(Merwel, Merul) Mandulis is a Nubian God depicted anthropomorphically wearing the hemhem crown, consisting of three atef crowns or ‘bundles’ mounted on ram’s horns with a uraeus (cobra) on either side, each surmounted by a solar disk, or as a human-headed bird like the symbol for the ba or ‘soul’, wearing the same crown; he can also be depicted as a child. A devotional inscription in Greek on the portico of the temple of Mandulis at Talmis testifies to one Roman pilgrim’s experience of the God. The author, one Maximus, recounts that, “having beheld some radiant signs of thy [Mandulis’] power,” he meditated on them, “wishing to know with confidence whether thou [Mandulis] art the Sun,” (Nock, p. 366). Meditation, ascesis and incense offerings resulted in a vision of Mandulis: “Thou didst … show me thyself going through the heavenly vault; then washing thyself in the holy water of immortality thou appearedst again.” This vision was apparently followed by other manifestations: “Thou didst come at due season to thy shrine, making thy rising, and giving to thy image and to thy shrine divine breath and great power.” Noteworthy is the epithet Maximus applies to Mandulis, Aiôn pantokrator, “All-powerful Eternity”.

Nock, Arthur Darby. 1972. “A Vision of Mandulis Aion.” Pp. 357-400 in Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, Vol. I. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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3 Responses to “Mandulis”

  1. There is quite a bit of information regarding the worship of Mandulis that was prevalent among the Beja peoples prior to their conversion to Christianity and Islam. Do you think it might be something worth looking into for information about the God?

    • Edward P. Butler said

      If you’d like to recommend some literature on the subject, please do.

      • Both “A History of the Beja Tribes of the Sudan” and “The Rough Guide to Egypt” have information regarding Mandulis, and luckily that information is available for free on Google Books. For primary sources, I would look to Procopius.

        The God also had a shrine on Philae, and something particular about the cult of Mandulis as written by the historian Procopius (De Bello Persico, I, xix) by the time of Justinian, is that the Blemmyes offered human sacrifices to the God.

        Of course, the God was often syncretized with Heru and Apollon.

        Not too much information, but may be a decent amount to help in some way.

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