DemonBase: Online Catalogue of Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Beings

DemonBase

Welcome to our Samplers of Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Beings!

Come explore a sample of the many supernatural creatures that helped Ancient Egyptians cope with troubles, afflictions, and ailments of everyday life. While their gods are well-known, these composite creatures were usually left unnamed and do not appear in our lists and encyclopedias. Yet anybody, from an elite pharaoh such as Tutankhamun to a poor small child, could appeal for help and protection from these beings. Many of them resemble our own mythical creatures, gremlins, gnomes, daemons, and familiars.

For the first time, we bring you a sample of supernatural beings—some fully human, some animal hybrids, some objects—to explore! There are three versions of the catalogue and we would be interested to know which you prefer.

This is just a sample—there are many many more that surrounded the Egyptians over 3,000 years, and the catalogue will constantly grow. Where we do not have an image yet, you will notice we have put in a placeholder. In the meantime, Enjoy!

Each individual demon has an ID number, as does each source object. Because the focus is on each entity, to get details on the object please visit the relevant museum website.

Since most beings are hybrids, we have divided their features into “head,” “lower torso,” “upper torso,” and other features such as “headgear,” poses,” “gestures” ….

 

If you see this image, it means that no drawing has been done yet (coming soon!).

If you would like to be part of our team in any way, please just contact us!

While these beings appear on all sorts of objects, those presented here are found on one of four types:

  1. Coffin Texts (compositions on the inside and outside of First Intermediate Period – Middle Kingdom coffins 2180-1700 BCE). These were used for funerary rituals and to help the deceased awaken and live forever in the afterlife.
  2. Carved Ivory Tusks (also known as apotropaia, birth tusks, Middle Kingdom 1800-1700 BCE). These were likely with the point on the ground, to draw a circle in the floor to protect vulnerable individuals (particularly women & infants during childbirth).Using an Ivory Wand
  3. Decorated Head Rests (New Kingdom 1550-1070 BCE). The Egyptians slept on these (sometimes with a cloth or pillow in the center). They can be decorated with wishes for a good sleep, as well as these beings who protect against nightmares.
  4. Book of the Dead Manuscripts (New Kingdom 1550-1070). Only complete ones are included here. These compositions were used to help individuals live forever in the afterlife.

all based at Swansea University, Wales:

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The following applies to the individual demon names and line drawings. Other copyright information is noted where applicable.

Creative Commons License
DemonBase by © 2016 Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: 2K, Swansea University  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Basic SamplerText/Image SamplerDetailed Sampler


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Please note that these are still in trialling beta stage. We appreciate your feedback (please use Feedback Form above). Thank you!

Sampler Catalogue

This catalogue is the simplest to use, and contains a sample of demons that were represented as images—ones known in text only are not included. Just click on the boxes you want to search for!

Text & Image Sampler Catalogue
TEMPORARILY CLOSED

This catalogue includes demons that are known either as text or as image. In this version you need to type in search terms (first click in the menu in upper right where it says search database > demons), so please do click on the information button. Or, just explore!

Detailed Sampler

This is the most detailed version. You can search on the appearance or other characteristics. When you start typing into the various boxes, they will autofill with the possibilities. Please log in using the “Guest Account” option.

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