Skip to main content
Select Source:

Horus

Horus

Horus was one of the earliest and most important Egyptian gods. He was originally portrayed as a hawk or falcon and worshiped as a sun god and creator of the sky. His right eye represented the sun, and his left eye represented the moon. Later images show him as a man with the head of a bird.



pharaoh ruler of ancient Egypt

incarnation appearance of a god, spirit, or soul in earthly form

The early rulers of southern Egypt were followers of Horus. When they conquered northern Egypt and reunited the two lands (around 2200 b.c.), Horus became the symbol of the newly unified country, and the pharaoh was considered the incarnation of Horus. In time, the worship of Horusunder his various namesspread to many places.


* See Nantes and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

Horus became a major figure in Egyptian mythology. Before he was born, his father Osiris died at the hand of his own brother Set*. When Horus grew up, he swore to avenge his father's death and fought Set many times.

In one version of this story, Set blinded Horus in his left eye, but the god Thoth healed it. Horus ended up killing Set, however, and the gods named Horus ruler of Egypt. The restored eye, called the udjat or wedjat, became a powerful magical symbol of protection in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used the story of Horus's wounded eye to explain the changing phases of the moon.

In another account of the conflict between Horus and Set, the two came before a council of the gods to decide who would inherit Osiris 's throne. Most of the council accepted Horus's claim, but the sun god Ra favored Set because he was older and more capable. As a result, Horus and Set undertook a series of contests to determine who would become the ruler.

On one occasion, both gods turned themselves into hippopotamuses to see who could stay under water longer. During the contest, Horus's mother Isis* had the chance to kill Set but chose not to do so. Horus was angry at his mother and fled into the desert. Set found him and put out his eyes, but the goddess Hathor repaired them with the milk of a small antelope. In the end, the gods agreed that Horus should be the ruler. Horus then invited Set to join him and live in the sky as the god of storms.

See also Birds in Mythology; Egyptian Mythology; Hathor; Isis; Osiris; RΑ(Re); Set; Thoth.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Horus." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Horus." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/horus

"Horus." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/horus

Horus

Horus (hôr´əs), in Egyptian religion, sky god, god of light and goodness. One of the most important of the Egyptian deities, Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis. In a famous myth he avenged the murder of his father by defeating Set, the god of evil and darkness. As Horus the Elder he was represented as a falcon-headed solar deity, who was perhaps originally a king or high priest of predynastic Egypt. As Horus the Child, called Harpocrates by the Greeks and Romans, he was represented as a small boy with a finger held to his lips.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Horus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Horus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/horus

"Horus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/horus

Horus

Horus In Egyptian mythology, falcon-headed god, son of Isis and Osiris. He came to be closely identified with all the pharaohs, who used his name as the first of their titles and were thought to rule as him on Earth.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Horus." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Horus." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/horus-0

"Horus." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/horus-0

Horus

HorusArras, embarrass, harass •gynandrous, polyandrous •Pancras • charas • Tatras • disastrous •ferrous • leprous • ambidextrous •Carreras, mayoress •scabrous •cirrus, Pyrrhus •chivalrous •citrous, citrus •ludicrous • tenebrous •Cyrus, Epirus, papyrus, virus •fibrous • hydrous • Cyprus •retrovirus • monstrous •brachiosaurus, brontosaurus, canorous, chorus, Epidaurus, Horus, megalosaurus, pelorus, porous, sorus, stegosaurus, Taurus, thesaurus, torus, tyrannosaurus •walrus •ochrous (US ocherous) •cumbrous • wondrous • lustrous •Algeciras, Severus •desirous •Arcturus, Epicurus, Honduras •barbarous • tuberous • slumberous •Cerberus • rapturous •lecherous, treacherous •torturous • vulturous • Pandarus •slanderous • ponderous •malodorous, odorous •thunderous • murderous •carboniferous, coniferous, cruciferous, melliferous, odoriferous, pestiferous, somniferous, splendiferous, umbelliferous, vociferous •phosphorous, phosphorus •sulphurous (US sulfurous) •Anaxagoras, Pythagorasclangorous, languorous •rigorous, vigorous •dangerous • verdurous •cankerous, cantankerous, rancorous •decorous • Icarus • valorous •dolorous • idolatrous •amorous, clamorous, glamorous •timorous •humerus, humorous, numerous •murmurous • generous • sonorous •onerous • obstreperous • Hesperus •vaporous • viviparous • viperous •Bosporus, prosperous •stuporous • cancerous •Monoceros, rhinoceros •sorcerous • adventurous • Tartarus •nectarous • dexterous • traitorous •preposterous • slaughterous •boisterous, roisterous •uterus • adulterous • stertorous •cadaverous • feverous •carnivorous, herbivorous, insectivorous, omnivorous •Lazarus

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Horus." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Horus." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/horus-0

"Horus." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/horus-0