Ma’ahes started out as a god who catches and punishes prisoners, and was shown on temple walls running alongside the pharaoh’s war chariot. During Ramses II’s reign, actual lions had that job—Ramses had at least two lion pets, who went with him into battle and took a few heads of their own. (Chomp!)
Ma’ahes appears in tombs as both the protector of innocent souls and the punisher of the evil ones. His knives could be your friend… or your very worst enemy.
It’s not always easy to tell who Ma’ahes is, and that’s not just a modern problem. Since forever, Ma’ahes has been confused with his brothers, Nefertem and Shezmu, as well as a Nubian lion god of kings called Apedemak. He is also occasionally confused with, or considered a form of, other lion gods such as Shu and Anhur. Because of these confusions, he also took on some of those gods’ symbols, including perfume, oil, wine, wind, sunlight, and storms. After all, why not?
Maahes (no apostrophe this time) is a “notorious monster” cat boss in Final Fantasy XI. Ooh. That probably scares people. But if it doesn’t… his Chaotic Eye attack ought to!
Maahes (again no apostrophe) is an important character in the Dream-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. It’s a sad story, though.