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The God Thuth

Despite of his indispensable role in the ancient Egyptian mythology, Thuth has never occupied the position of one of the members of the divine family or as a Chief god in any myth. There are many sources and myths that present him one of the major gods who were accompanying the sun god in the solar boat and responsible for setting the daily course of the chief god. He attained more power in the declining years of Ra, when he occupied the position of Ra’s assistant who was responsible for the moon and keeping the stability of the sun god. In the Pyramids Texts, Thuth is described as one of the prominent gods in the underworld who serve in many posts including carrying the recently dead souls on his wing to cross the “winding waterway” and on the other shore serving as the protector and messenger of the Chief god who uses his cutting knife to attack his enemies. There are also many depictions presenting Thuth as a member in the court standing next to the scale that was used for weighing the heart of the dead and writing down the judgment of the dead in a papyrus scroll. Some of the spells of the pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts present Thuth as a “Peacemaker” who reconciles between the conflicting gods like Horus and Seth. In other resources, he was in charge of monitoring the eye of Horus in its journey to wards the kind in order to give him eternity. Thuth was considered as the god of science due to his great knowledge of the celestial mathematics that made him responsible for maintaining the balance of earth. He is credited to naming the things that exist on the surface of earth and establishing the sciences of medicine, astronomy, music and others. It is registered in the Book of the Dead that he was responsible for writing letters on behalf of the gods of Annu.

– The Book of Thuth

In one of the old texts of Hermopolis, Thuth describes himself as the eldest son of Ra whose creation was the result of the cooperation of Ra, Amun and Khepri. He adds also that this origin gave him the secret knowledge, powers and talents that made him the inventor of the letters of writing and the author of many valuable books. He is the author of many prominent articles and books that date back to the prehistoric era including the Book of the Breathing that involves some spells helping the dead to obtain eternity, and the Book of the Dead or some parts of it as it is said. The Book of Thuth is one of the major works of Thuth and there are numerous irreconcilable accounts about its length. Some views say that it is two-page length: the first one deals with magic charms that help in controlling over natural powers, and the second involves the magic spells used in the underworld. There is another view suggesting that it was a 42 pages length and it was dealing with a variety of sciences excelled by Thuth such as geography, astronomy, religion, medicine, hieroglyphics, and astrology. Prince Neferkaptah and the Book of Thuth This myth is registered in a papyrus that dates from the Ptolemaic era at the time of the family of Prince Neferkaptah. The priest of this prince told him about the magnificent supernatural powers that he can gain from the magic spells in the Book of Thuth. He told him that the magic power would enable him from dominating power over all the aspects of nature, being the commander of the sun, the moon, the air, the mountains and the minor gods and seeing any creature whenever and wherever it is. In addition to that, its magical charms would give you eternity and you would be able to see the other eternal gods in the solar boat and many other supernatural powers. The excessive ambition the prince made him ready to do any thing to possess that book and promised a great reward for the one who tells him about its place. The priest told him that the book is kept in a the middle of the Nile river next to the city of Koptos and the prince quickly decided to go and steel that book to gain that power. He took his wife Ahura and his son on a boat and went to Koptos where he established a magical barge to look for the book. He knew that the book is kept in one of three boxes protected by snakes, scorpions and other monsters. He used a magical spell that saved him from the danger of these enemies and enabled him from reaching safely to the boxes. The prince used one of the spells of the book that made all the fish of the sea come to see him. Then he asked for wine and he spelt it on the book and when the letters of the book were erased by the wine he drank it all to have the powers of this book inside him and then took off. The vengeance of Thuth from the thief of his book was very fierce. Thuth firstly killed the prince’s son and wife who were accompanying him. The prince used his magical power and made the body of his wife flows over the surface of water and tells him about what she saw in the underworld. She told him that Thuth is extremely enraged and that his power is more than his own power even after having the book. Yet he insisted on keeping the book and tied it to his chest, till he was killed. When the king heard that his son drawn in the Nile River, he looked for his body and found him with the book of Thuth on his chest. Finally Neferkaptah was buried and the book of Thuth was put in his tomb.

 

 

– The Forms of God Thuth

The usual depiction of Thuth was as a baboon or an Ibis and the reason for involving the ibis in the depiction of Thuth, as mentioned in one of the old myths, is that Ra commanded Thuth, the Ibis to be his messenger who helps him in the weary burdens of mankind and the daily tiring journey. Moreover, the ancient Egyptians prohibited sacrificing the Ibises and regarded it as a sacred bird. The Ibises were presented as sacrifice for Thuth and there is a large necropolis that was dedicated to these mummified ibises nearby Menia or the ancient Hermopolis. On the wall paintings in the Temple of Ramsses II, Thuth is depicted as baboon worshipping the sun god. Other times, Thuth appears a dog-faced ape, since the apes are known for their wisdom. The gates of the shrine of Thuth in El-Ashuein nearby Menia were usually preceded by statues of giant apes. The Egyptian Museum displays many statues for Thuth as an ape in addition to his statue as an Ibis standing next to a scribe that is regarded as one of the rarest and most admired statues for him. The Book of the Dead highlights that in the underworld Thuth was usually standing next to the scale writing the judgment on the dead, and he is presented in this scene in two different shapes: the first as an Ibis, while the second as an Ibis-headed man. These two different shapes were sometimes supplied with the lunar disk over the head which is used as a symbol for Thuth as the deputy of Ra in his declining years and was responsible for the lunar eye. The statues of Thuth as an Ibis-headed man can be found in several places and temples throughout Egypt including the tomb Seti I and king Tutankhamun. There are some wall paintings in the temples of Luxor presenting Thuth while pouring libations over the heads of the king.

– Thoth Amulet

Thoth can assume the form of an ibis bird and was the god of writing and scribe of the gods. He records the weight of the heart of the dead person in the Underworld when it is weighed against the Feather of Truth. (Book of the Dead chapter 125). This is a purely funerary amulet and would only be worn in death. Placed in row of gods on chest, or on stomach.

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