Archive for September 24, 2013


The cult of the goddess Bastet originated in lower Egypt and was centred around the city of Bubastis in the Nile Delta. The Greek historian, Heroditus visiting the city in the fifth century BCE , gave a lengthy description of the Temple of Bastet. Bastet was originally a lion headed goddess of war worshipped from the time of the second dynasty (c2890 BCE). However, when the upper and lower kingdoms merged, there was also a lion headed goddess of war in the pantheon of the upper kingdom and so Batest became a cat headed goddess. Gradually, over time, she lost her association with war and in later periods was associated with family and with perfume. A number of perfume jars have been discovered with the goddess’ image upon them. In the ever-changing pantheon of Egyptian gods Bastet became merged with other deities, particularly Wadjet, the patron goddess of lower Egypt.

This statue, called the Gayer-Anderson cat after its donators is made of bronze and dates from the period 664-332BCE. It can be seen in the British Museum.