Author: Rita Lucarelli

Abstract

This paper gives an overview of the beliefs in demons as perceived by the ancient Egyptians during the later phases of the Pharaonic period and under the Greco and Roman rule. It focuses in particular on the so-called “guardian demons” represented and named on the walls of the Ptolemaic temples such as the temple of Hathor at Dendera. These figures of protectors are in fact later reinterpretations of the demonic guardians of the doors and regions of the netherworld as described in the so-called Book of the Dead. Through this and other examples taken from iconographic and textual sources mentioning demons, it is discussed how the conception and ritual practices concerning “demons” changes significantly in Greco-Roman Egypt as compared to the earlier Pharaonic period.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions