Since then, the affection and significance for cats declined. So cats were not considered pets. They believed cats guarded their children and their homes. The ancient Egyptians honored cats of every color. Cats were considered to be demi-gods in Ancient Egypt, and only the pharaohs were allowed to keep them as pets, so all the cats were protected by law. 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. Ancient Egyptian cats had a sacred status in because of the religious beliefs of Egyptian society. Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them. Anyone who harmed a cat, deliberately or not, would be sentenced to death. Sekhmet was known to have the head of a lioness and initially was regarded the same as Bastet. Bast Sekhmet Hence, after studying the DNA of animals buried with the Pharaohs, it was found that the great majority of those were cats. Cats appeared in art, always in a position of respect, and were domesticated into loving members of a family – so much so that they would be mourned and mummified after they died. Cats likely became so entwined with Egyptian life for practical reasons: Agriculture attracted rodents, which attracted wild cats. Bastet, another goddess, is depicted with a cat head. Scarab Beetle . Why were cats so important in Ancient Egypt? One of the most interesting traditions found in ancient Egypt is cat worshipping. What Kind of Government Does Egypt Have ? 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. You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. He knew how much the ancient Egyptians cared for their cats so he sent the soldiers to still as many cats as they could. 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. The cat was embalmed and mummified and usually buried along with their masters. This encouraged traders to smuggle cats into other countries by illegal means. If you killed a cat, the punishment could be death. 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. They had become a symbol of the Egyptian culture, a symbol we recognise and love even today. Killing one could be punishable by death. Anyone who’s ever known a spoiled tomcat knows that cats have never forgotten the days when they were worshiped. Snakes were a real issue in Ancient Egypt and the presence of cats reduced the threat of poisoning. If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. So, if the internet is anything to go by, nothing much has changed. You can unsubscribe at any time. Everything you ever wanted to know about... History TV and radio in the UK: what’s on our screens in December 2020? When a household cat died, the entire neighborhood mourned for it. Cats were considered important and possessed a status equivalent to that of Gods. You have successfully linked your account! They revered dogs for their ability to hunt and protect them, while cats for bringing good luck to people who kept them. Several pagan rituals were banned by the Romans in the following centuries, thus cat worshipping and religion grew apart. Several archaeological remains point towards the domestication of cats in Ancient Egypt. So the humans had lots of respect for cats. They revered dogs for their ability to hunt and protect them, while cats for bringing good luck to people who kept them. In addition, cats in ancient Egypt kept the houses clean because when hunting rats and snakes, a carrier of serious diseases was eliminated, as the plague and the surroundings of nearby homes were safer. Within Egypt, cats were originally the perfect solution to the overgrowth of rats and snakes in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians not only worshipped cats, but also adored them as their family members. By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. Egyptian statues and paintings depict every type of feline. Ancient Egyptians had crafted several laws to protect their cats. Due to this endearment of cats, there … In Ancient Egypt, cats were mummified and buried with jewelry, and harming a cat was an offense that could be punished with death Nov 26, 2017 Domagoj Valjak The Ancient Egyptian religion was a vastly complex system of polytheistic beliefs that included an elaborate mythology and a large number of deities. It was against the law in ancient Egypt to harm a cat. While the Ancient Egyptians depicted many gods and goddesses with the characteristics of different animals, they perhaps admired no creature more than the cat. It's also interesting to note that while the Egyptians gave their pet dogs names, the only name we've … Moreover, various DNA comparisons also suggest that many species of modern cats may have been descended from the Egypt… A whole branch of government was formed to just deal with this issue. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Although several statues of different gods and goddesses have been found with a cat head, Mafdet, a goddess revered as the protector of the pharoahs, appears to be the oldest. There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. Cats in Ancient Egypt The ancient Egyptians were respectful towards the animals that shared their world and associated many of them with deities or positive human characteristics. These small companions fascinated the Egyptians, and were venerated by all. Hundreds of thousands descended on the temple there every year for the festival of Bast, which the visiting Greek historian Herodotus described as one of the most popular in all of Egypt. Significance of the divine felines in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians did not worship cats, but they did believe that cats had magical powers. They were slaughtered by the millions to be mummified and serve as messengers to the gods. 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. In this time and place — Ancient Egypt — one creature existed that could make the world safe from these little monsters: the cat,” the website read. 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. Ordinary citizens and esteemed professionals alike noted the importance of cats in Egyptian culture. Why did the Egyptians stop worshipping the kitties? The Egyptians thought cats to be important because they could keep themselves clean, without a person having to help them get around, manage them, or look after them. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. Usually, cats were dressed in jewels by wealthy families to appear royal. Hurting a cat was a punishable offence. Exporting of cats was prohibited in Egypt. A painting of a collared cat was found at Saqqara which suggests that the cats were tamed before 26th century BCE. Cats were mighty and strong and held sacred. The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. In the New Kingdom, the cat is trained to take it to bird hunting. Spread of Islam into Egypt added to the decline. The domesticated cat was a symbol of grace and poise because of the way it hunts its prey. The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. Why were Cats so Important in Ancient Egypt?Wild Ciencias Channel :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBgTJ_aPb8YT4FuLZ6WU2w♦Consider to Support the … However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat. Killing one could be punishable by death. The most famous Ancient Egyptian insect is the Scarab Beetle. The ancient Egyptians had a strong love for cats, so strong that they surrendered to the Persians because of their cats. 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. Egyptian history is full to the brim with incredible culture, architecture, mythology and traditions. Cats were seen as symbols for “blessing, fertility and balance of nature”. Their lives were considered equivalent to the lives of humans, if not superior. Recommended: CAT – Protects You And Your Home From Ghosts And Negative Spirits! Cats, however, occupied a special space in Ancient Egypt. More information on Bast. In the following centuries since the fall of Third Dynasty, even the common people started keeping domistacted cats and worshipping them. It was believed that she protected the Chambers against scorpions, snakes and all sorts of evil. The ancient Egyptians sought to seek HistoryCats in ancient Egypt But cats were special! You're now subscribed to our newsletter. The ancient Egyptians believed cats watched over their children and their homes. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). Cats--or 'Mao' in Ancient Egyptian Language--were considered 'holy' creatures and symbols for the gods of Egypt. In fact, every family had a cat. 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 … Owing to this, cats came to be regarded as protectors of evil by the ancient Egyptians, and were domesticated by them. The ancient Egyptians had great respect for … How many elephants did Hannibal take over the Alps. The cat in ancient Egypt, or miw (to see), was a sacred and respected beast. Killing a cat, either on purpose or by accident led to a death punishment. Ancient Egyptians were known to worship many animals for many years. more information Accept. Why were cats important in ancient Egypt . 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. 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. January 2020. There seems to be a problem, please try again. Cats were drawn on walls, on ceilings, carved out of stones, sculpted on amulets and painted on clothes. Why were cats important in ancient Egypt? Protection and Significance of the divine felines, How long does it take to get a visa to Egypt. In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. According to several historians, the cat cult in Egypt started 5000 years ago, during the First and Second Dynasty. 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