Horus Behdety

Horus Behdety was the form of Horus the Elder worshipped in the western delta at Behdet. When his worshippers spread to Upper Egypt and established their cult center at Edfu, it was known as Behdet of Upper Egypt, also called Hierakonplis.

As son and heir of Re, Behdety was a form of Horus assimilated to the Heliopolitan system, but not yet completely identified with Re.

The following is an Egyptian explanation of Horus with Edfu: In the reign of Re, not as the sun-god but as an earthly king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the royal army was in Nubia when the King was informed that there was a plot against him in Egypt.

The plotters seemed to have been aided by malignant powers or perhaps were demons whose leader was Seth. The King sailed downstream and, when landing at Edfu, ordered his son Horus to fight the enemy.

Horus flew up into the sky, taking the form of a winded sun-disc, and, when seeing the enemy, flew down to the attack.

He inflicted such damage on them that they fled. As a reward for his prowess, the King, when he heard of this rout, bestowed on his son the title of Horus of Edfu.

The enemy, however, were not yet defeated, for they changed themselves into crocodiles and hippopotami and attacked the boat of Re himself.

Again, Horus and his followers routed them, harpooning them from the boat. Again assuming the form of the winged sun-disc, and stationing himself at the prow of the boat, Horus pursued the survivors throughout Upper and Lower Egypt inflicting terrible defeats on them. He beheaded Seth in front of Re and drug him by the feet throughout Egypt.

In the second part of this legend the characters change somewhat, for Horus the son of Re is confusedly changed to Horus the son of Osiris.

The leader of the enemy was Seth, reborn and now enemy of Osiris. Seth assumed the form of a serpent and the fighting continues throughout Lower Egypt as far as the frontiers of Asia. Horus, who took the form of a falcon-headed staff with a triangular spear point, was, however, victorious.

To secure his victory, he sailed upstream to Upper Egypt to put down another rebellion. As a reward for this triumph, Re decreed that the winged sun-disc should be placed on all temples and shrines of all deities to ward off enemies.

Horus Behdety was represented as the winged sun-disc over the gates to his sanctuaries. Alternatively he was shown as a falcon hovering over the pharaoh in battle scenes, his claws grasping the whisk of flail of royalty and the ring of eternity.

He also appeared as a man with a falcon’s head wearing a double crown. One of his symbols is the falcon-headed staff, which destroyed Seth, and when bearing it he is seen as a falcon-headed man. In battle Horus always led his forces and was distinguished from Re. A.G.H.


Ions, Veronuca, Egyptian Mythology, Feltham, Middlesex, Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., 1968. pp. 67-68