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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 Notes

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Classical Studies
P Ferguson

Lec. 10: Ma’at and Kingship Contendings of Horus and Seth “This, the longest of the New Kingdom stories, is perhaps the one with the least literary merit, for there is little in the way of suspense to maintain the reader’s interest throughout the narrative” (Wente 91) - Recurring theme is Horus’ superiority This is similar to Dalley’s critique of Epic of Creation Why do they have foregone conclusions? - Both myths are about the supremacy of some of their main gods so it would be seen through by the audience Text we have comes from a papyrus form the reign of Ramesses V (20 Dynasty,th 1147 – 1143 BCE) - New kingdom compositions but with Old and Middle Kingdom elements Coarse humour typical of Ramesside period so myth was partly meant for entertainment but also serious religion Review: Plutarch’s Isis and Osiris - Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, Seth ad Horus the Elder are born to Nut - Osiris is a good king who civilizes the earth but Seth is jealous and locks Osiris in a coffin that floats to Byblos - Isis returns with Osiris’ body in the coffin - Seth chops up his body into 14 pieces and scatter them - Isis reunites the pieces (except phallus which is in the fish)  Osiris becomes the first mummy; place where body is founded becomes temple - Horus the Elder defeats Seth in battle 3 times - Isis has intercourse with Osiris’ corpse and gives birth to Harpocrates (Horus the Younger), which is where the Contendings of Horus and Seth begins The Plot Ennead of Heliopolis award Osiris’ kingship to his son Horus The Universal Lord is outraged because Seth was his protector and he does not want his power to be usurped - This is Pre-Harakhty (Re-Horus of the Double Horizon), also Re-Atum Seth challenges Horus to fight Ennead seems to support Horus Banebdjee (north ram god) and Ptah-Tatenen asked to help judge They send a letter to the creator / war goddess Neith who advises them to 1. Give Osiris’ power to Horus 2. Seth should be given wealth and Semitic foreign goddesses as wives: Ananth and Astarte (Ishtar) There is great commotion and disturbance among the gods Beben (minor god) insults Pre-Harakhty that his “shrine is empty” so Beben is thrown out and Pre-Harakhty is upset Hothar cheers Pre-Harakhty by “flashing” him and he returns to the Ennead Seth fights of the monster Apophis (who threatens the sun god’s boat), protecting Re Isis and Horus make the case for Horus since he is the son of Osiris Seth threatens to kill a god a day with his 2 000 kg mace if Isis is allowed to intervene so the Ennead retires to the Island in the Middle to judge with no Isis Isis disguises herself as an old woman and tricks the ferryman to take her to the island by bribing him with gold She transforms into a beautiful woman and catches Seth’s eye Cattle and office are linked so Isis makes a pun Isis presents the situation in different way (cattle ownership) to Seth and Seth says that the person should be punished; she turns to a bird and tells Seth he is being a hypocrite White crown added to Horus’ head but it is thrown into the water as a challenge Seth and Horus have a challenge where the two must become hippopotami and hold their breath underwater Isis uses a harpoon to figure out if the two are alive by putting it into the water First, she stabs Horus and he tells her to let go Then, she stabs Seth and he tells her to let go Horus gets angry with Isis and bites off her head and goes away Isis helps Horus grow back his eyes Ennead tells them to stop fighting and the two agree At night, Seth “stiffens his phallus and inser
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