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Horus

Horus is one of the oldest and most significant deities in the Ancient Egyptian religion, who was worshipped from at least the late Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists.[1] These various forms may possibly be different perceptions of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasised, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality.[2] The earliest recorded form is Horus the Falcon who was the patron deity of Nekhen in Upper Egypt and who is the first known national god, specifically related to the king who in time became to be regarded as a manifestation of Horus in life and Osiris in death.[1] The most commonly encountered family relationship describes Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris but in another tradition Hathor is regarded as his mother and sometimes as his wife.[1] Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being the god of the Sky, god of War and god of Protection.

Horus is recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphs as r.w and is reconstructed to have been pronounced *āru, meaning "Falcon". As a description it has also typically been thought of as having the meaning "the distant one" or "one who is above, over".[3] By Coptic times, the name became Hōr. It was adopted into Greek as ρος Hōros. The original name also survives in later Egyptian names such as Har-Si-Ese literally "Horus, son of Isis".

Horus was also sometimes known as Nekheny, meaning "falcon". Some have proposed that Nekheny may have been another falcon-god, worshipped at Nekhen (city of the hawk), but then Horus was identified with him early on. As falcon, Horus may be shown on the Narmer Palette dating from the time of unification of upper and lower Egypt.

Mythological roles

 

Sky god

Horus depicted as a falcon

Since Horus was said to be the sky, he was considered to also contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was his right eye and the moon his left, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it. Thus he became known as Harmerty - Horus of two eyes. Later, the reason that the moon was not as bright as the sun was explained by a tale, known as the contestings of Horus and Seth, originating as a metaphor for the conquest of Upper Egypt by Lower Egypt in about 3000 BC. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Upper Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Lower Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the gods sided with Horus (see below).

As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as Harsiesis, Heru-ur or Har-Wer (r.w wr 'Horus the Great'), but more usually translated as Horus the Elder. In the struggle Seth had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented, is infertile. Horus' left eye had also been gouged out, which explained why the moon, which it represented, was so weak compared to the sun.

It was also said that during a new-moon, Horus had become blinded and was titled Mekhenty-er-irty (mnty r ỉr.ty 'He who has no eyes'). When the moon became visible again, he was re-titled Khenty-irty (nty r ỉr.ty 'He who has eyes').

Horus was occasionally shown in art as a naked boy with a finger in his mouth sitting on a lotus with his mother. In the form of a youth, Horus was referred to as Neferhor. This is also spelled Nefer Hor, Nephoros or Nopheros (nfr r.w) meaning 'The Good Horus'.

Wedjat, eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from deities, in this case from Horus or Ra. The symbol is seen on images of Horus' mother, Isis, and on other deities associated with her.

In the Egyptian language, the word for this symbol was "Wedjat".[9][10] It was the eye of one of the earliest of Egyptian deities, Wadjet, who later became associated with Bast, Mut, and Hathor as well. Wedjat was a solar deity and this symbol began as her eye, an all seeing eye. In early artwork, Hathor is also depicted with this eye.[11] Funerary amulets were often made in the shape of the Eye of Horus. The Wedjat or Eye of Horus is "the central element" of seven "gold, faience, carnelian and lapis lazuli" bracelets found on the mummy of Shoshenq II.[12] The Wedjat "was intended to protect the king [here] in the afterlife"[13] and to ward off evil. Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel

 

 

Category: My articles | Added by: محمد (2010-08-14)
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