Study Guide

Bast Sightings

Sightings

Jan 1, 1970

Hanging out with the Living Seth

Bast's image is known from seals that were found in the tomb of Peribsen, a 2nd Dynasty pharaoh. He was the only king in Egypt's history who called himself the Living Seth instead of the Living Horus (after Horus the Younger's victory over Seth in the myths).

Dec 20, 2019

Ramses II Brightens Up Bast's Temple

Ramses II thought pretty highly of himself and had himself depicted in giant statues all over Egypt. He had some made at Bubastis, too, seated next to Bast, with the title "Sun of All Rulers."

Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

Bast's Kings

Libyans took over northern Egypt and put their palace at Bubastis, Bast's hometown. The Libyan pharaohs, who were related and not very imaginative (they're almost all named either "Osorkon" or "Sheshonq"), called themselves the sons of Bast and built her beautiful (but very imaginative) temples. One of them, Sheshonq I, is mentioned a few times in the Hebrew Bible, where he's called "Shishak." The party in Cat-Town went on uninterrupted for a couple hundred years, until Cambyses II and his angry Persian army (remember 300? Those guys.) cruised down the Mediterranean and took Egypt over.

Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

Histories by Herodotus

Herodotus, a Greek historian, visited Bast's temple and hometown of Bubastis when he came to study Egypt. He writes about the temple and a festival he observed at great length in his Histories. From him we first learned that Bast's temple had a lake and lots of trees. And get this: archaeologists at Bubastis found out that this is true. We also learn from him that the Greeks considered Bast to be a form of Artemis (but we bet Artemis would have something to say about that).

Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

Shields and Shakers to Scare Away Evil

Bast's face shows up on a special kind of ceremonial shield (called an aegis), sometimes the aegis she holds in statues. She also shows up on a special rattle carried by priests called a sistrum. These rattles were shaken to scare away evil spirits and bad dreams, and were also used by priests of Hathor and Isis. Pretty cool, if you ask us.

Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

Black Cat Cigarettes and the Greater London House

The Carreras Tobacco Company of London opened a new cigarette factory in 1928 in the Camden section of town. Their main brand was called "Black Cat," and the building is designed like an ancient Egyptian temple in Art Deco style. Two giant statues of Bast guard the front doors. They disappeared in the 1960s, but when the building was renovated and became an office building in 1996, two new giant Bast statues were put back in front of the door, to complement all the cat heads decorating the outer walls. Fancy… feast?

Dec 20, 2019

Alexandricat? Cleocatra? A Ptolemaic House of Bast

Archaeologists found a temple of Bast in Alexandria, Egypt, near the Mediterranean Sea. It belonged to the Ptolemaic Queen Berenike II and dates to the 3rd Century BCE. This is even more exciting than just any temple find, because it's the first part of a complex that belonged to the lost Ptolemies' palace at Alexandria—the palace that eventually belonged to Cleopatra VII 200 years later!