Definitions

Musō

Agrypnus

Agrypnus is a genus of click beetle.

Sacred to the Ancient Egyptian Goddess Neith

The Click Beetle and ancient Egypt was a considered sacred to the Goddess Neith

Ludwig Keimer (ASAE, 31:151 (1931)) suggested the "shield" of Neith is, in fact, the two hindquarters of the beetle particular to Neith (Agrypnus notodonta LATR), or "click beetle." The luminous features of some insects in the family Elateridae may have become associated in religious terms with Neith as an "opener of the way", and may be the basis of the "Festival of Lights" associated with this goddess, as mentioned in late Greek sources. Its reproductive cycle, which includes burial of its larvae within the earth, only to emerge as full adults, can also find similarities within the creation and funereal mythology surrounding this goddess.

Further information on the Neith symbolism

HENDRICKX, Stan, Two Protodynastic Objects in Brussels and the Origin of the Bilobate Cult-Sign of Neith, JEA 82 (1996), 23-42. (fig., pl.).

New publication and discussion of two fragmentary stone objects of Protodynastic date in the Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (inv.nos. MRAH E.578 and E.6261, together with a further fragment from one of them, found a few years ago in the excavations of the German Archaeological Institute at Umm el-Qa’ab.

The carved decoration of both includes representations of the click Beetle (Agrypnus notodonta Latr.), sacred to Neith. From their iconography it is suggested that the bilobate cult-sign of Neith originally consisted of the image of two click beetles, flanking two crossed arrows attached to a pole. Three different symbols of Neith can be distinguished during the Protodynastic Period: the bilobate object, two crossed arrows, and two bows tied together. The original meaning of the bilobate object seems to have been forgotten before the end of the Old Kingdom, and during the Middle Kingdom it lost its original form and was henceforward depicted as an oval. The significance given to it at that time remains open to discussion, but its traditional identification as a shield is most probably the result of the far more recent assimilation of Neith to the Greek goddess Athena.

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