The mother serpent in the Pyramid text of Unas/Wenis mentions the mother serpent in Proto Canaanite.

Is this mother serpent known to the scientific community under another name or epithet that is more familiar?

Below some speculation explaining the context in which I am thinking and why I am interested in the question to see if there is cross cultural parallels to be found.

In the Torah there is a talking snake as well and the person this snake talks to according to the Torah is the first mother Eve.

  • 1
    Deleted a bunch of very specific personal speculation that seemed to have no source whatsoever, and didn't seem central to the question
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 24, 2019 at 21:39
  • I'm not familiar with that particular inscription, but the snake in Ancient Egyptian religious iconography was frequently used to represent Apep (Apophis in the Greek form), the personification of chaos. Sep 24, 2019 at 22:20
  • 5
    Probably better suited for Mythology SE.
    – Spencer
    Sep 24, 2019 at 22:20
  • Or are Mother /serpents a universal mythic trope? Better fit for mythology.
    – MCW
    Sep 25, 2019 at 11:22
  • The Serpent speaks Proto Canaanite so Apep would not be his/her alternative name. I mean to ask if there is an Ancient Semitic mother snake that is known under a different name. Apep/Ipep/Apopis is the Egyptian name.
    – Ajagar
    Sep 25, 2019 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


It is still not very much known about the text in question. But for a direct parallel in anything 'bible' it seems safe to say: no.

kw 333 imhw imhw (PT 235 §239a) […] suggesting that the phrase imhw may be 'm hwy 'mother of snake.' Recalling that Egyptian 3 was originally used to render Semitic r, […] further that 333 was the name Rir-Rir, a reduplicated form of Hebrew-Aramaic rir. The noun rir refers to spittle (more precisely: slaver, drool) and other liquid secretions and is no doubt used here of snake venom. Although the name Rir-Rir (= "Spittle- Spittle") has four r's, it is written as though it had only three. That would seem to indicate that it was pronounced not [ri:r ri:r] but [ri:r:i:r], with the two adjacent r's in the middle coalescing into a single long [r:].

In the case of Rir-Rir and imhw imhw (PT 235), the iconic nature of the reduplication is quite obvious, for it mimics the duality of this creature. All of the evidence indicates that Rir-Rir had two heads. In the preceding utterance (PT 234), we find a reference to a female serpent "that jubilates with both of her faces" […] that this serpent is Rir-Rir, the mother snake.

M. G. Amadasi Guzzo, who rejects Lidzbarski's claim, discusses the possibility that this inscription is addressed to Tnt, "the 'goddess' par excellence of Carthage, the goddess that presides over the rites of the tofet and that is therefore connected to the beyond." Now, it has been proposed that the name Tnt derives from tannin+ t "female dragon, monstrous female serpent" (cf. Hebrew tannin, Arabic tinnin, etc.). If this etymology is correct and if KAI 89 is addressed to Tnt, we should consider the possibility that hwt (perhaps vocalized hawwat or hiwit) is an epithet of Tnt with the meaning "female serpent."

Writes the scholar who was featured in the reference in the question: - Richard Steiner: "Early Northwest Semitic Serpent Spells In The Pyramid Texts" 2011

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