Seth - a misrepresented god in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon?

  • Philip Turner

    Student thesis: Phd


    2. AbstractThe University of ManchesterPhilip John TurnerDoctor of PhilosophySeth - a misrepresented god in the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon?The conventional position of Seth in Ancient Egypt is as the villain amongst the gods. That is to say he is documented as the murderer of his brother, Osiris, and the enemy of Horus. However he does have a number of aspects and was venerated in certain guises and places, particularly the Delta. It is likely that the Osirian mythology represented the struggle between Upper and Lower Egypt at the time of the unification of Egypt in Predynastic and early Dynastic times. This is illustrated by the finding of a carved artefact from the Predynastic Amratian (Naqada I) period (4000-3500 B.C.E.) and the fact that Peribsen and Khasekhemwy had serekhs surmounted by a Seth animal. This confusion continues during the Old Kingdom where although Seth is mainly portrayed as the villain in the majority of the Pyramid Texts, at times he appears to be a friend of Osiris e.g.: in texts from Teti there is a statement that Seth is the arch-enemy of Osiris, as he was of Horus, and the defeat of Seth and his followers by Horus is described with great satisfaction; but, conversely in texts from Pepi: Seth and Thoth are called the brothers of Osiris who weep for him and in another place Seth is called upon to give life to Osiris. This surely illustrates the struggles that were continuing between Upper and Lower Egypt and when Upper Egypt was supplying the pharaohs, then Horus was triumphant and Seth portrayed in his villainous role, but when Lower Egypt held sway then Seth has a more prominent role. This thesis will examine Seth's fluctuating role in these various periods of Ancient Egypt and seek to show that his rises and falls actually reflected the turbulent times that were a constant factor of life during these times and that, certainly in the Delta, and possibly in other parts of the country, his worship was always on-going. This will be achieved by:• Examining the 'traditional' positioning of Seth within the Osirian story.• Examining the worship of Seth in the Predynastic and early Dynastic time periods.• Examining the rise of Seth to prominence during the Hyksos Period.• Examining the position of Seth within the Ramesside era.• Examining the vilification he experienced during the Saite Period.• Examining the position of Seth during the Graeco-Roman Period.
    Date of Award31 Dec 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorRosalie David (Supervisor) & David Langslow (Supervisor)

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