Hatmehit, or Hatmehyt (reconstructed to have been pronounced *Hāwit-Maḥūyat in Egyptian) in the ancient Egyptian religion was a fish-goddess in the area around the delta city of Per-banebdjedet, Mendes. In ancient Egyptian art Hatmehit was depicted either as a fish, or a woman with a fish emblem or crown on her head. She was a goddess of life and protection.
Her name translates as Foremost of Fish or Chief of Fish. She may have some connection to Hathor, one of the oldest deities of Egypt who also went by the name Mehit, meaning great flood. This may possibly be due to being seen as a remnant of the primal waters of creation from which all things arose. Other goddesses associated with the primal waters of creation are Mut and Naunet.
When the cult of Osiris arose, the people of Mendes reacted by identifying Osiris as having achieved his authority by being the husband of Hatmehit. In particular, it was the Ba of Osiris, known as Banebjed (literally meaning Ba of the lord of the djed, referring to Osiris), which was said to have married Hatmehit.
When Horus became considered the son of Osiris, a form known as Harpocrates (Har-pa-khered in Egyptian), Hatmehit was consequently said to be his mother. As wife of Osiris, and mother of Horus, she eventually became identified as a form of Isis.
- Richard Wilkinson: The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. London, Thames and Hudson, 2003. ISBN 978-0-500-05120-7, p.228–229
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