Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. [11] In the latter country, a black cat entering a house or ship is a good omen, and a sailor's wife should have a black cat for her husband's safety on the sea. [22], Cats have been considered good luck in Russia for centuries. While this theory has been disputed, there seems no doubt that a decrease in the cat population would result in an increase in the number of mice and rats and it is established that there was such a decrease in the number of cats prior to 1348 CE. The fishermen, feeling sorry for the loss of the cat, buried it and enshrined it at this location on the island. Legends from Thailand (Siam), Burma, and other Asian countries, have cats as the vessel that transports a monk’s or royal person’s soul to heaven after death. Enraged, Hera transformed Galinthius into a cat and sent her to the underworld to ever after serve Hecate. Mummified cats have been found at Bubastis and elsewhere throughout Egypt, sometimes buried with, or near to, their owners as evidenced by identifying seals on the mummies. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cat Mummyby Mary Harrsch (Photographed at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Calif.) (CC BY-NC-SA). The god Zeus seduced Alcmene and she became pregnant with Heracles. For centuries, folks in England believed that a cat is liable to … This list may not reflect recent changes (). Cats which have died are taken to Bubastis where they are embalmed and buried in sacred receptacles” (Nardo 117). When he opened his hands toward Rustum, the warrior saw a small, smoke-grey kitten with eyes bright as the stars and a tiny tongue which darted like the tip of flame. It has long been argued that the death of so many cats allowed the mice and rat populations to thrive and that the fleas these vermin carried brought about the Bubonic Plague of 1348 CE. Cat Magic, Legends, and Folklore Touch Not the Cat. Government agents were dispatched to other lands to find and return cats which had been smuggled out. The Romans respected the vermin-catching abilities of the domestic cat, but also saw them as exotic pets and sacred animals. Humans tend to either love or hate cats. When Fitzwarren's ship returned, it was loaded with riches. If the Phoenicians did bring the cat to Europe, as seems very likely, they may have also introduced the Greek association of the cat with Hecate. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. Viking-era cats descend from the second wave, which began as early as 1700 B.C., as sailors began bringing cats with them on their ancient voyages for … The historian Polyaenus (2nd century CE) writes that, after the surrender, Cambyses rode in triumph through the city and hurled cats into the faces of the defeated Egyptians in scorn. For centuries, folks in England believed that a cat is liable to … Feline Forever: Mythology - cats in ancient Greece. According to Sanrio, the official licenser, designer, and producer of Hello Kitty merchandise, the character is a cartoon version of a little girl. https://www.ancient.eu/article/466/. Here’s a list of 21 most legendary cats in history: 1. It tells of a poor boy in the 14th century, based on the real-life Richard Whittington, who becomes a wealthy merchant and eventually the Lord Mayor of London because of the ratting abilities of his cat. Name. Attracted by the cat’s gesture, the emperor entered the temple and, moments later, lightning struck the very spot where he had been standing. Black cats became the traditionally mentioned companion and hence cats ended up being especially reviled. If somebody is hurting your cat, best keep him indoors, you don’t know what this person is going to do next time. This cat, Meuzza, also features in another famous story in which Muhammed, called to prayer, found the cat asleep on his arm. Cats are sacred to Freya, the goddess of love and beauty, one of the original fertility … Mark, published on 17 November 2012 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. [16] Cats are rarely mentioned in ancient Greek literature,[16] but Aristotle does remark in his History of Animals that "female cats are naturally lecherous. Mar 15, 2014 - Find Cash Advance, Debt Consolidation and more at Asian-Antiquites.com. Ancient Egyptians highly worshipped and respected felines and protected them by law. In the Ramayana, the god Indra disguises himself as a cat after seducing the beautiful maid Ahalya as a means to escape from her husband. In Norse mythology the cat was closely associated with Freyja, the goddess of love, sex, attraction, and even crops. Unlike the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece or Rome, who looked human for the most part, Egyptian deities were often depicted as having the form of an animal. Senchan found fault in everything that … Cats first came to North America, it is thought, in 1749 CE, from England, to help control the mice and rat population but they seem to have been largely considered utilitarian until the Victorian Age when they became cherished pets and, in the United States, this was largely due to the influence of Godey's Lady's Book and Sarah Hale's contributions to it. Cats in History: Chinese Truth and Mythology - Playful Kitty. Asian-Antiquites.com is the site for Cash Advance. Others include Nambujinja in the Niigata Prefecture and one at the entrance of Kyotango City, Kyoto.[29]. [4] Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis,[4] where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories. The goddess cat was named Bastet, also known as Bast. Isis is often depicted as a female goddess accompanied by black cats. Queen Victoria of Great Britain, who had always kept dogs as pets, became interested in cats through the many stories of archaeological finds in Egypt being published regularly in England. The power of speech was then taken from the cats and given to humans but, as humans seemed incapable of understanding the words of the gods, cats remained entrusted with the important task of keeping time and so maintaining order. The first cat show in America (in 1895 CE) was so popular that it was held at the large venue of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Dr. Kitchener’s findings built upon the evidence of cat’s domestication provided by the discovery in 1983 CE of a cat skeleton in a grave dating to 9,500 BCE on the island of Cyprus. Some referred to Bastet as “Lady of Flame” and “Eye of Ra”.In ancient Egypt there was a death penalty for killing a cat. The cat in ancient Egypt was closely linked to the goddess Bastet who presided over the h… This list may not reflect recent changes (). She is shown riding a chariot, driven by 2 large gray cats. 11 cats from mythology You could opt for Leo, the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, or get really creative with one of these legendary cat-inspired names. Owning a cat, and especially letting one into a new house before the humans move in, is said to bring good fortune.[23]. The Romans regarded the cat as a symbol of independence and not as a creature of utility. Somehow the house cat was passed by in the Chinese Zodiac and the 28 Xing Xiu ( a system that divides […] Rather than disturb the cat, Muhammed cut the sleeve from his robe and left Meuzza to sleep. Knowing of the Egyptian’s love for cats, Cambyses had his men round up various animals, cats chiefly among them, and drive the animals before the invading forces toward the fortified city of Pelusium on the Nile. Long before trick-or-treaters and buckets full of candy, cats were often depicted as the supernatural companions of witches. Egyptian Cat Deities . The cultural depiction of cats and their relationship to humans is old and stretches back over 9,500 years. Cats were obviously important, and there were enormous cults, which revered these felines. They were associated with the goddesses Isis and Bastet. 1. After the seventeenth century, the history of cats changed once again. Get the best of Insurance or Free Credit Report, browse our section on Cell Phones or learn about Life Insurance. [11][12] Elsewhere, it is unlucky if a black cat crosses one's path; black cats have been associated with death and darkness. The Pope’s proclamation started the persecution of cats right throughout Europe. Frey & Freya. There is no historical evidence that Whittington had a cat,[21] In the tale, Dick Whittington, a poor orphan finds work at the great house of Mr. Fitzwarren, a rich merchant. This list of fictional cats in literature is subsidiary to the list of fictional cats.It is restricted solely to notable feline characters from notable literary works of fiction. Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods in Norse mythology. Pages in category "Mythological felines" The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total. In Japan, the famous image of the `Beckoning Cat’ (the maneki neko figure of the cat with one raised paw) represents the goddess of mercy. Cats are sacred to Freya, the goddess of love and beauty, one of the original fertility … The queen’s interest in the cat led her to adopt two Blue Persians whom she treated as members of her court. The association of the cat with ancient Egypt is well known. Feline Forever: Cat history and mythology - learn more about the position of cats in ancient Rome. In 1233 Pope Gregory IX composed in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama” really denounced black cats as hellish. Over time, the fishermen developed a fondness for the cats and would observe the cats closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns. A city by the Nile delta, Bubastis, once worshipped a cat-headed goddess named Bast or Pasht, who was associated with happiness, pleasure, dancing and the warmth of the sun. Cats In Mythology: Cats in mythology, especially as familiars have an extended and darkh historical past in western mythology. He joined Mr. Fitzwarren in his business and married his daughter Alice, and in time became the Lord Mayor of London. Cats were the favorite animal of the fertility goddess Freyja, who was also the goddess of love and luck.Freyja’s chariot was pulled by cats, specifically the skogkatt (Norwegian Forest Cat), which is larger and more powerful than most domesticated housecats. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. In an 1860 article, Hale wrote that cats were not solely for older women or monarchs and that anyone should feel comfortable in embracing the “love and virtue” of the cat. They looked for markers in mitochondrial DNA - a type of genetic material passed down from mothers to kittens which can reveal when wild and domestic cat lineages were most closely related.” This project was headed by Dr. Andrew Kitchener, a Zoologist at the National Museums of Scotland, who writes, "This shows that the origin of domestic cats was not Ancient Egypt - which is the prevailing view - but Mesopotamia and that it occurred much earlier than was thought. This find, made by the archaeologist Alain le Brun, was important because Cyprus had no indigenous cat population and it is unlikely that settlers would have brought a wild cat, by boat, to the island. The Norse god Freya (Freyja) drove a chariot pulled by two cats. Last modified November 17, 2012. As was the case everywhere else, cats in India were found to be particularly useful in controlling the populations of less desirable creatures like mice, rats, and snakes and so were honoured in the homes, farms, and palaces throughout the land. Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods in Norse mythology. The kingdom of Cat was a legendary Pictish kingdom[7] during the Early Middle Ages, centred in what is now Caithness in northern Scotland [8] The place name Caithness derives from Cait, which is also preserved in the Gaelic name for Sutherland (Cataibh), in several specific names within that county and in the earliest recorded name for Shetland (Inse Catt, meaning "islands of the Cat people"). Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. While the exact history of human interaction with cats is still somewhat vague, a shallow grave site discovered in 1983 in Cyprus, dating to 7500 BCE, during the Neolithic period, contains the skeleton of a human, buried ceremonially with stone tools, a lump of iron oxide, and a handful of seashells. Herodotus also relates that the Egyptians cared so much for their cats that they placed their safety above human life and property. As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in … Egyptian Cat Deities In ancient Egypt, black cats were held in the highest esteem because they resembled Bastet, the cat-headed Egyptian goddess of home, fertility, and protection from disease. It was thought that one could tell the time of day by looking into a cat’s eyes and this belief is still maintained in China. Bastet was also defender of the chief male deity, Ra, a solar deity. [15]:57–58[16], Housecats seem to have been extremely rare among the ancient Greeks and Romans;[16] the Greek historian Herodotus expressed astonishment at the domestic cats in Egypt, because he had only ever seen wildcats. This was also true in China where the goddess Li Shou was depicted in cat form and petitions and sacrifices made to her for pest control and fertility. The Egyptians worshiped a huge pantheon of gods and goddesses, with the inclusion of various sacred animals. Cats survived these frenzied superstitions better than many of their human companions and during the Enlightenment of the 18th century were elevated to the status of pampered pets. Breeding and having domestic cats turned into a fashion at the end of the nineteenth century. The first major Cat Show was held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871CE and appreciation of the cat was elevated to such a level that, for the first time, cats were given “specific standards and classes” which are still used to categorize felines in the present day (Morris, 148). Cats were first domesticated in the Near East around 7500 BC. In today's Kattenstoet (Cat Parade), this was commuted to the throwing of woolen cats from the top of out houses and also the people from the Middle Ages often used to suck on the wool as a sign of good luck. [19] Cats are often shown in icons of Annunciation and of the Holy Family[19] and, according to Italian folklore, on the same night that Mary gave birth to Jesus, a cat in Bethlehem gave birth to a kitten.[19]. 20 Dec 2020. When a family cat died, the people of the home observed the same grief-rituals as those for a human family member and cats were routinely mummified in the finest linens. In early Egyptian hieroglyphs, her name appears to have been bꜣstt. Between its pyramids and hieroglyphics, the Ancient Egyptian civilization that existed for thousands of years before Rome has given us many memorable cat gods and goddesses. Cats that were favored pets during the Chinese Song Dynasty were long-haired cats for catching rats, and cats with yellow-and-white fur called 'lion-cats', who were valued simply as cute pets. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Rustum told him that there was nothing he desired since everything he could want, he already had before him in the warmth and comfort of the fire, the scent of the smoke and the beauty of the stars overhead. [31] He is reported to have loved cats so much that, "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it". The Greek myth which suggests this link is the well known story of Heracles (the Roman Hercules) and concerns Galinthius, a maid-servant to Heracles' mother, the Princess Alcmene. James Peter Allen vocalizes the original form of the name as buʔístit or buʔístiat, with ʔ representing a glottal stop. Felines as familiars have a long and dark history in western mythology. Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. Dick was a rich man. The Chinese Year of the Horse will be galloping in this Friday. This was due to the spirit of the age and the new paradigm of reason prevailing over superstition. Freyja’s cat-driven chariot. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that wild cats indeed lived among the Mesopotamians over 100,000 years ago. One day, Mr. Fitzwarren asked his servants if they wished to send something in his ship, leaving on a journey to a far off port, to trade for gold. Yes, there is a Tiger, but no domestic cats. As the Phoenicians are acknowledged to have extensively traded with every known civilization of the time, cats could have been spread around the region on a fairly regular basis. There is also a small cat shrine (neko jinja (猫神社)) built in the middle of the Tashirojima island. Cats are mentioned in the two great literary epics of ancient India, The Mahabharata and The Ramayana (both c. 5th/4th century BCE). The goddess Bastet, commonly depicted as a cat or as a woman with a cat’s head, was among the most popular deities of the Egyptian pantheon. Lucky Cats. Black cats are also believed to bring good luck in many ways. The cats were a gift from Thor, and she used them to travel to the funeral of Baldur, her lover. Some referred to Bastet as “Lady of Flame” and “Eye of Ra”.In ancient Egypt there was a death penalty for killing a cat. A much later development in Greek appreciation for the cat is evidenced in the legend that the cat protected the baby Jesus from rodents and snakes and so is accorded the best of spots in a Greek home but, originally, they do not seem to have been regarded highly. If we consider lions as cats, the cult of the Lion-headed Goddess, Sekhmet, was prominent. Frey is the god of rain, … The people of ancient Egypt worshiped the cat god, Bastet, as one of their highest deities. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. On the Internet, cats frequently appear often as memes and other humor; and on social media people frequently post pictures of their own cats. Cats in Norse Mythology Cats were the favorite animal of the fertility goddess Freyja, who was also the goddess of love and luck. The writer David Derbyshire cites a 2007 CE research project in which, “the study used DNA samples from 979 wild and domestic cats to piece together the feline family tree. Cats were so highly valued that, according to Herodotus, when an Egyptianhouse caught fire, the people first concerned themselves with rescuing their cats and only then thought to put the fire out. [5] White cats, bearing the colour of ghosts, are conversely held to be unlucky in the United Kingdom, while tortoiseshell cats are lucky. The two species eventually merged creating a new breed which was closely related to the modern Egyptian Mau. According to Egyptian mythology, gods and goddesses had the power to transform themselves into different animals. Ancient History Encyclopedia. During some periods in Egypt's history, cats were even seen as divine creatures. The concept, known as “transmigration of soul” is also found in Egypt. This mutually beneficial arrangement began the relationship between cats and humans which continues to this day. Evidently, the cat would grow tired of Dickens’ attention being directed toward the page instead of to feline companionship and petting (Morris, 167). Members of the cat family are native to most parts of the world except Australia, Madagascar and a few isolated islands. Cat popularity in the United States grew appreciably after the Godey article. [33], Cats have also featured prominently in modern culture. 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