pi-be'-seth (pi-be'seth;(pi-bheceth; Septuagint Bubastos; Egyptian Pi-Basht, "the house of Basht," the cat-headed goddess; the Egyptian form is usually Ha-Basht; it is doubtful if the form Pi-Basht has yet been found):
A city of ancient Egypt. The only occurrence of the name of this place in the Old Testament is in Ezekiel 30:17; where it is coupled with Aven, i.e. On (Heliopolis).
Pi-beseth was on the western bank of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, about 40 miles North of Memphis, about 15 miles Northeast of On. Herodotus found the city of Bubastis very beautiful in his day. The annual festival of the goddess, Basht, was celebrated here with revolting license, similar to that of the festival of Syyid el-Bedawer now kept in TanTa.
Pi-beseth was explored by Professor Naville under the Egyptian Exploration Society in 1887-90. There were uncovered ruins of Egypt from the IVth Dynasty of the Old Empire, from the Middle Empire, an important Hyksos settlement, and ruins from the New Empire down to the end, and even from Roman times. The most unique discovery at Pi-beseth, one of the most unique in all Egypt, is the cemetery of cats. These cats, the animal sacred to Basht, were mummified at other places in Egypt, but at Pibeseth they were burned and the ashes and bones gathered and buried in great pits lined with brick or hardened clay. Bones of the ichneumon were also found mixed with those of the cats in these pits (Egypt Exploration Fund Report, 1891).
M. G. Kyle
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