The Night Shade of Greyhawk and the Hallowed Revenant Amphoras
Horus was told by his mother, Isis, to protect the people of Egypt from Set, the god of the desert, storms and chaos.
Since he was god of the sky, Horus became depicted as a falcon, or as a falcon-headed man, leading to Horus' name, (in Egyptian, Heru), which meant The distant one. As falcon he may be shown on the Narmer Palette dating from the time of unification of upper and lower Egypt. Horus was also sometimes known as Nekheny (meaning falcon), although it has been proposed that Nekheny may have been another falcon-god, worshipped at Nekhen (city of the hawk), that became identified as Horus very early on. He was married to Hathor, the god of love. In this form, he was sometimes given the title Kemwer, meaning (the) great black (one).
Horus represented in relief with Wadjet and wearing the double crown – temple of HatshepsutAs Horus was the son of Osiris, and god of the sky, he became closely associated with the Pharaoh of Lower Egypt (where Horus was worshipped), and became their patron. The association with the Pharaoh brought with it the idea that he was the son of Isis, in her original form, who was regarded as a deification of the Queen.
Horus represented as a falconSince 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 Set, 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 (ḥr.w wr 'Horus the Great'), but more usually translated as Horus the Elder. In the struggle Set 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 (mḫnty r ỉr.ty 'He who has no eyes'), while when the moon became visible again, he was re-titled Khenty-irty (ḫnty r ỉr.ty 'He who has eyes'). While blind, it was considered that Horus was quite dangerous, sometimes attacking his friends after mistaking them for enemies.
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 ḥr.w) meaning 'The Good Horus'.
Horus was also said to be a war god and a hunter's god, since he was associated with the falcon; (the Horus falcon is shown upon a standard on the predynastic Hunters Palette in the "lion hunt"). Thus he became a symbol of majesty and power as well as the model of the pharaohs. The Pharaohs were said to be Horus in human form.
Furthermore Nemty (also a war god meaning "He who travels") was later identified as Horus.
Shed is a deity whose name means "Saviour" and is first recorded during the Amarna Period. Representing the concept of salvation he is identified with Horus and in particular "Horus the Child".
Along with Bes, whose image has been found in Christian graves, he is associated with Christian artefacts. An amulet has been found depicting Christ on one side and Shed (in the form of Horus) on the reverse. Shed can be depicted as a young prince overcoming snakes, lions and crocodiles.
The rise of "Saviour" names in personal piety during the Amarna period has been interpreted as the popular response of ordinary people to the attempts by Akhenaten to proscribe the ancient religion of Egypt. Shed has also been viewed as a form of the ancient Semitic god Reshef.
Conqueror of Set
After Set killed Osiris, Horus had many battles with Set, not only to avenge his father, but to choose the rightful ruler of Egypt. One scene stated how Horus was on the verge of killing Set; but his mother (and Set's sister), Isis, stopped him. Isis injured Horus, but eventually healed him.
By the Nineteenth dynasty, the enmity between Set and Horus, in which Horus had ripped off one of Set's testicles, was represented as a separate tale. According to Papyrus Chester-Beatty I, Set is depicted as trying to prove his dominance by seducing Horus and then having intercourse with him. However, Horus places his hand between his thighs and catches Set's semen, then subsequently throws it in the river, so that he may not be said to have been inseminated by Set. Horus then deliberately spreads his own semen on some lettuce, which was Set's favorite food (the Egyptians thought that lettuce was phallic). After Set has eaten the lettuce, they go to the gods to try to settle the argument over the rule of Egypt. The gods first listen to Set's claim of dominance over Horus, and call his semen forth, but it answers from the river, invalidating his claim. Then, the gods listen to Horus' claim of having dominated Set, and call his semen forth, and it answers from inside Set.
Wedjat, eye of HorusBut still Set refused to relent, and the other gods were getting tired from over eighty years of fighting and challenges. Horus and Set challenged each other to a boat race, where they each raced in a boat made of stone. Horus and Set agreed, and the race started. But Horus had an edge: his boat was made of wood painted to resemble stone, rather than true stone. Set's boat, being made of heavy stone, sank, but Horus's did not. Horus then won the race, and Set stepped down and officially gave Horus the throne of Egypt. But after the New Kingdom, Set still was considered Lord of the desert and its oases.
This myth, along with others, could be seen as an explanation of how the two kingdoms of Egypt (Upper and Lower) came to be united. Horus was seen as the God of Lower Egypt, and Set as the God of Upper Egypt (which happens to be south of the Delta region). In this myth, the respective Upper and Lower deities have a fight, through which Horus is the victor. However, some of Horus (representing Lower Egypt) enters into Set (Upper Egypt) thus explaining why Lower Egypt is dominant over the Upper Egyptians. Set's regions were then considered to be of the desert.
Heru-p-khart (Horus the Younger)
Horus the Younger, Άρποκράτης to the Greeks, is represented in the form of a youth wearing a lock of hair (a sign of youth) on the right of his head. In addition, he usually wears the united crowns of Egypt. He is a form of the rising sun, representing its earliest light.
This is thought to be the original form of Horus. His name meaning 'high' or 'distant' reflects his sky nature.
Heru-ur (Horus the Elder)
Horus, (Louvre Museum), 'Shen rings' in his graspIn this form he represented the god of light and the husband of Hathor. He was one of the oldest gods of ancient Egypt. He became the patron of Nekhen (Heirakonpolis) and the first national god (God of the Kingdom). Later he also became the patron of the pharaohs, and was called the son of truth. He was seen as a great falcon with outstretched wings whose right eye was the sun and the left one was the moon.