Study Guide

Bast Gossip

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Bast is often written "Bastet" in modern English, but this is just a grammatical error. (Shmoop's on it.) The strange spelling happened because an extra "t" was added to her name in late Egyptian hieroglyphs. After people stopped pronouncing t's at the end of words, a second t would be added to tell the reader that the t needed to be pronounced after all. That's pretty weird to think about, isn'tt itt? (Source.)

The author Neil Gaiman must be fond of Bast. She appears a number of times in the Sandman comic book series, in her own graphic novel series (three books) related to the Sandman series, and in his excellent mythology-inspired book, American Gods. Enough shout-outs for you?

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Chief/Moradmin Bast, the Imperial officer with the sideburns in the film, gets to talk to Darth Vader. In a deleted scene that ended up in the Star Wars Christmas Special, Chief Bast tries to warn the Dark Lord of the Sith about his concerns, but Lord Vader isn't listening. Bast's boss, Grand Moff Tarkin, wouldn't listen, either. Wonder how things would've turned out for the Empire, if anybody had paid Bast any attention?

Bast is the name of a small village near the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Talk about cats in the middle of nowhere! There are a few other cities in the area with "Bast" in their names, too.

Ever notice that the skins of some plants and grasses are like string? This stringy fiber is called "bast," and while it's not actually related to the goddess by that name, bast fiber can be used to make hundreds of different kinds of things, including paper (from mulberry trees), clothing and shoes (from flax plants and tree bark), yarn and carpet (from jute), and even the rope (from hemp) to tie together Viking ships! (Source.)

Ørnulf Bast (1907-1974) was a famous Norwegian sculptor. His first statues were lion statues. Coincidence? Maybe not, with a name like Bast. Not only did he produce many beautiful statues, etchings, and paintings during his lifetime, but during World War II, he and his wife let the Norwegian resistance against the Nazi occupation use their house for secret meetings. Just another reason to like the name.

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