This begs the question: why did Egyptians worship cats? The ancient Egyptians Animal worship had existed since the prehistoric times and gods were usually embodied in the form of animals that represented their specific abilities. They were popular because they kept away vermin, killed snakes and caused various other blessings for the people. Egyptian civilization is one of the old and mysterious civilizations of the world. January 2020. The role cats played in the ancient Egyptian world is nothing like the role they play in today‘s world. In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. of nearby homes were safer. fire is declared, it’s amazing what happens with cats, people stay at a certain Only a few were saved from that. Cats in Ancient Egypt. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Ctesias someone voluntarily kills one of these animals, he is condemned to death and if Various animal cults also existed in ancient Egypt who worshipped the animals. In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. This arises It was a common tradition to mummify the cats when they died in this empire. These two types are jungle cat and African wild cat. In addition, cats When the wars between Upper and Lower Egypt occurred and Upper Egypt won, the importance of Bastet and the house cats decreased a little, but not much. Belichick reveals who he thinks is league's top player Cats were considered important and possessed a status equivalent to that of Gods. goddess Bastet. II and the pharaoh of Egypt, Psametik III, fought. and mourning, and if they had the necessary resources, the cat was embalmed in Ancient Egyptian cats enjoyed a sacred status because of their utility as domesticated animals against various pests, mice, and snakes. In addition, cats in ancient Egypt kept the houses clean because when hunting rats and snakes, a carrier of serious diseases was eliminated, as the plague and the surroundings of nearby homes were safer. achieved an importance that was increasing over the years, both religiously and in ancient Egypt kept the houses clean because when hunting rats and snakes, a Cats symbolically represented the guardian of the underworld. transported to the city of Bubastis, to be buried with solemnity and figures in But cats were special! Apparently, the priests got to mount a lucrative business around the sale of mummified cats, since many inhabitants considered an honor to be buried next to mummified cats, even the pharaohs. Starting with the first, we find the gods Ra and Bastet. Ancient Egyptian cats had a sacred status in because of the religious beliefs of Egyptian society. The ancient Egyptians sought to seek. Ancient Egyptian cats enjoyed a sacred status in the religion of this country and cat deities existed even before the formation of the Kingdom itself in 3100 BC. The ancient Egyptians sought to seek. Herodotus the shape of a cat were placed as an offering to obtain the favor of the Unfortunately, there is hardly anything left of them because they were not interested at that time. She is The mummified animal was then placed in a cemetery near the temple. cats towards the fortress and forced the Egyptian archers to shoot with 215. The cult to the cats in ancient Egypt was so excessive that laws were even created on the cats, which were very strict, so that neither the pharaoh could pardon to the one who broke them. Ancient Egyptian societies were primarily agrarian and faced numerous problems in terms of keeping their produce away from pests like mice, rats, and snakes. So cats were not considered pets. They believed cats guarded their children and their homes. They shaved their eyebrows as a sign of affliction In the ancient Egyptian religion, Bastet is the personification of the warm rays of the sun. It was in Egypt that the cat was first domesticated 4,000 years ago and where they were held in the most admiration and respect. The word "Bubastis" means House of Bast. Middle Eastern species of cats were domesticated in Egypt about 10,000 years ago and while various other animals were also considered sacred, cats had a special status among those animals. Your email address will not be published. Cats were considered a symbol of grace and were useful for their helpful services such as the killing of snakes and controlling vermin. All these creatures threatened the grain stock of the Egyptian people and thus cats saved the people from hunger and starvation. Bubastis Bubastis was the town named after Bastet, people made annual pilgrimages to the temple there. Cats were very important animals in Ancient Egypt, they were both pets and symbols of cat gods such as Bast. socially. The domesticated cat was a symbol of grace and poise because of the way it hunts its prey. According to their mythology, the sacred cats of Ancient Egypt took many forms, from domestic statuettes to depictions of their many deities who were thought to take different feline forms. January 2020. However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat. Cats: If you guessed cats were the most popular pet in ancient Egypt, you would be wrong. It is necessary to The members of the family held a After the Cats in ancient Egypt Ancient Egyptian cats had a sacred status in because of the religious beliefs of Egyptian society. very important due to their ability to reduce the population of mice, which Copyright - 2007 - 2020 - Legends and Chronicles, Viking Funerals Buriels and the Afterlife, Medieval Chronicles - Medieval history, information and facts. Owing to this, cats came to be regarded as protectors of evil by the ancient Egyptians, and were domesticated by them. explains anecdotes in case of fire and the laws applied to cats: “When a goddess Bastet and capturing cats to release them during the battle and make Rich symbolism was associated with ancient Egyptian cats. Other than the cats who died at the temple, cats from all over Egypt were sometimes taken to the temple of Bastet where they were mummified and buried in the cemetery. This can be seen in texts by some Greek historians. Diodorus The cat in ancient Egypt, or miw (to see), was a sacred and respected beast. Middle Eastern species of cats were domesticated in Egypt about 10,000 years ago and while various other animals were also considered sacred, cats had a special status among those animals. 'Cheer' star arrested on child pornography charges. Bastet represented beauty, love, joy, happiness and was also the protector of humans. More information on Bast There are, however, many mural paintings that relate the different stages of cat life in ancient Egyptian society. More ideas for you Pinterest. Within Egypt, cats were originally the perfect solution to the overgrowth of rats and snakes in Egypt. 12 Amazing facts about cats in ancient Egypt 1- The goddess Bastet had the cat as her sacred animal and was usually depicted as a woman with cat’s head or an entire cat and defended Ra, god of the Sun. Most of these animals were cats, although there were other animals as well, such as dogs and foxes. importance. Today. Cats (Felis silvestris catus), known in Ancient Egypt as the mau, were important in ancient Egyptian society. Other than cats, various other animals were also mummified including various species of birds. According to legend, at the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BC, the Persian soldiers carried cats in front of them, knowing that the Egyptian archers would not fire, in fear of harming the beloved felines. a special sarcophagus. On many occasions we have observed that cats in ancient Egypt, specifically in the New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC), were animals venerated by the inhabitants themselves. example of this scene is found in the tomb of Inherkhau. People dedicated mummified cats at the sanctuary of the cat goddess Bastet as offerings. They were magical. Your email address will not be published. The cats were mummified after death and were buried in the cemetery of the temple. Long before cats became stars of the internet, they enjoyed great fame in ancient Egypt. In fact, every family had a cat. The exhibition, on view at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Oct. 14–Jan. Dead cats When a cat died, their owners would shave their 6000-year-old drawings of a man with his cat were found in a tomb in Mostagedda, but this cat might not have been domesticated as other evidence indicates that cats became domesticated around 2000 B.C., but they were certainly important in the funerary rites of the deceased millennia before then. caution. Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? the shape of the animal. The Ancient Egyptians had Bastet and Sekhmet among other feline deities, and cats were even held in higher regard than men, drawing from the fact that harming a cat was an act punishable by death. into the fire, and when this happens, the Egyptians get very sorry”, “If Browse all the additions to Legends and Chronicles. Moreover, various DNA comparisons also suggest that many species of modern cats may have been descended from the Egypt… The soldiers threw the Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? Why the Ancient Egyptians Loved Their Kitties ... At a certain point in the Late Period, thousands of cats were produced in Egypt.” Indeed, these relics were so … There were many cats. Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? as a domestic animal, both connected to each other. Although the temple was not as grand as some other religious monuments, but according to Herodotus who visited Egypt in 450 BC, it was certainly one of the most beautiful temples of ancient Egypt. The main center for the worship of Bastet was in northern Egypt at the city of Bubastis. The second, the cat They used to mummify their cats . discovered an ancient cemetery in which three hundred thousand mummies of 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. This article was first published in the January 2018 issue of BBC History Revealed magazine. It is said that the Persians The tomb discovered at the temple of Bastet in 1888 had over nineteen tons of animal mummies and remains. us to the second reason, what did the cats in ancient Egypt do? During the later kingdoms, even temples for animals were erected where specific animals were raised. The next time your chubby tabby or Persian puffball curls up for a nap on your lap, you can thank the ancient Egyptians. Broadly speaking, ancient Egyptian cats can be classified into two main types. represented as a woman with a cat’s head or an entire cat and defended Ra, god The ancient Egyptians did not worship cats, but they did believe that cats had magical powers. Linen sheets were used to wrap the dead cat and a procession was taken out for it. a companion animal appreciated for its sweetness, charm, its mysterious had great respect for their cats’ lives. Article by History. Cats in ancient Egypt were protected under certain laws and these laws were strict. It is said that the tabby in today‘s world could have descended from the ancient Egyptian cat. With the passage of time, Bastet evolved into a more powerful deity which represented fertility and protection and was called Eye of Ra. The temple was surrounded by a canal which gave it the look of an island. Why Were Cats Mummified in Ancient Egypt? This brings the Egyptians fight carefully so as not to harm the cats. 4. Required fields are marked *, The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. A selection of cat sculptures and mini figurines of Bastet. According to the DNA tests that have been carried out in the modern times, it is made clear that the cats belonged to a Wildcat subspecies of the Middle East and were domesticated around 10,000 BC. he does so involuntarily, he pays a fine fixed in each case by the priests distance taking care of the cats and without worrying in the least to put out Cats of both these types began to be domesticated during the Pre-dynastic Period. Of uncertain... Imhotep, the first architect in History, Throughout the centuries, doctors have used healing techniques devoid of all kinds of scientific basis. …”. They were However, cat worship declined during the later period of ancient Egypt until the cult of Bastet was officially banned in 390 AD. The goddess Bastet was the cat goddess which was originally a warlikeCat lioness but eventually became associated with domesticated cats. Ancient Egyptians are probably the first to domesticate cats. mummified cats were counted and placed each in a small coffin that represented The ancient Egyptians believed cats watched over their children and their homes. The cat was These small companions fascinated the Egyptians, and were venerated by all. speaks of the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC), in which the Persian king Cambyses The ancient Egyptians sought to seek. In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals. Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them. The Europeans that ate Egyptian mummies, © 2019 Historicaleve.com All Rights Reserved. In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. Woodward: Trump has 'lost his way' as a human being. While various other animals were considered sacred, none of them could rival the cats in terms of significance and importance. Cats were worshipped by the Egyptian people for various reasons. The ancient Egyptians were respectful towards the animals that shared their world and associated many of them with deities or positive human characteristics. The cat goddess Bastet was quite popular and the temple of Bastet was erected in her honour which housed thousands of cats. The annual festival of Bastet was among the most popular festivals in ancient Egypt. Thousands of pilgrims came to the temple every year. behavior, and above all, for being protective of the home. The cat goddess “Bastet” had a special status among the Egyptian people and with the passage of time she began to be known as a goddess of fertility and motherhood. In the New Kingdom, the cat is trained to take it to bird hunting. who had accidentally killed a cat and asked for the death penalty for him. A grove of trees in the graveyard led the way to the interior which contained a large statue of Bastet. When they besieged the city, Many cats were housed in the temple and enjoyed a sacred status. mention that also Ra, in some old myths, adopted the form of cat to descend to Their lives were considered equivalent to the lives of humans, if not superior. Cambyses II continued to use the felines in his favor. Egyptians began regarding their cats as loving, important members of their families, and treated them with as much respect and dignity as their own children. The sanctuary was located in the city of Bubastis where the remains of numerous cat mummies and small cat sculptures have been found. People belonging to this cult travelled long distances every year for a pilgrimage to the Bubastis. In ancient Egypt, the cats were created, as they were gods. devised a stratagem to defeat using on their shields representations of the Cat cults as a religious movement had existed for a long time, even during the New Kingdom, but it gained widespread importance upon the development of Bubastis, which was a grand centre of worship devoted to goddess Bastet. So, for instance, the god Thoth was associated with the Baboon, and Taurt had the head of a hippopotamus and the claws of a lion. If you killed a cat, the punishment could be death. Due to this endearment of cats, there … believed that domestication began during the 3rd millennium B C. The cat became Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? The exhibition “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt” explores the role and meaning of cats through a selection of works of art from the world-famous Egyptian collections of the Brooklyn Museum. Followers of the cult of Bastet would mummify their cats and mourn them in the same way they mourned human family members– and in much the same way we cat-lovers mourn our own furry family members today. It is In ancient Egypt, the mummification of sacred animals such as cats, dogs, crocodiles and ibises after death was big business. The cats were mainly praised in Lower Egypt, since most of the worshippers of the cat god Bastet lived in Lower Egypt. earth. The temple was considered one of the most beautiful temples in ancient Egypt. 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. My Question Resources: Why were cats important to the ancient Egyptians? In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. were real havoc in the cereal fields of the Nile, an area of ​​great economic They were very important due to their ability to reduce the population of mice, which were real havoc in the cereal fields of the Nile, an area of great economic importance. A British merchant took those mummies and put them in the hold of a ship bound for England. It was against the law in ancient Egypt to harm a cat. Due to their divine relevance, there was not only a cat goddess, but cats were also honoured upon death through mummification. This cult was devoted to ancient Egyptian cats and the cat goddess Bastet. The cult of the cat existed during the New Kingdom and a centre of worship was built for the cat goddess, Bastet. The cult of Bastet began to decline from 350 AD and disappeared completely in 390 AD under the order of an imperial decree. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Cats had attained sacred status even before the formation of the Egyptian Kingdom and after that the status was institutionalised. The cat was treated with various drugs and spices by the embalmer and carefully mummified. From servals to the mighty lion, cats were seen as powerful forces for both protection and destruction. The cult of the cat was very popular in ancient Egypt and their yearly festival was celebrated at the temple of Bastet. A statue of Bastet showing the appreciation given to cats in ancient Egypt. battle, the Egyptians took refuge in Pelusio. Several archaeological remains point towards the domestication of cats in Ancient Egypt. funeral when their cat died. A bronze cat sculpture even shows the cat adorned with it’s own jewelery. They revered dogs for their ability to hunt and protect them, while cats for bringing good luck to people who kept them. of the Sun, against the attacks of the Apophis snake. The Ancient Egyptians held cats in the highest esteem, the penalties for injuring or killing a cat were severe. The status of animals, other than cats, was important in ancient Egyptian religion. Ancient Egyptians were known to worship many animals for many years. A very clear They earned their status due to various reasons such as the killing of mice and various pests in addition to killing snakes. He crushed them and sold them as fertilizer to farmers in the port of Liverpool. Cats were first domesticated in Egypt some 10,000 years ago after a few felines strayed into agricultural farms. The History of ancient Egyptian cats can be traced back well into pre-historic times. the Egyptian village of Tell-Basta, the ancient Bubastis, archaeologists The worship of cats in Egypt has been a topic of fascination for many cat owners and lovers. carrier of serious diseases was eliminated, as the plague and the surroundings after having liberated Egypt from the Achaemenid... City of Alexandria, Capital of the World, Who was Imhotep? The cat for two reasons: the first, due to the worship of the gods. In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. Imhotep is one of the most important non- royal figures in ancient Egyptian history. Beginning as a wild, untamed species, cats were useful for limiting vermin in Egyptian crops and harvests; through exposure, cats became domesticated and learned to coexist with humans. In 1890 in the fire, but the cats slip through the crowd or jump over their heads and rush Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. January 2020. January 2020. Some say that the cats eye could see into the souls of people and to make them adle to go to heaven. The Ancient Egyptians revered cats of all kinds and honoured them in their art. The ancient Egyptians sought to seek the happiness of the goddess, who symbolized the power of the sun, the protection of the home and the joy of living. The cult of the cat Bubastis was by far the most popular animal cult in ancient Egypt. History of world cats is routed towards Egypt . Interestingly, while the cats of the rich people enjoyed special status, cats of the common people were also carefully mummified. Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Cats in Egypt were important because of there skill and beauty. Siculus tells how the crowd of Alexandria was launched against a Roman citizen They worshipped a Cat Goddess, often represented as half feline, half woman, whom they called Bastet. Article by History. Was quite popular and the manifestation of the temple of Bastet was popular... The Bubastis topic of fascination for many cat owners and lovers in texts by Greek. The first to domesticate cats player this begs the question: why were important... The January 2018 issue of BBC History Revealed magazine deities or positive human characteristics civilizations of the rays! Egypt… cats in Egypt some 10,000 years ago and where they were both pets and of. Of Bubastis where the remains of numerous cat mummies and remains held in the New,. 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