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Ancient Egyptian deities: Nephthys
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[Image: Nephthys]     Nephthys, nb.t-Hw.t (transliteration nb.t-Hw.t), was a protective goddess, daughter of Geb and Nut and consort of her brother Seth, She belonged to the Heliopolitan Ennead. Her son was Anubis.
    Nephthys and her sister Isis, the (Two Sisters), accompanied their brother Osiris on his journey to the underworld, Nephthys leading him into the West - descending into the realm of the dead - and her sister subsequently escorting him into the East- ascending to the place of rebirth, Akhet (Lightland, Horizon), where, according to the Pyramid Texts one would become an akh and rise into the immortal sky
May you rise at the horizon, there in the place of your glorification.
Pyramid Texts 217 [1]
    Nephthys was often a counterpart of Isis. While Osiris and Isis proclaim the coming of Unas to Lower Egypt, Nephthys and Seth do so in Upper Egypt:
Seth, Nephthys, go proclaim to Upper Egypt's gods
And their spirits:
"This Unas comes, a spirit indestructible,
If he wishes you to die, you will die,
If he wishes you to live, you will live!"
Pyramid Texts
M. Lichtheim Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1 p.30
    Together with Isis as the, the Two Mourners, and often joined by Selket and Neith, she mourned the dead, as she had mourned her dead brother Osiris, and protected the sarcophagus of the mummy and the canopic jars containing the inner organs of the deceased.
    Protective of the dead, Nephthys and her sister also assisted mothers giving birth:
Then said the majesty of Re, lord of Sakhbu, to Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet, Heket, and Khnum: "Please go, deliver Ruddedet of the three children who are in her womb, who will assume this beneficent office in this whole land.
Westcar papyrus
M. Lichtheim Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1 p.220
standing at either side of the birth mother
Isis placed herself before her, Nephthys behind her,
Westcar papyrus
M. Lichtheim Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1 p.221
    In real life, mummies which were transported to the cemetery were accompanied by two mourning women standing in for Isis and Nephthys, one preceding, the other following the deceased.
    Her Egyptian name Nebethut (nb.t Hwt), Nephthys to the Greeks, means "Lady of the House" or "Lady of the Temple". Her role as a protective deity led the Egyptians to call one of the pylons at the entrance of a temple Nephthys and the other Isis.


    One of Nephthys' epithets was Nebet-ihi, nb.tjhy,[2] meaning Mistress of Joy. In the course of the centuries Nebet-ihi developed an independent existence.[3] She is shown in the temple of Shenhur, for instance, receiving offerings from the Roman emperor as king of Egypt, together with Harpocrates, Min-Re, Tutu and Isis.[4]
    Nebet-ihi was depicted as a woman wearing a vulture cap and on top of this a Hathor crown.[5]
[1] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Pyramidentexte => Unas-Pyramide => Sargkammer => Südwand => PT 217
[2] MdC transliteration nb.t-jhy. Not everyone agrees with this interpretation, cf. Christian Leitz, Dagmar Budde, Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen: Register Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta, Peeters Publishers, 2003, p.413, who prefer not to give an explanation.
[3] Günther Hölbl, Römische Politik und altägyptische Ideologie von Augustus bis Diocletian, Tempelbau in Oberägypten, Philipp von Zabern, 2000, p.7
[4] Sandra Sandri, Har-pa-chered (Harpokrates): die Genese eines ägyptischen Götterkindes, Peeters Publishers, 2006, p.51
[5] Harco Willems, Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer, The Temple of Shanhur: The sanctuary, the wabet, and the gates of the central hall and the great vestibule (1-98), Peeters Publishers, 2003, p.126

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