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In Egyptian mythology, Meretseger (also spelt Mertseger), meaning "she who loves silence" exerted great authority during the New Kingdom era over the Theban Necropolis and was considered to be both a dangerous and merciful goddess.[1] As a cobra-goddess she is sometimes associated with Hathor.[2]

Since the first syllable of her name is the same as that in the word pyramid, it became thought that she lived on top of (or was) the pyramid-shaped mountain which overlooked the Valley of the Kings, where the pharaohs' tombs were located.

She was the patron deity of the workers in Deir el-Medina who built the tombs. She punished workers who committed crimes, but healed those who repented. In one instance Meretseger is petitioned to bring relief to one in pain. She answer the prayer by bringing "sweet breezes"[3] A draftsman named Neferabu dedicated a stela to her:

"An ignorant man (I was), without my heart, who did not know good from evil. I was doing misdeeds against the Peak and she taught me a lesson...The peak strikes with the stroke of a savage lion. She is after him who offends her."[4]

Merestseger takes pity on the man and "She turned to me in mercy, She caused me to forget the sickness that has been upon me".[5]

As a cobra, she spat poison at anyone who tried to vandalise or rob the royal tombs. In art she was portrayed as either a coiled cobra, or as a woman-headed cobra, or rarely as a triple headed cobra, where one head was that of a cobra, one of a woman, and one of a vulture.

Her close association with the Valley of the Kings prevented her becoming anything more than a local deity, and when the valley ceased being in use, so she also, ceased being worshipped.


  1. The Routledge dictionary of Egyptian gods and goddesses", George Hart, p91, Routledge, 2005, ISBN 0415344956
  2. "Essays on ancient Egypt in honour of Herman te Velde", Herman te Velde, Jacobus van Dijk, p71, Brill Publishers, 1997, ISBN 9056930141
  3. ^ "Egyptian Myths, George Hart, p46, University of Texas Press, 1990, ISBN 0292720769
  4. "The great goddesses of Egypt", Barbara S. Lesko, p77, University of Oklahoma Press, 1999, ISBN 0806132027
  5. "Historia Religionum: Handbook for the History of Religions" By G. Widengren, C. J. Bleeker, p101, Brill Publishers, 1988, ISBN 9004089284
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Meretseger. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.