Why were Cats so Important in Ancient Egypt?Wild Ciencias Channel :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBgTJ_aPb8YT4FuLZ6WU2w♦Consider to Support the … Black cats in mythology became the historically cited companion of witches and therefore cats became notably reviled. It was thought that one could tell the time of day by looking into a cat’s eyes and this belief is still maintained in China. In today's Kattenstoet (Cat Parade), this was commuted to the throwing of woolen cats from the top of out houses and also the people from the Middle Ages often used to suck on the wool as a sign of good luck. Cats were so highly valued that, according to Herodotus, when an Egyptianhouse caught fire, the people first concerned themselves with rescuing their cats and only then thought to put the fire out. This list may not reflect recent changes (). She is shown riding a chariot, driven by 2 large gray cats. Evidently, the cat would grow tired of Dickens’ attention being directed toward the page instead of to feline companionship and petting (Morris, 167). Last modified November 17, 2012. Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Treasury of Chinese Folk Tales: Beloved Myths and Legends from the Middle... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. , Folklore dating back to as early as 1607 tells that a cat will suffocate a newborn infant by putting its nose to the child's mouth, sucking the breath out of the infant.. The last common ancestor of wildcats and domesticated cats lived more than 100,000 years ago” (Derbyshire). Get the best of Insurance or Free Credit Report, browse our section on Cell Phones or learn about Life Insurance. While magical cats are nothing new, it is interesting to note that even the Great Bard, Shakespeare spoke of Graymalkin in Macbeth. Hello Kitty, created by Yuko Yamaguchi, is a contemporary cat icon. During some periods in Egypt's history, cats were even seen as divine creatures. According to legend, the `M’ design on the forehead of the tabby cat was made when the prophet blessed his favourite cat by placing his hand on its head. In 1233 Pope Gregory IX composed in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama” really denounced black cats as hellish. During some periods in Egypt's history, cats were even seen as divine creatures. . The cats would go to the inns where the fishermen were staying and beg for scraps. The legend goes that a cat, sitting outside of the temple of Gotoku-ji, raised her paw in acknowledgement of the emperor who was passing by. The power of the church in dictating popular opinion had been broken by the Protestant Reformation (1517-1648 CE) and in the Age of Enlightenment people could choose to believe what they wanted to regarding cats or any other subject. The goddess cat was named Bastet, also known as Bast. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The concept, known as “transmigration of soul” is also found in Egypt. Egyptian Cat Deities . Feline Forever: Cat history and mythology - learn more about the position of cats in ancient Rome. They continue to be valued companions for people across the world today and, in this, these individuals carry on the legacy of the ancients in their devotion to, and appreciation for, the cat. The goddess cat was named Bastet, also known as Bast. Sleek, cunning, and a little detached, cats seem to have one foot in the spirit realm, their piercing eyes always gazing just … Cats were obviously important, and there were enormous cults, which revered these felines. Cats are magical creatures.  Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis, where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories. Freyja was in charge of death and the afterlife and known for practicin… Buddhist, Burmese and Siamese cultures believed that cats acted as hosts for certain …  It is a tribute to their perceived durability, their occasional apparent lack of instinct for self-preservation, and their seeming ability to survive falls that would be fatal to other animals. Books The status of the cat, therefore, was further enhanced by its association with a figure of divinity. Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. (2012, November 17). :57–58, Housecats seem to have been extremely rare among the ancient Greeks and Romans; the Greek historian Herodotus expressed astonishment at the domestic cats in Egypt, because he had only ever seen wildcats. Irusan, King of the Cats Long ago lived a Irish poet named Senchan Torpeist, who was so known for his ability to roast people with his rhymes that even William Shakespeare wrote about him. Dr. Kitchener’s findings built upon the evidence of cat’s domestication provided by the discovery in 1983 CE of a cat skeleton in a grave dating to 9,500 BCE on the island of Cyprus. Legend in Japan has it that a cat waved a paw at a Japanese landlord, who was intrigued by this gesture and went towards it. Another Japanese legend of cats is the nekomata: when a cat lives to a certain age, it grows another tail and can stand up and speak in a human language. The greatest example of Egyptian devotion to the cat, however, comes from the Battle of Pelusium (525 BCE) in which Cambyses II of Persia defeated the forces of the Egyptian Pharaoh Psametik III to conquer Egypt. In Medieval Ypres, cats were used in the winter months to control the vermin infesting the wool stored in the upper floors of the Cloth Hall (Lakenhall). Exporting them out of the country was illegal, and killing one was a crime punishable by death. In 1233 Pope Gregory IX composed in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama” really denounced black cats as hellish. January 15, 2020 0 comments Lucky Cats. A Persian tale claims the cat was created magically. A freelance writer and former part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. He joined Mr. Fitzwarren in his business and married his daughter Alice, and in time became the Lord Mayor of London. The Egyptians, reluctant to defend themselves for fear of harming the cats (and perhaps incurring the death penalty should they kill one), and demoralized at seeing the image of Bastet on the enemy’s shields, surrendered the city and let Egypt fall to the Persians. , One English folk tale in which a cat is given a heroic role is Dick Whittington and His Cat, which has been adapted for many stage works, including plays, musical comedies and pantomimes. Freyja’s cat-driven chariot. Since ancient times, their supernatural grace has been observed, revered (as well as demonized), and incorporated into art and mythology. According to Egyptian mythology, gods and goddesses had the power to transform themselves into different animals. The Norse goddess Freyja, deity of love, fertility, war, wealth, divination …  Pliny linked them with lust, and Aesop with deviousness and cunning. Bastet, the form of the name that is most commonly adopted by Egyptologists today because of its use in later dynasties, is a modern convention offering one possible reconstruction. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. Cats are sacred to Freya, the goddess of love and beauty, one of the original fertility … It should not be assumed that the common people would have read Vox in Rama and responded to it, nor even that the bull was widespread (it was issued only to Henry III, Count of Sayn, in Germany) but the opinion of the church toward cats would certainly have filtered down from the highest levels to the lay-people of the congregations. Superstition #3: Black Cats Are Good Luck. Cats are mentioned in the two great literary epics of ancient India, The Mahabharata and The Ramayana (both c. 5th/4th century BCE).  In the latter country, a black cat entering a house or ship is a good omen, and a sailor's wife should have a black cat for her husband's safety on the sea. In Norse mythology, Freya, goddess of fertility, war, and death, would lead Valkyries into battle to collect fallen soldiers, riding on a chariot led by two formidable blue cats: Bygul and Trjegul. Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods in Norse mythology. Cats are not native to Cyprus. 360-63). Cat can hang itself on a collar, or get tangled in it – the first is obvious, the latter becomes a problem if the cat becomes scared, runs somewhere and becomes lost – the collar can grow into the flesh, I’ve seen enough cases like this. Frey is the god of rain, … Cats were obviously important, and there were enormous cults, which revered these felines. Dembeck, in a conjectural reconstruction of the history of the Persian cat, suggests that it was Cambyses who brought from Egypt the strain that was later developed into the furry Persian cat. :77–79 In Ovid's Metamorphoses, when the gods flee to Egypt and take animal forms, the goddess Diana (the Roman equivalent of Artemis) turns into a cat. Fixed-net fishing was popular on the island after the Edo Period and fishermen from other areas would come and stay on the island overnight. Cats first came to North America, it is thought, in 1749 CE, from England, to help control the mice and rat population but they seem to have been largely considered utilitarian until the Victorian Age when they became cherished pets and, in the United States, this was largely due to the influence of Godey's Lady's Book and Sarah Hale's contributions to it. Dick was a rich man. She also protected humans from venomous animals, and since venomous creatures, such as snakes and scorpions were (and are) in abundance in the Egypt… Long before trick-or-treaters and buckets full of candy, cats were often depicted as the supernatural companions of witches.  White cats, bearing the colour of ghosts, are conversely held to be unlucky in the United Kingdom, while tortoiseshell cats are lucky. It was a beneficial situation for both species: cats got a reliable source of prey, and humans got effortless pest control. Cats in Norse Mythology. Name. The export of cats from Egypt was so strictly prohibited that a branch of the government was formed solely to deal with this issue. Viking-era cats descend from the second wave, which began as early as 1700 B.C., as sailors began bringing cats with them on their ancient voyages for … Pages in category "Mythological felines" The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total. Humans tend to either love or hate cats. On the Internet, cats frequently appear often as memes and other humor; and on social media people frequently post pictures of their own cats. When he opened his hands toward Rustum, the warrior saw a small, smoke-grey kitten with eyes bright as the stars and a tiny tongue which darted like the tip of flame. As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in … Ancient History Encyclopedia, 17 Nov 2012. Cabbit, a fictional cat-rabbit hybrid often found in Japanese anime and manga Feline Forever: Mythology - cats in ancient Greece. The goddess cat in Egyptian mythology is well known in the world of mythology. Cats are thought to have been brought to Europe by Phoenician traders who smuggled them out of Egypt. In her fictional life, she is from the outskirts of London and a part of the Sanrio universe. She was a warrior goddess, who led the pharaohs in warfare. Why were Cats so Important in Ancient Egypt?Wild Ciencias Channel :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBgTJ_aPb8YT4FuLZ6WU2w♦Consider to Support the … https://www.ancient.eu/article/466/. In Japan, the flapping of the hand is a "come here" gesture, so the cat is beckoning customers. As first mother of all, Bast, the cat goddess of ancient Egypt had a very powerful role i… The medieval writer Walter Map (c. 1140-1210 CE) associated the cat with demonic forces in his work (although it is possible Map was being stirical) and there are records of cats being ritually killed in Cambridge England in the early 13th century CE. When a cat died, Herodotus writes, “All the inhabitants of a house shave their eyebrows [as a sign of deep mourning]. Cats in Norse Mythology Cats were the favorite animal of the fertility goddess Freyja, who was also the goddess of love and luck.  It is common lore that cats have nine lives. Breeding and having domestic cats turned into a fashion at the end of the nineteenth century. The Egyptians worshiped a huge pantheon of gods and goddesses, with the inclusion of various sacred animals. Ancient History Encyclopedia. During the Victorian Age (1837-1901 CE) cats were again elevated to the previous high standing they had enjoyed in ancient Egypt. But Mesopotamian cultures elevated the feline to god status. Although cats were kept by people in Greece and Rome, the appreciation for the animal as a hunter was not as great in those cultures owing to the Greek and Roman practice of keeping domesticated weasels for pest control. James Peter Allen vocalizes the original form of the name as buʔístit or buʔístiat, with ʔ representing a glottal stop. Desmond Morris writes, “Because the cat was seen as evil, all kinds of frightening powers were attributed to it by the writers of the day. The Persian soldiers painted images of cats on their shields, and may have held cats in their arms, as they marched behind the wall of animals. A city by the Nile delta, Bubastis, once worshipped a cat-headed goddess named Bast or Pasht, who was associated with happiness, pleasure, dancing and the warmth of the sun.  Even during later times, weasels were far more commonly kept as pets and weasels, not cats, were seen as the ideal rodent-killers. Many cats have guarded the Hermitage Museum/Winter Palace continually, since Empress Elizabeth's reign, when she was presented by the city of Kazan in Tatarstan five of their best mousers to control the palace's rodent problem. For centuries, folks in England believed that a cat is liable to … Here are just a few of the cats found in mythology. In many societies and cultures, it was believed that a surefire way to bring misfortune into your... Lucky Cats. There is also a small cat shrine (neko jinja (猫神社)) built in the middle of the Tashirojima island. Cat popularity in the United States grew appreciably after the Godey article. , Domestic cats were probably first introduced to Greece and southern Italy in the fifth century BC by the Phoenicians. , The lineage of today's cats stems from about 4500 BC and came from Europe and Southeast Asia according to a recent study. Farmers sought protection for their crops by leaving pans of milk in their fields for Freya's special feline companions, the two grey cats who fought with her and pulled her chariot. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Irusan, King of the Cats Long ago lived a Irish poet named Senchan Torpeist, who was so known for his ability to roast people with his rhymes that even William Shakespeare wrote about him. The Beckoning Cat image is thought to bring good luck when given as a gift and remains a very popular present in Japan. It was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in ancient Egypt, as since around 3100 BC veneration was given to cats in ancient Egypt. In 1836 CE, the brilliant editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale joined Godey's and greatly enhanced its reputation and circulation. The Maneki Neko of Japan is a figurine often believed to bring good luck to the owner. Reluctantly, Dick sent his cat. It is known that in ancient times some of the first saints were cat lovers. Domestic cats have their place along side the big cats in mythology, too. Frey & Freya. Government agents were dispatched to other lands to find and return cats which had been smuggled out. For example, a cat named Mimsey was used by MTM Enterprises as their mascot and features in their logo as a spoof of the MGM lion. Typically made … History and Mythology. The god Zeus seduced Alcmene and she became pregnant with Heracles. When a house caught fire, the Egyptians would concern themselves more with rescuing the cats than with anything else, often running back into the burning building or forming a perimeter around the flames to keep cats at a safe distance. Black cats and witches are an iconic Halloween pair, thanks to their long history dating back to ancient times. These cats often found their way into literature. The Pope’s proclamation started the persecution of cats right throughout Europe. Domestic cats have their place along side the big cats in mythology, too. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that wild cats indeed lived among the Mesopotamians over 100,000 years ago. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. When a family cat died, the people of the home observed the same grief-rituals as those for a human family member and cats were routinely mummified in the finest linens. It tells of a poor boy in the 14th century, based on the real-life Richard Whittington, who becomes a wealthy merchant and eventually the Lord Mayor of London because of the ratting abilities of his cat. Norse Legend. , Cats have been considered good luck in Russia for centuries. As was the case everywhere else, cats in India were found to be particularly useful in controlling the populations of less desirable creatures like mice, rats, and snakes and so were honoured in the homes, farms, and palaces throughout the land. In its own tiny grave 40 centimeters (18 inches) from the human grave was an eight-month-old cat, its body oriented in the same westward direction as the human skeleton. The goddess Bastet, commonly depicted as a cat or as a woman with a cat’s head, was among the most popular deities of the Egyptian pantheon. The cat was regularly considered a guardian of the home and was thought to be the special protector of valuable books. Legends from Thailand (Siam), Burma, and other Asian countries, have cats as the vessel that transports a monk’s or royal person’s soul to heaven after death. An ancient Chinese myth relates that, in the beginning of the world, the gods appointed cats to oversee the running of their new creation and, in order for communication to be clear, granted cats the power of speech. In Japan, the maneki-neko is a cat figurine who brings good luck into your home. Here’s a list of 21 most legendary cats in history: 1. Bastet was also defender of the chief male deity, Ra, a solar deity. She was the keeper of hearth and home, protector of women’s secrets, guardian against evil spirits and disease, and the goddess of cats. :79 Cats eventually displaced ferrets as the pest control of choice because they were more pleasant to have around the house and were more enthusiastic hunters of mice. Traditionally, historians tended to think that ancient Egypt was the site of cat domestication, owing to the clear depictions of house cats in Egyptian paintings about 3,600 years old. In modern-day Russia there is a group of cats at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. the Parthians exported the longhaired Persian cat (Dembeck, pp. Senchan found fault in everything that … A much later development in Greek appreciation for the cat is evidenced in the legend that the cat protected the baby Jesus from rodents and snakes and so is accorded the best of spots in a Greek home but, originally, they do not seem to have been regarded highly. Legends from Thailand (Siam), Burma, and other Asian countries, have cats as the vessel that transports a monk’s or royal person’s soul to heaven after death. , The Greeks later syncretized their own goddess Artemis with the Egyptian goddess Bastet, adopting Bastet's associations with cats and ascribing them to Artemis. If we consider lions as cats, the cult of the Lion-headed Goddess, Sekhmet, was prominent. After the seventeenth century, the history of cats changed once again. In this way, the first Persian cat came to be created as a token of gratitude to Rustum. The period of mourning was considered completed when the people’s eyebrows had grown back. Frey & Freya.  The usual ancient Greek word for "cat" was ailouros, meaning "thing with the waving tail",:57 but this word could also be applied to any of the "various long-tailed carnivores kept for catching mice". A symbol of good luck hence, it is most often seen in businesses to draw in money.  He is reported to have loved cats so much that, "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it". Some mistakenly assume that the domestication of cats first happened in Egypt about 4,000 years ago. Cats, however, were more interested in sleeping beneath the cherry trees and playing with the falling blossoms than with the mundane task of having to pay attention to the operation of the world. The character made its debut in 1974 and has since become a global staple of Japanese culture; the merchandise is available all over the world. They were never specifically sought out for domestication like dogs were but their coexistence with humans naturally developed from the mutually beneficial nature of the relationship, with their hunting protecting the food stores. She cats in history and mythology, was prominent evolved from ancient Egyptian cats, or a supernatural monster, spirit, at! … cats are generally held to be unlucky in the Near East around 7500 BC BC. Victorian age ( 1837-1901 CE ) cats were even seen as divine creatures after this event interest... Egypt worshiped the cat with ancient Egypt, out on campaign, one night a. 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