Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 22, 2014

A Question for Those With Egyptian Knowledge…

There’s several things I’ve been wanting to write about–for months, in the case of some things, actually!–but I don’t quite have time to do so at present. So, instead, I’ll ask the following question.

Lots of animals get their heads associated with particular Egyptian gods: lions, eagles, ibises, dogs/jackals/wolves, crocodiles, hippopotami, frogs, snakes, dung beetles, cats, cows, bulls, rams, whatever-the-hell-the-“Set-animal”-is, and so forth.

And, a lot don’t: horses, elephants, fish, spiders.

Does anyone, though, know if there are any mouse-headed Egyptian deities?

Because, according to my dream last night, there are.



  1. You’ll be intrigued by this picture. Does it match your dream?

    • Tony, dear friend, you do not disappoint…!

      The reason I say that is not only that this comes rather close, in certain respects, but also there was one bit of the dream that I left out in my brief mention of it above:

      YOU, Tony Mierzwicki, was showing me the mouse-headed god!

      And now you have! Amazing, innit? 😉

      Okay, so that’s sort of confirmed…I need to know more of this mouse deity!

    • And, here is possibly who it is: Khenty-Irty, maybe? Hmm…

  2. Yes, my immediate thought was of Khenty-Irty, who’s been coming up a bit lately for me as well, interestingly. I came across and purchased months ago a tiny statue of a standing mummiform hawk-headed deity, which I coincidentally realized just last week was likely a replica of a piece from Tutankhamun’s tomb identified, though I don’t really know how, as Khenty-Irty. (He’s the God you see labeled as “Horus the Elder” on this page: As you can see from the Encyclopedia entry—which I well remember writing!—he’s a very complicated deity. I don’t think, though, that the mouse-headed entity depicted in the blog post could be him, as that one is more likely a daimon from the resurrection literature. Wainwright, in an article from JEA 18 (1932) states that large quantities of “shrewmice” were interred at Letopolis in the north and Panopolis in the south; I wasn’t previously aware of a significance of the mouse in the cult of Min, but he seems to want to infer it. (He remarks that these interred shrewmice are sometimes mischaracterized in the literature as ichneumons.) Wainwright postulates a connection of some sort between the shrewmouse at Letopolis and Apollo Smintheus, since the high priest of Letopolis has an arrow ensign. Letopolis was perhaps named from a syncretism between Wadjet and Leto, and we have here an image of Wadjet with “ichneumon” head—or is it a shrewmouse?

    • You know…this is making further sense now.

      I did think of Apollo Smintheus; and I also thought of the deity (whose name I cannot recall) that is the Hindu rat deity, who has a rat-infested temple…it’s not the mouse that Ganesha rides on, I don’t think, but anyway…

      However, the mention of Letopolis and Wadjet/Leto is something. When I was at the Seattle Art Museum a few weeks ago, one of the goddesses that stuck out to me was “Uto,” a.k.a. Buto (a.k.a. Wadjet!), who was shown suckling Horus and looked rather lion-headed in the small figure of her on display at the museum. I wonder if it’s not actually lion-headed at all, but instead mouse-headed? Hmm…

      In any case, thank you for commenting! I hoped you would do so, as you always have excellent insights on these matters!

      • It’s actually not unusual to see Wadjet with lion’s head, though in order to keep things tidy we’d prefer she was always a cobra! The ichneumon-or-mouse-headed Wadjet was a new one to me, however. I’m accustomed to images of ichneumons where we have the whole body, which makes misidentification unlikely, but these images with just the head make it rather ambiguous.

      • Indeed…though in the figure in the museum, I wasn’t actually sure if it was lion-headed, and it took me a moment to parse it, as that looked the most likely. If I am there again in the near future, I’ll have to take a closer look and see if she might, in fact, have been mouse-headed.

        (Incidentally, all this talk of mouse-heads has me remembering that there’s a name in Irish, Lucennán, that basically means “little mouse-head,” which is sort of funny…but also possibly applicable to the statue in the museum!)

      • Not to complicate matters further, but there is the question of whether we can freely interchange “mice” and “shrews” in this discussion…

      • No, it’s a point very well taken…

        (It’s related, I think, to the matter of “jackal, wolf, or some other canid?” in relation to Anubis, Wepwawet, etc.; but, books have been written on that…!?!)

        Perhaps it should be “rodent-headed deity,” and for the ones referred to above, simply “cynocephalic,” since that covers all of the canids. (I don’t know the Greek off the top of my head for “rodent”…would it be something, thus, like “sminthocephalic“?) 😉

      • The ordinary Greek word for “mouse” is… μῦς! Sminthos is supposed to be an old Mysian word, probably quite old inasmuch as it has what used to be considered the non-Indo-European nth radical; not sure whether linguists still think so… Did your dream indicate that the animal in question was definitely a mouse, and not potentially a shrew?

      • Well, it was said to be a mouse; but, there were also actual live mice on display as part of the whole thing, and the mice looked a bit more like rats, or like some sort of rodent with a face longer than mice usually have. I don’t know what shrews look like off the top of my head, but I suspect it could have been one of them as well…

        So, “mysocephalic” or perhaps “musocephalic” would be the better term? (Which then almost sounds as if one is saying that one is “Muse-headed”! And, I guess, some people actually are…!?!)

      • Well, I can’t seem to ascertain what, if any, more generic term Greek has for “rodent”. Bringing up the Muses reminded me of this, however:

      • Ah, yes, I have seen that movie…

        Ha. 😉

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