Menhet with Khnum at Esna copyright Olaf TauschMenhet

Menhet (also known as Menhit, Menchit or Menkhet) was a Lion Goddess from Nubia. Her name means “the one who sacrifices” but she was also known as “the slaughterer”. As a war goddess she led the pharaohs troops into battle, but in her calmer aspect she was associated with the Nebty (“the two ladies” who represented the pharaohs rule of Upper and Lower Egypt), and was also a personification of the north wind. She is depicted as a woman with the head of lion wearing a solar disc and the royal Ureas (snake).

She was associated with Neith (an ancient war Goddess) in Esna and was also compared with the “Eye of Ra” (particularly Tefnut, Sekhmet , or Hathor). In Upper Egypt she was worshiped as the spouse of Khnum and the mother of Heka (Hike), while in Thinis she was the consort of Anhur (Onuris). In Heliopolis she was identified with Isis and in Leotopolis she was considered to be an aspect of Tefnut. In fact, It is likely that the story in which Tefnut runs away to Nubia and is brought back by Shu and Thoth was originally written about Menhet and Anhur (particularly as the latter’s name actually means “he who brings back the distant one”.

copyright J Hill 2010