Amunet

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Amunet in hieroglyphs
imn
n
t

imnt
the hidden one
imn
n
t
H8
I12
[1][2]
imnt
the hidden one
Amunet-Luxor.jpg
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[edit]

Counterpart of Amun[edit]

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]

Colossal statue of Amunet erected by Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Karnak Temple Complex.

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[edit]

By at least the 12th dynasty (c. 1991–1803 BC) she was superseded by Mut as Amun's partner, as cults evolved or were merged following Mentuhotep II's reunification of Egypt — but she remained locally important in the region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]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ a b c d e f Wilkinson (2003), pp. 136–137.
  6. ^ a b c d 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[edit]