Ancient Egypt Demons and Spirits part 5 In Christian churches

Apr 4, 2011

Ancient Egypt Demons and Spirits part 5 In Christian churches

By the first millennium BC, Bes was thought of as a life-force. He was equated with Shu, god of the air, who filled the cosmos with the breath of life. This pantheistic form of Bes absorbed the protective attributes of many other deities
In palaces and homes, and even on temple buildings, Bes fulfilled the same function as the hideous and sometimes obscene gargoyles found on many Christian churches. His nakedness, his ithyphallic form, his hideous face and stuck-out tongue were all meant to repel hostile forces

Bes's dancing and noisy music-making were also thought to drive away evil powers Both men and women seem to have dressed up in Bes masks to perform protective dances further
Bes's curious physique and the fact that his face is often shown from the front, in defiance of the normal rules of Egyptian art, have led to suggestions of foreign origin. Some scholars have compared him with the dancing pygmies known to have been imported into Egypt for protective and funerary rituals in the third millennium BC.

Others have suggested that Bes came from Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq). He does have much in common with the Mesopotamian lion-demon La-Tarak, who was invoked as a protector against witchcraft.
From the mid-second millennium BC onwards, demons with foreign names are quite common in Egyptian magical texts. They are usually hostile beings who have no useful function and must be driven away.
Nubian, Libyan and Syrian magicians are mentioned in spells, but foreign demons nearly all have names derived from the Semitic languages spoken in Syria-Palestine. A class of samana demons was blamed for various types of sickness, particularly fevers and infectious diseases. Knowledge of foreign myth and magic may have come to Egypt with immigrants and captives from Syria-Palestine.
Spells to counteract these demons sometimes invoke Syrian deities.
One of the main techniques for dealing with demonic possession was to find a being powerful enough to drive the demon out, or at least to negotiate with it. This type of Egyptian magic was thought to work against foreign demons even on their own territory. 


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