British Museum

The ram-god Khnum, the Lord of the First Cataract, presided over the annual rise of the Nile, according to Egyptian mythology. The god is most frequently depicted with a man’s body and wavy horns projecting horizontally from a ram’s head, as in this sandstone relief dating to about 1300 B.C.E. As the Nile emerged from the Underworld through two caverns at Elephantine, Khnum controlled the region’s fertility by sending half the water south and half north.

Priestly followers of this ram-god, abetted by the son of the local Persian governor Vidranga, broke into Elephantine’s Jewish temple and “demolished it to the ground,” according to a letter from Jedaniah, leader of Elephantine’s Jewish community, to the Persian governor of Judah.