A God of southern Nubia unknown in Egypt but depicted in an Egyptianizing style as a lion-headed man, occasionally winged, holding a sceptre with a seated lion on it or as a lion-headed serpent or as a lion, in virtually all cases wearing the elaborate hemhem crown, also called the ‘triple crown’. This crown, whose name means ‘war cry’, consists of three atef crowns or ‘bundles’ mounted on ram’s horns with a uraeus (cobra) on either side, and sometimes additionally with three falcons atop the bundles, each surmounted by a solar disk. The hemhem crown was part of the insignia of the kings of Egypt starting in the Amarna period, and Ptolemaic era kings are frequently depicted wearing it, but it is virtually unknown in Egyptian iconography for a deity to wear this crown (the only exception being Harsomtus). That Apedemak is consistently depicted wearing this crown may therefore indicate that he is to be regarded as embodying the spirit of the Meroitic dynasty. Principally a warrior God, Apedemak can also appear bearing a sheaf of wheat, or in conjunction with solar symbols as indications of the breadth of his providence. Apedemak also appears sometimes riding a lion, and in association with a winged lion who may represent Apedemak himself or a divine agent of his. Apedemak sometimes has the Egyptian Goddess Isis as his consort and Horus as his child. Though the name Apedemak is Meroitic, it was sometimes written in Egyptian hieroglyphs as if it was pꜣ-ir-mky, “the one who makes protection”.

Zabkar, Louis V. 1975. Apedemak, Lion God of Meroe: A Study in Egyptian-Meroitic Syncretism. Warminster: Aris & Phillips.

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