Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Molefi Kete Asante
Maat represents the personification of a cluster of concepts that introduce the world to abstract ideas of philosophy, such as order, truth, balance, harmony, justice, reciprocity, and propriety. Represented in ancient Egyptian literature as a goddess, Maat is unlike the familiar goddesses of Hathor, Nebhet, and Auset, in that she was more a concept than a goddess to be worshipped. It was believed by the ancient Egyptians that Maat existed as long as Ra existed and that when the universe was created it was only Maat with Ra. Without Maat, chaos would reign, evil would conquer, and injustice would be the state of the world; thus, it was necessary that Maat exist from the beginning of the universe and come into being as the food of Ra. Because Maat was harmony and order, she was what was correct, and she represented the way things had to be done. Once humans ...