the falcon which they saw soaring high above

Thuthmosis IV. Thuthmos was at the time a simple royal prince and not heir to the throne. While hunting he fell asleep in the shadow of the sphinx and dreamed that it spoke to him, ordering him to remove the covering sand and promising in return to heap favors upon him. ‘Oh my son Thuhmosis,’ it cried, ‘it is I, thy father, Harmakhis-Khepri-Atum. The throne will be thine… so that thou shall do what my heart desires… Harsiesis Harsiesis is the Greek rendering of Hor-sa-iset, i.e. ‘Horus, the son of Isis. We have already seen how Isis was reputed to have conceived Horus without husband or lover and how the popularity of mother and son continued to increase, together with that of Osiris himself. This popularity became such that Harsiesis –originally a minor falcon-God from the neighborhood of Buto who was called Horus the Younger in order to distinguish him from the great Sky God Horus the Elder – ended up by eclipsing all the other Horuses whose roles and attributes he successively took over. The Osirian legend recounts the posthumous birth of the child which Isis obtained from Osiris by magical means, re-animating the corpse of the murdered God. It relates how she gave premature birth to Horus on the floating island of Chemmis, not far from Buto. In early youth he was frequently called ‘the infant Horus’ –Harpkhrad – or Harpokrates. Harpokrates Harpokrates is represented as a baby, nude or adorned only with jewelry. His head is shaved, except for the sidelock of youth that fell falls over his temple. Often he is seated on his mother’s lap where she offers him her breast. He sucks his thumb like a baby, a gesture which was misinterpreted by the Greeks, who took it for a symbol of discretion, and won the young God fame as the divinity of silence For fear of the machinations of Set, Horus was brought up in selusion. He was extremely weak at birth and escaped from the numerous dangers which menaced him only by his mother’s power of sorcery. He was bitten by savage beasts, stung by scorpions, burnt, attacked by pains in the entrails. The memory of these sufferings is preserved for us in the magic formulas which were employed by sorcerers to cure patients similarly afflicted. The child Horus grew, and Osiris appeared frequently to him and instructed him in the use of arms so that he should soon be able to make war on Set, reclaim his inheritance and avenge his father. This glorious action earned for Horus the epithet Harendotes, which is the Greek for Har-end-yotef, ‘Horus, protector of his father. The campaigns of the young God against the murderer of Osiris are sculptured on the walls of the temple at Edfu whose great God Behdety was, in this later epoch, identified with Horus, while Set was confused with Apep, the eternal enemy of the sun. In a long series of bas-reliefs we see him, under the name Hartomes, ‘Horus the Lancer, piercing his adversaries with his lance while his followers cut Set’s followers – who vainly attempt to seek refuge in the bodies of crocodiles, hippopotami, antelopes and so on – into pieces. The war dragged on, and in order to terminate it a tribunal of the Gods summoned the two adversaries before it. Set pleaded that his nephew was a bastard, only the alleged son of Osiris; but Horus victoriously established the legitimacy of his birth. The Gods, after condemning the usurper, restored Horus’ heritage and declared him ruler of the two Egypts, by which he then earned the two further titles: Harsomtus or Heru Sam Tarn (‘Horus who unites the two countries’) and Har-pa-neb-taui (‘Horus, Lord of the two lands’). He now everywhere re-established the authority of Osiris and the solar cycle. He erected temples in which he was represented in the various forms he had assumed during the wars against his irreconcilable enemies, the followers of Set. He then reigned peacefully over Egypt, of which
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