Rita Lucarelli

Baba and the demonic aspects of the baboon

Among the minor deities of the Egyptian pantheon is the god Baba (or Bebon), who is attested since the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom through the temple texts of the Graeco-Roman period. Although never depicted, a few texts suggest that this god manifests himself as a baboon with a rather dangerous and dreadful character and function towards other gods and humankind; however, Baba’s whereabouts in relation to his baboon manifestation have not been thoroughly investigated yet. This paper will review the existing sources on baboons with demonic aspects attested in magical and mortuary texts and illustrations of Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman Egypt, at the same time attempting to better define the role of Baba within the ancient Egyptian pantheon.

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