Bastet’s feline associations began to change around the same time as cats (known as miu or miit—he, or she, who mews) were being domesticated in Egypt… Herodotus wrote that in Ancient Egypt, the pet cat was considered as another member of the family. I've written similar, attempting to accommodate the constraint of our style, but I am imagining something is firing correctly today may have an improvement. The most widespread belief was that domestic cats carried the divine essence of Bastet (or Bast), the cat-headed goddess who represented fertility, domesticity, music, dance and pleasure. Cats were called Mau in Ancient Egypt, and initially the animals attained an important place as the protectors of the country’s grain, as they killed rodents and snakes. How Ancient Egypt’s beloved cats helped our feline friends colonise the planet. It is absolutely fascinating how cats not only entered the common households of Ancient Egypt, but also occupied an important place in their religious realm. Ancient Egyptians worshipped many animals for thousands of years. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. The Nile valley is one of the most fertile regions of the world, and it has been supporting human habitation since almost 9,000 years. Seeing their revered felines running haphazardly across the battlefield, the Egyptians chose to surrender, rather than killing the cats. In ancient Egypt, there were two different primary breeds: one the fierce jungle cats, the other the more peaceful African wildcats. Dec 6, 2019 - Our love affair goes way back . Cats were highly regarded in Ancient Egypt, which is evidenced by the overwhelming presence of cats in Egyptian art. She was a warrior goddess, who led the pharaohs in warfare. Only one deity, the goddess named Bastet, had the power to become a cat. According to Herodotus, the population of cats in and around the temple of Bubastis was so large that, in order to control it, these felines were regularly sacrificed to the goddess. To honor these treasured pets, wealthy families dressed them in jewels and fed them treats fit for royalty. 6789 Quail Hill Pkwy, Suite 211 Irvine CA 92603. The internet is rife with cats: cat videos, cat memes, there are even celebrity cats! The sanctity of felines in Egypt’s ancient times traces back to the belief that these animals have divine powers given by Bastet herself. The Egyptians worshiped a huge pantheon of gods and goddesses, with the inclusion of various sacred animals. Because domestic cats were known for their mysterious and secretive nature and also possessed an ability to see in the dark, Bast and all her earthly manifestations came to be associated with the Underworld―the realm of the dead. See more ideas about Ancient egypt, Cats in ancient egypt, Egypt. But, they were also held in high esteem for their aloofness and mysterious characteristics. According to James Allen Baldwin, cats are present in Egypt’s archaeological record as far back as the predynastic period, almost 5,000 years ago. The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, who traveled to Ancient Egypt, has mentioned in one of his travelogues about the importance of domesticated cats. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. This shows how important the cat was for the ancient Egyptians. In ancient egypt, every big city supported one favorite god, similar to people who support football teams today. The presence of tabby cats in ancient Egypt is further supported by a recent genetic study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Egyptian god Ra and goddess Bastet looked at the world through the cat eyes, and people could make their prayers heard via cats. We've created informative articles that you can come back to again and again when you have questions or want to learn more! The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). Hartwig wants to make one thing clear, though: Egyptians did not worship cats, but they did believe that cats held a bit of divine energy within them. While all the other ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses are depicted in the form of big cats―mainly lions―only Goddess Bast was represented as a domestic cat. Safe Haven Egypt is a volunteer-run cat sanctuary that has been operating in Cairo since 2015. Located at the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe, the land of Egypt comprises hot, sandy deserts crossed by the ever-meandering Nile that constantly makes its way into the Mediterranean sea. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. However, the culmination of the cult came about only by the 8th century BCE, when Sheshonq I (or Sheshonq I), the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty developed Bubastis into an important city. Animals were revered for different reasons. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The Best History Museums to Virtually Tour During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Virtual Reality Experiences That Let You See History Up Close, The Most Accurate Movies Based on History Worth Seeing, Subaru History: How the Japanese Manufacturer Become World-Famous, Porsche History: From Humble Beginnings to High-Powered Luxury, How to Become a History Teacher: A Brief Guide to the Responsibilities and Requirements, Houston History: From Independence to the Modern Day. Here, in an accidental recovery in 1888, an Egyptian farmer stumbled upon thousands and thousands of cat mummies, buried underneath the desert sands. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. In this study … She also protected humans from venomous animals, and since venomous creatures, such as snakes and scorpions were (and are) in abundance in the Egyptian desert, the goddess had an important place in the pantheon. Women also favored cats as companions much the way modern people today look to pets for companionship. Most tomb paintings representing household scenes have depictions of cats either playing, feeding, or just resting. December 6, 2007—Egyptian Maus may descend from the first domesticated cats in the world. Today, we know how highly cats were respected because of the mourning practices when they died and the mummification of cats. 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