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9/14/2019 Bastet - Wikipedia

Bastet or Bast (Ancient Egy ptian: bꜣstjt "She of the Ointment Jar", Coptic: Ⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥⲧⲉ[2 ] /ubaste/) was a goddess of ancient Egy ptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dy nasty (2890 BCE). Her
name also is rendered as B'sst, Baast, Ubaste, and Baset. [3 ] In ancient Greek religion, she was known as Ailuros (Koinē Greek: αἴλ ουρος "cat").
Goddess of cosmetics, cats, love,
Bastet was worshipped in Bubastis in Lower Egy pt, originally as a lioness goddess, a role shared by other deities such as Sekhmet. Ev entually Bastet and Sekhmet were characterized as two aspects of the the home, healing, joy,
same goddess, with Sekhmet representing the powerful warrior and protector aspect and Bastet, who increasingly was depicted as a cat, representing a gentler aspect. [4 ] motherhood, pleasure, ointments,
childbirth, protection, the hearth,
women, secrets, fertility, dance,
Contents festivals, song, the dawn, fire,
pregnancy, sex, family, warfare[a]
Role in ancient Egypt
In popular culture
See also
Further reading
External links

Bastet, the form of the name that is most commonly adopted by Egy ptologists today because of its use in later dy nasties, is a modern conv ention offering one possible reconstruction. In early Egy ptian,
her name appears to hav e been bꜣstt. In Egy ptian writing, the second t marks a feminine ending but usually was not pronounced, and the aleph ꜣ ( ) may hav e mov ed to a position before the accented
sy llable, ꜣbst. [5 ] By the first millennium, then, bꜣstt would hav e been something like *Ubaste (< *Ubastat) in Egy ptian speech, later becoming Coptic Oubaste. [5 ]

What the name of the goddess means remains uncertain. [5 ] Names of ancient Egy ptian deities often were represented as references to associations or with euphemisms,
being cult secrets. One recent suggestion by Stephen Quirke (Ancient Egyptian Religion) explains Bastet as meaning, "She of the ointment jar". This ties in with the Bastet in her late form of a cat-
observ ation that her name was written with the hierogly ph for ointment jar (bꜣs) and that she was associated with protectiv e ointments, among other things. [5 ] The headed woman, rather than a
name of the material known as alabaster might, through Greek, come from the name of the goddess. This association would hav e come about much later than when the lioness
goddess was a protectiv e lioness goddess, howev er, and is useful only in deciphering the origin of the term, alabaster. Name in
Role in ancient Egypt [1]

Bastet was originally a fierce lioness warrior goddess of the sun worshiped throughout most of ancient Egy ptian history , but later she was changed into the cat goddess
Major cult Bubastis
that is familiar today , becoming Bastet. [6 ] She then was depicted as the daughter of Ra and Isis, and the consort of Ptah, with whom she had a son Maahes. [6 ]
Symbol lioness, cat, ointment
As protector of Lower Egy pt, she was seen as defender of the king, and consequently of the sun god, Ra. Along with other deities such as Hathor, Sekhmet, and Isis, jar, sistrum, solar
Bastet was associated with the Ey e of Ra. [7 ] She has been depicted as fighting the ev il snake named Apep, an enemy of Ra. [8 ] In addition to her solar connections, disk, alabaster
sometimes she was called "ey e of the moon". [9 ]
Wadjet-Bastet, with a Personal information
lioness head, the solar disk,
Bastet was also a goddess of pregnancy and childbirth, possibly because of the fertility of the domestic cat. [1 0 ] Consort Ra (in the form of Ptah)
and the cobra that
represents Wadjet Offspring Maahes
Images of Bastet were often created from alabaster. The goddess was sometimes depicted holding a ceremonial sistrum in one hand and an aegis in the other—the aegis
usually resembling a collar or gorget, embellished with a lioness head. Parents Ra and Isis
Siblings Horus and Anhur
Bastet was also depicted as the goddess of protection against contagious diseases and ev il spirits. [1 1 ]

Bastet was a local deity whose religious sect was centered in the city that became named, Bubastis. It lay in the Nile Delta near what is known today as Zagazig. [1 2 ][1 3 ] The town, known in Egy ptian as pr-bꜣstt (also transliterated as Per-Bastet),
carries her name, literally meaning House of Bastet. It was known in Greek as Boubastis (Βούβαστις) and translated into Hebrew as Pî-beset, spelled without the initial t sound of the last sy llable. [5 ] In the biblical Book of Ezekiel 30:17 , the town
appears in the Hebrew form Pibeseth. [1 2 ]

Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian who trav eled in Egy pt in the fifth century BCE, describes Bastet's temple at some length:[1 4 ]

Sav e for the entrance, it stands on an island; two separate channels approach it from the Nile, and after coming up to the entry of the temple, they run round it on opposite sides; each of
them a hundred feet wide, and ov ershadowed by trees. The temple is in the midst of the city , the whole circuit of which commands a v iew down into it; for the city 's lev el has been raised,
but that of the temple has been left as it was from the first, so that it can be seen into from without. A stone wall, carv en with figures, runs round it; within is a grov e of v ery tall trees
growing round a great shrine, wherein is the image of the goddess; the temple is a square, each side measuring a furlong. A road, pav ed with stone, of about three furlongs' length leads to
the entrance, running eastward through the market place, towards the temple of Hermes; this road is about 400 feet wide, and bordered by trees reaching to heav en.

This description by Herodotus and sev eral Egy ptian texts suggest that water surrounded the temple on three (out of four) sides, forming a ty pe of lake known as, isheru, not too dissimilar from that
surrounding the temple of the mother goddess Mut in Karnak at Thebes. [1 2 ] These lakes were ty pical components of temples dev oted to a number of lioness goddesses, who are said to represent one
original goddess, Bastet, Mut, Tefnut, Hathor, and Sakhmet, [1 2 ] and came to be associated with sun gods such as Horus and Ra as well as the Ey e of Ra. Each of them had to be appeased by a specific set
of rituals. [1 2 ] One my th relates that a lioness, fiery and wrathful, was once cooled down by the water of the lake, transformed into a gentle cat, and settled in the temple. [1 2 ]

At the Bubastis temple, some cats were found to hav e been mummified and buried, many next to their owners. More than 300,000 mummified cats were discov ered when Bastet's temple was
excav ated. Turner and Bateson suggest that the status of the cat was roughly equiv alent to that of the cow in modern India. The death of a cat might leav e a family in great mourning and those who
could, would hav e them embalmed or buried in cat cemeteries—pointing to the great prev alence of the cult of Bastet. Extensiv e burials of cat remains were found not only at Bubastis, but also at Beni
Hasan and Saqqara. In 1888, a farmer uncov ered a burial site of many hundreds of thousands of cats in Beni Hasan. [4 ]
An Eighteenth Dynasty burial artifact
from the tomb of Tutankhamun
(c. 1323 BC), an alabaster cosmetic
Festival jar topped with a lioness representing
Herodotus also relates that of the many solemn festiv als held in Egy pt, the most important and most popular one was that celebrated in Bubastis in honor of this goddess. [1 5 ][1 6 ] Each y ear on the day Bastet — Cairo Museum
of her festiv al, the town was said to hav e attracted some 7 00,000 v isitors, both men and women (but not children), who arriv ed in numerous crowded ships. The women engaged in music, song, and
dance on their way to the place. Great sacrifices were made and prodigious amounts of wine were drunk—more than was the case throughout the y ear. [1 7 ] This accords well with Egy ptian sources that
prescribe that lioness goddesses are to be appeased with the "feasts of drunkenness". [5 ] A festiv al of Bastet was known to be celebrated during the New Kingdom at Bubastis. The block statue from the eighteenth dy nasty (c. 1380 BC) of Nefer-ka,
the wab-priest of Sekhmet, [1 8 ] prov ides written ev idence for this. The inscription suggests that the king, Amenhotep III, was present at the ev ent and had great offerings made to the deity .

Bastet first appears in the third millennium BC, where she is depicted as either a fierce lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness. [1 2 ] Two thousand y ears later, during the Third Intermediate Period of Egy pt (c. 107 0–7 12 BC), Bastet began
to be depicted as a domestic cat or a cat-headed woman. [1 9 ]

Scribes of the New Kingdom and later eras began referring to her with an additional feminine suffix, as Bastet. The name change is thought to hav e been added to emphasize pronunciation of the ending t sound, often left silent.

Cats in ancient Egy pt were highly rev ered, partly due to their ability to combat v ermin such as mice, rats (which threatened key food supplies), and snakes—especially cobras. Cats of roy alty were, in some instances, known to be dressed in
golden jewelry and were allowed to eat from the plates of their owners. Turner and Bateson estimate that during the Twenty -second Dy nasty (c. 945–7 15 BC), Bastet worship changed from being a lioness deity into being predominantly a major
cat deity . [4 ] Because domestic cats tend to be tender and protectiv e of their offspring, Bastet was also regarded as a good mother and sometimes was depicted with numerous kittens.

The nativ e Egy ptian rulers were replaced by Greeks during an occupation of Ancient Egy pt in the Ptolemaic Dy nasty that lasted almost 300 y ears. The Greeks sometimes equated Bastet with one of their goddesses, Artemis. [1 0 ]

In popular culture 1/2
9/14/2019 Bastet - Wikipedia

See also
Cats in ancient Egypt
Cattle in religion and mythology

a. In some cults, particularly in Per-Bast.

Herodotus, ed. H. Stein (et al.) and tr. AD Godley (1920), Herodotus 1. Book s 1 and 2. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts
E. Bernhauer, "Block Statue of Nefer-ka (", in: M. I. Bakr, H. Brandl, Faye Kalloniatis (eds.): Egyptian Antiquities from Kufur Nigm and Bubastis. Berlin 2010, pp. 176– The Gayer-Anderson cat,
179 ISBN 978-3-00-033509-9. believed to be a
Velde, Herman te (1999). "Bastet". In Karel van der Toorn; Bob Becking; Pieter W. van der Horst (eds.). Dictionary of Demons and Deities in the Bible (2nd ed.). Leiden: Brill Academic. pp. 164–5. ISBN 90-04-11119-0. representation of Bastet
Serpell, James A. "Domestication and History of the Cat" ( In Dennis C. Turner; Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson (eds.). The Domestic Cat: the Biology of its
Behaviour. pp. 177–192.
1. Hart, George (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and 8. Pinch, Geraldine (2002). Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, 13. Bastet ( Archived (https://web.a
Goddesses, Second Edition, p. 45 and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 130.
2. "Coptic Dictionary Online" ( 9. Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient l) July 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Egyptian Museum
y/entry.cgi?entry=4899&super=1948). Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 176 14. Herodotus, Book 2, chapter 138.
3. Badawi, Cherine. Footprint Egypt. Footprint Travel Guides, 2004. 10. Delia, Diana (1999). "Isis, or the Moon". In W. Clarysse, A. Schoors, H. 15. Herodotus, Book 2, chapter 59.
4. Serpell, "Domestication and History of the Cat", p. 184. Willems. Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years. Studies Dedicated to 16. Herodotus, Book 2, chapter 137.
the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur. Peeters. pp. 545–546
5. Te Velde, "Bastet", p. 165. 17. Herodotus, Book 2, chapter 60.
11. Mark, Joshua J. (July 24, 2016). "Bastet" (
6. Pinch, Geraldine (2002). Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, 18. "restoration" ( project-
171025/ Ancient History Encyclopedia. Archived
and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
from the original ( on November 13, 2018.
p. 115. 19. Robins, Gay (2008). The Art of Ancient Egypt: Revised Edition. Cambridge,
Retrieved December 5, 2018.
7. Darnell, John Coleman (1997). "The Apotropaic Goddess in the Eye". Studien Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-0-674-03065-7.
12. Te Velde, "Bastet", p. 164.
zur Altägyptischen Kultur. 24: 35–48. JSTOR 25152728 (

Further reading
Malek, Jaromir (1993). The Cat in Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press.
Otto, Eberhard (1972–1992). "Bastet". In W. Helck; et al. (eds.). Lexicon der Ägyptologie. 1. Wiesbaden. pp. 628–30.
Quaegebeur, J. (1991). "Le culte de Boubastis - Bastet en Egypte gréco-romaine". In Delvaux, L.; Warmenbol, E. (eds.). Les divins chat d'Egypte. Leuven. pp. 117–27.
Quirke, Stephen (1992). Ancient Egyptian Religion. London: British Museum Press.
Bakr, Mohamed I. & Brandl, Helmut (2010). "Bubastis and the Temple of Bastet". In M. I. Bakr; H. Brandl & F. Kalloniatis (eds.). Egyptian Antiquities from Kufur Nigm and Bubastis. Cairo/Berlin. pp. 27–36. ISBN 978-3-
Bernhauer, Edith (2014). "Stela Fragment (of Bastet)" ( In M. I. Bakr; H. Brandl; F. Kalloniatis (eds.). Egyptian Antiquities from the Eastern Nile Delta. Cairo/Berlin.
pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-3-00-045318-2

External links
"All About Bast" ( — Comprehensive essay by S.D. Cass on
"Temple to cat god found in Egypt" (, BBC News Ancient Egyptian statue of
Bastet after becoming
represented as a domestic

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