'The Great Neith, creator of the world' at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens
The goddess Neith, “creator of the world”, was brought out of the storerooms of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, to be presented to its visitors and to tell her unknown story. Exhibited is a group of bronze votive statuettes of the early, powerful Egyptian deity Neith, which retained a dominant position in the land of the Nile from the 4th millennium BC until the 4th c. AD.
|The “Great Neith, creator of the world”. Bronze votive statuettes of the 25th (712-670 BC) |
and 26th Dynasty (664-525 BC) [Credit: National Archaeological Museum]
Her hieroglyphic symbol takes the form of two bows tied together or a shield with two arrows crossed over it. The pronunciation of her name has become known to us through Plato (Timaeus, 21 Ε).
A mightly and primordial deity with a diversity of roles, the great Neith, the unique and mysterious, the elder of the gods, creator of the world, retained her predominance in the life of the Egyptians from the fourth millennium BC until the Ptolemaic-Roman period (up to the 4th cent. AD).
Originally, she was a formidable goddess, closely linked with weapons, hunting and war: the Mistress of the bow, the Master of the arrows. However, she was also connected with political authority, the Pharaoh and likewise with the women of the royal family too. Later on, as a tutetary deity, she was associated with as much the daily life as the afterlife. Furthermore, myths narrate that Neith invented birth and the craft of weaving.
|The “Great Neith, creator of the world” [Credit: National Archaeological Museum]|
The “Great Neith, creator of the world” emerged in the Hall of the Altar (No 34) on Monday, March 27, in the framework of the museum’s successful action “The Unseen Museum”, which presents selected antiquities from the world of the storerooms. Neith will be exhibited until Sunday, May 22, 2017.
On four days (April 7, 23 and 28, and May 7), at 1.00 p.m. archaeologists of the museum will welcome visitors in the exhibition hall and talk with them about the “unique and mysterious Neith, the eldest of the gods”, and about the various aspects of religious cult in the land of the Nile.
Admission to these presentations is on a first come, first served basis for ticket-holders, after they sign up at the Museum entry desk. Tel.: 213 214 891.
Source: National Archaeological Museum [March 28, 2017]