Library Friday: The ROM Far Eastern Library/Thoth
Disclaimer: I’m gonna start this off by saying all the research I did focused on the Heliopolis sect of AE religion. Godslave is about the Ennead, not the Ogdoad. So if you were hankering for Memphite, I’m sorry. This nonsense is hard enough to keep track of just with these 9 losers.
Hey babies! So you’ve seen that button on the side of the comic, right?
Library Friday? What does that mean?
I’ll tell ya what it means! It’s means a mother flippin’ adventure!
When Godslave was still just concepts and doodles, I went knee deep into research about Egyptian Mythology. And when it comes to research, I’m very lucky to live in a metropolis like Toronto. Within walking distance of my house, there’s: two major universities that feature Egyptian studies, a large reference library, and
The Royal Ontario Museum was a BIG help to this comic. Or, more specifically, their library! They have a Far Eastern Library that has loads of out of print/circulation books. It’s mostly kept open for university students, but it’s open to the public. And, unlike the museum, free!
If you’re the type to get hot and bothered by ‘old book smell’, welcome to heaven. And if you’re the type that needs to get some work done about Ancient Egypt, you are also in your own personal heaven! Say I want to read up on the Duat- the Egyptian Underworld
I found 8 books that talk about the Duat. Want to look up hieroglyphics?
Here. Have a shelf.
Depending on the time of year the library can either be empty, or jammed with university students. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to get here early (opens at 1 PM) to get yourself a good spot! I was concerned about bring my laptop and getting an outlet, but they’ve got you covered there too!
BUT. I digress, I did in fact come to the library to do some research. Not just paw around with my camera phone.
Today, I wanted to look into Thoth
Thoth. God of Wisdom. Divine Physician. Thoth, excellent of understanding. Silver Aten. Lord of Time (NOBODY SAY IT). Tongue and Heart of Ra.
In Egyptian his name was Djehuty. Because it’s sometimes translated as ‘He of Djhut’, it’s thought his cultural worship origin is ‘Djhut’. No one really knows where it is, but it’s thought to be somewhere along the Delta. This is backed up by the fact that the Delta had the emblem of an ibis.
hey how ya doin
While rocking the house at Hermopolis Magna, his cultural worship centre, the people merged him with the baboon deity Hedj Wer. Which is why Thoth is associated with both animals. Originally a moon deity, the people soon began to associate him with writing and wisdom. Thoth became known as the god who invented writing and all the different languages, and who wrote 42 books containing all of humanity’s knowledge. He was also said to record everything that happened every day and reported it to Ra every morning.
His birth is a bit puzzling. In the first version of the Conflict of Horus and Set, he’s said to be born from the semen that’s called out of Set; making Horus the father. In the later version of the myth, Thoth is already there and– straight up- takes the semen that comes out of Set and makes a crown out of. Yeah. Yeah.
Another version of his birth, from The Handbook of Egyptian Mythology,
‘Ra was said to have created the baboob form of Thoth to shine in the night sky and the ibis form to act as a messenger between heaven and earth.’
Thoth is also protected and served Osiris’ family. He helps Isis reassemble Osiris’ body, and teaches her the spell to resurrect him. He’s the one that cures Horus of the poison from Set’s scorpion, and defends Horus at the trial against Set. Speaking of trials, they’re kind of Thoth’s thing. Thoth is up-held as an example of the law. An incorruptible judge, and ‘gracious peacekeeper or merciless executioner’.
As for Thoth’s family, again, it gets vague. There’s a few mentions of the librarian Goddess Seshat
Seshat is either his wife or his daughter. It’s unclear. There’s also mention of a Nehemtawy as his consort, awarded to him after he brought back the wayward Eye of Ra.
(I tried to find an image of Nehemtawy and instead found this. Enjoy)
In the Duat, Thoth’s role changes over time. In the Pyramid texts, the dead kings would fly to the heavens on the wings of Thoth. In the Middle Kingdom, he has a mansion that serves as a safe haven for the spirits and teaches them spells to defeat the demons of the Duat. In the New Kingdom he oversees the union of Ra and Osiris. Finally, in the Book of Going By Day, Thoth records the results of the scale that weighs the deceased’s heart against the feather of Maat.
That’s about all I could get in two hours about Thoth, but this is your basic breakdown. If you want to know more, there’s a book dedicated to the guy called Thoth The Hermes of Egypt by Patrick Boylan. The books I used were
Handbook of Egyptian Mythology
The Gods of Symbols of Ancient Egypt
The Gods of Ancient Egypt
The complete Gods and Godesses of Ancient Egypt
Alright, I’ll see you guys next Friday! If there’s a specific God or subject in Ancient Egypt you want me to look up, let me know!