seth.jpg Seth (also Sutekh or Setekh) was the god of the desert, chaos, confusion and storm.

Seth is well-known for killing and dismembering his brother Osiris out of jealousy, after which Isis reassembled his corpse, brought him to life temporarily and became pregnant from him. Their son Horus was hidden in Chemmis by Isis to protect him against his evil uncle Seth. Later, when Horus had grown up, he battled with Seth about kingship over Egypt. During one of the episodes of the battle Seth tore out one of Horus’s eyes, which was later restored by Thoth, who returned to Horus his healed eye (in Egyptian wedjat, also the name of the popular eye amulet). Finally the tribunal of the gods decided the case in favour of Horus, at the same time giving Seth the power over the desert, the world of chaos and the anomalous.

However, Seth was also seen in a more positive light. During the daily journey of Re through the underworld the sun god was threatened by the snake god Apophis; it was Seth who fought Apophis each night, standing in the prow of the night barque and spearing Apophis.

During the Second Intermediate Period the Hyksos ("rulers of foreigns lands") had a special cult for Seth in the Delta. Some time afterwards, in the Ramesside period, several kings chose a name mentioning the god (Seti, Sethnakht). Seth was also the patron of one of the garrisons of Ramesses II.

In various periods of Egyptian history Seth was especially worshipped in places such as the oases (amidst the desert), but also in cities in the Nile valley (especially Ombos and Oxyrhynchus) as well as in the Fayyum, and in the Delta town of Avaris (town of the Hyksos).

Seth was the son of Geb and Nut, the brother of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys. The latter was also considered to be his wife. Seth, as god of foreign lands, was also linked with Astarte or Anat, both foreign goddesses. The Greeks linked him with their god Typhon, who was also a god of evil and storm.

Depictions of Seth are already known from the Predynastic period. The god is usually shown as a mythical animal with the body of a mammal, the head with a curved snout and square ears (resembling a donkey or an anteater) and a forked tail, which is upstanding. Other images show him as a man with only the head of the mythical animal, or as a pig or hippopotamus (both animals which could be considered in an negative way).



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