Beer was of significant importance to ancient Egyptian society and was enjoyed by people of all ages as a staple drink of both the poor and the wealthy. Wages for Egyptian workers were often paid in beer and the Egyptian gods were made offerings of beer. It is known that the workmen living in the workers village at the great pyramid of Giza received beer three times a day as part of their payment. Archaeological evidence has revealed that as a staple foodstuff, ancient Egyptian beer was not particularly intoxicating but was actually nutritious, thick and sweet.
Beer also figures prominently in Egyptian literature and sayings. For example, an inscription from around 2200 BC says “The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer.” Another, from the Instructions of Ani, says “When she sent you to school, And you were taught to write, She kept watching over you daily, With bread and beer from her house.”
The Egyptian cat goddess Bastet represented both the gentle domestic cat and the war-like lioness. Egyptian gods and goddesses closely resembled the appearance of humans, but many of their gods, such as Bastet, were also perceived as human hybrids depicted with human bodies bearing the heads of animals. These symbols were used as a recognition aid and a device to visually convey the powers, identity and attributes of the deity. Bastet’s name literally means, “She of the perfume jar” and in hieroglyphics appears as symbols for oil jar, feminine and a seated goddess.