First Day of the Last Month of Shomu

Back when I read Parker’s book on the calendars of ancient Egypt (available for download from the Oriental Institute here,by the way) I came away with the impression that at one point in time, each month may have begun with a festival upon its first day and/or each month had a festival connected with the month itself. (File this as ‘fixed in next version’, for some values of the calendar.)

My calendar notes for the first day of 4 Shomu are very interesting. (Edited to add: this year, falling on 30 June.) The Cairo calendar has it as a day for making abet-offerings for those in heaven, and a feast for Wennefer, which is of course a title of Wesir. Ramesses’s temple in Abydos likewise marks a festival of Wennefer. Kom Ombo West says ‘Appearance of the Standard of Heru’. The large Edfu calendar, Hathor Edfu calendar, and large Hathor calendar at Dendera all say “Feast of Her Majesty”. The short Dendera calendar says “Feast of Hathor”.

Now, I ponder the potential relevance of relating this to the Festival of Mut from two days before, where I suggested that the festival in which ‘her majesty’ performs rites for the gods might be a reference to Mut’s boating expedition – and indeed that note in Esna is for a festival lasting three days, which would thus conclude here. However, when I compiled my original notes into a draft calendar, it was without benefit of additional research, and I simply marked this date as “Offerings to the Westerners and the Lady of the West”.

But perhaps it is “Offerings to the Westerners By the Lady of the West”. In any case, regardless of all other things: the Westerners and the Foremost of Westerners are receiving feasts on this day, perhaps under the royal authority of Hetharu (and perhaps this ties in the appearance of the standard of Heru? sketchy, but plausible, if one wants to combine across various timeframes in the expectation that there is some thread of consistency involved).

If this is the conclusion of a three day festival kicked off by Mut’s boating party, then that celebration of the temporal presence and honoring of the gods by the living and corporeal royal authority changes over the course of that three days, and shifts its focus Westwards, into the Duat. Royal authority in the seen world (as represented by Mut) emerges from the Duat, from the chain of ancestors and ultimately from Wesir Wennefer, the good and just, and the offerings of a mortal feast must extend, over time, into the immortal realms.

This is all ass-pull, of course. I’m making it all up, from a few scraps of thoughts. But I think, from here, it makes sense.

Anyone got any references for what the hell an abet-offering might be?


13 thoughts on “First Day of the Last Month of Shomu

  1. henadology says:

    Regarding the “abet-offering”, can you get a precise spelling for “abet”? In other words, using the Manuel de Codage, is it Abt, jbt, or abt?

    • kiya_nicoll says:

      I’ll see if I can dig up anything. All I can say right now is that when I was googling around to see if I could find anything meaningful to comment upon I found a post from the House of Netjer referring to a’abet offerings to the Shemsu of Ra.

      • SatAset says:

        I think I’ve seen this as abt before in El-Sabban’s book.

      • henadology says:

        This would imply that the word is aAb.t, which is glossed (e.g., Wörterbuch 1, 167.10-12) as food, provisions, offerings, sacrifices, from the root aAb, “pleasing, desirable”; aAbt can mean “selfishness” (i.e., seeking pleasure above all else). There is also the suggestion here of a superabundant offering.

        So I’d infer, if this is indeed the word, that it is not so much about the substance, as about the style of the offering.

      • Shefyt says:

        Another possibility is “abt,” which according to my go-to ancient Egyptian translation database is a funerary ritual object, although it doesn’t specify what kind. The only related reference I’ve found so far is in:

        The Selection and Layout of the Opening of the Mouth Scenes in the Chapel of Amenirdis I at Medinet Habu
        Mariam F. Ayad
        Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt , Vol. 41, (2004), pp. 113-133
        Published by: American Research Center in Egypt
        Article Stable URL:

        It’s in the context of Opening the Mouth: “Next, the “Beloved Son” takes charge of opening the mouth and eyes of Amenirdis (Wll-13 = scene no. 36). His instrument of choice is the abet, which he is instructed to use 4 times.” And that’s all it has to say about that.

        That said, the calendar reference could be to a’abet, as Edward notes. And/or it could be a pun.

  2. SatAset says:

    I found a reference to a festival you may be interested in. It’s “Feast of Entry to the Shrine of Hetharu” on 4 Peret Day 10. From here: Griffith, F. Ll. Catalogue of the Demotic Graffiti of the Dodecaschoenus. (Oxford University Press, 1937), 47. Aset has one too from the same source and page number. Griffiths thinks it is on the same day, since the day isn’t listed on hers. So Aset’s can either be 4 Peret Day 10 or 3 Peret Day 10 (He mentioned it may also be in 3 Peret, but he wasn’t sure. There seems to be more credence to 4 Peret though to me since it seems to be the one listed with the festival).

    • kiya_nicoll says:

      There is a Hetharu festival in Kom Ombo on 4 Peret 10. (“Appearing of Ta-sent-nofret, Hathor, Lord of the Two lands; no trumpets or singing; resting at the birth house” says my notes.) The Cairo Calendar also has an Udjat festival, so possibly this could be, if conflated, a Daughter/Protector of Ra thing.

      I get Djehwty hits on 3 Peret 10, no ladies.

      Thanks for the reference. (Added to notes.)

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