Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

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The last great fight in the North took place at Tanis, in the eastern part of the Delta. When the position of the enemy had been located, Horus took the form of a lion with the face of a man, and he put on his head the Triple Crown. His claws were like flints, and with them he dragged away one hundred and forty-two of the enemy, and tore them in pieces, and dug out their tongues, which he carried off as symbols of his victory.

Meanwhile rebellion had again broken out in Nubia, where about one- third of the enemy had taken refuge in the river in the forms of crocodiles and hippopotami. Ra counselled Horus to sail up the Nile with his Blacksmiths, and when Thoth had recited the "Chapters of protecting the Boat of Ra" over the boats, the expedition set sail for the South. The object of reciting these spells was to prevent the monsters which were in the river from making the waves to rise and from stirring up storms which might engulf the boats of Ra and Horus and the Blacksmiths. When the rebels and fiends who had been uttering, treason against Horus saw the boat of Ra, with the winged Disk of Horus accompanied by the goddesses Uatchet and Nekhebet in the form of serpents, they were smitten with fear, and their hearts quaked, and all power of resistance left them, and they died of fright straightway. When Horus returned in triumph to Edfu, Ra ordered that an image of the winged Disk should be placed in each of his sanctuaries, and that in every place wherein a winged Disk was set, that sanctuary should be a sanctuary of Horus of Behutet. The winged disks which are seen above the doorways of the temples still standing in Egypt show that the command of Ra, was faithfully carried out by the priests.

Horus of Behutet in the form of a lion slaying his foes.



The Procreation of Horus, son of Isis.

The text which contains this legend is found cut in hieroglyphics upon a stele which is now preserved in Paris. Attention was first called to it by Chabas, who in 1857 gave a translation of it in the Revue Archeologique, p. 65 ff., and pointed out the importance of its contents with his characteristic ability. The hieroglyphic text was first published by Ledrain in his work on the monuments of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris,[FN#24] and I gave a transcript of the text, with transliteration and translation, in 1895.[FN#25]

[FN#24] Les Monuments Egyptiens (Cabinet des Medailles et Antiques), In the Bibliotheque de l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 1879-1882, plate xxii. ff.

[FN#25] First Steps in Egyptian, pp. 179-188.

The greater part of the text consists of a hymn to Osiris, which was probably composed under the XVIIIth Dynasty, when an extraordinary development of the cult of that god took place, and when he was placed by Egyptian theologians at the head of all the gods. Though unseen in the temples, his presence filled all Egypt, and his body formed the very substance of the country. He was the God of all gods and the Governor of the Two Companies of the gods, he formed the soul and body of Ra, he was the beneficent Spirit of all spirits, he was himself the celestial food on which the Doubles in the Other World lived. He was the greatest of the gods in On (Heliopolis), Memphis, Herakleopolis, Hermopolis, Abydos, and the region of the First Cataract, and so. He embodied in his own person the might of Ra-Tem, Apis and Ptah, the Horus-gods, Thoth and Khnemu, and his rule over Busiris and Abydos continued to be supreme, as it had been for many, many hundreds of years. He was the source of the Nile, the north wind sprang from him, his seats were the stars of heaven which never set, and the imperishable stars were his ministers. All heaven was his dominion, and the doors of the sky opened before him of their own accord when he appeared. He inherited the earth from his father Keb, and the sovereignty of heaven from his mother Nut. In his person he united endless time in the past and endless time in the future. Like Ra he had fought Seba, or Set, the monster of evil, and had defeated him, and his victory assured to him lasting authority over the gods and the dead. He exercised his creative power in making land and water, trees and herbs, cattle and other four-footed beasts, birds of all kinds, and fish and creeping things; even the waste spaces of the desert owed allegiance to him as the creator. And he rolled out the sky, and set the light above the darkness.