Hippopotamus Egyptian God In Egyptian mythology, Taweret was the name of an ancient Egyptian patron goddess of childbirth and fertility. The name Taueret (Tȝ-wrt) means “the great one,” a Female hippopotamus with lion paws, sagging human breasts, and crocodile tail. She is held on two protective symbols sa and has a distended belly, with apparent signs of pregnancy. On his head, he sometimes wears the sun disk and cow horns. Hybrid body (as mentioned above) and female head, crowned by two liriform horns and solar disk. It can be dressed with a wide and subtle tunic. Sow (as a celestial goddess)
Archaeological evidence shows that hippopotamuses inhabited the Nile River in ancient Egypt long before the dynastic era (before 3000 BC). The violent and aggressive behavior of these creatures intrigued the inhabitants of the region, leading the Egyptians to both persecute and revere them. From ancient times, male hippopotamuses were believed to be the manifestation of chaos; therefore, they were overpowered in royal hunting campaigns to demonstrate the king’s divine power. However, female hippopotamuses were revered as manifestations of apotropaic deities, as they carefully cared for their young. Protective amulets resembling female hippopotamuses have been found dating back to the Predynastic period (ca. 3000-2686 BC). The tradition of making and wearing these amulets continued through Egyptian history into the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.
It was not until the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2055-1650 B.C.) that taweret came to prominence as a figure of religious devotion. Her ornaments became apotropaic magical objects, the most noted being a type of “staff” or “knife” carved from hippopotamus ivory and possibly used in rituals associated with the birth and protection of infants. Similar images also appear on children’s cups, demonstrating her integral function as the patron goddess of nurture. Contradictorily, she also had a function in temples and funerary tombs. Some scholars believe that this practice demonstrated that hippopotamus goddesses facilitated the process of rebirth after death, as well as aided in earthly childbirth. Then, these statues helped the deceased to pass on to the afterlife.
With the rise of personal piety in the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1069 BC), household deities such as Taueret gained more importance. Images of taweret have been found among household objects, demonstrating her central role in the household. Such objects were found both at Amarna during the reign of Akhenaten (ca. 1352-1336), a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty who reorganized Egyptian polytheism into a henotheistic religion centered on the worship of the solar disk, called the Aten. The worship of the traditional gods was forbidden during this period, so the survival of Taueret in the artistic body found in the capital of Aten demonstrates her overwhelming importance in daily life. In this period, her funerary function was reinforced, as her powers were considered to be not only life-giving but also regenerative.
In the Ptolemaic and Roman periods (ca. 332 BC – 390 AD), taweret maintained a central role in Egyptian daily life. Whether in the latter half of the Late Period (ca. 664-332 BC) or early Ptolemaic period, a temple of Ipet was built at Karnak. The enigmatic temple was believed to witness the daily birth of the sun god from the hippopotamus goddesses who lived there. The solar god (Amun-Ra) was conceived as having multiple divine mothers, and by this late period of Egyptian history, Taueret and the other hippopotamus goddesses were included in this set of solar mothers. taweret image also appeared on the exterior of temples dedicated to other deities because of her apotropaic ability to ward off evil forces
Hippopotamus Egyptian God Outside Egypt
taweret developed an important cult outside Egypt. In the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2055-1650 BC), economic and political contact with the Asian cultures of the Levant led to the exchange of ideologies. Taueret was adopted into Levantine religions, serving the same maternal role in these foreign pantheons.
Due to communication with Levantine and Mediterranean coastal cities, taweret also became an integral part of the Minoan religion in Crete, where she is known as the Minoan Genie.
As in Egypt, her image was most prominently displayed on protective amulets. However, her image was slightly altered from the Egyptian one, as it was adapted to Minoan iconography in an artistic style that was congruent with other Minoan images. From Crete, this image spread to mainland Greece, where the goddess was featured prominently in palatial art in Mycenae. In Nubia, the goddess was also depicted in the palatial art of Mycenae.
Hippopotamus Egyptian God In Nubia
The goddess was also adopted by the Nubians, the empire located directly south of Egypt in present-day Sudan. Like her Minoan counterpart, the Nubian Taueret became part of the Nubian pantheon in the late Middle Kingdom of Egypt. There is evidence that it was displayed in royal rituals at Kerma, the capital of the empire.
Its origins can be traced back to the Old Kingdom (Pyramid Texts) where it appears in the guise of another more ancient divinity, a mother goddess, whose cult became of a lesser order. Until the XVIII dynasty it does not appear under the name of Tueris. It could be a divine entity related to water. This function could be associated with the rupture of the water bag of pregnant women, as well as the annual flooding of the Nile; in some places offerings were thrown into the river in honor of the goddess so that after the withdrawal of the waters, she would give Egypt with good crops.
She is often called the Eye of Ra, as her daughter and mother of Osiris and Isis. She was a domestic deity; sometimes she is seen next to Bes in the chamber of birth. According to Plutarch she was a concubine of Seth (who may also appear in the form of a male hippopotamus), however Tueris joined the forces of Horus in the battle against Seth.
She was also a celestial goddess who bore the title “Mysterious of the Horizon”, represented by a star located in the northern hemisphere of the sky or as a sow. In one legend Tueris was followed by a great serpent which was torn to pieces by the soldiers of Horus. The commemoration of this event was celebrated by the Egyptian soldiers in a feast in which they cut up a rope.
Her figure appears in the beds and in the glasses to put milk. There were many amulets of her worn by pregnant women. Among her attributes is a torch, whose flame exorcises dangerous demons.
taweret has the physical aspects of both a fertility goddess and a fearsome protective deity. She takes the form of a female hippopotamus, a very dangerous creature. She can also be seen with features of other predators, the most notable being the tail of a Nile crocodile or the claws of a lioness. These features are similar to those of other ancient Egyptian protective deities, such as the crocodile god Sobek and the lioness goddess Sejmet. These violent theriomorphic deities take on some of the aspects of the animal they represent – both to the benefit and detriment of humans. The predatory form allows Taueret to protect the innocent from evil. Similarly, the nurturing aspect is also reinforced in her iconography, as she is often shown pregnant and with dangling human breasts. These breasts are shared with the Nile flood god Hapi and symbolize her regenerative powers. Taueret’s fluvial form allows her to participate in what annually revives the Nile valley: the flood personified by Hap.