Baalat Gubl and Hathor: the History of Relations between Byblos and Egypt in the Periods of the Old and Middle Kingdom

Yunusov М. М.

The author studies the basis of origin and steady development of the Egyptian cult of Hathor in Byblos against a background of the political events and ethnic processes the city went through from the beginning of the III mill. ВС to the fall of the XII dynasty in Egypt. Archaeological, epigraphic and iconographic data from Byblos (excavations of P. Montet and M. Dunand) and partly from adjacent areas (Sinai, Palestine, Ugarit) considered by the author give him grounds to maintain that the cult of the Egyptian goddess Hathor was established and supported mainly for the reasons of providing ideological basis for the Egyptians' politi-cal and economical interests and that it had the status of local state cult without being directly connected with the religious beliefs of wide masses of the population. Some Proto-Sinaitic texts and Ugarit written sources taken into consideration by the author allow him to suppose that addressing goddesses, both local and foreign, the inhabitants of Palestine and Southern Syria in the II mill. ВС could use b'lt and rbt interchangeably in the sense of «Lady», which in any case had nothing to do with the original deity of Byblos. For the indigenous inhabitants of Byblos and for the Amorite newcomers from the Syrian desert b'lt gbl was a usual calque of the epithet of Egyptian Hathor nbt kbn/kpny - «the Lady of By-blos», who from the Middle Kingdom on becomes one of the central figures of Byblos' pan-theon, completely replacing the archaic goddess of Byblos that we only know under the con-ventional name of Baalat Gubl.