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[[File:Anuket.svg|250px]]
The goddess Anuket, depicted as a woman with a tall, plumed headdress

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In Egyptian mythology, Anuket (also spelt Anqet, and in Greek, Anukis) was originally the personification and goddess of the Nile river, in areas such as Elephantine, at the start of the Nile's journey through Egypt, and in nearby regions of Nubia.

Anuket was part of a triad with the god Khnum, and the goddess Satis. It is possible that Anuket was considered the daughter of Khnum and Satis in this triad, or she may have been a junior consort to Khnum instead. [1] In art, Anuket often was depicted as a gazelle, or with a gazelle's head, sometimes having a headdress of feathers [1] (thought by most Egyptologists to be a detail deriving from Nubia).[citation needed]

A temple dedicated to Anuket was erected on the Island of Seheil. Inscriptions show that a shrine or altar was dedicated to her at this site by the 13th dynasty Pharaoh Sobekhotep III. Much later, during the 18th dynasty, Amenhotep II dedicated a chapel to the goddess. [2]

During the New Kingdom, Anuket’s cult at Elephantine included a river procession of the goddess during the first month of Shemu. Inscriptions mention the processional festival of Khnum and Anuket during this time period. [3]

Ceremonially, when the Nile started its annual flood, the Festival of Anuket began. People threw coins, gold, jewelry, and precious gifts into the river, in thanks for the life-giving water and returning benefits derived from the wealth provided by her fertility to the goddess. The taboo held in several parts of Egypt, against eating certain fish which were considered sacred, was lifted during this time, suggesting that a fish species of the Nile was a totem for Anuket and that they were consumed as part of the ritual of her major religious festival.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Geraldine Pinch, Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press, 2004, p 186
  2. Kathryn A. Bard, Encyclopedia of the archaeology of ancient Egypt, Psychology Press, 1999, p 178
  3. Zahi A. Hawass, Lyla Pinch Brock, Egyptology at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century: Archaeology, American Univ in Cairo Press, 2003, p 443
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