Ancient Egyptian Goddesses

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Joshua J. Mark
by
published on 07 February 2024

Egyptian goddesses are among the best-known and most popular from antiquity. Images of Isis, Hathor, Bastet, and Selket – among many others – are world-famous. The popularity of these female deities reflects the high status of women in ancient Egypt, who were regarded as almost equals to males and held prominent positions.

Among these was the prestigious office of the God's Wife of Amun, the counterpart to the male high priest of Amun, the most powerful religious cult in ancient Egypt's history. Women also ruled, periodically, from early queens such as Mereneith (c. 3000 BCE) to Cleopatra VII in 30 BCE.

Included in this collection is the goddess Astarte, technically a Phoenician deity but regarded by the ancient Egyptians as a consort of the god Set. Omitted is the goddess Ma'at, who personifies balance and harmony and was understood to inform the powers of all the other deities, both male and female, as well as the decisions of the king, the law of the land, and the proper behavior of the people. Ma'at, therefore, is always understood as present in any representation of the other deities of ancient Egypt.

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Questions & Answers

When were the goddesses of ancient Egypt first worshipped?

The goddesses of ancient Egypt were first worshipped c. 6000 BCE.

Who is the oldest Egyptian goddess?

Neith is the oldest Egyptian goddess. In some myths, she is present at the act of creation.

Who is the most powerful Egyptian goddess?

Isis is the most powerful Egyptian goddess. She was also the most popular as her cult spread throughout ancient Egypt, to Rome, and even to ancient Britain.

How long were the goddesses of ancient Egypt worshipped?

The goddesses of ancient Egypt were worshipped from c. 6000 BCE to c. 400 CE after Christianity had toppled the Cult of Isis. In the present day, however, those who adhere to Neo-Pagan and Wiccan belief systems still worship one or more ancient Egyptian goddesses.
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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