Pottery amulet of the goddess Bastet, Egyptian, 4000BC-30BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Bastet, the goddess of pestilence represented on a pottery amulet. An amulet is a personal ornament which, because of its shape, material, or colour, is believed to endow its wearer with certain powers or capabilities and offer protection. The Ancient Egyptians often used amulets to protect themselves against disease. The Egyptian words for 'amulet' come primarily from words meaning 'to guard' or 'protect' and also 'well being'.