Among the deities of Ancient Egypt, Horus was one of the most celebrated and significant. He was the God of the Sky, War, Hunting, and Kingship, and veneration of him dates back more than 5,000 years, though his role and traits evolved over time. In early beliefs, he was the brother of Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys, but later became the son of Osiris and Isis. Horus was generally depicted as a falcon, or a man with a falcon’s head, carrying a sceptre and wearing a pschent (double-crown) to symbolise his rule over all Egypt. His left eye was said to be the Moon, while the right was the Sun, traversing the sky when he – as a falcon – flew across it. The Eye of Horus later became an emblem of protection and royal power. The pharaohs themselves were considered to be Horus’ embodiment on Earth, thus explaining to the common folk how their sovereigns could trace their lineage back to the gods, and new incarnations appeared each time a pharaoh died.
Though several versions of the myths exist, the most common tales associated with Horus are those of his divine conception, and his rivalry with Set. After Set murdered Osiris to seize rule over Egypt, Isis used powerful magic to resurrect him long enough to receive his seed. Horus was born and grew to hate the God of the Desert, seeking not to avenge his father’s death, but to reclaim his throne as rightful heir. Their 80-year conflict is as varied as it is bizarre, but finally came to an end with Horus triumphant, and with their reconciliation came order to Egypt.