Why were the Egyptian concerned by cats?
The ancient Egyptians were famous for their affection for all things. There is no shortage of cat patterns from large statues to intricate ornaments that have remained intact
The ancient Egyptians were famous for their affection for all things. There is no shortage of cat patterns from large statues to intricate ornaments that have remained intact for millennia since the Pharaohs ruled the Nile. The ancient Egyptians mummified countless cats and even built the world's first well-known pet cemetery, a nearly 2,000 years old cemetery containing large numbers of cats wearing significant iron and beads.
But why were cats so predominant in ancient Egypt?
According to the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, why would Egyptians trim their eyebrows as a mark of respect when mourning the loss of a family cat?
Much of this reverence is since the ancient Egyptians thought their gods and rulers possessed cat-like qualities, especially at the 2018 exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D.C. They are defensive, loyal on the other hand they can be dull, independent, and aggressive.
To the ancient Egyptians, these cats were given special importance as special animals and this explains why they made feline-Esque idols. The Great Sphinx of Giza, a 240-foot-long (73 m) monument containing a human face and the body of a lion, is perhaps the most famous example of a monument. In that context, one of their powerful goddesses, Sakhmet (or Sekhmet), was depicted as having a lion's head on a woman's body. He was known as a protective deity, especially in moments of transition, including dawn and dusk. The other goddess, Bastet, was often portrayed as a lion or a cat, and the ancient Egyptians believed that cats were sacred.
Cats were probably chosen for their ability to hunt rats and snakes. According to University College London, the ancient Egyptians gave their babies names or nicknames, including the female name "Mit" (meaning cat). Of time.
However, many studies have suggested that this emotion was not always kind and affectionate, and there is evidence of a more frightening aspect of the ancient Egyptians' fascination with cats. They killed millions of kittens and mummified them so that people could bury them beside them, originally between 600 BC and 300 AD. In a research report published in the journal Scientific Reports last year, scientists performed X-ray micro-CT scans on mummified animals - including a cat. Through this study, scientists were able to see in detail its skeletal structure and the materials used in the mummification process.
When the researchers get the results, they realize that the animal is much smaller than they expected. "It was a very small cat, but we didn't realize it before scanning because about 50% of it is made up of mummy wrappers," said Richard Johnston, a professor of materials research at Swansea University in the UK. "When we saw it on screen, we realized it was small when it died," and it was less than 5 months old when its neck was intentionally broken.
"It was somewhat painful. Sacrificing their cats was not uncommon," Johnston said. "It was fairly industrial, there were farms for selling cats."
Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, an associate professor of Egyptian archeology at the University of Toronto, previously told Live Science that this was because many animals were sacrificed to the gods of ancient Egypt. It was a way of appeasing the gods or asking for help in addition to prayer.