and Bastet and the day of purification of Sakhmet[5]


[1] from mnH, to slaughter
[2] Barbara S. Lesko, The Great Goddesses of Egypt, University of Oklahoma Press, 1999, p.269
[3] James H. Breasted Ancient Records of Egypt Part Three, Chicago 1905, § 88
[4] Sherif El-Sabban, Temple festival calendars of ancient Egypt, Liverpool University Press, 2000, p.161
[5] El-Sabban, op. cit., p.167
[6] George Hart, The Routledge dictionary of Egyptian gods and goddesses, Routledge, 2005, p.86
 

 
© October 2005
Updates:
September 2008

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