Did ancient Egyptians worship animals?
The reverence of animals has been known in many countries and civilisations; but in Egypt it was maintained to a later periods of civilisation than other contries.
At first ,Each place or tribe had its sacred animal that was linked with the tribe; Like the case with the bull (Ibes)at Memphis the ancient capital, The cat (Bastit) at (Tel basta or Bobastis) in thr east and the ram at Thebes in the south and others.
The Reverence of the animal is shown by the penalties for killing any animal of the species, building temples dedecated to them and by the special burial and even mummifying them.
The names of the gods later connected with the animals, Hur , the falcon ,Hathur the cow and Khnum the ram who was worshiped as a procreative god etc.
Do all sacred animals were considered as gods?
Some animals were found both in life-size temple figures, and personal amulets. such as beetel ” kheber” and The scorpion was similarly honoured in the prehistoric ages.
It is difficult to separate between animals which were worshipped quite independently, and those which were associated as emblems of gods.
Probably we shall be right in regarding both classes of animals as having been sacred at a remote time, and the connection with the human form as being subsequent.
for example the goddess sekhmet the lioness and The cat (Bastit) and the jackal (Anubis).
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The baboon was regarded as the emblem of Tahuti, the god of wisdom; .
The lesser felidae also appear; the cheetah and serval are sacred to Hathor in Sinai; The bull was sacred in many places, and his worship underlay that of the human gods, who were said to be incarnated in him.
The idea is that of representing the fighting power, specially when the king is figured as a bull fighting his enemies,
The cow was identified with Hathor, who appears with cow’s ears and horns.
What is common between ancient Egyptian’s gods and animals?
If the animal worship were due to a sense of animal brotherhood in certain tribes, we must also assume that that was due to these qualities of the animal;
It is therefore more likely that the animal worship simply arose from the nature of the animals, although each animal came to be associated with the worship of a particular tribe or district.