Ash was the ancient Berber god of oases, and thus
was viewed as a benign deity. Flinders-Petrie
in his 1922(?) expedition to the Sahara found
several references to Ash in wine jar seals: I
am refreshed by this Ash was a common inscription.
In particular, he was identified by the Ancient
Egyptians as the god of the Libhu and Tinhu
tribes, known as the people of the oasis. Consequently
Ash was known as the lord of Libya, as the area,
occupied by the Libhu and Tinhu tribes, corresponds
roughly with the area of modern Libya. It is
also possible that he was worshipped in Ombos,
as their original chief deity.
Mythology, as the oases, Ash was
identified as lover of Set,
who was originally god of the desert, and was
seen as protector of the Sahara, the Ancient
Egyptians having no significant taboos concerning
sexuality. The first known recorded mention
of Ash dates to the Protodynastic Period, but
by the late 2nd Dynasty, his importance grew,
and he was seen as protector of the royal estates,
since his lover, Set, in Lower Egypt, was regarded
as the patron deity of royalty itself. Ash's
importance was such that he was mentioned even
until the 26th Dynasty.
Ash was usually depicted as a human, whose head was one of
the desert creatures, variously being shown
as a lion, vulture, hawk, or snake. Indeed,
depictions of Ash are the earliest known depictions,
in ancient Egyptian art, to show a deity as
a human with the head of an animal. On occasion,
Ash's relationship with Set lead to him being
depicted similarly, as the currently unidentified
Some depictions of Ash show him as having multiple
heads, unlike other Egyptian deities, although
some compound depictions were occasionally shown
connecting gods to Min.
In an article in the journal Ancient Egypt (in
1923), and again in a appendix to her book, The
Splendor that was Egypt, Margret Murray expands
on such depictions, and draws a parallel to a
Scythian deity, who is referenced in Sebastian
Meunster's Cosmographia Universalis.
and Goddesses Menu
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