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Ancient Egyptian deities: Shentayet
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also Shentait, Shentit
    Shentayet, SntAy.t (transliteration SntAy.t) meaning widow, was a cow goddess.[1] She was said to have created the body of the god Sokar from clay, to which precious metals and stones, fragrant spices and dates had been added.[3] Osiris too was connected with the goddess, his mummy being referred to as Shentayet's work.[6]


    Shentayet was depicted in human form, standing or kneeling, bareheaded or wearing on her head a double-feathered or a Hathor crown or the Isis-symbol. Hathor's crown Hathor's crown

The symbol of Isis (left) and Hathor's crown (right)

    As a cow goddess she is shown standing or lying down, wearing a sundisk and two ostrich feathers between her horns.[6] Shentayet of Busiris carries her hair in the style of Nephthys, while the Abydos Shentayet's hair is dressed like that of Isis.[7]


    Her cult centre was originally at Busiris, since the 19th dynasty she was also venerated at Abydos. Osirian mystery plays in which Shentayet had a role took place in the Houses of Shentayet (pr SntAy.t) at Dendera and Philae. Other Houses of Shentayet are known to have existed at Behbet, Memphis, Karnak and Coptos.[7]
    Shentayet as Lady of the Golden (Grain) is connected with the Osiris cult. As the god's widow of Busiris she is brought forth to the place of hoeing the earth, while the grain is in front of her. The grain was subsequently moistened and germinated.[8]


    She was often identified with Isis [1] kneeling, interpreted as a position of mourning for Osiris, and was assimilated to her as Isis-Shentayet.[5] Hathor was depicted as Shentayet in the shape of a cow lying down. Anput, the female form of Anubis, was also referred to as Shentayet.[6]
    Shentayet appears often together with the goddess Merkhetes, frequently identified with Nephthys, protecting Osiris with outspread wings.[7]
    At Dendera Shentayet was considered a daughter of Geb.[7]
Jan Assmann, Sibylle Meyer (eds), Egypt, Volume 97 of Studies in the history of religions, Brill 2003
Dagmar Budde, Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen, Volume 1, Peeters Publishers, 2003
Sylvie Cauville, "Chentayt et Merkhetes, des avatars d'Isis et Nephthys", BIFAO 81, 1981
Geraldine Pinch, Handbook of Egyptian mythology, ABC-CLIO, 2002
Robert A. Wild, Water in the cultic worship of Isis and Sarapis, Brill Archive, 1981, p.225
Richard H. Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson 2003
[1] Pinch 2002, p.195
[2] Pinch 2002, p.125
[3] Pinch 2002, p.203
[4] Wild 1981, p.225
[5} R H. Wilkinson, 2003, p.175.
[6] Budde 2003, p.106
[7] Cauville 1981, pp.21-27
[8] Assmann & Meyer 2003, p.345

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