Bastet was a goddess in ancient Egyptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dynasty (2890 BC). As Bast, she was the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt, the Nile River delta region, before the unification of the cultures of ancient Egypt. Her name is also spelled Baast, Ubaste, and Baset.
The two uniting cultures had deities that shared similar roles and usually the same imagery. In Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was the parallel warrior lioness deity to Bast. Often similar deities merged into one with the unification, but that did not occur with these deities with such strong roots in their cultures. Instead, these goddesses began to diverge. During the Twenty-Second Dynasty (c. 945–715 BC), Bast had changed from a lioness warrior deity into a major protector deity represented as a cat. Bastet, the name associated with this later identity, is the name commonly used by scholars today to refer to this deity.
During later dynasties, Bast was assigned a lesser role in the pantheon bearing the name Bastet, but retained. Thebes became the capital of Ancient Egypt during the 18th Dynasty. As they rose to great power the priests of the temple of Amun, dedicated to the primary local deity, advanced the stature of their titular deity to national prominence and shifted the relative stature of others in the Egyptian pantheon. Diminishing her status, they began referring to Bast with the added suffix, as "Bastet" and their use of the new name was well-documented, becoming very familiar to researchers. by the 22nd dynasty the transition had occurred in all regions.
She was the goddess of protection against contagious diseases and evil spirits.
She is also known as The Eye of Ra.
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