It is time wander off from Akhenaten, El Amarna and the whole Amarna period for a bit.
Reason for this is the recent unearthing of a temple presumably belonging to Bastet, the ancient Egyptian Cat Goddess. This was announced on Tuesday January the 19th by the Supreme Council of Antiquities
Egyptian archeologists discovered the ruins of this Ptolemaic-era temple in the city of Alexandria, which was founded by Alexander the Great during the 4th century BC.
Alexandria was the seat of the Greek speaking Ptolemaic Dynasty that ruled over Egypt for 300 years and came to a closure after the suicide of Queen Cleopatra.
But who was Bastet? It seems it is time for a closer look at this Goddess…..
Since 5000 to 6000 years ago domestic cats were highly appreciated for their mouse catching abilities. Cats were regarded godlike in these days and killing a cat was a crime punishable by death. It was common that when a domestic cat died the whole family grieved over its death and often the body of the cat would be mummified to show respect. There was a believe in a cats-afterlife, mummified rats and mice found in cat-tombs are thought to be prove of this.
Bastet was worshipped since the second dynasty and through that time had many names: Bast, Ubasti, Bastis and Bubastis (By the Greeks) being a few of them. Although Bastet was honored since the early days of Egyptian history it was not until much later she was acknowledged as a sister to Horus and a daughter of Isis and Osiris.
In the beginning Bastet was considered the protectress of The Royal House and The Two Lands wearing g the title of “The Tearer”. Later, during The New Kingdom (1570 – 1070BC), covering the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties of Egypt, she started to associated with Sekhmet, the warrior goddess who was depicted as a lioness and considered the mightiest of the two.
Temples where Bastet was honored are found different places like Bubastis, also known as Tell Basta or Egyptian Per-Bast, located in Lower Egypt. Although there were more places like Memphis-Sakkara and Dendera where Bastet was honored, Bubastis is considered the center of worshipping the Cat Goddess. Now with the unearthing of yet another temple in honor of Bastet at Alexandria it is not only prove that there are temples in many places dedicated to the Cat Goddess but also that she was worshiped throughout the mayor part of the Dynastic Egyptian History