Ancient Egyptian Gods B thru H
- Prominent god of the sky and storms whose cult spread from Ugarit in Syria into Egypt, where he possessed a priesthood by Dynasty XVIII.
- Banebdjed or feminine Banebdjedet
As Osiris was the ancient Egyptian lord of the dead, his "Ba" was worshipped in its own right in Ancient Egypt (especially in the city of Djedet in the Delta) and name Banebdjed (sometimes the feminine form Banebdjedet was also used as he absorbed the position of his sometime consort Hatmehyt).
A fertility god, the "Ba of the Lord of Mendes" was originally a ram with horns shaped like cork-screws, later he was often thought of as a billy-goat. He was the ba of Re, Shu, Geb and Osiris. He replaced the fish goddess Hatmehit as the main deity of Mendes. Later she became his consort and together they were parents to Harpocrates of Mendes.
In the mythology Banebdjedet was a god of some consequence, although playing a minor role over all. He was one of the umpires in the Contending of Horus and Seth, having to decide who should inherit Osiris as ruler of the earth, and called the great living god.
- (also spelled Ubasti, Baset, and later Bastet)
- Bast is an ancient solar and war goddess in Egyptian mythology, worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. In the late dynasties, the priests of Amun began to call her Bastet, a repetitive and diminutive form after her role in the pantheon became diminished as Sekhmet, a similar lioness war deity, became more dominant in the unified culture of Lower and Upper Egypt. In the Middle Kingdom, the cat appeared as Bastet's sacred animal and after the New Kingdom she was depicted with a woman with a cat's head carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket.
- Bastet was a protective goddess usually seen as a gentle protective goddess. However, she sometimes appeared with the head of a lioness to protect the king in battle. The cat was a symbol of Bastet. The ancient Egyptians made many statues of cats to honor Bastet. Bastet was one of the daughters of the sun god, Ra. A great temple was built in her honor at Bubastis in the Delta.
Cow goddess of Upper Egypt.
Bat is rarely depicted in ancient Egyptian art however, as a jewelry-amulet
she is more common. Her head is human but bovine ears and horns grow from
There is the possibility that Bat has a presence that maintains the unity of Egypt, both north with south and Nile Valley with deserts. The earliest written evidence for the goddess, the Pyramid Texts, seems to support the view that Bat represented the unification of north and south Egypt into one state about 3000 BC. However, her similarity to Hathor, the cow-goddess worshipped in the neighboring southern district, was so close that Bat's personal identity was not strong enough to survive being totally assimilated to her by the New Kingdom.
Primeval bird sacred to the sun-god at Heliopolis.
Like the sun god, the Benu's own birth is attributed to self generation. A mythological papyri of the 21st Dynasty provides a vignette of a heart-amulet and scarab beetle near to which stand the Benu, which is described as "the one who came into being by himself". This possibly led to the concept of its long life, later identifying it with the Greek phoenix which also renewed itself from a fiery death like the sun rising at dawn. It may have been the prototype for the phoenix, and there may well be an etymological connection between the two birds' names, though certainly there are distinct differences between myths surrounding them.
The name Benu appears to be connected with the verb "weben" meaning to "rise in brilliance" or "shine". The bird itself in the Pyramid Age is the yellow wagtail, but later becomes represented as a heron with two long feathers growing from the back of its head.
The earliest mention of the Benu is the Pyramid Texts where it is described as one of the forms of the Heliopolitan sun-god Atum. In the Middle Kingdom where the Benu of Re is said to be the means by which Atum came into being in the primeval water, seems to maintain this link with the creator sun-god. The Benu is also found as a symbol of anticipated rebirth
- Bes occurs in amuletic form in his own right as early as the Eighteenth Dynasty, although his image is found far earlier, notably on ivory magic wands of Middle Kingdom date where he brandishes snakes in the company of other protective beings. He is instantly recognizable, for, almost alone in Egyptian art, he is depicted full-faced and a complete lion's mane surrounds very leonine features; significantly he has a lion's tail. Always naked, dwarf-like with bandy legs, and wearing tall plumes, Bes usually rests his hands on his hips. In Greco-Roman Period examples, however, he sometimes carries a round shield and brandishes a sword as tangible evidence of his protective qualities, for Bes was a genie who warded off evil influences at childbirth. He was a deity for whom there were no temples, but the numbers in which his images occur indicate his great popularity throughout the later Dynastic Period.
- Buchis (also spelt Bakh and Bakha)
The manifestation of the deification of Ka (power/life-force) of the war god Menthu, worshipped in the region of Hermonthis. The name is simply Ba-Kha, which is a reference to the Ba and Akh (Akh is sometimes referred to as Khu), the components into which the Ka was split, after death (a characteristic of war). As Ka is also the Egyptian word for cattle, Bakha was said to manifest in a living bull, which, since Bakha was an aspect of a war-god, was said to be a wild bull, since these are aggressive when slightly provoked.
A wild bull was worshipped as and said to be the Bukhis incarnation of Menthu. Over time, the criteria for choosing the bull became more rigid, being of white body and black face.
When these bulls, or their mothers, died, they were mummified, and placed in a special cemetery known as the Bucheum. The mothers of these bulls were considered aspects of Hathor, the mother of these deities.
- Bull Cults
Bull cults were popular from at least the First Dynasty (Early Dynastic Period. The pharaoh, who sometimes took the epithet "strong bull of his mother" which represented the powerful and
virile bull. As early as 3100 BC the king is depicted in the form of a bull.A sacred bull was identified by specific sacred markings. Once the bull had been confirmed as the incarnation of
a god, it was housed in plush quarters, given only the best food, and provided with a harem of the best cows. The lucky animal would live in the lap of luxury until its death when it would
be mummified and buried with full honours.
Apis Bull Mnevis Bull
In Ancient Egypt Horus was known as "Heru" (sometimes Hor or Har), which is translated as "the distant one" or "the one on high"(from the preposition "hr" meaning "upon" or "above"). He was represented as a celestial falcon, and his name could be a specific reference to the flight of the falcon, but could also be seen as a more general solar reference. It is thought that the worship of Horus was brought into Egypt during the predynastic period.
Horus was known as the protector and patron of the pharaoh. Associated with Upper Egypt (as Heru-ur in Nekhen) and Lower Egypt (as Horus Behedet or Horus of Edfu) Horus was the perfect choice for a unified country and it seems that he was considered to be the royal god even before unification took place. The Pharaoh was often considered to be the embodiment of Horus while alive (and Osiris once he was deceased). The Turin Canon, describes the Predynastic rulers of Egypt as "the Followers of Horus", and the majority of Pharaohs had an image of Horus at the top of their serekh (a stylised palace facade in which one of the king´s names was written).
Horus and Set were always placed in opposition to each other. However, the exact nature of their relationship changed somewhat over time. Set was the embodiment of disorder and chaos while Horus was the embodiment of order.
The "Eye of Horus" was a powerful protective amulet. When it was broken into pieces (in reference to the time Set ripped out Horus' eye), the pieces were used to represent the six senses (including thought).