Renenutet sitting on a throne holding a papyrus staff
Major cult centerTerenuthis
ConsortGeb, Sobek, Shai (some accounts)
OffspringNehebkau, Nepri

Renenūtet (also transliterated Ernūtet, Renen-wetet, Renenet) was a goddess of grain, grapes,[1] nourishment and the harvest in the ancient Egyptian religion.[2] The importance of the harvest caused people to make many offerings to Renenutet during harvest time. Initially, her cult was centered in Terenuthis. Renenutet was depicted as a cobra or as a woman with the head of a cobra.

Renenutet in hieroglyphs


The verbs "to fondle, to nurse, or rear" help explain the name Renenutet. This goddess was a "nurse" who took care of the pharaoh from birth to death.[5] She was also called "the mistress of provisions", "Renenutet mistress of the offerings", "Renenutet mistress of the food", and "Renenutet the venerable of the double granary",[1] and "who maintains everybody".[6]

She was the female counterpart of Shai, "destiny", who represented the positive destiny of the child. Renenutet was called Thermouthis or Hermouthis in Greek. She embodied the fertility of the fields (both the vegetation and the soil itself[6]) and was the protector of the royal office and power.[7] She also came to be seen as a bringer of happiness, and was strongly associated with milk and breastfeeding.[6]

Offerings to Renenutet were depicted in Egyptian wine making scenes,[8] and shrines to her were set up in vineyards.[9] Images of her were found in kitchens, near ovens, in granaries, and in cellars. These images often invoked her to protect food stores against insects, mice, and snakes, not just as a provider of food.[1] Her image also appears on stamps and stoppers for wine containers.[10]

Sometimes, as the goddess of nourishment, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Sobek. He was represented as the Nile River, the annual flooding of which deposited the fertile silt that enabled abundant harvests. The temple of Medinet Madi is dedicated to both Sobek and Renenutet. It is a small and decorated building in the Faiyum.[7]

More usually, Renenutet was seen as the mother of Nehebkau who occasionally was also represented as a snake. When considered the mother of Nehebkau, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Geb, who represented the earth.

She was the mother of the god Nepri.[7]

Later, as a snake goddess worshiped over the whole of Lower Egypt, Renenutet was increasingly associated with Wadjet, Lower Egypt's powerful protector and another snake goddess represented as a cobra. Eventually Renenutet was identified as an alternate form of Wadjet, whose gaze was said to slaughter enemies. Wadjet was the cobra shown on the crown of the pharaohs.

Renenutet was also identified with Meretseger, a cobra goddess of the Theban necropolis,[1] and was syncretized with Isis.[6]

Renenutet as a snake-headed woman seated in front of Nepit (left) and Hu (center) in the form of cobras


  1. ^ a b c d Marini, Paolo. "Renenutet: worship and popular piety at Thebes in the New Kingdom". Journal of Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Archaeology.
  2. ^ Pinch, Geraldine (2003). Egyptian mythology: a guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195170245.
  3. ^ Leitz, Christian; Budde, Dagmar; Goldbrunner, Lothar; Förster, Frank; Recklinghausen, Daniel von; Ventker, Bettina (August 2, 2002). LGG. Peeters Publishers. ISBN 9789042911499 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Institute, Scriptural Research (March 27, 2020). Wisdom of Amenemope. Scriptural Research Institute. ISBN 9781989852064 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Flusser, David; Shua, Amorai-Stark (1993). "The Goddess Thermuthis, Moses, and Artapanus". Jewish Studies Quarterly. 1 (3): 217–33. JSTOR 40753100.
  6. ^ a b c d Franci, Massimiliano (2016-01-01). "Isis-Thermouthis and the anguiform deities in Egypt: a cultural and semantic evolution". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ a b c Francoise Dunand and Christiane Zivie-Coche (trans. David Lorton). (2004). Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395 CE. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. [hereafter: Gods and Men].
  8. ^ ‘IREP EN KEMET’ WINE OF ANCIENT EGYPT: DOCUMENTING THE VITICULTURE AND WINEMAKING SCENES IN THE EGYPTIAN TOMBS M. R. Guasch-Jané, S. Fonseca, M. Ibrahim. ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume II-5/W1, 2013 XXIV International CIPA Symposium, 2 – 6 September 2013, Strasbourg, France
  9. ^ "Renenet – OCCULT WORLD". Retrieved 2024-02-16.
  10. ^ Denecker, Evelien; Vandorpe, Katelijn. "Sealed Amphora Stoppers and Tradesmen in Greco-Roman Egypt".