Hapi, god of Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Hapi

The Mythology & History of ancient Egypt surrounding Hapi, the fertility god representing the annual inundation of the Nile

 

Hapi, god of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Hapi, the Egyptian Nile god who was believed to bring the silt to the banks of the Nile. One of his titles was "Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation". He was often represented as an androgynous god depicted as partly male and partly female in appearance with blue colored skin with a crown of papyrus and/or lotus plants. Hapi was worshipped at Elephantine Island along with three other Nile gods called Khnum, Satet and Anuket, who were known as the Elephantine Triad.  Additional, interesting facts about ancient Egypt, and its mysterious gods is also available via:

Who was Hapi?
Hapi was the Egyptian god of fertility bringing the silt to the banks of the Nile. Hapi was a human-headed god often depicted as androgynous, as partly male and partly female in appearance. Identified with blue skin with a crown of papyrus and/or lotus plants.

Facts about Hapi
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Hapi:
 

Hapi Profile & Fact File

Name: Hapi or Hep The names Hapy or Hapi refer to two unrelated Egyptian deities and their names have become interchangeable. To clarify:
Role of Hapi: The function of Hapi is described as being a Nile god associated with the fertilizing rich black mud called silt
 
Symbols: Androgynous representations, the papyrus reed and the lotus plant
 
Cult Center: The Elephantine Triad consisting of Khnum, Satet and Anuket were worshipped at Elephantine, an island in the River Nile at Aswan bordering northern Nubia. As Hapi was believed to bring the silt to the banks of the Nile he was also worshipped at Elephantine. He had a cult center at Gebel el-Silsila, 65 km north of Aswan
 
Titles: The titles of Hapi were the "Lord of the Fishes and Birds of the Marshes" and the "Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation"
 
Name in Hieroglyphics:

Translation of Hieroglyphics for Hapi: A wick  representing the letter H, the arm for a small letter 'a', reed stool, duality sign, and a water sign

 

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Hapi or Hapy?
The names Hapy or Hapi refer to two unrelated Egyptian deities and their names have become interchangeable. To clarify:

The Symbols of Hapi - Appearance and Represenatations
The symbols and attributes associated with the appearance of Hapi were the androgynous representations of the god, his blue colored skin, his crown and the "Divine Beard"

  • Blue Skin: The color blue of Hapi represented water, the floods and fertility. The blue colored skin of Hapi was symbolic of the River Nile and its associated crops and fertility
  • Androgynous appearance: The god was depicted as partly male and partly female in appearance with the breasts of a woman
  • Crown: Hapi was often depicted wearing the striped nemes headdress of a pharaoh with a headdress of plants - refer to Crowns of gods of Egypt
  • Hapi was also depicted wearing the false beard with an upward pointing curl called an “osird” or “the divine beard". Living pharaohs wore a beard with a straight edge. Only after death could the Pharaoh wear the “osird”

Picture of Hapi

Picture of Hapi with his symbols and attributes

The Symbols of Hapi - The Lotus and the Papyrus Reed
The symbols and attributes associated with Hapi included depictions of the plant life found growing on the banks of the Nile.

  • The Lotus Plant: The Lotus is also referred to as the water lily, grows in muddy swamps and is a potent symbol of fertility and Hapi and was a symbol of Upper Egypt (south)
  • The Papyrus Reed: Papyrus was a water reed once abundant in Egypt and used making sheets for writing, rope, furniture and boats. The papyrus was a symbol of Lower Egypt (north)
  • The lotus entwined with the long stems of papyrus reeds represented the unification of the two lands of Upper and Lower Egypt
Picture of Papyrus Reed Picture of Lotus Flower
Picture of Papyrus Reed Picture of Lotus Flower Lotus & Papyrus reed entwined

The Mythology of Hapi and the Gods of the Elephantine Triad
Hapi, the Egyptian god of fertility, water and associated with the rich black mud called silt, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology. Hapi was believed to live in caves near the Nile cataract (white water rapids) which was on the border between Egypt and Nubia. The economy of ancient Egypt relied on its agricultural wealth and, therefore, on the River Nile. Every year a torrent of water overflowed on to the banks of the River Nile leaving a thick rich mud (called black silt) and alluvial soil that fertilized the land. The Nile god Hapi was believed to bring the silt to the banks of the Nile, making farming possible surrounding the banks of the River Nile, an otherwise desert region. The three gods of the Elephantine Triad were believed to decide on how much of Hapi's silt would be delivered during each annual flood of the Nile. The three Nile gods of the Elephantine Triad were:

The "Arrival of Hapi"
The River Nile flows from south to north, to its delta on the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile flooding or  inundation (Ancient Egyptian name 'hapi') was of such great importance that the Ancient Egyptians based their lives around it. The economy of ancient Egypt, and the well-being of the Egyptians, relied on its agricultural wealth and, therefore, on the River Nile.  Every year a torrent of water overflowed on to the banks of the River Nile leaving a thick, rich mud (called black silt) which fertilized the land making it ideal for growing the crops that fed Egypt. The Nile inundation (Ancient Egyptian name 'hapi') was of such importance that the Ancient Egyptians based their lives and their activities around it.

  • Flooding Season: Akhet was the name given to the time of the Nile flood (June - September)
  • Sowing Season: Peret was the name given to the sowing time (October - January)
  • Harvesting Season: Shemu was the name for the time of harvest (February - May)

The annual flooding of the Nile was referred to as the "Arrival of Hapi" and was celebrated with great festivals and river processions. Every year, Egyptian farmers would travel to his shrines at Elephantine and Aswan to pray for an adequate flood and a fresh supply of silt. Too little water would cause famine, and too much flood water would be equally disastrous by limiting the sowing of fresh crops.

Ancient Egyptian Festival Procession

Ancient Egyptian Festival Procession

 

Hapi

  • Hapi
  • Interesting research information and Facts about the Egyptian god Hapi
  • Hapi, the Egyptian god of fertility, and the silt of the Nile
  • Stories and Legends in Egyptian Mythology associated with Hapi
  • Facts and information about the Ancient god Hapi for schools, research and kids
  • Hapi, the Egyptian god who brought the silt of the Nile to Egypt

The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

 

Facts about Hapi in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Hapi, the Egyptian god of fertility, water and procreation. The facts about Hapi provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Hapi in Egyptian Mythology.

History, Mythology and Facts about Hapi

Fact 1: The Upper Egyptian Hapi was called 'Hap-Meht' while the Lower Egyptian Hapi was known as 'Hap-Reset'
 
Fact 2: Hapi was also mentioned in the Pyramid Texts as a destructive power against the enemies of Egypt and the pharaohs
 
Fact 3: Hapi was believed to have a retinue consisting of crocodile gods and frog goddesses
 
Fact 4: A great flood was known as a 'large Hapi', whilst a low flood was a 'small Hapi'.
 
Fact 5: Hapi was linked with the primeval goddess Naunet of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis and with the hippo goddess Taweret
 
Fact 6: During the reign of the 'heretic pharaoh' Akhenaten, the support for the god Hapi was so great that instead of being banished like other gods he was presented to the ancient Egyptians as an incarnation of the Aten.
 
Fact 7: Hapi was also given the title of the "maker of barley and wheat".
 
 

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