WIA
Boat, Barque


   The Nile was the life-blood of Egypt; not only did it provide all the sustenance for the land with its regular and generous flooding, it also provided pretty much the sole means for communication, travel, and trade among the cities of Egypt. All of these functions—travel, trade, communication—took place along the highway of the Nile, so the principle metaphor for journeying, passages, or communication became for the Egyptians, wia, or the boat. The Egyptians depicted their gods as constantly travelling in boats; their most important god, Re, the god of the sun, made his daily journey in two boats: Mandjet , the barque of the morning, and Mesektet , the barque of the evening. The gods Thoth and Ma'at (Truth) are frequently depicted as joining him in his barque on these journeys (sometimes they are represented only by the "follower" or "attendant" symbol, Shemset); at other times he is joined by many other gods.

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1997, Richard Hooker
Updated 4-8-97