Les noms propres de chiens, chevaux et chats de l’Égypte ancienne. Le rôle et le sens du nom personnel attribué à l’animal


fr Anthropozoologica 37 - Pages 11-38

Published on 01 September 2003

Names of dogs, horses and cats in ancient Egypt. The role and the meaning of the personal name given to an animal

This article aims at understanding the motivations which lead one to give a personal name to an animal in the civilization of ancient Egypt. Indeed, although it is frequently attested in human onomastics by the means of its generic denomination, it is rarer that an animal receives a name and few species are concerned : the dog leads the way, with 85 known names ; after the dog, most of the personal names were given to the horse, which has been introduced much later in the Nile valley, and one name only is known for the cat. Depending on the importance given to these three species, as well as on their role in the community, it appears that these names can be used only to distinguish one individual from another, or that they form a magical attribute partaking in the royal propaganda.


Ancient Egypt, dog, horse, cat, personal name.

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