Five Egyptian Goddesses: Their Possible Beginnings, Actions, and Relationships in the Third Millennium BCE

This volume explores the earliest appearances and functions of the five major Egyptian goddesses Neith, Hathor, Nut, Isis and Nephthys. Their importance endured throughout the three millennia of Egyptian history but their origins and earliest roles in religion and myth have never before been studied together in detail.

Showcasing the latest research, carefully chosen illustrations and a full bibliography on the five goddesses, Susan Tower Hollis demonstrates that their origins derived primarily from their functions. She focuses on the Old Kingdom dynasties of the third millennium BC, during which the goddesses first appear in text and art, from Neith in the first dynasty through to Isis in the fifth. The roles of the goddess Bat are also explored in her specific connection to Hathor, with whom she was later assimilated. Hollis is particularly interested in the evidence that these goddesses had very close ties with royalty and, at least in the case of Neith and Hathor, special connections to early queens. Vital reading for all scholars of Egyptian religion, mythology and early dynastic history, this volume brings to light the earliest origins of these goddesses who would go on to play major parts in later narratives, myths and mortuary cult.
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