Who is Hathor in ancient Egypt?
Hathor is a famous ancient goddess, highly loved and worshipped throughout Egypt, starting from the 3rd millennium BCE. She was the goddess of motherhood, love, joy, fertility, dance, and beauty. She was also in charge of welcoming the dead spirits to the afterlife, providing them with food and drinks, and thus her name “Goddess of the Western Mountain.” According to an ancient myth, Hathor was a sky goddess, along with Nut. That’s why she was connected to the sky, movement of planets, birth, and rebirth after death. Hathor was married to Horus-Behdety and had a son called “Ihy,” who was the god of dancing and music. If you’re interested in the history of ancient Egypt and the story of Horus and Hathor in particular, why don’t you attend the Edfu Sound and Light Show and hear the story yourself?
What is Hathor meaning?
Hathor means “estate of Horus” or “the House of Horus,” being identified as the wife of god Horus and mother of the Pharaohs. She was one of the popular deities that had different characters, most importantly being the queen of Egypt. It is also believed that she was the daughter of the sun god Re of Heliopolis.
What did Hathor look like?
In many cases, Hathor was depicted as a cow in Egyptian art. She also appeared as a woman wearing horns or cow ears. A sun disk always appeared between her horns when in her human form.
Hathor in Egyptian Methodology
Being one of the important deities in ancient Egypt, many myths have been surrounding Hathor and still are until today. One legend has stated that god Ra has unleashed Sekhmet to destroy humanity as a punishment for their wickedness. Sekhmet has already destroyed most of humanity until she drank red beer, thinking it was human blood. She passes out and woke up as Hathor, completely the opposite of her former self. That’s why Hathor is considered the goddess of joy and drunkenness. Another legend has stated that Horus got furious with his mother, Isis during his conflict with his uncle, Set, and cut her head during her sleep. When she woke up, she put on the first head she found which was a cow’s head. That story originated during the new Kingdom, where people worshipped Isis and Hathor as one goddess.
10 interesting facts about Hathor:
- Hathor had other names such as the mistress of life, the mistress of heaven, mistress of the offering, and lady of stars.
- Hathor was the goddess of movement, music, love, emotion, and wine.
- Hathor was highly connected to turquoise gems, gold, and copper, and that’s why she was called Mistress of Turquoise. Being the patron saint of miners, various mines in the Sinai Peninsula were named after her.
- Aside from her shape as a cow, she took the form of a cat, lion, and goose as well.
- She was named the “Woman of delights” due to her funny and festive character.
- Hathor used to help women and mothers, having enigmatic energy and that’s why she was called “Mother of mothers.”
- The ancient Greeks have always equated Hathor with the ancient goddess, Aphrodite.
- There is a temple dedicated to Hathor in the Sinai desert, along with the turquoise mining camps.
- Hathor was associated with music and instruments, especially the Sistrum.
- Due to her spectacular beauty, Hathor was considered the patron of cosmetics art.
Temple of Hathor, Egypt
Just 28 miles from Luxor, you will find the best-preserved temple complex in Egypt, Dandarah Complex. Dandarah complex offers a jaw-dropping mix of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architecture that will leave you stunned. As soon as you arrive, you will be greeted by a masterpiece of three glamorous temples, the Birthing Temple, the Temple of Isis, and the Temple of Hathor. Tour the massive area and explore the Roman Buildings, Coptic Basilica, and decorated shrines. The Temple of Hathor is the most spectacular among all the complex highlights. Go back in time as you discover the chapel rooms, sanctuary, and enigmatic crypts. Take a look at the marvelous decorations and significant inscriptions and don’t miss the famous relief of Cleopatra VII and her son, Caesarion. Also, we can’t skip the small temple dedicated to Nefertari and goddess Hathor on the Southern side of Abu Simbel.