Study Guide

Hatmehit Gossip

The "dolphin" that Hatmehit is supposed to take the form of is really a Nile perch or tilapia fish, but there is a real Nile Dolphin… It's just an Egyptian five-star cruise ship.

Hatmehit's city, Mendes (Per-Banebdjed in hieroglyphs and Tell el-Ruba in modern Arabic), used to be on a branch of the Nile called the Mendesian branch, but it dried up long ago. Now it's buried in the middle of nowhere, underneath fields and a small village. Penn State University has a team that's been digging up Mendes ruins since 1990.

Mendes was a wild city. It had more than one harbor, huge temples, a thriving wine and perfume industry, and its temple areas were burned to the ground at least once.

It's easy to be confused about who Hatmehit is. She has her own name, but she's also the mother of Horus the Younger (like Isis), she wears Isis's crown, she's married to Banebdjed (a form of Osiris, who's married to Isis), and she sits on a throne (like Isis). Eventually, the Greeks in Egypt decided to be done with confusion and just make her a form of Isis. But by then, they were making everybody Isis, so who knows if they were right?

A fish goddess in an oasis? Yep. Hatmehit was also worshipped at the Kharga Oasis in Egypt's western desert. Good thing there were fishes in the pools there to keep her company!

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