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(one of the Four sons of Horus)

Hapy (also Hapi), was a deification of the annual flood of the Nile River, in Egyptian mythology, which deposited rich silt on the banks, allowing the Egyptians to grow crops. Occasionally a token wife, named Meret (simply meaning beloved), was occasionally given to him. However, more usually, since the Nile was tied to the land, Hapi was said to have a wife who was the patron of the land, which in Upper Egypt was Nekhbet, and was Wadjet in Lower Egypt. After a while, he became identified with Nu, god (or rather, deification) of the primordial waters, in the Ogdoad cosmogeny, and thus gained Naunet as another wife.     

His name means Running One, probably referring to the current of the Nile. Some of the titles of Hapy were Lord of the Fishes and Birds of the Marshes and Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation. It may be the case that originally Hapy (or a variation on it) was the earlier the name used for the Nile itself, since it was said (inaccurately) that the Nile began between Mu-Hapy and Kher-Hapy, at the southern edge of egypt (it actually comes from two lakes, one of which is Lake Victoria).

The annual flooding of the Nile was occasionally said to be the Arrival of Hapy. Since this flooding provided created fertile soil in an area that was otherwise desert, Hapy, as its patron, symbolised fertile lands. Consequently, though obviously male, and with a beard, Hapy was pictured with full breasts, and a large belly, as representations of the fertility of the Nile, also he was usually given blue or green skin, representing the water.

Other attributes varied on the area of Egypt. In Lower Egypt, he was adorned with papyrus plants, and attended by frogs, present in the region, and symbols of it. Whereas in Upper Egypt, it was the lotus and crocodiles which were more present in the Nile, thus these were the symbols of the region, and those associated with Hapy. Hapy was often pictured carrying offerings of food or pouring water from an amphora, but was also depicted very rarely as an hippopotamus.

The Hymn to the Flood says:

Lightmaker who comes from the dark
Fattener of herds
Might that fashions all
None can live without him
People are clothed with the flax of his fields
Thou makest all the land to drink unceasingly, as thou descendest on thy way from the heavens.


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