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The Slaughterers: A Study of the xA.tyw as Liminal Beings in Ancient Egyptian Thought

Danielle Sass


The xA.tyw, otherwise known as the Slaughterers, Knife-bearers, and Plague-bringers within academic literature, are a group of liminal deities attested in the written record from the Old Kingdom to the Greco-Roman Period. They posed a significant danger in both the terrestrial and secular realms, to the living and the dead, to the gods and mankind alike. This paper presents a preliminary discussion of the etymology and orthography of the designation xA.tyw, the group’s form and appearance, and their position within the hierarchy of the Egyptian pantheon.

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