MAAHES (also spelled MIHOS, MIYSIS, MIOS, MAIHES, or MAHES) (Greek :
Μαχές, Μιχός, Μίυσις, Μίος, OR Μάιχες) was
an ancient Egyptian lion -headed god of war , whose name means "he
who is true beside her". He was seen as the son of the Creator god
Ptah, as well as the feline goddess (Bast in Lower
Egypt ) whose nature he shared.
Maahes was a deity associated
with war, protection, and weather , as well as that of knives ,
lotuses , and devouring captives . His cult was centred in
* 1 Origin
* 2 Name
* 3 Depictions
* 4 Sacred animals
* 5 References
* 6 External links
The first recorded reference to
Maahes is from the
New Kingdom . Some
Egyptologists have suggested that
Maahes was of foreign origin;
indeed there is some evidence that he may have been identical with the
Apedemak worshipped in
Nubia and Egypt's Western Desert.
As a lion-god and patron, he was also considered the son of Ra and of
Bast, the feline war goddess and patron of Lower
Egypt as well as
Sekhmet, the lioness war goddess and patron of Upper Egypt. Since his
cult was centred in
Per-Bast (Bubastis in Greek ) or in Taremu
Leontopolis in Greek), he was more known as the son of Bast. As he
became a tutelary deity of Egypt, his father was said to be the chief
male deity at the time - either
Ptah , or Ra who had by this time
already merged with
Atum into Atum-Ra. In his role of son of Ra,
Maahes fought the serpent
Apep during Ra's nightly voyage.
Considered to have powerful attributes, feline deities were
associated with the pharaohs , and became patrons of Egypt. The male
lion hieroglyphic was used in words such as "prince", "mashead",
"strength", and "power".
The name of
Maahes begins with the hieroglyphs for the male lion,
although in isolation it also means (one who can) see in front.
However, the first glyph also is part of the glyph for Ma\'at ,
meaning truth and order and so it came to be that
considered to be the devourer of the guilty and protector of the
innocent. Some of the titles of
Maahes were Lord of Slaughter,
Wielder of the Knife, and The Scarlet Lord.
Maahes was pictured as a man with the head of a male lion,
occasionally holding a knife and wearing the double crown of Egypt, or
the atef crown. Sometimes he was identified with
Nefertem and was
shown with a bouquet of lotuses near him, but he also was depicted as
a lion devouring a captive.
Maahes (664–525 B.C.) with a lionhead in the
Naturhistorisches Museum (Vienna)
Tame lions were kept in a temple dedicated to
Maahes in Taremu, where
Sekhmet were worshipped, his temple was adjacent to that of Bast.
The ancient Greek historian Aelian wrote: "In Egypt, they worship
lions, and there is a city called after them. (...) The lions have
temples and numerous spaces in which to roam; the flesh of oxen is
supplied to them daily (...) and the lions eat to the accompaniment of
song in the Egyptian language", thus the Greek name of the city
Leontopolis was derived.
* ^ Erman, Adolf & Grapow, Hermann: Wörterbuch der Aegyptischen
Sprache., Im Auftrage der Deutschen Akademien, Berlin: Akademie Verlag
(1971), II., p.12
* ^ A B Manfred Lurker (1987). Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses,
Devils and Demons. Routledge. p. 215. ISBN 0-7102-0877-4 .
* ^ Walter Yust ed., Encyclopædia Britannica: A New Survey of
Universal Knowledge, 1956, p.54
* ^ A B C Alan W. Shorter (1978) . The Egyptian Gods: A Handbook.
Routledge. p. 134. ISBN 0-7100-0037-5 .
* ^ The epithet was used for many Egyptian gods:
Thoth (cf. Erik
Hornung, The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West, 2001, p.6),
Wepwawet (cf. Egypt: Temple of the Whole World : Studies in Honour of
Jan Assmann, Brill 2003, ISBN 90-04-13240-6 , p.106), Set (cf. Homer
William Smith, Man and His Gods, 1952 p.20) etc.
* ^ Caroline Seawright, Maahes, God of
War and Protection, The
Leonine Lord of Slaughter...- map of temples