Imagine there’s a man with a lion’s head standing behind you, with two giant knives in his hands. Sorry to break it to you, but he’s not your imagination: He’s Ma’ahes, the original Avenger, and the biggest, baddest, most brutal god northern Egypt has to offer. (Down south, toward Nubia, there’s another guy just like him called Apedemak. Maybe they’re the same god, but nobody’s got the guts to ask.)
Ma’ahes, Maa-hes, Maihes (Mihos or Miyeses to the Greeks)
True Beside Her, Lord of Slaughter, The Punisher, The Red Lord, Son of Sekhmet, Lion-O
Taremu (Leontopolis, modern Tell el Muqdam) or Per-Bast (Bubastis, modern Zagazig)
I kick butts and take names. (I’m a war god. What do you expect?)
Battlefield Earth (the place, not the movie)
Kill ‘em all and let Ra sort ‘em out
Nefertem and sometimes Imhotep are my brothers
Snoop Lion (just kidding)
Apep (Apophis). I really hate that guy… er, snake… er… Whatever he is, I hate him.
War, not love
“Always run from a knife and rush a gun.”
Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice) by Joseph Delaney
Can I Kick It? by A Tribe Called Quest
There are a lot of lion gods, but only one shows up with a knife in each hand. His name is Ma’ahes, and you’d better hope he hasn’t come for you.
Build: In human form, I'm a man with a short-maned lion’s head. On special occasions, though, I bust out my full-on lion appearance.
Complexion: As a man, I'm light red-brown, like all Egyptian men in paintings. As a lion, it's all about my sandy-coloring.
Hair Color: Dark brown if I'm wearing a wig; otherwise, sand-colored fur
Facial Hair: Fuzzy lion hair in fuzzy lion form
Scars/marks/tattoos: Nothing official, but let's just say you don't play with knives this much and come away unscathed.
Jewelry and accessories: As a man, I don golden bracelets and sometimes add a golden collar around my neck.
Clothing: In human form, I prefer nothing more than a short white linen kilt. As a lion, I let it all hang out.
Armor: Sometimes I put on a scale mail shirt, like Horus the Elder wears.
Type of Weapon: All knives, all the time.
Wherever evil hides
Wherever the weak and innocent need protecting
Knife and gun shows
Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019
Ma’ahes doesn’t show up until about halfway through ancient Egyptian history. Is it because he’s really Apedemak, or another lion god from somewhere else? Egyptologists are still arguing, but we do know he showed up under his own name about this time.
Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019
At Ta-remu (Leontopolis, or “Lion City” in Greek), Ma’ahes had a temple full of pet lions. Not only did they get to wander wherever they liked, they got a daily banquet fed to them by singing priests and priestesses. It must’ve been like going to the zoo and a concert at the same time. (We bet the pet crocodiles at Sobek’s temple up the Nile must’ve been jealous.)
Jan 1, 1970 - Jan 1, 1970
When the Libyan pharaoh Osorkon III built a temple for Bast at Per-Bast (Bubastis), he was thoughtful enough to include a second temple for her son Ma’ahes. It was the biggest temple for Ma’ahes in Lower (northern) Egypt, a great place to hang out with lots of temple cats, and it was very popular with Greeks and Libyans as well as the native Egyptians. Good on ya, Osorkon.
Dec 20, 2019
A magical papyrus written in Demotic (a type of hieroglyphs) asks Ma’ahes to send spirit lions to gather ghosts and other spiritual beings, so a magician can talk to them. It also says that these spirit lions can force anyone to tell the truth. (It’s that easy? Why doesn’t everybody have a spirit lion lie detector?)