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Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 16

The fight between the Sun-god and Set was a very favourite subject with Egyptian writers, and there are many forms of it. Thus there is the fight between Heru-ur and Set, the fight between Ra and Set, the fight between Heru-Behutet and Set, the fight between Osiris and Set, and the fight between Horus, son of Isis, and Set. In the oldest times the combat was merely the natural opposition of light to darkness, but later the Sun-god became the symbol of right and truth as well as of light, and Set the symbol of sin and wickedness as well as of darkness, and ultimately the nature myth was forgotten, and the fight between the two gods became the type of the everlasting war which good men wage against sin. In Coptic literature we have the well-known legend of the slaughter of the dragon by St. George, and this is nothing but a Christian adaptation of the legend of Horus and Set.

After these things Horus, son of Ra, and Horus, son of Isis, each took the form of a mighty man, with the face and body of a hawk, and each wore the Red and White Crowns, and each carried a spear and chain. In these forms the two gods slew the remnant of the enemies. Now by some means or other Set came to life again, and he took the form of a mighty hissing or "roaring" serpent, and hid himself in the ground, in a place which was ever after called the "place of the roarer." In front of his hiding-place Horus, son of Isis, stationed himself in the form of a hawk-headed staff to prevent him from coming out. In spite of this, however, Set managed to escape, and he gathered about him the Smai and Seba fiends at the Lake of Meh, and waged war once more against Horus; the enemies of Ra were again defeated, and Horus slew them in the presence of his father.

PLATE XI. Horus of Behutet and Thoth spearing human victims with the assistance of Isis.

PLATE XII.
Horus of Behutet and Thoth spearing Set in the form of a crocodile.

Horus, it seems, now ceased to fight for some time, and devoted himself to keeping guard over the "Great God" who was in An-rut-f, a district in or near Herakleopolis. This Great God was no other than Osiris, and the duty of Horus was to prevent the Smai fiends from coming by night to the place. In spite of the power of Horus, it was found necessary to summon the aid of Isis to keep away the fiends, and it was only by her words of power that the fiend Ba was kept out of the sanctuary. As a reward for what he had already done, Thoth decreed that Horus should be called the "Master-Fighter." Passing over the derivations of place- names which occur here in the text, we find that Horus and his Blacksmiths were again obliged to fight bodies of the enemy who had managed to escape, and that on one occasion they killed one hundred and six foes. In every fight the Blacksmiths performed mighty deeds of valour, and in reward for their services a special district was allotted to them to dwell in.


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