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The head of Anubis appears united to the body of Phtah-Socharis, standing on crocodiles, and on the reverse is the head of a ram, with the tail and back of a bird.
Sacred Animals, Birds, And Reptiles.
Next in importance to the Deities are the Sacred animals, birds, and reptiles, the worship of which is involved in much obscurity, but appears to have enjoyed a greater extension amid the decadence which prevailed under the Greek and Roman power. Since animals are frequently employed in the hieroglyphical texts to express words of action, it is not contrary to analogy to suppose that they personified as living emblems some particular quality or mental functions of the deity. Thus the sheep, cynocephalus, jackal, and crocodile meant respectively terror, anger, adroitness, and subjection—qualities and powers which their heads recalled when placed on the human form of different deities. The animals in Egyptian temples were employed instead of statues, and the adorer worshipped them, the individual selected being supposed to contain the soul of the Divinity, while the whole class was respected as his emblem. Their worship was local; thus, while the worshipper of Amen in the Thebaid, or the Souchis-adorer in the Arsinoite nome, spared the sheep and the crocodile, the inhabitant of Mendes or Tentyra speared and slaughtered these animals without remorse. After death, as we shall have an opportunity of showing, the Sacred Animals were carefully embalmed and deposited in tombs separate from the Necropolis.
Cases 8, 9, 10,11 contain representations of the principal animals. Their mummied form we shall speak of hereafter when we have described some of the human mummies.
The principal Sacred Animals were the cynocephalus, lion, jackal, cat, shrew-mouse, hare, apis, ram, oryx, ibex, pig. The chief birds were the hawk, the vulture, ibis, ben, and goose. The chief reptiles were the serpent, scarabaeus, crocodile, toad, frog, scorpion, lepidotus, silurus, oxyrrhyncus, and sphinx. Of some of these we have already spoken incidentally; we shall, therefore, only point out a few remarkable things about some of them. To take first the animals.
The Cynocephalus or dog-headed baboon was considered to be the living emblem of the god Thoth, chiefly in his Lunar capacity; to have knowledge of letters and music, and to sympathise with the changes of the moon. He was chiefly worshipped at Hermopolis, but embalmed cynocephali have been found at Thebes. These were probably attached to a small temple of Khons, also a Lunar God at Karnak.
The Lion was sacred to Horus, Athom, and Pasht, and especially to the latter Deity; and at Dakke Tafne is found under the form of a lioness, with a disk upon her head. His worship appears to have been more prevalent in Nubia than in Egypt. One of the Nomes, however, of Egypt was called Leontopolis, or lion's town.
The Jackal was sacred to Anoup or Anubis, and was principally worshipped at Al-Siout or Lycopolis. Mummies of it are found at Thebes. It is represented seated on the gates of the North and South, and sometimes as drawing the boat of Osiris and the Sun. It appears to have been also carried as a standard in processions of the dead.
The Cat was sacred to Pasht or Bubastis, but is not always clearly distinguished or distinguishable from the lion. Cats are found mummied at Thebes, and appear as the type of the coins of the nome of Bubastis. In the paintings the cat does not appear as a Sacred animal, but is represented in the Ritual with its claws on a snake.
The Shrew-mouse was the living emblem of the God Khem or Harsaphes. It is stated by the Greeks to have been sacred to Buto (Maut) or (Leto) Latona, and, though not occurring on the sculptures, is found as a type on the coins of Panopolis. Embalmed shrew-mice have been found resembling, though often larger than, the species called Sorex Indicus.
The Hare has been pointed out by Mr. Birch as occurring on the coins of the Mareotis, but has not yet been found as a Sacred animal in the sculptures. It often appears as the initial of the word Ononnofre, a title of Osiris, and has therefore been conjectured to have been Sacred to that Deity.
Apis, the black or pied bull of Memphis, and the white bull of Heliopolis, the emblem of Khem or Harsaphes and Onuphis at Hermonthis, are the most important of the bulls worshipped by the ancient Egyptians. A pied bull, the emblem of Ptah-Socharis- Osiris, has also been met with, and this is probably Apis, since Phtah was the great Deity at Memphis. Apis was endowed with miraculous powers, and had a shrine appropriated to his use. When he appears as a bull-headed man, he was called Osor-apis, probably the same as Serapis.
The Ram was the living representative of Amen-ra and Noum, and is often represented receiving similar homage, and qualified with the same titles as those Deities. At a late period rams with four heads, and other Pantheistic combinations, appear. His principal worship was in the Thebaid, at Xois Hypsele, and in the Mareotis. Mummies of sheep are found at Thebes.
The Oryx, whose species bore various names, was an animal devoted to Typhon, but does not appear from the monuments to have received Divine honours. Two representations indicate that it was sacred to Amen-ra, Harsaphes, and to Khons of Edfou. It is the only animal in the sculptures who is sacrificed to the gods. In the zodiac it represented Capricorn, and its head is found in the boat of Phtah-Socharis, and embalmed.
The Ibex, or goat with the recurved horn, is often met with, though seldom, if ever, with Divine honours. On one of the Tombs at Beni-hassan, a race of Asiatic foreigners bring it as an offering. It has been supposed to be one of the accursed animals. The domesticated goat occurs as a type on the coins of the Coptite and Mendesian nomes.
The Pig was rather a cursed than a sacred animal, and in this respect ranks with the gazelle and tortoise. It was devoted to Teoer or Thuoeris, Typhon and the moon, and in one instance appears in a boat, attended by two cynocephali, at the final judgment. Over it is written " gluttony," and it is supposed to represent an evil soul, condemned for this vice, returning in its body to the earth. The most important birds are—
The Hawk, which was the general emblem of the male Deities, the individual intended in each case being denoted by its head attire. It was chiefly connected with the Divinities of light; but Isis and Nephthys nevertheless appear as hawks with their appropriate head-dresses. The Deity to whom the hawk was especially Sacred was Horus. Hieracompolis was its Sacred city, and it appears as a type on the coins of Apollinopolis Magna, and bearing the name and titles of Har in the inscriptions.
The Vulture appears in the Sacred writings to have been always the emblem of the Goddess Soven or Souen, probably the Goddess of conquest. It occurs with or without the head attire flying over the heads of Monarchs in battle scenes, holding in its claws objects resembling signets, and the feather of victory. Neith sometimes occurs with the head of a hawk. This bird is found embalmed at Thebes.
The Ibis was the living emblem of the god Thoth, and occurs occasionally in the paintings either black, or black and white, and then always with the titles of Thoth. Vast numbers of mummies of this bird have been met with at Sakkara, Thebes, and Hermopolis.
The Ben or Bennou has been supposed by some to be the Nycticorax, and by others the Ardea bubulcus. It occurs in one of the chapters of the Ritual, and Osiris is also met with having the head of this bird. In one chapter the deceased steers it to Abydos, with Osiris and Ra, to the mystic region of Tattou, in the boat of the Sun.
The Goose was the living representative of Seb, the Egyptian Saturn, on whose head it is found placed. There are several species of this bird, each of which has its own name. No representation of it has been found upon the monuments, but it occurs in the Funereal Ritual. Its worship was local.
Of the reptiles the most important are—
The Serpent, which is employed in the hieroglyphic texts to point out the names of the female Divinities, was at the same time the living emblem of different Goddesses, according to the headdress in which it is attired. It often occurs also on the head-dresses of Kings and other Divinities. Twelve of these reptiles vomiting flame were the guardians of the hours of the day. The Hawee, or Cobra di Capello, is the species which most frequently occurs. Snakes are represented with different heads, as the hawk, the lion, and cat, and occasionally even human-headed.
The scABABiEus, although often found as the attribute of several other Deities, was generally the emblem of the God Tore, and apparently personified the sun. Different species of the beetle are found, and it occurs with the heads of different animals, and holding in its fore-claws the disk of the sun.
The Crocodile was the living emblem of the god Sabak, Sevek, or Souchis. It is called in the hieroglyphics, Emsooh, " sprung from the egg." Some mystic nations connected it with Time; but its voracity and amphibious nature allied it more certainly with the Deity of destruction and the waters. In the Ritual it is speared as an impure animal. It occurs as a type on the coins of the Ombite and Arsinoite nomes.
The Toad does not appear among the inscriptions, and the only traces of its worship are the embalmed specimens which have occasionally been found.
The raoG does not appear from the monuments to have been worshipped. It occurs on a lotus sceptre at Philas, and was probably sacred to Noum, the God of the waters, and Hapimoou, the Nile, or a female frog-headed Deity called Hyk, i. e. the frog. It