Myths and Folklore Wiki
Myths and Folklore Wiki

Bes is an Egyptian god of play, war and recreation. He was envisioned as a "full-faced, bow-legged dwarf with an over-sized head,

goggle eyes, protruding tongue, bushy tail and usually a large feathered crown as a head-dress."

Representations of an almost identical dwarf-god became widespread across the Near East during the first millennium BC and are common in Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. This god's name in Assyrian and Babylonian may have been Pessû. Bes seems to have been the only Egyptian god who became widely worshipped throughout Mesopotamia.

Protector Deity

Bes was a household protector, becoming responsible for such varied tasks as killing snakes, fighting off evil spirits, watching after children, and aiding women in labor by fighting off evil spirits, and thus present with Taweret at births.

Images of the deity, quite different from those of the other gods, were kept in homes. Normally Egyptian gods were shown in profile, but instead Bes appeared in full face portrait, ithyphallic, and sometimes in a soldier's tunic, so as to appear ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil. He scared away demons from houses, so his statue was put up as a protector.

The Balearic island of Ibiza derives its name from the god's name, brought along with the first Phoenician settlers in 654 BC. These settlers, amazed at the lack of any sort of venomous creatures on the island, thought it to be the island of Bes (<איבשם> ʔybšm, *ʔibošim, yibbōšīm "dedicated to Bes"). Later the Roman name Ebusus was derived from this designation.