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Exploring myth

On Horus and “the Twelve” motif

Fig. 1: “The Lower Register starts with the hawk-headed Horus, seated on a throne and holding Was and Ankh, with the sun disc on his head. Facing him are twelve gods with stars on their heads.”- Dr. Erik Hornung & Dr. Theodor Abt.[1] From the Lower Register of the 7th Hour of the Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

The obstinacy never ends. From an apologetic book I just randomly stumbled upon 😉 on the web:

Hmmm… well, first things first:

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

So disciple“a follower.”
And apostle=“one who is sent forth.”

We’ll come back to that momentarily.

Just “an” image? Hardly. But again, we’ll come back to that.

“Book of Anduat”? Okay, okay, typos happen to everyone, even to the best of us, and I’m sure if one searches long & hard over material I’ve posted on the web that a few typos could be found. However, such typos are less likely to occur in areas of a document where the author is very familiar with the subject matter. They’re far less likely to slip through the cracks when the author already knows better rather than just relying on spell-check & proof-reading alone. And that’s why this typo here is amusing. When the subject matter concerns ancient Egyptian primary sources, typos such as “Anduat” in place of “Amduat” will never be found in any of my writings, for I for one actually am very familiar with it & own a modern scholarly translation which I’ve read cover-to-cover several times. Now the actual content of the book series quoted above has already demonstrated to me several times how unfamiliar its author is with Egyptian primary sources, so coupling that with cute little typos like this just drives that point home all the more. You’d likely never see him misspell the titles of any of the books of scripture for his own religion, because those he actually has a good grasp of.

I also find amusing the use of the word “spirit” there, which in its traditional Western Graeco-Roman usage as it’s being employed there is a concept not found in indigenous ancient Egyptian culture (as already thoroughly explained) and thus a “translation” made obsolete by more current scholarly research, only kept on life support by pop “Egyptosophy.” Here the use of the misnomer “spirit” is transparent in it’s attempt to try and distance these 12 male figures from the 12 male figures of that author’s religious scriptures to which they are often compared. Most references I’ve read for this scene in academic works refer to these 12 as 12 male figures and/or as 12 gods. Just as they should, for that is what the inscription accompanying the scene states- gods. But I’ve yet to see anyone other than this apologist refer to them as “spirits.” Just as things should be, for the reason already stated above, i.e. there was no such concept in ancient Egypt.

The inscription for this scene states of Horus:

What he has to do in the Netherworld:
To make the star-gods move and to set the positions of the hours in the Netherworld.
The person of Horus of the Netherworld says to the star-gods:
«May your flesh be in order, may your forms come into being, that you may rest in your stars!»

Book of Amduat, 7th Hour (15th cen. BCE)[2]

In the lower register, the stars are sent on their way, since their stable orbits are a sign of the continuous order of the cosmos.

Dr. Erik Hornung and Dr. Theodor Abt, Knowledge for the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat- A Quest for Immortality[3]

So not only, as previously stated, are these 12 gods of Horus corporeal beings of flesh as opposed to some Graeco-Romanized idea of “spirits,” but also Horus makes them move and directs their positions. They are “sent on their way,” so each of them is literally “one who is sent forth,” and thus they are quite appropriately 12 apostles of Horus. They are 12 male apostles of flesh, just like a certain other group of 12 male apostles of flesh sent forth at the command of a certain deity.

Moreover, these 12 apostles of Horus are crowned with 12 stars above their heads, corresponding to 12 stars “in heaven”[4]. That too is comparable to that aforementioned other group of 12 apostles, for in their scriptures they too are represented by a crown of “twelve stars” as part of “a great wonder in heaven,” as were their “twelve patriarchs” who came before them (yet still came after Horus’ 12 apostles). Thus the parallel between these groups is made that much more conspicuous, i.e. they certainly are “akin to anything like the twelve disciples.”

Fig. 3: The twelve stars appear to be a common denominator here.

It is worth noting here the kettle logic of claiming that to point out this motif in the Horus mythos is just a crap shoot of searching “far and wide to find anything with Horus depicted with twelve other figures,” yet in the same keystroke admitting to the symbolic significance for this motif and thereby unwittingly confessing that was in fact not something that was merely arbitrary. It was a very deliberately created motif within ancient Egypt, every bit as much as the use of the number twelve for the apostles of that author’s religion was deliberate rather than arbitrary. And on that point…

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Given iconography of a certain religion from the Levant is replete with images of its deity with other beings of its mythology in all sorts of combinations, it is not surprising that we might find an image with him standing with twelve others. Why not pick one where he is depicted with three others…

Three

Fig. 4

or four…

Four

Fig. 5

or six…

Fig. 6

Fig. 6

and say those are his disciples?

Even textual references are treated this way. They likewise say that he actually “appointed other seventy also,” while some say it was “seventy-two.”

Fig. 7

Fig. 7

Yet another text says “the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty.”

Fig. 8

Fig. 8

Some tell us there “were four thousand men, beside women and children,” while others still say there “were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

Fig. 9

Fig. 9

We also read that there were “with him a hundred forty and four thousand.”

Fig. 10

Fig. 10

But then there’s the text that just flat out claims that “the world is gone after him.”

Fig. 11

Fig. 11

So why cherry-pick just twelve and call them his disciples? Clearly all that has happened in the case treated above is that adherents of this religion searched far and wide to find anything with their savior depicted with twelve other figures. 😉

As you can see, what has actually happened in the case treated above is that our apologist author friend here has yet again succumbed to the special pleading fallacy.

The reason his religion tends to single out & emphasize the group of “twelve apostles” over that of other groupings like those mentioned above is because their own scriptures and their predecessor religion tends to single out & emphasize the number twelve as a very significant & sacred recurring motif, more recurring than almost every other numerological archetype within their scriptures (arguably second only to seven). E.g.-

Fig. _: The twelve Arabian princes

Fig. 12: The twelve Arabian princes.

Fig. 13: The twelve patriarchs (seen here in Egypt.)

Fig. 13: The twelve patriarchs (seen here in Egypt.)

Fig. 14: The twelve stars of those 12 patriarchs.

Fig. 14: The twelve stars of those patriarchs.

Fig. 15: The twelve signs of those patriarchs.

Fig. 15: The twelve signs of those patriarchs.

Fig. 16: The twelve tribes.

Fig. 16: The twelve tribes.

Fig. 17: The twelve wells.

Fig. 17: The twelve wells.

Fig. 18: The twelve jewels of the priestly breastplate.

Fig. 18: The twelve jewels of the priestly breastplate.

Fig. 19: The twelve cakes of altar bread.

Fig. 19: The twelve cakes of altar bread.

Fig. 20: The twelve silver altar chargers.

Fig. 20: The twelve silver altar chargers.

Fig. 21: The twelve silver altar bowls.

Fig. 21: The twelve silver altar bowls.

Fig. 22: The twelve golden incense spoons.

Fig. 22: The twelve golden incense spoons.

Fig. 23: The twelve sacrificial bulls.

Fig. 24: The twelve sacrificial rams.

Fig. 24: The twelve sacrificial rams.

Fig. 25: The twelve sacrificial lambs.

Fig. 25: The twelve sacrificial lambs.

Fig. 26: The twelve sacrificial kids.

Fig. 26: The twelve sacrificial kids.

Fig. 27: The twelve sacred rods.

Fig. 27: The twelve sacred rods.

Fig. 29: The twelve thousand tribal soldiers.

Fig. 29: The twelve thousand tribal soldiers.

Fig. 30: The twelve palm springs.

Fig. 30: The twelve palm springs.

Fig. 31: The twelve spies.

Fig. 31: The twelve spies.

Fig. 32: The twelve stone-bearers.

Fig. 32: The twelve stone-bearers.

Fig. 33: The twelve memorial stones.

Fig. 33: The twelve memorial stones.

Fig. 34: The twelve parts of the dismembered concubine.

Fig. 34: The twelve parts of the dismembered concubine.

Fig. 35: The twelve deputies of the king.

Fig. 35: The twelve deputies of the king.

Fig. 36: The twelve thousand royal horsemen.

Fig. 36: The twelve thousand royal horsemen.

Fig. 37: The twelve bronze oxen of the molten sea.

Fig. 37: The twelve bronze oxen of the molten sea.

Fig. 38: The twelve gold lions before the king's throne.

Fig. 38: The twelve gold lions before the king’s throne.

Fig. 39: The twelve pieces of the dismembered garment.

Fig. 39: The twelve pieces of the dismembered garment.

Fig. 40: The twelve stones of the altar that conjured fire from heaven.

Fig. 40: The twelve stones of the altar that conjured fire from heaven.

Fig. 41: The twelve yokes of the prophet.

Fig. 41: The twelve yokes of the prophet.

Fig. 42: The twelve years of the reign of the twelfth king of the Northern kingdom.

Fig. 42: The twelve years of the reign of the twelfth king of the Northern kingdom.

Fig. 42: The Twelve musicians in each of the 24 bands of the temple.

Fig. 43: The twelve musicians in each of the 24 bands of the temple.

Fig. 44: The twelve hundred chariots of the king of Egypt.

Fig. 44: The twelve hundred chariots of the king of Egypt.

Fig. 45: The twelve chief priests chosen to receive treasures.

Fig. 45: The twelve chief priests chosen to receive treasures.

Fig. : The twelve minor prophets.

Fig. 46: The twelve minor prophets.

Fig. 47: Twelve years of age when the savior disappeared for three days. ;)

Fig. 47: Twelve years of age when the savior “disappeared” for three days. 😉

Twelve years of bleeding when the woman was finally healed.

Fig. 48: Twelve years of bleeding when the woman was finally healed.

Fig. 49: Twelve years of age when the girl was brought back from the dead.

Fig. 49: Twelve years of age when the girl was brought back from the dead.

Fig. 50: The twelve baskets of miraculous bread,

Fig. 50: The twelve baskets of miraculous bread.

Fig. 51: The twelve thrones of the twelve judges in heaven.

Fig. 51: The twelve thrones of the twelve judges in heaven.

Fig. 52: The twelve legions of angels.

Fig. 52: The twelve legions of angels.

Fig. 53: The twelve men of Ephesus who were baptized with a ghost.

Fig. 53: The twelve men of Ephesus who were baptized with a ghost.

Fig. 54: The twelve thousand sealed from each of the 12 tribes.

Fig. 54: The twelve thousand sealed from each of the 12 tribes.

Fig. 55: The twelve pearly gates of the heavenly city.

Fig. 55: The twelve pearly gates of the heavenly city.

Fig. 56: The twelve guardian angels.

Fig. 56: The twelve guardian angels.

Fig. 57: The twelve foundations of the heavenly city.

Fig. 57: The twelve foundations of the heavenly city.

Fig. 58: The twelve fruits of the tree of life.

Fig. 58: The twelve fruits of the tree of life.

And of course, there’s the very twelve which our apologist author friend here pointed out- the twelve hours of the day

Fig. 59: “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” 😉

…which, of course, far post-dates Horus’ use of the motif by several centuries, as do all of the examples of “the twelve” just listed. So Mr. ‘Pology man here has attempted to downplay the significance of the day hours even though his own religion’s scriptures give a wink & nod to it, just like he attempted to downplay the significance of “the Twelve” motif in general within Egyptian lore even though it is actually even more recurring there than it is within the canon of his religion’s scriptures.

For example, there are the aforementioned twelve apostles of Horus.

Fig. : Horus & his 12 apostles, from the 7th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Amenhotep II, KV35, 15th century BCE.

Fig. 60: Horus & his 12 apostles, from the 7th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Amenhotep II, KV35, 15th century BCE.

Fig. 62: From the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 61: From the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 62: From the tomb of Ramesses VI, KV9, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 62: From the tomb of Ramesses VI, KV9, 12th century BCE.

^That makes at least four images of that so far, not to mention the several other tombs of the New Kingdom onward which likewise contain such images. So this is hardly a case of having merely “focused on an image.”

Anyway, there is also Horus and the twelve followers of his father Osiris, whom Horus baptizes into new life.

Fig. 63: Horus baptizing 12 drowned followers of Osiris into eternal life; from the 10th Hour of the book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

Fig. 63: Horus baptizing twelve drowned followers of Osiris into eternal life; from the 10th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.
“Your body has not decayed, your flesh has not decomposed, you dispose of your water, and you breathe what I have commanded for you. You are those who are in the (waters of) Nun, floating in the following of (my) father.”[5]

Fig. 64: From the Papyrus of Amenophis, priest of Amun, 11th century BCE.

Fig. 64: From the Papyrus of Amenophis, priest of Amun, 11th century BCE.

Fig. 65: From the Papyrus of Henettawy, 10th century BCE.

Fig. 65: From the Papyrus of Henettawy, 10th century BCE.

There is Horus and the twelve enemies of Osiris taken captive by Horus to the be burned in the Lake of Fire.

Fig. 66: Horus takes the 12 enemies of his father Osiris to the Lake of Fire; based on the 9th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in tombs of Ramesses V & VI, KV9, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 66: Horus takes the 12 enemies of his father Osiris to the Lake of Fire; based on the 9th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in tombs of Ramesses V & VI, KV9, 12th century BCE.
“Enemies of Osiris, to be burned. What Horus has done for his father Osiris.”[6]

There’s the twelve servants of Osiris whom “Horus has adorned.”[7]

IMG_0052

Fig. 67: From the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE. “Perform your duties for Osiris, that you adore the Lord of the West.”[8]

There are the twelve followers of Osiris who surround his shrine and are under the command of, yet again, his son Horus.

Fig. 68: Horus commands the 12 gods who surround the shrine of Osiris; based on the 4th Hour of the Book of Gates, as seen in the tomb of Ramesses I, KV16, 13th century BCE.

Fig. 68: Horus commands the twelve followers of Osiris who surround his shrine; based on the 4th Hour of the Book of Gates, as seen in the tomb of Ramesses I, KV16, 13th century BCE.
“Horus says to those gods who surround the shrine: You have been allotted to me, gods who are in the retinue of the Foremost of the Westerners!”[9]

So Horus is actually intimately connected with “the twelve” motif. This here is a perfect transition right into the next group- the twelve followers of Osiris. And yes, they are explicitly called that, his “followers.”

Fig. 69: The twelve followers of Osiris are resurrected by the Sungod; based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Seti I, KV17, 13th century BCE.

Fig. 69: The twelve followers of Osiris are bodily resurrected by the Sungod (just as Osiris & Horus were); based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Seti I, KV17, 13th century BCE.
“He inspects a long bier, shaped like a serpent named Nehep, with twelve mummies lying on it.”- Dr. Erik Hornung.[10]
Followers of Osiris, the sleeping ones who are in a state of weariness. Duati says to them: «O gods in the Duat, Followers of the Ruler of the West, who are stretched out on their side, lying on their biers- May your flesh rise up, may your bones be put together, may you embrace your limbs, may your flesh be united! Sweet breath for your noses, loosening for your mummy-wrappings, uncovering for your headclothes! Light be for your divine eyes, that you may see the light through them. Raise yourself from your weariness.»”[11]

Fig. 70: The twelve followers of Osiris & Re, from the Book of the Dead as seen in the Papyrus of Ani, 13th century BCE.

Fig. 70: The twelve followers of Osiris & Re, from the Book of the Dead as seen in the Papyrus of Ani, 13th century BCE.
“O (gods) who follow Re who is in the train of Osiris.”[12]

Fig. 71: Twelve gods following Osiris; from the 2nd Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

Fig. 71: Twelve gods following Osiris; from the 2nd Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

There are also the twelve female followers of Osiris.

12 goddesses in Osiris' train 9th hour amduat

Fig. 72: Twelve female followers of Osiris walking in his train; from the 9th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.
“These are the goddesses walking in the following of Osiris.”[13]

There are the twelve followers of Osiris who practiced Maat on earth.

Fig. 73: The twelve followers of Osiris who practiced Maat on earth; based on the 7th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 73: The twelve followers of Osiris who practiced Maat on earth; based on the 7th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.
“Who have practiced Maat when they were (still) on earth, … Osiris says to them: «Maat belongs to you, who are truthful! You are satisfied with what you have done, as those who have become my retinue.»”[14]

There are the twelve grain gods of Osiris who feed the residents of his kingdom.

Fig. 74: The twelve grain gods of Osiris; based on the 7th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 74: The twelve grain gods of Osiris; based on the 7th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.
“Those who generate food from Lower Egyptian barely in the fields of the Netherworld. … The greenery of these, among whom you are, belongs to Osiris that he is content with it.”[15]

And this is where it gets really interesting, because we thus get the twelve gods of Osiris who carry twelve baskets of bread which feed the gods.

Fig. 75: Twelve gods of Osiris carry twelve baskets of bread to feed the gods and their ka; based on the 7th Hour of the Book of Gates, as seen in the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.

Fig. 75: Twelve gods of Osiris carry twelve baskets of bread to feed the gods and their ka; based on the 7th Hour of the Book of Gates, as seen in the tomb of Ramesses III, KV11, 12th century BCE.

How fascinating, because I recall reading somewhere else of a much later story that likewise featured a god feeding his community which involved his 12 servants and 12 baskets of miraculous bread (cf. Fig. 50). 😉

Then there’s also the twelve gods of Osiris who guard the Lake of Fire.

Fig. 76: The twelve gods of Osiris who guard the Lake of Fire; based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Horemheb, KV57, 13th century BCE.

Fig. 76: The twelve gods of Osiris who guard the Lake of Fire; based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Horemheb, KV57, 13th century BCE.
“Hail to you gods who guard the unapproachable pit … the water of the fiery pit belongs to Osiris.”[16]

So of course, there is the jury of twelve gods who assist Osiris in the judgement of the dead (cf. Fig. 51).

Fig. 77: The twelve members of the divine tribunal of Osiris; from the Papyrus of Ani, 13th cen. BCE.

Fig. 77: The twelve members of the divine tribunal of Osiris seated upon their thrones; from the Book of the Dead as seen in the Papyrus of Ani, 13th century BCE.

There can also be seen Osiris surrounded by his twelve stars and twelve discs (cf. Fig. 3 & Fig. 14), again accompanied by twelve goddesses in the double ouroboros.

Osiris 12 stars resurrection

Fig. 78: Osiris with his 12 stars, 12 discs, and 12 goddesses as he rises from the dead “at the time of his union with the sun god … the very apotheosis of resurrection.” Based on scenes from the Book of the Earth as portrayed in the tombs of Merneptah, Tawosret, Ramesses III & VI, 13th-12th cen. BCE.[17]

Then there’s the twelve guides of Re who walk on water across their lake.

twelve goddesses walking on water

Fig. 79: Twelve goddesses walking on water as they guide the barque of Re during the 4th hour of the night. The inscription explicitly states that “they are standing upon their lake“[18]; from the tomb of Ramesses I, KV16, 13th century BCE.

Also seen walking on water are the twelve gods whose duty is “grinding the enemy and letting Nun come into existence.”[19]

12 gods walking on water 3rd hour amduat

Fig. 80: Twelve deities walking on water who have been commissioned to battle the enemy of Re so that the Nile may flow; from the 3rd Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

And then we have…

12 goddesses 1st hour amduat

Fig. 81: Twelve “goddesses who praise the one in the earth”[20], from the 1st Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 goddesses in 1st hour amduat

Fig. 82: Twelve “goddesses who guide the great god”[21], from the 1st Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 uraei 1st hour amduat

Fig. 83: Twelve fire-breathing “goddesses who brighten the darkness of the Netherworld”[22], from the 1st Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 goddesses first hour amduat

Fig. 84: Twelve “goddesses rendering praise to Re in passing through Wernes,”[23] from the 1st Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 goddeses 7th hour Amduat

Fig. 85: Twelve star goddesses who “guide this Re who is in the horizon to the Beautiful West, in peace”[24], from the 7th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 oarsmen 9th hour amduat

Fig. 86: Twelve “gods of the crew of the bark of Re, rowing Him who is in the horizon until he set in the eastern gateway of the sky”[25], from the 9th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 fire breathing snakes 9th hour amduat

Fig. 87: Twelve “Uraeus-serpents who spit fire for Osiris, Foremost of the Netherworld”[26], from the 9th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 gods 11th hour amduat

Fig. 88: Twelve gods “lifting the mystery of this great god to the Hidden Chamber, day after day. They go forth with this great god to the sky”[27], from the 11th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 snake bearers 11th hour

Fig. 89: Twelve gods who “carry the World-Encircler of the earth upon them to this place, and they proceed in the following of Re to the eastern horizon of the sky”[28], from the 11th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 uraei goddesses 12th hour amduat

Fig. 90: Twelve goddesses with twelve uraei who “go forth from their shoulders, when this great god has reached this place. They belong to those who follow this god. It is the flames in the mouth of their Uraeus-serpents which fend off Apophis from Re at the eastern gateway of the horizon. They traverse the sky behind him”[29], from the 12th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 worshippers 12th hour amduat

Fig. 91: Twelve gods who “worship this great god at dawn”[30], from the 12th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 towers 12th hour amduat

Fig. 92: Twelve gods who “tow this great god through he spine of (the serpent) «Life of the gods»”[31], from the 12th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 armed gods 12th hour amduat

Fig. 93: Twelve gods who “elevate the great sun disc in the eastern horizon of the sky, day after day”[32], from the 12th Hour of the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

12 gods of the western desert 1st hour gates

Fig. 94: The twelve “Gods of the Western Desert”[33], based on the 1st Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods 1st hour gates

Fig. 95: Twelve gods who possess the Eye of Re, whom he has “hidden from those who are upon earth”[34], based on the 1st Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 adorers of Re 2nd hour gates

Fig. 96: Twelve gods who “have adored Re on earth, (and) have enchanted Apophis”[35], based on the 2nd Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 justified gods 2nd hour gates

Fig. 97: The twelve “justified who are in the Duat … Those who have spoken Maat on earth, who have kept afar from doing wrong”[36], based on the 2nd Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods of the lake of fire 3rd hour gates

Fig. 98: The twelve “Gods who are in the Lake of Fire … Its water belongs to you, without its heat being against you, without its fiery blast being against your bodies.”[37] based on the 3rd Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 shrined mummies 3rd hour gates

Fig. 99: Twelve followers of Re whom he bodily resurrects from out of their shrines, based on the 3rd Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.
 
“Opening be for your shrines, so that my light may enter your darkness. I found you when you were in mourning and your shrines were closed upon you. (But now) I give breath to your noses … those who are before him and behind, (his) retinue.”[38]

12 Jackals of the lake of life 4th hour gates

Fig. 100: The twelve “Jackals who are in the ‘Lake of Life'”[39], from the 4th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Horemheb, KV57, 13th century BCE..

12 gods who've gone to their ka 4th hour gates horemheb

Fig. 101: Twelve “gods who have gone to their ka“[40], from the 4th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen in the tomb of Horemheb, KV57, 13th century BCE.

12 akhs who make jubilation for Re, 5th hour gates

Fig. 102: The twelve Akhs who “make jubilation for Re in the West”[41], based on the 5th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 bearers of the measuring rope 5th hour gates

Fig. 103: The twelve gods of Osiris who “carry the (measuring-)rope in the fields of the Duat”[42], based on the 5th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 bas who spoke Maat on earth, 5th hour gates

Fig. 104: Twelve Ba “who have spoken Maat on earth”[43], based on the 5th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 bearers of the serpent of time, 5th hour gates

Fig. 105: “Twelve gods are carrying the serpent of time”[44] and “who carry the lifetime in the West. They are those who establish the lifetime and fix the days”[45], based on the 5th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 mummies of the 5th gate

Fig. 106: The twelve “gods and goddesses who are in this gate”[46], based on the 5th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 captors of Apophis, 6th hour gates

Fig. 107: The twelve captors of Apophis “who punish Evilface, and overthrow the enemies of Re. It is they who seize the rebel, and let emerge the heads of those who are in him”[47], based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 armed gods who ward off Apophis in heaven, 6th gate

Fig. 108: The twelve armed gods whose “forked sticks, Re, are (planted) into the Devourer, our strings are on the Evil Serpent”[48], the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods who carry the mystery of Re, 6th hour gates

Fig. 109: The twelve gods “with hidden arm who carry the mystery”[49], based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods of Aqen who bear his rope of the hours, 6th hour gates

Fig. 110: The twelve gods of Aqen “who carry the double-twisted (rope) out of which the hours emerge”[50], based on the 6th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods of Re who bear the rope of the mysteries, 8th hour gates

Fig. 111: The twelve gods “who carry the rope which gives birth to mysteries”[51], based on the 8th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 sphinx mummies being resurrected & akhified by the sun god, 8th hour gates

Fig. 112: The twelve sphinx mummies of “He with hidden mysteries”[52], based on the 8th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 magistrates of the Duat

Fig. 113: The twelve “Masters of provision in the West”[53], based on the 8th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods of Ikeki who draw out the mysteries from the body of Apophis, 8th hour gates

Fig. 114: The twelve gods of Ikeki who “carry the Devourer whom they grasp”[54], based on the 8th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

Council of 12 gods who feed the residents of the Island of Fire, 9th hour gates, Ramesses V

Fig. 115: The twelve gods of the “council of gods which surrounds the Island of Fire”[55], based on the 9th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 hour goddesses who guide Re through the Duat, 11th hour gates

Fig. 116: The twelve goddesses “who tow Re and who guide (him) on the ways in heaven”[56], based on the 11th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 celestial oarsmen of Re, 11th hour gates

Fig. 117: The twelve gods who “transform for the (re)birth of Re in heaven … gods who know no decay”[57], based on the 11th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 gods of Amen-Kat who bear the chain binding Apophis, 11th hour gate

Fig. 118: The twelve “Gods who cut off throats” who bear the chain of “He with hidden body”[58], based on the 11th Hour of the Book of Gates as seen on the sarcophagus of Seti I, 13th century BCE.

12 baboons worship the rising sun as Khepri, tomb of Tutankhamen

Fig. 119: The twelve divine baboons worshiping the rising sun (as baboons are known to do) in his form as Khepri, from the tomb of Tutankhamen, KV62, 14th century BCE.

118

Fig. 120

12 divisions of the sky for day & night, sarcophagus of Peftjauneith Ptolemaic Period

Fig. 121: The twelve divisions of the day sky and the night sky, with twelve goddesses presiding over each, from the sarcophagus of Peftjauneith, Ptolemaic Period.

12 caverns & gates

Fig. 122: The twelve caverns of the Duat, based on the Book of Amduat as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III, KV34, 15th century BCE.

They said that the Egyptians were the first of all peoples to discover the year, by dividing up the seasons into twelve parts to total one year, and that they discovered how to do this from the stars. The Egyptians seem to me to be much wiser than the Hellenes in the way they regulate the timing of the seasons. While the Hellenes attempt to preserve the timing of the seasons by inserting an intercalary month every other year, the Egyptians divide the year into twelve months of thirty days each and add just five days each year beyond that number, and thus their seasons do return at the same periods in the cycle from year to year. They said that the Egyptians were also the first to establish the tradition of identifying names’ for the twelve gods, and that the Hellenes adopted this practice from them. …

Now let me relate what others told me, with the agreement of the Egyptians, about what happened in Egypt; and I will again add something of my own observations. After being liberated from Ethiopian rule and following the reign of the priest of Hephaistos, the Egyptians, who could not live without a king, divided all Egypt into twelve districts and appointed twelve kings to rule them. … They also decided that a memorial should be left to commemorate them all collectively, and so they had a labyrinth· constructed a short distance south of Lake Moeris near the city that is named after crocodiles. Of all the wonders I have seen, this labyrinth truly beggars description. … It has twelve roofed courtyards with gates; six of the gates are situated in a row facing north, the other six exactly opposite them facing south.

Herodotus, Histories 2.4.1-2, 2.147.1-4 (5th century BCE)[59]

So in the ancient Mediterranean world the belief was that the Egyptians actually invented “The Twelve” motif, and that they did so by consulting the oldest primary source there is- nature itself, i.e. “the stars.” And dwelling among those stars is the most conspicuous marker of “The Twelve,” that being the moon, which divides the solar year into twelve complete lunar cycles known as the twelve months. It is there that the archetype of “The Twelve” originates, not with scriptures or tribes of an old covenant in the Levant, and not even with the much older Egyptian funerary texts. Instead, the motif goes all the way back to nature itself. The moon and its twelve annual cycles predate the invention of writing, the invention of art, and even predate mankind itself. It all trickled down from there into our culture, into our art & religion, etc.

Anyway, so as per all the evidence shown above, this motif of “The Twelve” in ancient Egypt is not random, it’s sacred & heavily emphasized, more so than any other group numbering in the funerary texts, and even more so than in the scriptural canon of the aforementioned Levantine religion.
Twelve 2e

It is clearly not a matter of scanning vigorously for something obscure, as this apologist author has tried to paint things. Instead, the motif of “the twelve” is inescapable and blatantly in your face all over the place within Egyptian funerary culture. It would actually appear to take some deliberate effort to avoid running into it when researching ancient Egypt, including when researching Horus specifically. And this is the case not just for ancient Egypt, but also for pretty much all of the ancient Mediterranean, e.g.-

the twelve Titans,
the twelve Olympians,
the twelve Labors of Hercules,
the twelve Hittite gods of the underworld,
the twelve human sacrifices to Hades,
the twelve winds of Aristotle,
the twelve tablets of Roman law,
the twelve prophetic birds of Romulus,
the twelve followers of Romulus,
the twelve sons of Acca Larentia,
the twelve priests of the College of Arvales,
the twelve peoples of Etrusia,
the twelve cities of Achaea,
the twelve Salian priests of Pallor and Pavor,
the twelve Salian priests of Mars Gradivus,
the twelve sacred shields of the Temple of Mars,
the twelve Palatini of Numa,
the twelve altars of Janus,
the twelve divine horses of the deified Augustus,
the twelve signs of the Zodiac,
the twelve initiates of Mithraism,
the twelve forms of the Mithraic soul,
etc.

Moreover, “conjure up some evidence after the fact“? How ludicrous, what came “after the fact” were all the aforementioned groupings of twelve in his scriptures which came way after the fact of all the groupings of twelve from the Egyptian primary sources cited above.

Desperately deliberately conjuring up parallels after the fact is actually exactly what the authors of his religion’s new covenant scriptures did, especially the text named after a Roman publican. In his commentary on that publican evangelist, early father Origen Admantius even explicitly instructed his readers (which now includes this apologist) to do so, to deliberately look for parallels, or intentionally engage in the dreaded sin of “parallelomania.”

Seek you every sign in the old scriptures as indicative of some passage in the new scripture.

Book XII.3

An instruction which our apologist friend has heeded quite well, drawing parallels which even the scripture authors did not mention, and which even the alleged “parallelomaniacs” he criticizes haven’t picked up on for all their ‘desperate conjuring’. And I must say that the degree of difference there is far more than the differences found between parallels he commonly attempts to criticize.

[More on Horus] [Etc.] [Etc.]

[More on Osiris] [Etc.] [Etc.] [Etc.]

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Notes

[1] Erik Hornung and Theodor Abt, The Egyptian Amduat: The Book of the Hidden Chamber, trans. D. Warburton (Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications, 2007), 236. (Emph. added.)

[2] Ibid. 237-38. (Emph. added.)

[3] Erik Hornung and Theodor Abt, Knowledge for the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat- A Quest for Immortality (Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications, 2003), 94. (Emph. added)

[4] Hornung and Abt (2007), 238.

[5] Ibid. 319. (Emph. added.)

[6] Erik Hornung and Theodor Abt, The Egyptian Book of Gates (Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications, 2014), 322. (Emph. added.)

[7] Hornung and Abt (2007), 282. (Emph. added.)

[8] Ibid.

[9] Hornung and Abt (2014), 132.

[10] Ibid. 218.

[11] Ibid. 218-21.

[12] Thomas G. Allen, The Book of the Dead or Going Forth by Day (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 141. (Emph. added.)

[13] Hornung and Abt (2007), 285. (Emph. added.)

[14] Hornung and Abt (2014), 244. (Emph. added.)

[15] Ibid. 258. (Emph. added.)

[16] Ibid. 226.

[17] Joshua Roberson, “The Book of the Earth: A Study of Ancient Egyptian Symbol-Systems and the Evolution of New Kingdom Cosmographic Models” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2007), 295-97.

[18] Hornung and Abt (2014), 120. (Emph. added.)

[19] Hornung and Abt (2007), 87.

[20] Ibid. 20.

[21] Ibid. 22.

[22] Ibid. 31.

[23] Ibid. 33.

[24] Ibid. 284.

[25] Ibid. 287-88.

[26] Ibid. 290.

[27] Ibid. 335.

[28] Ibid. 340-41.

[29] Ibid. 361.

[30] Ibid. 364.

[31] Ibid. 368.

[32] Ibid. 375.

[33] Hornung and Abt (2014), 18.

[34] Ibid. 23.

[35] Ibid. 32.

[36] Ibid. 35.

[37] Ibid. 68-71. (Emph. added.)

[38] Ibid. 63-64.

[39] Ibid. 106.

[40] Ibid. 102.

[41] Ibid. 148.

[42] Ibid. 152.

[43] Ibid. 164.

[44] Ibid. 174.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid. 182.

[47] Ibid. 202-03.

[48] Ibid. 200.

[49] Ibid. 212.

[50] Ibid. 206.

[51] Ibid. 274.

[52] Ibid. 290.

[53] Ibid. 284.

[54] Ibid. 278.

[55] Ibid. 309.

[56] Ibid. 397.

[57] Ibid. 394-95.

[58] Ibid. 372.

[59] Herodotus, Histories, in The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, ed. R.B. Strassler, trans. A.L. Purvis (New York: Anchor Books, 2009), 118, 186-87. (Emph. added.)

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5 comments on “On Horus and “the Twelve” motif

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