Heqet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
H q
t
I7

S38 q
t
B1
V30
Ḥeqet
in hieroglyphs
S38 q
t
i i X1
H8
B1
Ḥeqtit
in hieroglyphs
Anthropomorphic depiction of Heqet in the temple relief of Ramesses II in Abydos.
The god Khnum, accompanied by Heqet, moulds Ihy in a relief from the mammisi (birth temple) at Dendera Temple complex.
Early Dynastic (c. 3000 BC) frog statuette (Cleveland Museum of Art).

Heqet (Ḥeqet, Ḥeḳet; also Ḥeqtit, Ḥeḳtit) is an Egyptian goddess of fertility, identified with Hathor, represented in the form of a frog. [1] To the Egyptians, the frog was an ancient symbol of fertility, related to the annual flooding of the Nile. Heqet was originally the female counterpart of Khnemu, or the wife of Khnemu by whom she became the mother of Heru-ur.[2]

The name is written as ḥqt with the determinative "frog" (I7),[3] or alternatively as ḥqtyt with the "egg" (goddess) determinative (H8).[2] Its Middle Egyptian proununciation may have been close to /ħaˈqaːtat/, whence possibly the name of Greek Hecate ( Ἑκάτη).[4]

Worship[edit]

The beginning of her cult dates to the early dynastic period at least. Her name was part of the names of some high-born Second Dynasty individuals buried at Helwan and was mentioned on a stela of Wepemnofret and in the Pyramid Texts. Early frog statuettes are often thought to be depictions of her.[5]

Later, as a fertility goddess, associated explicitly with the last stages of the flooding of the Nile, and so with the germination of corn, she was associated with the final stages of childbirth. This association, which appears to have arisen during the Middle Kingdom, gained her the title She who hastens the birth (cf. the role of Heqet in the story of The Birth of the Royal Children from the Westcar Papyrus[6]). Some say that—even though no ancient Egyptian term for "midwife" is known for certain—midwives often called themselves the Servants of Heqet, and that her priestesses were trained in midwifery.[7] Women often wore amulets of her during childbirth, which depicted Heqet as a frog, sitting in a lotus.

Heqet was considered the wife of Khnum, who formed the bodies of new children on his potter's wheel.[8]

In the Osiris myth, it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth. As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet's role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association led to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection in the Christian era along with cross and lamb symbolism.[9]

A temple dedicated to Horus and Heqet dating to the Ptolemaic Period was found at Qus.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Armour, Robert A. (2001). Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt. American University in Cairo Press. p. 116. 
  2. ^ a b "The frog appears to have been worshipped in primitive times as the symbol of generation, birth and fertility in general; the Frog-goddess Ḥeqet or Ḥeqtit was identified with Hathor, and was originally the female counterpart of Khnemu, by whom she became the mother of Heru-ur. The great antiquity of the cult of the frog is proved by the fact that each of the four primeval gods, Ḥeḥ, Kek, Nāu, and Amen is depicted with the head of a frog, while his female counterpart has the head of a serpent. The cult of the frog is one of the oldest in Egypt, and the Frog-god and the Frog-goddess were believed to have played very prominent parts in the creation of the world." E. A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians: Or, Studies in Egyptian Mythology vol. 2 (1904), p. 378.
  3. ^ Erman, Johann Peter Adolf; Grapow, Hermann, eds. (1971). Wörterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache im Auftrage der deutschen Akademien. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag GmbH. p. 169.10. 
  4. ^ McKechnie, Paul, and Philippe Guillaume. Ptolemy II Philadelphus and His World. Leiden: Brill, 2008. page 133.
  5. ^ Wilkinson, Toby A. H. (1999). Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge. p. 286. 
  6. ^ Lichtheim, M. (1973). Ancient Egyptian Literature. 1. p. 220. 
  7. ^ Franklin, Rosalind (2005). Baby Lore: Superstitions and Old Wives Tales from the World Over Related to Pregnancy, Birth and Babycare. Diggory Press. p. 86. 
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 229
  9. ^ Shier, Louise A. (1972). The Frog on Lamps from Karanis. Medieval and Middle Eastern Studies. Brill. p. 357. 
  10. ^ Porter, Bertha and Moss, Rosalind. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings, V Upper Egypt: Sites (Volume 5). Griffith Institute. 2004.
  11. ^ Wilkinson, Richard H., The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, 2000, pp 152, ISBN 0-500-05100-3

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Heqet at Wikimedia Commons