Two Ladies

Two Ladies

__NOTOC__In Ancient Egyptian texts, Two Ladies is a religious euphemism for Wadjet and Nekhbet, the deities who were the patrons of the Ancient Egyptians and worshiped by all after the unification of its two parts, Lower Egypt, and Upper Egypt. When the two parts of Egypt were joined together, there was no merger of these deities as often occurred with similar deities from various regions and cities. Both goddesses were retained because of the importance of their roles and they became known as the "two ladies", [Toby A. H. Wilkinson, "Early Dynastic Egypt", Routledge 1999, p. 292] who were the protectors of unified Egypt.

After the unification, the image of Nekhbet joined Wadjet on the uraeus, thereafter, they were shown together as part of the crowns of Egypt. An example of one is shown in the photograph to the right. The two ladies were responsible for establishing the laws, protecting the rulers and the country, and promoting peace.

The holiest of deities in the Egyptian pantheon usually were referred to by such euphemisms or other euphemistic titles—sometimes in great chains of titles—in order to keep their names secret from enemies and disbelievers and, to show respect for their powers.

An example of the use of this term in text references may be found in the following commemoration of a military campaign under pharaoh Amenhotep III recorded on three stelas carved from rock. In the text he is referred to as Nebmaatra. They are from his fifth year and were found near Aswan and Sai Island in Nubia. The official account of his military victory emphasizes his martial prowess with the typical hyperbole used by all pharaohs, but notes that the Two Ladies appeared to him to provide advice and a warning about the leader of the Kush army.

Regnal Year 5, third month of Inundation, day 2. ...appearing in truth, [the] Two Ladies, Who [establish] laws and [pacify] the Two Lands... [to the] King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebmaatra, heir of Ra, Son of Ra, [Amenhotep, ruler of Thebes] ... came to tell [the pharaoh] , "The fallen one of vile Kush has plotted rebellion in his heart." [The pharaoh] led on to victory; he completed it in his first campaign of victory. [The pharaoh] reached them like the wing stroke of a falcon... Ikheny, the boaster in the midst of the army, did not know the lion that was before him. Nebmaatra was the fierce-eyed lion whose claws seized vile Kush, who trampled down all its chiefs in their valleys, they being cast down in their blood, one on top of the other [Urk. IV 1665-66]

The references about fierce-eyed lions is another euphemism, related to the war deity, Sekhmet, the fierce warrior goddess of Egypt who protected the pharaoh in battle, conquered his enemies, and brought victory. She was depicted as a lioness and the pharaoh-as-warrior was said to be her son, therefore, a lion. Bast was her counterpart in one of the two lands, but after unification, Sekhmet remained as the fierce warrior and Bast was assigned other duties in the Egyptian pantheon.

These three deities were the strongest patrons of Ancient Egypt. They never were displaced by deities who rose and declined in importance to the Egyptians when the pharaohs chose a special personal patron, a temple became extremely powerful, or the capitals changed. The use of the image of the patron goddesses on the uraeus was retained even during the rule of Akhenaten, who suppressed the worship of all deities except his own personally chosen favorite, Aten. His Hebty, or Nebty name was derived from a root with the two ladies as well, as seen in the hierographic image of Akhenaten's Hebty name, "Wernesytemakhetaten", displayed in the information box at his article and should be translated as, "He of the Two Ladies, Great of kingship in Akhetaten". In this way he differed from no other pharaoh and the importance of these traditional deities persisted subtly throughout his reign, when he tried to break the power of the temple of Amun. As soon as his reign ended, the ancient religious traditions were restored fully and even, later embraced by the subsequent foreign rulers of Egypt until the collapse of the Roman Empire.

On the central portion of the Menat necklace displayed above, the "two ladies" flank a statue of Sekhmet, who is being propitiated by the pharaoh in a temple ceremony. The placement of them alongside her in the temple of the lioness goddess, demonstrates the authority with which she always was associated and, the importance of an association with the two ladies.

Nebty name

G16The "nebty" name, literally meaning, "two ladies", is one of the titles of an Egyptian pharaoh, following the standard naming convention used by the Ancient Egyptians. The name was associated with the patron goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt::* Nekhbet, patron deity of Upper Egypt, was represented by as an Egyptian vulture, and :* Wadjet, patron deity of Lower Egypt, was represented as an Egyptian cobra.

The first time the nebty name is used "definitively", [] is approximately 2950 BC by the First Dynasty pharaoh, Semerkhet, although the name only became a fully independent title by the Twelfth Dynasty which began in 1991 BC.

Typically, this name is not framed by a cartouche or serekh, but always begins with the hieroglyphs of a vulture and a cobra, each resting upon a basket, symbolizing the dual noun "nebty". The rest of the title varies with each pharaoh, and would have been read, [s/he] of the Two Ladies, followed by the meaning of the rest of the title. Translation of the nebty name for a pharaoh often is abbreviated, omitting the phrase above that begins each nebty name, making full understanding of the title difficult.



*cite book | author= Allen, James P. | year= 1999 | title= Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs | publisher= Cambridge University Press | location= New York | id=ISBN 0521774837 | pages=
*cite book | author= Dodson, Aidan Mark, and Dyan Hilton | year= 2004 | title= The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt | publisher= The American University in Cairo Press and Thames and Hudson | location= Cairo, London, and New York | id=ISBN 977-424-878-3 | pages=
*cite book | author= Gardiner, Alan Henderson | year= 1957 | title= Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs | edition=3rd | publisher= Griffith Institute | location= Oxford | pages=
*cite book | author= Quirke, Stephen G. J. | year= 1990 | title= Who Were the Pharaohs? A History of Their Names with a List of Cartouches | publisher= British Museum Publications Limited | location= London | pages=
*cite journal | author=Schneider, Thomas | title=Zur Etymologie der Bezeichnung ‘König von Ober- und Unterägypten’ | journal=Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde | year=1993 | volume=120| pages=166–181
*cite book | author= von Beckerath, Jürgen | year= 1999 | title= Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen | edition=2nd edition | publisher= Verlag Philipp von Zabern | location= Mainz am Rhein | pages=

External links

* [ The Two Ladies]
* [ The Royal Titulary - in The Nebti-name section, follow the links to the goddesses by name to see an image of the two goddesses, as women, crowning a pharaoh]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ladies of Letters — is a BBC Radio 4 comedy series starring Patricia Routledge and Prunella Scales, based on the series of books of the same name written by Carole Hayman and Lou Wakefield. Routledge stars as Vera Small and Scales as Irene Spencer, two elderly… …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space — Studio album by Spiritualized R …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies' Gaelic football — is the most prominent amateur team sport for women in Ireland. It is also increasing in popularity in other countries around the world, often by members of the Irish diaspora.PlayThe game is very similar to the male form of Gaelic football, where …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies College, Colombo — Ladies College is a private girls school in Colombo, Sri Lanka.It was founded by the Church Missionary Society in 1900. Since its inception, education in the school has been rooted firmly in the beliefs of one of its founders, Ms Lilian Nixon,… …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies in White — (Spanish: Damas de Blanco) is an opposition movement in Cuba consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and then silently walking… …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies and Gentlemen (play) — Ladies and Gentlemen is a play by Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht. The courtroom drama, inspired by a Hungarian play by Ladislaus Bush Fekete, centers on the relationship that develops between two sequestered jurors, Miss Scott and Mr. Campbell,… …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies Man (TV series) — Ladies Man was a television sitcom series starring Alfred Molina as husband, father, son, ex husband, son in law who lives with a bunch of women under one roof. The show premiered September 20, 1999 and lasted for two seasons on CBS until June 27 …   Wikipedia

  • Two Fat Ladies — infobox television show name = Two Fat Ladies caption = format = Cooking runtime = 30 minutes creator = presenter = judges = starring = Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson country = UK network = BBC2 Food Network first aired = October 9 …   Wikipedia

  • Ladies of Llangollen — The Ladies of Llangollen Carved oak p …   Wikipedia

  • Two Venetian Ladies — Infobox Painting| title=Two Venetian Ladies artist=Vittore Carpaccio year=c. 1490 type=Oil on panel height=94 width=64 city=Venice museum=Museo Correr Two Venetian Ladies is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Vittore Carpaccio.The… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.