‘And all large and small cattle’ - Is there a ‘zoogony’ in the Religious Hymns of the New Kingdom (ca. 1539-1077 BC)?

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Animals are part of the Creator deity’s demiurgical activity. This feature is explicitly mentioned in some religious hymns of the New Kingdom (ca. 1539-1077 BC), with greater or lesser details given. Indeed, this creative outcome can be mentioned alone (e.g., Hymn of Tura, 22), together with anthropogeny - that is, the creation of humans (e.g., Cairo CG 58038, VIII.2) - or even in the context of the so-called “catalogue of creatures”, where their creation is presented alongside with both humans and deities (e.g., BM EA10684 recto, VII.5-6). The words mnmn.t and aw.t, often translated as “big” and “small” “cattle/herds/flocks”, respectively, are the most common terms in reference to this phenomenon. However, one may also find mentions to other elements of the animal kingdom, such as fish (rm.w), birds (Apd.w; qy.w), mice (apn.w) and various reptiles and insects which translation is often tricky to precise (e.g., apnn.t, xnws, Ddf.t, pwy, among others). Furthermore, the references to this process range from a simple mention to more in depth accounts with stronger naturalistic and faunistic concerns (e.g., Great Hymn to Aten, 6-10; Berlin ÄM 6910, 8-9; TT 158(5), 3-4). In this paper, I intend to ponder on the possible meanings and interpretations that arise from the references to this creative outcome in this corpus. I shall consider not only the utilized vocabulary to indicate different animals but also the distinct ways through which they are said to come into existence as well as their ontological position in the hierarchy of beings conveyed by these sources. By evaluating the place of animals in these texts, this talk will navigate through a core question: can one refer to “zoogony” in the religious hymns of the New Kingdom?
Period9 May 202116 May 2021
Event titleCurrent Research in Egyptology 2020-2021 Rhodes
Event typeConference
LocationRhodes, Greece


  • Ancient Egypt
  • Religious Hymns
  • Zoogony
  • Ancient Egyptian Religion
  • Ancient Egyptian Literature
  • Creator
  • Creation