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Maat meaning


Maat is the Egyptian Goddess symbolizing cosmic order, truth, justice, morality, harmony, stability, and balance. Depicted as a woman wearing an ostrich feather on the head, and holding an ankh in one hand and a scepter in the other, the Goddess is said to be the daughter of Sun God, Ra and the consort of the Moon God, Thoth. Maat was revered even by the Gods.
 
Maat represented justice, order, truth, morality and balance. Gods are often seen standing on the symbol of Maat, symbol of justice. Feather of Maat was the feather that adorned a goddess called Maat.  It is the responsibility of the Pharaoh establish and maintain Maat. 
 
 
 Maat symbol of justice
 

Feather of Maat

 
Maat was lost when a pharaoh died. It could be restored by the crowning of a new Pharaoh. Egyptians had strong beliefs afterlife in which the deceased's heart was weighed against Maat Feather at the last judgment.The Goddess is symbolically represented by an Ostrich Feather. It is a strong Egyptian belief that after death, the dead are judged in the Hall of Maat, where their conscience (heart) is weighed against the feather. 
 
A heart heavier than the feather denoted a life of wicked deeds and such a soul would be devoured by Goddess Ammit, while balanced scales indicated an honorable life and such a soul would be welcomed by God Osiris. Besides being venerated as a deity, Maat is also embraced as a concept or principle that keeps the universe in order and without which everything would perish. The ancient Egyptians thought that Maat bound the universe, nature, and man in unity. 
 
They believed that truthfulness, honesty, fair dealings and correct ritual & public life was necessary to create cosmic harmony. Not adhering to the Maat principles would cause a disturbance in this harmony and plunge all creation into chaos. A heart was heavy with sin weighed more than the feather and the deceased was punished by Ammit, the monster. If the heart weighs less than the feather, it means that the heart was free from his sins and the person has been authorized to the world of Osiris.
 
 




Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

 
Weighing of the Heart by Feather of Maat

In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single "Feather of Maat", symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. This is why hearts were left in Egyptian mummies while their other organs were removed, as the heart (called "ib") was seen as part of the Egyptian soul.
 
 If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather of Maat, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat.
 
The weighing of the heart, as typically pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and Ammit seated awaiting the results to consume those who failed. The image contains a balancing scale with an upright heart standing on one side and the Shu-feather standing on the other.
 
 Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. While the heart was weighed the deceased recited the 42 Negative Confessions as the Assessors of Maat looked on.
 

Maat Principles


Maat represents the ethical and moral principle that all Egyptian citizens were expected to follow throughout their daily lives. They were expected to act with honor and truth in matters that involve family, the community, the nation, the environment, and the god

Maat as a principle was formed to meet the complex needs of the emergent Egyptian state that embraced diverse peoples with conflicting interests. The development of such rules sought to avert chaos and it became the basis of Egyptian law. From an early period the king would describe himself as the "Lord of Maat" who decreed with his mouth the Maat he conceived in his heart.

The significance of Maat developed to the point that it embraced all aspects of existence, including the basic equilibrium of the universe, the relationship between constituent parts, the cycle of the seasons, heavenly movements, religious observations and good faith, honesty, and truthfulness in social interactions.



Maat symbol of justice video

Maat Laws


There is little surviving literature that describes the practice of ancient Egyptian law. Maat was the spirit in which justice was applied rather than the detailed legalistic exposition of rules. Maat represented the normal and basic values that formed the backdrop for the application of justice that had to be carried out in the spirit of truth and fairness. From the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2510–2370 BCE) onwards, the vizier responsible for justice was called the Priest of Maat and in later periods judges wore images of Maat.

Later scholars and philosophers also would embody concepts from the Sebayt, a native wisdom literature. These spiritual texts dealt with common social or professional situations, and how each was best to be resolved or addressed in the spirit of Maat. It was very practical advice, and highly case-based, so few specific and general rules could be derived from them.

During the Greek period in Egyptian history, Greek law existed alongside Egyptian law. The Egyptian law preserved the rights of women, who were allowed to act independently of men and own substantial personal property, and in time, this influenced the more restrictive conventions of the Greeks and Romans.When the Romans took control of Egypt, the Roman legal system, which existed throughout the Roman Empire, was imposed in Egypt. 



42 laws of Maat


The doctrine of Maat is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Negative Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani.


  1.     I have not committed sin.
  2.     I have not committed robbery with violence.
  3.     I have not stolen.
  4.     I have not slain men and women.
  5.     I have not stolen grain.
  6.     I have not purloined offerings.
  7.     I have not stolen the property of the gods.
  8.     I have not uttered lies.
  9.     I have not carried away food.
  10.     I have not uttered curses.
  11.     I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
  12.     I have made none to weep.
  13.     I have not eaten the heart [i.e., I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
  14.     I have not attacked any man.
  15.     I am not a man of deceit.
  16.     I have not stolen cultivated land.
  17.     I have not been an eavesdropper.
  18.     I have slandered no man.
  19.     I have not been angry without just cause.
  20.     I have not debauched the wife of any man.
  21.     I have not debauched the wife of any man (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god).
  22.     I have not polluted myself.
  23.     I have terrorized none.
  24.     I have not transgressed the Law.
  25.     I have not been wroth.
  26.     I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
  27.     I have not blasphemed.
  28.     I am not a man of violence.
  29.     I am not a stirrer-up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
  30.     I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
  31.     I have not pried into matters.
  32.     I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
  33.     I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
  34.     I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
  35.     I have never stopped the flow of water.
  36.     I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
  37.     I have not cursed or blasphemed god.
  38.     I have not acted with evil rage.
  39.     I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
  40.     I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead.
  41.     I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
  42.     I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.


Maat symbol images



Maat symbol of justice




Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

Maat symbol of justice

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