In Ancient Egypt the name Mehen meaning 'coiled one' refers to a mythological snake-god and to a game[1].

Snake god

The earliest references to Mehen occur in the Coffin Texts[2]. Mehen is a protective deity who is depicted as a snake which coils around the sun god Ra during his journey through the night, for instance in the Amduat[3].

In the German-Egyptian dictionary by R. Hannig[4] it is said that the Mehen (mḥn) or the Mehenet (mḥnt) snake is equivalent to the Ouroboros. Unlike its Greek counterpart the Mehen snake does not bite in its own tail.

Relationship between snake-god and Mehen game

The precise relationship between the deity and the Mehen game is unknown. For instance it is not known whether the game derives from the mythological character, or the character derives from the game.

It is known that the object known as mehen depicts a game rather than a religious fetish as studies of paintings in tombs and game boards and equipment demonstrate this. The rules and method of playing the game are unknown, although rules have been created in modern times based on assessments of how it may have been played.


  1. [ Discussion of the game by University College London
  2. The Comlpete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by R. Wilkinson ISBN 0-500-05120-8
  3. The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung ISBN 0-8014-8515-0
  4. Hannig, R. 1995. Die Sprache der Pharaonen: Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch

External links

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

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