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Flail, Crescent Moon and Nephtys symbols
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Horus-Ptah
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:22 pm    Post subject: Flail, Crescent Moon and Nephtys symbols Reply with quote

Sorry to bother you people with this but I can't seem to find proper answers to these symbols. Three questions:

1. Can someone tell me what is the proper form of flail and how should it look? I find sometimes flails with 3 or 4 whips attached. I also noticed picture of Tutankhamun's flail with different sets of beads (blue, black, red). Are these colors important and how many beads should be attached?

2. This is about hieroglyph that looks like a crescent moon. I found it in Budge's translation of "Book of the Dead". It was used to describe the name of one of the queens. It looks like a bowl (lower semicircle meaning every or nb) with two small bowls inside that touch each other in the middle of a larger bowl so that whole thing looks like a crescent moon.

3. What does Neith or Nephtys symbol on top of their heads means. I was looking at the picture of Osiris and Neith that looks like a mirror. On the left side Neith has some elliptic surface above her head and on the right side she has a bowl on top of a tower.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. I think there are usually 3 parts to the flail

2. That hieroglyph stands for Yah (or Ah) the moon god. Queen Ahmose's name incoorporates this god.

3. Nephtys is also called Nebt-het and that's what the hieroglyphs on her head apparently mean.
Neith is sometimes depicted with what is described as a shield (the oval).

I'll try to say more when I have time Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was really helpful. If you have anything more to add it would be great.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found a summary about the symbols of Neith:
HENDRICKX, Stan, Two Protodynastic Objects in Brussels and the Origin of the Bilobate Cult-Sign of Neith, JEA 82 (1996), 23-42. (fig., pl.).

New publication and discussion of two fragmentary stone objects of Protodynastic date in the Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (inv.nos. MRAH E.578 and E.6261, together with a further fragment from one of them, found a few years ago in the excavations of the German Archaeological Institute at Umm el-Qa’ab. The carved decoration of both includes representations of the click Beetle (Agrypnus notodonta Latr.), sacred to Neith. From their iconography it is suggested that the bilobate cult-sign of Neith originally consisted of the image of two click beetles, flanking two crossed arrows attached to a pole.
Three different symbols of Neith can be distinguished during the Protodynastic Period: the bilobate object, two crossed arrows, and two bows tied together. The original meaning of the bilobate object seems to have been forgotten before the end of the O.K., and during the M.K. it lost its original form and was henceforward depicted as an oval. The significance given to it at that time remains open to discussion, but its traditional identification as a shield is most probably the result of the far more recent assimilation of Neith to the Greek goddess Athena. Author

http://www.leidenuniv.nl/nino/aeb96/aeb96_6.html

There's more about royal regalia here:
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/reg.htm
Including some pictures.

We did have a discussion about the moon god Yah (or Ah) a while ago:

http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=217
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
bilobate cult-sign of Neith originally consisted of the image of two click beetles, flanking two crossed arrows attached to a pole.


I wish there is a picture fo this because quite frankly I can't imagine it in my head.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anneke gave you some great information on Neith. She was called Net by the ancient Egyptians. I'll only add that she was one of the very first goddesses ever to be shown in human form and is one of the oldest of the Egyptian deities. You'll also often see her wearing the double-crown, but the two crossed bows is probably one of the most common examples of her iconography in later times.

What you see above the heads of the deities is very important in the identification of them (otherwise it would be hard to tell many of them apart). Nephthys is a good example of this, and anneke mentioned it in an earlier post. As with the name "Neith," "Nephthys" is a Greek corruption of the original Egyptian name, Nbt-hwt, "mistress of the palace." Those icons on her head are the glyph for "mistress" (nb[t]) and the glyph that is a kind of floor plan of a mansion (hwt).

That moon symbol you saw in Budge's book is another glyph that in transliteration is written i'h. We just pronounce it as "Ah," with a hard "H' sound. It forms part of the name "Ahmose," which was a common name and held by numerous royalty (Ahmose I, Ahmose-Nefertari, etc.).

And as for the colors of the flail, Tut's is a good example to use. It's no secret that gold was much loved in ancient Egypt and had powerful symbolic value. It was believed that Re's flesh was made of gold. That beautiful blue lapis lazuli was also treasured by the nobles and royals; it was believed Re's hair was formed of lapis lazuli. That's why these two colors are so common in royal regalia, though most of the blue you see in museum collections most likely isn't lapis but blue-glazed composition.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In short Nepthys stands for mistress of the house? That was very helpful. someone mentioned god Yah here. I checked discussion topic here and found some interesting picture of him holding a cube with a picture of Eye of Ra (Horus). I also found on hieroglyphs.net that symbol for Hathor is Horus within this box or hwt-hr. Hathor is actually Horus within her house or simply her child within her belly. Isis most probably then derived out of Hathor for famous Isis and Osiris story.

Flail is tricky one because in the picture of Osiris with Neith/Nepthys he is holding 4-whip flail with two of them being blue and two gold. There are 7 sets of beads, some consist of 3 pearls and some of 4. Tut's flail is a 3-whip flail, all whips are gold ones with 7 sets of 3 beads. 4 sets look like wicker stools and they are black, green, red and black. At least they look black to me but they could be navy blue. Other 3 sets are like pearls in green, red and gold. Does anyone know how hieroglyph for wicker stool looks like in color? I found somewhere that it is blue, red, blue with large green in the middle and then again blue, red, blue. This is from bottom to top.

All flails are painted in gold and blue and they symbolize power. That I know for sure.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In short Nepthys stands for mistress of the house?


There is a slight but important difference in the vocabulary here. Pretty much every married woman in ancient Egypt was a nbt-pr, "lady of" or "mistress of the house." Nephthys, however, was Nbt-hwt, the hwt meaning "palace" or "mansion." That is the literal translation of her name before the Greeks got hold of it and turned it into Nephthys. (Frankly I find Nebet-Hut easier to pronounce. Laughing )

Quote:
I also found on hieroglyphs.net that symbol for Hathor is Horus within this box or hwt-hr. Hathor is actually Horus within her house or simply her child within her belly.


That hieroglpyhs.net is one of the best sites out there on Egyptian hieroglyphs. It's very helpful, isn't it? Yes, Hathor's name literally means "House of Horus," taken in a symbolic sense as the sheltering and protection of Horus. This is one reason that, in the mythology down through the dynastic period, Hathor was taken at times to be Horus' wife and at times Horus' mother. That box in the glyph around the falcon is a kind of floor plan, similar in typology to the floor plan in Nephthys' name.

Quote:
Isis most probably then derived out of Hathor for famous Isis and Osiris story.


I'm not sure about that. There were clear differences between Isis and Hathor and distinctive cultic practices for them through most of the dynastic period--it was later in their history that the two goddesses seemed to merge and become less distinct, with Isis winning in the end (note how beloved she became in the Roman world). The name Isis is again a Greek corruption, as is the name Osiris. Egyptologists to this day aren't certain of the meaning of the original Egyptian name for this god, which was Wsir or 3sir. What is certain is that the original Egyptian name for Isis--Wst or 3st--is simply the feminine form of Osiris' original name. This happened with other deites, such as Re and his consort Raet.

Quote:
Flail is tricky one because in the picture of Osiris with Neith/Nepthys he is holding 4-whip flail with two of them being blue and two gold.


In Egyptian artistic convention, particularly on the wall paintings of tombs and such, an object shown in groups of three (sometimes four or more) simply indicates the plural. So a flail shown with three (or four) whips could mean a great many whips. I don't think the precise number is of importance. The flail is after all simply a fly whisk that doubled as a kind of small whip to keep animals in line in the herds.

As for the colors of certain hieroglyphs, such as your wicker stool, I'm afraid I can be of only limited help. I study the hieroglyphic language but don't know much about the preferred colors. Anneke would probably know a lot more about it than I. She's done many splendid paintings of Egyptian tomb reliefs and has looked into that question herself.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must admit I have problems with the idea of Hathor being Horus's mum...I don't believe it myself, it's Isis all the way (but I'm biased Laughing ) but mainly because the mythology surrounding Isis and Horus is much more clear cut and concise and I don't see any myths involving Hathor as his mother-lots as his wife though. I much prefer the meaning of 'house of Horus' as being his protector or maybe even his nurse, but not mother!

I also don't believe Isis evolved from Hathor-I think she was independent, but over time just think the two goddesses got confused along the way, ever since Isis nicked Hathor's fashion sense witht he crown and all Wink I'm really surprised there wasn't a rivalry between the worship of the two goddesses at times.

I never knew Isis was Osiris's name in feminine form though-I thought her name meant throne?
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't think the precise number is of importance. The flail is after all simply a fly whisk that doubled as a kind of small whip to keep animals in line in the herds.


Hardly, because Egyptians spent so much time on these details. Symbol of power can't be just a simple cattle flail. Meaning should be found in old texts and their magic rituals. It is simple as with sword that stands for power in Christian countries which derived from frequent mentioning of sword in Bible. Doesn't matter what sword really is or flail but what it is important is symbolic meaning and reference to sacred texts.

If someone can contact this math expert Anneke regarding hieroglyph for wicker stool it would be nice since I don't have an account here. I also wonder if she has to say something about flail.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Horus-Ptah wrote:
Quote:
Symbol of power can't be just a simple cattle flail. Meaning should be found in old texts and their magic rituals.


That's essentially all it is, though. It's really no different from the royal crook, which derives from a shepherd's crook.



These are tangible symbols of dynastic Egypt's herdsmen roots and their deep ties to an ancient tribal way of life. They are ornamented to reflect their royal significance. Exactly what old or sacred texts do you mean that would tell us about this? I'm not familiar with these in the historical record.

Quote:
If someone can contact this math expert Anneke regarding hieroglyph for wicker stool it would be nice since I don't have an account here.


I'll be happy to PM her for you. Wink

isisinacrisis wrote:
Quote:
I must admit I have problems with the idea of Hathor being Horus's mum...I don't believe it myself, it's Isis all the way


LOL You still don't like this idea, do you? What did poor old Hathor ever do to you? The fact remains that Hathor at certain times and places was regarded as the mother of Horus. Give the poor girl-goddess a break. Laughing

Quote:
I never knew Isis was Osiris's name in feminine form though-I thought her name meant throne?


The throne glyph is part of both their names. There's Osiris:



And Isis:



The throne glyph usually provides the sound value st, so Osiris' real name (Wsir or 3sir) has always puzzled linguists and Egyptologists. It's one reason some scholars have speculated that Osiris was an "imported" deity way back in predynstic times. The odd name is an important telltale for this argument.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure which glyph you mean. The reed mat or stool (a square) is often colored blue. There's another sign which looks more like it is made up of several bands (Trapezoidal) and I can't find it in my reference book Confused That one is colored green and yellow.



This is a painting of two scenes from a tomb in Amarna. It shows some of the color schemes as far as I was able to determine it.

But there are also time periods when the entire text was just in one color. Often blue or green.

I have always understood the origin of the crook and flail to be as kmt-sesh said: they point to the pastoral background. They clearly took on quite more meaning than a fly-swatter and a staff. But for as far as why these regalia took on such meaning I don't know.
They are carried by gods and Kings. The Queen and also the god's wife I think were depicted with a fly swatter. (Definitely in the New Kingdom)

Somehow the staff was a symbol of power as well. The crook may just be a stylized version of that. The staff appears in the hieroglyphs as a symbol of power: the determinant for official is a man with a staff.

I think of the crook and flail as something that started as pastoral symbols but then took on a life of their own. I don't know if the fact that there are two of them has something to do with the Upper and Lower Egypt lore.

The symbolism is very old. I just looked it up and Narmer is shown with a crook and flail on the famous palette. He also holds a mace. This part of the regalia you don't see much later on.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, anneke. Very well put. I don't know much myself about how certain glyphs were colored or the significance behind this or that pigment. I do know that bluish-green was a very common scheme for the monochrome coloration of glyphs on coffins from the First Intermediate Period and early Middle Kingdom.

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What a value! You can't beat that. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found wicker stool at this site as symbol for p:

http://www.quizland.com/hiero.htm

Just type p and see the symbol. Other sites don't have colored hieroglyphs.

I found something about Osiris and meaning of his name. There was a recent study concluding that Osiris meant "mighty one" or useru in Egyptian. This is from "The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt" by Richard H. Wilkinson.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That glyph I've seen in blue. And I don't think I have ever seen it in another color.

Osiris is usually given as Ausar (or User) in egyptian. Isis is usually given as Aset.

I don't know anything about the menings of their names, but Wlkinson is a good source Very Happy
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