Monday, 18 September 2017


“I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.” ― Neil Gaiman 

Apedemak (or Apademak), was a lion-headed warrior god worshiped by the Meroitic peoples inhabiting Nubia. A number of Meroitic temples dedicated to this deity are known from the Butana region: Naqa, Meroë, and Musawwarat es-Sufra, which seems to be his chief cult place. Interestingly, inscriptions at Musawwarat al-Sufra are in hieroglyphs, not in Meroitic script, indicating a close link with Egyptian religion.

In the temple of Naqa built by the rulers of Meroe Apedemak was depicted as a three-headed leonine god with four arms, and as a snake with a lion head. At Naqa, walls are filled with reliefs of Apedemak together with Egyptian deities, forming a triad with Isis, with Horus as their son. Apedemak is also represented together with Hathor and Amon. The god is also depicted as a man with a lion head. Apedemak was a minor deity in the ancient Egyptian religion, being instead a product of the Meroitic culture.

Apedemak was called “The Lord of Royal Power”. In Nubia, with the kingdoms of Cush, the royal throne was always depicted as a lion. Temple reliefs could show kings subdued by lions, and even eaten. There are great similarities between Apedemak and the obscure Egyptian god, Maahes, who also represented a specific religious dimension in the oases of the Western Desert. Also, it is possible that the cult of Sekhmet, Egypt’s lion goddess, was introduced from Nubia, and related to that of Apedemak.

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