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The Fight Between The Egyptian God Horus And God Seth
A trial was taking place in a court. The opponents were the Ancient Egyptian God Horus and the Ancient Egypttian God Seth. The trial had been going on for some time, almost eighty years!. The judicial power of the court was the Sun God Re and the contenders Horus and Seth were there to contest who had the rightful claim to the throne of Egypt after the death of Osiris. Osiris was murdered by Seth in an attempt to gain control of the country. However Osiris had left a son and heir Horus who had a better claim to the throne than his brother Seth.
JURY STRUGGLES WITH A DECISION
The Gods who comprised the “jury” were struggling to make up their minds who should be the rightful heir to the throne . Osiris had been a successful ruler giving stability and prosperity to the Kingdom, they did not wish to upset this by choosing the wrong ruler. Some factors being considered were the age of each contenders, youth against experience and the Seth had battle experience having travelled in Re’s boat and repulsed his enemies.
The Court decided to turn to the goddess of warfare Neith for advice. She put forward a fair solution in that she believed that Horus would be the better ruler but that Seth should be given treasure and the hand of two Syrian goddesses. Accompanying this advice was a warning that if Horus was not allowed to succeed the throne, the sky would fall down on the Egyptian peoples. Despite the advice and the dire warning the Gods still failed to agree on the final outcome. There was dissention throughout the gods and bad behaviour ensued. As the argument became more heated insults were traded with the deity Baba insulting the God Re by telling him that his shrine was empty, that he did not have any followers. This resulted in the Great God of the Sun, Re leaving the court in a bad temper which was only alleviated by his daughter Hathor who showed him her genetalia to make him laugh!!
ISIS GOES IN DISGUISE
In order to alleviate the boredom of the trial which had been going on for 80 years the God’s decided that a change of scenery was the order of the day. They chose an island and were ferried over by the ferryman Nemty. The ferryman was forbidden to carry Isis in his boat as it was believed that she was bias towards her son Horus against her brother, Seth. Isis got to the island by transforming herself into an old woman and the boatman, who did not recognise her, carried her over the water to the island. On the island, Isis again transformed herself but this time into a beautiful young woman who bewitched Seth and seduced him. Isis told Seth that she was a widow with a young son and was sad because a strange man had come to her house and tried to steal all her cattle and throw her son out of his home. As Isis expected, Seth thought this an innocent tale and agreed with Isis condemning the stranger for trying to steal all the land and evict the son from his home. This was exactly what he was trying to do to Horus and in agreeing with Isis he passed judgement on himself in exactly the same circumstances.
As a result of Seth’s self judgement Horus found that he had been awarded the throne of Egypt. However as in all court cases there were appeal rights! Seth challenged Horus to a duel. They were to be turned into hippopotami and would fight underwater in the River Nile. If either of them was to surface before the end of three months he would lose his claim to the throne. Isis the ever supportive mother decided to help Horus. She threw a copper harpoon into the water but hit the wrong hippotamus, hitting Horus instead of Seth. Using her magical powers Isis was able to extract the harpoon from her son and threw it in the River again, this time her aim was true and she managed to hit Seth. Even though Seth had killed her husband /brother, Isis still had some feelings for her brother. He reminded her that he was her brother and she felt unable to kill him and so again she withdrew the harpoon without causing death.
Horus was fed up with his mother interfering all the time and rose out of the water in a fit of rage and cut off his mothers head, her body promptly turned into a flint statue. Horus realised that he had gone to far with this action and grabbing his mothers’ head he fled to the Kharga and Dakhta Oases in the Western Desert. Seth wished to revenge his sisters decapitation and chased Horus to the desert where he found him lying under a tree and gouged his eyes out. Horus regained his sight by milk from the cow Goddess Hathor.
Things were getting out of control so the Gods summoned Horus and Seth back to the court. A banquet was thrown to welcome them back but during it Seth sexually assaulted Horus to ensure that he was publicly humiliated and that Seth’s strength and power would be shown. However the assault did not go quite a planned. Horus managed to catch Seth’s semen in his hands before it entered his body and the ever loving mother Isis seeing what had happened cut off her son’s hand and threw it and the semen into the marshes. Realising that the power lay in the rite of the semen she magiced Horus’ hand back and using his semen tricked Seth into eating it by spreading it on his favourite food, lettuce. In the court Seth was boasting of his power, that he had been able to overcome Horus and had spread his semen into him. The court asked that the semen of both men be allowed to speak. Thus the semen of Seth spoke to the court from the marshes whilst the semen of Horus spoke from inside Seth and then emerged as a gold sun reflecting Horus’ divine origins, from the top of his head!
THE BOAT RACE
Seth was not happy that his plans had failed yet again so he challenged Horus to a boat race. It was decided that the boats should be made of stone, though through what magical power they thought it would float was not declared. Horus, knowing that Seth would try to cheat, craftily built his boat out of pine, treated to look like stone. Seth’s boat was made out of a mountain top and sank. In his rage Seth turned himself into a hippopotamus and took to the water and sank Horus’ boat. Osiris who had been watching the conflict from the netherworld had seen enough and sent a threatening message that the conflict should now be over. Horus was declared his rightful heir and Seth was employed by the sun god Re to thunder in the sky and keep evil away.
CHESTER BEATTY PAPYRUS
How do we know so much about this myth? It was found on what has been named the Chester Beatty Papyrus Number One now in the Dublin Museum. It comes from Thebes, is over 16 pages long and dates from the twentieth dynasty reign of RamesesV (C1174 0 C1142 BC).