Egyptian faience amulet representing the god “Thot”, Late Period, 664-332 B.C.

This small amulet in the shape of a baboon is a representation of the Egyptian god Thot, the god of the moon, astrology, music and medicine. He was also the patron of the scribes, as he was considered the inventor and protector of writing. He can also be found represented as a crowned ibis or man with an ibis head. The assimilation of the god Thot with an ibis is due to the fact that he is the god of the moon and the crescent moon resembles the curved beak of the ibis. The association of this god with baboons is due to the fact that the ancient Egyptians observed that baboons "sang" to the moon at night, and also because this animal was seen as a nocturnal and intelligent creature. It can also be found represented as a baboon holding a crescent moon. The Moon not only provides light at night, allowing time to be measured without the sun, but its phases and prominence gave it significant importance in early astrology/astronomy. The cycles of the Moon also organized much of the civil and religious rituals and events of Egyptian society. Consequently, Thot gradually became a god of wisdom, magic and the measurement and regulation of events and time. He was said to be Ra's secretary and advisor, and with Ma'at (truth/order) he was with Ra on the night journey through the sky, Ra being a sun god. He was also credited by the ancient Egyptians as the inventor of writing, and was considered the scribe of the underworld, so he was universally worshipped by the ancient Egyptian scribes. Many scribes had a painting or a picture of Thot in their "office". Thot was the God of the Scribes and not a messenger. In the Papyrus of Ani, a copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the scribe proclaims, "I am your writing paddle, O Thoth, and I have brought you your inkwell. I am not of those who do iniquity in their secret places; let not evil befall me. Thoth's qualities also led the Greeks to identify him with their closest god, Hermes, with whom Thoth eventually combined, as Hermes Trismegistus, which also led the Greeks to name Thoth's center of worship Hermopolis, meaning city of Hermes.


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