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According to Herodotus, "at the beginning of spring winged serpents from Arabia fly towards Egypt, and the birds called ibises meet them at the entrance of this country and do not suffer the serpents to go by but kill them. On account of this deed it is (say the Arabians) that the ibis has come to be greatly honored by the Egyptians, and the Egyptians also agree that it is for this reason that they honor these birds." it was also said that the flies that brought pestilence died immediately upon propitiatory sacrifices of this bird. The African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) was indeed venerated by the Egyptians, especially in association with Djehuty ("Thoth" in Greek), the self-begotten ibis-headed lunar god responsible for maintaining the equilibrium of the universe and the judgment of souls, whom the Greeks regarded as identical with Hermes. In Egyptian the bird's name was "hbj", and the god's name was "ḏḥwty" ("he who is like the ibis"). His wife (or daughter) was Seshat, an earlier deification of wisdom before Djehuty took on that role. He and his wife Ma'at stood on either side of Ra's boat on the nightly voyage across the sky; she was often depicted with an ostrich feather ("the feather of truth" that maintained the universe) as her head. Djehuty reported when the scales weighing the heart of the deceased against the feather was exactly even (an imbalance resulted in the deceased being eaten by Ammit, a hybrid crocodile/lion/hippopotamus. He was the inventor of the calendar, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, geometry, land surveying, medicine, magic, botany, theology, civilized government, hieroglyphics, reading, writing, and oratory and the true author of every work of every branch of knowledge. Without his words, the gods themselves would not exist. The ibis was one of the scribes' symbols.
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