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serpent goddesses, since they often symbolized the two Egypts in this form.287

Like her sister Nekhbet, Uzoit was a deity of childbirth and was also a celebrated magician, frequently identified with Isis. She assisted Nephthys in hiding Isis and in caring for her in the papyrus swamps, and with Nekhbet and other goddesses she superintended the birth of Horus, subsequently acting as one of his nursing mothers.288 Her own city, the chief seat of her worship, was at Buto, and here, in her great temple, Pe-Dep, she conducted a renowned healing oracle (Herodotos, ii, 8384). During Ptolemaic times, the pr-mst, 'birth-house,' also called the ht-'bw, 'house of purification,' in which women are supposed to have remained fourteen days after delivery, was attached to the temples of goddesses. Uzoit was called 'mistress of all the gods,' or 'Uzoit, Lady of heaven,' and was assimilated with Hat-hôr, Nekhbet, and Isis. Her symbol was the uræus, and she wore the asp on her headdress, being called the 'Uræus Goddess.' The Greeks identified her with Leto.289

Minor deities of Child-birth and Nursing.

In addition to the two principal divinities of child-birth, Nekhbet and Uzoit, there were several minor goddesses, connected with the lying-in chamber, who gave easy births and cared for the child, but whose personalities were not clearly developed and defined. Among the more notable of these were Ḥeqet, the later consort of Khnûmu, a birthdeity and 'goddess of the cradle';200 Meskhenet ('birthplace'), who though associated with the dead, is more frequently mentioned in connection with the birth287 Müller, op. cit., pp. 132, 361.

288 Budge, op. cit., i, 441.
289 Ib., i, 438; ii, 285, 441-444.
290 Müller, op. cit., p. 52.


chamber and with the care of children, and who was sometimes regarded as a feminine deity of fate;201 and Renenutet, a divinity of nursing, 202 who was identical with the asp-headed Rannu, and who was called a divine nurse of princes.293 Meskhenet, the name of the brick or couple of bricks on which women crouched in giving birth, was a symbolic goddess, personified under a sign on the head interpreted as a bicornate uterus (?). In the texts she is coupled with Khnûmu or with Renenutet.294

291 Müller, op. cit., pp. 52, 95, 137; also Budge, op. cit., ii, 144, 359; Maspero, Popular Stories, p. 36; id., Études égyptiennes, i, 27.

292 Müller, op. cit., pp. 66, 116.

293 Wilkinson, op. cit., iii, 213-214. Note.-Others are mentioned in ancient Egyptian literature but they do not appear sufficiently definite to be included here. See A. M. Blackman, "Some Remarks on an Emblem upon the head of an Ancient Egyptian Birth-Goddess," in JEA, 1916, iii, 199-206.

294 Spiegelberg, Aegyptologische Randglossen zum Alten Testament, pp. 19-25.







HE people of Babylonia and Assyria believed that disease was supernatural in origin and that it was

due to the activities of unseen enemies, particularly to the presence of some spirit, such as a ghost or a demon, in the body of the sufferer. Often it was superinduced by a deity or by a human sorcerer, and cure was dependent upon the dislodgment and expulsion of the evil being by some higher, divine power. The treatment of disease was, therefore, a matter which pertained to religion and which was under the direction of the priests.

General views of the people.

The ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, which flourished in pomp, magnificence, and power in the valleys of the Tigris and of the Euphrates, and which included the surrounding countries, extending their control to the Mediterranean and into Egypt, referred every phenomenon of nature to supernatural causes, believing that all nature was controlled by superhuman or divine beings, or spirits, who might be either good or evil in intent. Man sought to obtain the blessings which nature provided and to escape the misfortunes of life which malicious beings of the spirit-world brought upon him; and to this end he invoked the gods, who were his natural friends and protectors, and who were generally more powerful than the

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