Horus is one of the most Ancient Egyptian Gods, worshiped from the Pre-dynastic period (c. 6000-3150 BCE) until the last of the Ancient Egyptian dynasties (600 BCE). Horus was the “Great God, Lord of the Sky,” as well as god of war and hunting. He was usually depicted as a falcon-headed man or a falcon.
Horus was the son of Osiris and Aset (Isis) born after Osiris was murdered by his jealous brother Set, who then scattered his body parts throughout the land. Aset went on a quest to find his body parts, reassemble them and then used her magic to bring Osiris back to life long enough to conceive Horus. Because of his magical conception, Horus can be seen as the embodiment of the power of life over death.
In addition to being a God, Horus was the divine embodiment of the Pharaoh’s power and authority. The Pharaohs were often referred to as the “living Horus” emphasizing the connection between the god and the royal family. Horus was also associated with Ma’at representing the order and balance of the universe, and emphasizing his role as Protector of Egypt’s kingdoms and dynasties.
The Book of the Dead contains many references to Horus, for example in one passage the deceased is identified with Horus, who is called upon to protect them from the dangers of the underworld:
I am Horus, the great god, the avenger of his father, the son of Isis, who protects his father Osiris from the serpent Apophis.
The following is a hymn to Horus found in the temple of Edfu:
Hail to thee, Horus, strong of wing,
whose eyes are like the sun and the moon!
Thou art the lord of heaven and earth,
the prince of the gods and the protector of the land.
Thou art the great falcon, the god of war,
whose arrows never miss their mark.
Thou art the avenger of thy father,
the conqueror of Set, and the protector of the king
Budge, E. Wallis. The Gods of the Egyptians: Studies in Egyptian Mythology. New York: Dover Publications, 1969.
Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
The Book of the Dead. Translated by E. A. Wallis Budge. New York: Dover Publications, 1967.
Ancient Egyptian hymns and prayers to Horus are found in many sources, including the Temple of Edfu and the Coffin Texts.
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