Hatmehyt (or Hatmehit) was a fish-goddess worshipped in the Delta area of Ancient Egypt, particularly in Mendes (Per-banebdjedet or place of Banebdjed). The standard for the Nome was the symbol of a fish, confirming Hatmehyt as the pre-eminent deity of the area. However, in later times her position was usurped by Banebdjed (an aspect of Osiris) who was considered to be her consort and was worshipped in the female form of Banebdjedet. She was absorbed by Isis (the wife of Osiris), leading to the view that she (as an aspect of Isis) was the mother of Harpocrates (Harpakhred, “Horus the child”).
Her name can be translated as “she who is in front of the fishes” or “Foremost of the fish”. This could either suggest that she was the most important of the (few) fish cults, or that she was considered to be the oldest fish deity. She was sometimes depicted as a fish (either a dolphin or a lepidotus fish) or a woman with a “Fish” emblem on her head.
copyright J Hill 2010