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Hathor in hieroglyphics

or advertised
O6 X1

(Hat Hor)
Ḥwt Ḥr
womb of Horus
Hathor with cow horns and a sun disk
Hathor with a sun disk as well as cow horns
and Hathor as a bat embodiment
Hathor cow.svg
Hathor as a cow

Hathor is a goddess in Egyptian mythology . In her beginnings she assumed the rank of local goddess and then appeared in the form of a cow. Hathor later rose to become the sky goddess of the west and became an all-embracing mother goddess. She was also the goddess of the dead and goddess of love , peace, beauty, dance, art and music.

Name and presentation

Hathor - Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888

At least since the 1st dynasty , Hathor has been documented as a cow-shaped goddess under Narmer . On an ivory tablet from the grave of Djer in Umm el-Qaab near Abydos , she can be seen as a lying cow in front of the Serech as "Hathor in the swamps of King Djers city ​​Dep ". Her iconographic representation differs only slightly from the older sky goddess Bat . Images on vessel fragments show only a small difference in appearance of the goddess Hathor to Bat: The horn tips of the Hathor run outwards, in contrast to Bat.

On the group of statues of Mykerinos from the 4th Dynasty , Hathor is depicted on the left side of Mykerinos with the Bat emblem, while Hathor appears on his right side in her capacity as personification of the seventh Upper Egyptian Gaus . The horns of the Hathor with the sun disk in between , which has a slight curve to the outside, is clearly recognizable , while the Bat emblem shows the inwardly inclined winding of the horns of the Bat. The background of a different horn shape is likely to be seen in two different species of bovid . From the 11th dynasty , the goddess Bat completely merged with Hathor.

Her name means "House of Hor" or "House of Horus ", whereby the part of the name "house" is derived from the meaning "mother's womb", which surrounds Horus. The ideogram therefore mostly represents a Horus falcon in the “womb”. As the later wife of Re and mother of Horus, she formed the enclosing womb from which Horus sprang as her son.

The portrayal of the goddess Hathor is varied: in addition to her appearance as a standing woman with cow horns and an intermediate sun disk, she is also depicted completely as a cow or a cow-headed woman. In connection with a myth about the goddess Sekhmet , she appears as a lion or snake-head and as the ruler of the West with the associated hieroglyph "West"
or even as a hippopotamus.

It has often been referred to as the gold since the Old Kingdom . She had different surnames. In the Old Kingdom she is often referred to as the mistress of the sycamore . Other epithets refer to their places of worship. She is mistress of Imaw ( Kom el-Hisn ), mistress of Qusae , or mistress of Dendera . She was referred to as Hathor of Dendera, among others .

Mythological connection to the sun god Re

Her mythological beginnings with Re are described as follows: Re opens his eyes inside the lotus at the moment when he left the primal chaos . A liquid formed in his eyes that fell to the ground: She transformed into a beautiful woman, who was given the name "Gold of the Gods, Hathor the Great, Lady of Dendera ". In one myth, Hathor keeps Re in her womb overnight and gives birth to him every morning. In other myths, Hathor is the eye of Re itself.

In the New Kingdom, Re is named accordingly with the epithet Kamutef as "his mother's bull", who "was conceived by Hathor". Hathor thus represents the feminine element of divine kingship and thus enables the cyclical rebirth of the king as originally ruling Horus .

In the myth "The annihilation of mankind" Re is disappointed with the wickedness of people and sends Sachmet to kill the bad people. However, Sachmet falls into a bloodlust and kills more and more people. By a Thoth plan , Sekhmet is made drunk to stop her, and while she sleeps, Re turns her into Hathor.

Meaning and cult

As one of the oldest ancient Egyptian goddesses, she later ceded some of her symbols and functions to the younger Isis . Her close connection to Isis consists in the similarities as mother and death goddess. Since the New Kingdom , Hathor can only be distinguished from Isis by the hieroglyphic inscription.

Hathor as a cow in the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut of Deir el-Bahari

In her numerous functions, she was also considered the protector of the land on the Nile , the strangers, the miners (for example in the royal copper and turquoise mines on Sinai ), all women and the guardian of the dead. She was also considered to be Horus' wife.

Depiction of Hathor in the tomb of the Haremhab

Among other things, jrp (irep) - wine in jugs - was sacrificed to the goddess Hathor, as this alcoholic drink was considered a symbol of blood and the power of resurrection after death. So Hathor was also called "mistress of drunkenness".

Hathor was worshiped in many places in Ancient Egypt , including Thebes , Memphis , Sais, and Abu Simbel , with Dendera being her main place of worship since the Old Kingdom . On Sinai, where she was venerated as the "mistress of turquoise", the temple of Sarabit al-Chadim was dedicated to her. But the goddess was also worshiped abroad: in Byblos , Lebanon and Timna . Together with Horus von Edfu and the sons Ihi (Sistrum god) and Harsomtus (union of the two countries), Hathor forms a family in Dendera. In Thebes she belonged to the local gods unity. In Kom Ombo , Hathor formed a triad with Sobek and her son Chons .

In the Interpretatio Graeca , Hathor was identified with Aphrodite .

Hathor Column

The Hathor column , which is also called Sistrum column , is a drum-shaped column with a Hathor capital , with the face of the goddess Hathor under a block-shaped top ( sistrum ) shown on two opposite or all four sides .

Temple of Hathor

The second temple in Abu Simbel , built by Ramses II for his wife Nefertari , was dedicated to this goddess, as was the temple of Dendera . The small temple of Deir el-Medina was also mainly dedicated to Hathor.

The priestesses of the Hathor were called " Hathore ". Hathors were dancers, singers and musicians and this term later referred to prophetic women and prophets. For example, a Hathore , the Hathor and Neith priestess Hetepheres , also served the pharaoh Cheops as a personal prophetess .

Hathor of Dendera

Hathor of Dendera is the name of a minor form of the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor that has been rarely documented since the Greco-Roman times .

Iconographic representations are not available. Her name appeared in two priestly titles, including Philae . An inscription by Edfu says that the Pharaoh had the Mammisi built for her in the form of mistress of Dendera , which is why the Pharaoh is loved by her.

As equating with the "mistress of the Sistrum " she is mentioned in connection with the goddess Nebet-menit-Henmet-sescheschet and the "mistress of the horses" in Dendera.

See also


  • Hans Bonnet : Lexicon of the Egyptian religious history. 3rd, unchanged edition, Nikol, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-937872-08-6 , pp. 277–282.
  • Wilhelm Drexler : Hathor. In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Hrsg.): Detailed lexicon of Greek and Roman mythology. Volume 1, 2, Teubner, Leipzig 1890, column 1850–1869 ( digitized version ).
  • Adolf Erman : The Egyptian religion. Reimer, Berlin 1909.
  • Joe Heydecker : The Sisters of Venus, The Woman in Myths and Religions. Heyne, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-453-07824-1 .
  • Erik Hornung : The one and the many: Egyptian ideas of God. 5th edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1993, ISBN 3-534-05051-7 .
  • Barbara A. Richter: The Theology of Hathor of Dendera. Aural and Visual Scribal Techniques in the Per-Wer Sanctuary (= Wilbour Studies in Egypt and Ancient Western Asia , Volume 4). Lockwood Press, Atlanta 2016, ISBN 1937040526 .
  • Farid Atiya, Abeer el-Shahawy: The Egyptian Museum of Cairo. A journey through ancient Egypt. Farid Atiya Press, Gizeh 2005 (translation from English: Evelyn Posch), without ISBN.
  • Christian Leitz u. a .: Lexicon of the Egyptian gods and names of gods (LGG), Vol. 5: Ḥ - ḫ (= Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta. [OLA] Volume 114). Peeters, Leuven 2002, ISBN 90-429-1150-6 , pp. 80 and 206.

Web links

Commons : Hathor  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Notes and individual references

  1. ^ A b Kurt Sethe : Contributions to the oldest history of Egypt, Vol. 3 . Olms, Hildesheim 1964 (reprint of the Leipzig 1905 edition), § 145.
  2. ^ Hans Bonnet: Lexicon of the Egyptian religious history. Hamburg 2000, p. 277.
  3. A. Ermann, H. Grapow: Dictionary of the Egyptian Language , Volume II, 239, II
  4. ^ Dilwyn Jones: An Index of ancient Egyptian titles, epithets and phrases of the Old Kingdom II (= BAR international series. Volume 866). Archaeopress, Oxford 2000, ISBN 1-8417-1069-5 , p. 545, no.2024
  5. ^ Jones: An Index of ancient Egyptian titles, epithets and phrases of the Old Kingdom II, p. 544, no. 2023
  6. ^ Jones: An Index of ancient Egyptian titles, epithets and phrases of the Old Kingdom II, p. 547, no. 2031
  7. Jones: An Index of ancient Egyptian titles, epithets and phrases of the Old Kingdom II, p. 542, no. 2019
  8. Christian Leitz u. a .: Lexicon of the Egyptian gods and names of gods . (LGG), Vol. 5: Ḥ - ḫ (= Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta. [OLA] Vol. 114). Peeters, Leuven 2002, ISBN 90-429-1150-6 , pp. 80 and 206.
  9. ^ F. Atiya, Abeer el-Shahawy: The Egyptian Museum of Cairo. ... Gizeh 2005, p. 173, right column, 11th line from u.
  10. ^ Lana Troy: Patterns of queenship in ancient Egyptian myth and history . Almqvist & Wiksell International, Stockholm 1986, ISBN 91-554-1919-4 , pp. 21-22 and pp. 54-59.
  11. ^ F. Atiya, Abeer el-Shahawy: The Egyptian Museum of Cairo. ... Gizeh 2005, p. 135, 12th line v. u.
  12. Rolf Felde: Egyptian gods . 2nd expanded and improved edition, R. Felde Eigenverlag, Wiesbaden 1995, p. 22.
  13. ^ Wilhelm Drexler: Hathor . In: Extensive encyclopedia of Greek and Roman mythology. Leipzig 1890, p. 1862.