Bast

From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
Revision as of 21:23, 23 October 2017 by Old Dickens (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bast
Blank.jpg
Name Bast
Race Goddess.
Age Immortal (as long as there are cats in the world.)
Occupation The Cat-Headed Goddess of Cats.
Physical appearance An attractive woman from the neck down and a tabby cat from the neck up.
Residence Dunmanifestin (manifested in Djelibeybi during the Time of the Gods.)
Death
Parents
Relatives
Children All cats are her metaphorical children, and given the habits of female cats, possibly her actual children too
Marital Status single
Appearances
Books Pyramids, The Unadulterated Cat
Cameos The Last Hero


The Cat-Headed Goddess of Cats.

She is thought by other Gods to be responsible for all the half-eaten rodents and small birds found in inconvenient and inaccessible places in Dunmanifestin. She is also the source of a popular name for cats, after a fashion... the cry of "You Little Bast!", or something similar, may be heard anywhere there are prized gardens and incontinent cats.

Annotation

In Roundworld Egyptian mythology, Bast is an ancient solar and war goddess, worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. The center of her cult was in Per-Bast (Bubastis in Greek), which was named after her. Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, and consequently depicted as a fierce lioness. Indeed, her name means (female) devourer. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was a solar deity also, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.

Later scribes would sometimes rename her Bastet, a variation on Bast consisting of an additional feminine suffix to the one already present, thought to have been added to emphasise pronunciation. But since Bastet literally meant (female) of the ointment jar, Bast would gradually became thought of as the goddess of perfumes, earning the title perfumed protector.In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife, the association with Bastet having been the mother of Anubis, was broken years later when Anubis became Nephthys' son.

This gentler characteristic, of Bastet as goddess of perfumes, together with Lower Egypt's loss in the wars between Upper and Lower Egypt, led to a decrease in her ferocity. Thus, by the Middle Kingdom she came to be regarded as a domestic cat rather than as a lioness.