from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hor-pa-chered in hieroglyphics
New Reich
preform in
grave QV 44
G6 Aa13 N35

Horus as a child
3. Intermediate time
G5 G7 G41 G1 A17

Late period
G7 G41 G1 A17 G7

G5 Q3 A17

Gr.-Roman. time
G5 Z1 A17

G5 Q3 A17

G5 Z1 Q3 A17

Horus, the child
Crouching child-Louvre-NIII2411-IMG 3078.jpg
Horus, the child as a seated god with arms close to the body

Hor-pa-chered (also Har-pa-chered ) is an ancient Egyptian deity, a name for the god Horus as a child. The deity Hor-pa-chered, documented since the third interim period , is not the Ptolemaic god Harpocrates named in the Greco-Roman period .

Former generic name "Harpokrates" for Hor-pa-chered

The term Harpocrates referred to as the Greek equivalent of the ancient Egyptian Horus child ( Ḥr-p3-ẖrd - Hor-pa-chered) several child gods, but without meaning a special appearance. The translation from Egyptian means Horus, the child . In older literature on Egyptian mythology , the ancient Egyptian child god Hor-pa-chered is also rendered as Hor-pe-chrod or Hor-pa-chrod .

Plutarch (45 to 125 AD) first coined the descriptions of Hor-pa-chered as "Harpokrates". After that, Hor-pa-chered was handicapped by his posthumous birth and was considered the "master of silence", because Plutarch misinterpreted the representation of the finger on the mouth:

“The Harpocrates of the Egyptians should not be taken for an imperfect and childlike god, but for the one who is set over the speech of men regarding the gods, which is only imperfect, stammered and inarticulate, and at the same time the one who regulates and corrects them ; where the finger on his mouth is a symbol of silence and secrecy. "

- Plutarch : About Isis and Osiris

Other ancient Greek and Roman authors interpreted the iconographic attributes in a similar way as well. In the years 1881 to 1884 Ridolfo di Lanzone published the multi-volume work Dizionario , in which he used Hor-pa-chered as a collective term for seven different Horus child gods. In retrospect, Lanzone's analysis of the associated relief from Armant was flawed, as it has since been proven that there are seven independent child deities.

Lanzone's views found their way into Pauly's Real Encyclopedia of Classical Antiquity in 1913 , where Hor-pa-chered was the personification of the "ideal child". In 1952, Hans Bonnet defined under “Harpokrates” all youthful gods with “Horus” in their name. The collective term "Harpocrates", which in the past often went back to the Old Kingdom for child gods, was introduced into the Lexicon of Egyptology in 1975, but without taking the temple evidence into account. Due to a new study from 1988, the term "Harpokrates" was changed until 2002. Now all Egyptian child gods of the late period and Greco-Roman period were considered "Harpocrates". Other Egyptologists went one step further, like Hellmut Brunner , who listed all deities in the lexicon of Egyptology under the generic name "Harpokrates", which are presented and represented as child deities .

After a detailed study in 2006 and the related investigations of all available ancient Egyptian sources, the generic name "Harpocrates" can no longer be used as evidence for the early existence of an "original Harpocrates" or for a matching genealogy , since it is the case with the Horus Child gods were not local "Harpocrates forms", but each Horus child god was viewed and worshiped as an independent deity. In this respect, the child god Hor-pa-chered can no longer be defined as "Harpocrates"; In addition, the Hellenized independent child god "Harpokrates" existed at the same time, especially in the Alexandria region, alongside Hor-pa-chered . In addition, Harpocrates and his father Serapis have a different genealogy, a changed cult and an iconography that differs significantly from that of Hor-pa-chered.

supporting documents

In the Old Kingdom , Horus is only mentioned with the addition of "pa-chered" ("the child") in the pyramid texts 663b – c, 664a, 1214b – c, 1215a – b and 1320c; in the Middle Kingdom only once in a hymn. On the other hand, there is an increase in the New Kingdom compared to the Middle Kingdom; In the Book of the Dead , inscriptions , steles and papyri , five child name attachments in connection with Horus are documented. The eleven mentions of the child of Horus from the old to the end of the New Kingdom were mostly based on the child king in the Osirism myth , without any particular theological orientation and veneration being established.

Hor-pa-chered is first documented with certainty in the 22nd dynasty in the title of Chenmet priestess . Only at the beginning of the 26th dynasty is there a significant increase in source evidence. As the son of Osiris and Isis , he belongs to the Osiris myth . What is striking is the fact that the increase in cultic veneration of the Hor-pa-chered went hand in hand with the foreign rule of the Libyan , Cushite and finally with the Ptolemaic dynasties .

Hor-pa-chered appeared, among other things, in the form of Anubis , son of Osiris , Horus as son of Isis or son of Mehit . Isis is also known as the nurse des Hor-pa-chered. He was called in the sixth hour of the book of hours. In addition, Hor-pa-chered has been attested in other subsidiary forms since the late period, for example as Hor-pa-chered-en-Setech (" Horus, the child of the Seth-Tier-Gaues "); in Greco-Roman times as Hor-chered ("Horus, the child") and Hor-pa-chered-en-Bat ("Horus, the child of Bat ") and as Hor-nechen ("Horus, the child in / von Nechen ”) in his function as temple god of the 22nd Upper Egyptian Gau .

Hor-pa-chered's cult spread across Egypt. A new theological concept arose under the Ptolemies in Greco-Roman times, combined with a sharp increase in the image programs in the mammisi and temples. In the temple of Philae alone there were 126 pieces of evidence relating to Hor-pa-chered.

Mythological connections

Hor-pa-chered and Harsiese

What both Horus child gods have in common is that they represent Horus as a child. Hor-pa-chered is the name given to Horus in his role as a vulnerable child who grows up to be an adult man. With Harsiese , on the other hand, the descent from Isis is emphasized as the central motif. Both are being prepared for their upcoming fight against Seth .

In Greco-Roman times

During this time, Hor-pa-chered was one of the most popular gods in the country, as evidenced by numerous figures made of bronze, faience and clay. Through further splits into special forms of the god, references to other gods emerge, which are finally enhanced in Greco-Roman terracottas.

In Roman times

The worship of Hor-pa-chered spread throughout the Mediterranean, including the Carthaginian Empire , as far as the Far East. The Copts equated Isis and Hor-pa-chered with Mary and the baby Jesus .

Representations of the Hor-pa-chered

From the Old Kingdom to the end of the New Kingdom, iconographic representations of Horus, the child, are only documented in the 20th Dynasty . A common divine level is missing, as the respective child deities were assigned different attributes in the texts. Private veneration could not be proven for that period either. Since the third interim period, the deity Hor-pa-chered appeared exclusively in human form compared to the pre-forms of the 20th dynasty .

Iconographic preforms during the New Kingdom

From the 20th dynasty there are three family graves in the Valley of the Queens , the Ramses III. could be assigned. In all three graves, a naked male deity with a falcon head is shown in the illustrations. The youth lock and the finger on the mouth are missing, which is probably due to the incompatibility of the combination with a falcon's head. In the accompanying inscriptions, however, the deity was referred to as a child:

  • QV40 , unknown queen: "Horus in his childhood, the great god (Hor-em-nechenef-netjer-aa)"
  • QV44 , son of Chaemwaset : "Horus as a child (Hor-em-nechen)"
  • QV52 , Queen Titi : "Horus as a child (Hor-em-nechen)"

Iconography during the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period

Presentation of Hor-pa-chered at the kiosk of Nectanebo I in front of the Temple of
Isis at Philae
  • Naked child god standing on a Semataui symbol with a double crown , youth lock, one hand holding a flagellum , in the other raised hand the blessings Ankh , Djed and Was ( 21st  to  26th dynasty ).
  • Standing naked child god with uraeus drooping cap will, Youth Locke, one hand on the mouth, the other hand, optional (with landing 22  to 26 Dynasty).
  • Enthroned or standing naked child god with double feather crown , youth lock, one hand on the mouth, the other hand flat on the thigh or on the body (26th dynasty).
  • Standing naked child god with Hemhem crown , Nemes headscarf , youth lock, one hand on the mouth, the other hand on the body, optionally supplemented with a double knot amulet (26th Dynasty).
  • Child god with Atef crown (26th dynasty).
  • Standing naked child god with a double crown, youth lock, one hand on the mouth, in the other hand holding an ankh symbol, optionally supplemented with a rectangular amulet ( 30th Dynasty ).

Iconography during the Greco-Roman period

In the Theban region, the first images of the Hor-pa-chered in its subsidiary form as Hor-pa-chered-wer-tepi-en-Amun are not until the Ptolemaic times in the courtyard of the Amun temple in Karnak under Ptolemy III. and Ptolemy IV . There he was shown together with the goddess Isis-weret under her right arm with a double crown and cloak. It remains unclear whether the deity Nefertem, also represented in front of Isis-weret and Hor-pa-chered, and the corresponding text in front of the legs of Hor-pa-chered were only added under Ptolemy IV. The iconography of the Hor-pa-chered was multi-layered and, especially since the Greco-Roman times, it increased steadily in various variations:

  • Naked child god with atef crown , youth lock and finger on the mouth, either with a crook or with a scourge in hand.
  • Naked child god with what scepter and ankh sign.
  • Naked child god with a blue crown, optionally with youth lock or with a sun disk between two ostrich feathers on a ram's horns.
  • With a double crown as a sitting, naked child god, both arms close to the body, wrapped in a cloak.
  • Enthroned, cloaked child god with double crown, youth lock, what-scepter and holding a scourge in his hands.
  • Child god with double crown, hand on mouth, youth lock. The body cannot be seen through the throne chair in front of it. The throne is on a striding lion.
  • Enthroned god with Hemhem crown and Nemes headscarf and youth curl.
  • God standing on a Nemes headscarf with a hemhem crown and youth curl, optionally with arms placed on the chest.
  • Deity with Beskopf , reed crown and holding a spear in his hands.
  • Child god with the double feather crown , optionally standing with youth lock and finger on the mouth.
  • Naked standing child god with sun disk and Amun feather crown on his head.
  • With the double feather crown and fingers on the mouth standing god on a semataui sign with cloak, scourge and crook.

Cult places

Hor-pa-chered was especially venerated in Thebes , Mendes , Athribis , El-Qala , Shenhur , Hermopolis , Busiris , Sais , Memphis , Achmim , Koptos , Philae , Edfu , Bigge , Kalabsha and Debod . With his parents Osiris and Isis he formed a triad in almost all temples.


In the Thebes area, Hor-pa-chered and Hor-pa-chered-wer-tepi-en-Amun found a special veneration from the 22nd dynasty among the wives of Amun and their officials. For example, Schepenupet II donated a 1.42 m high granite statue of the goddess Isis , which bears the facial features of Schepenupet II and shows her as the nursing mother of Hor-pa-chered. The accompanying inscription reads:

"[...] ..., who unites with Medinet Habu , she gives all life and happiness to the godmother Schepenupet, who is justified , the king's daughter of the lord of the two countries, Pianchi , her mother is the hand of God, Amenirdis , who is justified is loved by Hor-pa-chered ... [...] Hor-pa-chered, he gives all life and happiness to Schepenupet. "

- Medinet Habu statue


Philae Temple (2004)

Ptolemy II had the Mammisi built in Philae for Hor-pa-chered. The reliefs show the birth of Hor-pa-chered inside the Mammisis. Ptolemy VI later decorated parts of the vestibule and chamber I, with the child god in Philae taking on the role of the local appearance as child god and son of Isis and Osiris. In the corresponding inscriptions of Ptolemy VI. is it [called:

"Ptolemy VI. made his monument to his father Hor-pa-chered, the son of Isis and Osiris. It is the son of Re, Ptolemy, living forever, loved by Ptah by building the house of the birth of her (Isis) son Hor-pa-chered. "

- Inscriptions of Ptolemy VI.

Augustus decorated numerous other scenes of the Hor-pa-chered on the buildings on Philae, including also on the outer walls of Mammisis. Hadrian was to reserve the right to make final decorations of the Hor-pa-chered on Philae; at the same time also the last evidence of the worship of the child god Hor-pa-chered in an Egyptian temple.

Philae Temple of Horus

The legend of the birth is depicted on the mammalian walls of Chamber II . The associated scenes have their mythological roots in the New Kingdom , where the divine birth of the king was an integral part of the pictorial programs in the temples of the New Kingdom. The Ptolemaic kings changed that birth myth . In all Mammisis of the Greco-Roman times, the respective new local form of a child god replaced the previously existing central royal motif of the New Kingdom. The name of the deities involved was based in the local Mammisis on the pantheon that existed there .

In the Mammisi of Philae the associated local form of the child god is mentioned only once by name as Hor-pa-chered. In the other representations, on the other hand, the name of the child of the gods is not mentioned, but reference is made again and again to the function of Khnum , who forms the child of god Hor-pa-chered on a potter's wheel . In contrast, the Isis motif is used as the mother of gods.

The iconographic motifs show the cult of hor-pa-chered in the acts of sacrifice . Similar representations can also be found on or in other buildings on Philae. In addition, the images on Philae show numerous parallels to other Mammisis. There, too, the naming of the child of the gods as Hor-pa-chered is dispensed with, which suggests the special importance of the central Isis motif. A naming of the child of the gods is not necessary on this basis. The veneration of the Hor-pa-chered has been preserved in the private names that are seldom recorded in Philae; thus the son of a Pa-di-Hor-pa-chered was first minister of Isis and the son of a Hor-pa-chered was also minister of Isis. In addition, the Philae cult of Hor-pa-chered is attested in Greek consecration inscriptions on three altars .


Pronaos of the Hypostyle Hall in Edfu

Hor-pa-chered is differently referred to in the temple of Edfu as "son of the Mehit of Edfu ". The reason for this striking distinction may be found in the local theology of Edfu, where two triads of gods were worshiped. Isis, who usually appears with her son Hor-pa-chered, appears in Edfu as the mother of Harsomtus-pa-chered . The reasons why "Mehit of Edfu" was named as the mother of Hor-pa-chered are probably due to the role that Mehit identified in the myth The Homecoming of the Goddess as the Sun Eye, and to her function as crown goddess and protector of the king . Mehit was also one of the four protective goddesses of Horus. Since Hor-pa-chered symbolized the newborn king and, associated with it, the subsequent ruler , the assignment as "son of the Mehit of Edfu" would fit into the mythological concept.

Ptolemy IV was the first Ptolemaic pharaoh to mention Hor-pa-chered in an inscription on a guest god list in the second pillared hall of the Edfu Temple. Ptolemy VI had him re-entered in another list of gods and represented iconographically for the first time in Edfu on the wall of a stairwell in association with other deities.

Under Ptolemy IX. three ritual scenes were added that depict the child god. One scene shows the Pharaoh praying in front of several gods on the east outer wall of the pronaos , the seventh deity being Hor-pa-chered. Further scenes in the upstream courtyard of the temple house show the pharaoh on a column there and on a wall, offering Hor-pa-chered figs .

Ptolemy IX and Ptolemy X decorated the surrounding images of an additional inscription that names Hor-pa-chered among other deities, which is why this mention of Hor-pa-chered probably comes from this period. Ptolemy XII made a mirror sacrifice for Hor-pa-chered. The child god appears in this scene as the companion of the goddess " Hathor of Dendara ".

In Edfu, Hor-pa-chered was one of the gods of the pantheon there , which is why he had the following surnames in Edfu : "He resides in the ( Gau ) throne seat of Horus", "He resides in Behdet", "Who is at the head of Behdet "," Lord of the Throne of The Front of the Great Throne "and" Lord of Edfu ".


  • André Bernand: Époque ptolémaïque (= Les Inscriptions grecques de Philae. Vol. 1). Édition du Center National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris 1969, pp. 75-77.
  • Rolf Felde: Egyptian deities. 2nd expanded and improved edition, R. Felde Eigenverlag, Wiesbaden 1995.
  • Veronica Ions: The Great Religions of the World - Gods, Myths and Legends. The gods and myths of Egypt. Book and World, 1988.
  • Christian Leitz u. a .: LGG . Vol. 5: Ḥ - ḫ (= Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta. Vol. 114). Peeters, Leuven 2002, ISBN 90-429-1150-6 , pp. 281-282.
  • Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates): The genesis of an Egyptian god child (= Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta. Vol. 151). Peeters, Leuven 2006, ISBN 90-429-1761-X .
  • Richard H. Wilkinson: The world of the gods in ancient Egypt: Faith - Power - Mythology. Theiss, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8062-1819-6 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Hor-pa-chered  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, p. 23.
  2. Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride : Chapters 19, 65 and 68.
  3. Ridolfo di Vittorio lanzone: Dictionnaire di mitologia egizia, Vol 1 to 4. . Torino 1881-84, pl. 227.
  4. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, pp. 2-3.
  5. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, pp. 3-4.
  6. Christian Leitz u. a .: LGG . P. 281.
  7. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, p. 38.
  8. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, p. 73.
  9. a b Rolf Felde: Egyptian gods. Wiesbaden 1995, p. 21.
  10. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, p. 16.
  11. ^ Petroglyphs in Wadi Hammamat .
  12. Bronze statuettes, origin unknown.
  13. Stele from Mendes , reign of Scheschonq III.
  14. ^ Thebes and Athribis.
  15. Bronze statuette from Athribis.
  16. Bronze statuettes from Thebes.
  17. Group statue from Mendes , only the Atef crown has survived.
  18. Temple relief under Nectanebo I , Temple of Philae .
  19. ^ Petroglyphs under Nectanebos II in Wadi Hammamat .
  20. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, p. 28.
  21. a b c d e Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered . Leuven 2006, pp. 56-57.
  22. Frieze inscription on the north wall of the vestibule.
  23. Passage at the western tower of the pylon.
  24. Hadrian's Gate.
  25. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered . Leuven 2006, p. 58.
  26. Sandra Sandri: Har-Pa-Chered (Harpokrates) . Leuven 2006, p. 144.