Hathor
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Hathor, goddess of Egypt

 

Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Hathor

The Mythology & History of ancient Egypt surrounding the Egyptian goddess Hathor, the goddess of love, joy and fertility

Egyptian Gods

 

Hathor, goddess of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Hathor, the Egyptian sky goddess of love, joy and fertility and the patroness of song, dance and ecstatic states. According to ancient Egyptian mythology Hathor was the nurse of Horus the Younger, which is why she is often depicted as either a cow or as a woman with the head of a cow. Hathor is therefore the Egyptian cow, or bovine goddess, and depicted either as a cow or in human form wearing a crown consisting of a sun disk held between the horns of a cow. As the revered nurse Hathor was worshipped by all ancient Egyptian women and she was also venerated as a protector of pregnant women.

 

Who was Hathor?
Hathor was the Egyptian sky goddess of love, joy and fertility. Egyptian gods and goddesses closely resembled the appearance of humans, but many of their gods were also perceived as 'human hybrids'  depicted with human bodies with the heads of animals and a few, such as Hathor, are represented purely by an image of an animal, in her case a cow.

Facts about Hathor
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Hathor. The ancient Egyptian goddess known as Bat was assimilated with Hathor by the period known as the New Kingdom:
 

Hathor Profile & Fact File

Egyptian Name:Hathor. Alternative Names: Het-heru and Hethara. She
 
Role & Function:The function of Hathor is described as being the the sky goddess of love, beauty, joy, dance, music and fertility.
 
Symbols:The sistrum (rattle) the Ankh, the Was Scepter, mirrors, the blue lotus was her sacred flower
 
Cult Center:Dendera, north of Thebes was the cult center for Hathor. The Dendera Temple complex contains the Temple of Hathor, one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. Another important center of worship was Byblos
 
Titles:The "Lady of Turquoise", the "Lady of the West", the "Lady of Faience", "Lady of Byblos" and "She of the divine column"
 
Name in Hieroglyphics:

Translation of Hieroglyphics for Hathor: Wick for the alphabetic consonant letter 'H'. Duck meaning daughter of Ra and the cow symbol of Hathor the goddess
 

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Hathor in Egyptian Mythology
Hathor, the Egyptian sky goddess of love, joy and fertility, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology. In one famous myth and legend the Sun god Ra ruled the world but the humans turned against him and undermined his authority and had to be punished. The right "Eye of Ra", representing the sun, was depicted as his daughter Hathor, who passed judgement and many humans were killed when she turned into Sekhmet, the lioness goddess. Ra worried that she would wipe out the entire human race, so he had red dye mixed with beer and spread about the land. Hathor, thinking it was blood, drank it and became so intoxicated that she forgot her mission and humankind was saved until judged at the end of their lives in the Underworld. Pacified by the beer, the goddess resumed her personality as the beautiful Hathor and returned to Ra. Hathor's name means "the House of Horus". In another myth Horus lost his eye in a fight with Set, but the goddess Hathor was able to restore it. Hathor was also represented as the wife, or counterpart, of Horus and was related to the night sky notably the Milky Way.

Lotus

The Role of Hathor
The role and duties of Hathor were

  • Goddess of female fertility and guardian of pregnant women
  • A mother goddess and revered nurse, especially of the pharaohs
  • Goddess of the Underworld
  • Goddess of love and beauty
  • Patron of musicians and dancers
  • Goddess of joy, pleasure, lust and alcohol
  • Venerated by all women for her beauty and protective role in respect of pregnant women and infants

Stylised Face of Hathor
The Stylised Face of Hathor are depicted on many architectural features in Egypt, especially on columns. The stylised face of Hathor typically features her with showing plaited hair, typically with the ears of cow with the triangular shape face of a cow.

Cow

Hathor Depiction

Hathor depiction

 

As the goddess of the sky, she was regarded as a huge cow who straddled the heavens, with her four legs representing the four cardinal points (north, south, east and west).

The Symbols of Hathor - The Sistrum
The symbols associated with Hathor included the sistrum. The sistrum is an ancient musical percussion instrument, a sacred rattle used in various ancient Egyptian rituals and ceremonies. Hathor was viewed as the goddess of music and dance and closely associated with joy, pleasure, lust and alcohol.

Hathor with Sistrum

Sistrum


Picture of Hathor with a sistrum, the sacred rattle used in ancient Egypt

Hathor, the goddess of Women
Hathor is particularly associated with women, both rich and poor, in ancient Egypt. Firstly in respect of fertility and also as protector of pregnant women and small infants. Women also venerated her for her beauty and mirrors (one of her symbols) often had a carved image of Hathor on their handles. Cosmetics were important to ancient Egyptian women. Eye make-up was popular and they used kohl for their black eye make-up and malchite stone was crushed and then mixed as a green eye shadow. Egyptian mothers would apply kohl to the eyes of infants soon after they were born believing its application would strengthen the child's eyes and prevent the child from being cursed. As the "Lady of Turquoise" she was associated with the turquoise precious stones that were popular in all different types of jewelry.

Hathor Hand Mirror

Hathor, goddess of the Underworld
Hathor presided over the burial ground on the west bank of Thebes and participated in guiding the justified soul to the Underworld. he is often represented in New Kingdom Theban tombs embracing the deceased. The Nile River was also believed to be the bridge to the afterlife, the East of the Nile was a place of beginnings whilst the west of the Nile was considered the place of death. The belief that west represented death is why all Egyptian tombs were located on the west side of the Nile in order to enter the afterlife and why one of the titles of Hathor was "Lady of the West".

The 'Seven Hathors'
The 'Seven Hathors' were believed to be the equivalent precursors to the Three Fates of Ancient Greece who were personification of destiny, the weavers of fate who determined when life began, when it ended and all that happened in between. The 'Seven Hathors' were believed to be able to tell the future of a newborn Egyptian child, that they knew the exact moment of death of all Egyptians.

 

Hathor

  • Hathor
  • Interesting research information and Facts about the Egyptian goddess Hathor
  • Hathor, the Egyptian sky goddess of love, joy and fertility
  • Stories and Legends in Egyptian Mythology associated with Hathor
  • Facts and information about the gods and deities of of classical Egypt for schools, research and kids
  • Hathor, the Egyptian sky goddess of love, joy and fertility

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Facts about Hathor in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Hathor, the Egyptian sky goddess of love, joy and fertility. The facts about Hathor provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Hathor in Egyptian Mythology.

History, Mythology and Facts about Hathor

Hathor Column - Dedera

Fact 1:The Ancient Romans identified Hathor with the goddess Venus and the Ancient Greeks with  Aphrodite
 
Fact 2:According to ancient Egyptian mythology in "The Destruction of Mankind" Sekhmet was the "Eye of Ra", a vengeful aspect of the usually benevolent goddess Hathor.
 
Fact 3:The goddess Bat as a divine cow was a parallel deity from Lower Egypt. Bat's horns curve inward and Hathor's curve outward slightly
 
Fact 4:Hathor was eventually 'absorbed' by the goddess Isis
 
Fact 5:Ancient Egyptian women aspired to embody the multi-faceted role of Hathor as wife, mother, and lover.
 
Fact 6:Hathor was one of a triad of gods with Sobek and Khonsu called the Triad of Kom Ombo - refer to the Triads of Egyptian Gods
 
 

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