What Animals Did Ancient Egypt Mummify

Carnivores

Ancient Egypt mummified several different kinds of animals, both wild and domesticated. This included the traditional mummified cats, which are still popular today and which included both exotic wild cats as well as domesticated cats. It is possible that the domesticated cats were mummified due to their strong association with Bastet, the goddess of cats. In addition to cats, the Ancient Egyptians also mummified many carnivorous animals such as crocodiles, wolves, snakes, and jackals. Though we now believe that the mummification of these animals was primarily done for religious purposes, some scholars suggest that they could have also been used as food for the afterlife.

Herbivores

In addition to carnivores, the Ancient Egyptians also mummified many herbivores. These included animals such as cows, bulls, and sheep, which were important to the Ancient Egyptians in terms of their use for agricultural and transportation purposes. It is likely that the Egyptians mummified these animals as offerings to certain gods and goddesses, such as Hathor, the goddess of motherhood and fertility. Additionally, mummified ibises, which were sacred to Thoth, the god of writing and wisdom, were commonly found in Ancient Egypt.

Birds

The Ancient Egyptians also mummified a variety of birds, which they believed had distinct spiritual properties. These birds included hawks, vultures, doves, eagles, and owls. Some of these birds were also associated with certain gods and goddesses, like Ra, the sun god, who was often depicted with a hawk-headed companion. The mummification of birds was believed to be a way to ensure that the birds could make the journey into the afterlife with the souls of the deceased.

Creatures of the Nile

The Nile, being the main source of life in ancient Egypt, was home to many creatures which the Egyptians believed had magical and spiritual powers. These included hippos, turtles, and fish, which were all mummified. Fish in particular were believed to bring fertility to the afterlife, while turtles were thought to protect the deceased from evil. Hippos, meanwhile, were believed to possess healing powers, and were often given as offerings to Gods and Pharaohs.

Luxury Animals

In addition to the aforementioned animals, Ancient Egypt also mummified animals that were considered to be luxury items. These included monkeys, baboons, and even cheetahs, which were mummified in large numbers due to their rarity and exoticism. Such animals were believed to ward off evil and misfortune, and were symbols of wealth and status. It is also possible that they were mummified in order to be used as hunting companions in the afterlife, as the Ancient Egyptians often believed in a continuous cycle of life and death.

Cats and Dogs

Cats and dogs were among the most popular animals to be mummified in Ancient Egypt. Both cats and dogs were associated with certain deities, such as Bastet, the goddess of cats, and Anubis, the god of mummification. Even today, cats and dogs are mummified by some Egyptians in order to keep their beloved pet’s spirit alive in the after-life.

Conclusion

Overall, the Ancient Egyptians had a deep reverence for animals, and mummified many of them for religious and spiritual purposes. Cats, dogs, birds, and even crocodiles and wolves were mummified in order to bring the deceased comfort and protection in the afterlife. Animals were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt, and mummifying them was a way to ensure that they could still be part of the afterlife for generations to come.

Clarence Norwood

Clarence E. Norwood is an author and scholar specializing in the history and archaeology of ancient peoples. He has written extensively on the civilizations of the Near East, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. He has authored numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics, including the evolution of the alphabet, the rise of the ancient nations, and the impact of ancient cultures and religions on modern society. He has also conducted archaeological field research in North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

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