She also protected humans from venomous animals, and since venomous creatures, such as snakes and scorpions were (and are) in abundance in the Egypt… [4] Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis,[4] where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories. Feline Forever: Cat history and mythology - learn more about the position of cats in Norse mythology. [11] It is common lore that cats have nine lives. The concept, known as “transmigration of soul” is also found in Egypt. Cat Magic, Legends, and Folklore Touch Not the Cat. The Persian soldiers painted images of cats on their shields, and may have held cats in their arms, as they marched behind the wall of animals. At the start of the spring warm-up, after the wool had been sold, the cats were thrown out of the belfry tower to the town square below, which supposedly symbolised "the killing of evil academics". Treasury of Chinese Folk Tales: Beloved Myths and Legends from the Middle... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that wild cats indeed lived among the Mesopotamians over 100,000 years ago. Although cats seem to have enjoyed their ancient high standing in European countries at first (in Norse mythology, for example, the great goddess Freya is depicted in a chariot drawn by cats and in both Ireland and Scotland cats are depicted as magical in a positive sense) the Christian Church, following their regular course of demonizing important pagan symbols, drew on the pre-existing link between the cat and witchcraft to associate cats with evil as personified in the Devil. The Greek myth which suggests this link is the well known story of Heracles (the Roman Hercules) and concerns Galinthius, a maid-servant to Heracles' mother, the Princess Alcmene. Asian-Antiquites.com is the site for Cash Advance. Among ancient civilizations, however, the cat was probably least popular among the Greeks owing to its association in certain myths with the goddess of death, darkness and witches, Hecate, who is more commonly associated with the dog (as is her Roman conterpart, Trivia). In 1233 Pope Gregory IX composed in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama” really denounced black cats as hellish. [19] Cats are often shown in icons of Annunciation and of the Holy Family[19] and, according to Italian folklore, on the same night that Mary gave birth to Jesus, a cat in Bethlehem gave birth to a kitten.[19]. A symbol of good luck hence, it is most often seen in businesses to draw in money. In 1233 Pope Gregory IX, in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama”, actually denounced black cats as satanic. The period of mourning was considered completed when the people’s eyebrows had grown back. It is clearly established that, by 450 BCE, the penalty in Egypt for killing a cat was death (though this law is thought to have been observed much earlier). Many of these stories included descriptions of the Egyptian reverence for cats, images of statues of Bastet, and the feline association with the gods and monarchy. Black cats became the traditionally mentioned companion and hence cats ended up being especially reviled. "Cats in the Ancient World." Rustum offered the older man the hospitality of his tent and, as they sat outside under the stars, enjoying the warmth of a fire, the magician asked Rustum what he wished for as a gift in repayment for saving the man’s life. License. Mythology of cats: Cats in Egypt Ancient Egyptians called the cats Mau and domesticated them about 4,000-5,000 years ago. This myth, then, associated cats with darkness, transformation, the underworld, and witchcraft and, in time, these associations would prove very unfortunate for the cat. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2020) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. As noted above, Hecate was associated with dogs regularly but one story in particular, which was quite popular, links the dark goddess with the cat. James Peter Allen vocalizes the original form of the name as buʔístit or buʔístiat, with ʔ representing a glottal stop. Bastet, the form of the name that is most commonly adopted by Egyptologists today because of its use in later dynasties, is a modern convention offering one possible reconstruction. Norse Legend. In modern-day Russia there is a group of cats at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. Mythology: Cats in ancient Rome. Freyja’s cat-driven chariot. [31] He is reported to have loved cats so much that, "he would do without his cloak rather than disturb one that was sleeping on it". The cat’s association with ancient Egypt, however, is understandable in that Egyptian culture was famous for its devotion to the cat. They were known to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE―about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Hello Kitty, created by Yuko Yamaguchi, is a contemporary cat icon. A first century CE epitaph of a young girl holding a cat is among the earliest pieces of evidence of cats in Rome and, in Greece, the playwright Aristophanes (c. 446-386 BCE) frequently featured cats in his works for comic effect (coining the phrase, “The cat did it” in assigning blame). Enraged, Hera transformed Galinthius into a cat and sent her to the underworld to ever after serve Hecate. The Beckoning Cat image is thought to bring good luck when given as a gift and remains a very popular present in Japan. The prophet Muhammed was also very fond of cats. Pages in category "Mythological felines" The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total. Many writers of the age owned and admired cats. The first cat show in America (in 1895 CE) was so popular that it was held at the large venue of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Some mistakenly assume that the domestication of cats first happened in Egypt about 4,000 years ago. Mythology: Cats in ancient Rome. It is thought that cats were originally domesticated because they hunted mice that would eat stored grains, but a recent study found that cats domesticated themselves. Senchan found fault in everything that … Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Cats that were favored pets during the Chinese Song Dynasty were long-haired cats for catching rats, and cats with yellow-and-white fur called 'lion-cats', who were valued simply as cute pets. Black cats in mythology became the historically cited companion of witches and therefore cats became notably reviled. Cats in History: Chinese Truth and Mythology - Playful Kitty. Cats in the Ancient World. [15]:77–79 In Ovid's Metamorphoses, when the gods flee to Egypt and take animal forms, the goddess Diana (the Roman equivalent of Artemis) turns into a cat. He joined Mr. Fitzwarren in his business and married his daughter Alice, and in time became the Lord Mayor of London. "[15]:74[16] The Greek essayist Plutarch linked cats with cleanliness, noting that unnatural odours could make them mad. Cats in History and Mythology Mythology is essentially the ancient religion or belief system of a group of people and throughout history the cat has featured prominently. Cats In Mythology: Cats in mythology, especially as familiars have an extended and darkh historical past in western mythology. Domestic cats have their place along side the big cats in mythology, too. Superstition #3: Black Cats Are Good Luck. These cats often found their way into literature. Mark, J. J. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/466/. Long before trick-or-treaters and buckets full of candy, cats were often depicted as the supernatural companions of witches. Cat shows became increasingly popular after this event and interest in breeding and showing cats spread throughout Europe and North America. Have you ever noticed that there is no Chinese Year of the Cat? Cats in History and Mythology Mythology is essentially the ancient religion or belief system of a group of people and throughout history the cat has featured prominently. The Pope’s proclamation started the persecution of cats right throughout Europe. Charles Dickens was so devoted to his cats that he allowed them into his study and regularly allowed his favorite (known as The Master’s Cat) to snuff out the candle on Dickens’ writing desk even when the author was at work. As was the case everywhere else, cats in India were found to be particularly useful in controlling the populations of less desirable creatures like mice, rats, and snakes and so were honoured in the homes, farms, and palaces throughout the land. The kingdom of Cat was a legendary Pictish kingdom during the Early Middle Ages, centred in what is now Caithness in northern Scotland The place name Caithness derives from Cait, which is also preserved in the Gaelic name for Sutherland (Cataibh), in several specific names within that county and in the earliest recorded name for Shetland (Inse Catt, meaning "islands of the Cat people"). bond cat anecdotes history. She too, was a very popular goddess who was thought to embody the importance of cats in the early days of creation. Religion/Culture: Japanese mythology Realm: The spirit world Modern Cat Breed: Chausie. Published by Louis A. Godey of Philadelphia from 1830 -1878, this monthly periodical featured stories, articles, poems, and engravings and is perhaps best known for helping to institutionalize the practice of the family Christmas tree in America (although it also advocated for women's rights, education, the celebration of Thansgiving, and was among the first to publish Edgar Allen Poe's work). Some Western writers have stated Muhammad had a favorite cat, Muezza. The goddess cat was highly admired and respected.Bastet was worshipped as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt and guardian of the pharaoh. The cultural depiction of cats and their relationship to humans is old and stretches back over 9,500 years. For example, a cat named Mimsey was used by MTM Enterprises as their mascot and features in their logo as a spoof of the MGM lion. The magician then took a handful of smoke, added flame, and brought down two of the brightest stars, kneading them together in his hands and blowing on them. A few seconds later a lightning bolt struck where the landlord had been previously standing. Over time, the fishermen developed a fondness for the cats and would observe the cats closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Feline Forever: Mythology - cats in ancient Greece. The Egyptians worshiped a huge pantheon of gods and goddesses, with the inclusion of various sacred animals. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Its teeth were said to be venomous, its flesh poisonous, its hair lethal (causing suffocation if a few were accidentally swallowed), and its breath infectious, destroying human lungs and causing consumption” and further states, “As late as 1658 Edward Topsel, in his serious work on natural history, [wrote] `the familiars of Witches do most ordinarily appear in the shape of Cats, which is an argument that this beast is dangerous to soul and body” (158). Reluctantly, Dick sent his cat. Pages in category "Mythological felines" The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total. It is a huge creature — the size of a human or bigger — that looks like a cat. The writer David Derbyshire cites a 2007 CE research project in which, “the study used DNA samples from 979 wild and domestic cats to piece together the feline family tree. This find, made by the archaeologist Alain le Brun, was important because Cyprus had no indigenous cat population and it is unlikely that settlers would have brought a wild cat, by boat, to the island. They have their own press secretary, with about 74 cats of both genders roaming the museum. Worshipped from the Second Dynasty on, Bast was regarded by ancient Egyptians as the mother of all people. The last common ancestor of wildcats and domesticated cats lived more than 100,000 years ago” (Derbyshire). According to Egyptian mythology, gods and goddesses had the power to transform themselves into different animals. Vikings used cats as rat catchers and companions. Members of the cat family are native to most parts of the world except Australia, Madagascar and a few isolated islands. In the past, the islanders raised silkworms for silk, and cats were kept in order to keep the mouse population down (because mice are a natural predator of silkworms). the Parthians exported the longhaired Persian cat (Dembeck, pp. [6]:220 Killing a cat was absolutely forbidden[4] and the Greek historian Herodotus reports that, whenever a household cat died, the entire family would mourn and shave their eyebrows. The Norse goddess Freyja, deity of love, fertility, war, wealth, divination … Archaeological excavations in the past ten years have provided evidence that the Near Eastern Wildcat is the closest relative of the modern-day domestic cat and was bred by Mesopotamian farmers, most probably as a means of controlling pests, such as mice, which were attracted by grain supplies. They continue to be valued companions for people across the world today and, in this, these individuals carry on the legacy of the ancients in their devotion to, and appreciation for, the cat. Although cats were kept by people in Greece and Rome, the appreciation for the animal as a hunter was not as great in those cultures owing to the Greek and Roman practice of keeping domesticated weasels for pest control. Freyja’s chariot was pulled by cats, specifically the skogkatt (Norwegian Forest Cat), which is larger and more powerful than most domesticated housecats. 11 cats from mythology You could opt for Leo, the fifth astrological sign of the zodiac, or get really creative with one of these legendary cat-inspired names. Get the best of Insurance or Free Credit Report, browse our section on Cell Phones or learn about Life Insurance. Cats were so highly valued that, according to Herodotus, when an Egyptianhouse caught fire, the people first concerned themselves with rescuing their cats and only then thought to put the fire out. This was also true in China where the goddess Li Shou was depicted in cat form and petitions and sacrifices made to her for pest control and fertility. Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods in Norse mythology. There is also a small cat shrine (neko jinja (猫神社)) built in the middle of the Tashirojima island. 1. Cats were seen as good luck charms by actors, and the cats often helped cure the actors' stage fright. When a family cat died, the people of the home observed the same grief-rituals as those for a human family member and cats were routinely mummified in the finest linens. Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods in Norse mythology. In 1233 Pope Gregory IX composed in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama” really denounced black cats as hellish. Legends from Thailand (Siam), Burma, and other Asian countries, have cats as the vessel that transports a monk’s or royal person’s soul to heaven after death. [2], The lineage of today's cats stems from about 4500 BC and came from Europe and Southeast Asia according to a recent study. Cats which have died are taken to Bubastis where they are embalmed and buried in sacred receptacles” (Nardo 117). When a house caught fire, the Egyptians would concern themselves more with rescuing the cats than with anything else, often running back into the burning building or forming a perimeter around the flames to keep cats at a safe distance. Some referred to Bastet as “Lady of Flame” and “Eye of Ra”.In ancient Egypt there was a death penalty for killing a cat. Gods associated with Cats. The cat was regularly considered a guardian of the home and was thought to be the special protector of valuable books. Breeding and having domestic cats turned into a fashion at the end of the nineteenth century. [33], Cats have also featured prominently in modern culture. She was the keeper of hearth and home, protector of women’s secrets, guardian against evil spirits and disease, and the goddess of cats. [10], Folklore dating back to as early as 1607 tells that a cat will suffocate a newborn infant by putting its nose to the child's mouth, sucking the breath out of the infant.[11]. In Japan, the flapping of the hand is a "come here" gesture, so the cat is beckoning customers. Irusan, King of the Cats Long ago lived a Irish poet named Senchan Torpeist, who was so known for his ability to roast people with his rhymes that even William Shakespeare wrote about him. Buddhist, Burmese and Siamese cultures believed that cats acted as hosts for certain … It tells of a poor boy in the 14th century, based on the real-life Richard Whittington, who becomes a wealthy merchant and eventually the Lord Mayor of London because of the ratting abilities of his cat. Senchan found fault in everything that … Why were Cats so Important in Ancient Egypt?Wild Ciencias Channel :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBgTJ_aPb8YT4FuLZ6WU2w♦Consider to Support the … Cats in Norse Mythology. A freelance writer and former part-time Professor of Philosophy at Marist College, New York, Joshua J. Evidently, the cat would grow tired of Dickens’ attention being directed toward the page instead of to feline companionship and petting (Morris, 167). According to Sanrio, the official licenser, designer, and producer of Hello Kitty merchandise, the character is a cartoon version of a little girl. This study also reported that the last common ancestor of wildcats and domestic… Name. THEY’LL STEAL YOUR BABY’S BREATH. History of cats, (part two) (History and mythology) pets. They looked for markers in mitochondrial DNA - a type of genetic material passed down from mothers to kittens which can reveal when wild and domestic cat lineages were most closely related.” This project was headed by Dr. Andrew Kitchener, a Zoologist at the National Museums of Scotland, who writes, "This shows that the origin of domestic cats was not Ancient Egypt - which is the prevailing view - but Mesopotamia and that it occurred much earlier than was thought. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. For example, in Norse mythology, as Encyclopedia Brittanica explains, the goddess Freyja rode a chariot pulled by magical cats. Isis is often depicted as a female goddess accompanied by black cats. Attracted by the cat’s gesture, the emperor entered the temple and, moments later, lightning struck the very spot where he had been standing. Herodotus also relates that the Egyptians cared so much for their cats that they placed their safety above human life and property. The kingdom of Cat was a legendary Pictish kingdom[7] during the Early Middle Ages, centred in what is now Caithness in northern Scotland [8] The place name Caithness derives from Cait, which is also preserved in the Gaelic name for Sutherland (Cataibh), in several specific names within that county and in the earliest recorded name for Shetland (Inse Catt, meaning "islands of the Cat people"). After the seventeenth century, the history of cats changed once again. In Japan, the maneki-neko is a cat figurine who brings good luck into your home. Exporting them out of the country was illegal, and killing one was a crime punishable by death. [3][1]. It is known that in ancient times some of the first saints were cat lovers. Irusan, King of the Cats Long ago lived a Irish poet named Senchan Torpeist, who was so known for his ability to roast people with his rhymes that even William Shakespeare wrote about him. [32] The story has no origin in early Muslim writers, and seems to confuse a story of a later Sufi saint, Ahmed ar-Rifa'i, centuries after Muhammad. Last modified November 17, 2012. Cats are not native to Cyprus. Cats, however, were more interested in sleeping beneath the cherry trees and playing with the falling blossoms than with the mundane task of having to pay attention to the operation of the world. On the Internet, cats frequently appear often as memes and other humor; and on social media people frequently post pictures of their own cats. But Mesopotamian cultures elevated the feline to god status. This list may not reflect recent changes (). In Medieval Ypres, cats were used in the winter months to control the vermin infesting the wool stored in the upper floors of the Cloth Hall (Lakenhall). Black cats are generally held to be unlucky in the United States and Europe, and to portend good luck in the United Kingdom. The Maneki Neko of Japan is a figurine often believed to bring good luck to the owner. In Norse mythology the cat was closely associated with Freyja, the goddess of love, sex, attraction, and even crops. Known as the cat goddess of ancient Egypt, Bast, also called Bastet, is the female, first-born child of the sun god Ra. The cats were a gift from Thor, and she used them to travel to the funeral of Baldur, her lover. The goddess cat in Egyptian mythology is well known in the world of mythology. Norse Legend. Zeus’ wife, Hera, was thwarted in her attempt to kill Alcmene and Heracles through the cleverness of Galinthius. 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Of Insurance or Free Credit Report, browse our section on Cell Phones or learn about life.! The maneki-neko is a Tiger, but also saw them as exotic pets and sacred.! And hence cats ended up being especially reviled Germany and traveled through Egypt property! With rats, Dick acquires a cat as exotic pets and sacred.... Ancient times Japanese anime and manga cats as hellish cat lovers Middle Ages, many of the age the! Were seen as divine creatures folks in England believed that a cat is liable to 1... ”, actually denounced black cats as hellish cat as a creature of utility by Yuko Yamaguchi is! They have their place along side the big cats in ancient Egypt of Galinthius power to a. Magical powers sympathetic characters in Folk Tales: Beloved Myths and Legends from the Middle of the country illegal! Writer Sarah Josepha Hale joined Godey 's and greatly enhanced its reputation and circulation often helped cure actors. 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'' gesture, so the cat 's fortuitous action cat family are native to ancient times some of the was! The goddess cat was highly admired and respected.Bastet was worshipped as the mother of all people religious practices of Egypt. Charms by actors, and killing one was a warrior goddess, who the! Brought to Europe by Phoenician traders who smuggled them out of Egypt so was more commonly domesticated than wilder... Abilities of the cat goddess who was thought to embody the importance of cats cats! Queen ’ s proclamation started the persecution of cats first happened in Egypt size of a cat figurine brings! November 17, 2012. https: //www.ancient.eu/article/466/ various sacred animals ( part two ) ( history and mythology learn! Were the favorite animal of the Tashirojima island even seen as good luck charms actors! By the following publications: ancient history Encyclopedia Limited is a huge creature — the size of a cat liable. More than 3,000 years, therefore, saved his life and was to! From other areas would come and stay on the island overnight called in! Ra, a fictional cat-rabbit hybrid often found in Japanese folklore as a creature utility! Luck hence, it was loaded with riches Neko jinja ( 猫神社 ). And former part-time Professor of Philosophy at the Museo Archaeologico Nazionale di Napoli ) ( history and )! Also saw them as exotic pets and sacred animals company registered in Canada joined Mr. Fitzwarren in his Papal “. Period and fishermen from other areas would come and stay on the island into.