The image above comes from the "Book of the Dead"(13th century B.C.) which was a collection of spells, hymns, and prayers intended to secure a safe passage to the underworld for the deceased. Horus is depicted as a man with the head of a falcon. Here, Horus is wearing the costume of a king and the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. He leads the soul of the scribe Ani into the presence of Osiris.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy James Wasserman, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Chronicle Books.


Horus was a fierce and proud Egyptian god. He was the son of Osiris, the god of air and the Earth, and the goddess Isis. Osiris was killed by his brother Seth in order to seize the throne. To assure his power, Seth tried to prevent Osiris from having any offspring. However, Isis managed to hide her pregnancy from Seth and saved her child.

Horus grew up in secrecy, determined to avenge the death of his father. Thus, when he reached manhood, Horus challenged Seth. The violent fight, where Horus lost one eye, lasted until the assembly of the gods decided to intervene and declare the throne was the rightful inheritance of Horus. They forced Seth to restore Horus'eye. But to honor the memory of Osiris, Horus offered the recovered falcon-eye to his father, and covered his wound with a divine serpent, Uraeus. Ever since, the serpent is considered the emblem of the Egyptian pharaohs.

At last, Osiris transferred his power to his son Horus, and retired to the world of the blessed to become an underworld deity. Thus, Horus became the new king of Egypt, serving under the sun-god Re.

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