Amunet

Amunet in hieroglyphs


imnt
the hidden one


[1][2]
imnt
the hidden one
Bas relief of Amunet in Luxor

Amunet (/ˈæməˌnɛt/; also spelled Amonet or Amaunet; Greek Αμαυνι[3][4]) is a primordial goddess in ancient Egyptian religion.[5][6]

Description and history

Counterpart of Amun

Her name means "The Hidden One" with a feminine ending (imn.t, literally "The Female Hidden One"). She is a member of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, who represented aspects of the primeval existence before the creation: Amunet was paired with Amun — whose name means "The Hidden One" too, with a masculine ending (imn) — within this divine group, from the earliest known documentation.[5] Such pairing of deities is characteristic of the religious concepts of the ancient Egyptians, being the Ogdoad itself composed by four balanced couples of deities or deified primeval concepts.[7]

It seems likely that Amunet may have been artificially conceived by theologians as a complement to Amun, rather than being an originally independent deity.[5] The very old Pyramid Texts mention the beneficient shadow of Amun and Amunet:[8]

O Amun and Amunet! You pair of the gods, who joined the gods with their shadow.

PT 446c

Local goddess

By at least the 12th dynasty (c. 1991–1803 BC) she was superseded by Mut as Amun's partner, as cults evolved or were merged following Mentuhotep II's reunification of Egypt — but she remained locally important in the region of Thebes, where Amun was worshipped.[5] There she was seen as a protector of the Pharaoh, playing a preminent role in rituals associed with the Pharaoh's coronation (khaj-nisut) and anniversary jubilees (heb-sed).[6] In the Festival Hall of Thutmose III (c. 1479–1425 BC), Amunet is shown with the fertility-god Min while leading a row of deities to visit the Pharaoh in the anniversary celebration.[6] In spite of Amunet's stable position as a local goddess of Egypt's most important city, her cult had very little widespread following outside the Theban region.[5]

At Karnak, Amun's cult center, priests were dedicated to Amunet's service.[9] Amunet was depicted as a woman wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt — as in her colossal statue placed in the Record Hall of Thutmose III at Karnak during the reign of Tutankhamun (c. 1332–1323 BC) — and carrying a staff of papyrus. The exact reason for this iconography is uncertain.[5]

In some late texts from Karnak she was syncretized with Neith, although she remained a distinct deity as late as the Ptolemaic period (323–30 BC): she is carved on the exterior wall of the Festival Hall of Thutmose III in Karnak suckling Pharaoh Philip Arrhidaeus (323–317 BC), who appears, immediately after his own enthronement, as a divine child.[6]

References

  1. George Hart, The Routledge dictionary of Egyptian gods and goddesses, Psychology Press, 2005, via Google Books
  2. Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. pp. 136–137
  3. Daniel, Robert W. Daniel Robert W. (2013-04-17). Two Greek Magical Papyri in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden: A Photographic Edition of J 384 and 395 (=PGM XII and XIII) (in Greek). Springer-Verlag. ISBN 9783663053774.
  4. Henrichs, Albert (2013-02-07). Papyri Graecae magicae / Die griechischen Zauberpapyri (in Greek). Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110951264.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wilkinson (2003), pp. 136–137.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Hart (1986), p. 2.
  7. Hart (1986), p. 148.
  8. "ANCIENT EGYPT : Amun and the One, Great & Hidden". www.maat.sofiatopia.org. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  9. Wilkinson (2003), p. 136.

Bibliography

  • Hart, George, A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Routledge, 1986, ISBN 0-415-05909-7.
  • Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, 2003, ISBN 0-500-05120-8.
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