March 8, 2012

Maat Goddess and The Blinding of Truth

The Blinding of Truth
Maat’s abstract nature did not lead easily to detailed stories in which she had, as did other gods, a role suggestive of human behavior. Her philosophical bearing had to be loftier than the common behavior of most gods. As a result she is often mentioned in myths, but she was not assigned major stories in which she was the central character. The lone exception proves the point. In the morality story of the conflict between Truth and Falsehood, the abstract qualities of Maat are prominent, but the character depicting them is male, not female. That a myth might use the other sex to depict Maat serves to demonstrate the abstract level at which the concept and the goddess were considered. The text, from about 1200 B.C., is badly damaged, but the story line is reasonably clear.

A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead written on papyrus showing the "Weighing of the Heart" in the Duat using the feather of Maat as the measure in balance
One day many years ago Truth borrowed a valuable knife from his brother, Falsehood, but as accidents will happen, he lost it. He explained the mishap to his brother and offered to replace it with another of equal quality. Falsehood had always been jealous of his brother and saw this as an opportunity to revenge years of imagined injuries. He refused the replacement and praised the missing knife: “Its blade came from the copper of the Mountain of El, is handle from the woods of Koptos, its scabbard from the tomb o the god, and its belt from the herds of Kal.” Sensing he had the advantage, Falsehood pressed his claim before a court of nine gods. Truth had no choice but to confess he had lost the knife, and the court found in Falsehood’s favor. For punishment, he insisted that Truth’s eyes be blinded and that Truth be assigned to remain at falsehood’s door.

So they lived for many days, but Truth’s presence was a reminder to Falsehood of his own guilt. One day he called Truth’s two menservants aside and told them: “Abduct your lord and take him into the desert and cast him to the fierce lion that has many dangerous lionesses as mates, and they will devour him.” The two men took their master and escorted him out of town, but on the way he pleaded with them, “Don’t leave me to the lions in the desert. Give me bread and leave me in the hills where I may be found and cared for.” Out of loyalty, the men did as he asked and returned to Falsehood to say that his orders had been carried out exactly and his brother was no more.

Truth wandered in the hills for several days, but one morning a woman, traveling away from home, passed him and was fascinated by his beauty, surpassing that of any man she had ever known. On returning home she sent her servant to bring the handsome man to her house to serve as doorkeeper. Once cleaned up, his beauty overpowered her and that evening she summoned him to her chambers. They spent hours together in her bed and that night she became pregnant.

In due course she delivered a healthy son, who grew to be like no other boy in the land. In physical form he was more like a god than a mortal, and in scholarship he far excelled his schoolmates. Out of jealousy, however, they mocked him: “Whose son are you? You don’t have a father.”

So the boy went to his mother and asked about his father. She answered, “Do you see the blind doorkeeper? He is your father.” Full of compassion, the boy took the man into his own chambers and sat him in a chair and placed a footstool under his feet. He brought food and drink and then begged the man to tell his story.en the boy heard how Falsehood had unfairly treated Truth and had him blinded without cause, he was scarcely able to contain his anger.


The boy set out to avenge his father’s treatment. He took a wondererfully large ox of beautiful appearance, ten loaves of bread, a staff, and a sword. He traveled with his ox to Falsehood’s land and approached Falsehood’s herdsman. “I have traveled far and have far to go. Would you watch over my ox for me while 1 g0 t0 town?” When the herdsman asked what his pay would be, the boy gave him the bread, staff, and sword, and then disappeared.

Months went by, and one day Falsehood visited his fields. When he saw the magnificent ox, he told the herdsmen to prepare it for Falsehood’s table. The man objected and told his master that the ox was not his to kill. Falsehood replied, “See, all the rest of my cattle are for you to use. Give one of them to the owner.” So it was done as he commanded.

As soon as the boy heard, he came and demanded, “Where is my ox? I can’t see it among your herd.” The herdsmen told him he could take any of Falsehood’s cattle as replacement, but the trap was sprung. He, of course, refused and demanded that Falsehood be tried before the same court of gods that had sentenced his father. In front of the court the boy claimed that there was no ox as wonderful as his “Is there any ox as large as mine? If it should stand on the Island of Amun, the tip of its tail would lie upon the Papyrus Marshes, while its horns would stretch between the Eastern and Western Mountains, the Great River would be its spot for a bath, and it would give birth to sixty calves every day.”

The court heard the testimony and accused the boy: “What you say is false. We have never seen so large an ox.”

Then the boy had his victim. He asked the court, “Is there a knife with a copper blade from the mountain of El, wooden handle from Koptos, scabbard from the god’s tomb, and belt from the herds of Kal?” The boy accused Falsehood, “Judge between Truth and Falsehood. I am Truth’s son and have come to avenge his wrong.”

Falsehood was quick to deny wronging his brother: “By Amun and by the king, if Truth be found alive, I should be blinded U* both eyes and set as doorkeeper at his house.”

The boy immediately produced his father and the court saw truth in what he said. Falsehood was sentenced to the most severe punishment, given one hundred blows and five open wounds, blinded in both eyes, and set as doorman at Truth’s house.

And so the boy avenged his father and Truth triumphed over Falsehood.

Many of the vignettes in the Book of the Dead show Maat’s important role during the trial of the dead, but there are other places that still today contain depictions of her. From Abu Simbel to the Valley of the Kings, she can be found in wall paintings and carvings; she is easily identified by the feather, usually on her head but sometimes held in her hand. She may also be found in the Egyptian Museum in numerous forms and depictions.

Related Web Search :
  • Maat Goddess
  • Maat Egyptian Goddess
  • Ancient Egyptian Gods
  • Ancient Egyptian Gods And Goddesses
  • Ancient Egyptian Gods for Kids
  • List Of Ancient Egyptian Gods

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

realy helpful. thanks!!!!!!

Post a Comment

Hi, If you found any copyright content in Ancient Egypt blog please don't hesitant to send an email : ancientegyptblog@gmail.com and will delete within 24 Hours

ShareThis

Follow us

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...