Shrine of Hathor, Goddess of Miners

12th century BCE Egyptian shrine dedicated to Hathor, goddess of miners, at Timna. Her face appears on two pillars of imported white sandstone. Three bowls were for ritual ablution baths before entering the shrine.

Hathor is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. Hathor was worshiped by royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as “Mistress of the West” welcoming the dead into the next life. In other roles she was a goddess of music, dance, foreign lands and fertility who helped women in childbirth, as well as the patron goddess of miners.
The cult of Hathor predates the historic period, and the roots of devotion to her are therefore difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults which venerated fertility, and nature in general, represented by cows.

The Midianites (Midianites a people mentioned in the Torah and in the Qur’an) are believed to have effaced the faces of Hathor after the Egyptians abandoned the area, and dedicated a copper serpent to their god. Amongst other votives was a copper idol of a phallic god (map).

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