Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cat Goddess Bastet Temple: Egypt Announces Find Of Ancient Temple

CAIRO — Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that may have been dedicated to the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Tuesday. The ruins of the Ptolemaic-era temple were discovered by Egyptian archaeologists in the heart of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.

The city was the seat of the Greek-speaking Ptolemaic Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt for 300 years until the suicide of Queen Cleopatra.

The statement said the temple was thought to belong to Queen Berenice, wife of King Ptolemy III who ruled Egypt in the 3rd century B.C.

Mohammed Abdel-Maqsood, the Egyptian archaeologist who led the excavation team, said the discovery may be the first trace of the long-sought location of Alexandria's royal quarter.

The large number of statues depicting Bastet found in the ruins, he said, suggested that this may be the first Ptolemaic-era temple dedicated to the cat goddess to be discovered in Alexandria.

This would indicate that the worship of the ancient Egyptian cat-goddess continued during the later, Greek-influenced, Ptolemaic period, he said.

Statues of other ancient Egyptian deities were also found in the ruins, he added.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist, said the temple may have been used in later times as a quarry as evidenced by the large number of missing stone blocks.

Modern Alexandria was built squarely on top of the ruins of the classical-era city and many of its great temples, palaces and libraries remain undiscovered.

The temple was found in the Kom el-Dekkah neighborhood near the city's main train station and home to a Roman-era amphitheater and well preserved mosaics.


Amy and The House of Cats said...

This is very cool! We love cats and ancient Egyptian stuff so this combines both - how awesome!

Kas said...

Yes I like this too, nice to know cats have always played such an important role.

Ginger Jasper said...

Love the way the Egyptians worship the cats. Mum got a small gold one when there and loves it.. Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.. HUgs GJ x

The Island Cats said...

Very interesting!!!

Brian said...

See, been saying it all along, we're supposed to be worshiped!

Sweet Praline said...

How interesting! It's very nice to know that we kitties have been worshipped since the beginning of time.

Fin said...

A cat goddess! This makes so much sense.

meowmeowmans said...

We saw this article earlier today, too. A cat goddess? Makes total sense to us! :)

Anonymous said...

Cool! I'd love to see more about it....I'll have to Google it.

TT said...

Cats rool!! Dis jus goes to say its been known fer a long long loooooooooooooonng time!