Bastet (mythology)

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Bastet is the name commonly used by scholars today to refer to a feline goddess of Ancient Egyptian religion who was worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. Her name is also spelled Bast, Baast, Ubasti and Baset.[1]

Contents

Name

Bastet, the form of the name which is most commonly adopted by Egyptologists today, is only a modern convention, which offers one possible reconstruction. In early Egyptian, her name appears to have been bȝstt, where ȝ represents an aleph.[2] In Egyptian writing, the second t marks a feminine ending, but was not usually pronounced, and the aleph ȝ may have moved to a position before the accented syllable, as witnessed by the Aramaic spelling ȝbst.[2] By the first millennium, then, bȝstt would have been something like 'obest' or 'ubesti' in Egyptian speech.[2]

The town of Bastet's cult (see below) was known in Greek as Boubastis (Βούβαστος). The Hebrew rendering of the name for this town is Pî-beset ("House of Bastet"), spelled without Vortonsilbe.[2]

What the name of the goddess means remains uncertain.[2] One recent suggestion by Stephen Quirke (Ancient Egyptian Religion) explains it as meaning "She of the ointment jar". This ties in with the observation that her name was written with the hieroglyph "ointment jar" (bȝs) and that she was associated with protective ointments, among other things.[2]

From Lion-Goddess to Cat-Goddess

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