The Egyptian God Thoth

Egyptian Underworld
Egyptian Underworld: Paintings from the tomb of Petosiris at Muzawaka (ao). CC Flickr User isawnyu

Thoth was an Egyptian god who was worshiped throughout Egypt, but particularly at Hermopolis Magna (near modern El‐Ashmunein), where he is connected with the Hermopolitan Ogdoad. Thoth was, among other things, a god of the moon and the inventor of writing who announces and writes down the judgments about the dead. Hellenistic Greeks associated Thoth with Hermes, the messenger god, especially as Hermes Trismegistus (3-times great Hermes, which is based on an Egyptian epithet of Thoth calling him wr wr wr "great, great, great").

This Thoth is said to convey knowledge of the Underworld, of ethics, of Egyptian geography, and of mysteries.

Thoth was worshiped as can be seen in writing from 4th millennium B.C. pyramid texts through Roman period temple inscriptions.

Thoth and Egyptian Mythology

The parents of Thoth are said to be the male homosexual pair or "two combatants" Horus and Seth. He is also described as the son of Ra (Re).

  • After Osiris is killed, Thoth helps Horus and Anubis in putting him back together again.
  • Thoth is credited with bringing a young Horus back to life after a fatal scorpion sting.
  • He also helps Horus by finding his eye.
  • After Horus decapitates Isis, Thoth reattaches the head.​

Attributes of Thoth

Thoth is usually shown with the head of an ibis bird. He may appear as an ibis. The baboon is one of his symbols and sometimes Thoth is shown as a dog-headed baboon. The curve of the beak of the Ibis may represent the crescent moon, which is another attribute of Thoth.

He often carries a palette and pen. On Thoth's head may be the crescent moon and disk, the atef-crown, and the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Thoth is described as a moon god, a cosmogenic god, a god of thunder and rain, a god of justice, and the patron of scribes. Thoth is also the Egyptian messenger god.

Thoth and the Ogdoad of Hermopolis

Thoth was connected with the Ogdoad of Hermopolis as a creator god.

References

  • Denise M. Doxey "Thoth" The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Ed. Donald B. Redford, Oxford University Press, Inc., 2001
  • "Review: The Egyptian God, Thoth"
    T. George Allen
    The Journal of Religion (1923), pp. 207-208
  • "Preliminary Remarks on the Demotic 'Book of Thoth' and the Greek Hermetica"
    Jean-Pierre Mahé
    Vigiliae Christianae (1996), pp. 353-363
  • Herman Te Velde "Seth" The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Ed. Donald B. Redford, Oxford University Press, Inc., 2001.