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Mammisi in hieroglyphics
pr ms s M18 Z1

Per mesi
Pr ms-jj
Coptic Mammisi (place of birth)
Mammisi in the Temple of Hathor at Dendera

A Mammisi ( ancient Egyptian Per mesi ) is part of an ancient Egyptian temple complex , which has the shape of a small temple and archaeologically from about the eighth century BC. Until the fourth century AD. Mammisi stand within the wall around the main temple at right angles to the main processional way.

Mythological connections

The introduction of the Mammisi is based on the child deities introduced since the 20th dynasty with the appendix pa-chered ("the child"). Small predecessor buildings from the Ramesside period as well as thematically relevant parts of the pictorial program of older temples are regarded as forerunners of the birth houses . Later on, with the beginning of the Ptolemaic period , the Mammisi experienced a completely new theological orientation that placed the cult of the child deities at the center of the divine triads , for example in Dendera , Edfu and Philae .

South side of the Mammisi of Edfu with depictions of the deity Bes above the column capitals

Since it was customary in the later period of the ancient Egyptian religion to dedicate temples to the triads of gods, i.e. a group of three gods who stood in the constellation father-mother-child to one another, the theme group "wedding", "birth" was also included in the temple cult , "Child rearing" and "Enthronement of the successor" dealt with. The Mammisi served as a place of worship for these celebrations of the rebirth of royalty.

During the Greco-Roman period , the Mammisi decoration program was expanded to include Bes images on the column capitals of the pronaos . The Bes deities ( Haitiu ) were integrated into the myth The Homecoming of the Goddess , which is why the ancient Egyptian population celebrated the arrival of Tefnut in Egypt with corresponding dance festivals.

The origin of the Mammisi is believed to be in ancient “weekly arbours”, temporary buildings or protective roofs made of wood and mats, in which expectant mothers were isolated from the human community during the preparations for childbirth and in the first few weeks afterwards. The reference to the improvised construction of the old "arbors" is evident in the "plant pillars" that are often used here and the half-height stone walls that look like wooden barriers hung with ancient mats that were used as privacy screens.


  • Alexander Badawy : The Architectural Symbolism of the Mammisi-Chapels in Egypt. In: Chronique d'Égypte. Volume 38, 1933, pp. 87-90.
  • Ludwig Borchardt : Egyptian temples with dealing. Self-published, Cairo 1938.
  • François Daumas : Les mammisis des temples égyptiens (= Annales de l'Université de Lyon. Troisième série: Lettres; Fasc. 32 [German = Series 3, Issue 32]) Société d'Édition "Les Belles Lettres", Paris 1958.
  • Francois Daumas: Birthplace. In: Wolfgang Helck, Wolfhart Westendorf: Lexicon of Egyptology. Volume II: Harvest Festival - Hordjedef. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1977, pp. 462-475.
  • Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates): The genesis of an Egyptian god child. Peeters, Leuven 2006, ISBN 90-429-1761-X .
  • Daniela Rutica: Cleopatra's Forgotten Temple. The birth house of Cleopatra VII in Hermonthis. A reconstruction of the decoration (= Göttingen miscells. Occasional Studies Volume 1). Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Seminar for Egyptology and Coptic Studies, Göttingen 2015, ISBN 978-3-9817438-0-7 .

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) Leuven 2006, p. 159.