Scarabs worn as jewelries or amulets are common since the ancient Egypt period. Being a very prevalent in jewelries, myths and art, it has been named after one of the diverse families of beetle which breathes in different parts of the world excluding Antarctica and the oceans.
You may consider it just a fashion, belief, or an insect, but once you start digging mythology of ancient Egypt, you will understand that it’s more than just a living being.
That is why, we thought to dig the ground and bring all the symbolisms into existence. Starting from their nature to their habit, the Scarabs represent a lot of stuffs.
The scarab beetle mainly personifies the Sun God, Ra. As per ancient Egyptians, there is a similarity between the scarab rolling large balls of dung and Ra rolling the sun to give light to the Earth.
Scarab is also stated to be a representation of resurrection, transformation and creation. The life of scarabs revolves around the balls of dung which the scarabs consume, lay their eggs in and bury in the ground. After the eggs hatch, the grubs consume the dung leading them to revolving around the balls and reprocessing what the adults did. This way, the idea of resurrection cycle came about.
It also has been symbolized as rebirth by looking at the cycle of sun from it getting disappeared to it arising again, or you can say, being born again the following day.
Ancient Egyptians used to regard scarab as a protector as well that triggered them to place it on mummies so it can protect them against evil. Not just that, it also symbolizes protection against the dangers of this world besides the dangers of afterlife.
The scarab beetles were also regarded as strength. It’s their strength that helps them adapt and survive all through their life.
Different people also considered scarab a symbol of growth and development due to the traces of green color in their skin.
Scarab Symbol is stated to be one of the most essential religious beliefs of Egyptians in the mythology of ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used to call scarab beetle the dung beetle due to its habit of rolling dung balls across the ground which it used as a food source.
Scarab is commonly found in the form of seal, amulet, or ring bezel in Egypt, Syria and Nubia from the 6th Dynasty to the Ptolemaih Period (2345 BC to 2330 BC).
The earliest ones used to be purely amulet and un-inscribed. At the period of the Middle Kingdom (i.e 2055 BC to 1650 BC), they began to be used as seals.
The flat base of the scarabs, molded in glass or faience or carved in stone, was basically decorated with inscriptions or designs, sometimes integrating a royal name. Scarab has proven to be a questionable means of dating archaeological context given that the royal name is mostly a long dead ruler, the prename of Thutmose III, Menkheperra (i.e. 1479 BC to 1425 BC).
A series of unusually large scarabs were produced during the reign of Amenhotep III (i.e. 1390 BD to 1352 BC) to celebrate certain aspects or events of the ruler, be it the listing of the titles of Queen Tiу, or hunting of lions or bulls.
Plus, ancient Egypt also saw several funerary types of scarab like that of the large winged scarabs. Such type was made of blue faience and integrated into the bead nets that covered mummies. There were the heart scarabs that were inscribed with Chapter 30-B of the Book of the Dead. Egyptians included them in burials from the 13th Dynasty (i.e. 1795 BC to 1650 BC).
Things to Know:
- Presently, “scarabaeus” is viewed as an obsolete term for anything representing a scarab beetle in Egyptian art.
- Scarab slashes away at the dung with its chisel-like head to form the balls. The balls can vary in shape depending on the species. They sculpt and shape with their legs until they get a notably spherical package. Then they plant their front legs and head into the dirt to start pushing the balls using their back legs.
- There were different kinds of scarabs coming in the form of heart scarabs, winged scarabs, scarab seals, scarabs with good wishes, scarabs with spells, ornamental scarabs, marriage scarabs, as well as scarabs decorated with figure of gods or other objects.
- In Egypt, millions of amulets were created that depicted the scarab beetle. Both the rich and the poor used to use those amulets. In ancient Egypt, the Solar worship and the scarabs were inseparable.
- To acquire immunity from dreadful consequences of leading an evil life, the Egyptians used to use the heart scarabs.
- The scarab also represents the Khepher.
- Winged scarab was created to help the mummies and Gods have a safe journey into their Afterworld.
- Scarab seals were pretty small, coming in less than an inch long. The name of an official title, pharaoh, or a particular person was inscribed on the seal’s flat underside considering to give protective powers to the owners and their property.
- As for the amulets, the scarabs flat base was inscribed with names, sacred animals, images of deities, magical spells, and other religious symbols.
- The Egyptian name for scarabs was ‘hpri’ that referred to rising from, to change or coming into being itself. It became the divine name Khepri, provided to the creation god, who represented sunrise.
- Scarabs were made up of a different materials such as amethyst, turquoise, resin, ivory, schist, limestone, faience, basalt, lapis lazuli, steatite, carnelian, and bronze.
Scarab is not only the most familiar but also the most respected symbol in the history of Egypt. Different people, be it ancient Egyptians or astrologers, view it differently.
Even the color of Scarab carries different meanings. Red signifies the god, Ra. Tads of yellow represents the sun or the desert. Green symbolizes the growth and lastly Blue that represents the Nile.