Neith a goddess of greatest antiquity

Image result for goddess neith weaving

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

According to Plato’s dialogue, Timaeus, the Egyptian goddess Neith

was the same as, in Greek mythology, the goddess Athena.

 

 

The hoary-with-age Egyptian priest of the Timaeus had spoken of the Greeks as being like children with their lack of ancient traditions. Following that sort of sentiment, I wrote in:

A black Athena. Part One: Correcting the Timaeus

https://www.academia.edu/29223708/A_black_Athena._Part_One_Correcting_the_Timaeus

 

of the Egyptian traditions and legends as being prior to those of the Greeks:

 

…. the fanciful Greek and Roman mythologies had their origins in the real antediluvian histories of which the Book of Genesis provides only the barest of details. According to my revised estimation, these real histories would largely (perhaps not entirely) have come second-hand to Egypt, then third-hand, or worse, to Greece.

[End of quote]

 

The goddess Athena, whose antediluvian origins some would trace to Naamah, the sister of Tubalcain, was, as Neith, a most ancient goddess of the Egyptian pantheon. In “A black Athena”, I further wrote of:

 

… the Greek goddess Athena, whom biblical aficionados would identify in her origins with the biblical Eve, or with Naamah, the wife of Ham – and possibly as having black skin, as Roy Schulz has suggested here http://www.book.dislib.info/b1-history/4036992-14-compiled-roy-schulz-social-studies-department-imperial-schools-pa.php

 

…. Jewish tradition does tell us who Ham married! HAM MARRIED NAAMAH, THE DAUGHTER OF LAMECH BY ZILLAH! (See Jameison, Faucett, and Brown Commentary). Zillah, remember was the first truly black woman in history! And, quite late in Lamech’s life, his black wife, Zillah, had a daughter named Naamah. Naamah became famous as a weaver of cloth — and this is who Ham married! Ham should not have married this beautiful and famous dark woman, a daughter of Lamech. But he could not resist her beauty and so he married her on impulse, against the wishes of others, particularly Noah.

Ancient sources tell us that, after their marriage, an agreement was made whereby Naamah could spend some time with her family and some time with her husband’s family. Remember that Noah had remained separate from the line of Cain — and he would insist on keeping his family separate, and so after Ham married this woman, a difficult situation had been created. A compromise was agreed upon whereby she could still spend time with her non-white relatives.

Naamah was a famous individual in the pre-Flood world. Her brother was Tubalcain, a great military leader, and she took on some of his war-like characteristics. The ancient Greeks, who applied to her the name Athena, pictured her brandishing a spear and regarded her as a goddess of war. She is said to have make a war on the giants during the lifetime of Tubalcain. She had an interesting variety of characteristics because she was also pictured as being a goddess of wisdom as well as of war, in addition to being especially famous as the goddess of weaving or womanly industry. In no connection is she ever pictured as a harlot of prostitution as was Venus of Aphrodite. This is the woman who Ham married. She is the one who carried the WAY OF CAIN THROUGH THE FLOOD! The line of Cain did not die with the Flood, as might easily be supposed! A descendant of Cain and Lamech lived on into the post-Flood world. It was none other than this Naamah to whom God calls our attention in Genesis 4:22. This is why her name is in the Bible! From Ham and Naamah came the Negroid stock after the Flood — the line of Cush (Gen. 10:6).

[End of quote]

 

In Wikipedia, we read of the interesting goddess Neith (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neith):

Neith (… also spelled Nit, Net, or Neit) was an early goddess in the Egyptian pantheon. She was the patron deity of Sais, where her cult was centered in the Western Nile Delta of Egypt and attested as early as the First Dynasty.[1] The Ancient Egyptian name of this city was Zau.

….

 

Symbolism …

 

Neith was a goddess of war and of hunting and had as her symbol, two arrows crossed over a shield. However, she is a far more complex goddess than is generally known, and of whom ancient texts only hint of her true nature. In her usual representations, she is portrayed as a fierce deity, a human female wearing the Red Crown, occasionally holding or using the bow and arrow, in others a harpoon. In fact, the hieroglyphs of her name are usually followed by a determinative containing the archery elements, with the shield symbol of the name being explained as either double bows (facing one another), intersected by two arrows (usually lashed to the bows), or by other imagery associated with her worship. Her symbol also identified the city of Sais.[2] This symbol was displayed on top of her head in Egyptian art. In her form as a goddess of war, she was said to make the weapons of warriors and to guard their bodies when they died.

 

Mackey’s comment: Most interesting here is Neith’s connection with “the Great Flood” and “the primeval waters”:

 

As a deity, Neith is normally shown carrying the was scepter (symbol of rule and power) and the ankh (symbol of life). She is also called such cosmic epithets as the “Cow of Heaven”, a sky-goddess similar to Nut, and as the Great Flood, Mehet-Weret (MHt wr.t), as a cow who gives birth to the sun daily. In these forms, she is associated with creation of both the primeval time and daily “re-creation”. As protectress of the Royal House, she is represented as a uraeus, and functions with the fiery fury of the sun, In time, this led to her being considered as the personification of the primordial waters of creation. She is identified as a great mother goddess in this role as a creator. As a female deity and personification of the primeval waters, Neith encompasses masculine elements, making her able to give birth (create) without the opposite sex. She is a feminine version of Ptah-Nun, with her feminine nature complemented with masculine attributes symbolized with her association with the bow and arrow. In the same manner, her personification as the primeval waters is Mehetweret (MHt wr.t), the Great Flood, conceptualized as streaming water, related to another use of the verb sti, meaning ‘to pour’.

Neith is one of the most ancient deities associated with ancient Egyptian culture. Flinders Petrie (Diopolis Parva, 1901) noted the earliest depictions of her standards were known in predynastic periods, as can be seen from a representation of a barque bearing her crossed arrow standards in the Predynastic Period, as displayed in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

Her first anthropomorphic representations occur in the early dynastic period, on a diorite vase of King Ny-Netjer of the Second Dynasty, found in the Step Pyramid of Djoser (Third Dynasty) as Saqqara. That her worship predominated the early dynastic periods is shown by a preponderance of theophoric names (personal names which incorporate the name of a deity) within which Neith appears as an element. Predominance of Neith’s name in nearly forty percent of early dynastic names, and particularly in the names of four royal women of the First Dynasty, only emphasizes the importance of this goddess in relation to the early society of Egypt, with special emphasis upon the Royal House. In the very early periods of Egyptian history, the main iconographic representations of this goddess appear to have been limited to her hunting and war characteristics, although there is no Egyptian mythological reference to support the concept this was her primary function as a deity.

….

It appears from textual/iconographic evidence she was something of a national goddess for Old Kingdom Egypt, with her own sanctuary in Memphis indicated the political high regard held for her, where she was known as “North of her Wall,” as counterpoise to Ptah’s “South of his Wall” epithet. While Neith is generally regarded as a deity of Lower Egypt, her worship was not consistently located in that region.

….

Neith’s symbol and part of her hieroglyph also bore a resemblance to a loom, and so in later syncretisation of Egyptian myths by the Greek ruling class, she also became goddess of weaving. At this time her role as a creator conflated with that of Athena, as a deity who wove all of the world and existence into being on her loom.

 

 

Mackey’s comment: Pictures added (of Neith weaving; of Athena weaving).

The article proceeds to tell of Neith’s great antiquity:

 

Neith was considered to be eldest of the gods, and was appealed to as an arbiter in the dispute between Horus and Seth. Neith is said to have been “born the first, in the time when as yet there had been no birth.” (St. Clair, Creation Records: 176). In the Pyramid Texts, Neith is paired with Selket as braces for the sky, which places these two deities as the two supports for the heavens (see PT 1040a-d, following J. Gwyn Griffths, The Conflict of Horus and Seth, (London, 1961) p. 1). This ties in with the vignette in the Contendings of Seth and Horus when Neith is asked by the gods, as the most ancient of goddesses, to decide who should rule. In her message of reply, Neith selects Horus, and says she will “cause the sky to crash to the earth” if he is not selected.

 

 

 

 

 

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