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Sothis
Ancient Egyptian: Sopdet
Modern: Sirius
M44N14t
H8
spdt
"Bright One"
Sopdet
Period of
worship
PredynasticRoman Period
Cult center Elephantine
Titles "Bringer of the New Year and
the Nile flood"
Symbol(s) Star
Association Sirius star
Appearance Anthropoid, star
Egyptian
equivalent(s)
Isis, Satis, Anubis
Spouse(s) Sah
Issue Sopdu

Sothis is the Greek name of the star Sirius and its ancient Egyptian personification as an Egyptian goddess, known to the ancient Egyptians as Sopdet. She was conflated with Isis and Satis as a goddess and Anubis as a god.

Heliacal Sothis Rising[]

Sirius

The Star Sirius

During the early period of Egyptian civilization, the heliacal rising of the bright star Sirius marked the annual flooding of the Nile.[1] The first of the three seasons Akhet (season of the flood) then commenced, hence the heliacal Sothis rising marked the Egyptian civil New Year. The high significance of the star resulted in its deification early on in ancient Egyptian history.

Due to the 365-day Egyptian civil calendar, the heliacal rising of Sothis drifted apart by one civil day every 4 years. It took 1461 years for the astronomical phenomenon to reoccur on the first civil day of Akhet, new year's day in the civil calendar. This long interval is known as the Sothis Cycle.[2]

References[]

  1. Wilkinson 2003, p. 167.
  2. Peake & Fleure 1927.

Bibliography[]

  • Peake, H/Fleure, J., 1927: Priests & Kings. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Wilkinson, R.H., 2003: The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.
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