As Horakhty (Horakhti, Harakhty), or “Horus of the two horizons”, Horus was the god of the rising and setting sun, specifically the god of the east and the sunrise who was worshipped in Heliopolis. The Pyramid Texts refer to him as “god of the east” linking him with Anhur (who may have been a form of Horus the Elder and Shu), and indicate that the deceased king will be reborn in the eastern sky as Horakhty.

In the Book of the Dead Ra is described as “Atum-Horakhty” and Horakhty is linked with Osiris in his role as “the far strider when he crosses the sky”.

Ra-Horakhty @Guillaume Blanchard
Horakhty @Ángel M. Felicísimo CC BY 2.0

Horakhty was depicted as a falcon or a falcon-headed man wearing the solar disk and the double crown, or the atef crown, and the uraeus (royal cobra). Sometimes he was depicted as a falcon-headed crocodile who occasionally wears a sun disc.

Ra-Horakhty with Hathor, Tomb of Nefertari
Ra-Horakhty with Hathor, Tomb of Nefertari
Ra, Abu Simbel
Ra-Horakhty, Abu Simbel

When this aspect was adopted into the Ennead (Heliopolitan theology) of Ancient Egypt, he became Ra-Heru-akhety (Ra-Horakhty), a combined god of Horus and Ra who represented the sun as it traveled across the sky (while Khepri and Atum represented the rising and setting suns respectively). He was the patron of the Pharaoh and the noble classes and the most popular form of Ra after the Middle Kingdom. Horakhty also seems to have absorbed Horemakhet (Horus in the horizon) during the Middle Kingdom, possibly during the reign of Amenhotep II.

  • Andrews, Carol and Faulkner, Raymond (1990) The Ancient Egyptian book of the dead
  • Belmonte, Juan and Shaltout, Mosalam (editors) In Search of Cosmic Order: Selected Essays on Egyptian Archaeoastronomy
  • Redford Donald B (2002) Ancient Gods Speak
  • Watterson, Barbara (1996) Gods of Ancient Egypt
  • Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003) The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

Copyright J Hill 2010