- Cult Center: Sais
the western Delta
Neith was a goddess of the hunt. She may have also been a war goddess.
Her worship dates from pre dynastic history. In early times she was
called 'mother of the gods' and 'Great Goddess'. She was considered the
guardian of men and gods.
Later, Neith was seen as a protector of
the dead, she is often seen standing with Nephthys at the head
of coffins. Or assisting Isis, Nephthys, and Serqet to guard the Canopic jars. As 'Opener
of the Ways', she was a guide in the underworld, a female Anubis. In
the Eighteenth Dynasty she took on the attributes of Hathor, as a
protector of women. As a creative deity she was said to be the wife of Khnum at
Elephantine. She was appealed to for her wisdom as an arbitrator during
the great quarrel of Horus and Seth.
Neith assumed the role of state deity
during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, when the kings of Sais repeled the
invading Assyrians and reunited Egypt. This period lasted for about a
century and a half and the tendency in art and religion was to try to
regain the glories of the past. This was a suitable time for the
worship of an ancient goddess.
- Representation: Neith was pictured as a woman wearing the red crown
of Lower Egypt, holding a bow and crossed arrows. Her cult sign was a
shield and crossed arrows. Occasionally she was represented as the
great cow, mother of Ra.
Varied with time period. Mother of Sobek, Isis, Horus and Osiris. Or
mother of Ra. The pharaoh Nectanebo II of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty,
claimed her as his Mother. Wife of Khnum.