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date: 27 November 2022



  • Richard Gordon


Horus (Egyptian Ḥrw, ‘he is far off’), one of the most important Egyptian gods, soon equated, like other falcon-headed deities, with the sun-god Re. His main centre was Edfu in upper *Egypt, where the fullest (Ptolemaic) version of the myth is found. Horus was very early a royal god, and, with *Set (‘the two brothers’), played a key role in the mythic establishment of an ideal pharaonic order based on the resolution of their conflict. In the first Edfu myth, Horus as the Winged Disk harpoons his enemies from Upper to Lower Egypt. But in the Osiris-cycle, Horus became *Isis' son, and heir of the dead *Osiris, whom he avenges. In this form, as Harsiësis, he may be contrasted with the older or ‘great’ Horus. A Horus child ‘with the finger in his mouth’ occurs already in the Pyramid Texts, but no official cult can be traced until the late New Kingdom, when, perhaps at *Thebes (2), Harsiësis became, or was ousted by, Harpocrates (Egyptian Ḥr-p-ḥrd, ‘Horus the child’).


  • Roman Myth and Religion

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