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God Bes was a household deity. He was the god of music, fun and merrymaking and he was thought to protect women during childbirth. He was also thought to protect against snakes through his role as a household guardian. Bes was represented on most of cosmetic containers and objects associated with beauty e.g. mirrors etc.Recent opinions has suggested that he composed a triad with Taweret (represented as a pregnant hippopotamus) as consort and Meskhent (goddess of the birthing bricks) as their daughter, and they were all associated with childbirth.

 

 Bes, together with his feminine counterpart Beset, is an ancient Egyptian deity worshipped as a protector of households and, in particular, of mothers, children, and childbirth. Bes later came to be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad. Bes may have been a Middle Kingdom import from Nubia or Somalia, and his cult did not become widespread until the beginning of the New Kingdom.

Egyptian God Bes

 
Worship of Bes spread as far north as the area of Syria and as far west as the Balearic Islands (Ibiza) in Spain, and later into the Roman and Achaemenid Empires. Bes was a household protector, becoming responsible – throughout ancient Egyptian history – for such varied tasks as killing snakes, fighting off evil spirits, watching after children, and aiding women in labour by fighting off evil spirits, and thus present with Taweret at births.

Images of the deity, quite different from those of the other gods, were kept in homes. Normally Egyptian gods were shown in profile, but instead Bes appeared in full face portrait, ithyphallic, and sometimes in a soldier's tunic, so as to appear ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil. He scared away demons from houses, so his statue was put up as a protector. Since he drove off evil, Bes also came to symbolize the good things in life – music, dance, and sexual pleasure. 

 

In the New Kingdom, tattoos of Bes could be found on the thighs of dancers, musicians and servant girls. Many instances of Bes masks and costumes from the New Kingdom and later have been uncovered. These show considerable wear, thought to be too great for occasional use at festivals, and are therefore thought to have been used by professional performers, or given out for rent.

Later, in the Ptolemaic period of Egyptian history, chambers were constructed, painted with images of Bes and his wife Beset, thought by Egyptologists to have been for the purpose of curing fertility problems or general healing rituals. Like many Egyptian gods, the worship of Bes or Beset was exported overseas. 

 

While the female variant had been more popular in Minoan Crete, the male version would prove popular with the Phoenicians and the ancient Cypriots. The Balearic island of Ibiza derives its name from the god's name, brought along with the first Phoenician settlers in 654 BC. These settlers, amazed at the lack of any sort of venomous creatures on the island, thought it to be the island of Bes. Later the Roman name Ebusus was derived from this designation.

At the end of the 6th century BC, images of Bes began to spread across the Achaemenid Empire, which Egypt belonged to at the time. Images of Bes have been found at the Persian capital of Susa, and as far away as central Asia. Over time, the image of Bes became more Persian in style, as he was depicted wearing Persian clothes and headdress.



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