(Antywey, Antaios) The chief local God of the 10th nome (or district) of Upper Egyptian has a name very difficult to distinguish from that of the chief God of the 12th Upper Egyptian nome, Anty or Nemty, the difference being that the name of the God of the 10th nome is dual, Antiwy (or Nemtiwy), so that if we read Anty as “having claws” we would read Antiwy as “the two with claws”. This duality is underscored by his name being written commonly with two hawks in either one or two sacred boats. There is an ambiguity concerning the phonetic rendering of the name of the God of the 12th nome, however; though it may have been Anty, a stronger argument seems to read it as Nemty, “wanderer”. While the same arguments would in principle apply to the reading of the name “Antiwy”, which would thus potentially be read as “Nemtiwy”, “the two wanderers”, the name of the God of the 10th nome is explicitly rendered in Greek as Antaios, and his district as “Antaiopolis”, and hence this name was obviously heard as “Antiwy”, and not as “Nemtiwy”. Moreover, we read of certain sacred dancers at Antaiopolis who wore anklets with an amulet in the form of a claw (Vandier, p. 69). Therefore I have chosen to refer to the God of the 12th nome as “Nemty”, and to the God of the 10th nome as “Antiwy”.

Sometimes Antiwy, in accord with the “two” in his name, is taken to be a combined form of Horus and Seth, as though expressing the bond created by their very conflict. Diodorus Siculus (I, 21) locates the struggle between Horus and Seth as taking place “near the village now known as Antaios”. Te Velde (68f) sees Antiwy as “giving form to the coincidentia oppositorum” of Horus and Seth, and indeed, the capital of the 10th Upper Egyptian nome is given the ceremonial name at Denderah of ḥwt-śḥtp, “house of reconciliation”. Antiwy is on the whole more closely identified with Seth, however, and sometimes is straightforwardly identified with him and depicted with the head of the Seth-animal (Gardiner, II. 53-55). Antiwy also often has Nephthys for consort. Due to the similar sound of their names, Greeks sometimes identified Antaios with Antaios (or Antaeus), the Libyan giant and son of Poseidon defeated by Herakles—as apparently Diodorus, who says that the town of Antaios “derives its name from that of Antaios, a contemporary of Osiris, who was punished by Herakles” (ibid.). There is no more to this, however, than the coincidental phonetic similarity, unless there are further links more obscure to us, such as between the “punishment” of Antaios mentioned by Diodorus and the punishments traditionally suffered by Seth (or by Nemty, for that matter), or the syncretisms between certain Egyptian deities and Herakles.

In Pharaonic-era depictions, Antiwy is typically depicted as a hawk-headed man, but images of the Roman era depict Antaios as a man in the garb of a Roman military officer, typically wearing two long feathers on his head and carrying a tasseled spear, accompanied by Nephthys, in accord with Antiwy’s identification with Seth, and occasionally by a hawk, perhaps alluding to Antiwy’s association with the hawk. In several scenes, Antaios dominates a captive antelope (embodying the forces of chaos) or human wearing antelope horns. (On these images, see Bailey 2005.)

Bailey, Donald. 2005. “Antaios, an Egyptian God in Roman Egypt: Extracting an Iconography.” Pp. 389-98 in M. Sanader and A. R. Miočević (eds.), Religion and Myth as an Impetus for the Roman Provincial Sculpture: Proceedings of the 8th International Colloquium on Problems of Roman Provincial Art. Zagreb: Tehnička knjiga.
Brunner, Hellmutt. 1975. “Antaios”. Pp. 299-300 in Helck and Otto, eds. Lexikon der Ägyptologie: Band I, A-Ernte. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.
Gardiner, Alan H. 1947. Ancient Egyptian Onomastica. 3 vols. Oxford University Press.
Te Velde, Herman. 1967. Seth, God of Confusion: A Study of his Role in Egyptian Mythology and Religion. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Vandier, Jacques. 1961. Le Papyrus Jumilhac. Paris: Musée de Louvre.

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