Book of Gates: Hour Eleven

In the eleventh hour of the Book of Gates Apep (Apophis) is bound and dismembered. At the left side of the top register stand the four Antiu gods holding knives and staves, followed by four Henatiu gods (who have four ureai in place of their heads). The serpent Apep has a chain attached to his neck which is held by sixteen male figures and a massive fist which emerges from the ground. The chain then passes through the hands of five gods who also hold coiled serpents (Geb and the four sons of Horus – Imsety, Duamutef, Hapi, Qebehsenuef) before entering the ground in front of Khentyamentiu. The text reads…

hour eleven of the Book of Gates from the  sarcophagus of Seti I

Those who are in this picture rise up for Ra, and Ra rises and comes forth for them [and they say] “Rise, Ra, be strong, Khuti; truly we will overthrow Apep in his fetters. Do not approach, Ra, towards your enemy, and your enemy shall not approach you; may your holy attributes come into being within the serpent. The serpent Apep is stabbed with his knives, and gashes are inflicted on him. Ra shall stand up in the hour in the hour of peace, and the great god shall pass on in strength when his chain (Apep’s) is fixed. The worm who is in this picture breaks the fetters, and the boat of this great god begins [to move] towards the region of Apep; the great god travels on after he (i.e., Apep) hath been put in restraint by means of his chains.

(of the Gods on the left) Those who are in this picture grasp the fetters of the being of two-fold evil, and they say to Ra, “Come forward, Ra, pass onwards, Khuti. Truly chains have been laid upon Neha-hra, and Apep is in his bonds.'”

(of the Gods on the right) Those who are in this picture [act] as warders of the sons of the helpless one, and they keep guard (over the deadly chain which is in the hidden hand, for the dead bodies are placed with the things [which belong to them] in the circuit of the battlements of Khentiamientiu. And these gods say, “Let darkness be upon thy face, O Uamemti, and you shall be destroyed, O sons of the helpless one, by the hidden hand, which shall cause evils [to come upon you] by the deadly chain which is in it. Geb keeps ward over your fetters, and the sons of the fetters (Imsety, Duamutef, Hapi, Qebehsenuef) put upon you the deadly chain. Keep you ward under the reckoning of Khentyamentiu“.

(of the sons of Horus) Those who are in this picture make heavy the fetters of the sons of the helpless one, and the boat of the perfect God travels on its way.

In the middle register the sun barque is towed, as usual by four male figures. In front of the boat stands Unti (“god of the hour”) holding a star in each hand. After him we see four kneeling gods with a ureaus over their heads (Horus, Sereq, Abesh and Sekhet) followed by three bearded “Star-gods” each holding a star in his right hand and towing a small boat containing the “Face of the Disk. Behind the boat stands Semi, the winged serpent and Besi who receives flame from a standard with an animals head. Then is the serpent Ankhi from whose neck two mummies sprout, and then four women with their arms raised in praise. Finally there are two bows from which uraei rise on top of which the figure of HorusSet is standing. The text reads….

This great god is towed along by the gods of the Duat, and those who tow Ra along say “We are towing Ra along, we are towing Ra along and Ra follows into Nut. O have the mastery over your Face, indeed you shall unite twith your Face, O Ra, [by] Maat. Open the Face of Ra, and let the two Eyes of Khuti enter into you; drive away the darkness from Amentet. Let him give light by what he has sent forth, the light”.

(of the god of the hour) He makes a rising up for Ra, Unti makes light the upper heaven; this god leads the hour, which performs that which belongs to it to do.

(of the seated gods) The [four] serpents who are in the earth keep ward (over those who are in this picture. They make a rising up for Ra, and they sit upon the great image under them, and they pass onwards with them in the following of Ra, together with the hidden images which belong to them.

(of the three gods with stars) Those who are in this picture sing hymns with their stars, and they grasp firmly the bows of their boat, [and it] enters into Nut. And the Face of Ra moveth onwards, and sails over the land, and those who are in the Duat sing hymns to it, and establish Ra.

(of the winged serpent) It guides the Well-acting god into the Duat of the horizon of the East.

(of Besi) He establishes Ra, and he places fire on the head and horns, and the weapon which is in the hand of the Fighter is in the follower of this god.

(of the serpent Ankhi) It establishes Ra, establishing time which is reckoned in writing by years is with this uraeus, and it makes it to go with him into the heights of heaven.

(of the three women) Those who cry to Ra say “Enter in, O Ra! Hail, come, O Ra! Hail, come, O you who are born of the Duat! Come, O offspring of the heights of heaven! Hail, come into being, O Ra!

(of the double bow) This is the Mehen serpent of the uraei, which strids through the Duat. The two bows are stretched out, and they bear up on themselves him of the Two-Faces (HorusSet) in his mystery which relates to them. They lead the way for Ra, in the horizon of the east of heaven, and they pass on into the heights of heaven in his train.

In the lower register there are twelve male figures carrying oars (“the gods who never diminish”), followed by twelve female figures with a star above their heads who are holding a rope (“the hours who tow alone”). They are followed by four gods holding scepters: Banti (with the head of an ape), Seshha with the head of a man and a star above him), Ka-amenti with the head of a bull), and Renen-sbau with the head of a man and a star above him). Next to them there is a monkey with a star above his head standing on a standard, and the Eye of Ra, also standing on a standard. The text is as follows…

(of the twelve gods) Those who are in this picture make a rising up for Ra, and they take their oars in this Circle of Unti. They come into being of their own accord at the seasons when Ra is born in Nut; they come into being for the births of Ra, and they make their appearance in Nun along with him. It is they who transport this great god after he has taken his place in the horizon of the east of heaven. Ra says to them “Take your oars and unite yourselves with your stars. Your coming into being takes place when [I] come into being, and your birth takes place when my birth takes place. O beings who transport me, you shall not suffer diminution, O gods Akhemu Seku”

(of the goddesses of the hours) Those who are in this scene take hold of the rope of the boat of Ra to tow him along into the sky. It is they who tow Ra along, and guide him along the roads into the sky, and behold, they are the goddesses who draw along the great god in the Tuat. Ra says to them “Take the rope, set yourselves in position, and pull me, O my followers, into the height of heaven, and lead me along the ways. My birth makes you be born, and behold, my coming into being makes you to come into being. Establish the periods of time and years for him who is among you”.

(of the Eye) This is the Eye of Ra, which the god unites with himself, and it rejoices in its place in the boat. This is he who openes the door of this Circle; he remains in his position, and does not go on his way with Ra.

Finally there is the gate at the end of the hour, the gate of Shetat-Besu. At the entrance stands Metes, and at the exit, Shetau. In the place normally reserved for protextive gods stand two sceptres wearing the white crown. One is labelled Osiris, the other Horus. The serpent guarding the door is named Amnetuef. The text reads…

This [great] god comes forth to this gate, this great god enters through it, and the gods who are therein praise the great god.

(by the sceptres) They say to Ra “[Come] in peace! [Come] in peace! [Come] in peace! [Come] in peace! O you whose transformations are manifold, your soul is in heaven, your body is in the earth. It is your own command, O great one.

(by the serpent) He who is over this door opens to Ra. Sia says to Amnetuef “Open your gate to Ra, unfold your portal to Khuti, so that he may illuminate the thick darkness, and may send light into the hidden realm”. This gate closes after the great god has passed through it, and the gods who are on the battlements wail when they hear it closing upon them.

  • Hornung, Erik (1999) The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife
  • Wallis Budge, E.A. (1905) The Book of Gates

copyright J Hill 2018