Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt

“There is clear evidence for the symbolic importance of cattle in Predynastic Egypt, but little evidence of the particular importance for the cow, as opposed to the bull. The most cited ‘evidence’ for a Predynastic cow goddess is that of the Naqada II to First Dynasty depictions of a bovine head shown facing forward in conjunction with five stars, one on each ear and horn, and one on top of the head.

Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt
Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt

This head is similar to a later, little-known deity, Bat, a bovine with curled horns and human-shaped eyes and mouth; it is also sometimes said to be like Hathor. Bat represented the seventh nome… She is shown, for example, in one of a series of triads depicting King Menkaure of the Fourth Dynasty accompanied by Hathor and one male or female nome deity. Thus, as far as we can tell, she was never a major deity. Hathor, as we shall see was a major goddess who sometimes took cow form.”

Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt, by Carolyn Graves-Brown