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Neper (mythology)

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In Egyptian mythology, Neper (alts. Nepra or Nepri) was an androgynous deification (the feminine form of his name is Nepit) of grain, a valuable commodity in ancient Egypt, which faced starvation without it.[1]

In myth

Pictured in human form, Nepri is often depicted as a child suckled by Renenutet[2]. Nepri's body was dotted to represent grains of corn. The hieroglyphs that write his name similarly include the symbols of grain. Naturally, as lord of the mouth, Neper's mother was identified as Renenutet, who gave out the Ren, a person's true name, and who was also identified as source of nourishment. In particular, Neper was especially associated with the most used types of grain, namely barley and emmer wheat. His name simply means lord of the mouth, a reference to the function of grain as sustenance. Once the myth of Osiris and Isis had begun to be told, since Osiris was now a life-death-rebirth deity, in common with many cultures, his story was associated with the annual harvest, and the annual disappearance of any visible life in the crop. Thus, at this point, Neper became considered merely an aspect of Osiris, a much more significant god, gaining the title (one who) lives after dying.

References

  1. Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology p.171., Oxford University Press, USA (April 8, 2004) ISBN:0195170245.
  2. "Conceptions of God In Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many", Erik Hornung (translated by John Baines), p. 276, Cornell University Press, 1996, ISBN 10-8014-8384-0
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