Who Is Horus?


Quick Answer

Horus is a god of ancient Egypt, who often took the form of a falcon. In some versions of his myth, the reigning pharaoh is a manifestation of Horus, a role first attributed to him in Nekhen, the capital of pre-dynastic Upper Egypt.

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Full Answer

Many stories about Horus exist, and some of them disagree with others. For example, some versions of the story say that he is the son of Isis and Osiris, while others say that he was the son of Hathor, the moon goddess. Still other stories claim that Hathor was his wife, not his mother.

Horus was considered to be a sky god. As such, his left eye was the moon, and it represented healing, while his right eye was the sun, and it represented power. The Egyptians explained the phases of the moon by saying that Set, Horus's uncle, had injured Horus's left eye during their struggles over the throne of Egypt. Restored by the god Thoth, this eye, known as the wedjat eye or Eye of Horus, became a powerful symbol used to ward off evil spirits and preserve health.

The conflict between Horus and Set culminated in victory for Horus. He won the throne of Egypt and dominance over both Upper and Lower Egypt. Some view this story as a symbolic retelling of the process by which the rulers of Upper Egypt created a unified Egyptian nation.

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