Ancient Egyptian Gods “b”
Baal: During the New Kingdom, as Egypt began expanding its empire into the Near East, several gods local to that region began to be worshipped by Egyptians. Among these foreign gods were Qetesh, Reshep and Baal. Baal was a western Semitic god of storms and the skies whose worship in Egypt was established by the 18th Dynasty. By 1400 B.C., he was an important god to the Canaanites and was mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as a competitor with God for the affections of the Israelites. The Bible described Baal as killing and eating human beings (Jeremiah 19).According to Near Eastern mythology, Baal destroyed Yam, the god of the Great Green (the Mediterranean Sea). Baal himself was killed later by Mot, the Semitic god who personified death. Baal’s sister and consort, Anat, resurrected him. Anat was a warrior-goddess who went on to avenge Baal’s murder by cleaving Mot with her sword, throwing his body into a fire, then grinding his bones and feeding the remains to the birds and animals of the fields. Baal and Anat were also said to have mated while in the guise of a bull and a cow.
Despite the obvious parallels between Baal’s murder and resurrection and Osiris’s murder and resurrection by his sister Isis, a connection between the two gods was not made by Baal’s worshippers in Egypt. Rather, Baal was commonly identified with Osiris’s murder, Seth. Seth and Baal were both gods of storms. In the narratives of the Battle of Kadesh, Pharoah Rameses II was called “Seth, great of strength, and Baal himself.”
Baal was depicted as a powerful warrior with a curved, Syrian-style, beard. He wore a horned helmet and carried various weapons, including a sword, a club made from a ceder tree, or a thunderbolt.
Bastet: This royal goddess is first depicted as a lion and then in later times as a cat. On occasion she is shown as a woman with a cat’s head, holding a Sistrum (musical instrument) and the Ankh (sign of life). The main center where she was worshiped was Bubastis which was east of the Delta. Her cult occurred from the Old Kingdom onward. She was renowned as a pleasure-loving goddess and as the patroness of music and dance. She was also regarded as the protector of pregnant women. In addition, she is said to have protected men from diseases and from various demons. Even during Roman times she was popular and her festivals were some of the most attended. The festivals were sometimes centered around pranks and various forms of intoxication. The festivals would end with a parade whereby most Egyptians were fully intoxicated. However, she was also worshiped in Memphis where she as associated with the local goddess Sakhmet. Some records show that she had further associations with Hathor and Mut. In Heliopolis she was regarded as the daughter of the creator god Atum. During the Late Period and in the Greco-Roman era there were many cat bronzes dedicated to her.
Bes: The first time that this god was mentioned was in the Old Kingdom but still continued to be popular in the later eras of Egypt. He is shown as being small in stature, grotesque, having an alarming face, and having a beard. Sometimes he is shown as a dwarf with a protruding tongue, bowed legs, and large ears. On other occasions he is seen wearing animal skins and also having a protruding tail. In the mythological god world it is believed that he had close connections to the warrior god Aha. Along with Hathor, he is known to watch over sexuality and birth. His magical powers were also used to combat disease and danger. In addition, he was known as the patron of war and as the protector of hunters. In some instances he is regarded as the god of joy and dance. It is thought that the small stelae and amulets that bore his image bestowed protection. Beset was known to be his consort.