mythology, Bata (also spelt Bat) was
originally a deification of the Milky Way,
which, since it was in early times considered
a pool of cow's milk, made Bata be considered
a cow goddess. She was originally worshipped
in Seshesh, the 7th nome of Upper Egypt,
where she, as a representation of the cosmos,
was thought of as the essence of the soul.
Hence her name, which is the feminine form
of the word ba, the spiritual element that
egyptians considered to constitute one of
the major parts of the soul.
Bata became strongly associated with the ankh,
a symbol was associated with ba, as it represented life. Consequently,
she also became associated strongly with the sistrum, a musical
instrument whose shape is very similar to that of the ankh.
Bata was rarely depicted in painting or sculpture, but in
rare instances was pictured as a celestial bovine (cow-like)
creature surrounded by stars. More commonly, Bata was depicted
on amulets, with a human face, but with bovine features, such
as the ears of a cow, and curled horns.
||Although Bata's titles include clearly
bovine references such as She Who Lows,
and Great Wild Cow, she also had the title
Ba of two faces, and sometimes depicted
as such. It is unclear as to why she was
said to have two faces, and there has been
much debate around the question. There is
evidence that suggests that the faces symbolise
Bata's power, as the divine ba, to see past
and future, but it is also possible that
Bata's faces represented two more earthly
sides, either the two sides of Nile riverbanks,
or the two constituents of a united Egypt,
both the Upper and Lower.
The imagery of Bata as a divine cow was remarkably
similar to that of Hathor,
although they diverged over time, with Hathor
gaining quite distinct differences. Hathor's
cult centre happened to be in the 6th Nome of
Upper Egypt, which lay next to the 7th, which
may indicate that they were once the same goddess,
whose two different titles lead to divergence
of the goddess under each.
Nethertheless, ultimately, as a more
dominant and centralised religion grew
up, Bata's shared characteristics with
in many cases were so strong that there
has been considerable confusion amongst
egyptologists as a result, lead to them
finally, during the Middle Kingdom, being
identified as the same goddess, and Bata
became an aspect of Hathor.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead says: I
am Praise; I am Majesty; I am Bata with
Her Two Faces; I am the One Who Is Saved,
and I have saved myself from all things
and Goddesses Menu
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