In ancient Egypt, several protective deities were depicted as dwarves featuring a lion’s mane, ears, and tail, and often wearing a plumed headdress.
Such gods are now referred to as the Bes image. In Egyptian myths, God Bes or Bisu was an ancient dwarf god and a complex being who was both a deity and a demonic fighter.
Although he began as a protector of the pharaoh, he became very popular with every day Egyptian people because he was particularly protective of women and children.
The ancient Egyptians believed that when a child was born, God Bes would stay by the cradle and entertain it. So, usually when a baby smiles or cackles for no apparent reason, it is said that Bes is playing with the child.
This responsibility gave him a role in some temples when there was a birth house for the deity. Thus, amulets of the Bes image were worn on a regular basis. Bes was also the god associated with music and dance.
He had no temples and there were no priests ordained in his name. The domain of the Bes image was the household. He averted evil with music, knives, or the sa sign as he watched over the occupants of the house. Adorned with the skin of an animal and its tail hangs down behind him, he is sometimes shown carrying a harp.
Bes has no cultural center, but his statues may be found in temples situated at Abydos and Denderah, and in homes of Egyptians where they worship him.
He is said to be of either Semitic or African origin, as his appearance is strikingly different from that of Egyptians. He was worshipped in ancient Nubia. God Bes was thought to protect from evil spirits and bring good luck.
One of the images depicts an amulet of God Bes with six eyes and this particular artifact was found in Sudan.
Because of his ferocious nature, Bes was also known as the demonic ‘Aha’ (“fighter”). It was believed he was able to large animals and snakes with his bare hands. However, he also supported god Ra, contributing with defeating Ra’s hostile serpent enemies.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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