Chronicles of the Lawgiver: Glossary

cubit – 45.72 centimeters (about 18 inches). The average length from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger of a grown man.

hem-netjer – Servant of the god, these were the common priests of the temples of Egypt. They made the offerings and assisted at ceremonies and processions. They could enter the Noas where the god’s image was kept, and they controlled who entered the temple.

irt ht procedures – The awakening, washing, and preparation of an Egyptian god to meet the new day so that they could receive their petitioners.

kher heb priest – The lector priest who read the ritual and religious texts during temple practices.

khenerit – Women who assisted in worship at temples as singers and sacred musicians. They sang hymns and played their sistra to drive away evil during the temple rituals and prepare a favorable place for the god to inhabit. They did not reside in the temple but lived with their families and led a normal life. They were required for service on specific days and then only for a few hours, and were released from their duties after the ceremonies.

Ma’at – The Egyptian concept of law, morality, truth, and justice rolled into one, which maintained the proper balance and order of all things. When personified, Ma’at was a goddess who regulated the stars, seasons, and actions of mortals and deities. This feminine stabilizing force, from the moment of creation, drew order out of the roiling chaos. Everyone, even pharaohs as well as the gods themselves, was subject to the demands of Ma’at.

mesniti – The Egyptian blacksmith or metal worker. An important member of a large estate, he could do everything from fix a plow, to repair a sword or spear, or craft rough offerings (stelae) like the ones used by Asati to make her offering to Hapi.

nehet tree – A common sycamore tree that existed in all Egyptian districts. When full grown the width of its canopy can be equal to its height; therefore they were highly prized for their shade.

papyrus – A tall reedy plant that grew along the banks of the Nile and its tributaries. Used for everything in Egypt from boats and baskets to making paper.

pure-priest – The priest responsible for the morning’s irt ht procedures. He had to maintain ritual purity and because the duty was so demanding, all of the senior priests took turns.

river unit – A long unit of measure equal to 20,000 cubits or about 10.5 kilometres.

sau-priest – Worked protective magic, preparing amulets and potions.

seer-priest – Interpreter priests, their office was prophetic in nature, since they read the signs and portents and interpreted dreams.

shaduf – Device for lifting water, it used the principle of leverage and a rotating pivot.

Sirius (Alpha Canis Majoris) – The brightest star in the sky, Canis Major, the Greater Dog, represented Orion’s hunting dog and was commonly called the “Dog Star.” Visible for a part of the year from within Egypt, when it appears at dawn for the first time, it signals the expected rising of the Nile and the beginning of the inundation.

sistra – A long handled musical instrument with a large hoop at the end, which was strung with beads and small cymbals on cords that stretched across its face. It sounded similar to a tambourine when struck along its rim and the Khenerit used its noise to drive away evil during temple ceremonies.

toilet – Everything it took to get ready to appear in public, especially the intricate makeup worn by both men and women, in particular Egyptian royalty. Everything had to be done perfectly and touched up whenever necessary.

wa’eb priest – Priestly (hem-netjer) assistant who performed the maintenance of the temple and assisted in its rituals. All priests began as wa’eb as they started their course of study. Some priests stayed at this level for their whole life.

Wedjat Eye – The most powerful magic symbol in ancient Egypt that was often formed into amulets and worn for protection.

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