Web. Ancient Egyptians highly worshipped and respected felines and protected them by law. While the exact history of human interaction with cats is still somewhat vague, a shallow grave site discovered in 1983 in Cyprus, dating to 7500 BCE, during the Neolithic period, contains the skeleton of a human, buried ceremonially with stone tools, a lump of iron oxide, and a handful of seashells. Mark, published on 17 November 2012 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. They prefer to come out during stormy weather, or at night, and are usually accompanied by hellish flames or lightning. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 17 Nov 2012. Submitted by Joshua J. Mar 15, 2014 - Find Cash Advance, Debt Consolidation and more at Asian-Antiquites.com. Cats are featured in the history of many nations, are the subject of legend, and are a favorite subject of artists and writers. 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. These cats often found their way into literature. The greatest example of Egyptian devotion to the cat, however, comes from the Battle of Pelusium (525 BCE) in which Cambyses II of Persia defeated the forces of the Egyptian Pharaoh Psametik III to conquer Egypt. In this way, the first Persian cat came to be created as a token of gratitude to Rustum. Religion/Culture: Japanese mythology Realm: The spirit world Modern Cat Breed: Chausie. (2012, November 17). Many works of art have been dedicated to the Grimalkin. Viking-era cats descend from the second wave, which began as early as 1700 B.C., as sailors began bringing cats with them on their ancient voyages for … It is usually a sitting cat with one of its paws raised and bent, its left paw be.  Families took their dead cats to the sacred city of Bubastis, where they were embalmed and buried in sacred repositories. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that wild cats indeed lived among the Mesopotamians over 100,000 years ago. Bastets & Sekhmetsby Kotomi Yamamura (CC BY-NC-SA). In 1233 Pope Gregory IX composed in his Papal Bull “Vox in Rama” really denounced black cats as hellish. This myth, then, associated cats with darkness, transformation, the underworld, and witchcraft and, in time, these associations would prove very unfortunate for the cat. They were never specifically sought out for domestication like dogs were but their coexistence with humans naturally developed from the mutually beneficial nature of the relationship, with their hunting protecting the food stores. Filed under Uncategorized Cats have been kept by humans since at least ancient Egypt, where Bast in cat form was goddess of the home, the domesticated cat, protector of the fields and home from vermin infestations, and sometimes took on the warlike aspect of a lioness. In Japan, the famous image of the `Beckoning Cat’ (the maneki neko figure of the cat with one raised paw) represents the goddess of mercy. She was the keeper of hearth and home, protector of women’s secrets, guardian against evil spirits and disease, and the goddess of cats. The two species eventually merged creating a new breed which was closely related to the modern Egyptian Mau. "Cats in the Ancient World." As the Phoenicians are acknowledged to have extensively traded with every known civilization of the time, cats could have been spread around the region on a fairly regular basis. When he opened his hands toward Rustum, the warrior saw a small, smoke-grey kitten with eyes bright as the stars and a tiny tongue which darted like the tip of flame. , The lineage of today's cats stems from about 4500 BC and came from Europe and Southeast Asia according to a recent study. Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods in Norse mythology. Between its pyramids and hieroglyphics, the Ancient Egyptian civilization that existed for thousands of years before Rome has given us many memorable cat gods and goddesses.  Cats were sacred animals and the goddess Bastet was often depicted in cat form, sometimes taking on the war-like aspect of a lioness. 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). 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"). In 1836 CE, the brilliant editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale joined Godey's and greatly enhanced its reputation and circulation. One day, when the fishermen were collecting rocks to use with the fixed-nets, a stray rock fell and killed one of the cats. Cats were obviously important, and there were enormous cults, which revered these felines. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The cat was regularly considered a guardian of the home and was thought to be the special protector of valuable books. Senchan found fault in everything that … This list may not reflect recent changes (). Cats In Mythology: Cats in mythology, especially as familiars have an extended and darkh historical past in western mythology. The goddess cat in Egyptian mythology is well known in the world of mythology. He joined Mr. Fitzwarren in his business and married his daughter Alice, and in time became the Lord Mayor of London. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. In the Renaissance, cats were often thought to be witches' familiars (for example, Greymalkin, the first witch's familiar in Macbeth's famous opening scene), and during festivities were sometimes burnt alive or thrown off tall buildings. The Norse goddess Freyja, deity of love, fertility, war, wealth, divination … His little room infested with rats, Dick acquires a cat, who drives off the rats. Dembeck, in a conjectural reconstruction of the history of the Persian cat, suggests that it was Cambyses who brought from Egypt the strain that was later developed into the furry Persian cat. One day, Mr. Fitzwarren asked his servants if they wished to send something in his ship, leaving on a journey to a far off port, to trade for gold. In Greek mythology, Diana, goddess of the hunt and moon and teacher of magick and witchcraft, shapeshifts into Lucifer’s beloved pet cat to gain entrance into his chamber and seduce him. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. 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 latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. 1. This story was carried by the newspapers of the day and, as Queen Victoria was a very popular monarch, more and more people became interested in having cats of their own.  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. Felines as familiars have a long and dark history in western mythology. Pages in category "Mythological felines" The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total. Some mistakenly assume that the domestication of cats first happened in Egypt about 4,000 years ago. This trend spread to the United States and was encouraged by the most popular magazine in America at that time, Godey’s Lady’s Book. Cats as Divine Creatures. The Egyptians, reluctant to defend themselves for fear of harming the cats (and perhaps incurring the death penalty should they kill one), and demoralized at seeing the image of Bastet on the enemy’s shields, surrendered the city and let Egypt fall to the Persians. The goddess cat was named Bastet, also known as Bast. The god Zeus seduced Alcmene and she became pregnant with Heracles. Last modified November 17, 2012. Members of the cat family are native to most parts of the world except Australia, Madagascar and a few isolated islands. Status of Cats. The cat, therefore, saved his life and was accorded great honours. Cats which have died are taken to Bubastis where they are embalmed and buried in sacred receptacles” (Nardo 117). 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. Buddhist, Burmese and Siamese cultures believed that cats acted as hosts for certain … The goddess cat was highly admired and respected.Bastet was worshipped as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt and guardian of the pharaoh. Here’s a list of 21 most legendary cats in history: 1. There is no historical evidence that Whittington had a cat, In the tale, Dick Whittington, a poor orphan finds work at the great house of Mr. Fitzwarren, a rich merchant. During some periods in Egypt's history, cats were even seen as divine creatures. Another Japanese legend of cats is the nekomata: when a cat lives to a certain age, it grows another tail and can stand up and speak in a human language. Have you ever noticed that there is no Chinese Year of the Cat? Exporting them out of the country was illegal, and killing one was a crime punishable by death. There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. The reputation of the cat took a more serious downward turn, however, after Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241 CE) issued his papal bull known as Vox in Rama in 1233 CE denouncing cats as evil and in league with Satan, cats - and especially black cats - were demonized to the point where they were regularly killed all across Europe. Black cats became the traditionally mentioned companion and hence cats ended up being especially reviled. History of cats, (part two) (History and mythology) pets. This cat, Meuzza, also features in another famous story in which Muhammed, called to prayer, found the cat asleep on his arm. If we consider lions as cats, the cult of the Lion-headed Goddess, Sekhmet, was prominent. Books 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. 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. , One English folk tale in which a cat is given a heroic role is Dick Whittington and His Cat, which has been adapted for many stage works, including plays, musical comedies and pantomimes. Gods associated with Cats. Cats were obviously important, and there were enormous cults, which revered these felines. 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. Known as the cat goddess of ancient Egypt, Bast, also called Bastet, is the female, first-born child of the sun god Ra. , Cats have also featured prominently in modern culture. The concept, known as “transmigration of soul” is also found in Egypt. :220 Killing a cat was absolutely forbidden and the Greek historian Herodotus reports that, whenever a household cat died, the entire family would mourn and shave their eyebrows.  Cats are rarely mentioned in ancient Greek literature, but Aristotle does remark in his History of Animals that "female cats are naturally lecherous. The cat’s association with ancient Egypt, however, is understandable in that Egyptian culture was famous for its devotion to the cat. The cat in ancient Egypt was closely linked to the goddess Bastet who presided over the h… She was a warrior goddess, who led the pharaohs in warfare. The first major Cat Show was held at the Crystal Palace in London in 1871CE and appreciation of the cat was elevated to such a level that, for the first time, cats were given “specific standards and classes” which are still used to categorize felines in the present day (Morris, 148). Humans tend to either love or hate cats. Isis is often depicted as a female goddess accompanied by black cats. Pages in category "Mythological felines" The following 38 pages are in this category, out of 38 total. In modern-day Russia there is a group of cats at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. 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. A medieval King of Wales, Hywel Dda (the Good) passed legislation making it illegal to kill or harm a cat.. Cats were often housed in private pagodas in Japan and were considered so valuable that, by the 10th century CE, only the nobility could afford to own one. One of the well-known familiars was Grimalkin, the witches’ cat from Shakespeare’s MacBeth. This is evidence that cats were being tamed just as humankind was establishing the first settlements in the part of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent. After the seventeenth century, the history of cats changed once again. , In Norse mythology, the goddess Freyja was associated with cats. 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). Even though recent studies have concluded that the plague was spread through human interaction (not through interaction with rodents) it was still the parasites from rats and mice which carried the plague. 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. Godly Cats The ancient Egyptians adopted the lion, the leopard and the cat as symbols of power and virility. Frey & Freya. Modern cats stem from two major lines of lineage. Some referred to Bastet as “Lady of Flame” and “Eye of Ra”.In ancient Egypt there was a death penalty for killing a cat. In early Egyptian hieroglyphs, her name appears to have been bꜣstt. Superstition #3: Black Cats Are Good Luck. The Cat in Celtic Lore and Shakespeare Ancient Celtic lore speaks of Grimalkin, a grey cat with magical powers. Mark, Joshua J. It should not be assumed that the common people would have read Vox in Rama and responded to it, nor even that the bull was widespread (it was issued only to Henry III, Count of Sayn, in Germany) but the opinion of the church toward cats would certainly have filtered down from the highest levels to the lay-people of the congregations. Humans tend to either love or hate 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. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. by Mary Harrsch (Photographed at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, Calif.) (CC BY-NC-SA), by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA), by Mary Harrsch (Photographed at the Museo Archaeologico Nazionale di Napoli) (CC BY-SA). Unlike the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece or Rome, who looked human for the most part, Egyptian deities were often depicted as having the form of an animal. This mutually beneficial arrangement began the relationship between cats and humans which continues to this day. Enraged, Hera transformed Galinthius into a cat and sent her to the underworld to ever after serve Hecate. The Egyptians are also responsible for the very name `cat’ in that it derives from the North African word for the animal, “quattah”, and, as the cat was so closely associated with Egypt, almost every other European nation employs variations on this word: French, chat; Swedish, katt; German, katze; Italian, gatto; Spanish, gato and so forth (Morris, 175). Desmond Morris writes, “Because the cat was seen as evil, all kinds of frightening powers were attributed to it by the writers of the day. That the cat was seen as more than just a method of pest control is substantiated by the reverence accorded to felines in the literature of India. The Romans respected the vermin-catching abilities of the domestic cat, but also saw them as exotic pets and sacred animals. 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. Cats are sacred to Freya, the goddess of love and beauty, one of the original fertility … The power of speech was then taken from the cats and given to humans but, as humans seemed incapable of understanding the words of the gods, cats remained entrusted with the important task of keeping time and so maintaining order. Several ancient Egyptian deities were depicted and sculptured with cat-like heads such as Mafdet, Bastet and Sekhmet, representing justice, fertility and power. Cats survived these frenzied superstitions better than many of their human companions and during the Enlightenment of the 18th century were elevated to the status of pampered pets. Queen Victoria of Great Britain, who had always kept dogs as pets, became interested in cats through the many stories of archaeological finds in Egypt being published regularly in England. They associated the cat with liberty and divinity and so the cat was the only animal allowed to walk freely around their temples. The inhabitants of the European nations, believing the cat to be evil, shunned not only the animal but anyone who seemed overly fond of the cat. Name. Zeus’ wife, Hera, was thwarted in her attempt to kill Alcmene and Heracles through the cleverness of Galinthius. Only one deity, the goddess named Bastet, had the power to become a cat. The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. The Romans respected the vermin-catching abilities of the domestic cat, but also saw them as exotic pets and sacred animals. Freyja’s cat-driven chariot. On the god’s third visit, the cats explained they had no interest in running the world and nominated human beings for the position. 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. Cat popularity in the United States grew appreciably after the Godey article. . the Parthians exported the longhaired Persian cat (Dembeck, pp. Shakespeare noted that when Senchan began to criticize some mice on his kitchen table with his poetry, they all dropped dead from shame. In her fictional life, she is from the outskirts of London and a part of the Sanrio universe. Cats are magical creatures. Cats first came to North America, it is thought, in 1749 CE, from England, to help control the mice and rat population but they seem to have been largely considered utilitarian until the Victorian Age when they became cherished pets and, in the United States, this was largely due to the influence of Godey's Lady's Book and Sarah Hale's contributions to it. The cultural depiction of cats and their relationship to humans is old and stretches back over 9,500 years. The people of ancient Egypt worshiped the cat god, Bastet, as one of their highest deities. If somebody is hurting your cat, best keep him indoors, you don’t know what this person is going to do next time. Freyja’s cat-driven chariot. Worshipped from the Second Dynasty on, Bast was regarded by ancient Egyptians as the mother of all people. According to Sanrio, the official licenser, designer, and producer of Hello Kitty merchandise, the character is a cartoon version of a little girl. 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