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Makara's Definitions from I to Z

I  J K L  M  N O  P  Q R S  T U  V W X  Y  Z


Any word with no definition under it is a word which I don't know. It may be a god, goddess or an item. If you know please email me with the definition!

word for the highly prized ebony wood

site near the Secound Cataract where vast quantities of black granite was quarried.

The Egyptian name for the heart. It was believed that the heart was the center of all consciousness, even the center of life itself. When one died it was said that their "heart had departed." This was the only organ that was not removed from the body during mummification. In the Book of the Dead, the heart that was weighed against the feather of Ma'at to see if an individual was worthy of joining Osiris in the afterlife. If he/the heart was found unworthy then it was fed to Ammut.

called akh in some texts, the mental and spirtial attributes of all human beings, which was belived to transform at death into a transparent, luminous essence.

senetjer, an imporant marterial for religious and royal rites in every era. Several types were used. Myrrh, a red form of incense importanted from Punt, was considered the most sacred and resrved for the most solemn of rituals. Frankincense (olibanum) was also favored.

Inmutef (Iunmutef)

name for the predynastic inhabitants fo the Nile Valley, it translates as "Pillar People."

term for a nobel, used in refrence to predynastic eras usualy.

Ished Tree
a sacred tree of life thought to be the Balanites aegyptiaca. The goddess Seshat and the god Thoth wrote the anmes of the new kigns at their accession to the throne on the leaves of this tree.

Various gods of fertility who are represent or show an erect penis, such as Min and Amun. It comes from the Greek word "with erect penis."


Judicial Papyrus of Turin
a document that gives an account of the harem conspiracy of the 20th dynasty in teh reign of Ramessess III

The ka is usually translated as "double." It was an astral being, yet it was also considered the guidign force for all human life. A person's ka came into existence when they was born. Khnum was the one who crafted a person's ka on his potter's wheel at the time of birth. Kas resided in teh divine beings as well and pious Egyptians placated the kas of gods in order to recieve favors. When someone died they "met their ka." One's ka lives on after the death of the body. Some tombs included model houses for the ka to live. Offerings of food and drink would be left at the tomb entrance so the ka could eat and drink.

Kadesh, Battle of
In the 5th year of his reign, Ramesses II marched out of the Egyptian outpost on the eastern desert with the Regiment of Amon and 3 other regiments following. He commanded more then 20,000 men and made his way to the valley of the Orontes River, overlooking Kadesh, the city who's king had warred with Tuthmosis III of the 18th dynasty for more then a decade.
    Upon arrival there was no sign of the Hittite army and Ramesses, anxious to begin the siege drew away from his men and suddenly found himself facing the horde of the HIttite army, under the command of King Muwatallis. Ramesses had taken the word of two Asiatics of the region that no Hittites were present.
    Lured into a trap, panicking soldiers from other regiments swamping the Regiment of Amon, Ramesses managed to bring calm and purpose to his small units and sent for the Regiment of Ptah and began to fight his way through the enemy to his southern forces. With only his household troops, a few officers and followers and the rabble of defeated units standing by, Ramesses in his chariot charged the eastern wing of the enemy with great ferocity. The best of the Hittite king's warriors, including his own brother were slain.
    Those enemy in the abandoned Egyptian camp looting were taken unawares by Ramesses' soldiers and slain. Gathering up his troops, he was determined to stand his ground till reinforcements arrived. Muwatallis added his 1,000 reserve chariots into the fight but was unable to score. Then the banners of the Regiment of Ptah came into view and it was obvious the Egyptians would win. The Hittite retreated to Kadesh. Although Ramesses did not capture Kadesh a treaty was signed between the two states, cemented by marriage.

site south of hte First Cataract where a fortress and temple were erected in the 18th dynasty, probably by Tuthmosis III. The temple was moved north when the Aswan Dam was opened.

modern name for the ancient Nesut-Towi, the "Throne of the Two Lands," or Ipet-Iset, "The Finest of Seats," site of the temple of the god Amon at Thebes. Karnak's remains are of the most remarkable religious complex ever built. Its 250 acres of temples, chapels, obelisks, columns and statues built over 2,000 years.

Keeper of the Door to the South
a title for the governors of Aswan and the administrators of Nubia.

Kemwer (Kemur)

a trading post located near the THird Cataract of the Nile. Dates to the reign of Amenemhet I of the 12th Dynasty. Was the capital of the short lived nation of Kush which was defeated by the 12th dynasty.

word for the shadow of a soul, deemed to be a spiritual essence that was capable of freeing itself at the moment of death. All desired to see their khaibit roam free beyond the grave. No explanation was given of the role or purpose of the shadow.

an Arabic term describing a storm condition of modern Egypt. Arising in February or March and lasting about two months the khamsin brings sand into reisdence and into the shrines on the Nile. This period was long viewed as a season of contagious diseases and illnesses.

The blue ceremonial crown.

name for a necropolis. Translated as "that which is beneath the god."

This is a flame or fire. Fire was embodied in the sun and in its symbol the uraeus which spit fire. Fire also plays a part in the Egyptian concept of the underworld. There is one terrifying aspect of the underworld, which is similar to the Christians concept of hell. Most Egyptians would like to avoid this place with its fiery lakes and rivers that are inhabited by fire demons. As an emblem it was associated with Geb and Osiris.

khopesh (khepesh)
sicle-shaped sword with a sharp outer edge used by the New Kingdome military. It was introduced by the Hyksos invaders or at least influenced by their weapons.

A spiritual entity often mentioned in association with the ba. It was viewed as an entirely spiritual and absolutely immortal being.

King Lists
various texts that list the rulers of Egypt in chronological order or have cartouches designating their titels and eras. There are an Abydos, Saqqara, Karnak Lists and a Turin Canon whihc is considered the most trustworthy and valued list. It was compiled in the reign of Ramesses II. It appears to have contained every king from Menes to Ramesses II, in correct order,  with the years total for each reign.

name applied to the goddesses Isis and Nephthys in the Osirian cult but also represted  women who were hired to accompany or greet the coffins of the deceaseed at funerals (professional mourners).

considered magical depending upon the way they were tired and located.

Arabic term for the cosmetic used to adorn the eyes. Dried remains of kohl have been discovered in tombs.

a high water island at Philae and was used by the 18th dynasty kings a s a staging point for the Nubian expeditions of the New Kingdom.

Greek form of kapet, a popular incense or perfume composed of many ingredients.

a mystic symbol and amulet depicting the ascension of Osiris. Was called Maqet in some cult centers and was used to honor the goddess Nut. Modles of the ladder were placed in tombs to protect the deceased and to invoke the aid of the god of the daed.

Lake of FLowers
one of the eternal paradises awaiting all dead Egyptians. The presence of fresh water, cool winds and flowers were to be essential to any paradise.

Lands of the Bows
a legendary destgnation of the territory below the First Cataract. The armies of the Early Dynastic Period conducted expeditions into the region and this traditionaly designation related to the Nine Bows remained throughout the Pharaohnic era.

lapis lazuli
a semipresiou stone imported from other sources that were extremly popular. Opaque, dark or greenish blue, often flected with gold, it was used extensively in jewelry and to a lesser extent for small sculptures, scarabs and amulets. The Egyptians called it khesbedji. The goddess Hathor was sometimes called the "Mistress of Lapis Lazuli."

Lector Priest
Translates as "One who bears the ritual book". This priests function was to recite from the ritual texts.

a vegetable considered sacred to the god Min and endowed with magical properties. It was belived to be a magical weapon against the dead, able to prick them.

Libyan Palette
a fragment of a commemorative tablet, either predynastic or dating to the 1st dynasty. The vessel resembles the Narmer Palette but depicts a variety of trees, plants and animals and an assault. Was discovered in Abydos.

Lily Lake
called the Lake of Flowers in some texts.

"Linen of Yesterday"
a poetic image to denote death and the changes that dyign brings to humans.

Lions of Sebel (Sebua)
a remarkable pari of stone figures erected by Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty at Sebel in southern Nubia. THey were carried away by Ethiopians when they invaded and are now in the British Museum. During Akhenaten's reign, the inscriptions on the lions were destroyed, being of a religious nature.

modern name for the 12th dynasty capital of It-Towy. The pyramids of Amenemhet I and Senwosret I were discovered here.

List of OFferings
a common text that specified the gifts to be made to the deceased as part of the mortuary ceremonies. Offerings of meat, drink and incense were made each day by priests of the funerary rituals, who were commissioned to preform the acts.
Litanies of Sokar
a compliation of 100 lines addressed to the god SOkar, a Memphite deity of Tuat (underworld). In early ears he was the prtector of the necropolis at Giza.

Litany of the Sun
attributed to the original cult of the god Ra, a religious text discovered in teh tomb of Seti I of the 19th dynasty.

A symbol of birth and dawn; it was thought to have been the cradle of the sun on the first morning of creation, rising from the primeval waters. The lotus was a common architectural motif, particularly used on capitals

modern Arabic name for Southern Opet, the area of Thebes that was dedicated to the god Amon during the New Kingdom.

The concept of order, truth, regularity and justice which was all important to the ancient Egyptians. It was the duty of the pharaohs to uphold Maat.

Solar name - also know as throne or Horus name - of Hatshepsut when she took the title of Pharaoh. It means Truth and Soul of Ra.

expression meaning "true of voice," used to denote human eings judged as pure and worthy of eternal bliss.

Magnates of the Southern Ten
a title given to certain governors, normaly hereditary nobles of the nomes of Upper Egypt.

See Birth House

the sacred bark upon which the god Ra rode into the sky each morning as the sun.

The mythical mountain on which the sun set. The region of the western horizon. One of two mountains that held up the sky, the other being Bakhu. The double lion god, Aker, guarded these peaks.

The Arabic word meaning; "bench." Used to describe tombs of the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. The basic form resembled a bench. False doors were designed to serve as stelae on which achievements, honors and aspirations of the deceased could be proclaimed. Sometimes the flase doors were actual entrtances set into the walls that led to the serdab, the chamber in which the statue(s) of the deceased were placed. Statues were normaly depositied in teh serdab chambers of the kings, one for each royal name or religious title.

called ma'au when large in form. Word for cat and the name of the feline deity worshiped at Bubastis.

"May the King Make an OFfering"
a phrase used, Hetep-di-Nesut, translated as "An Offering Given by the King." The words normaly began the funerary texts written on selae and on the tomb walls of the deceased.

"May My Name Prosper"
a mortuary phrase. The Egyptians belived that any nameless creatrue/human that was forgotten was unable to exist in the afterlife.

name given to the units of the Nubian forces long in service of Egypt, particuarly under Kamose of the 17th dynasty when he began his campaigns to drive otu the Hyksos. Kamose's father, Sekenerre-Tao II had started the war. The Medjay, famed as warriors of cunning and stamina, served as couts for the Egyptians on the marches or at the oases of the Libyan Dseret. In battle they formed light infantry units and rushed to the front lines, delighting in hand-to-hand combat.

Mehet-Weret (Mehet-uret)

A protective amulet invoking the divine favor. It was usually worn on a string of beads at the back of the neck, probably as a counterpoise to items of jewelry worn in front. Many of these amulets have been found in tombs. They were supposed to bring fertility to women and virility to men.

A scribe's pallet. Writing was a very important skill to the ancient Egyptians. Scribes practiced Menhed. The writing equipment used by scribes consisted of a palette, which held black and red pigments, a water jar, and a pen. To be a scribe was a favorable position, even some kings and nobles are show proudly displaying scribe palettes.

a great mythical serpent that figured in to the cosmogonic and religious texts. Mehen was carried through the sky each day by divine bearers. It surrouned the solar bark of the god Ra, preserving the deity in its coils.

name for the royal sceptre having one flat end. It was symbol fo the kingly power and was used in many eras.

capital of ancient Egypt from the Early Dynastic Period and was a seat of politcal power even when the kings had other capitals. Originally named Hiku-Ptah or Hut-Ra-Ptah, the "Mansion of the Soul of Ptah." Memphis wa slocated on the western side of the Nile, south of modern Cairo. It was supposedly founded by Aha (2920 bc). Legend state that the kign altered the course of the Nile in order to clear the plain for his capital. In some eras the city was called Ankh-Tawy, "the Life of the Two Lands."

a form of an amulet that was heavily weighted and used to coutnerblance the heavy collars worn by teh rulers an dmembers of the nobility. It was attached to the back of such collars to keep them in place. It was made of stone, faience or metal and was worn with strands of beads when not used a sa counterbalance.

an astral gauge used for archittectural surveys and construction projects. Similar to the modern plumb line.

word for evening, which acutaly means the "time of birth." It was belived that the stars were swallowed by a divine sow each sunrise. THey were given birth each evening.

Mistress of the House
Housewife, title given to married ladies from the Middle Kingdom onwards.

each had 30 days each, incorporated into the calendar by the priest in early eras. They were part of 3 seasons:
Season of akhet - the inundation - winter

Season of proyet (peret) - the sowing - spring
Tybi (Tobe)

Season of shemu (shomu) - the harvest - summer

Pertaining to the burial of the dead.

Mortuary Cult
People, usually loved ones of the deceased, who provided funerary offerings for nourishment of the deceased's ba and ka.

Mortuary Priest
Called the "servant of the ka." This was a Person who was appointed to bring daily offerings to a tomb.

From the Persian word; "moumiya." A preserved corpse by natural or artificial means. Mummification involved thoroughly drying the body to remove the source of decay.

called anti, the aromatic plant from Punt. THe trees were planted on temple ground sand the gum resin product of the plant was used in rituals as incense and perfume to the gods.

enclosed shrine areas that were reserved for the statues. A small wooden naos was normally placed inside a monolithic one in hard stone; the latter are typical of the Late Period, and sometimes elaborately decorated. Also used as a term for temple sanctuary.

site north of Thebes where predynastic burials were discovered. It also served as a necropolis area for the 1st Dynasty (2900 bc). The name of the site lends itself to the period of social and cutlural growth. It contained vast amounts of pottery and cylinder seals as well as tomb sites makred with the names of Narmer, Aha and others.

Narmer Palette
called Narmer's Victory Palette. It was discovered in Hierakonpolis. The palette was designed for ceremonial use. On it Narmer is depicted in the war crown of Upper Egypt and in the red crown of Lower Egypt, signifying that he conqured that territory. He is also depicted a sa bull (a royal symbol) destorying a city with its horns and trampling enemys under his hooves. On the reverse side, two fallen figureds lie before him. The god Horus is shown coming to hte king's aid by brining prisoners to him.

natron (net-jeryt, hesmen, hesmen desher)
A naturally occurring salt used as a preservative and drying agent during mummification foudn in the Natron Valley near modern Cairo. It is a mixture of four salts that occur in varying proportions: sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and sodium sulfate. It was used as a detergent in the early eras and then adopted as the main preserving agent for mortuary rituals.

Nauri Decree
a cocument issued by Seti I of the 19th dynasty in the 4th year of his reign. It incorporateed prior legal codes, serving as a charter for the temple of Osiris at Abydos and for its various estates, and was designed to ensure the maintence of the king's mortuary cult after his death. The workers were subject to a stern code of behavior while they built the tomb, with penalities for crimes clearly spelt out. The decree poitns to the troubled era of Seti's reign. Normaly, workers on teh mortuary complexes of the kings would not have required warning sor threats in order to regulate their behavior. Consturction sites of the early periods were places of spirtuality and dedication.

translated as "all" it was a symbol of obeisance or prostration preformed in the precnese of a king or deity.

This is the Egyptian word for gold, which was considered a divine metal, it was thought to be the flesh of the gods. Its polished surface was related to the brilliance of the sun. Gold was important to the afterlife as it represents aspects of immortality. By the New Kingdom era, the royal burial chamber was called the "House of Gold."

The Greek word meaning; "city of the dead" normally describes large and important burial areas that were in use for long periods.

word meaning good, beautiful, complete or perfect.

Negative Confessions (Declaration of Innocense)
part of the mortuary riturals, a text developed by priests to aid the deceased when in the presence of teh Forty-Two Judges. The Confessions were to be recited to establish the mortal virue of the deceased. These Confessions detail some of the ethi8cal and moral concerns for various eras of Egypt. They included:
I have not stolen
I have not plundered
I have not slain people
I have not committed a crime
I have not stolen the property of a god
I have not said lies
I have not cursed
I have not copulated with another man
I have not copulated with another man's wife
I have not cuased anyone to weep
I have not eaten my hear (indulged in despair)
I have not led anyone astray
I have not gossiped
I have not slandered
I have not been contentious in affairs
I have not caused terror
I have not become heatedly angry
I have not eavesdropped
I have not made anyone angry
I have not made anyone hungry


A striped head cloth worn by Pharaohs. Normally blue and white and mounted with a uraeus.

The Egyptian word for the forces that are god or a group of gods, although the exact meaning is unknown.

"Divine subterranean place," a name for the land of the dead.

name for the pennants used on temples to display the symbols of hte god in residence. Flagstaffs and pennants were part of all religious buildings.

word meaning god.

sacred mortuary ritual used in ceremonies of the "Opening of the Mouth" in some rituals, alongside the ur-heka.

Net Spells
magical formulas provided to the deceased in teh Book fo the Dead for protection on the deceased's last journey into Tuat. The Net Spells kept demons away fromt eh daed and placated He-Who-Looks-Behind-Himself, the ferry man on the Lake of Eternity.

Staircase descending into the Nile and marked with levels above low water; used for measuring, and in some cases recording, inundation levels. The most famous are on Elephantine Island and on Roda island in Cairo.

Nine Bows
term used to signify the subdued enemies of hte nation. The Nine Bows became a symbol of empire and was reproduced on stuates and even on the slippers of the kings, so that when he walked he symbolically trampled his enemies underfoot.

Title of the chief official of a nome. In the late Old Kingdom, and early Middle Kingdom nomarchs gained their office as hereditary rulers. They governed their nomes more or less independently of any central authority. During periods of highly centralized government, nomes ceased to have much political importance.

From the Greek, nomos, a administrative province of Egypt, called sepat in Egyptian. The nome system started in the Early Dynastic Period. During some periods, when there was a highly centralized government the nomes had little political importance. All were goveerned by an heri-tep a'a, a "great overlord," a hereditary title roughly equivlant to prince or count. They were responsible for military levies demanded by the kings and for taxes and tributes assessed for their regions. Each had a capital city and a cult center dedicated to the god of the territory.

land below the First Cataract called Ta-seti, Wawat and Kush in refrence to certain regions. It was of vital concern in all eras and as early as 1st dynasty the kigns were acitve there. Aha recorded as taking two villages below Gebel Es-Silsila and Jder's name appears in a mutilated battle scene at teh Wadi Halfa. Trade with Nubia was essential for ivory, gold, ebony, ostrich feathers and eggs, leporad skins, copper, amethyst, carnelian, feldspar, oils, gum resins, cattle, dogs and other exotic animals.

imporant sites located in teh western desrt. THey served as trade links to more distant regions and outposts against periodic invasions. Called wehat, meaning garden, tehy were a source of crops such as dates and grapes. The major oases were:

Siwa: incorporated in teh Late Period when it was known as Jupiter Ammon and revered as a religious site by pilgrims, especialy thosue from Libya

Bahariya: northern oasis, used by Kamose and others in military campaigns, also a wine producing region

Farafrah: called Ta-ahet in some eras, a cattle raising region

el-Dakhla,: called Tchesti, or the Inner Oasis, temple ruins and Old Kingdom settlement remains have been discovered

Kharga: called Uaht-rest, the Outer or Southern Oasis, it was used as atradion post and was the site of Hibis

From the Greek word meaning; "a spit," called tekhenu by teh Egyptians. It is a monumental tapering shaft usually made of pink granite. Capped with a pyramidion at the top. Obelisks are solar symbols similar in meaning to pyramids, they are associated with an ancient stone called Benben in Heliopolis. They were set in pairs, at the entrances of temples, and to some Old Kingdom tombs. According to the old mythology, obelisks came in paris; two were in heaven and two were on the earth in every age.

A group of eight Egyptian deities representing the primeval Chaos that existed before the creation of the sun god. They are divided into four parings of deities:

Nun and Naunet: the primordial abyss
Kek and Kauket: darkness
Heh and Hauhet: infinity
Amun and Amaunet: hidden power

They created themselves out of the mound upon which lay the egg from which the sun god emerged. Their cult centered on the town of Khemnu (Hermopolis) in Middle Egypt. They also had a sanctuary in Medinet Habu in western Thebes.

substances prized and used for various rituals and ceremonies, mummification and cosmetics.

called Nubty, The Golden, a site south of Coptos on the western shore of the Nile that was noted for its gold mines. It was inhabited from predynastic times and was dedicated to the god Seth.

"on the bricks"
a term for giving birth. Women sat on specialy designed brick daises in teh last hours of labor. Meshkent, the goddess of birth, was depicted with two bricks in her insignia.

Opening of the Mouth
This ceremony was performed at the funeral to restore the senses of the deceased. Touching an adze to the mouth of a mummy or statue of the deceased completed the ceremony, it was believed to restore the senses in preparation for the afterlife.

A great religious festival that took place in Thebes during the inundation. The god Amun was taken from his temple at Karnak and brought to visit his wife, Mut at her temple of Luxor.

famed throughout Egypt's historical period and part of all cult centers, evne in the libyan oases, especialy Siwa. Oracles were always popular with people who had an innate curiosity about the future. They were used in conjunction with lucky or unlucky days and deemed messengers of the divine.

Osiris' Bed
a unique mortuary offering disocovered in the tombs of the 18th dynasty. They were boxes fashioned otu of wood or pottery nomraly in the shape of the god. Osiris' Beds were often hollow, planted with Nile mud and corn. They were then wrapped as mummies and  placed int eh tomb. The corn was expected to sprout as a symbol of Soris' resurrection, soem boxes did contain acutal evidence of growth whent ehy were unwrapped centuries later.

Osirid Pillar
A pillar that was mostly in an open court or portico, with a colossal statue of a king forming its front part; unlike caryatids in Classical architecture, the statues are not weight-bearing elements. Most are mummy form, but not all; the connection with Osiris is doubtful.

ostraka (ostracon)
From the Greek word meaning; "potsherd". A chip or shard of limestone or pottery used as a writing tablet. Ostraka are known from all periods. but 19th and 20th-Dynasty examples are the most common. The texts can be anything from a simple shopping list to drafts of hieroglyphic inscriptions.

The Nile fish belived to have eaten the phallus of the god Osiris. Out of devotion to Osiris, in some nomes the fish wa sconsidered forbidden food.

paddle dolls
flat, painted wooden dolls deposited int eh tombs of the Middle Kingdom. These figurines, crude by the artistic standards of Egypt, had elaborate hairstyles, composed of strings of mud and faience beads, which was laced with bits of stra. It was obviously designed to mimick the elaborate wigs worn in all eras. Their inclusion among the mortuary regalia is not fully understood. Some sources indicated that hte dolls were provided as sexual companions or servants for the deceased.

naem for a narrow tomb chamber designed to honor the particuarly god of the structure. Within the pa-duat the statue of the god was dressed and adorned with scented oils.

called a mestha were vessels put to everyday and ceremonial use during all eras. Most of these vessels were made of wood or stone and wer eof varyign size. In some there were oval hollows designed to hold cosmetics, innks or paint. Writing needs were held in the center grooves of the palettes of scribes, with sliding wooden covers.

All the gods, collectively as a group.

The main Egyptian writing material, and an important export. The earliest papyrus dates to the Ist Dynasty, the latest to the Islamic Period. Oddly enough, the papyrus plant became extinct in Egypt, being reintroduced in the 1960's, it is now an important link in the tourist trade. By cutting the stem of the plant into strips, paper was made. These strips were soaked in several baths to remove some of the sugar and starches. These strips were then laid in rows horizontally and vertically. Then it was beaten together, activating the plant's natural starches and forming glue that bound the sheet together. Separate sheets were glued together to form a roll.

Peak of the WEst
site on the western shore of Thebes, on the hill of Sheikh Abdel-Gurneh, the abode of the goddess Merseger, who was called the Lady of Heaven.

Per Nefer
The name of the place where some of the purification and mummification rituals took place.

This is the sky depicted as a ceiling, which drops at the ends, the same way the real sky seems to reach for the horizon. This sign was often used in architectural motifs; the top of walls and doorframes. It symbolizes the heavens.

the "house of beauty" the term for various mummification sites. Such places were established for commoners who were not embalmed at their tombs. It also designated one of the chambers in the valley temples of the royal mortuary complexes were the corpses of the kigns were embalmbed.

pero (per-a'a)
name for the palaces or royal residences of the kings. It meant "great house" and designated not only the royal residence bu also the official governemtn buildigns in the palace complexes. Such centers were called teh "Double House" or the "House of Gold and the House of Silver." In the reign of Tuthmosis III of the 18th dynasty the term began to refer to the king himself.

Persea tree
a sacred tree celebrated and associated with the cat where it slew Apophis.

principal naval base of the New Kingdom. It was lcoated near Memphis and was a ship dock and repair complex for the fleets of the Nile and Mediterranean vessels.

name for the sky, also called hreyet. It was supported by four pillars, depcited as mountains or as women with their arms outstreched.

Pillar of His Mother
priestly caste of Horus cult of ancient Egypt, supposedly open only to royal princes. Tuthmosis III of the 18th dynasty was recorded as being a member of this priest hood when he was chosen as the heir to the thrown.

This is a king's first cartouche name, which he adopted on his accession; also called the "throne name." It consists of a statement about the god Ra.

Room in front of the naos sanctuary of a temple. The location of this room varies with the design of the temple.

This translates as "God's Servant", There was usually a ranking; the high priest of Amun at Thebes was called "The First Prophet of Amun"; below him were the Second Prophet and so on. The head of the local cults, was often called "Overseer of Prophets."

Gateway that stands in front of a pylon.

The Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, the red crown and the white crown put together to represent a unified Egypt. Although Egypt was not always a unified nation it was stronger that way. Therefore unification was desirable. Narmer (Menes), the founder of the First Dynasty around 3100 B.C., was the first man recorded wearing this crown.

a semi-mythical land, it is belived to have been located in Eastern Sudan or Ehtiopia, reached by the Egyptians through the Wadi Tumilat and the Bitter Lakes in teh eastern Delta on their way to the Red Sea.

From the Greek word meaning "gate" It is a monumental entrance wall of a temple. Pylons are the largest and least essential parts of a temple that is usually built last. Some temples have more then one set, the temple at Karnak has 10 Pylons.

Capstone of a pyramid or the top of an obelisk. The pyramidion was decorated and became a symbolic object that was the focal point of the small brick pyramids of private tombs.

Pyramid Texts
Texts on the walls of the pyramids of the end of the 5th through 8th Dynasties.

once part of Per-Ramesses.

name given to the road that led to the quarries in the northern Sinai.

with few exceptions, the consorts of the kings derived their rank and powers from tehir husbands. Those who were daughters of Pharaohs also had the power within them to make any man who married them Pharaohs becasue of their royal blood. Becuase of this "extra" princesses were sometimes not allowed to marry in fear that their consorts would attempt to take the crown and retired to the harem.
    Not all royal princesses marreid their brothers or half-brothers, but firstborn royal daughter often did. The titles of "King's Daughter," "King's Wife," or "King's Mother" were carefully applied.

ancient name for the passages built into tombs to lead the daed to the other world.

term for the companion of hte king, the "One Whom the King Knows," a title originaly given to the counselors who conducted affairs of th epalace and state. In time it became honoary.

word for name. It was considered vital to an individual's identy on earth and in the afterlife.

Rock-Cut Tomb
Method of excavating tombs that begun during the Middle Kingdom. The burials in the Valley of the Kings are perhaps the best known Rock-cut tombs.

royal names
the titles comprising 5 elements used by the kings of Egypt.

Horus name: the first usualy written in a Serekh alluding to the king as the true reprsentative of Horus on ear

Nebti name: signifying the king's rule over Upper and Lower Egypt

Golden Horus name: depciting the royal person as the "gold of the gods"

Nisu-Bit name: title prefaced by two words meaning king: the Lord of the South, Bit and the Lord of the North, Nisut. It wa sconsiderd a king's prenomen which was given to him at his coronation. It was a frequently used name.

Son of Ra name: the king's acutal birth name, denoting his inclusion in a royal line.

A pair of lions worshipped in Egyptian Letopolis. Supposedly, Tefnut and Shu were the pair/twin lions.

The Sa was a symbol of protection. Its origins are uncertain, but it is speculated that it represents either a rolled up herdsman's shelter or a papyrus life preserver used by ancient Egyptian boaters. Either way it is clearly a symbol of protection. From early times the Sa plays an important part in jewelry design. It is often used in conjunction with symbols, particularly the Ankh, was and djed signs. We often find Taurt, the hippopotamus goddess of childbirth, resting her paw on a standing Sa sign.

The personification of intelligence.

sacred lakes
a feature of some temples symbolizign the primodrial waters before the moment of creation. Whenever the king was in residence the water from teh temple's sacred lake was used to wash him each morning in a spirtual baptism.

Saff Tomb
An Arabic word that means "row", it describes the rock-cut tombs of the early 11th Dynasty that consisted of a row of openings on the hillside.

Sai (Greek Psais)
The personification of destiny.

modern Sael-Hagar in the western Delta, the chief city of the 5th nome of Lower Egypt. It was a cult center for the goddess Neith. In the 26th dynasty the capital of was in Sais

a plateau over looking the ancient capital of Memphis and was used as a necropolis site for early dynasties.

From the Greek word meaning; "flesh eater". It was the name given to the stone container within which the coffins and mummy were placed.

The dung-rolling beetle was, to the ancient Egyptians, a symbol of regeneration and spontaneous creation, as it seemed to emerge from nowhere; in fact it came from eggs previously laid in the sand. Seals and amulets in scarab form were very common and were thought to possess magic powers.


Sed Festival
This is ritual meant to show royal regeneration. It was traditionally celebrated after 30 years of a king's reign. It is a scene usually found decorating the mortuary temples of the king.

A symbol of authority.

This mythical place was originally called the "Field of the Aanru plants" It was believed to be islands in the Delta where the souls of the dead lived. This was the abode of the god Osiris, who bestowed goodness upon his followers, and here the dead could lead a new existence complete with an abundance of food of every kind. The Sekhet-Aanru is in the "Fields of Peace".

According to the Osiris cults the Fields of Peace was the desired location of the deceased. They would join with their god, Osiris and become a khu, drink, plow, reap, fight, make love, never be in a state of servitude and always be in a position of authority.

ghe goose kept in the temple of Amon at Thebes.

The ancient Egyptian term for an administrative province of Egypt a.k.a. nome.

A lotus flower. This is a symbol of the sun, of creation and rebirth. Because at night the flower closes and sinks underwater, at dawn it rises and opens again. According to one creation myth it was a giant lotus which first rose out of the watery chaos at the beginning of time. From this giant lotus the sun itself rose on the first day.

Set Amentet
"The mountain of the underworld," a common name for the cemeteries that were in the mountains or desert on the western bank of the Nile.

A pool of water. The Egyptians believed water was the primeval matter from which all creation began. Life in Egypt's desert climate depended on water, and a pool of water would be a great luxury. There are many tomb paintings that show the deceased drinking from a pool in the afterlife.

A loop of rope that has no beginning and no end, it symbolized eternity. The shen also seems to be a symbol of protection. It is often seen being clutched by deities in bird form, Horus the falcon, Mut the vulture. Hovering over Pharaohs head with their wings outstretched in a gesture of protection. The word shen comes from the word "shenu" which means, "encircle," and in its elongated form became the cartouche which surrounded the king's name.

The sistrum was a sacred noise-making instrument used in the cult of Hathor (and Bastet). The sistrum consisted of a wooden or metal frame fitted with loose strips of metal and disks that jingled when moved. This noise was thought to attract the attention of the gods. There are two types of sistrum, an iba, was shaped in a simple loop, like a closed horseshoe with loose crossbars of metal above a Hathor head and a long handle. The seseshet had the shape of a naos temple above a Hathor head, with ornamental loops on the sides. The rattle was inside the box of the naos. Women of high rank usually carried the sistrum.

A figure with the body of a lion and the head of a man, women, hawk or a ram.

A stone slab, sometimes wood, decorated with paintings, reliefs or texts. They usually commemorate an event.

Sun's Well
a pool in ancient Helipolis where the god Ra was suppsoed to bathe.

Sweet Water Canal
name for the canal dug in early times to link the Nile at Bubasis with the Wadi Tumilat, then to the Bitter Lakes and on to the Red Sea.

This Arabic word means "three handbreadths". It is used to describe the typical stone building blocks of temples of Akhenaten, they are decorated with scenes in the Amarna style. They have been found reused at a number of other building sites.

the modern San-el-Hagar, called Djananet, an enormus mound in the eastern Delta. It was once sacred to Set and was a nome capital. Its location on the shores of Lake Menzala made it an important port. At one time it was inhabited by the Hyksos.

Theban Triad
This consists of the gods Amun, his wife Mut, and their son Khons.

The exact origin of the tiet is unknown. In many respects it resembles an Ankh except that its arms curve down. Its meaning is also reminiscent of the Ankh, it is often translated to mean welfare or life. As early as the Third Dynasty we find the tiet being used as decoration when it appears with both the Ankh and the djed column, and later with the Was Scepter. The tiet is associated with Isis and is often called "the knot of Isis" or "the blood of Isis." It seems to be called "the knot of Isis" because it resembles a knot used to secure the garments that the gods wore. The meaning of "the blood of Isis" is more obscured but it was often used as a funerary amulet made of a red stone or glass. In the Late Period the sign was associated with the goddesses Nephthys, Hathor, and Nut as well as with Isis. In all these cases it seems to represent the ideas of resurrection and eternal life.

Time of the Gods
term for the predynastic period. It referred to the reigns of certain deities, especialy those who had relinquished their earthly powers to live in the sky.

tomb balls
clay objects discovered in tombs, all marked with the hieroglphy for "contract" or "seal." They are belived to have represented the contracts drawn up on behalf of the deceased and his/her family with the mortuary priests.

The land of the dead. It lies under the earth and is entered through the western horizon.

Two Companions of the HEart
divinities who figured in the creation myths of the nation.

Two Fingers
a symbol in the form of the index and medius fingers. They represented Horus' own digets, which he used to help Osiris up the ladder to heaven.

Two Ladies
name given to the goddesses Nekhebet and Wadjet, the protectors of the kings and Upper and Lower Egypt.

uatch (wadj)
naem for green stones

an amulet made out of green stones, were considered particuarly potent with magic.

This important symbol is named after the "sound eye" of Horus. According to one version of the legend Seth, the god of evil intentions, snatched away the eye of Horus which then fell to pieces. Thoth found it and put it together again. The udjat was regarded as a powerful protective amulet; it is frequently found in tombs, on coffins and on the seal, which was placed over the incision in the mummy through which the internal organs were removed.

Umm el-Ga'ab (Umm el-Qa'ab)
necropolis region of the city of Abydos, called the "Motehr of Pots" by the locals.

Underworld Books
A textual and pictorial compositions that is found in New Kingdom tombs. It follows the daily passage of the sun god across the sky and through the underworld.

A symbol of kingship worn on crowns and regla headdresses and placed on statues of kings. A rearing cobra was worn on the king's forehead or crown. The cobra was associated with the "eye" of the sun. It was a protector of the king, spitting out fire.

Literally translated it means "to answer." It is a small mummy form figure placed in tombs to do work in the afterlife on behalf of the deceased. In some tombs of the late New Kingdom whole gangs of ushabti workers were included with different tools for doing different work. A complete collection would consist of 401 ushabti: one for each day of the year, 365 plus 36 foreman.

Valley of the Kings (Biban el-Muluk)
the desert necropolis on the west bank of the Nile oposite Thebes. The 18th dynasty began to build elaborate mortuary complexes of great splendor at Thebes. Amenhotep I is credited with having devised the plan of seperating royal tombs from mortuary temples, but he was buried, probably, at Dra'Abu-el-Naga. Tuthmosis I, his successor, was the first kign to have a tomb in the Valley.

Valley of the Queens (Biban el-Harim or Biban el-Sultanat)
the desert necropolis on the west bank of the Nile oposite Thebes that served as a burial location for royal women of the 18th-20th dynasties. Other royal family emmbers were also buried here.

dalled djat or tjat, the prime minister of the nation in all eras. They heard all domestic territorial disputes, maintainted a cattle and herd census, controlled the reservoirs and the food supply, supervised industries and conservation programs and were required to repair all dikes as well as a bi-annual census of hte population.

the "House of Purification," wehre the bodies of the deceased were taken for the first stages of the embalming rituals.

Arabic term for a gulley or dry river bed

Was Scepter
This is a symbol of power and dominion. The Was Scepter is carried by deities as a sign of their power. It is also seen being carried by kings and later by people of lesser stature in mortuary scenes.

Waters of Ra
a branch of the Nile that stemmed from teh river at Heliopolis and flowed northeast to enrich the agricultural area termed Goshen in teh bible. In the 19th dynasty it was refered to as teh Waters of Avaris.

Way of Horus
a road of strategic importance, linking the eastern border town of modern el-Qantara to Gaza in southern Palestine. It was kept under guard by the military to protect the caravans, it ran directly across the Isthmus of Suez.

Window of Appearence
a station incorporated into the design of the New Kingdome palaces, possibly earlier, where the king could show himself to hte people and dispense honors to worthy recipients, the most famous was at Amarna.

Winged Disk
This is a form that the god Horus Behudety (Horus of Edfu) takes in his battles with Set. The god Thoth used his magic to turn Horus into a sun disk with splendid outstretched wings. The goddesses Nekhbet and Uazet in the form of uraeus snakes joined him at his side. The earliest example of this image is found in the 1st Dynasty. It is used widely in architecture, on ceilings, cornices and stelae. It is an image that is often copied outside Egypt.

"writing from teh god himself"
a term for any document from early eras of the nation.

modern Saka, located in the central Delta. During the sEcound Intermediate Period the nobles from this reigion began the Xoite Dynasty (14th dynasty) which ruled contemporarneously with the Hyksos and with the Teban dynasty in teh south. Manetho listed 76 Xoite kings and 72 names were confirmed by teh Turin Payrus.

a region of Nubia visited by Egyptians in te e6th dynasty.

site of Malkata on the western shore of hte Nile opposite Thebes where Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty built his vast complex of pleasure palaces.

The Babylonian and Greek signs of the zodiac were introduced into Egypt in the Greco-Roman Period. They were adapted into Egyptian imagery and used to decorate ceilings of tombs and temples, and coffin lids.

Much thanks to the Glossary of Egyptian Mythology ©1997 Deurer and The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt © 1991 M. Bunson,  where I got some of my gods, goddess and definitions

Egyptian Goddess

Egyptian Gods from A to H

Egyptian Gods from I to Z

Defintions from A to H

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