the falcon which they saw soaring high above

the falcon which they saw soaring high above their heads, and many thought of the sky as a divine falcon whose two eyes were the sun and the moon. The worshippers of this bird must have been numerous and powerful; for it was carried as a totem on prehistoric standards and from the earilies times was considered the pre-eminent divine being. The hieroglyph which represents the idea of ‘God’ was a falcon on its perch. Wherever the followers of the falcon settled, Horus was worshipped, but in the course of time and in the different sanctuaries which were dedicated to him his role and attributes varied. Thus we find in the Egyptian pantheon some twenty Horuses, among whom it is important to distinguish Horus the Elder, ‘Haroeris, and other falcons of a solar character such as Hor Behdetite, Horus of Edfu, from Horus, son of Isis, of the Osirian legend i.e., ‘Harsiesis, the infant avenger of his father. Haroeris Is the Greek rendering of Har Wer, which signifies Horus the Great, Horus the Elder. He was worshipped at Latopolis under the name Horkhenti Irti, ‘Horus who rules the two eyes, and at Pharboethos under the name Hor Merti, ‘Horus of the two eyes. He is the God of the sky itself and his two eyes are the sun and the moon, whose birth, according to Herodotus, was celebrated on the last day of Epiphi, when these two astral bodies are in conjunction. In the pyramid texts Haroeris is the son of Ra and brother of Set,and the eternal struggle between darkness and light is symbolized by the endless battles in which Set tears out the eyes of Horus while Horus emasculates his implacable enemy. We shall presently see how the tribunal of the Gods gave judgment in favour of Horus, who from the end of the second dynasty was considered to be the divine ancestor of the Pharaohs in whose records he is given the title Hor Nubti: ‘Horus the Vanquisher of Set. Behdety, ‘He of Behdet’ (or Hor Behdetite) is another name of the great celestial Horus. He was worshipped at Behdet, a district of ancient Edfu. The Greeks called it Apollinopolis Magna and recognised Apollo as Lord of the sanctuary. Behdety is usually represented in the form of a winged solar disk; his followers liked to sculpture his image above temple gates. He often appears in battle scenes hovering above the Pharaoh like a great falcon with outspread wings which clutches in its claws the mystic fly- whisk and the ring, symbolic of eternity. The bas-reliefs in the temple at Edfu portray him as a falcon-headed God leading into battle against Set the armies of Ra-Harakhte, the great God of whom we have already spoken (see Ra) who embodied in a single deity the union of Ra and a special form of Horus worshipped at Heliopolis. Harakhtes is the Greek rendering of Harakhte and means ‘Horus of the Horizon. He represents the sun on its daily course between the eastern and western horizon. Early confused with Ra, he successively usurped all of Ra’s roles until Ra, in his turn, assumed all of Horus’ epithets and became pre-eminent throughout Egypt under the name Ra-Harakhte. Harmakhis is the Greek rendering of Hor-m-akhet which means ‘Horus who is on the Horizon. The name has often been wrongly employed in the form of Ra Harmakhis for Ra- Harakhte. It is the proper name of the huge sphinx sixty feet high and more than a hundred and eighty feet long sculptured nearly five thousand years ago in the image of King Khephren in a rock near the pyramid which it guards. He is a personification of the rising sun and a symbol (for the comfort of Khephren) of resurrection. Raised on the edge of the desert, even its colossal size did not in ancient days protect it against the invading sands. A stela tells us how it appeared in a dream to the future
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