mythology, Maahes (also spelt
Mihos, Miysis, and Mahes) was a lion-god.
The first mentions of Maahes occur
in the New Kingdom, and many think
he was a god of foreign origin; indeed
there is some evidence that he may
have been copied from the lion-god
Apedemak worshipped in Nubia. His
name was the start of the Hieroglyphs
for lion, although in isolation it
also means (one who can) see in front.
However, the first glyph is also part
of the glyph for Maàt,
meaning truth/order and so it came
to be that Maahes was considered to
be the devourer of the guilty and
protector of the innocent. Maahes
was rarely referred to by name and
was instead referred to as "The
Lord of the Massacre."
The lion hieroglyphic was used in words such as prince, strength,
and power, since the lion was considered to have such attributes,
and so lion-gods and goddesses were associated with the pharoahs,
and became patrons of Egypt. As a lion-god and patron, he
was considered the son of Bast, the
lion-goddess and patron of Lower Egypt, or of Sekhmet,
the lion-goddess and patron of Upper Egypt. As his cult was
centred in Leontopolis and Per-Bast, he was more usually the
son of Bast. As patron of Egypt, his
father was said to be the chief god - either Ptah,
or Ra (at this time Atum
had already merged into Ra as Atum-Ra).
When considered the son of Ra, it was
said that he fought Apep during Ra's
daily night voyage.
|He was pictured as a man with the
head of a lion, occasionally wearing
the double crown of Egypt, holding
a knife. Sometimes Maahes was shown
with a bouquet of lotuses near him,
but he was also depicted as a lion
devouring a captive. Some of Maahess
titles were Lord of Slaughter, Wielder
of the Knife, and The Scarlet Lord.
Tame lions were kept in a temple dedicated
to Maahes (thus the name of the city
Leontopolis), and an ancient Greek
historian, named Aelian, said: In
Egypt, they worship lions, and there
is a city called after them [leontopolis]...
the lions have temples and numerous
spaces in which to roam; the flesh
of oxen is supplied to them daily
... and the lions eat to the accompaniment
of song in the Egyptian language.
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