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Seshat
Seshat
Cult Center: N/A
Deity of: Wisdom, Writing, and Mathematics
Consort: Thoth
Sibling: Maat (persumably)
Symbol: Papyrus, Pen, Leopard ski
Parents: Ra or sometimes Thoth
Offspring: none

Seshat (also known as Safkhet, Sesat, Seshet, Seshata and Sesheta) was the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, knowledge and writing. She was seen as a scribe and chronicler and her name means "she who scrivens or she who is the scribe". Her emblem which emanates from the headband is obscure: the seven pointed star or rosette which above is a bow like symbol.

Usually, she is shown holding a palm stem, bearing notches to denote the recording of the passage of time, especially for keeping track of the allotment of time for the life of the pharaoh. She was also depicted holding other tools and, often, holding the knotted cords that were stretched to survey land and structures.

She is frequently shown dressed in a cheetah or leopard hide, a symbol of funerary priests. If not shown with the hide over a dress, the pattern of the dress is that of the spotted feline. The pattern on the natural hide was thought to represent the stars, being a symbol of eternity, and to be associated with the night sky.

As early as Dynasty II, she assists the King, Khasekhemwy in hammering boundry poles to the ground for the ceremony of 'stretching the cord'.

Much of this knowledge was considered quite sacred and not shared beyond the ranks of the highest professionals such as architects and certain scribes. She also was responsible for recording the speeches the pharaoh made during the crowning ceremony and approving the inventory of foreign captives and goods gained in military campaigns. In the old kingdom, she had the responsibility of recording herds of cattle, donkeys, sheep and goat by King Sahura (Dynasty V). Seshat is shown recording names and details of war prisoners in the Temple of Senwosret I. During the New Kingdom, she was involved in the Sed festival held by the pharaohs who could celebrate thirty years of reign.

Later, when the cult of the moon deity, Thoth, became prominent and he became identified as a god of wisdom, the role of Seshat changed in the Egyptian pantheon when counterparts were created for most older deities. The lower ranks of her priestesses were displaced by the priests of Thoth. First, she was identified as his daughter, and later as his wife. However, as late as the eighteenth dynasty, in a temple constructed during the reign of Hatshepsut, there is an image of the pharaoh directing Thoth to obtain answers to important questions from Seshat.

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