ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: Meretseger
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also Mertseger, Meresger
    The goddess of the pyramidal peak. She was the guardian of the necropolis in the Valley of the Kings. In this domain of hers she avenged misdeeds by striking criminals and oath-breakers blind, but she was also known to be merciful towards the repentant. The workers at Deir el Medina called her Peak of the West after the place where she lived. The draughtsman Neferabu dedicated a stela to her in which he describes his punishment by the goddess and her forgiveness:
Made by the servant in the Place-of-Truth, Neferabu, justified.
[I was] an ignorant man and foolish,
Who knew not good from evil;
I did the transgression against the Peak,
And she taught a lesson to me.
I was in her hand by night as by day,
I sat on bricks like the woman in labor,
I called to the wind, it came not to me,
I libated to the Peak of the West, great of strength,
And to every god and goddess.
I called upon my Mistress,
I found her coming to me as sweet breeze;
She was merciful to me,
Having made me see her hand.
She returned to me appeased,
She made my malady forgotten;
For the Peak of the West is appeased,
If one calls upon her.
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.2, p.108
Amennakht stela     On the stela of Amennakht both the supplicant Amennakht as well as the goddess are depicted without eyes, probably not an oversight on the part of the artist but a reference to her striking people blind.
The inscription reads:

Stela of Amennakht, 20th dynasty, Deir el Medina
Picture courtesy British Museum

Praises for your spirit, Meretseger, Mistress of the West, by the Scribe of the Place of Truth, Amennakht true-of-voice; he says: 'Be praised in peace, O Lady of the West, Mistress who turns herself to grace! You made me see darkness in the day. I shall declare your power to other people. Be gracious to me in your grace!'
Translation: British Museum
    Meretseger was depicted as a woman, in the shape of a cobra or of a scorpion with a woman's head.

Meretseger as a coiled cobra
Stela of Paneb, 19th dynasty

    A purely local deity, she disappeared with the cessation of royal burials at Thebes during the 21st dynasty.

© October 2005
Update: August 2009

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