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Legends Of The Gods The Egyptian Texts, edited with Translations

Page: 26

[FN#48] See Metternichstele, Leipzig, 1877. The Stele was made for Ankh-Psemthek, son of the lady Tent-Het-nub, prophet of Nebun, overseer of Temt and scribe of Het (see line 87).

The obverse, reverse, and two sides of the Metternich Stele have cut upon them nearly three hundred figures of gods and celestial beings. These include figures of the great gods of heaven, earth, and the Other World, figures of the gods of the planets and the Dekans, figures of the gods of the days of the week, of the weeks, and months, and seasons of the year, and of the year. Besides these there are a number of figures of local forms of the gods which it is difficult to identify. On the rounded portion of the obverse the place of honour is held by the solar disk, in which is seen a figure of Khnemu with four ram's heads, which rests between a pair of arms, and is supported on a lake of celestial water; on each side of it are four of the spirits of the dawn, and on the right stands the symbol of the rising sun, Nefer-Temu, and on the left stands Thoth. Below this are five rows of small figures of gods. Below these is Harpokrates in relief, in the attitude already described. He stands on two crocodiles under a kind of canopy, the sides of which are supported by Thoth and Isis, and holds Typhonic animals and reptiles. Above the canopy are the two Eyes of Ra, each having a pair of human arms and hands. On the right of Harpokrates are Seker and Horus, and on his left the symbol of Nefer-Temu. On the left and right are the goddesses Nekhebet and Uatchet, who guard the South of Egypt and the North respectively. On the reverse and sides are numerous small figures of gods. This stele represented the power to protect man possessed by all the divine beings in the universe, and, however it was placed, it formed an impassable barrier to every spirit of evil and to every venomous reptile. The spells, which are cut in hieroglyphics on all the parts of the stele not occupied by figures of gods, were of the most potent character, for they contained the actual words by which the gods vanquished the powers of darkness and evil. These spells form the texts which are printed on p. 142 ff., and may be thus summarized:—

The first spell is an incantation directed against reptiles and noxious creatures in general. The chief of these was Apep, the great enemy of Ra, who took the form of a huge serpent that "resembled the intestines," and the spell doomed him to decapitation, and burning and backing in pieces. These things would be effected by Serqet, the Scorpion-goddess. The second part of the spell was directed against the poison of Apep, and was to be recited over anyone who was bitten by a snake. When uttered by Horus it made Apep to vomit, and when used by a magician properly qualified would make the bitten person to vomit, and so free his body from the poison.


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