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Divine CreaturesAnimal Mummies in Ancient Egypt$
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Salima Ikram

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9789774248580

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774248580.001.0001

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The Cats of the Goddess Bastet

The Cats of the Goddess Bastet

(p.106) 5 The Cats of the Goddess Bastet
Divine Creatures

Alain Zivie

Roger Lichtenberg

American University in Cairo Press

Amongst all the ‘sacred animals’ that were mummified and buried in vast quantities by the ancient Egyptians during the last centuries of their long history, cats held a special place and were accorded a special respect. However, uninformed people misunderstand the true state of affairs in ancient Egypt with regard to animal worship. They believe that in ancient Egypt all cats were worshiped, mummified, and interred, as were dogs, both the favored animals of the Egyptians par excellence. Moreover, cats were put into a separate category from dogs as they were regarded as “special” and mysterious animals, almost divine, beloved and feared at the same time. But this attitude is a projection of a modern point of view that has its roots in the Middle Ages, and one that is above all occidental and anachronistic.

Keywords:   sacred animals, ancient Egyptians, animal worship, mysterious animals, Middle Ages

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