Maât, goddess of order and truth: her role in justice and cosmic balance

In the rich tapestry of Egyptian mythology, an emblematic figure of justice and balance emerges: Maât, the goddess of order and truth. Rising from the depths of the Nile and the sands of time, Maât fascinates as much as she regulates the existence of gods and men. This article explores its divine essence, its representation in art and its indelible influence on Egyptian culture, history and thought. Let's discover this pillar of Pharaonic civilization.


Maât's identity

Etymology and meaning of the name

In ancient Egypt, Maât was much more than just a name. This term embodied all the principles of truth, justice and harmony. In ancient Egyptian , "Maât" designated both order and the laws governing the universe and society.

Iconography and associated symbols

Visually, Maât is often depicted as a woman wearing the ostrich feather, a symbol of lightness and justice. This feather also becomes an emblem of measurement, assessing the purity of hearts when weighing souls.

Comparison with other deities of truth and justice in

different cultures

The figure of Ma'at is not isolated in the world mythological panorama. Parallels can be found in other cultures, such as Themis among the Greeks, revealing a universal quest for truth and fairness.

Ma'at and Egyptian justice

Law and order in ancient Egyptian society

  • The concept of justice according to Ma'at Justice in ancient Egypt was inextricably linked to Ma'at. She was the foundation of the law, influencing every judgment and every action.

  • Examples of laws and practices The Edicts of Maât governed society, from the prohibition of lying to the preservation of social equilibrium.

The role of priests and judges

The priests of Maât were also judges, ensuring the application of its principles in everyday justice and major state decisions.

The ceremony of weighing souls in the afterlife

  • Description of the ritual of weighing the heart In the court of the dead, the heart of the deceased was weighed against the feather of Ma'at, determining his or her eligibility for eternal paradise.

  • Spiritual and religious significance** This rite embodied the quest for truth, underlining the permanence of acts and their relevance post-mortem.

Maat and cosmic balance

The creation of the world according to Egyptian myths

In creation myths, the birth of Maat enabled the harmonious functioning of the universe, underlining her fundamental role.

Maintaining universal order

  • Fighting chaos (Isfet) Maât tirelessly opposes Isfet, entropy and chaos, preserving existence itself.

  • The cycles of the Nile, agriculture and the seasons were seen as manifestations of Ma'at in the natural world.

Influence on pharaohs and kings

  • The pharaoh as living incarnation of Ma'at Egyptian rulers were seen as the earthly incarnation of Ma'at, and their power derived its legitimacy from this divine association.

  • Many pharaohs built temples, erected stelae and led campaigns under the sign of Maat, seeking to reflect her order in their reign.

Ma'at in everyday Egyptian life

Ritual practices and offerings

Egyptians offered these daily to Ma'at, hoping to maintain harmony in their personal and communal lives.

Influence on art, literature and architecture

Ma'at inspired artists and builders. Her ideal of harmony was reflected in balanced works of art and in the architecture of majestic temples.

Moral teachings and their transmission

Maât's teachings guided conduct, and her precepts were taught from an early age.

Survival of the concept in contemporary philosophy and thought

The principles of Ma'at survived in ancient Egypt, influencing later philosophy, justice and ethical notions.

Reinterpretation and role in modern Egyptology

Ma'at continues to fascinate Egyptologists, who study its role and influence on ancient civilization.

Comparison with other philosophical and religious traditions

Maât is often compared with other ethical and moral systems, enabling a cross-cultural understanding of justice and order.


The goddess Maât still resonates as a symbol of justice and ethics. Studying her role allows us to plumb the depths of Egyptian thought and appreciate her cultural and spiritual heritage, illuminating our modern quest for truth and balance.


[List of academic resources and literary works on Maât, Egyptian mythology and the architecture of Egyptian religious practices and everyday .]