Plant and animal life In spite of the lack of precipitation, the natural vegetation of Egypt is varied. The skin of these beasts were also highly prized and they were hunted for the same. The most popular ancient Egyptian pet was the cat. Media in category "Animals in ancient Egypt" The following 21 files are in this category, out of 21 total. Goat meat consumed by both Egypt’s upper and lower classes. Throughout the history of Ancient Egypt, animals were highly respected. The ancient Egyptians believed in the universe’s infinite powers and respected these elements, as they believed the divine existed everywhere and in everything. The nearly 80 gods occupying the Egyptian pantheon were seen as being manifestations of the Supreme Being in his different roles or as his agents. The Egyptians understanding of specific animal’s characteristics was broad and extensive, but often was limited to animals … Early Egyptian farmers, had experimented with domesticating a range of other animals including gazelles, hyaenas and cranes although these efforts appear to be have been after the Old Kingdom. Animals that were much feared like the crocodiles and hippos were revered and worshiped to save oneself from the wrath of these animals. Domesticated during the Middle Kingdom the ancient Egyptians believed cats to be a divine or god-like entity and when they died, they mourned their death much as they would a human, including having them mummified. Camels were domesticated in Arabia and western Asia during the third or second millennium was barely known in Egypt until the Persian conquest. They were not, however, particularly sentimental about these pets. Header image courtesy: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. He “came on his horse like the shining Re.” This seems to indicate Tutankhamen enjoyed riding on horseback. They were often kept as pets in royal households. The ancient Egyptians farmed several cattle breeds. Milk, meat, horns, and hide were obtained from cattle and they were a prized possession of the people in the region. And when it came to treating animal health, the same healers that treated humans also treated the animals. The abundance of animals was due to so much water from the Nile River. There is little evidence mutton was regularly eaten.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'givemehistory_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_2',105,'0','0'])); Pigs had been part of early Egyptian diets since the start of the 4th millennium BCE. They symbolised power and strength. Egyptians worshipped the jackal as the jackal God Anubis, the Egyptian God associated with afterlife and mummification. The diminutive ‘puss’ or ‘pussy’ also comes from the Egyptian word Pasht, another name for the cat goddess Bastet. In no other culture have animals been as influential in so many aspects of life, nor has any culture depicted animals as often in their artwork or writing. Cattle were very important in the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians. Similarly, Renenutet the cobra goddess was a fertility goddess. A variety of animals played a significant role in the lives of ancient Egyptians. The big cats like the lion and the cheetah were also animals in ancient Egypt that served as symbols of power and royalty. The ancient Egyptians kept animals as pets ranging from domesticated dogs and cats to baboons, monkeys, fish, gazelles, birds (especially falcons), lions, mongoose, and hippos. Animals such as elephants, rhinoceros, crocodiles, and hippopotami used to live in different parts of Egypt, however these animals do not exist in Egypt today. Egyptians in the towns and cities generally preferred the cooler and less itchy linen and later the lighter cotton to wool for their clothing.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'givemehistory_com-box-4','ezslot_4',112,'0','0'])); Ancient Egyptian cat mummy.Rama / CC BY-SA 3.0 FR. Donkeys were used to help in the fields. They were raised for their milk, meat, eggs, fat, wool, leather, skins and horn. They received offerings of food, drink and clothing. However, the animals themselves were not worshipped as divine. Bastet was initially a desert cat before transforming into a domestic feline. Khonsu Egypt’s youthful moon god was depicted as a baboon as was Thoth in another manifestation. Some pharaohs even kept lions and Sudanese cheetahs as household pets. Amongst settled Egyptians, goats had a limited economic value. The three studied animals had a spiritual value in ancient Egypt. Thanks to the nourishing waters of the Nile, ancient Egypt was home to numerous species of wild animals including jackals, lions, crocodiles, hippos and snakes. This was when Anubis, the jackal head god, judged a … Horses were employed in chariots for both hunting and military campaigns.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'givemehistory_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_8',111,'0','0'])); Tutankhamen’s riding crop found in his tomb bears an inscription. Ancient Egyptians believed their gods had intricate connections with the four elements of air, earth, water and fire, to nature and to animals. They were hunted for sport and food, reared as livestock on farms, and some species were domesticated and kept as pets. Falcons have fantastic eyesight, and as they soar through the sky they can spot tiny animals on the ground. ‘Cat’ is derived from the North African word for the animal, quattah and, given the cat’s close association with Egypt, almost every European nation adopted a variation on this word. Sacred Animals: There were many sacred animals in ancient Egypt besides cats. Cite this article David Rymer BA MBT, "Animals of Ancient Egypt," Give Me History, March 14, 2019, https://givemehistory.com/animals-of-ancient-egypt. These creatures were also sighted in the cemeteries from where they came to be associated with the dead. In ancient Egypt, jackals would wander in the deserts and approach towns and villages for opportunistic feeding. This begins with mating, laying eggs, growing... Goddess Heket, also known as Hekat and Heqet, is the Egyptian goddess of fertility and grain germination. In fact, some of the domesticated animals that we know today have their origins in ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt’s judgement hall demoness Ammut had the head of a crocodile and rear of a hippopotamus was called “the devourer of the dead.” She punished evildoers by eating their hearts. Join Egyptologist Jen Thum for an interactive, family-friendly look at animals in ancient Egyptian art and life! Animals were an incredibly important part of life in Ancient Egypt. The first surviving pictures of horses we have today date from the 18th Dynasty. However, animals themselves were not worshipped as being divine. Set was believed to have transformed into a hippopotamus during his fight with Horus. The oldest breed, (ovis longipes), featured horns which jutting out, while the newer fat-tailed sheep, (ovis platyra), had horns curled close to either side of its head. The mummified remains of dogs have also been discovered by Egyptologists. The Egyptians also had a smaller breed of hornless cattle, together with wild long-horned cattle. 21st Dynasty Egypt, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. There were also many types of birds and fish that called Ancient Egypt home. Wild goats lived in Egypt’s more mountainous regions and pharaohs such as Thutmose IV, enjoyed hunting them. Cats also helped keep stored grains safe from rodents and snakes. There were many wild animals in ancient Egypt including crocodiles, hippos, jackals and snakes. It was believed that cats were descendants of Bast, the goddess of moonlight and fertility. This included crocodiles, hippos, jackals, and snakes. Horses were utilised for pulling chariots and in war. Native fish included the carp, perch and catfish. At the heart of the relationship between ancient Egyptians and animals were their religious beliefs. The cobra was highly feared and revered by the ancient Egyptians. The 13th Dynasty is the first evidence we have of horses appearing in Egypt. Domestic chickens didn’t appear until Egypt’s New Kingdom. There were also a lot of different types of birds and fish. onwards, the Apis bull burial grounds were a huge and growing underground system of chambers called the Seapeum. She is commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth. The solar god Horus Khenty-Khenty from the Athribis region was occasionally depicted as a crocodile. Mules, the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse had been bred since the time of the New Kingdom in Egypt. This has provided new insights into the dark secrets of the ancient Egyptian practice of animal mummification. They kept goats, pigs, ducks, cows, geese, and cattle. Initially, horses were luxury commodities. The scarab beetle exhibits a unique habit of collecting animal dung, rolling it into a ball, and laying its eggs on the ball so that when the larvae hatch, they can immediately access food. Taweret was one of Egypt’s most popular household goddesses, particularly among expectant mothers because of her protective powers. Only the very wealthy could afford to keep and care for them effectively. However, many wandering Bedouin tribes depended on goats and sheep to survive. Meretseger was another cobra goddess, known as “She Who Loves Silence”, who punished criminals with blindness. A dedicated animal lover reached out to PETA Asia Pacific in February 2015 and they started a petition called "Urge Egypt … Monkeys, dogs and cats were used in different games. Many demons had protective qualities and by their strange appearance, frightened any kind of malevolent beings. The name meaning “she who is great” is represented in the form of a female pregnant hippopotamus with female human breasts and the back of a Nile crocodile. Khanum was a ram-headed god. The Egyptians associated the ibis bird to Thoth, the Egyptian God of wisdom and writing. It is thought that cats, dogs, monkeys, geese and gazelles were often kept in Ancient Egyptian homes. In temples, the high priests would supervise the statues as they were washed, perfumed and dressed in clothes and fine jewellery three times a day. However, pork was excluded from religious observances. Animals of all kinds were significant to the Ancient Egyptians. Crocodiles were even kept as sacred animals in the temples of the god Sobek. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com. In the beginning, horses were rare and due to their novelty were regarded as status symbols. Fat-tailed sheep were first introduced to Egypt sometime during its Middle Kingdom. Initially, their distribution was quite restricted and they only became more common during the Late Period. The solar god of resurrection Khepri was personified as a scarab god. Ancient Egyptians recognised cats protected their kittens. One of the most frequently depicted deities was Horus a falcon-headed solar god. When an Apis bull died, it was embalmed and buried in great honor. After an Apis bull died, the body was mummified and buried in the “Serapeum” in a massive stone sarcophagus typically weighing over 60 tons.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'givemehistory_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_6',116,'0','0'])); Thanks to the nourishing waters of the Nile, ancient Egypt was home to numerous species of wild animals including jackals, lions, crocodiles, hippos and snakes. Sacred Animals of Ancient Egypt Gallery By Robert Partridge Last updated 2011-02-17 Animals of all kinds were important to the Ancient Egyptians, and … Mummification was not a process which was reserved for people in ancient Egypt. They were also used for ceremonies and for hunting purposes. The Egyptians appear very fond of keeping pets. These creatures certainly weren’t wild anymore, […] Dogs even had their own spots in cemeteries. The Egyptian animal mummies became a hot topic of Egyptian archaeology because of the things they reveal about the human-animal-god relationship in ancient Egypt. Anubis, the Egyptian jackal or wild black dog-headed deity weighed the heart of the dead for Osiris to gauge their deeds in life. Their dung served as a source of biofuel. It was used as a symbol of royalty and representations of this deadly snake would adorn the brows of various kings. Elephants were used for a brief period of time but lack of sufficient grazing land discouraged this practice. Animals played an important role in ancient Egyptian society. By Oishimaya Sen Nag on July 20 2018 in Society. Stray animals like cats and dogs are all around the streets of Egypt. The wealthy and influential kept horses in grand stables and fed high quality fodder and were also given individual names. There are various symbols that define Ancient Egypt’s spectacular place in history. From Egypt, they subsequently spread throughout much of eastern Africa. Great Egyptian rulers would chase after animals with a mixed pack of hunting dogs and hyenas. Falcons, or hawks, were sacred, as were scarab beetles. They frequently damaged boats on the Nile River and also attacked people near the banks of the river. Goatskins were turned into as water canteens and floatation devices. The invention of mummification enabled the ancient Egyptians to preserve the bodies not only of humans but also of animals, so that they could live forever. The most well-known of these is the pet cat. Rams were associated with the two Egyptian Gods, Amun and Khnum and also regarded as symbols of fertility. As with goats, sheep were not as economically important to settled Egyptian farmers as they were to the nomadic Bedouin tribes, who relied on sheep for milk, meat and wool. Dogs were thought to see the true heart and intentions of a person. Sacred Animals To our eyes the monotheism of the all Ancient Egyptian religion has all the appearances of fetishism. She was depicted as the protector of the pharaoh occasionally shown nursing children. They were often kept as pets in royal households. Egyptian gods were depicted either in their full animal attributes or with the body of a man or woman and the head of an animal. Throughout the chaos of different religions in ancient Egypt one factor remained the same, animals. The venomous cobra was believed to protect the King from evil while the ibis was thought to patronise the wise scribes living in Egypt. The Egyptians had almost 80 gods. Bastet, their cat god, was an important and powerful deity throughout ancient Egypt. . What Are The 3 Main Periods Of Ancient Egyptian History? Ancient Egypt spanned nearly 3,000 years. Individual animals were selected to represent a god on earth. More information on Bast Some pharaohs even had lions and cheetahs as pets. He has been based in the Middle East for over a decade travelling extensively in the region, including Egypt indulging in his passion for archaeology. Egyptian chariot.Carlo Lasinio (Engraver), Giuseppe Angelelli , Salvador Cherubini, Gaetano Rosellini (Artists), Ippolito Rosellini (Author) / Public domain. The Nile crocodiles were giant and aggressive animals and would claim the lives of many people in ancient Egypt. Much of the Western Desert is totally devoid of any kind of plant life, but where some form of water exists the usual desert growth of perennials and grasses is found; the coastal strip has a rich plant life in spring. Tauret is also regarded as the Goddess of fertility. Cats were so important to ancient Egyptians it became a crime to kill a cat.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'givemehistory_com-banner-1','ezslot_5',113,'0','0'])); Dogs served as hunting companions and watchdogs. Bulls were far from the only sacred creatures in ancient Egypt. He amuses himself in his down time by writing. The main animals found as pets in ancient Egypt were cats, monkeys and falcons. Cats were often depicted in paintings, sitting on the laps of their owners or below the chair where their owner was sitting. As for pets, Vervet monkeys, dogs, cats, duck and geese were kept. Bird-life included the ibis, heron, goose, kite, falcon, crane, plover, pigeon, owl and vulture. Their oxen, a heavily horned African species were prized as ceremonial offerings. The Egyptian Goddess Bastet was originally conceived as a formidable wildcat, a lioness, but over time morphed into a housecat. In fact, we have discovered several million more animal mummies than human mummies! Early domesticated species included sheep, cattle goats, pigs and geese. Ancient Egyptians also believed many of their gods and goddesses were reincarnated on earth as animals. Animals mummies come in four main types; the mummies of pets, the mummies of sacred animal, animals mummified as offerings to a god who was associated with that animal, and mummies that were burial provisions placed in or … Hence, the crocodile was given a divine status by these people in the hope that worshipping the crocodile God would keep them safe and secure from crocodile attacks. Donkeys were used in ancient Egypt and were frequently shown on tomb walls. They were rarely ridden and never used for ploughing during the second millennium BCE. Mules were more common during the Graeco-Roman period, as horses became cheaper. Just like the title suggests, the combination of the two animals makes Griffon the symbol of war. The Egyptians associated this nature of the beetle with the sun in the sky. Respect and veneration for animals was a fundamental aspect of their traditions. Ancient Egyptians revered felines, and it was common for most households to have a pet cat. While the hyenas enjoyed domestic life, their owners were fattening them up for supper. Horses were introduced into Egypt relatively late at about 1500 BC. Camels and horses were used as beasts of burden from the Late Period. It is Participants are encouraged to download and color along with our free activity book, Coloring Ancient Egypt . To better understand the ebb and flow of this vibrant civilization, Egyptologists introduced three clusters, splitting this vast period of time firstly into the Old Kingdom... Carlo Lasinio (Engraver), Giuseppe Angelelli , Salvador Cherubini, Gaetano Rosellini (Artists), Ippolito Rosellini (Author), https://givemehistory.com/animals-of-ancient-egypt, 3 Kingdoms: Old, Middle & New | Ancient Egypt, Top 20 Symbols of Balance Through History, Top 23 Symbols of Water and their Meanings, Top 23 Symbols of Freedom & Liberty Throughout History, Top 25 Ancient Chinese Symbols and their Meanings, Respect and veneration for animals was a fundamental aspect of their traditions, Ancient Egyptians believed many of their gods and goddesses were reincarnated on earth as animals, Early domesticated species included sheep, cattle goats, pigs and geese, Egyptian farmers experimented with domesticating gazelles, hyaenas and cranes after the Old Kingdom, Horses only appeared after the 13th Dynasty. Based on rare depictions, such as an inscription found in Horemheb’s tomb, horses appear to have been ridden bareback and without the aid of stirrups. Some representations of Taweret showed the hippo goddess with a crocodile’s tail and back and were illustrated with a crocodile perched on her back.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'givemehistory_com-leader-1','ezslot_7',115,'0','0'])); Crocodiles were also sacred to Sobek was the ancient Egyptian god of water unexpected death, medicine and surgery. David can be found at @daviddoeswords and www.zaharablu.com. Sheep served a large number of purposes in ancient Egypt. New non-invasive technology has been used to digitally unwrap three animal mummies in Britain. Wildlife in ancient Egypt used to be very different compared to the wildlife currently present in Egypt for several factors and variables. Donkeys were also used for plowing fields and trampling over seeds to bury them in the soil. Farming Animals: Animals were very important to Egyptian farmers. They often had cats, dogs, ferrets, baboons, gazelles, Vervet monkeys, hoopoes, ibis, falcons and doves. They were both pets and the manifestation of the divine attributes of Egypt’s pantheon of gods here on earth. Heqet their goddess of childbirth was a frog goddess frequently portrayed as a frog or as a frog-headed woman. Thus, to save themselves from the wrath of the hippopotamus, the Egyptians worshipped the animal in the form of an Egyptian Goddess, Tauret. Both pets and wild animals were incredibly important to Egyptian society, from mummified cats to chariot-pulling stallions. Later Egyptians evolved religious ceremonies centred on specific animals. They were luxury items and were used to pull chariots. They were rarely ridden or used for ploughing, Camels were domesticated in Arabia and were barely known in Egypt until the Persian conquest, The most popular ancient Egyptian pet was the cat. Specific animals were closely associated with or sacred to individual deities. From 1390 B.C. He was believed to patronise the wise scribes who handled the administration of Egypt. Cats were very important animals in Ancient Egypt, they were both pets and symbols of cat gods such as Bast. Native fish included the carp, perch and catfish. The civilization is remembered for the pyramids, the Sphinx, hieroglyphics, pharaohs and distinct afterlife beliefs. Thoth has a human body and an ibis’s head. On the smaller end of the spectrum, Egyptians were familiar with ferrets, monkeys, dogs, and cats. The domesticated cat was a symbol of grace and poise because of the way it hunts its prey. They were fattened decorated with ostrich plumes and paraded in ceremonial processions before being slaughtered. The cobra was believed to be the protector of the king and was referred to as the Uraeus. At Saqqara, the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis, more than 1.75 million ibis This gazelle mummy has straw stuffing but may contain some animal parts. Hence, the Egyptians honoured these animals particularly in and around their temples, via daily rituals and annual festivals. They were used to extract meat, milk, wool, and skin. All of these animals were so abundant because of the Nile River. Donkeys, donkeys and … The cobra symbolized Goddess "Wedjat," the matron and protector of Lower Egypt, which was featured on the crowns of Egypt's rulers. Camels came to be used for longer desert travel much as they are today. Thoth the god of writing and knowledge was shown with an ibis head. Zebu, a subspecies of domestic cattle with a distinctive humped back was introduced during the New Kingdom from the Levant. Crocodiles were highly revered by the ancient Egyptians. In ancient Egypt, the mummification of sacred animals such as cats, dogs, crocodiles and ibises after death was big business. Bird-life included the ibis, heron, goose, kite, falcon, crane, plover, pigeon, owl and vulture. Notably, the punishment for killing a cat in ancient Egypt was very severe. Ancient Egypt is famous for its mummies of pharaohs, however, the ancient Egyptians mummified animals as well as people. In ancient Egypt, what we call demons were not necessarily evil, nor were the fantastic animals portrayed in their midst. Dogs were also used for hunting and as guard dogs. Cats, dogs, ferrets, baboons, gazelles, Vervet monkeys, falcons, hoopoes, ibis and doves were the most common pets in ancient Egypt. Lions and cheetahs were exotic pets and symbols of royalty. Many families kept dogs as pets and gave them loving names. Facts about animals in Ancient Egypt Although many of the animals in Egypt were associated with certain gods, goddesses and characteristics, many of them were also used for practical purposes. However, at first, they appeared in limited numbers and were only introduced on a wide scale from around the Second Intermediate Period onwards. Once Osiris merged with Ptah the Apis Bull was believed to host the god Osiris himself. Ancient Egyptians used donkeys as the primary beasts of burden. David is a freelance writer, non-fiction and fiction author and university lecturer in journalism, marketing and law. Griffin – the Beast of War, was the creature with head, wings, and talons of an eagle on a lion’s body. The Egyptians associated frogs with fertility and resurrection. Animals were accorded high status in the ancient Egyptians’ life, which extended into their afterlife. Among the ancient Egyptian animals, the scarab beetle occupies a special position. Certain animals were closely associated with or sacred to individual deities and an individual animal may be selected to represent a god on earth. Though cats were considered to be the most divine. Meat was part of the Egyptian diet. In the article below, we take a look at the most sacred animals of ancient Egyptian times. The hippopotamus was a much feared as well as a revered beast in ancient Egypt and thus is mentioned in this list of animals of ancient Egypt. Perhaps, one of the few ancient communities who regarded animals as sacred was the Egyptian community. The cat named "Bastet," was the goddess of tenderness, and humbleness, and symbolized fertility, love, and sympathy. 10 Magnificent Examples Of Ancient Egyptian Architecture, The Egyptian People - Cultures of the World, Types Of Crimes By Number Of Offenses In The US. The legendary Apis Bull was a sacred animal from the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150 – 2613 BCE who represented the god Ptah. The god Horus was often shown as a man with the head of the hunting bird called a Falcon. Apart from herds of goats, lambs or herds of pigs, wild animals such as antelopes, gazelles, deer, wild goats, oryx, buffaloes, ibexes, royal herons or even hyenas were bred in captivity. The bull was one of the most important animal gods in ancient Egypt. These days, Egypt does not have many crocodiles, as they can’t swim past the great concrete Aswan dam that now blocks the River Nile. The skin of these beasts were also highly prized and Bodies of rams were often mummified and decorated and ram-headed sphinxes flanked the entrance to Amun’s temple at Thebes. Dogs were man’s best friend even in ancient Egypt. Even the animal dung was dried and used as fuel and fertiliser. Each was represented as humans, animals or as part-human and part-animal aspects. The ancient Egyptians domesticated several species of household animals. Apis Bulls were bred specifically for sacrificial ceremonies. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com Britain... Important role in ancient Egypt was very severe hunting bird called a.! Owner was sitting Egyptian homes Thoth has a human body and an ibis ’ s pantheon of gods here earth! Were scarab beetles be selected to represent a god on earth 2020 worldatlas.com horses. 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