The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed subscription, Modern-day moggies are beloved by millions, but in the land of the Pharaohs cats were worshipped, quite literally. How many pyramid tombs are there in Egypt? The ancient Egyptian society relied heavily on agricultural activities. Cats . These are just but a few examples of the kind of high esteem that cats have been held to by both the current and past generations. Why were cats important in ancient Egypt? He knew how much the ancient Egyptians cared for their cats so he sent the soldiers to still as many cats as they could. Cats, however, occupied a special space in Ancient Egypt. Egyptian history is full to the brim with incredible culture, architecture, mythology and traditions. Egyptian statues and paintings depict every type of feline. Due to this endearment of cats, there … A whole branch of government was formed to just deal with this issue. Provides expediting services for travel visas to Egypt, By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Cats were considered important and possessed a status equivalent to that of Gods. Ancient Egyptian cats had a sacred status in because of the religious beliefs of Egyptian society. The cat culture continued for centuries, until 30 AD when Egypt became a part of the Roman empire. The cat owners shaved off them eyebrows and would mourn for their cats until their eyebrows grew back. January 2020. Several pagan rituals were banned by the Romans in the following centuries, thus cat worshipping and religion grew apart. They were slaughtered by the millions to be mummified and serve as messengers to the gods. Why did the Egyptians stop worshipping the kitties? Cat's weren't exactly worshiped in Egypt, despite what Herodotus wrote. It was in Egypt that the cat was first domesticated 4,000 years ago and where they were held in the most admiration and respect. There seems to be a problem, please try again. Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals. The Ancient Egyptians had Bastet and Sekhmet among other feline deities, and cats were even held in higher regard than men, drawing from the fact that harming a cat was an act punishable by death. Killing one could be punishable by death. Significance of the divine felines in Egypt. Snakes were a real issue in Ancient Egypt and the presence of cats reduced the threat of poisoning. Eventually, it emerged as the guardian of domesticated cats. Ancient Egyptian deities are the gods and goddesses worshipped in ancient Egypt.The beliefs and rituals surrounding these gods formed the core of ancient Egyptian religion, which emerged sometime in prehistory.Deities represented natural forces and phenomena, and the Egyptians supported and appeased them through offerings and rituals so that these forces would continue to function … This encouraged traders to smuggle cats into other countries by illegal means. Their lives were considered equivalent to the lives of humans, if not superior. The cat achieved an importance that was increasing over the years, both religiously and socially. Through this behaviour, cats were perceived to have a protective nature which, combined with their ability to have lots of kittens, made them a symbol of the home, women, and fertility. The ancient Egyptians had great respect for … In the following centuries since the fall of Third Dynasty, even the common people started keeping domistacted cats and worshipping them. The sanctuary was located in the city of Bubastis where the remains of numerous cat mummies and small cat sculptures have been found. The worship of cats in ancient Egypt was well-founded. There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. Cats were called Mau in Ancient Egypt, and initially the animals attained an important place as the protectors of the country’s grain, as they killed rodents and snakes. So the humans had lots of respect for cats. The cat’s independence was instinct for them, but to the Egyptians this was a sign of power. Hurting a cat was a punishable offence. Bast Sekhmet More information on Bast. Thank you for subscribing to HistoryExtra, you now have unlimited access. It was against the law in ancient Egypt to harm a cat. Recommended: CAT – Protects You And Your Home From Ghosts And Negative Spirits! Cats were considered important and possessed a status equivalent to that of Gods. Bastet represented beauty, love, joy, happiness and was also the protector of humans. This article was first published in the January 2018 issue of BBC History Revealed magazine, Save a huge 50% off a subscription to your favourite history magazine. What Kind of Government Does Egypt Have ? The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Ancient Egyptians, Catanzariti says, “mummified cats to give them as a sacrifice or offerings to temples. Everything you ever wanted to know about... History TV and radio in the UK: what’s on our screens in December 2020? Animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, asses, and different kinds of birds were domesticated in the Pre-Dynastic Period (c.6000 - c. 3150 BCE) as evidenced by grave goods and overuse of the land for grazing. The ancient Egyptians took their cats on hunting trips instead of dogs, and statues of cats were placed outside the house to protect the inhabitants and to ward off evil spirits. Protection and Significance of the divine felines, How long does it take to get a visa to Egypt. There were many cats. 12 Amazing facts about cats in ancient Egypt 1- The goddess Bastet had the cat as her sacred animal and was usually depicted as a woman with cat’s head or an entire cat and defended Ra, god of the Sun. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. The domesticated cat was a symbol of grace and poise because of the way it hunts its prey. Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? Ancient Egyptians not only worshipped cats, but also adored them as their family members. Since then, the affection and significance for cats declined. Middle Eastern species of cats were domesticated in Egypt about 10,000 years ago and while various other animals were also considered sacred, cats had a special status among those animals. So, if the internet is anything to go by, nothing much has changed. The ancient Egyptians had a strong love for cats, so strong that they surrendered to the Persians because of their cats. If you killed a cat, the punishment could be death. As a sign of how highly they regarded cat hunting skills, the cat-headed goddess Mafdet (who goes back to the fourth millennium BC) was thought to protect people and their homes against these dangerous or food-spoiling pests. And balance of nature ” the jungle cat ( Felis chaus ) the. For centuries, until 30 AD when Egypt became a part of Egyptian... ) and the manifestation of the divine felines, how long does it take to get a to! Egyptian history is full to the decline for them, while cats for bringing good luck people. 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