Friday, May 10, 2013

Not Yeti Friday - Bes

Bes is the best...

...Egyptian god, that is.  And most of them are super cool, so that's saying a lot.


Bes is the defender and champion of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad.

What more needs to be said?

Unlike other gods, Bes is depicted face on, ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil. He scares away demons from houses, kills snakes, fights off evil spirits, watches after children, and aids women during labor. He hangs out with hippo-headed demon-goddess Taweret during births. Like a BOSS.

He had no temples. He had no priests. But he was one of the most popular gods in ancient Egypt. People stuck his likeness on everything, especially knives, wands, and amulets.  Tattoos of Bes were très chic.

Actual Bes tattoo designs (source)
Dancers and musicians (i.e. all the cool people) got his tattoo.

You know why Bes is a bad ass? Let me count the ways.

He's both a war god and a patron of childbirth.  Both of those, people. BOOM.

After a child is born, Bes remains at the child's side to protect and entertain them. Every wonder why babies look amused? That's Bes making funny faces.  Yes, he's that awesome.

He's a demon who fights other demons. Like Hellboy, I guess.

He's the god of music, dance, and sexual pleasure. What more do you need?

Are you clumsy? Bes prevents household mishaps.

He's also called Aha. And I like to think we are invoking his name whenever we exclaim, "Aha!"


Bes was generally depicted as a bearded dwarf, sticking out his tongue and shaking a rattle.  In his earliest inceptions, Bes was a representation of a lion rearing up on its hind legs.

He is pretty ape-like.  There's this dissertation I wanna read by Dawn Prince-Hughes called The Archetype of the Ape-man: The Phenomenological Archaeology of a Relic Hominid Ancestor, which according to the publisher's notes, "asserts as its conclusion that the archetype of the ape-man is a result of accreted and enacted collective memories, and reflects an important phenomenon integral to human thought and form."  Prince-Hughes lists Bes as fitting with other archetypal long-haired Bigfoot-like ape-man figures from ancient Northern Africa, "a squat, bandy-legged figure depicted with fur about his body, a prominent brow, and short, pug nose."

So there you go, that's your link. Bes is bes-ically Yeti



Favorite quote from this one site I found:

"Bes chambers were constructed with images of Bes and a naked goddess (most likely Beset [his wife]) painted on the walls. It is thought that these chambers were meant to promote healing, remedy certain fertility problems or promote erotic dreams. The Romans also loved Bes and depicted him dressed as a legionnaire."

Some more Bes:
 
Bes Mask

Bes Fan Art

Bes-Relief (har har)
More Bes Fan Art
Modern Bes Tattoo
Bes was a character in one episode of the children's cartoon series Tutenstein.


But other than that, he's not really in the popular culture much!


Well, we can keep Bes to ourselves.... our little secret of just how awesome he is.

Here's to you, Bes!

2 comments:

Marco Grande Arbitro Giorgio said...

Good to know ... I will remember when I play in D&d!

Henry said...

When you're a cleric?