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Thoth in hieroglyphics

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Thoth with what-scepter and ankh

Thoth (or Thoth , Tehut , Tahuti , Djehuti ) is in the Egyptian mythology the ibis-headed or baboon protean god of the moon , the magic , the science , the writer , the wisdom and the calendar . In the pyramid texts , Thoth was considered the god of the west.


Thoth was mainly represented in human form with an ibis head, as a standing or crouching ibis or as a robed baboon . Other images also show the deity as a female person with an ibis head or a male representation with a baboon head or simply as the Sechem scepter .

Meaning in ancient Egypt

The worship of Thoth is one of the oldest cults of gods in ancient Egypt and the place of worship was Hermopolis . Its importance is well documented by inscriptions in buildings and papyrus records. Thoth was already known as the moon god during the pyramid era ( Old Kingdom ) ; in the later period he received the epithet "Silver Aton ". Writing board and rush are usually his attributes and he is considered the secretary of the gods and the inventor of hieroglyphics . In the Osiris myth he was the scribe and vizier of Osiris . Thoth was the successor of Horus and ruled peacefully over Egypt for 3,000 years. Afterwards it rose to the sky as the moon, but a demon ate constantly from it, so that it was affected by periodic wasting (different phases of the moon).

Thoth is also the first month of the Achet season in ancient Egypt at the latest from the New Kingdom . As the moon god, he is at the same time the god of time and periods of time, since these are based on the course of the moon. This also makes him the one who measures, the God of measure. He represents the uniform order of the world, he is the inherent spirit of order and law. In this way he becomes the representative of the spirit in general and especially the patron god of all earthly laws. At the same time he is the god of intelligence , the organizer of the customs of worship, the teacher of the arts and sciences, the inventor of language and writing, the patron of the libraries.

Finally, Thoth also has a meaning in the concept of the afterlife in Egyptian mythology . He is the recorder of the court of the dead and notes whether the deceased are worthy to be accepted into the realm of return or the realm of the dead.

Importance in Greece

Thoth was equated with Hermes in Greek mythology and later merged with him to form Hermes Trismegistus . In Plato's Dialogue Phaedrus , 274c – 275a, the philosopher Socrates mentions the Egyptian god Theuth (Θεύθ) and his invention of writing , which, however, was reprimanded by the King of Thebes for its adverse effect on memory and real learning.

Modern reception

Aleister Crowley wrote The Book of Thoth , in which he explained fortune telling with the help of the Thoth tarot card deck designed by him and drawn by Frieda Harris and its mythological background. In the novel, American Gods by Neil Gaiman Thot occurs at the beginning under the code name Mr. Ibis and operates with Anubis and Bastet a small funeral home. This figure also appears in the series production and is portrayed by Demore Barnes .

In the online computer game Smite , Thoth is a playable character.

See also


  • Hans Bonnet : Lexicon of the Egyptian religious history. 3rd, unchanged edition, Nikol, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-937872-08-6 .
  • Patrick Boylan : Thoth The Hermes of Egypt: A study of some aspects of theologocal thought in ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, London 1922; New edition: Thoth or the Hermes of Egypt. Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish MT 2003, ISBN 978-0-7661-4706-5 .
  • Adolf Erman : The Egyptian religion (= handbooks of the royal museums in Berlin. ). G. Reimer, Berlin 1909, OCLC 84326470 .
  • Rolf Felde: Ägyptische Gottheiten , 2nd, extended edition, Felde (self-published), Wiesbaden 1995 (first edition 1988), OCLC 859377505 (XV, 113 illustrated pages).
  • Wolfgang Helck : Small Lexicon of Egyptology. 4th edition, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1999, ISBN 3-447-04027-0 .
  • Erik Hornung : The One and the Many - ancient Egyptian gods. 6., completely revised and extended edition, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-14984-X .
  • Richard Jasnow , Karl-Theodor Zauzich : The Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth: a demotic discourse on knowledge and pendant to the classical hermetica. 2 volumes, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-447-05082-9 .
  • Richard Jasnow, Karl-Theodor Zauzich: Conversations in the House of Life, A New Translation of the Ancient Egyptian Book of Thoth. Harrassowitz Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-447-10116-5 .
  • Joachim Kügler : Animals as Gods? Gods as animals! A journey through the divine zoo from Memphis to Weismain (= Animalia in fabula: interdisciplinary thoughts on animals in language, literature and culture , edited by Miorita Ulrich and Dina De Rentiis. - Bamberg, 2013 as writings from the Faculty of Humanities and Kulturwissenschaften der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg , Volume 14, pp. 117–141), Catholic Theology, University of Bamberg 2015, DNB 1069104531 ( full text online PDF, free of charge, 25 pages, 1,555 KB).
  • Richard H. Wilkinson : The world of the gods in ancient Egypt. Faith - Power - Mythology. Theiss, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8062-1819-6 , pp. 215-217.

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. Jan Assmann : Death and Beyond in Ancient Egypt . Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-49707-1 , p. 164.
  2. Rolf Felde: Egyptian gods. 2nd expanded and improved edition, R. Felde Eigenverlag, Wiesbaden 1995, p. 65.
  3. Text (Greek) , text (German)
  4. Aleister Crowley, Frieda Harris (Illustr.): Das Buch Thoth. Egyptian Tarot: A Brief Treatise on the Egyptian Tarot . 11th edition. Königsfurt-Urania , Krummwisch 2005, ISBN 978-3-908644-73-6 .
  5. Thoth. Retrieved May 22, 2017 (American English).