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NTR(god)'s rootword=Animated One.Why does NTR mean cloth too

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 10:39 am    Post subject: NTR(god)'s rootword=Animated One.Why does NTR mean cloth too Reply with quote

Elsewhere I laid out my belief that NTR's etymological root meaning includes "animated one" (as well as a few others like enlivened, jumping, startled) based on similar root words being found in Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, Chadic, Cush-ite, and Berber languages. In case you are interested, see:

Here I would like to ask a question about a direct meaning of NTR. Dictionaries say that not only does NTR mean god and the chemical Natron, it also means cloth or something woven. I think this is a good place to ask because the Egyptologist Katherine Griffis-Greenberg has posted on the forum, and she is a specialist on the goddess Neith, the goddess of weaving.

As I was looking for possible alternative meanings of NTR, I found Budge's dictionary saying that NTR(Netjer/Nether) means not only god and Natron, but also: "cloth, woven stuff"
(See p. 408 of Budge's dictionary).
And this leads to my main question here: Why does NTR/Netjer also meant that?

Turning to words possibly similar to NTR, I also came across in Egyptian:

nt - who; which [p. 398]; nti-the thing which is; what is;
Ntiu - those who exist, ie. the righteous
Ntt - that which is, everything which is;
ntt - because;
ntt - to weave, bind, tie
ntt-t cord, band, thread, fillet, cords, ties

(Source: Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Volume 1)

I also found:
nTry = magic cord,
NTTw = bonds, p. 207
(SOURCE: http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk/transliteration/ancient_egypt_dictionary.pdf)

Next, I turned to other Afro-Asiatic languages. I found in Hebrew:
Natar - a primitive root; to guard; ... keep(-er), reserve.
Ntar; net-ar' (Aramaic) corresponding to 'natar' (5201); to retain:--keep.
(SOURCE: Strong's Dictionary)
This brings to mind how the rope-like cartouche guards the king's name.

In the Cushite language of Beja, I found:
nekwi - pregnant, to be
Nitar - plate or tray of woven grass

Even though Cushite is a different language group than Egyptian, it seems to me likely that there is a connection between Nitar (tray of woven grass) and NTR(woven/cloth/chords)

A number of Egyptian letters actually have chords as their symbol. Here you can see that the word for the chemical Natron uses a woven flax symbol at the front of it:

An entry on the word cartouche says:
Detailed representations clearly show that the line of the cartouche represents a (double) rope tied at one end. The shape of the cartouche developed out of the round 'Shen' or eternity/infinity ring; the longer the king's names became, the more the ring had to be stretched. The meaning of the cartouche was 'protection by encircling', with the king's name being seen as the world, encircled by the sun.


Jimmy Dunn writes of the Cartouche:
It symbolized everything that the sun encircled and is thus an indication of the king's rule of the cosmos. The cartouche, known in ancient Egypt as the shenu, is derived from the Egyptian verb, Sheni, which means to encircle. It is very similar to the shen sign, a more circular form, and in fact the earliest use of the cartouche in which the king's name was written were circular and identical with that sign.

The circular shen sign, or ring evokes the concept of eternity through its form, having no beginning or end, and its solar aspect is symbolized by the sun disk often depicted in the center of the circle. It was also a symbol of protection, and as a hieroglyphic symbol in Egyptian art, it can have the meanings of both "eternity" and "protection". As a sign of "eternity", the shen is frequently associated with representations of Heh, the god of eternity, and often forms the base of the notched palm-branches symbolizing "years," which is held by this deity. It is also mirrored in the shape of the ouroboros, the serpent which bites its own tail.

((A Horus Falcon from the tumb of Tutankhamun))

However, the sign is perhaps most commonly associated with the avian forms of the falcon god Horus and the various vulture goddesses. These divine birds are frequently depicted holding the shen in their claws, hovering above the king and guarding him beneath their outstretched wings. The shen signs represented with these avian deities may be regarded as symbols of eternity, and therefore life, but it is possible that the signs also carry the connotation of protection

Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/cartouches.htm#ixzz4HriLB3d4

Examples of Cartouches:

I found an essay on Egyptian flax and weaving here:

It may be worth noting that the sign for NTR (god) was a cloth wound around a flagpole.

The nemes is the famous striped cloth that is wrapped around the pharaoh's head and hangs down to the shoulders. You may recognize the yellow and blue cloth here:

There are several reasons why I see Neith, the goddess of weaving as a central one in Egyptian mythology.

First, the symbol for Neith, crossed arrows Ж, bears for me a resemblance to the Sumerian sign for god, which looks like an eight pointed asterisk with arrows. Here is the Sumerian sign for god, Dingir:

Second, Neith is the godess of the unseen heavens and a Creator goddess.

Third, she was associated so much with Egypt's early dynastic queens that they took names after her.

She was believed to be self-created and representative of the primordial waters of chaos ...

Two Early Dynastic queens had names coupled with Neith - Neithhotep and Mernieth


Wikipedia says of Neith:
As a deity, Neith is normally shown carrying the was scepter (symbol of rule and power) and the ankh (symbol of life). She is also called such cosmic epithets as the "Cow of Heaven," a sky-goddess similar to Nut, and as the Great Flood, Mehet-Weret (MHt wr.t), as a cow who gives birth to the sun daily. In these forms, she is associated with creation of both the primeval time and daily "re-creation." As protectress of the Royal House, she is represented as a uraeus, and functions with the fiery fury of the sun, In time, this led to her being considered as the personification of the primordial waters of creation. She is identified as a great mother goddess in this role as a creator. As a female deity and personification of the primeval waters, Neith encompasses masculine elements, making her able to give birth (create) without the opposite sex. She is a feminine version of Ptah-Nun, with her feminine nature complemented with masculine attributes symbolized with her association with the bow and arrow. In the same manner, her personification as the primeval waters is Mehetweret (MHt wr.t), the Great Flood, conceptualized as streaming water, related to another use of the verb sti, meaning ‘to pour’."


So my main question is what is the relationship between NTR(god) and cloth/woven/chords and why is that one of the direct meanings of NTR?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Wikipedia quote you gave is from an article I wrote for Wikipedia, and which I also published independent of that resource.

Concerning Neith's; shield, I should note here that Ludwig Keimer (ASAE, 31:151 (1931)) suggested the "shield" of Neith is, in fact, the two hindquarters of the beetle particular to Neith (Agrypnus notodonta LATR), or "click beetle." The luminous features of some insects in the family Elateridae may have become associated in religious terms with Neith as an "opener of the way" (discussed within the Wikipedia article), and may be the basis of the "Festival of Lights" associated with this goddess, as mentioned in late Greek sources. Its reproductive cycle, which includes burial of its larvae within the earth, only to emerge as full adults, can also find similarities within the parthenogenic creation and funereal mythology surrounding this goddess.

Hollis (1995) makes an interesting point that the self-generating qualities of the click beetle is the rationale for its association with Neith. She further indicates Neith’s eclipse in prominence during the Dynasties 2, 3 and 4 is directly proportionate to the rise of the supremacy of Re (and by extension, the emphasis in royal titulary on the "Son of Re" name), and the substitution of Hathor as Mother and Daughter of Re (usurping Neith’s titles in this area), as well as becoming the wife of Re. As a parallel development, the scarab beetle (scarabaeus sacra), also a "self-regenerating" insect as the click beetle, rises to prominence during this same period and assumes the click beetle’s symbolism with "parthenogenic" self-generation.

So, Neith's arrows are simply shown against the click beetle body and her association with weaving is late - perhaps Late Period or even Ptolemaic Period. This was when she becomes syncretised with Athena, who is associated with weaving, and was also a "veiled" goddess, like Neith.

In ancient Egyptian, Neith's name is rendered as /nt/ and even as /n(w)nt/, but this has NO relation to the term for 'god', which is spelled quite differently as /nTr/.

As I have said before, there is NO relation of /nTr/ with 'nature,' and similarly there is NO association of the term /nt/ with weaving or any form of weaving. In ancient Egyptian, 'to weave' is /sxt/ (clothes), and its associated term /sxt nD/; /wdH/, and /xnd/ (Hannig 2000: 1495b).

The terms you present are not found in ancient Egyptian for "weaving," so I would check your resource as to their reliability.

In short, I don't think you have presented any real evidence that associated /nTr/ with cloth, weaving, or the like, and thus, I see no evidence for your argument.
Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

Doctoral Candidate
Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for taking the time to write back, Katherine (If you prefer your first name?)!

The theory about the click beetle sounds neat because it reminds me of the importance of the scarab that carries the sun. In the night, the click beetle shines like stars. It's neat!

That Neith is older than Ra as a central focus of religious attention is interesting to me too about her.

And regarding the early period (what I am asking about), thank you for explaining that:
"Neith's arrows are simply shown against the click beetle body and her association with weaving is late - perhaps Late Period or even Ptolemaic Period." You made a good explanation.

F. Sadiqi writes in the book Moroccan Feminist Discourses:
some Egyptian deities had a Libya (Berber) origin, such as Neith who was considered, even by Egyptians themselves, to have emigrated from Libya to establish her temple at Sais in the Nile Delta. According to some legends, Goddess Neith was born around Lake Tritons in modern Tunisia.

I can see how in this location cults could originate from the coastal Berbers:

One website claims:
It is thought that Neith may correspond to the goddess Tanit, worshipped in north Africa by the early Berber culture (existing from the beginnings of written records) and through the first Punic culture originating from the founding of Carthage by Dido. Ta-nit, meaning in Egyptian the land of Nit, also was a sky-dwelling goddess of war, a virginal mother goddess and nurse, and, less specifically, a symbol of fertility.


What do you think of the theory that Neith's cult originated from Berbers?

I understand that "Neith's name is rendered as /nt/ and even as /n(w)nt" and that these are different words than NTR. Thanks also for clearing up before that " there is NO relation of /nTr/ with 'nature' ".

I understand that Budge is outdated as an authority, so may I please ask if you agree with his dictionary that one of the meanings of NTR is "cloth, woven stuff"?
(Ernest A. W. Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary. Volume 1, p. 408)

I also found a claim in another dictionary that "nTry" means "magic cord".
(“Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs” http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk/transliteration/ancient_egypt_dictionary.pdf)

I have read an interpretation by Dunand that NTR could take the form of a flag, a hawk, or a sitting person, depending on whether NTR chose to take the form of an object, an animal, or a human.

Rosemary Clark claims in "The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt":
"The hieroglyph for Neter has been identified as either a bolt or a bone wound with a lengthy strip of cloth. In some examples it appears to be a pennant as the cloth unfolds when it stands upright. Here the hieroglyph conveys a very important aspect of the Neter as the Egyptians understood it: the purpose of divine life is to reveal itself or unfold in the natural world through time and space."

Putting aside her inventive conclusion, do you agree that the NTR was a cloth wrapped around a pole?

I read a claim that the cartouche is wrapped around the pharaoh's name like the heavens (Nut) are wrapped around the earth.

How far back does the concept of weaving the heavens go? If it's old, there could be a concept that the Creator made the heavens with weaving and thus was a weaver.

In looking for the root word for NTR, Egyptologists recommended looking for similar words in other Afroasiatic languages. In non-Semitic Afro-Asiatic languages, one of the closest terms to NTR that I found was Nitar in the Beja language:
plate or tray of woven grass
(Beja Dictionary, http://www.***/Language/Afroasiatic/Cushitic/Beja%20Dictionary.pdf)
I don't know what to make of that. I think it could just be a coincidence that it sounds like NTR and that one of the meanings of NTR in Egyptian could be "woven stuff", if Budge is right.

Here is a map of the Beja lands:

Egyptologists say that in prehistoric Egyptian, the R could have alternated as an L. I found that Ethiopian women wear a Netela - woven linen - on their head and shoulders.

You write: "In ancient Egyptian, 'to weave' is /sxt/ (clothes), and its associated term /sxt nD/; /wdH/, and /xnd/ (Hannig 2000: 1495b). "

In "The Encyclopedia of ancient civilizations" (1980, Page 65) Arthur Cotterell claims:
The Lower Egyptian goddess Neith who had her original centre of worship at Sais, the capital of the fourth and fifth dynasties... there may be some connection with the verb ntt to weave, suggesting that she may have woven spells as well

Maybe he just has bad information about "NTT". I have also heard that a reason Neith began to be associated with weaving was because of the similarity between her name and NTT (weaving).

I am not affirmatively arguing that NTR has a root meaning of something woven. I am just exploring what its root meanings and etymology could be, and these are facts about Neith or weaving that remind me of NTR.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a huge number of words in English that mean 2 completely different things so I see no problem with 1 word being cloth & natron.
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