The ancient Egyptians deified many animals that inhabited their world and connected them with the pantheon of their gods, but none of them enjoyed such respect as a cat.
They were honored as the earthly incarnation of the goddess Bast, respect for them came to the point that dead animals were buried as people - mummified and building special tombs for them.
The role of cats in the life of ancient Egyptians
Ancient Egypt was an agrarian civilization, thereforeThe cat that destroyed the mice and rats that encroached on their stocks, and also posed a threat to the life of snakes, was of such value that over time it was elevated to the rank of a sacred animal. Only the pharaoh could consider cats his property, so they were all under his protection and the murder of either of them was punishable by death. At the same time for the Egyptian legislation there was no difference in what caused the death of a cat - an accident or deliberate actions.
According to Herodotus, during the fire the EgyptiansThey had to stand around the burning building to prevent the cat from leaping into the fire. It was believed that the animal could have rushed into the house to check if the kittens were there.
Every Egyptian tried to lure into his houseFluffy animal, it was believed that the cat who lives in the house, keeps it peace and quiet. Those who could not enlist the protection of the deified animal, ordered his figurines of wood, bronze or gold. The poorest hung in the house papyri with a picture of graceful animals.
When the cat died, all household members in a signDeep mourning had to shave eyebrows. The animal was mummified according to all the rules, wrapped in fine linen fine linen and processed the mummy with valuable oils. Cats were buried in special vessels or decorated with gold and precious stones, sarcophagi, all the things that should have brightened up their afterlife - jugs with milk, dried fish, mice and rats.
Cats and Egyptian gods
The goddess Bast or Bastet is the daughter of the sun god Ra,The wife of the god Ptah and the mother of the lion-headed god Maahes was portrayed as a woman with a cat's head. She was the patroness of women, children and all domestic animals. Also, Bast was considered a goddess, defending against infectious diseases and evil spirits. It was her Egyptians who were revered as a goddess of fertility. Often, Bast was depicted with a rattle, this was due to the fact that cats that gave birth often and often, as well as caring for the offspring - were the symbols of motherhood.
Women who asked for goddess Bast children, wore amulets with the image of kittens. The number of kittens for decoration was the same as how many children they want to have.
Also, ancient Egyptian cats were considered "eyesThe god Ra ". This high rank was apparently given to them in connection with the peculiarity of the cat's pupils - in the light they narrow, becoming like a month, and expand in the dark, becoming as round as the sun. This is what the Egyptians imagined the two eyes of Ra - one solar, the other lunar.