The Gods of the Egyptians Vol 1

Studies in Egyptian Mythology

by E. A. Wallis Budge | 1904 | 170,388 words

Volume 1-16 chapters including The Gods of Egypt, Primitive Gods and Nome-Gods, Hell and the Damned, Ra the Sun-God and His Forms, Hathor and the Hathor-Goddesses, The Horus Gods, and more. Includes 49 plates, 38 illustrations....

Chapter XV - The Horus Gods

It has already been stated that the hawk was probably the first living creature which was worshipped generally throughout Egypt, and that as the spirit of the heights of heaven, and as the personification of the god who made the sky he was called Ḥeru, , i.e., “he who is above,” or, “that which is above.” It appears, however, that at a very early period this conception of Ḥeru was partly lost sight of, and whether as a result of the different views held by certain early schools of thought, or whether due to the similarity in sound between the name “Ḥeru” and the word for face,” Her or Ḥrȧ, the idea which became associated with the god Ḥeru was that he represented the Face of heaven, i.e., the Face of the head of an otherwise unknown and invisible god.

We can see that this view was an ancient one even in the time when the Pyramids were built, for several allusions are made in the funeral texts of the Vth and VIth Dynasties to the “hair” or “tresses,” , of the Face of Ḥeru as the Face of heaven, and four gods who are called the “children of Horus,” ,[1] are declared to have their abodes in these tresses.[2]

The Face of heaven was supported by the four gods by means of the four sceptres which they held in their hands, and these four sceptres took the place of the four pillars, , of the god Shu which, according to an older myth, supported the four corners, i.e., the four cardinal points of the great iron plate that formed the floor of heaven and the sky above the earth. That the heavens, or the skies, were considered to be a Face is evident from many allusions.

Thus the Sun is frequently called “Eye of Horus,” and the Moon is also an “Eye of Horus,” the Sun being the right eye, and the Moon the left; a well known title of the Face is

“Horus of the Two Eyes,”


and when neither Eye is visible it is called

“Horus dwelling without Eyes,”


The forms of Horus mentioned in Egyptian texts are numerous, but the following are the most important:—


Horus the Elder

1. Ḥeru-ur, , i.e., Horus the elder” (or the “aged”), the ’Αρωὴρις of the Greeks, so called to distinguish him from Ḥeru-pa-kharṭ, or, “Horus the younger.” He is depicted in the form of a man with the head of a hawk, and also as a lion with the head of a hawk ; he usually wears the crowns of the South and North united, but he is once seen with the horns of Khnemu upon his head, and above them are a crown with plumes, uraei, disks, etc.[3]

According to the Egyptian texts Ḥeru-ur was the son of Rā and Hathor ; the Hathor here referred to is the form of the goddess which was specially worshipped at Qesqeset,, i.e., Apollinopolis Parva; but Plutarch declared him to be the son of Kronos and Rhea, i.e., Seb and Nut, and therefore the brother of Osiris. This statement was probably correct enough in late dynastic times, when men had wholly identified Horus, the son of Isis, with Horus the Elder. Originally Ḥeru-ur represented a phase or aspect of Horus, the Face of heaven, and it was he who was the twin god of Set; Ḥeru-ur was the Face by day and Set the Face by night.

There was also a Ḥeru-ur of the South, as we learn from the picture of the god given by Lanzone,[4] the seat of whose worship was at Mākhenut, , near El-Kâb in Upper Egypt, and a Ḥeru-ur of the North, the seat of whose worship was at Sekhemet, , or , or Seshemet, , the Latopolis of the Greeks, and the of the Copts, which lay a few miles to the north of Memphis ; other shrines of Ḥeru-ur were at Ombos, , at Smennut, , and at Apollinopolis.

The most important shrine of the god was at Sekhem, where stood the sanctuary Pa-Ȧit, ; in its shrine was preserved the shoulder, mākhaq, , of the god Osiris, and close by grew the famous Nebes, , and Shent, , trees. Ḥeru-ur of Sekhem is called “lord of the Utchati, ,” i.e., lord of the Sun and Moon. In the Book of the Dead (xviii.c) it is said that the sovereign princes in Sekhem are Ḥeru-khent-ȧn-maati and Thoth, but it is clear that locally the great gods of the city were Isis, Osiris, and Horus. The form in which Ḥeru-ur was worshipped at Sekhem and other places was a lion.

The inscriptions on the walls of the temple at Ombos[5] prove that he was called the “lord of the south,” the “lord of Nubti (Ombos),” and that he was identified with Shu, son of Rā; with “Ḥeru-temā, the great god and lord of heaven, of two-fold strength, mighty one “among all the gods, whose power hath vanquished the foes of his father Rā with Ȧmen-ur, or Ȧmen the Elder ; and in fact with several gods who were regarded as gods of light and of aspects of the rising Sun, and also with the various gods who were connected with them.

At Ombos Ḥeru-ur was the head of a triad which consisted of himself, and his female counterpart, Ta-sent-nefert, , and their son P-neb-taui, ,[6] who is sometimes called “the child,” . The third member of this triad wears a disk upon his head, and has a lock of hair at the side of his face like Harpocrates, and he is called the “young sun,” and the general titles which are given to Ḥeru-ur and Ta-sent-nefert indicate that in later days they were considered to be identical with Shu and Tefnut.


Horus the Younger

2. Ḥeru-p-kharṭ, , i.e., “Horus the Younger” (or, the “Child”), the ‘Αρποκράτης of the Greeks, so called to distinguish him from Ḥeru-ur, or Horus the Elder. In Egyptian pictures he is represented in the form of a youth wearing a lock of hair, the symbol of youth, on the right side of his head; sometimes he wears the triple crown with feathers and disks, and the like, and sometimes a disk with plumes,, but usually his crown is formed by the united crowns of the South and North, . In one scene he is seated inside a box which rests on the back of a lion.[7]

Ḥeru-p-kharṭ was the son of a Horus god by the goddess Rāt-tauit,, who is said to have brought him forth in the temple of Ḥet-ennuṭ,, in Hermonthis, in a birth chamber,, in the precincts of the building Qemqem,; the goddess seems to have been wor shipped here under the form of a hippopotamus,.

Ḥeru-p-kharṭ, or Harpocrates, was a form of the rising sun and represented his earliest rays; the Egyptians distinguished seven forms or aspects of the god, which may be thus enumerated :—

  1. Ḥeru-Rā-p-kharṭ, , the dweller in Hermonthis.
  2. Ḥeru-Shu-p-kharṭ the great, ; his father was Sāaba, , and his mother Ȧnit, .
  3. Sma-taui-p-kharṭ [son] of Hathor, .
  4. Ḥeru-p-kharṭ, the dweller in Busiris, .
  5. Ȧḥi, , son of Hathor.
  6. Ḥaq-p-kharṭ, , the son of Sekhet.
  7. Ḥeru-Ḥennu, , i.e., “Horus the Child.”[8]

3. Ḥeru-merti, . In this form the god is represented as a man with a hawk’s head, above which are the horns of the god Khnemu and the solar disk encircled by a uraeus ; in his hand he bears the Utchati,. A passage in a papyrus quoted by Lanzone[9] calls him “Horus of the Two Eyes,” for this is what the name means, “lord of Sheṭennu (), Amseti-Ȧāḥ (), in the city of Ȧpu,” i.e., Panopolis, and this seems to show that Heru-merti was a local form of the god Àmsu, or Kliem, or Min, as the Moon.

4. Ḥeru-ȧn-mut-f, , was a local form of Horus which was worshipped at Ȧteb, , i.e., Edfû, but the exact characteristics of the god here are unknown.

5. Ḥeru-nub, . This was the form of the god which was worshipped at Hierakonpolis, Per-Ḥeru-nubt, , and he was depicted as a hawk seated on the head of an antelope, which, according to Brugsch,[10] commemorates his triumphant victory over Set, the murderer of Osiris.

6. Ḥeru-khenti-Khat, . In this form the god is represented with a human body and the head of a crocodile, on which he wears the horns of Khnemu, and the triple crown and plumes;[11]this form of Horus does not appear to be ancient.

7. Ḥeru-khenti-ȧn-maati, , i.e., “Horus at the head of sightlessness,” or the “Blind Horus;” he appears to represent the god when neither of his eyes was visible.



8. Ḥeru-khuti, , i.e., “Horus of the two horizons,” or the Harmachis of the Greeks. He was one of the chief forms of the Sun-god Rā, and, speaking generally, represented the sun in his daily course across the skies from the time he left the Mount of Sunrise (Bakhau) to the time when he entered the Mount of Sunset (Manu). Thus he combined in his own person the god Rā and several of his forms, and in the Book of the Dead and other funeral works he is joined to Temu, , and to Kheperȧ, ;[12] Temu here indicates the god of the setting sun, and Kheperȧ the god of the sun when he is about to rise.

When Ḥeru-khuti was identified with the various forms of the Sun-god he was also supposed to possess their particular attributes, and thus it happens that he is said to have produced himself, and it is this fact which supplies the reason why hymns addressed to him are found.

In the texts he is called the

  • “lord of heaven,”
  • “the great god, lord of Sept-Hāt,” , a city or district near the First Cataract,
  • “the governor of the Ȧat of Rā,” (Heliopolis),
  • “Ḥeru-khuti-Tem, the lord of the two lands of Ȧnnu,”
  • and the “dweller in Behuṭet.”

The chief shrines of the god were, however, situated at ȧnnu and at Apollinopolis, and the greater of these was ȧnnu, or Heliopolis, where he was identified with the forms of Rā which were worshipped there. The largest known monument or figure of Ḥeru-khuti is the famous Sphinx, near the Pyramids of Gîzeh, which was his type and symbol.

image right: Thothmes IV. making offerings to the Sphinx.

This marvellous object was in existence in the days of Khā-f-Rā, or Khephren, the builder of the Second Pyramid at Gîzeh, and it is probable that it is a very great deal older than his reign, and that it dates from the end of the archaic period. No mention, however, is made of the Sphinx in the inscriptions until the time of Thothmes IV., when we are told in the text inscribed on the stele between the paws of the Sphinx, that the image had become entirely covered over with sand. To this king the god of the Sphinx, Heru-khuti-Rā-Temu-Kheperȧ, appeared one day when he was sleeping his midday sleep, and promised to give him the crown of Egypt if he would clear away the sand from his image, and restore his temple.

Thothmes IV. carried out the wishes of the god, and having excavated the Sphinx, and rebuilt the temple between his paws, Thothmes set up an inscribed stele to commemorate his work. Judging by the silence of the ancient monuments about the Sphinx this figure of Heru-khuti cannot have been popular in dynastic times, and if this was so it is possible that it was due to the fact that the Sphinx was thought to be connected in some way with foreigners or with a foreign religion which dated from predynastic times. A recent but fanciful theory makes the Sphinx to be the work of Ȧmenemḥāt, a king of the XIIth Dynasty; its name in Egyptian was Ḥu, .

The forms in which Ḥeru-khuti is represented are many, but whether in human form or not, he usually has the head of a hawk ; in the examples collected by Signor Lanzone[13] we see him wearing on his head the solar disk encircled with a uraeus or the triple crown, , or the atef crown. In one scene he is depicted as a double man with a head having the faces of two hawks, one looking to the right, and the other to the left, and above this two-faced head is an Utchat, ; in another scene he has the head of a ram, which identifies him with Khnemu, the god of the First Cataract, and in another he is seated on a throne which is carried on poles by two snake- and two beetle-headed gods.



9. Ḥeru-sma-taui, , i.e., “Horus, the uniter of the South and North.” He is said to be the son of Hathor; his chief places of worship were Ȧat-ḥeḥu, , a district near Herakleopolis Magna, and Ant,  (PLAATJE), i.e., Denderah, and the city of Khaṭāt, , and the creatures in which he was thought to be incarnate were the hawk and a species of serpent.

He is usually depicted with the body of a man with the head of a hawk, or serpent, or man, and he wears as head-dresses, , and ; in one scene he is represented as a hawk,[14] and he wears upon his head a disk and plumes, . In this form Horus was believed to spring into existence out of a lotus flower which blossomed in the heavenly abyss of Nu at dawn at the beginning of the year.

10. Ḥeru-ḥekennu, . He is said to have been the son of the goddess Bast, and the seats of his worship were the towns of Netert,, and Het-Nefer-Tem; he is usually depicted in the form of a hawk-headed man, with the solar disk encircled by a serpent on his head. The exact attributes of the god are unknown.


Horus of Beḥuṭet

11. Ḥeru-Behuṭet, . This is one of the greatest and most important of all the forms of Horus, for he represents that form of Ḥeru-khuti which prevailed in the southern heavens at midday, and as such typified the greatest power of the heat of the sun. It was under this form that Horus waged war against Set or Typhon, and the inscriptions are full of allusions to the glorious victory which the god of light gained over the prince of darkness and his fiends.

The principal shrines of the god were at Mesen, , and Qem-baius, , Ȧat-āb, (Philae), and Ṭebt, (Tanis); in the last named place he was worshipped under the form of a lion, which wears the triple crown upon its head, and is depicted in the act of trampling upon its enemies, The god is, however, usually depicted with the head of a hawk, and carrying in his hands some weapon which indicates his character as a destroyer.

Thus, in one illustration given by Signor Lanzone,[15] we see him holding a weapon like a club or mace in his right hand, and a bow and three arrows in his left[16]; in another he is about to club an ass-headed man in fetters with the club, [17]; in another we see him standing on an oryx or antelope, and holding a long hawk-headed spear in his right hand, and three cords, to each of which is attached a prisoner, .

Elsewhere we see him depicted with the head of a lion, which seems to have been the form in which he was worshipped at Tchar, , or Tanis, in the Delta, and in one place he is seated on a throne which rests on the back of a lion. As the god of generation and reproduction he appears as a hawk with a phallus terminating in the head of a lion, and in a scene of the late period he is represented with the body of a man, and the head and wings of a hawk, kneeling upon two crocodiles ; on his head he wears and in his left hand he holds a scorpion,.

In an extract from a text inscribed on a wall of the temple of Edfû given by Dr. Brugsch,[18] Heru-behuṭet is described as the power which dispels darkness and night, and drives away clouds, rain, and storms, and fills all heaven and the world with his brilliance and light; he rises with golden disk as the holy beetle of gold, and he is declared to be the lord and creator of the gods. He created himself, there is none like unto him, he renews his birth daily, and year by year he performs his appointed course in the heavens, bringing in his train the seasons, and their proper produce.

image right: Horus of Beḥuṭet armed with a bow and arrows and a club.

In one of his aspects he is identified with Osiris, and then the goddesses Isis and Nephthys are said to help him to emerge from the abyss of Nu; he made the heavens to be the dwelling-place for his soul, and he created the deep that it might serve as a place wherein to hide his body, which is here called ưn-nefer, .

But the forms in which Ḥeru-beḥuṭet appealed most strongly to the mind of the Egyptians were those in which as the god of light he fought against Set, the god of darkness, and as the god of good against the god of evil.

image right: The double god Horus-Set.

We know from a passage in the xviith Chapter of the Book of the Dead (line 66) that in very early times a combat took place between Horus and Set, wherein the former destroyed the virility of Set, and the latter cast filth in the face of Horus, and it is this form of the traditional fight between the two “Combatants,” or Rehui,  , which is the base of the narrative inscribed on the walls of the great Temple of Edfû.

There was, however, one very great difference between the fight of Horus and Set of predynastic times and that described between the Horus and Set known at Edfû ; in the former fight the two combatants were unarmed, but in the latter Horus was armed with weapons of iron, and he was accompanied by a number of beings who are called mesniu, , or mesnitu, ,[19] It is pretty certain from , the Coptic equivalent of the word mesneti, that the mesniu were workers in metal, and that this name was first applied to them as blacksmiths, and that at a later period the mesniu were men armed with weapons made of metal.

The place where metal work was done, i.e., where the ore was smelted and the weapons were forged, was called mesnet, , the “foundry,” and the worshippers of Horus of Behuṭet never tired of describing their god as the “lord of the forge-city,” i.e., Edfû, the place where tradition declared he first established himself as the great master blacksmith. And Edfû itself was regarded as the foundry wherein the great disk of the sun was forged, as we see from a passage quoted by Dr. Brugsch, in which it is said “when the doors of the foundry are opened the Disk riseth up,”.[20]

In support of this tradition we find that a certain chamber in the temple of Edfû, which lay just behind the sanctuary, was called mesnet,, and it was here that the “blacksmiths” waited in attendance to usher forth the image of the god in his temple. From the representations of the “blacksmiths” given on the walls of the temple of Edfu[21] we see that they were originally men with shaven heads who wore a short tunic and a deep collar, and that in their right hands they carried a spear inverted,, and in their left a metal instrument,.

In the same scene in which these occur Horus of Behuṭet is represented standing in a boat, dressed like his followers, and driving a long spear into the head of a hippopotamus beneath the boat with his right hand, and holding the monster in restraint by a double chain which he grasps in his left hand. In the bows of the boat kneels Isis, who also holds the hippopotamus by a chain in each hand, and we may note that the tackle of the boat consists of chains, presumably of iron, and not of ropes. In another place[22] Horus stands on the back of the hippopotamus, the legs of which are tied together by chains, and the lower jaw of which is held fast by a chain.

The story of the defeat of Set by Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet is told in the texts on the walls of the temple of Edfû substantially as follows :—

In the year 363, , of Rā-Ḥeru-khuti, , the king of the South and North who liveth for ever and ever, his Majesty found himself in the country of Ta-kens (, or Nubia), for he had gone to the district of Uauat,[23] because certain folk had conspired against their lord. Having suppressed the rebellion he returned to Edfû, and deputed his son Ḥeru-beḥuṭet to continue the war on his behalf; this god had observed how men had conspired against his father, and he was ready to carry out his behests. Thereupon Ḥeru-beḥuṭet flew up to heaven in the form of a winged disk,, and ever after he was called “great god, lord of heaven.”

From the height of heaven he was able to see his father’s enemies, and he chased them in the form of a great winged disk ; he attacked them with such wrath and vigour, that they lost their senses and could see neither with their eyes nor hear with their ears, , and every man fell upon his neighbour and slew him, and in a moment all were dead. And straightway Horus, with many-coloured shapes and feathers, , returned to his form as a winged disk and took up his position in the boat of Rā. At this juncture Thoth declared that Horus, son of Rā, should be called Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet, and Beḥuṭet (Edfû) should be called the city of Horus ; and Rā referred with pleasure to the blood which his son had shed and which he likened to grapes.

Then Horus suggested that Rā should come and look upon his dead enemies, and Rā, escorted by Hathor, and followed by the goddess Ästherṭet, , who is described as the “mistress of horses,” , and who in the form of a woman with the head of a lioness is seen standing in a chariot, agrees to his son’s proposal. The chariot of the goddess is drawn by four horses, which trample upon the foes of Rā, who lie upon the ground bound with fetters.

When Rā saw this he said to Horus,

“This is a very pleasant life,” ,

and therefore the temple of Horus was called “Pleasant Life,” from that day. Then Thoth observed,

“This was the spearing of my foes,”

and therefore Edfû was called Ṭeb, , from that day ; and he further said to Horus,

“Thou art a great protector,”  ,

and straightway the boat of Horus was called “Great Protector.” After this Rā proposed that they should journey upon the water, and his enemies also went to the water, and as soon as they had entered it they turned into crocodiles, emsuḥu , and hippopotamuses, , tepu, and when they were near enough to him they opened their mouths intending to swallow up the god. Then Horus came along with his “blacksmiths,” , each having a spear made of divine iron, , and a chain, , in his hand, and they slew the crocodiles, and the hippopotamuses, and they brought in 651[24] enemies, , immediately.

Rā-Ḥeru-khuti next ordered that statues of himself should be set up in the land of the south in the place called Ḥet-ā-nekht, , and Thoth applauded Horus because he had made use of the formulae which were to be found in the Book of the slaughter of the Hippopotamus, ; from that day the blacksmiths of Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet have existed at Edfû.

And Horus once again took the form of a winged disk, and placed himself in the bows of the boat of Rā, and he took with him the two goddesses Nekhebet, , and Uatchit, , in the form of two serpents, that they might destroy the crocodiles and the hippopotamuses in their dens. As soon as the enemies of Rā perceived that they were being followed they turned round and fled to the south, but they were overtaken by Horus and his blacksmiths, each with his spear and his chain in his hands, and a mighty slaughter took place on a plain which was situated to the south-east of Thebes, , and which on account of the terrible scenes of carnage that were enacted there was called Tcheṭemet, , i.e., “slaughter.”

This was the second slaughter of the foes of Rā, and after this they retreated northwards, to the region of the Mediterranean Sea, and they were utterly disheartened and in fear of Horus ; but this god followed after them in the boat of Rā, and with him were his companions who were provided with spears and chains, Horus himself was provided with a battle spear, , and a chain, , and blacksmiths, , and when he had waited a whole day he saw his foes to the north-east of Dendera, , and having attacked them he made a third great slaughter, khai, among them: the name of the place where the enemy was defeated was called “Divine Slaughter,” , and it was situated quite close to Dendera. Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet was made the god of the region, and the acacia, , and the sycamore,  , were sacred to him.

Once more the enemy fled to the north and was pursued closely by Horus, who was armed as before ; for four whole days and nights, , he saw nothing whatsoever of the enemy, for they had changed themselves into crocodiles and hippopotamuses, but when he did see them he attacked them with great vigour and slew them in large numbers. One hundred and forty-two of them he bound in chains and dragged on to the boat of Rā, and he captured also a “male hippopotamus,” ; all the fiends he slew, and he gave their entrails to his companions, and their bodies to the gods and goddesses who were in the boat of Rā near the town of Ḥeben, . As a proof of his victory he got up and stood upon the back of the hippopotamus, and as a result he was called “Ḥer-pesṭ,” i.e., “He who is on the back.” All these things took place on the piece of ground which formed the temple estate of the town of Ḥeben, and which measured 342 khet, , on the South, North, West, and East.

The enemy, however, was not wholly defeated, and somefled to the north hoping to reach the “Great Green Sea,” ; but the god Horus followed after them and slew many of the rebels, the remainder of whom went to the Sea of Mertet, , and there joined themselves to the fiends of Set, . After some difficulty Horus found out where the enemies were, and having come up with them he captured 381 rebels, whom he slew in the bows of the boat of Rā, and he sent one body to each of his companions. When Set saw what had been done to his friends he cried out and uttered awful imprecations and complaints of the terrible destruction which Horus had wrought, and because of his foul words, , meṭu-neḥa, the fiend was ever after called Neḥaḥa, .

Horus straightway attacked Set, and hurled his lance at him, and threw him down upon the ground in a place near the city which was always afterwards called Per-Rereḥu,; when he came back he brought Set with him, and his spear was in his neck, , and the legs of the monster were chained, and his mouth had been closed by a blow from the club of the god. After these exploits Rā ordered that Horus should be called Urui-Ṭenṭen, , and he further decreed that the enemies of himself and Horus, Set and his confederates, should be handed over to the goddess Isis and her son Horus for them to do with them as they pleased.

Thereupon Isis and Horus took up their position near Rā, and the young god drove his weapon, māb, into Set, at a place called “She-nu-āha,” , i.e., “Lake of Battle,” or, She-neter,”, i.e., “Lake of God ;” he next cut off his head, and the heads of his followers, in the presence of Rā and the great company of the gods, and then dragged his body through the length and breadth of his land with his spear thrust through his head and his back.

Then Rā ordered that Horus, the son of Isis, should drag the body of the monster about, and because of this “dragging” the place was called “Ȧtḥa,” , ever after. At this juncture the divine Isis asked her father Rā that the winged sun-disk, , might be given to her son Horus as a talisman, because he had cut off the heads of the fiend and his companions, and as a result Heru-behuṭet and Horus, son of Isis, together pursued the foe Set, and both gods were of the same form and appearance. They had the bodies of men, and the heads of hawks, and they wore the White and Red Crowns, with plumes, and uraei.

All these events took place on the seventh day of the month Tybi, , and the place wherein they happened was called Ȧat-shatet,  . After these things Set changed himself into a serpent which hissed loudly, and he sought out a hole for himself in the ground wherein he hid himself and lived, whereupon Rā said,

“the monster Ba (), hath turned himself into a hissing serpent, let Horus, the son of Isis, set himself above his hole in the form of a pole on the top of which is the head of Horus, (), so that he may never again come forth therefrom.”

As the result of this the serpent of that town was called “Hisser” or “Roarer,” , Hemhemet, and Horus the son of Isis stood upon him in the form of a pole, or staff, on the top of which was the head of a hawk. When all these things were done the boat of Rā arrived at Per-āḥa,, or “House of Battle” ; the fore part of the boat was made of acacia wood, and the after part of sycamore wood, and both kinds of wood were, henceforth, holy.

Meanwhile, however, there still remained some of the enemies of Rā in the land, and this god exhorted his son to set out and to make an end of them, whereupon Horus told his father that if he would allow the boat to go whither he pleased, he would treat the enemy in such a way that it would be pleasing to Rā. When the boat had sailed but a little way on the water of Meḥ, , he found one of the friends of Set, and having hurled his spear at him, he caught him, and slaughtered him in the presence of Rā, at a place called Ȧstȧbet, .

A truce for six days and six nights then followed, and Horus had rest, while Isis made use of her words of power to keep away Ba, i.e., Set, from the district called “Ȧn-ruṭ-f.” Soon afterwards Horus slew 106 of the enemy, and then made a final attack upon them in the neighbourhood of Ȧn-ḥat, , and Tchar, , or Tanis ; some made their escape and succeeded in getting away to the mountains, and others threw themselves into the sea. Horus changed himself into the form of a lion, with the head of a man surmounted by the triple crown, and grasping in his hand his keen-edged knife he pursued them, and brought back 142 of the enemy, whom he slew, and he tore out their tongues, and their blood gushed out upon the ridges of the ground,.

When this was done Rā told Horus that he wished to travel further upon the sea, and to smite the remainder of his foes who still lived in the form of crocodiles and hippopotami near Egypt, but Horus told him that it was impossible to sail further on the sea because the one-third of the enemy which still remained were therein,[25] When Thoth heard this he recited certain chapters containing magical formulae, with the view of protecting the Boat and the vessels of the blacksmiths which were with it, and of quieting the sea during the period of storm. It is clear that when these chapters had been recited, Rā and his company set out and went over the whole sea, but as no more enemies were seen they returned to Egypt, travelling by night.

Finally, Horus and his companions went back to Nubia, to the town of Shȧsḥertet, , where he destroyed the rebels of Uauat, and their ablest soldiers. When this was done Horus changed himself once more into the form of the winged sun-disk with uraei, and took with him the goddesses Nekhebet and Uatchit in the form of two serpents, that they might consume with fire any rebels who still remained.

When the gods who were in his boat saw this they said,

“Great indeed is that which Horus hath done by means of his double snake diadem; he hath smitten the enemy who were afraid of him!”

And Horus said,

“Henceforward let the double snake diadem of Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet be called Ur-uatchti ();”

and it was so. After these things Horus journeyed on in his ship, or boat, and arrived at Apollinopolis Magna (Edfû) , and Thoth decreed that he should be called the “Light-giver, who cometh forth from the horizon ();” hereupon Horus commanded Thoth that the winged sun-disk with uraei, (PLAATJE), should be brought into every sanctuary wherein he dwelt and in every sanctuary of all the gods of the lands of the South and of the North, and in Ȧmentet, in order that they might drive away evil from therein.

Then Thoth made figures of the winged sun-disk with uraei, and distributed them among the temples, and sanctuaries, and places wherein there were any gods, and this is what is meant by the winged disks with uraei which are seen over the entrances of the courts of the temples of all the gods and goddesses of Egypt. The snake goddess on the right hand side of the disk is Nekhebet, and that on the left is Uatchit.[26]

The above legend is very important for the study of Egyptian mythology, notwithstanding the fact that in its form here described it belongs to a very modern period.

The fundamental facts of the story are very old, for they belong to the earliest period of Egyptian history, and are derived from the old nature myth of the combat between Light and Darkness. With these, however, we have mingled another element, which is apparently historical, and is also of very great antiquity. In the original fight between Rā and Āpep, or Horus and Set, the Sun-god was accompanied by his followers, whose duties, apparently, consisted in watching the combat, and who were, like Rā himself, unconnected with the earth. But in the fight of Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet with Set, the companions of the gods were beings in the forms of men who were armed with spears and chains for fettering purposes, and they were rewarded by him after the manner of men.

The god himself was armed with a very long spear made of “iron of the god” or “divine iron,” and with a chain of unusual length, and his method of fighting was to hurl his spear at his foes, and when it had struck home, he fettered them with his chain, and having dragged them to his boat, slaughtered them at leisure. The first great defeat of the enemy took place at Ȧat-Tcheṭemi, , near Thebes ; the second took place at Neter-Khaiṭā,, near Dendera, and was followed by the overthrow of small bodies of them in the neighbouring nomes going towards the north ; and the last great conquest waseffected by the god, who took the form of a lion, at Tchar,, or Tanis, in the east of the Delta, not far from the modern Suez Canal.

All these facts indicate that we are not dealing entirely with mythological events, and it is nearly certain that the triumphant progress ascribed to Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet is based upon the exploits of some victorious invader who established himself at Edfû in very early times, and then made his way with his followers northwards, beating down all opposition as he went. It is pretty clear that he owed his success chiefly to the superiority of the weapons with which he and his men were armed, and to the material of which they were made ; given equality of bravery in two bodies of men opposed each to the other, troops armed with weapons of flint would not long oppose successfully those armed with weapons of iron.

In other words, the followers of Horus, who are called mesniti in the text, as we have already shown, were actually workers in metal, or, “blacksmiths,” and men who knew how to smelt iron ore and to forge the metal into weapons of offence and defence. These men called their workshop or foundry mesnet or mesniti and later, when their leader and themselves had become deified, and priests had been appointed to perform the worship of the god, the portion of the temple which was set apart for them was also called mesnet or mesnit, and when the metal statue of the god of the rising sun, Ḥeru-Behuṭet, was brought out by them from their chamber the god was said to issue from the foundry wherein he had been cast, and the mesnet was identified with that portion of the sky from which the Sun-god appeared.

It is, of course, impossible to say who were the blacksmiths that swept over Egypt from south to north, or where they came from, but the writer believes that they represent the invaders in predynastic times, who made their way into Egypt, from a country in the East, by way of the Red Sea, and by some road across the eastern desert, e.g., that through the Wâdî Ḥammâmât, or that which touches the Nile a little to the south of Thebes. They brought with them the knowledge of working in metals and of brick-making, and having conquered the indigenous peoples in the south, i.e., those round about Edfû, they made that city the centre of their civilization, and then proceeded to conquer and occupy other sites, and to establish sanctuaries for their god or gods.[27]

In later times the indigenous priesthoods merged the legendary history of the deified king of the blacksmiths in that of Horus, the god of heaven in the earliest times, and in that of Rā, which belonged to a later period. The priests of Edfû found many parts of this mixed history very difficult to explain, and they endeavoured to get out of their difficulties by the fabrication of foolish etymologies and puns, whereby they sought to elucidate events and names. These, however, have a certain importance, for they at least prove that parts of the legends were not understood when the puns or plays on words were made, and that the legends themselves are of great antiquity ; another point is also made clear by them, i.e., that the Egyptians themselves were not better informed on such subjects than we are.

12. Ḥeru-themā, , i.e., “Horus the piercer.” This form of Horus is that in which the god attacked Set, the murderer of his father Osiris, with his long spear with a sharp -pointed iron head; he is represented in the form of a hawkheaded man in the act of driving his long spear into some unseen foe on or below the ground.

13. Ḥeru-Ḥebenu, . i.e., Horus of Ḥebenu, or Ḥebennut,, the metropolis of the sixteenth nome of Upper Egypt.[28] He is mentioned in the myth of Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet, with whom he is often identified, and he is usually depicted in the form of a hawk-headed man standing upon the back of an antelope; this animal was supposed to be connected with Set, and Horus of Ḥebennu mounted upon his back as a symbol of his sovereignty over the god of darkness and all his host.


Horus, Son of Isis

14. Ḥeru-sa-Ȧst-sa-Ȧsȧr, , i.e., “Horus, son of Isis, son of Osiris,” like many other forms of Horus, represented in general the rising sun, and appears to have been to the Egyptians exactly what Apollo was to the Greeks in this respect; the aspects of this god were many, and in consequence his shrines were very numerous both in the South and in the North. In him were at one time or another included all the various Horus gods, beginning with Ḥeru, , the god of the heights of heaven, and Horus the Elder, and ending with the least important Horus, i.e., the god of some provincial town. His principal aspects were, however, two, i.e., he represented the new Sun which was born daily, and which was the successor of Ḥeru-khuti or of Rā, and he was also the offspring of the dead man-god Osiris and his lawful successor.

Horus, the son of Isis and of Osiris, was a god whose attributes appealed strongly to the Egyptians from one end of Egypt to the other, because in him every man ancl woman saw the type of wrhat he or she wished to possess, that is to say, renewed life, and life as opposed to death,, and movement as opposed to inactivity, and intercourse with the living instead of with the dead. In a way Osiris and Horus were complements, each of the other, but the chief difference was that Osiris represented the past, and Horus the present, or, as we have it expressed in the Book of the Dead (xvii. 15), “Osiris is Yesterday, and Rā (i.e.,Horus grown up) is today,” .

The texts are not always consistent in the matter of the paternity of Horus, for though Isis is invariably regarded as his mother, his father is sometimes said to be Osiris, and sometimes Rā ; but this inconsistency is easily accounted for by remembering that Osiris is, under one aspect, a form of the dead Sun-god. Of the circumstances under which Horus was begotten we gain a good idea from a hymn to Osiris in 'which the sorrow of his mother Isis at the death of her husband is described. The goddess was greatly distressed, but she was equipped with mighty words of power, and she knew how to utter them so that they might have the greatest effect, and she set out in search of the dead body of Osiris and never rested until she had found him.

With her hair she made light, and with her wings she stirred the air as she made lamentation for her brother Osiris, and at length she brought his body into a state of activity, and was then united to him ; thus she became with child by him, and her son Horus was born in a secret place where she suckled him and reared him.[29]

This spot appears to have been situated among the papyrus swamps in the Delta, and the event is alluded to in many scenes in which the goddess is seen, suckling her child amidst a dense mass of papyrus plants.

Soon after the birth of her child she was persecuted by Set, who kept herself and Horus prisoners, in a house, but by the help of Thoth she escaped with her child one evening, and set out on her way under the protection of seven scorpions called

  1. Tefen, ,
  2. Befen, ,
  3. Mestet, ,
  4. Mestetef, ,
  5. Petet, ,
  6. Thetet, ,
  7. and Matet, .

These scorpions probably represent the seven stars of the constellation Canis Major, in which the stars of Isis and Sothis were situated. The last three scorpions showed Isis the way and led her to the town of Per-Sui, ,[30] or Crocodilopolis, and then on to the city of Thebti, the city of the Two Sandals-Goddesses, , where the swamp country begins. Whilst Isis was absent one day Horus was stung by a scorpion, and when she came home she found him lying on the ground, and the foam was on his lips, and his heart was still, and there was not a muscle or limb of him which was not rigid ; she had protected him against Set, and against the possibility of attack by any being in the papyrus swamps, but a scorpion had stung the child, and he was dead.

Whilst Isis was lamenting his death her sister Nephthys came with Serqet, the scorpion goddess, and advised her to cry out to heaven for help, and she did so, and her cry penetrated to Rā in his “Boat of Millions of Years.” The great god stopped his boat, and Thoth came down with words of power, and by means of these her son was once more raised to life and health. Soon after these things had taken place Horus set to work to avenge the death of his father Osiris, and it was under his form of “Horus, the avenger of his father,” ,[31] that he appealed so strongly to the imagination of the Egyptians.

According to a notice in the Calendar given in the Fourth Sallier Papyrus (Brit. Mus., No. 10,184), Horus began his fight with Set, which lasted three days, on the 26th day of the month of Thoth, and the two gods fought in the form of two men. Isis was present at the fight and, because she in some way supported Set against Horus, her son turned upon her with the fury of a “panther of the south,” and cut off her head.

Thoth, however, seeing what had been done, took the head of the goddess, and by means of his words of power transformed it into the head of a cow, and then fixed it upon the body of Isis.[32] According to Plutarch (De Iside et Osiride), Isis found that her son Horus had succeeded in fettering Set and in binding him in chains, but not wishing that he should perish she loosed his fetters and set him at liberty ; then it was that Horus tore oíf her head the symbols of sovereignty which were upon it.

We have no means of assigning a date to the composition of the above legend, but it must be very old, and it is easy to see that it is only a version of the older legend of the combat between Rā and Āpep, and Ḥeru-ur and Set, and Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet and Set, and it is, of course, one of the sources of all the post-Christian legends of the overthrow of dragons by kings and heroes, e.g., Alexander the Great and Saint George.

When Horus had overcome Set he succeeded to the inheritance of his father, and took his seat upon the throne of Osiris, and reigned in his stead; and, in the words addressed to Osiris by the official Hunefer,

“Horus is triumphant in the presence of the whole company of the gods, the sovereignty over the world hath been given unto him, and his dominion is in the uttermost parts of the earth.

The throne of the god Seb hath been adjudged unto him, along with the rank which hath been founded by the god Temu, and which hath been stablished by decrees in the Chamber of Books, and hath been inscribed upon an iron tablet according to the command of thy father Ptaḥ-Tanen, on the great throne. . . .

Gods celestial and gods terrestrial transfer themselves to the service of thy son Horus, and they follow him into his hall, [where] a decree is passed that he shall be lord over them, and they perform the decree straightway.”[33]

Now, besides the fight in which he engaged with Set, Horus performed many other filial duties which endeared him to the Egyptians. Thus he took the greatest care that every ceremony which could possibly benefit the deceased was performed on his father’s behalf, and every detail of the mummification of the god, and of the method of swathing, and of the placing of amulets, etc., upon the body was watched by him with loving attention, and his filial affection became the pattern which was followed by every pious Egyptian from time immemorial.

We find, however, that Horus was believed to help the dead generally, even as he helped Osiris, and all men hoped that he would come to their assistance after death, and act as a mediator between the judge of the Underworld and themselves.

In the Judgment Scene in the Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Ani, plates 3 and 4), Horus, the son of Isis, leads the deceased, after his heart has been weighed, into the presence of Osiris, and he says to his father,

“I have come to thee, O Un-nefer, and I have brought unto thee Osiris Ani,”

and then goes on to say that Thoth has weighed Ani’s heart in the Balance according to the decree of the gods, and has found it right and true. He also asks Osiris that Ani may be allowed to appear in his presence, and that cakes and ale may be given to him, and that he may be among the followers of Horus for ever. In none of the variants of the Judgment Scene do we find that the place of Horus as introducer of the dead is taken by any other god, and there is no doubt that this duty was assigned to him because it was believed that Osiris would favourably receive those who were led into his presence by the son who had done so much for him.

From the Pyramid Texts we learn that, at the time when man believed that it was necessary to have a ladder in order to ascend into heaven from the earth, Horus was regarded as the god of the ladder, and that he was entreated to set up the ladder and to hold it in place whilst the deceased climbed up it. Sometimes Rā held one side of it whilst Horus held the other, and sometimes its supporters were Horus and Set, but even so the deceased seems sometimes to have experienced difficulty in ascending it, for we read that Horus had to give him a push upwards with his two fingers.[34]

More than this, however, was done for the deceased by Horus, for he took the bodies of the dead under his care just as he took the body of his father Osiris into his own hands, and superintended the performance of his funeral rites and ceremonies. In this great work he was assisted by a number of beings called Ḥeru-shemsu, , i.e., “Followers of Horus.” Now we know from several passages in the Book of the Dead that Osiris, Rā, Nefer-Tem, Neb-er-tcher, Meḥi, Hathor, and, in fact, all great gods were ministered to by a number of lesser gods, but none of these are of the importance of the followers of Horus, and none of them are as old.

We have already seen that the original Horus-god, , who represented the face of heaven, was supposed to have long hair which hung down from his face, and which probably supported it, and that in the myth of Shu the supports of this god, i.e., the four pillars, , which held up the vast, rectangular, iron plate that formed the floor of heaven were placed in the tresses of Horus. At a later period, when the four followers of Horus, son of Isis, were identified with the followers of the older Horus, these gods were made to dwell near the pillars of Shu and to have dominion over them, and also over the four quarters of heaven, and they took the place of the earlier gods of the cardinal points.

In the Book of the Dead these four children of Horus play very prominent parts, and the deceased endeavoured to gain their help and protection at all costs, both by offerings and prayers. In the pictures of the funeral procession four men draw along the coffin containing the mummied intestines of the deceased, four animals are taken for sacrifice, and all the instruments used in the ceremony of “opening the mouth,” as well as the vases, and boxes of unguents, etc., are in quadruplicate. Even prayers and formulae are said four times over, e.g., in Chapter xl., the deceased in addressing the Eater of the Ass says, “I know thee,” four times; and in Chapter cxxiv., he says, “I am pure,” four times.

Most important of all, however, it was to remember that the four children of Horus shared the protection of the body of the deceased among them, and as far back as the Vth Dynasty we find that they presided over his life in the underworld.

The names of the four gods are :—

  1. Ḥāp,,
  2. Ṭuamutef,,
  3. Ȧmset, ,
  4. and Qebḥsennuf,;

this is the order in which they are mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, but in later times the order of the names and the spelling vary thus :—

  1. Mesthȧ,,
  2. Hāpi,,
  3. Ṭuamutef,,
  4. and Qebḥ-sennuf,.

The two arms of the de ceased were identified with Hāpi and Ṭuamutef, and his two legs with Ȧmset and Qebḥsennuf; and when he went into the Sekhet-Ȧaru they were his guides and went in with him, two on each side. Hāpi represented the north and protected the small viscerae of the body; Ṭuamutef represented the east, and protected the heart and lungs ; Ȧmset represented the south, and protected the stomach and large intestines, and Qebḥsennuf represented the west, and protected the liver and the gall bladder.

Associated with the four gods, perhaps as female counterparts, were the goddesses

  1. Nephthys,
  2. Neith,
  3. Isis,
  4. and Selqet, or Serqet.

As Horus, son of Isis, was so thoroughly identified with Horus the Elder, and with other forms of the rising sun, it is not surprising to find that the sanctuaries of the god were very numerous, and that they existed in all parts of the country ; the names of a great many of these have been collected by Signor Lanzone,[35] and from them we learn that Horus, dweller in the two Egypts,,

  • was lord of Nubti, (Ombos),
  • and lord of Uast, (Thebes),
  • and of Mȧām, ,
  • Kenset, ,
  • Ḥet-Ānt, ,
  • Re-ur, ,
  • Pe, ,
  • Behen, ,
  • Nekhen, ,
  • Per-netchem, ,
  • Re-āu, ,
  • Ḥurent, ,
  • Ka-qem, ,
  • Reqetit, ,
  • Therer, ,
  • Bak, ,
  • Ȧat-āat, ,
  • Ḥu ,,
  • Tchart, ,
  • Ȧat-āb, ,
  • Ḥut, ,
  • Ḥet-suten, ,
  • Petchatcha, ,
  • It, ,
  • Rethma ,
  • Ḥeben, ,
  • Sekhem, ,
  • Ȧbṭu, ,
  • Shes-en-meḥ, ,
  • Ḥet-neh, ,
  • Ḥebt, ,
  • Shep, ,
  • Khat, ,
  • Qāḥ, ,
  • Ṭenretut, ,
  • Ȧnt, ,
  • and Baka, , etc.

The forms in which Horus, son of Isis, is depicted are both numerous and interesting, and they show how completely he absorbed the attributes of all the other Horus gods. Thus he is represented as a child seated on a lotus flower, with one of his forefingers touching his lips, and with the lock of hair on the side of his head; he wears the crowns of the South and North, and holds bothand,1 In another section he stands on the back of a hippopotamus, into the head of which he is driving a spear ; in this instance he is clearly identified with Ḥeru-Beḥuṭet.

In late dynastic times the god was depicted in a great many fantastic forms, and the various attributes which were ascribed to him are indicated in many curious ways. Thus as guardian of the funeral coffer of Osiris he has the head of a hawk, on which is the triple crown, with the body of a lion, and a tail in the form of a head and neck of some unknown animal. Elsewhere he is represented with seven heads, among which are those of a bull, a ram, a cat, and a crocodile, and with the body of a man, ithyphallic, and the legs and hoofs of a bull, and the wings of a bird ; in one hand he holds a knife, and in the other a serpent.

But besides the attributes of the other Horus gods, Horus, son of Isis, was endowed with many of the characteristics of other gods. Thus with the god Ȧnpu or Anubis, he becomes Ḥeru-em-Ȧnpu, i.e., Horus as Anubis, and is said to dwell in the “divine hall,”; he recalls under this name the god “Her-manubis,” who is mentioned by Plutarch (De, Iside et Osiride, § 61) and by Diodorus (lines 18, 87). This dual god is represented in the form of a man with the head of a jackal, and it is impossible to distinguish him by his picture from the two jackal gods Ȧnpu, or Anubis, and Ȧp-uat, who are only two forms of one and the same god.

Strictly speaking,

Ȧnpu is the

“opener of the roads of the South, the power of  the two lands,”


and Ȧpuat is the

“opener of the roads of the North, the power of heaven,”


The two jackal gods are often seen depicted on stelae, where they symbolize the two halves of the year, and the night and the day sky, and the periods of waxing and waning of the powers of nature in summer and winter.

The particular form of Horus which was identified with Horus, son of Isis, was Horus of Ḥebennu, , the Hipponon of the Greeks, where also Anubis was specially venerated. The identification of Horus, son of Isis, with Anubis is easy to explain, for both gods assisted in mummifying the dead body of Osiris, and it is expressly stated in the Book of the Dead (xvii. 125 ff.), that it is Anubis who passes through the purification chamber in the Mesqet , and that he stood “behind the chest which contained the inner parts of Osiris.”

According to the same chapter (lines 100-108), it was Anubis who appointed the Seven Spirits, “the followers of their lord Sepa,” , to be the protectors of the dead body of Osiris.

One authority quoted in the same chapter stated that the Seven Spirits, , were

  • the Four Children of Horus, already mentioned above,
  • and Maa-ȧtef-f, ,
  • and Kheri-beq-f, ,
  • and Ḥeru-khenti-maati, ;

but another authority gives the names of the Seven Spirits as follows:—

  1. Netcheḥ-netcheḥ;
  2. Ȧaqeṭeṭ;
  3. Ȧn-erṭā-nef-bes-f-khenti-heh-f;
  4. Āq-ḥer-ȧmmi-unnut-f;
  5. Ṭesher-maati-ȧmmi-ḥet-Ȧnes;
  6. Ubes-ḥrȧ-per-em-khetkhet;
  7. Maa-em-ḳerḥ-ȧn-nef-em-hru.

In connexion with these must be mentioned the goddess Ḥetep-sekhus,, who is identified either with the Eye of Rā or with the flame which follows Osiris to burn up his enemies, and the assessors of that section of the Underworld which is called Ȧn-ȧarereṭef, , or Ȧn-ȧreṭf,, i.e., the “place where nothing grows,” the chief of whom was Ḥeru-netch-ḥrȧ-ȧtef-f,, or “Horus, the avenger of his father.”



15. Ḥeru-pa-kharṭ, , i.e., “Horus the Child.” We have already described Horus the Child, who was the son and successor of Horus the Elder, and brief mention must be made of Horus the Child who was the son and successor of Osiris. The greater number of the attributes which belonged to the old Horus gods were transferred to the son of Isis and Osiris, especially in late dynastic times when the worship of Osiris was dominant in Egypt, and Horus the Child became the type of the new birth, and new life, the first hours of the day, and the first days of the month, and the first months of the year, and in fact of everything which was young and vigorous.

Soon, however, the characteristics of the great forms of the Sun-god were added to his own, and his original conception as Horus the Child was somewhat forgotten ; at times it is very difficult to distinguish in the texts exactly which Horus is referred to. In all the great sanctuaries of Egypt, from the period of the ]Sĩew Empire onwards, we find that Horus the Child, or Harpocrates, was identified by the priests of the local gods as a form of their principal deities in which the chiefs of the companies or triads of gods had renewed and rejuvenated themselves.

The late Dr. Brugsch collected a large number of examples of this fact,[37] and he proved that as Ḥeru-sma-taui-pa-kharṭ he was identified with Tem, and was said to be son of Ḥeru-khuti and Hathor; that joined with Ȧḥi, , Harpocrates became a form of Rā, and was called “son of Hathor, to whom Isis gave birth,” and was regarded as the offspring of Un-nefer, i.e., of Osiris ; and that he was also made to be the renewed form of the gods Shu, Seb, Khensu, and Ȧmsu, or Min.

In connexion with Horus, son of Isis, in one or other of his forms must be mentioned the interesting legend which is preserved in the cxiith Chapter of the Book of the Dead, and which has reference to the district or place called Khat, , of the dweller in Khat, in the city of Ānpet, , in the nome of Ḥā-meḥit, , i.e., the sixteenth nome of Lower Egypt. Strictly speaking, Ānpet was the name of the temple and quarter of the city of Mendes, the local triad of which consisted of Ba-neb-Ṭeṭet, , Hā-mehit, , and Ḥeru-pa-kharṭ.

Mendes was full of associations with the worship of the god Osiris, for in the temple there were preserved the phallus and the backbone of Osiris ; the temple was called Ḥet-baiut, , i.e., “House of the Rams,” and the place where the relics were found Per-khent, .[38] The rams here referred to recall the legend in which the Ram of Mendes was said to unite within himself the souls of Rā, Osiris, Shu, and Kheperȧ, and he was known as the “Ram with four heads upon one neck,”.[39] It is possible that he is also referred to in the text of Pepi I. (line 419) where a god with four faces is mentioned,.

In the Chapter above mentioned the deceased is made to ask a number of gods,

“Do ye know for what reason the city of Pe hath been given unto Horus?”

and he goes on to say,

“I, even I, know it though ye know it not. Behold, Rā gave the city to him in return for the injury to his Eye ; for which cause Rā said to Horus,

‘Let me see what is coming to pass in thine eye,’

and forthwith he looked thereat.

Then Rā said unto Horus,

‘Look at that black pig,’

and he looked, and straightway an injury was done unto his eye, that is to say, a mighty storm [took place therein].

Then said Horus unto Rā,

‘Verily, my eye seems as if it were an eye upon which Suti had inflicted a blow’;

and [thus saying] he ate his heart.[40] Then said Rā to those gods,

‘Place ye him in his chamber, and he shall do well.’

Now the black pig was Suti (Set) who had transformed himself into a black pig, and he it was who had aimed the blow of fire which struck the eye of Horsus.

Then said Rā unto those gods,

‘The pig is an abominable thing unto Horus ; but he shall do well, although the pig is an abomination unto him.’

Then the company of the gods, who were among the divine Followers of Horus when he existed in the form of his own child, said,

‘Let sacrifices be made of his bulls, and of his goats, and of his pigs.’

Now the father of Mesthi, Ḥāpi, Ṭuamutef, and Qebḥ-sennuf is Horus, and their mother is Isis.

Then said Horus to Rā,

‘Give me two divine brethren in the city of Pe and two divine brethren in the city of Nekhen, who [have sprung] from my body and who shall be with me in the guise of everlasting judges, and then shall the earth blossom and thunder-clouds and rain be done away.’

And the name of Horus became Ḥer-uatch-f, .”

In addition to the forms of Horus mentioned in the above paragraphs the Pyramid Texts make known the following:—

  1. Ḥeru-Ȧāḥ, , i.e., Horus, the Moon-god;[41]
  2. Ḥeru-khent-peru, ;[42]
  3. Ḥeru-ȧm-Ḥennu, ;[43]
  4. and Ḥeru of Ṭat, .[44]

According to the same authorities Horus possessed one white eye and one black., ,[45] which king Unȧs is said to have taken to illumine his face ; and two other titles of the god are

  1. “Horus of the two blue eyes,” ,[46]
  2. and “Horus of the two red eyes,” ,[47]


Miscellaneous Horus Gods

In the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead these titles are also mentioned (Chap. clxxvii. 7) as well as the following :—

  1. Ḥeru-āa-ȧbu, ,
  2. Ḥeru-āḥāi, ,
  3. Ḥeru-ȧmi-ȧbu-ḥer-ȧb-ȧmi-khat, ,
  4. Ḥeru-ȧmi-ȧthen, ,
  5. Ḥeru-em-khebit, ,
  6. Ḥeru-neb-ureret, ,
  7. Ḥeru-ḥer-neferu, ,
  8. Ḥeru-khenṭ-heh, ,
  9. Ḥeru-khenti-ḥeḥ, ,
  10. Ḥeru-sekhai, ,
  11. Ḥeru-sheṭ-ḥrȧ, , etc.

Finally, in the text of Unȧs (line 462 ff.) we meet with the form of Ḥeru-Sepṭ, , who is mentioned in connexion with Rā, Tem, Thoth, and Horus of Ṭat, and the star Nekhekh, . Ḥera-Sepṭ is a form of Horus, presumably the god of the rising sun, united to the particular form of the same god Sepṭ which was worshipped in the twentieth nome of Lower Egypt, i.e., the nome Sepṭ, . In the examples given by Signor Lanzone of the various forms under which Sepṭ is depicted he is sometimes seen in the form of a man having upon his head either the symbol , or double plumes, , or a disk, , and sometimes in the form of a mummied hawk, , with plumes on his head, and the symbol in front of him, and the menȧt, , on his back.

The titles which accompany these representations describe him as the “lord of the east,” i.e., the eastern part of the Delta and Arabia. On a shrine discovered at Saft al-Henna by M. Naville he appears in the form of the god Bes, , who is represented with outspread arms, hands, and wings, and with feathers on the top of his head. In this form he is called, “Sepṭ, the smiter of the Menti,” , i.e., the tribes of the Eastern Desert and Arabia.

Sepṭ was clearly a god of battles, , and he was called the

“Bull that trampleth on the Menti;”

he was the

strengthener of Egypt, and the protector of the temples of the gods.”[48]

The principal seat of the worship of the god was in the metropolis of the nome, i.e., at Per-Sepṭ, ; if Ḳesem, , was a distinct city from Per-Sepṭ a temple to the god may have stood there also.

The female counterpart of Ḥeru-Sepṭ was a form of the goddess Hathor to whom, in the twentieth nome of Lower Egypt, the name Septit, , was given ; his sanctuary contained some fine nebes[49] trees, hence its name ȧst nebes, , “house of nebes trees.”

As the “lord of battle,” , Sepṭ is depicted in the form of a hawk-headed lion with the tails of a lion and a hawk, and in his hands, which are those of a man, he holds a bow and a club ; on his head are a disk[50] and plumes.

Sepṭ is mentioned even in the Book of the Dead with the attributes of a god of war, and in Chapter xvii. (line 30) he is said to

“thwart the acts of the foes of Neb-er-tcher.”

In the xxxiind Chapter the deceased drives away the Crocodile of the South, and says,

“I am Sepṭ”;

and in the cxxxth Chapter (line 11) we read of the

“slaughtering block of the god Sepṭu,”


Up to the present no satisfactory explanation has been given of the object which is the symbol of the god Sepṭ, but it appears to have been some kind of a triangle; a figure or model of it was preserved at Ȧmen-kheperutet, which is described in the Edfû list as i.e., “the hiddenof Khas (?) en-Sepṭ.”

Footnotes and references:


Pepi I., ll. 593, 600 ; and see Maspero, La Mythologie Égyptienne, p. 227.


Pepi I., ll. 593, 600 ; and see Maspero, La Mythologie Égyptienne, p. 227.


See Lanzone, op. cit., pl. 226.


Ibid., No. 3.


Brugsch, Religion, p. 539.


See de Morgan, Kom Ombos, pp. 156, 181 ff.


Lanzone, op. cit., pi. 328.


See Brugsch, Dict. Géog., p. 348.


Op. cit. p. 617.


Religion, p. 664.


See Lanzone, p. 622, pl. 17 ; Brugsch, Religion, p. 606.


For the passages see my Vocabulary to the Chapters of Coining Forth by Day, p. 225.


Op. cit., pll. 229 ff.


See Lanzone, op. cit., pl. 239.


Op. cit., pll. 242 ff.


He is here called ·


He is here called “smiter of the rebel,” ·


Religion, p. 548.


Variants are.


Wörterbuch, p. 703.


See Naville, Mythe d’Horus, Geneva, 1870, pi. 7.


Naville, op. cit., pi. 9.


Note the pun on the name Uauat, , and the verb “to murmur, conspire,” .


Naville gives (pl, xiii., 1. 8), but Brugsch (Abhandlungen Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Bd. xiv., p. 216) and Wiedemann both give 381, i.e., they read.



For the text of the legend summarized above see Naville, Mythe d’Horus, pll. xii. ff.; and for a translation, with transliteration of text and commentary, see Brugsch, Die Sage von der geflügelten Sonnenscheibe in the Abhandlungen of the Royal Society of Sciences in Göttiugen (Phys. Classe, Bd. xiv., p. 173 ff.).


The historical element in the legend was long ago recognized by Maspero; see Les Forgerons d’Horus et la Légende de d’Horus d’Edfou (in Bib. Egypt., tom. ii., pp. 313 ff.).


Brugsch, Dict. Géog., p. 490 ; and Brugsch, Religion, pp. 558 ff.


See Chabas, Revue Archéologique, 1857, p. 65; Ledrain, Monuments Égyptiens, pll. 22 ff.


The story is told on the Metternichstele, ed. Golénischeff, Leipzig, 1877, pi. iii., 11. 46 ff.


For references to him in the Book of the Dead see my Vocabulary, p. 225.


Chabas, Calendrier, Paris, 1863, pp. 29 ff.


Book of the Dead, Chap. clxxxiii., 11. 12 ff.


English renderings of the passages will be found in my Egyptian Magic, pp. 52 ff.


Op. cit., p. 569.


Book of the Dead, Chap. cxlii., § iv. 24, 25.


Religion und Mythologie, p. 373.



See de Rougé, Géographic Ancienne, p. 114.


I.e., he lost his temper and raged.


, Tetȧ, 1. 365.


Unȧs, 1. 202.


Unȧs, 1. 211.


Unȧs, 1. 218.


Unȧs, 1. 37.


Unȧs, 1. 369.


Unȧs, 1. 869.


De Rougé, Géographie Ancienne, p. 141.


The Cordia Sebestena, or Zizyphus Lotos W., according to Brugsch, Religion, p. 567.


Lanzone, op. cit., p. 1048.

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