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Mr. Ibis is one of the Old Gods, and a supporting character in American Gods.
Significance in narrative Edit
- Main article: Mr. Ibis/Novel
Significance in series Edit
Physical appearance Edit
Ibis is tall and thin with a small bird's head on a long neck with a long and high beak.
In his human form, he is described as "a cranelike man with gold-rimmed spectacles" and is "well over six feet in height, with a cranelike stoop".
Powers and abilities Edit
- Nigh Omniscience: As Mr. Ibis is the God of knowledge, wisdom, philosophy, science and invention he possesses vasts amounts of information that he has collected and learned over his extremely long life, this also makes him extremely intelligent.
- Scribe: As Mr. Ibis is the God of writing he tells the stories of humans and their gods, recording their lives onto paper. He is the author of several of the Coming to America stories.
- Transfiguration: Mr. Ibis has the ability to transform into an ibis.
Cultural background Edit
Thot is a god from Egyptian mythology.
Myths don't agree on how he came to be. The Hermopolitan cosmogony claims that Thot was the original demiurge, existing before all of the other gods, the chief of the primordial divine Ogdoad and the one responsible for the creation of the world (to no surprise, the nome of Hermopolis is where Thot's cult began). Other texts and legends rather refer to him as the son of Rê/Ra, the Sun God, either born from Rê and the goddess Neith, either manifesting out of Ra's heart during a moment of sadness. Another myth rather claims that he is the son of Seth: during the feud between Seth and Horus, Horus, to humiliate his uncle Seth, put his sperm into Seth's favorite food, a salad. Seth gulped it without looking twice, and from this fecundation was born Thot, who sprang out of Seth's cranium.
God of intelligence and science, keeper of knowledge, he was highly considered by the other gods. Being the vizir to Ra's pharaoh he was the divine clerk present in every tribunal, from being the arbitrator settling divine disputes (such as the conflict between Seth and Horus) to being the scribe noting down the results of the weighing of hearts in the afterlife. He was considered the patron of sciences and scribes. According to mythology, he created the language, writing, mathematics, weights and measurements, not only as a way to spread knowledge to the mortal beings but also to organize the world itself. As the inventor of writing, it was considered that most, if not all, of the sacred texts had been written by him and then left on Earth for the humans to use. He was said to have been behind the delimitation of Egypt into nomes, the creation of its geographical fronteers and the one to offer the art of architecture to humans. He was also considered a god of medecine, astronomy and magic.
However myths explain that, while Thot was respected and admired by his peers, he was still a very boring, annoying and prideful god, the other divinities finding his long, complex, flowery and pompous speeches irritating. (A famous sentence was said by Isis when Thot, asked for a cure to save a dying Horus, started a long speech full of digressions: "Thot, how you are wise of heart, but slow to decide!")
The other major role of Thot was to be the moon in the night sky. When Ra, the Sun God, decided to leave the mortal, earthly realm he started his eternal travel, going through the sky during the day and passing through the underworld at night. Since he had to abandon earth to the darkness half of the time, Rê asked Thot, his faithful advisor, to spread light during night, thus making Thot the god of the moon.
As a god of measurements, calculations and the moon, he was strongly associated with calendars. A myth even explains how he shaped the modern 365 day calendar. Indeed a year used to be only 360 days long, but Nut the Sky-Goddess was cursed by her father Shu to not be able to give birth to her children during any day of the year. Thot, wishing to help her, gambled with Iah, a moon god, over a game of "senet" (a popular Egyptian board game), and won portions of Iah's light, that he used to create five additional days during which Nut could give birth to her five children.
Thot's association with the afterlife went further than him assisting in the trial of the dead. If a dead was judged worthy of accessing Osiris' realm, Thot, alongside Anubis, was the one charged with giving the dead a "new breath" so that he may begin his new life in the underworld.
Thot usually appeared as an ibis or a man with an ibis head but he could also appear as a baboon or a man with a baboon head. When it became an habit to associate each god of the Egyptian religion with a wife and a child in order to create a divine triad, Thot became the husband of the goddess Nehmetawy and the father of the god Hornefer.
Thot was a very popular god in Egypt, with numerous temples dedicated to him. He was also very popular in foreign lands, such as Nubia and Sudan. His cult included several oracles.
|To edit the Gallery page, go to Mr. Ibis/Gallery.|
Note: The pictures are shown in episodic order. To see the order of the episodes, please visit the Episode guide.
Notes and trivia Edit
- Mr. Ibis is an incarnation of Thoth, the Ancient Egyptian God of wisdom, knowledge, writing, philosophy, magic, science, invention, the moon and judge of the dead.