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
Hathor was one of the oldest and most comprehensive neters or deities of ancient Kemet. She was known as the great mother; as protector of women and childbirth; as patron of music, dance, merriment, and sexuality; as nurse and healer; as “Queen of the West” who received the setting sun and protected the dead; and as a bloodthirsty avenger who acts out the commands of Ra. She was a personification of the Milky Way, the Daughter of Ra, and the wife of Heru. Hathor was depicted as a cow, woman, or some combination thereof: fully bovine, a woman with cow's ears, a cow with horns and a disk on its head, or a woman with horns and a disk. In keeping with the cosmology of the people of Kemet, early associations of Hathor were never fully displaced by later ones. The result is a complex array of attributes, myths, stories, ...