Bes (/bɛs/; also spelled as Bisu), together with his feminine counterpart Beset, is an Ancient Egyptian deity worshipped as a protector of households and, in particular, of mothers, children and childbirth. Bes later came to be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad. While past studies identified Bes as a Middle Kingdom import from Nubia or Somalia, more recent research indicates that he was present in Egypt since the Old Kingdom. Mentions of Bes can be traced to pre-dynastic Nile Valley cultures; however his cult did not become widespread until the beginning of the New Kingdom. Worship of Bes spread as far north as the area of Syria, and later into the Roman and Achaemenid Empires.