ATHENIAN GREEK ORATOR GOD BACCHUS DIONYSUS
BOY WITH THORN HELLENISTIC HUNTING APOLLO WITH DOG
ATHENIAN GREEK ORATOR GOD BACCHUS DIONYSUS
BOY WITH THORN HELLENISTIC HUNTING APOLLO WITH DOG
WIFE OF AMUN
This title, applied sporadically in the Middle Kingdom to non-royal
women, became a major honor given only to the wives, mothers, and daughters
of kings in the Eighteenth Dynasty, and celibate daughters of kings in the
Third Intermediate Period. Although
the same title was used in all three periods, it would probably be best to
treat them separately for what we say about the office in one period may not
apply in the other. We know
almost nothing about the office in the Middle Kingdom so we will look at the
evidence for the New Kingdom and for the Third Intermediate.
The first of the royal women to bear the title was Ahhotep,
but it was under her daughter, Ahmose-Nefertari, that the office achieved
importance. King Ahmose made a
deal with the priesthood of Amun whereby his wife and her heirs would hold
the title in perpetuity. Along
with it came its own estate and officials.
Amun acquired a great deal of wealth; the king acquired a position of
considerable prestige and power for a queen or princess.
dynasty God’s Wife might have worn priestly garments (short wig, a thin
square of cloth hanging in a knot from the back of the head, and a belted or
unbelted sheath dress) or, the dress and regalia appropriate to her standing
as a royal princess or queen.
From the reign of Hatshepsut there is a scene in which the God’s
Wife participated in temple ritual along with a male priest, a scene in
which she led male priests into the sacred lake for purification and one
where she followed the King into the inner court of the temple.
So much wealth and prestige was attached to the office that we must
wonder if there was not more to it than the performance of a few rituals.
There is absolutely no sign of sacred prostitution anywhere in
Ancient Egypt so we can safely assume that despite the title there was
nothing sexual about the office. The
following have been suggested:
It has been suggested that the God’s Wife could participate in
THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD
authority broke down once again in the Third Intermediate Period.
Unlike the first two such periods, fragmentation was not seen as a
particularly bad thing. The
power and size of each region fluctuated over time and there were moments of
intense rivalry that could include war, but the four-century period was more
stable than one might expect.
Egypt was essentially a theocracy under the control of the god Amun and his
priests; Lower Egypt (the Delta) was further divided into several
principalities. For most of the
time all parts of Egypt pretended to accept a single ruler, usually the King
of Tanis, as the supreme Pharaoh, but this individual rarely demanded or
received obedience outside of his own corner of the country.
the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms one of the Pharaoh’s most important jobs
was that of leading the worship of the gods in order to maintain Ma’at.
By the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period the Amun priesthood
had succeeded in transferring that responsibility to itself, at least in the
area of Upper Egypt. If the
king was not needed to propitiate the gods, he was certainly not needed to
appoint men to important civic offices like the Vizier, Treasurer, and
Commander of the Army. At times
a Pharaoh based in Tanis would have his daughter appointed as God’s Wife
of Amun. By having a celibate
daughter carry out the traditional ceremonies by which the monarch appealed
to the gods to help Egypt, the Pharaoh could pretend to rule the whole
country without the Amun priesthood actually having to give up any real
power, though it is possible there were occasions when the balance shifted
and the God’s Wife actually exercised some genuine authority.
Towards the end of this period the kings of Kush controlled the God’s
Wife. New Kingdom Pharaohs had
taken great pains to control Nubia, but over the course of the 20th
Dynasty Egypt’s physical presence disappeared.
By the middle of the Eighth Century BCE the roles were
reversed and Nubia controlled Upper Egypt.
Although the King of Kush called himself the Pharaoh of Egypt, his
authority seldom extended north of Memphis and was often exercised through
the office of God’s Wife of Amun.
Throughout the Third Intermediate Period the God’s Wife of Amun was always
celibate; she might have been the daughter of a king or a high priest, but
she was never a king’s wife. She
was always pictured wearing a queen’s costume and never the dress of a
princess or priestess. Paintings
show her performing rituals that had hitherto only been carried out by a
Pharaoh: making an offering or libation to a god; being embraced by a god;
receiving the symbols of kingship from a god.
A relief from North Karnak even shows a God’s Wife celebrating a
Sed Festival, traditionally the thirtieth anniversary of a king’s reign.
|Standing figure of a
22nd Dynasty God’s Wife of Amun. Photo used with the kind
permission of Jon Bodsworth www.egyptarchive.co.uk
Definition: Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, is considered the founder of the family and the state and the one who maintains public reverence for the gods. Her parents are Cronus and Rhea, making Hestia the sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, and Demeter. Therefore she is sometimes considered one of the twelve Olympians. Hestia is invoked at the beginning and end of all solemn public oaths and sacrifices. At the Prytaneion, townhall, her sacred fire was kept burning as the center of city life. There officials sacrificed to her as in a private home, the father or mother would worship her. Those seeking the state’s protection would go to the Prytaneion’s sacred fire. Her sacred fire, at the Delphic Temple, was the center of Greek religious life. The attributes of Hestia include a serious, but gentle expression seen on statues, and a sceptre. Sources: Greek Religion, by Walter Burkert Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece, by Leslie and Roy Adkins Dictionary of Roman Religion, by Leslie and Roy Adkins
Tiamat’s husband, the ruler of gods and underworld oceans. Father of Lahmu, Lahamu, Anshar and Kishar. Ea killed him.
A look at the Roman goddess Venus as distinct from the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
The goddess of love has an ancient history. Ishtar/Astarte was the Semitic goddess of love. In Greece this goddess was called Aphrodite. Aphrodite was worshiped especially on the islands of Cyprus and Kythera. The Greek goddess of love played a crucial role in the myths about Atalanta, Hippolytus, Myrrha, and Pygmalion. Among mortals, the Greco-Roman goddess loved Adonis and Anchises. The Romans originally worshiped Venus as goddess of fertility. Her fertility powers spread from the garden to humans. The Greek aspects of the love and beauty goddess Aphrodite were added on to Venus’ attributes, and so for most practical purposes, Venus is synonymous with Aphrodite. The Romans revered Venus as the ancestor of the Roman people through her liaison with Anchises.
“She was the goddess of chastity in women, despite the fact that she had many affairs with both gods and mortals. As Venus Genetrix, she was worshiped as the mother (by Anchises) of the hero Aeneas, the founder of the Roman people; as Venus Felix, the bringer of good fortune; as Venus Victrix, the bringer of victory; and as Venus Verticordia, the protector of feminine chastity. Venus is also a nature goddess, associated with the arrival of spring. She is the bringer of joy to gods and humans. Venus really had no myths of her own but was so closely identified with the Greek Aphrodite that she “took over” Aphrodite’s myths.”
Source: (http://www.cybercomm.net/ ~grandpa/rommyth2.html) Roman Gods: Venus
Venus was the goddess not only of love, but of beauty, so there were two important aspects to her and two main stories of her birth:
“There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and Dione. The first, called Aphrodite Urania, was the goddess of spiritual love. The second, Aphrodite Pandemos, was the goddess of physical attraction.”
Although we are most familiar with the nude Venus artistic representations, this wasn’t always the way she was portrayed:
“The patron deity of Pompeii was Venus Pompeiana; she was always shown as being fully clothed and wearing a crown. The statues and frescos which have been found in Pompeian gardens always show Venus either scantily clothed or totally nude. Pompeians seem to have referred to these nude images of Venus as Venus fisica; this may be from the Greek word physike, which meant ‘related to nature’.”
Venus in Pompeiian Gardens
“Her cult originated from Ardea and Lavinium in Latium. The oldest temple known of Venus dates back to 293 B.C., and was inaugurated on August 18. Later, on this date the Vinalia Rustica was observed. A second festival, that of the Veneralia, was celebrated on April 1 in honor of Venus Verticordia, who later became the protector against vice. Her temple was built in 114 B.C. After the Roman defeat near Lake Trasum in 215 B.C., a temple was built on the Capitol for Venus Erycina. This temple was officially opened on April 23, and a festival, the Vinalia Priora, was instituted to celebrate the occasion.”
Egypt, Thebes, Deir el Bahari, the goddess Hathor, portrayed as a beautiful woman with the ears of a cow, carved on a pillar from the Hathor shrine on the south side of the first terrace of the Temple of Hatshepsut.