Posted by: aediculaantinoi | June 14, 2013

Naukrateia: The Greek Gods in Egypt

While it is still a week away in Neos Alexandria, here at the Aedicula Antinoi (as explained here), today is Naukrateia. The NA calendar describes the festival as follows:

This festival celebrates the founding of Naukratis by Pharaoh Amasis and the bringing of the Greek gods to Egypt. Begin by making offerings and libations to Amasis. Then carry images of the gods of Naukratis–Apollon, Hera, Zeus, Aphrodite and the Dioskouroi–in procession and set them up in their shrines. Offerings are given to them, starting with earth and water to represent their reception in the land of Egypt. Then pour out libations of milk, oil and wine and make offerings of local produce. Pray for them to bless the land and to protect their followers however far from home they may have traveled.

The Greek Gods in Egypt

Amasis consulted the oracle of Wadjet,
whom the Greeks would call Leto:

“Invite the Greeks to the Nile’s banks.”
But what gods would welcome them?

The Two Sobeks came forth first
to welcome two from amongst the Greeks,

never far apart even in life and death:
Kastor and Polydeukes, the Dioskouroi.

Ammon and Mut would rule as consorts
in the city where the Greeks would settle,

and Zeus and Hera were the names
by which the Greek citizens would know them.

Hathor and Horus would likewise be
the sun’s rays at the ready to strike–

but the Greeks in time revered them
as Aphrodite and Apollon in peace.

Bast would be honored for her role
in the city where the oracle was given,

and the Greeks would call her Aelurus;
and from where the Nile would burst forth

in time, the Egyptian Satis would be called
Hera, mother of Hestia amongst the Greeks.

The gods and goddesses themselves were amazed
that both Greek and Egyptian stood face-to-face

and yet each nation preferred to see only
their own name as the face of the deity.

To the Greeks, the sphinx a riddling woman,
and to the Egyptians, the sphinx a protective man.

In the streets of Naukratis a drama
of the fable-teller Aesop’s companion in slavery

and the poetess Sappho’s brother would play out
over Rhodopis, the fairest daughter of Thrace.

In time, Serapis predicted, would come
another whose face would be filled with gods,

whose city, Antinoöpolis, would be the daughter
of Naukratis under Hadrian’s rule of the Two Lands.

May the gods of the Two Lands of Egypt
and the many cities and islands of Greece

remember their people, and may their people
celebrate their gods in every land!


  1. I missed it, why is the date different?

    • Because I follow a solar calendar rather than the variable lunar one which Greek holidays seem to prefer; thus, when I made my calendar a few years ago, I set them on the dates on which they occurred then, and have left them thus ever since. Lunar calendar followers always give me a hard time about that…but, it’s my praxis, not theirs, so…!

      • Ahh. No grief here, just wanted to understand. Thank you! 🙂

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