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Mut
 
In Egyptian mythology, Mut (mother) was originally a title of the primordial waters of the cosmos, Naunet, in the Ogdoad cosmogeny. However, the distinction between motherhood, and cosmic water, lead to the seperation of these identities, and Mut gained aspects of a creator goddess, since she was the mother from which the cosmos emerged. In the Middle Kingdom, when Thebes grew in importance, its patron, Amun also became more significant, and so his wife Amaunet, who was simply a female version of Amun, was replaced with a more substantial mother-goddess, namely Mut.     

The hieroglyph for her name, and indeed for mother was that of a vulture, which the Egyptians believed were very maternal creatures. Indeed, since Egyptian vultures have no significant differing markings between female and male of the species, the Egyptians believed there were no males, and so they did not reproduce but were conceived by the wind itself. Consequently, it was held that Mut had no parents, but was created from nothing, and that she could not have children, and so adopted one instead.

Originally, it was said that Mut had adopted Menthu, god of war, making up a complete triad of gods for the pantheon of Thebes. This choice of completion for the triad should have proved popular, but, because the sacred lake outside Mut's temple, at Thebes, was the shape of a crescent moon, Menthu was eventually replaced as Mut's adopted son, by Chons, the moon god.

     Lower and upper Egypt both already had a patron deity – Wadjet and Nekhbet respectively, indeed they also had lioness protector deities – Bast and Sekhmet respectively, and consequently, as Thebes rose to even greater prominence, so these goddesses were absorbed by Mut in turn. First, Mut became Mut-Wadjet-Bast, then Mut-Sekhmet-Bast (Wadjet having merged into Bast), then Mut also assimilated Menhit, who was also a lioness goddess, and her adopted son's wife, becoming Mut-Sekhmet-Bast-Menhit, and finally becoming Mut-Nekhbet.

The authority of Thebes later waned, and Amun was assimilated into Ra, Mut, the doting virgin mother, was assimilated into Ra's wife, Hathor, the lusty cow-goddess and mother of Horus. Subsequently, when Ra assimilated Atum, the Ennead was absorbed as well, and so Mut-Hathor became identified as Isis (either as Isis-Hathor or Mut-Isis-Nekhbet), the most important of the females in the Ennead, and the patron of the queen. The Ennead proved to be a much more successful identity, and so it was that the compound of Mut, Hathor, and Isis, became known as Isis alone.

In Art, Mut was pictured as a woman with the wings of a vulture, holding an ankh, wearing the united crown of Upper and Lower Egypt and also a dress of bright red/blue, with the feather of Maat at her feet. Alternatively, as a result of her assimilations, she is sometimes depicted as a cobra, a cat, a cow, or as a lioness. Some of Mut's titles included World-Mother, Eye of Ra, Queen of the Goddesses, Lady of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, and She Who Gives Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any.     

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This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.

 

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