Tjenenyet

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Tenenet, alts. Tjenenet, Zenenet, Tanenet, Tenenit, Manuel de Codage transliteration Tnn.t, was an ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth. She is mentioned in texts dating from the Ptolemaic period as well as in the Book of the Dead.

Associations with childbirth and beer[edit]

Tenenet was associated with childbirth and was invoked as the protector of the uterus for pregnant women.[1]

Worship[edit]

Her cult centre was at Hermonthis. She was a consort of Monthu. She was later merged with Rat-Taui,[2] Isis and Anit.[3]

Her roles in the Egyptian Theology[edit]

Since her first appearance in the Middle Kingdom, goddess Tjenenet attested around 13 different roles until the Greco-Roman Period.

  • Her role as King’s Mother

It is one of the eldest associated roles with goddess Tjenenet, as, since the Middle Kingdom, she acted as the mother of King Montuhotep III whose birth name was “ sꜢ Ṯnnt sꜥnḫ kꜢ Rꜥ ” meaning “son of Tjenenet, SankhkaRe.” The role of Tjenenet as a royal mother goddess was manifested clearly in fostering the King with her milk “Ṯnnt ỉnk mwt=k šdi.n(ỉ) ṯw m ỉrtt ỉptn nt mnḏ=ỉ” meaning “Tjenenet, I am your mother I suckle you with this milk which is in my breast.”

  • Her role in participating in coronation ceremonies:

At Karnak temples, precisely at the Akh-menu-Ꜣḫ-mnw, Tjenenet-Rettawy and Montu participated in the coronation of King Thutmoses III, where she addressed the King with “ḏd mdw ỉn Ṯnnt-Rꜥt-tꜢwy smn(=i) ḫꜥ(w)=k ḥr st Ḥr mi Rꜥa” meaning “Recitation by Tjenenet-Rettawy, (I shall) establish your appearance upon the seat of Horus like god Re.”

  • Her role as a Divine Mother:

The first attestation for Tjenenet as a divine mother came in the New Kingdom, on a block statue of Djehuty, where she was called “mwt-nṯr” meaning “the mother of the god, or the divine mother.”

  • Her role as a Birth Goddess:

At the time of Ptolemy III at Karnak temples, Tjenenet was described as “msỉ nṯrw” meaning “the one who gives birth to the gods,” which evokes the concept of being the mother of the gods. She was also mentioned as “Ỉpt wtṯ nty nb” meaning “Opet who begat all.”

  • Her role as a Primeval and Creator Goddess:

Tjenenet was considered like the creator gods who have emerged from the primeval waters, where at Tod temple, she was described as “swḥt sbḳt wbn.t m nwn” meaning “the illuminating egg, the one who has risen from Nun (the primeval waters).”

  • Her role as a Universal Goddess:

During the time of Ptolemy VIII, Tjenenet was called “nb(.t) ḏr” meaning “the mistress of the universe.”

  • Her role as a Healing Goddess:

Starting with the reign of King Ptolemy IV, Tjenenet acquired the ability to heal the bodies, as she addressed the King as follows “dỉ(=ỉ) n=k ḥꜥw=k wꜥb tw r mnt swḏꜢ ꜥw=k r šnt” meaning “(I) give you your body to be pure from distress, to make your limbs healthy to the whole.”

  • Her role as Protective and Fierce Goddess:

As the daughter of god Re, Tjenenet was responsible for providing protection to the Kings, as she addressed them with “ḏd mdw dỉ(=ỉ) n=k nṯrw m sꜢ n ḥꜥw=k nṯrw.t ḥr ḫw(.t) ỉwf=k swḏꜢ=sn tw r Ꜣt nty sḥrw šmꜢw r ḥm=k” meaning “Recitation, I place for you the gods in the protection of your members, the goddesses concerning protecting your flesh, they invigorate it for you to the moment of driving away the diseases from your majesty.”

  • Her role as a Uraeus Goddess:

The first moments of Tjenenet as a uraeus within the texts came within the time of Ptolemy IV where she was called “ḥry(.t) tp n Rꜥ” meaning “the uraeus of god Re.”

  • Her role as Joy and Drunkenness Goddess:

In one scene, as Tjenenet-Rettawy, she was called “Ỉrt-Ḥr m ḏt=s sw m nb(.t) tḫ” meaning “the one which the eye of Horus is her body (becoming) as the mistress of drunkenness.” Furthermore, she was described as “Ꜣwt-ib Ꜣbḫ.ti m šnbt=s” meaning “The one whom the joy is united in her breasts.”

[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christian Jacq, Les Egyptiennes, Perrin, 1996, ISBN 2-262-01075-7
  2. ^ Manfred Lurker, The Routledge Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Devils and Demons, Routledge 2004, ISBN 0-415-34018-7, p.208
  3. ^ W. Max Muller, Egyptian Mythology, Kessinger Publishing 2004, ISBN 0-7661-8601-6, p.150
  4. ^ Mina Samy, "Goddess Tjenenet: a Religious and Cultural Study", an Unpublished M.sc. Thesis, Fayoum University, Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Tourism Guidance Department, 2021, pp.505-508