Friday, September 4, 2009

5000 Years Later: Mother Goddess Rule in Early Egypt; Neith is pictured as a vulture goddess.

Merneith (Meritnit, Meryet-Nit or Meryt-Neith) was a consort, a regent, and possibly, the fourth pharaoh of Ancient Egypt during the first dynasty. Her rule was in the thirtieth century B.C., for an undetermined period of time. Merneith’s name means Beloved by Neith and her stela contains symbols of that deity. Generally, she is believed to be the wife of Djet and the mother of Den.[1]

It is acknowledged widely that Merneith possessed an enormous amount of power and influence in her time, but there is academic debate as to how much power she had and, to whether she was a regent or pharaoh. In either event, she gained more power than any previous Egyptian woman about whom details are known.

Her name does appear on at least one list of pharaohs among the fragmentary records of the first dynasty, and she was buried with the full honors—traditionally afforded only to pharaohs at that time.