ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: Meret
    The divine songstress
    Other roles and associations

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also Mert, Merit

The divine songstress

Headdress of Meret of Lower Egypt
Headdress of Meret of Upper Egypt
    Meret, Egyptian mr.t or mr.t, transliteration mr.t, was a goddess of rejoicing and song, especially of the vocal apparatus.[6][9]
Thou shalt not take thy stand in his throat; Meret is against thee—Lady of the Throat.
The scorpion magic of pChester Beatty VII [10]
    Music was very important in the cults of the gods, but also in daily life. A goddess involved in music could easily move a person. A New Kingdom harper sang:
The utterances of Meret which stir your heart from the outside, gladden you.
Tomb of Nefersekheru: Harper's song [11]
and to Wennefer who lived in the Ptolemaic Period and said of himself that he "fulfilled [his] life on earth in heart's content", Meret was the goddess singers emulated when performing for him:
No sorrow arose in my dwelling.
Singers and maidens gathered together,
Made acclaim like that of Meret,
Braided, beauteous, tressed, high-bosomed,
Priestesses richly adorned,
Anointed with myrrh, perfumed with lotus,
Their heads garlanded with wreaths, All together drunk with wine,
Fragrant with the plants of Punt,
Sarcophagus-lid inscription of Wennefer,from Saqqara, Cairo Museum 29310 [13]
    Music came into this world with its creation, or perhaps rather creation happened thanks, among other things, to music: with her music and gestures Meret had a part in establishing the cosmic order,[1] and the Book of the Dead speaks of her calming influence, though the means to achieve this appear to have been quite forceful:
Contented one, Meret, who suppresses (lit. tramples on) the uproar
Book of the Dead[12]
    She has been referred to as "the personification of the priestess as singer" and she is at times shown as a woman clapping her hands. She was associated with the sed-festival, where she was shown to introduce the king in the attire of Osiris to the gods of the North and the South,[8] and pictures of her are found on or near the royal barques,[4] but rarely in the naoi.[7]


Merti: Meret of Upper and Meret of Lower Egypt [3]
    She is a dual goddess referred to at times as Merti (the two Meret) and appears as Meret of Upper and of Lower Egypt,[2] mr.t smrw.t and mr.t mHy.t,[7] wearing headdresses of aquatic plants, lotus for Upper and papyrus for Lower Egypt. Merti have accordingly been connected to the two Niles and the Two Kingdoms. One of them sports at times a lion's head.[3]

Other roles and associations

    Meret was also the "Queen of the Treasury" and in this role she was depicted standing on the hieroglyph for gold.[2]

    She was associated with the goddess Mut.[5]


[1] Richard H. Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson 2003, p.152
[2] Manfred Lurker, The Routledge Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Devils and Demons, Routledge 1987, p.124
[3] W. Max Müller, Egyptian Mythology, Kessinger Publishing, 2004, p.136
[4] Carolyn Graves-Brown, Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt, pp.90f.
[5] James Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Kessinger Publishing, 2003, Part 24, p.712
[6] Farid Atiya, Abeer El-Shahawy, Mathaf al-Misri, Farid S. Atiya, The Egyptian Museum in Cairo: a walk through the alleys of ancient Egypt, American Univ in Cairo Press, 2005, p.275
[7] The Journal of Egyptian archaeology, Egypt Exploration Fund, 2007, Volumes 93-94, pp.258ff.
[8] Karol Mysliwiec, Eighteenth dynasty before the Amarna period, Brill, 1985, p.15
[9] mr.t, written differently, means throat, gullet or the like (Wb 2, 107.7-9)
[10] Joseph Kaster, The wisdom of Ancient Egypt, Barnes & Noble, 1993, p.146
[11] After a German translation on the website of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig => Literarische Texte => 5. Poetische Literatur => Harfnerlieder => Harfnerlieder Texte seit LÄ II, 1977 => Nefersecheru (Saujet el-Meitin) => Harfnerlied
[12] After a German translation on the website of the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Totenbuchprojekt, Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften => pTurin Museo Egizio 1791 Tb 114-165 => Tb 164
[13] Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol 3, The University of California Press 1980, p. 56

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