Saturday, December 19, 2015


Symbols: bows and arrows, shields and weapons, Red Crown, weaving shuttle

Cult Center: Sais, Esna

Neith is one of the oldest Egyptian goddesses. Early in Egyptian history she was honored throughout Egypt. Later on, she was mostly recognized in her cult center of Sais.

She was sometimes depicted as a woman wearing the crown of the north and holding either a sceptre or a bow and two arrows. At other times she was shown as a woman wearing a shuttle (a tool used in weaving) on her head.

It is believed that she was originally a goddess of war (due to the bow and arrows imagery) and may have become later a goddess of weaving (when wearing the shuttle). She was occasionally shown suckling a crocodile who represented her son, Sobek. She was self-produced and the Egyptians believed she was of both a masculine and feminine nature. It was said that Neith gave birth to Re while she was still in the waters of Nun. Neith was the protectoress of Duamutef, the guardian of the deceased's stomach.

During the dispute between Seth and Horus for the throne of Egypt, the gods could not decide how to resolve the issue. They sent a letter to Neith requesting her advice. She suggested that Horus be made king and Seth be given two Semetic goddesses as consolation. All the gods (but Seth) agreed with the wisdom of her solution.

Her largest temple, Sapi-meht, was located at Sais, the capital of the fifth nome of Lower Egypt. In Upper Egypt, she was portrayed with the head of a lioness. Here her husband was Khnemu, the ram-headed creation god of the First Cataract, and her son was Tutu. Tutu was a form of the god Shu.

FROM: Neith
Patron of: war, impartiality, mummification wrappings, the funeral bier.

Appearance: A woman carrying weapons of war, usually a bow and arrow and a shield.

Description: In the Old Kingdom she was a war deity, invoked as a blessing for weapons, both for the soldier and the hunter. Often weapons were placed in tombs surrounding the mummy as protection against evil spirits. These weapons were consecrated to Neith.

In the New Kingdom her association with funerary rites is even greater. She stands, along with Isis, guarding the funeral bier of the pharaoh. In the New Kingdom the mummy wrappings were considered the "gifts of Neith."
In may stories Neith is found being asked to arbitrate between two sides, her combination of military prowess and impartiality renders her very similar to Athena.

Worship: Cult centers in the Delta in the same area as Sobek, her son.

FROM: TourEgypt's short Neith article
Neith is a goddess of Lower Egypt particularly associated with Sais but soon incorporated into the national pantheon with a sanctuary at Memphis. According to legend Neith emerged from the primeval water to create the world. She followed the course of the Nile to the sea, and when reaching the Delta she formed the city of Sais.

In the New Kingdom she was regarded as the "god's mother who bore Re," whereby she assumed the position of a primeval goddess who was neither male nor female. She was the first to "create the seed of gods and men." She is the mother of Egyptian rulers. Also she was a mortuary goddess who watched over Osiris' brier along with Isis, Nephthys and Serket. The deceased received her divine power by means of the mummy's wrappings, for the bandages and shrouds were considered gifts of Neith, who was regarded as the patroness of weaving. Possibly there was an earlier proposal that her symbol was the weaver's shuttle.

When depicted in human form she wears the red crown of Lower Egypt, and in ancient times her pre-anthropomorphic symbol was a shield bearing crosses because she also was a local war goddess. This goddess of war also blessed hunters' weapons. The practice of placing weapons around the coffin in ancient Egyptian times could be traced to the goddess' protective functions. She was sometimes asked to give advice and judgment, as, for example, in the eight-year war of the gods between Seth and Horus, which she advised Re in favor of Horus. In other legends she was the consort of Seth and mother of the crocodile god Sobek, which explains the proximity of her cult center in the Delta.

FROM: "Neith"
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