Is there any librarian god?
I'm looking for any god related with books or maybe knowledge. Preferable if it is keeping or guarding that knowledge, like as a librarian. Are there any such gods?
See also https://mythology.stackexchange.com/q/825/197 "Who invented writing, or who taught writing to the mortals, according to Greek myths?"
Seshat, also called Sothis, was the Egyptian goddess of libraries, called Mistress of the House of Books. (She was also goddess of math, reading, measurement and writing.) Her name means "female scribe."
She was connected with Thoth, who invented writing. Different texts described her as his wife, daughter, or female aspect. She wore a leopard-skin dress and a headdress with a flower or seven-pointed star. She doesn't seem to have had any cult or temples, but she features in art from the Early Dynastic Period onward.
Chinese mythology has a heavy emphasis on deification of scholars, beginning with the Yellow Emperor, whose patronage to mankind was primarily as a teacher, inventor and scholar.
There are several Chinese gods who are patrons to scholars:
- Wenchang Wang is a patron of scholars and students, often called upon by those about to take the Imperial exams.
Kui Xing is the god of Imperial examinations, and an associate of Wenchang.
Lü Dongbin is a scholar and poet who became one of the 8 immortals, and help humans attain wisdom and enlightenment.
Lü is often depicted with a sword that dispels evil spirits, and as one of the 8 immortals, Lü has superior martial abilities and is, in part, a protector deity.
In the Greek mythology, I think:
- Clio, Muse of History
Her domain is scholarship as opposed to creative art, and she is often depicted with scrolls and books.
It will be very difficult to find a "librarian god or goddess" in the in any pagan culture. There are many gods of knowledge, wisdom, scholarship, education and so on.
The closest example I am able to find is the Armenian god Tir. In Armenian pagan culture he is the god of literature, science and art. Being the god of literature in a sense makes him like being the god of libraries. I doubt one will truly find a god of libraries and Tir is the closest I can find to fit the bill as books (literature) are stored in libraries!
Tir is the god of Literature, Science and Art, and interpreter of dreams in Armenian paganism. Tir was a messenger of Aramazd. He was a fortune-teller and a guide of the dead person's soul. Another name for Tir was Grogh (meaning writer or scribe), though this might be a fusion of two originally distinct deities.
His biggest temple, known as the Erazamuyn (translated from Armenian "place where dreams are explained"), stood at what is today the ruined Zvartnots cathedral; the original design of the temple is still very evident in its construction as it is very different from the typical Armenian church, being circular, elevated by large steps and lined with columns. At Tir's temple, priests would interpret peoples dreams and tell their fortunes, and the temple also served as a library and academy. Ruins of another temple to him was found near the ancient city of Artashat in Ararat valley. He is among the pantheon of gods represented on Mt. Nemrut, an ancient site now located in Turkey. - Tir (WikiPagan)
Plato famously blames the Egyptian god “Theuth” (Thoth) for the invention of writing in Phaedrus 274c–275b. Yes, blames rather than credits, because although Plato was himself a writer, writing was long and widely considered a gimmick and unserious during the classical period in Greece.
In any case, the true and original home of myth is in preliterate, oral-traditional stages of culture. The advent of writing is a condition for the shift from the mythos to the logos mode of human consciousness. Even apart from this basic tension between the mythopoetic mind and the technology of writing, a library in the modern sense, with books sorted into separate sections by subject, is a particular extreme of the logos mode—for one of the salient characteristics of mythic ideation and discourse is the seamless blending of various subject matters.
In sum, I fear the idea of the library and the spirit of myth are fundamentally opposed to one another.
That's a good point; In this context he understood that writing is spoiling the sacred art of logoi, or sacred word. Looking at the trash all around (adverts, distractions, garbage the language is full of), it is hard not to agree with the consequences preditected even then. Garbage-semiotics enchantments. Word uttered unknown had magical potence, upon saying or writing, it loses its power - this is related to the beliefs of one African tribe. Perhaps he was not accusing the God Thoth, but rather the future abuse of written and spoken word that people committed. In silence one commands Truth.
Libraries are points of access to the underworld, the place where the shades live. Go into any library and wander into the stacks, see the blank faces of those who are reading there among the moldering books. They are like the faces of the shades that greeted Odysseus in book 11 of the Odyssey, staring blankly without passion. Odysseus needed to give the shades sheep blood in order for them to speak, and when we read we are offering the ancestors our life blood so that they come alive again briefly. I think the most likely gods of the library would be Hades and his queen Persephone.
To quote Plato at the climax of the Apology when he is talking about Hades, “What would not a man give if he might converse with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? Nay, if this be true, let me die again and again. . . What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking them questions!”