Ancient Egyptian amulet representing the god Thoth, 4000-30 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
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 Egyptian words for 'amulet' come primarily from words meaning 'to guard' or 'protect' and also 'well being'. Thoth (also known as Djeheuty, Tehuti, Tahuti, and Zehuti) was one of the most popular Egyptian gods and had multiple roles in Egyptian mythology. He was the god of wisdom, writing and the moon, the god of magic, ritual and medicine, and the god of the dead. He guided and illuminated the way for the dead in the underworld, and protected the living in the world above. Large numbers of Thoth figurine amulets have been found in all parts of Egypt.