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Seshat, a very ancient goddess who was believed to be the sister and more commonly the wife of Thoth, was the deity of writing and measurement until such functions were ascribed to her husband. She was called the "Lady of Books," or celestial librarian, and was the patroness also of arithmetic, architecture and records, although she shared these functions with Thoth. Seshat was essentially a royal deity belonging to the pharaohs alone. Thus when temples, royal edifices, were being established Seshat and the pharaoh were shown together stretching the cord to measure out their dimensions. As recorder, she wrote down the name of the king on the leaves on the Tree of Life, near which she dwelt, thus giving him immortality; and she marked the duration of the king's earthly life on the notched palm branch that she carried, having calculated the length of his days. In this capacity she seemed to have associations with Anubis.

The deity was generally depicted as a woman wearing a flower or star emblem on her head, together with the uraeus of her royal connections. Seshat was dressed in a leopard skin, and held a pen and a scribe's ink palette. A.G.H.


Ions, Veronuca, Egyptian Mythology, Feltham, Middlesex, Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., 1968. p. 87

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