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Anuket

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Anuket
Goddess of the river
Name in hieroglyphs
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n
q
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Major cult center Elephantine
Symbol the river reeds,
Parents Khnum and Satis
Siblings presumably Heka

In Egyptian mythology, Anuket (also spelt Anqet, and in Greek, Anukis) was originally the personification and goddess of the Nile river, in areas such as Elephantine, at the start of the Nile's journey through Egypt, and in nearby regions of Nubia. Her temple was erected on the Island of Seheil. Since the flooding of the Nile is what nourishes the fields, she gained her name, which means embracer, in the sense of the Nile embracing the fields. Her titles were similarly appropriate to this, including giver of life, nourisher of the fields, and she who shoots forth (in reference to the flooding). The fertility provided by the flooding of the Nile is thought to be the foundation of the long stability of the Ancient Egyptian culture.

Her mother was considered the goddess Satis, a southern war and fertility deity who was the personification of the flooding of the Nile. Satis and the god Khnum, the guardian of the source of the river, became thought of as the complementary deities of the source of the Nile in the Elephantine region, so Anuket, as the river herself, became viewed as their daughter in a triad for that region.

Being the deification of the Nile herself also lead to the two tributaries of the Nile being considered the arms of Anuket. Using symbols originating with her mother, she became associated with the fast moving things to represent the river's flow, such as arrows and the gazelle, an antelope with a large presence at the banks of the Nile in this region. Thus in art, Anuket often was depicted as a gazelle, or with a gazelle's head, sometimes having a headdress of feathers (thought by most Egyptologists to be a detail deriving from Nubia).

Ceremonially, when the Nile started its annual flood, the Festival of Anuket began. People threw coins, gold, jewelry, and precious gifts into the river, in thanks for the life-giving water and returning benefits derived from the wealth provided by her fertility to the goddess. The taboo held in several parts of Egypt, against eating certain fish which were considered sacred, was lifted during this time, suggesting that a fish species of the Nile was a totem for Anuket and that they were consumed as part of the ritual of her major religious festival.

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Anuket. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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