Egyptian mythology, Sopdet was the deification of Sothis, a starconsidered by almost all egyptologists to be Sirius. The name "Sopdet" means "(she who is) sharp" in Egyptian, a reference to the brightness of Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night sky. In art she was depicted as a woman with a five-pointed star upon her head. [cite book |author=Wilkinson, Richard H. |title=The complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt |publisher=Thames & Hudson |location=London |year=2003 |pages= |isbn=0-500-05120-8 |oclc= |doi=]
Just after Sirius appears in the July sky, the
Nile Riverbegins its annual flood, and so the ancient Egyptiansconnected the two. Consequently Sopdet was identified as a goddess of the fertility of the soil, which was brought to it by the Nile's flooding. This significance led the Egyptians to base their calendar on the heliacal risingof Sirius.
Sopdet was regarded as the consort of "Sah", the
constellationof Orion, by which Sirius appears, and the planet Venus was sometimes considered their child. The noticeably human figure of Orion was eventually identified as a form of Horus, the sky-god, and thus, together with her being a fertility deity, this led to her being identified as a manifestation of Isis.
After Sirius' appearance, the scorching heat of summer arrives, an aspect that was referred to as "
Sopdu", meaning "(one who is) with Sopd", "Sopd" being simply the masculine form, and stem, of "Sopdet". Since the heat arrived after Sirius' appearance, it was said that Sopdet had "given birth" to it, thus Sopdu was seen as being a child of Sopdet, and thus also of Sah.
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