Who was the Egyptian goddess Mut?
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Who was the goddess Mut?

Sekhmet
The lion-headed goddess Sekhmet,
one way of showing the
Egyptian goddess Mut
(Vatican Museum, Rome)

Mut means "mother" in Egyptian, and in Ancient Egypt people worshipped Mut as a mother goddess beginning as early as the beginning of the Old Kingdom, about 3000 BC. Mut was the mother of everything, the whole world, so people thought of her as being the ocean, because they thought in the beginning of time everything came out of the ocean. All of the other gods were born from Mut (like Gaia in Greece).

Precinct of the temple of Mut
A plan of the temple of Mut at Karnak
showing the crescent-shaped lake

People worshipped Mut in temples all over Egypt and Sudan to the south, but Mut's most important temple was at Karnak. The pharaoh's wife usually led the rituals for Mut, but when the pharaoh was a woman, her daughter did the rituals for Mut. When Hatshepsut was pharaoh about 1500 BC, she rebuilt Mut's temple at Karnak much bigger and better than before. Hatshepsut described herself as a descendant of Mut.

By the time of the Middle Kingdom, though, about 2000 BC, people began to combine Mut with other Egyptian mother goddesses like Sekhmet (the lioness protector of Upper Egypt) and Hathor, the cow-goddess wife of Ra. In the New Kingdom, about 1500 BC, Egyptian people ended up thinking of Mut as being just the same as the queen goddess Isis.

Learn by doing: Egyptian afterlife project
More about ancient Egyptian gods

Bibliography and further reading about the Egyptian goddess Mut:

Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, by Leonard Fisher (1999). For younger kids.

Isis and Osiris, by Geraldine Harris (1997). A retelling of the story for kids.

The Egypt Game (Yearling Newbery), by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (reprinted 1985). A great kids' story about kids who pretend to be Egyptian gods and goddesses.

Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice, by John Baines, David Silverman, and Leonard Lesko (1991). Pretty hard going, but it will tell you everything you need to know about Egyptian religion.

Isis in the Ancient World, by R.E. Witt (1997). Mostly about the spread of Isis worship to Greece and the Roman Empire.

More about the Egyptian gods
More about ancient Egypt
Quatr.us home


For Presidents' Day, check out our articles about Washington in the Revolutionary War and Lincoln in the Civil War. Find out about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the other Amendments, and how Washington promised to include freedom of religion.
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Proud of your class page, homework page, or resource page? Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Cool stuff we've been enjoying: Looking for birthday gifts? Check out these new Chromebooks - all the computer you need for only $229.00!. Then study in peace with these Beats wireless headphones - for the exact same price! When you're done, show off your presentation or watch a movie with this excellent smartphone projector for only $39.99!


Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
ADVERTISEMENT
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 22 February, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT