Khentiamentiu (or Khentyamentw) was an ancient god of the necropolis at Abydos. It is thought that his temple at Abydos, founded in the late Predynastic period, was the first to be built there. The sun set (died) in the west and rose (was reborn) in the east so the name, which means “foremost of the westerners”, refers to the dead, not a geographical location. He was depicted as a man swathed in bandages (like the mummiform Osiris) wearing the crown of upper (southern) Egypt.

He is referred to in the necropolis seals of Den, and was often mentioned during the Old Kingdom. However, as time progressed his position as the guardian of the Abydos necropolis and his role as the deity representing the dead king was absorbed by Osiris, and his funerary role was to some degree absorbed by Anubis. His later appearances are largely as the combined deity Asir-Khentyamentiu.

Khentyamentiu may have himself replaced an older god, Wepwawet (“the opener of the ways”) who was also syncretised with Osiris.

Copyright J Hill 2010