Horus, Egyptian Hor, or Heru – In ancient Egyptian religion, Horus represents a niter (a devine power) in the form of a falcon, whose right eye was the sun or morning star, representing power and perfection, and whose left eye was the moon or evening star, representing healing. Falcon cults were widespread in Egypt from late predynastic times.
Horus appeared as a local niter in many places and under different names and titles for instance, as Harmakhis (Har-em-akhet, “Horus in the Horizon”), Harpocrates (Har-pe-khrad, “Horus the Child”), Harsiesis (Har-si-Ese, “Horus, Son of Isis”), Harakhte (“Horus of the Horizon,” closely associated with the sun god Re), and, at Kawm Umbū (Kom Ombo), as Haroeris (Harwer, “Horus the Elder”).
At Nekhen (Greek: Hierakonpolis) however, the conception arose that the reigning king was a manifestation of Horus and, after Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt had been united by the kings from Nekhen, this notion became a generally accepted dogma. The most important of an Egyptian king’s names (the number of which grew from three names in early dynastic times to five lateron) was his Horus name; the name that identified him with Horus. This name appeared on monuments and tombs in a rectangular frame called a serekh.
In addition to being characterized by a Horus name, the king was typically depicted with a hovering form of Horus above his head. Sometimes Horus is shown as a winged sun disk, representing the Horus of Behdet, a town in the Nile River delta where the falcon-god enjoyed a cult.
Since the 1st dynasty (c. 2925–2775 BCE), Horus and niter Seth were presented as permanent opponents who were appeased in the harmony of Upper and Lower Egypt. In the myth of Osiris, who became important about 2350 BCE, Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis and was the nephew of Seth, Osiris’s brother. When Seth murdered Osiris and contested Horus’s heritage (the royal throne of Egypt), Horus became Seth’s enemy. Horus eventually defeated Seth, taking revenge for his father and taking the rule. In the fight, Horus’s left eye (the moon) was damaged – this being a mythical explanation of the moon’s phases – and was healed by niter Thoth. The figure of the restored eye (the wedjat – eye of Horus) became a powerful amulet. Horus is also associated (sometimes as son, sometimes as partner) with the ancient cow-goddess Hathor, who is often depicted with cow’s horns, sometimes with cow’s ears.