Hapi

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Other Names:

Hapy, Ahephi, Hap, Hep



Meaning of Name:

“Running One,” probably referring to the current of the Nile.



Hieroglyphics:

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Titles:

“Lord of the Fishes and Birds of the Marshes"

Hap-ur ("The Great Nile")

“Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation”

"Lord of Neper (Grain)"


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Family:

Hapi’s wives were thought to be Nekhbet, Meret, and Wadjet. Occasionally he was said to be the father of Ra.



Hapi is ancient not only to us of the modern world, but to the Egyptians as well. In fact, hep, the root of Hapi's name, is probably an ancient name for the Nile. Since the river provided the essentials for life in the desert, Hapi, as its patron, symbolized the fullness of life. The annual flooding of the Nile was sometimes referred to as the “Arrival of Hapi” - the inundation was also referred to as a "large" or "small" Hapi.


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All creatures were said to rejoice at his arrival: frogs croak, bulls bellow, and crocodiles roar. During Akhet, the inundation, statues of Hapi were carried about through the towns and villages so that the people could honor and pray to him. A great deal of hymns were composed in honor of this god. Hapi’s life-giving waters were also credited with a role in reviving the murdered god Osiris, who came back each year with the barley. A text records that 1,089 goats were sacrificed to Hapi as thanks for a good harvest.



Though obviously male and with a beard, Hapi was pictured with full breasts, long hair, and a large belly, as representations of the fertility of the Nile. His skin was blue or green, and he was always adorned with marsh flowers such as lotuses and papyrus plants. Hapi was often pictured carrying offerings of food or giving libations of water from a vase, and attended to by river-spirits in the form of frogs and crocodiles.


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A popular depiction of Hapi was two figures binding together a lotus and a papyrus plant – representing the union of Upper and Lower Egypt. As a god of the northern Nile, Hapi was depicted wearing papyrus plants, a symbol of Lower Egypt, on his head. In this form, he was called "Hapi-Meht." The Nile-god of Upper Egypt was "Hapi-Reset" and wore lotus plants (a symbol of the south) on his head.



Very rarely Hapi was pictured as a man with a double-goose head, or as a hippopotamus. Even Akhenaten, the "heretic king," could not banish Hapi completely as he did with the other gods. Instead, he tried to suggest that Hapi was an incarnation of the Aten.


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Feast and Holy Days:

September 28th (Creation of the Nile: Feast of Hapi)

December 15th (Rituals in the Temple of Hapi)



Quotes from the Book of the Dead and other sources:

Hymns of Hapi



Egyptian Deities - H