Welcome to our Sampler of Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Beings

Come explore a sample of the many supernatural creatures that helped Ancient Egyptians cope with stresses, 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 similar.
To get to know these fascinating creatures click on the button below or on "Search Page" in the navbar above.

Start searching »

About

The Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: 2nd Millennium BCE was funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2013-15). The goal of the project was to begin cataloguing the numerous liminal entities that appeared in texts and images, rather than the well-known major gods and goddesses. This project resulted in a pilot database that focusses on the individual entity, rather than the objects. To get more information on the object on which the creature is found go to the museum website and search by the accession number.
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 knowns 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).
  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.

Learn more about the project by following us on Facebook and Twitter. Also, you can click on the button below to go to the project's main website!

Learn More »


Drawings

Some of the beings were only described or named in texts, in other cases they remain unnamed but were depicted. We decided to create line drawings of the originals as details are often easier to see in a drawing. Whenever possible the line drawings have been based upon an image of the original, or the source itself. In some cases, however, the only available source has been a poor-quality photograph or a line-drawing. In those cases where the being manifested as an image, but we have not yet created a line-drawing, a placeholder has been added.

Line drawings by Felicitas Weber and Amber Furmage.


Team Members (all based at Swansea University):

  • Dr. Kasia Szpakowska (Director, Associate Professor of Egyptology, Dept. of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology)
  • Zuzanna Bennett (PhD Candidate, research)
  • Felicitas Weber (PhD Candidate, research, artwork)
  • Amber Furmage (BA Egyptology, artwork)
  • Jed Rual (MA Ancient Egyptian Culture candidate, glossary of terms)
  • Eoin Martino Grua (MSc Computer Science, database, website design/development)
  • Dr. Rita Borgo
This catalogue is constantly growing! There are many more beings and objects to be added, so stay tuned!