AMMUT: (EGYPT)

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beyond-mythologyKnown to the ancient Egyptian’s as “The Devourer of the Dead,” this strange animal was regarded by the pharaoh’s high priests to be a feminine demon whose job it was to judge the virtue of the deceased by weighing their heart against a feather.

Described as having the head of a crocodile, the torso of a lion and the girth of a hippopotamus, Ammut — also referred to by the names Ammit, Amam, Am-mit, Ahemait or Ammemet — is a classic example of a HYBRID-BEAST.

First chronicled in the Book of the Dead as a servant of Osiris, Ammut was given another, even more ominous tile that “The Devourer of the Dead.” In this tome she would be referred to as “The Eater of Hearts.”

Thought by most modern scholars feel that this bizarre combination of reptile and mammal to be the sole product of Egyptian mythology, there are a few pioneering investigators who have put forth the suggestion that this creature’s description, as well as its loathsome reputation, may stem from ancient eyewitness accounts of carnivorous (and presumably extinct) aquatic reptiles — such as mosasaurs — that may have traveled from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean, and eventually found their way into the Nile.

An ancient Egyptian papyrus (listed as No. 9901) bears the only known written description of the hellish creature known as Ammut, and it is no wonder this amalgamation of all the animals which the ancient Egyptians feared most managed to illicit such divine attention (not to mention, inspire so much awe and terror) in this uniquely synthesized form.