Arthur Harrow reveals Ammit to Steven Grant.
Image via Marvel.

Who is Ammit in Egyptian Mythology?

(Contains minor spoilers for episode 1 of Moon Knight.)

Recommended Videos

Moon Knight is here, and he’s brought a whole gaggle of Egyptian deities with him! Episode 1 of the new Marvel series, which is now streaming on Disney Plus, opens with an ominous scene. A figure sits at a table, downs a shot of alcohol, and then breaks the glass in a napkin. As he does so, we see a tattoo on his arm depicting a scale topped with the heads of two crocodiles. Then he pours the broken glass into his shoes and walks away, crunching all the while.

It turns out this figure is Arthur Harrow, a devotee of the Egyptian goddess Ammit. Like many gods and goddesses in the Marvel universe, Ammit is based on a real figure from mythology. Let’s dive into the myths of Ancient Egypt to learn more about her!

The Weighing of Hearts

In Moon Knight, Harrow holds a public ceremony in which he invites people to come to him so that Ammit can judge their souls. He places his cane, also topped with two crocodile heads, between their hands, and as the cane and his tattoo move in tandem, the person’s soul is judged. One man is declared good, and gets to live. The next participant is declared evil, even though she’s never done anything bad in her life. Harrow explains that Ammit can see that into the future, and knows that the woman will someday do something so bad that it’ll cancel out all the good she’s ever done in her life. The woman dies instantly.

In real ancient Egyptian mythology, Ammit’s role was a little more complicated. According to the Book of the Dead, a collection of funerary spells dating back to the New Kingdom period of 1550 BCE to 50 BCE, the soul of a deceased person had to go through a number of obstacles in order to reach the afterlife. One of these obstacles was a trial known as the “Weighing of the Heart.” In this trial, the soul’s heart was placed on a set of scales, much like the ones we see in Harrow’s tattoo. On the other side of the scales, Ma’at, the goddess of justice, would preside over an ostrich feather. The soul then had to recite a “negative confession,” which was a comprehensive list of possible sins that they claimed they hadn’t committed. If the soul lied about any of the sins, then their heart would grow heavier. However, the Book of the Dead contains spells the soul could recite in order to tip the scales back in their favor.

If, at the end of the recitation, the soul’s heart was still lighter than the feather, then the god Anubis would take the soul to Osiris, who would allow them to enter a lush and comfortable afterlife (specifically, the Field of Reeds Steven mentions at the beginning of Episode 1). But what if, when they were finished reciting, the soul’s heart was heavier than the feather?

That’s where Ammit came in.

Ammit is depicted as a fearsome beast with the head of a crocodile, the forequarters of a lion, and the hindquarters of a hippo. Also known as the “Devourer of the Dead” and “Eater of Hearts,” Ammit would (you guessed it) eat the heart of anyone who failed the trial. After Ammit ate the heart, the soul would be barred from the afterlife and spend all of eternity restlessly wandering. It’s also worth mentioning that in some versions of the Book of the Dead, Ammit could be found near a lake of fire, and she would cast the heart into the fire instead of eating it.

Although she’s referred to as a goddess in modern sources, Ammit wasn’t worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.

Ammit in the Marvel Universe

What role will Ammit play in the MCU? So far, we don’t know much about her. We know something is moving that scale on Harrow’s wrist, but Ammit hasn’t made an onscreen appearance yet. We do know that she’ll be played by Sofia Danu, though, so Ammit is coming eventually!

Will she have the same appearance as she does in the myths? Well, at one point Harrow gestures to a reproduction of her image from the Book of the Dead, so it looks like she very well may have the same chimerical appearance. Plus, Ammit has appeared as a crocodile-headed goddess in Marvel comics, although there she’s called Ammut and is more of a sphinx who tells riddles.

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney Plus!

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

 —The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
related content
Read Article ‘Doctor Who’ Introduced The Final Big Bad of the Season
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
Read Article Expect More of That Good Ol’ Fashioned Targaryen Incest in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Read Article Will We See Maeve Again on ‘The Boys’?
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Read Article What’s Going On With That Unexpected Return in ‘The Boys’ Season 4?
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Read Article ‘Adventure Time’ Is Returning With Several Spinoffs and a Movie!
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Related Content
Read Article ‘Doctor Who’ Introduced The Final Big Bad of the Season
the doctor shaking susan's hand with mel on doctor who
Read Article Expect More of That Good Ol’ Fashioned Targaryen Incest in ‘House of the Dragon’ Season 2
Rhaenyra and Daemon Targaryen, played by Emma D'Arcy and Matt Smith respectively, learn that King Viserys I died in the finale of the first season of House of the Dragon.
Read Article Will We See Maeve Again on ‘The Boys’?
Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve in 'The Boys'
Read Article What’s Going On With That Unexpected Return in ‘The Boys’ Season 4?
Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
Read Article ‘Adventure Time’ Is Returning With Several Spinoffs and a Movie!
Jake and Finn from Adventure Time 'Together Again' Episode
Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>