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Deities & Heros >> Egyptian
giza sphinx, amenhotep ii, dynasty xviii, cosmic harmony

Ma'at/Maae't

Author: Mirjam

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The personification of the basic laws of all existence; the concept of justice, truth, order and balance, without which life is impossible. She is not really a goddess/netjer but rather the principle of these factors. The Egyptians had no difficulties in personifying such things, it was their habit and way of making things understood on more than one level.

Pharaoh often held a seated image of Ma´at in his hand, and offered it to the gods, which indicated Pharaoh as the representative of Divine Order.

Maat was the deity who personified all the elements of cosmic harmony as established by the creator-god at the beginning of time. These included truth, justice and moral integrity, as well as established order and structure. Without Maat the whole structure of Creation would crumble and be swallowed up to the powers of Chaos.

Maat is shown as a lady, who wears an ostrich feather on her head. The feather is often depicted on its own, instead of a full depiction of the goddess. The hieroglyphs of her name represent the primeval mound upon which the creator-god emerged.

The origins of Maat can be traced back to the Old Kingdom where she is already an integral part of Ra and Osiris. Maat stands behind the sun-god, or in the Middle Kingdom, is described as being at the nostrils of Ra. In Dynasty XVIII, she is referred to as Ra’s daughter.

Pharaohs´ prime task in governing, is to uphold Maat, and frequently the words "I have done Maat" are found spoken by different kings. Their reigns uphold the laws of the universe that she embodies. Amenhotep II on his stele near the Giza sphinx claims that Maat was placed on his breast by Amun himself. There are many examples of the kings being called “beloved of Maat”, and they are depicted in temples offering a small figure of the goddess in the palms of their hands before major deities. The ruler who forcibly emphasizes his adherence to Maat on his monuments in Akhenaten — the very king whom later pharaohs considered to have deviated immensely from her laws.

Many representations of Maat are depicted on funerary papyri from the New Kingdom, as the goddess essential to the deceased reaching paradise. In the Hall of the Double Truths, the heart of the deceased is weighed in balance against an image of the goddess or her feather. Here Maat symbolizes the truthful; assertions of a blameless life, given before the assessor gods.

Maat is also regarded as justice administered by magistrates in the law courts. Possible the title “priest of Maat” refers to this function of an official’s duties. According to classical sources, magistrates wore a Maat figure when giving judgements — the British Museum has such a small golden Maat on a chain.

In the southern sector of the precinct of Montu at Karnak, is a small ruined temple to Maat.



Festivals:(exact dates not historically verified)

4th April - 20th Pachons - Ma´at judges the souls before the

Netjeru



30th May - 16th Epipi - Ma´at is taken to Ra in Heliopolis


1st June - 18th Epipi - Ma´at and Ra go forth in secret


15th June - 1st Mesore

Ma´at unites as one with all the Netjeru of the heavens


7th October - 21st Hethara - Feast day of Ma´at


28th November - 13 Tybi - Sekhmet; Day of prolonging life and

the goodness of Ma´at



3rd April - 19th Pachons - Day of the Counting of

Tehuti(Thoth) Who heard Ma´at


4th April - 20 Pachons - Ma´at judges the souls before the

Netjeru



30th May - 16th Epipi - Ma´at is taken to Ra in Heliopolis


1st June - 18th Epipi - Ma´at and Ra Go Forth in secret


15th June - 2 Mesore - Ma´at unites as one with all the

Netjeru of the heavens

Suggested Web Resources

Maat, Mafdet, Min, Mut
Meskhenet, Meretseger, Mihos, Min, Montu, Mormyrus, Mut. Please note - Festival days are an estimation compiled from several sources.
Egyptian gods; M
Meretseger, Min, Montu, Mormyrus, Mut.
Ma'at, Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order...
Feb 8, 2001 Ma'at/Maae't, Nebet Mirjam. Ma'at, as would be logical, was also was the justice meeted out in ancient Egyptial law courts.
Definite Integral | RM.com ®
Ma'at/Maae't: The personification of the basic laws of all existence; the concept of justice, truth, order and balance, without which life is impossible.
Hall Of Justice | RM.com ®