UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Werethekau ‘Great of Magic’ in the Religious Landscape of Ancient Egypt

Mekawy Ouda, AM; (2014) Werethekau ‘Great of Magic’ in the Religious Landscape of Ancient Egypt. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

Full text not available from this repository.


This research investigates the materiality and scope, within the religious landscape of Egyptian archaeology, of Werethekau “Great of Magic”, as attested from the third millennium BC to the fourth century BC as (a) a term for different material objects (crowns, and vulture and cobra amulets), (b) epithet of other deities, and (c) name for a separate goddess. My research foundation is the corpus of dynastic period attestations of the compound weret+hekau as most secure tangible starting-point. In this study I explore the idea of the transformation of a ritual object into an epithet of other deities and finally into a separate deity with her own cult. I consider in turn the iconography of Werethekau, her epithets, her crucial role in the coronation, and her cult. Her iconography reveals aspects of her identity (name, form, function), relationship with other deities, attributes, gestures, and issues associated with gender. The epithets of Werethekau outline her divine presence in the linguistic dimension; here I introduce a new methodology for identifying ‘epithet hierarchy’. Her principal epithet was “lady/mistress of the palace”, demonstrating an intimate connection with kingship. Similarly, coronation scenes show her as the deity charged with crowning the ruler, alongside solar deities. My dataset contradicts assertions by Egyptologists that Werethekau had no priests or cult; indeed, a series of sources for priests, temples, and offerings, add up to a strong definition of cult. In sum, context-focussed study of (i) distribution of sources for the name, (ii) iconography, (iii) epithets, and (iv) cult, gives a specific map of the places and times where Werethekau was considered a separate deity, and where she was not. In the process, the study establishes models for future research into ancient Egyptian religion, by identifying specific criteria for two dominant questions: what is a deity? and what is a cult?

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Werethekau ‘Great of Magic’ in the Religious Landscape of Ancient Egypt
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1418954
Downloads since deposit
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item