Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Origin of the Cult of Horus in Predynastic Egypt - Page 29

The Origin of the Cult of Horus
in Predynastic Egypt - Page 29

9. The Cult of Horus, the Falcon, after Calendar-Reform

The falcon serekhs were retained by the Pharaohs up to Pharaoh Huni (Kerperis), the last king of the 3rd Dynasty. Thereafter, the Pharaohs of the 4th Dynasty, the astronomy-oriented pyramid builders, began to write their names into round, modernly so-called cartouches. These were based on the Pharaonic shen-Ring rather than the falcon serekh.

The shen has been described as a round rope without start or end, as a symbol for eternity. This ring is often represented as being in the clutches of Horus, the falcon, or Mut, the vulture, who hover over it as protectors:[59]

"[Shen is a] loop of rope that has no beginning and no end, it symbolized eternity. The sun disk is often depicted in the center of it. The shen also seems to be a symbol of protection. It is often seen being clutched by deities in bird form, Horus the falcon, Mut the vulture. Hovering over Pharaohs head with their wings outstretched in a gesture of protection. The word shen comes from the word "shenu" which means "encircle," and in its elongated form became the cartouche which surrounded the king's name."

Maria Carmela Betrò writes in this regard (we translate the German):[60]

"Already in the representations of the 1. Dynasty, where the shen ring is still empty inside, the gods extend the magic ring to the Pharaoh. Very soon, however, at the end of the 2nd Dynasty and the beginning of the 3rd Dynasty, one begins to write the mundane name of the king within the ring."

The cartouche thus represents heaven’s precessional "circulating" center and gradually replaces the falcon serekh of Ursa Minor. In his book, Der Sturz des göttlichen Falken [Fall of the Godly Falcon],[61] Peter H. Schulze writes (we translate from the German) that "Ever since the 3rd Dynasty, Rê...more and more took the place of Horus as the god of the world and that its appearance in the title of the king was logical...." Schulze refers to an old Egyptian papyrus (our translation):

Behold, he who was interred as a falcon [the embodiment of Horus],
is torn from his coffin....
Behold, things have gone so far,
that the powerful serpent diadem of Rê [Uräus on the king’s crown] has fallen.

Both the heavens as well as the calendar of seasons had shifted. The era of the falcon was gone.
[59] See Richard Deurer, Egyptian Symbols and Definitions, Egypt and Art.
[60] Maria Carmelo Betrò,
Heilige Zeichen, Gustav Lübbe Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach, 1996, p. 195, originally as Geroglifici, Arnoldo Mondadori, Mailand, available also in English as Hieroglyphics.
[61] Peter H. Schulze,
Der Sturz des göttlichen Falken: Revolution im Alten Ägypten, Pawlak Verlag, Herrsching, 1986.

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