The gods of Egypt not only had animal heads, it was still customary to depict many times more people, which is why they look so impressive on the walls of ancient temples!
Alas, the latter was true. The mythical Egyptian gods were subject to the usual human weaknesses: vainglory and greed, revenge and lies, even lewdness and drunkenness. In addition, they were far from always omnipotent, they themselves could be in the power of magic ... And their desire for power and the struggle for it were included in the legends. Moreover, they even fought with each other! That is, if you follow the ancient Egyptian religion literally, then it should be recognized that once on the Egyptian land raged ... "divine wars"!
One of the most popular stories on this topic can be found in the papyrus "Chester Beat No. XXUMX", first published by Alan Gardiner in 1. Papyrus dates back to the 20th dynasty (1931-1200 BC), then, apparently, literary processing of the mythological cycle occurred, which describes in detail the litigation of the uncle and nephew - two gods - Gore and Seth. Note that this is quite a late period. stories In Egypt, the transformation of images of gods over the millennia has been significant, and if we can see the roots of ancient ideas in the eventful side, then the assessments of one or another character bear traces of the end of the New Age of Egypt.
Their battles can be viewed from the point of view of reflecting historical events and the struggle of the tribes of Upper and Lower Egypt, from the point of view of establishing the patriarchal order of succession, the confrontation of Order and Chaos, finally, as a reflection of the eternal battle of Good and Evil. But the last interpretation seems to be the least likely, since, in the understanding of the ancient Egyptian, neither side was the one or the other.
Red Land - Northern Egypt, White Land - Southern Egypt. Two lands, two gods, two rivals ... What were these gods who, 80 years, according to the myth, fought for the right to get the double crown Ta-meri, as the ancient Egyptians called their country?
Ancient Egyptian gods (from left to right): Gore, Seth, Toth, Khnum, Hathor, Sebek, Ra, Amon, Pta, Anubis, Osiris, Isis.
Red-maned Set, the embodiment of the ferocious heat of the desert, sandstorm, unbridled power, the god of merciless war, throughout the history of Ancient Egypt was one of the gods, the cult of which spread over considerable territory. And at once we will make a reservation that Seth did not personify the eternal evil for the Egyptians, since this role was assigned to the serpent of chaos - Apophus - with which solar Ra fights nightly. At the same time, Seth, being a constant companion of Ra during his journey through the Duat, always helps him in this battle. Moreover, Seth is the only god who alone can cope with Apophis, which, as we shall see, has greatly complicated Gore’s inheritance of his father Osiris.
The emergence of the cult of Set in Egypt can be attributed to pre-dynastic times. His amulets and images belong to the ancient times of the Badari culture, they are in Nagad, Su, but the center of the cult of Set was Ombos. However, in Lower Egypt, his temples found a place - in the north-east of Egypt (in the 14 nome), Seth was worshiped in the lost Per-Ramses. One of the first known images of Set can be seen on the ritual mace of the king of Upper Egypt - Zara (better known as the king of Scorpio, 3100 BC). In ancient times, he was considered the brother and friend of the Elder Choir, Seth personified the night, and Choir - the day. Both gods gave the dead friendly help; among other things, they installed and kept the ladder along which the dead rise from the earth to the heavens, helped to climb it.
In the days of the II dynasty, the name and symbolism of Set appears on the stelae of the pharaohs along with the name of the falcon Choir, which indicates the equality of these gods. And in later times, the union of the names of Horus and Seth symbolized royal power, the union of Upper and Lower Egypt. In a series of images, Gore and Seth even merge into a two-headed deity - Heruifi.
In some periods of the III millennium BC Seth even somewhat pressed Horus as the patron of royal power. His name was included in the complex royal titulatura ("the priest of Set"), the kings of the XIX and XX dynasties even bore his name (Seti I, Seti II, Setnakht). “Napoleon of the Ancient World” - Pharaoh Thutmos III called himself “Set's favorite”, and Ramses the Great said during the Battle of Kadesh that he fought “like Seth”. Seth was not only the god of war and anger, but also the patron of metals, acquiring the features of the god of earth, the creator of Ptah; The hardest metal at that time — iron — was called the “Set's bone.”
Seth's image began to be endowed with negative traits during the period after the conquest of Hyksos, during the reign of the XV-XVI dynasties (1715 - ca. 1554 BC). The alien conquerors worshiped Suteh (Baal), whose functions and attributes were transferred to the Egyptian Set (because Seth was later perceived as the patron of foreigners, even among his wives were alien goddesses).
Initially, the cult of the god Seth (or Seth) was probably brought after, in one of the ancient periods, several waves of Semitic hordes came from the present Syria and the Arabian steppes to the territory of Lower Egypt, where the autochthonous population lived. They can be assumed to have been mixed with the northern mountain tribes. These invaders worshiped Set, but their power did not extend beyond the Delta.
Later, from Arabia, through the lower extremity of the Red Sea (however, there is no consensus, they may have passed through the desert or the Abyssinian mountains) other tribes appeared who had mastered the green valley of Upper Egypt. Brass Craftsmen weapons, they brought irrigation farming to Egypt, which allowed them to curb the Nile flood. Their first settlement was Edfu, but gradually they began to move north to sacred Abydos and Tinis, subjugating isolated tribes to themselves, uniting them under their power. These aliens worshiped Horus.
The image of the Mountain during the history of Ancient Egypt also underwent significant changes, absorbing various beliefs. But, first, we note that there were several of Horov. The most famous image is the protector of the ancient kings, the embodiment of which was a falcon, symbolizing the spirit of the sun. The various deities were Horus the elder (the son of Ra, the brother of Osiris) and Horus the younger (the son of Osiris and Isis). In Edfu, Gore had attributes not of the sun, but of the heavenly god. He was also the Mountain of both horizons - Kharakhti, who became one of the forms of Ra (and in this aspect the famous winged disc became its symbol). In the image of the winged disc, Gore victoriously fights with the enemies of Ra, waters the water of the Nile with their blood, which Ra finds for himself "pleasant", and the place of the battle gets the name Bekhdet ("life is pleasant"), Gore becomes the winner of the enemies - Gor Behdetskim. In this myth, Ra refers to Gore as his son, and Osiris is completely absent. Perhaps Gore was once the incarnation of the solar spirit in those localities where Heliopolis theology subsequently came with its powerful cult of Ra, therefore the image of Gore became not independent, but joined the cult of Ra.
As the “Golden Mountain”, he was considered the god of dawn, and in this appearance he received the “ba” of the departed in the Hall of Two Istin Osiris (in the hall of the afterlife court). It is likely that initially his mother was not Isis, but the “heavenly cow” Hathor, and the sun, moon, stars (attributes of Horus) were forms of Horus, which he accepted as her son. Obviously, the ancient tribal concepts superimposed on each other, then on later representations, and as a result only one generalized name of the deity remained - Horus.
One of the king-conquerors of Upper Egypt - Scorpio - with his army moved to the north, expanding the boundaries of his kingdom. However, his victorious march was stopped in the area of the swampy then Fayum. By this time, there were actually two kingdoms in Egypt - the Upper and the Lower; their collision was only a matter of time. And this time has come when the king of Upper Egypt came to power - Narmer (Horus Aha), the founder of the first dynasty. He put on the red (Lower Egypt) and white (Upper Egypt) crowns, uniting Egypt at the end of the 4th millennium BC. As you can see, the victory was won by the fans of Horus.
Such is, in general terms, the possible historical background, which has come down to us in the form of echoes in the myths about the struggle between Horus and Seth. Note that already in the period of the Old Kingdom, the mythological outline was formed: Horus, the son of Osiris, defeated Seth, seized the crown of his father. Whereas, in an independent tradition that is not related to the Osiris cycle, Gore and Seth act as brothers claiming an inheritance. The late transformation of the myth is probably connected with a change in the order of the succession to the throne, when the right to transfer the throne was claimed not by seniority among the brothers, but from father to son.
Ancient Egyptian papyrus depicting weighing the heart of the deceased Anubis. On one bowl of scales is the heart, on the other is the “feather of truth” of the goddess Maat.
The mythological plan of history dates back to the time when the gods lived on earth ... And they did not even live, but only tried to materialize. Already in the womb of his mother, the great goddess Nuth, Seth, as the myth tells, showed his envious temper when he wanted to get ahead of Osiris by birth to become the heir of their father Hebe. But, despite his three-day efforts, even an unusual way to bring into the world from the hole punched by him in the side of his mother, Seth did not succeed, and by birthright Osiris became lord of Upper and Lower Egypt. All subsequent time life Seth was obsessed with the dream of seizing power, he enviously watched the successes of Osiris, who carried out a civilizing mission, organizing the life of mortals in Egypt and beyond. But, as is well known from the myth, Seth still found a way to be at the head of Egypt, having tricked Osiris into a chest and then dismembered his body.
We omit the details of the ordeals of Osiris and Isis, the problematics and symbolism of this complex myth, the resurrection and the departure of Osiris to the other world. But let us pay attention to the plot associated with the birth of Mount Isis from the dead, but for a moment resurrected by the magic of Osiris, since it will be relevant to further events. When the goddess felt that a new life was beating in her, she turned with a passionate plea to the solar Ra to protect her son Gore, so that he could become the lord and take revenge on her father’s killer. And the king of the gods even before birth promised his great-grandson Horus both the throne and the power.
In real life, only gods and pharaohs in Egypt could have such armor. A shot from the film "Pharaoh".
Despite the promise of his great-grandfather, the king of the gods Ra, Gore had a difficult childhood. Largely due to the efforts of his uncle Seth, who was in no hurry to forget about the younger rival. Still, Gore grew up, and the eighty-year-old epic of the struggle for dominion over Egypt began. Many myths contain details of these bloody feuds, it is rather difficult to single out a sequence of plots, all the more, as we understand, this is not a single cycle, but fragments of myths from different times and territories that are put together. But there are a number of the most famous stories.
The chariot of Tutankhamen. According to the Egyptians, their gods also fought on such chariots. Cairo Museum.