Babi (mythology)

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Babi / Baba in hieroglyphs
D58 G29 N33C D58 M17 M17

Babi / Baba
bull of the baboons

Babi, also Baba,[1][2] in ancient Egypt, was the deification of the hamadryas baboon, one of the animals present in ancient Egypt. His name is usually translated as "bull of the baboons", roughly meaning "chief of the baboons".[3] Since baboons exhibit many human characteristics, it was believed in early times, at least since Prehistoric Egypt, that they were deceased ancestors. In particular, alpha males were identified as deceased rulers, referred to as the "great white one", since hamadryas baboon alpha males have a notable light grey streak. For example, Narmer is depicted in some images as having transformed into a baboon.

Since baboons were considered to be the dead, Babi was viewed as a deity of the Underworld, the Duat. Baboons are extremely aggressive and omnivorous, and Babi was viewed as being very bloodthirsty, and living on entrails.[3][4] Consequently, he was viewed as devouring the souls of the unrighteous after they had been weighed against Maat (the concept of truth/order),[5] and was thus said to stand by a lake of fire, representing destruction. Since this judging of righteousness was an important part of the underworld, Babi was said to be the first-born son of Osiris,[6] the god of the dead in the same regions in which people believed in Babi.

Baboons also have noticeably high libidos, in addition to their high level of genital marking, and so Babi was considered the god of virility of the dead. He was usually portrayed with an erection, and due to the association with the judging of souls, was sometimes depicted as using it as the mast of the ferry which conveyed the righteous to Aaru, a series of islands.[3] Babi was also prayed to, in order to ensure that an individual would not suffer from erectile dysfunction after death.[citation needed]

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