Arts and Cultures - Iah the Egyptian Moon God

Arts and Cultures

Dr Archana Verma

In ancient Egypt, before 16th century BCE, Iah was the original Moon god. His name simply meant Moon. He was important because of the Moon's seeming passage through the night. Moon deity was important because of its light in the night, because of its phases which were used to calculated the month and the agrarian cycle. It seems that by 11th century Iah became a minor deity in Egypt. 

Gradually, the identity of Iah began to be absorbed by Khonsu and Thoth, two other deities associated with the characteristics similar to Moon. Khonsu was associated with renewal of life forms, which was symbolised by the renewal of Moon light after the New Moon night. 

Because of its renewal of light after the New Moon night, Iah was also absorbed by Osiris, the god of death.

Similarly, Moon's phases were used to draw and hence, drawing and writing were associated with Thoth.

The word Iah is also transcribed as Jah. Another ame for Yarikh at Canaan was Jarah. It may be possible that Jarah was evolved from Jah, as the worship of the moon god spread from Egypt to Canaan.

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