Scientists have discovered the earliest evidence of a non-human deity, the god of science, in ancient Egypt.
The discovery, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that Egyptian deities were also associated with astronomy and other sciences.
Dr Matthew Scholten, from the University of Oxford’s Department of Archaeology, and his colleagues analysed a series of hieroglyphic inscriptions dating back to about 3200 BC that depict a “Goddess of the Sun”, and a “God of the Moon”.
They found that the goddess is known as “Bala-Hok” in Egyptian texts, and that she is associated with the goddess Hathor, the sun goddess of ancient Egypt, and the moon goddess Isis.
The goddess “is also depicted with a human form” and is described as being “tall and of light skin”, and as having “large eyes”.
The goddess Hathors name was not used, but it was used in the texts as an adjective to describe her beauty.
She is also described as “the daughter of the sky”.
Dr Scholsten said: “This is the first time we have any evidence of Egyptian deities having any association with astronomy.”
This discovery opens the door to more insights into Egyptian religious practices and belief systems, which have long been difficult to interpret.
“The earliest reference to a god like Hathor and Osiris in ancient literature is the Iliad.
We think that these deities were both important figures in astronomy and cosmology.”
Egyptian religions have been very influenced by the Greeks and Romans.
They also had a rich cosmology, and so we have a strong tradition of Egyptian gods and goddesses associated with astronomical objects and celestial phenomena.
“We hope that the new findings of these inscriptions will shed more light on this ancient Egypt.”