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Deities & Heros >> Egyptian
ancient egyptian civilization, household artifacts, snakes and scorpions, dwarf god


Author: Mirjam

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Bes was a dwarf-god, grotesque in appearance, but benign in nature. He was depicted wearing a plumed crown, was normally bearded with his broad face surrounded by a lion's mane and ears, and with his tongue protruding in a playfully aggressive manner. His body represented a bandy-legged dwarf wearing either a panther skin or a kilt, and a lion's tail. Together with Tawaret he was a protector of childbirth, and his ugliness was seen as a deterrent to evil spirits. He is present at the scenes of royal birth carved on Theban temple walls.

Bes was also considered to bring good luck and prosperity to married couples and their children, and has been found in homes at Deir el-Medina. The aggression of knife-carrying Bes is seen as directed towards any threat to the family, such as warding off snakes and scorpions in the living quarters. Finally, Bes has a genial temperament expressed through merrymaking and music. Towards the end of Ancient Egyptian civilization, Bes was adopted by the Romans and figurines exist of him clad in legionary garb."

Bes had no temples of his own and no priesthood. A small statue of him and a shrine was however present in most Egyptian homes, and his picture was carved on bedposts and other everyday household artifacts.

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