Thursday, April 09, 2009

Deconstructing: Egyptian Myth

I've purposefully titled this one "Egyptian Myth" instead of "Hieroglyphs" and I cannot claim to have translated the glyphs from the Temple. This post is more concerned with the Gods and mythology generally - especially Anubis, who was depicted with the monster above what can only be described as a vent.

My first point of research call was looking to Anubis and the track record - looking for any similarity with the Monster's track record. Sure enough, the jackal-headed Anubis has major ties to afterlife happenings - "he who is upon the mountains" in some sources led you down to the underworld and looked after you while you were "judged". Perhaps the best example of this is in "The Judgement" from the papyrus of the scribe Hunefer, 19th dynasty - property of the British Museum:

Hunefer is taken by Anubis to the scales of judgment, with the monster Ammit crouching beneath. Should the judgment go against Hunefer, his heart becomes property of Ammit, who would swallow the wicked heart if it weighs more than the feather or something. If things go good, he's taken to Osiris - keeper of the Underworld and who will let him into afterlife proper. Hmm... I think my cliff notes version just desecrated thousands of years of respect and religion. Oh well.

So this Ammit thing was next to catch my attention. A monster, who will swallow you whole should the judgment not go your way. Could our black smoke monster be some alternative LOSTy version of Ammit? Experts have linked Ammut to Taweret due to the similar physical appearance (Ammit is usually shown as either a crocodile or dog) and role of protecting others from evil. Let us not forget that Taweret was heavily linked earlier as the identity of the statue seen by Sawyer and co when they hopped back in time.

Ammit was feared, despite being ultimately a force of good or neutral, by the Egyptians as it prevented one from rest forever. She also "dwelt in the Hall of Ma'at" - Temple link? I have no idea. But the links are compelling, the lap dog of Anubis who sorted you out if you didn't cut muster... exactly the role our Monster seems to be playing. What do you think? Any Egyptologists out there with some professional knowledge to share?

Check out Wikipedia articles on Ammit, Anubis, and Taweret to learn more. And copyrightness goes to the British Museum for the papyrus pic.
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