Aset in the Fayyum

Wesir and Aset were honored in the Fayyum as early as the Middle Kingdom and continued through the New Kingdom, Late Period, and Greco-Roman period. Wesir, Aset and Sobek-Heru were honored here as the “Osirian triad” of this region.

The Wilbour papyrus from the XX dynasty mentions a small chapel or temple to Aset called “Per Aset, Mut Netjer” or “House of Aset, Mother of God.” One of Her epithets here was “Aset, the Great, Mother of God.” She was honored here as the mother of Sobek/Heru-sa-Aset and the wife of Wesir.

Sobek was identified with Heru-sa-Aset (as Sobek-Heru or Heru-Sobek) since at least the XII dynasty. There is also evidence for a syncretic deity Sobek-Wesir (Sobek-Osiris) who took the form of a mummified crocodile. There is also a syncretic form of Sobek-Ra-Wesir.

Wesir here is associated with the willow for his regenerative powers via vegetation and for containing his body as his coffin. This may have been a part of the Aset’s mourning for Wesir festivals recorded here. In the Book of the Fayyum it mentions, “Wesir, Foremost of the Land of the Lake, Who comes from Herakleopolis, guided on his path by his sister Aset.”

Aset was also honored at the Soknopaiou Nesos Temple in the Fayyum with the epithets Aset Nepherses (with the Beautiful Throne) and Nephremmis (of the Beautiful Arms). Along with Sobek, She was honored with Heru-sa-Aset and Wesir. She has a couple festivals listed at this temple.

1st Akhet/Thoth/August
19-Procession and Purification of Aset, of the Beautiful Arms (Isis Nephremmis) and Heru-sa-Aset (Harpokrates)

3rd Akhet/Hethara/October
17 to 20-Festival of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses)

4th Akhet/Koiak/November
8 to 17-Festival of the Marriage of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses), the Great Goddess

1 Peret/Tybi/December
1-Festival of the Foundation of the Temple of the Goddess Aset, of the Beautiful Arms (Isis Nephremmis), the Great

2 Peret/Mechir/January
12 to 24-Festival of Roses/Rhodophoria

3 Shomu/Epiphi/June to 4 Shomu/Mesore/July
26 of 3 Shomu to 15 of 4 Shomu-Festival of the Birth of Aset, with the Beautiful Throne (Isis Nepherses), the Great Goddess

4 Shomu/Mesore/July
26 of 4 Shomu to 4 of Extra Days-Festival of the Foundation of the Temple

At Medinat Medi, Aset-Renenutet was honored alongside Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset. Within the Third Greek Hymn of Isidoros, there are two festivals mentioned: 20 of Pachons and Thoth. The hymn mentions to give the gods libations, offerings and sacrifices.

1st Akhet/Thoth/August
20-Feast of Aset-Renenutet, Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset

1 Shomu/Pachons/April
20-Feast of Aset-Renenutet, Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset

Sources

Britcault, Laurent. “Isis Nepherses” in Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years Part 1: Studies Dedicated to the Memory of Jan Quaegebeur. edited by Willy Clarysse, Antoon Schoors and Harco Willems. (Peeters, 1998), 522-527.

Capron, Laurent. “Déclarations fiscales du Temple de Soknopaiou Nêsos: éléments nouveaux,” in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Bd. 165, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany). (2008), pp. 133-160.

Vanderlip, Vera Frederika. The Four Greek Hymns of Isidorus and the Cult of Isis. Canada: A. K. Hakkert, 1972.

Zecchi, Marco. “Osiris in the Fayyum.” Fayyum Studies: Volume 2. Sergio Pernigotti and Marco Zecchi, ed. Ante Quem and Dipartimento di Archeologia dell’Università di Bologna, 2006.
pages 122-124; 126-127; 131; 132-133; 133-134; 136;

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