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Ashley Clark Capstone Publication Project 2016

Seth: Offender
Offended?
compiled for the unit
AHIS399 Capstone Egypt and the Near East
Macquarie University

Ashley Clark
43535798

enrolled in the degree: Bachelor of Arts


with a major in Ancient History: Egypt and the Near East

20 November 2016

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Ashley Clark Capstone Publication Project 2016

Seth: Offender offended?

it would (also) be misguided to view the ancient Egyptian myths through the lens
of contemporary ethical-moral values or to judge the behaviour of the ancient Egyptian gods
by Christian norms.1

The quote by Alexandra von Lieven, can express much of the literature that has been written
on the ancient Egyptian gods and their stories. It is this point of view that is accurately
concerning the god Seth, who is primarily known for his roles in the death of his brother, Osiris,
and contending with Horus, his nephew, for the throne of Egypt. It is not uncommon to find
interpretations of Seth being demonised and called evil due to his actions; disregarding any
positive aspects the god has within ancient Egyptian religion. However, it is also not
uncommon to find scholars attempting to interpret Seths character, and gain a proper
understanding of this complex god.

Just as other scholars have attempted; the motive of this paper is also to attempt to interpret
Seths character through the course of his actions throughout the myths of Osiris death and
the Contendings of Horus and Seth. The discussion of interpretations will look at his offences
through an ancient Egyptian concept of jurisprudence, and attempt to draw conclusions to
other gods who have also committed offences with the assistance of modern scholarship; to
determine if there is any justification of the demonisation of the god, Seth.

The meaning of the term offence

Taking VerSteegs legal background into consideration, it can be assumed that his statement
that the ancient Egyptians did not distinguish tort and crime in the same manner as modern
societies do;2 is an accurate statement. Considering there is not any quantitative evidence to
demonstrate otherwise, the best comparisons are evident within terms used within ancient
Egyptian and modern contexts, and interpretations on how the ancient Egyptians viewed tort
and crime can be drawn. 3
Todays definition of the term, offense is used to describe an illegal action, such as tort, or
violation against what is perceived to be right and or natural for a human being,4 and would
be a term used to describe the actions of Seth against his brother; meanwhile, the ancient
Egyptian term appears to be more complex. The Middle Egyptian dictionary term for btA is
wrong or crime,5 however, this can be used simply as a blanket term to describe any
negative action that does not require any legal action. Hence, supporting Versteegs

1
A. Von Lieven, Anti-social Gods?, in R. Nyord and K. Ryhott (eds), Lotus and Laureal: Studies on
Egyptian Language and Religion in Honour of Paul John Frandsen, (Copenhagen, 2015), 183.
2
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, (Durham, 2002), 151.
3
ibid.
4
Offence, Australian Law Dictionary (2nd edn by T. Mann; Melbourne, 2013),
http://www.oxfordreference.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/view/10.1093/acref/9780195518511.
001.0001/acref-9780195518511-e-2575
5
R.O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, (Oxford, 1962), 85. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient
Egypt, 151-152.

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statement that ancient Egyptians did not treat tort and crime in the same manner as modern
societies.

Crime and Punishment in ancient Egypt


In their administration of justice the Egyptians also showed no merely casual interest,
holding that the decisions of the courts exercise the greatest influence upon community life if
the offenders against the law should be punished and the injured parties should be afforded
succour there would be an ideal correction of wrongdoing 6
The ancient Egyptians knew about the importance of law and order, and had an officially
recognised legal system with its own rules and regulations.7 The evidence of this legal system
of how it operated barely survives today and if they do survive it is fragmentary.8 Even though,
we do have testimonies from the ancient Greeks, such as Diodorus Siculus, they credited them
for how it operated.9 It is known that many of these Greek sources are not as creditable as
we would like them to be, and we cannot take their absolute word on how things operated
within Egypt.
Therefore, to gain a more precise definition of ancient Egyptian law is by taking both the
Judgement of the Dead and the Book of the Dead into consideration, despite their
religious overtones; a feature that is hard to disguise from the secular.10Nevertheless, both
are still useful as a starting point in gaining an understanding of the ancient Egyptian sense of
law and justice.11
The important concept of Maat (MaAt), symbolising truth and order, was the dominant
principle of ancient Egyptian law and its legal system 12 . Both in its personified form as
daughter of the solar god, Ra and in its abstract perception. Maat held important religious,
ethical and moral connotations, that not only guided judges in their decision making, but it
also influenced the daily life of the Egyptians both individually and collectively, and was a
divine attribute of the King. 13 Even after death, the Egyptians were judged against Maat,
symbolised by an ostrich feather, to pass on into the afterlife.14
Along with the concept of Maat, there were several other precepts that were influential
within the ancient Egyptian legal system. Outlined within the tomb of Eighteenth Dynasty
vizier, Rekhmire (1479-1425 BC), the prominent principles and values in Egyptian
jurisprudence were: 1) A strong preference for tradition (primarily to conserve Maat); 2) A
value in rhetoric; 3) To achieve impartiality and social equality.15

6
Diodorus Siculus, Histories, I. 75.
7
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 8. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 3
8
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, (London, 2000), 8.
9
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 8. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 3.
10
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 19.
11
Ibid., 20.
12
Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 101-102.
13
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 5.
14
Ibid., 19.
15
These principles can also be found within the story of the Eloquent Peasant, and in Diodorus
Siculus.

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The importance of maintaining Maat within ancient Egyptian society, can be found in the
term for punishments that was used, which was sbA.yt, meaning teaching or instruction16.
However, as lenient as the English definition may appear, sb3.yt in the ancient Egyptian
context often involved a form of corporal punishment;17 as it was both necessity to preserve
justice and a deterrent for others who may think about committing the same crime.18 In the
Middle Kingdom, bodily mutilation, deprivation of burials and excommunication was
commonplace, which became more complex by the New Kingdom.19 By then, we also have
evidence for the death penalty being served for crimes such as murder, treason, robbery of
royal tombs and judicial bribery.
The Nauri Decree of Seti I (Nineteenth Dynasty), describes various financial and corporal
punishments that were used throughout the New Kingdom. 20 For example, punishments
including loss of property and office, and forced labour with bodily mutilation (missing ears
or nose) were for crimes against the state.21 It is understood that mutilation was not only a
reminder of ones crimes, or as a deterrent for others but also for the gods to recognise when
the criminal died and judged against the feather of Maat.22
Since Maat is the concept of natural law and order and was considered highly important to
be maintained, either through doing the right thing, or punishing those who did not and to
make sure they set an example. Therefore, in accordance to the ancient Egyptian thought of
duality.23 It would be foolish to assume that it is the god Seth, who would be Maats opposite;
or so that is the assumption given by scholars placing a negative perspective on him. However,
it should be mentioned that the opposite of Maat is Isfet (isft), symbolising chaos.24 Even in
Faulkners dictionary, Isfet is defined as wrong, wrong-doing and falsehood, and most
importantly, evil;25 in which, the hieroglyphs bare no association with Seth or any other god.

Offences committed by Seth


Considering the discussion of ancient Egyptian crime and punishment, the focus can now be
changed to the offences committed by the god Seth. With the evidence that survives,
primarily within the Contendings of Horus and Seth, which date as early as the Fourth
Dynasty within the Pyramid Texts. It can be considered that the story can be Egypts earliest
example of a criminal trial, therefore, we are able examine Seths actions as criminal offences.
Scholars state that the two brothers, Osiris and Seth were rivals and it has been assumed that
the two have never been friendly with each other. What is note-worthy for this paper, is that

16
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 152.
17
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 64. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 152.
18
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 152.
19
Ibid., 153.
20
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 64. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 154.
21
Ibid.
22
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 63. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 152.
23
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 23.
24
Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 31. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 24.
25
Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, 31. Faulkner does not list Isfet (isft) as the
meaning of evil, however, it can be interpreted as so. Because he has next listed isft.y or evil-doer.

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Osiris is always seen as the positive force between the two, while Seth is the negative and is
referred to as the arch-enemy.26
While we know that Osiris dies and was killed by Seth, the Pyramid Texts (along with other
accounts of the story) do not fully describe the cause of death. Griffiths suggests that the
avoidance of the topic may be due to reticence, and the unwillingness to create any
undesirable consequences that may come forth if it was brought up.27 However, it has been
interpreted by notable scholars such as Sethe and DuQuesne, that it is possible that Osiris
died by drowning. Sethe suggests that the cause of death can be determined from the
Shabaka Stone, since Seth is punished by being made to carry the body of Osiris on his back,
in an Osirian-water ritual.28 Meanwhile, DuQuesne suggests a similar interpretation within his
translation of the Report of Anubis.29
Regardless of how Osiris died, per to the law of the ancient Egyptians, Seth committed several
crimes other than murder.
Unfortunately, there is little evidence to inform us on how the ancient Egyptians treated
crimes of murder and how they were tied. However, we do have evidence relating to
assassinations; both successful and conspired from the Sixth and Nineteenth Dynasties. 30
However, we do know that the ancient Egyptians saw it as a wrongful act, with the term used
in Middle Egyptian As smA m nf or to kill wrongfully.31 The Book of the Dead indicates that
the ancient Egyptians viewed murder as wrongful acts. Furthermore, we have a text from the
Twenty-First Dynasty, that indicates that the Egyptians punished the guilty with the death
penalty.32
By killing Osiris, Seth also committed treason, since Osiris was the ruling king at the time. To
the ancient Egyptians, treason was a serious malfeasance and attracted the death penalty;
which the king often made the ultimate decision to impose it or not.33 The evidence that we
have for the death penalty being imposed for treason, comes from the well-known Harem
Conspiracy during the reign of Ramesses III, where the guilty were executed.34
The nature of the ancient Egyptian death penalty, can be found in the Westcar Papyri and the
Instruction of Ankhsheshonq.35 More often death followed by the loss of burial rights, was
reserved for the worst crimes an ancient Egyptian could commit, which included murder,
treason and the robbery of royal tombs.36 Although how the death penalty was carried out,
within Seti Is Nauri Decree, there is a significant hieroglyph that might suggest that the

26
Griffiths, The Conflict of Horus and Seth: From Egyptian and Classical Sources, (Liverpool, 1960), 4.
27
ibid, 4-5.
28
Griffiths, The Conflict of Horus and Seth: From Egyptian and Classical Sources, 7.
29
DuQuesne, At the Court of Osiris: Book of the Dead spell 194, (London, 1994), 22.
30
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 169.
31
Ibid., 169.
32
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 169.
33
ibid, 171.
34
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 171.
35
M. Lichtheim, Instruction of Ankhsheshonq, Ancient Egyptian Literature: A Book of Readings III,
(Berkeley, 1980), 159-183. Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 65.
36
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 64. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 154.

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penalty was carried out by impalement. 37 However, within the Westcar Papyri, the
Neferhotep Stela and the Instruction of Ankhsheshonq attest to death by fire.38
Another crime that can be interpreted that Seth committed, is that of defamation. According
to the Pyramid Texts, after the ascension of Horus onto his fathers throne, Seth demanded a
tribunal of the gods against his brother. 39 While the charges laid out against Osiris is
apparently unclear, what is clear is that Seth still fought for his own claim to the throne.40 Of
course, with the offences that were committed by Osiris that is mentioned throughout this
paper, the charges against Osiris can be imagined. Nevertheless, just like in the later story of
the Contendings of Horus and Seth, the latter faces defeat and the penalties appear to vary
from myth to myth; from bodily mutilation to forced labour of carrying his brothers body. 41
One example of defamation as a crime, comes from Deir el-Medina, where a foreman
complained that he had been slandered.42 In court, it was found that the defendants were
guilty and received a beating as punishment. However, physical punishment was not the only
result for the guilty, there is evidence that they also could receive a warning not to do it again
and if they did they would be punished with mutilation.43 Both punishments would invoke
long lasting reminders for the one who received it and those around them.
The evidence for the punishment Seth had a to serve for his crimes are inconclusive, with
different descriptions of mutilation, banishment and death.44 Not to mention the punishment
of humiliation that he had to suffer by carrying the body of his brother. However, it can also
be mentioned that Seth never did get punished for what he did, and instead received a pardon
from the sun god.45

The Position of Seth within ancient Egyptian religion


The storm that Seth evokes is not one of confusion and is order, but one of power and
might over the enemies of Egypt and the Sun God.46
When taking the texts from the earlier periods of ancient Egyptian history, is can be drawn
that both gods held a sense of comradery as gods of kingship; having reconciled and united
to maintain the concept of Maat.47 Drawing conclusions of a positive, not demonising, view
of Seth.

37
Tyldesley, Judgement of Pharaoh: Crime and Punishment, 65.
38
ibid., 66.
39
Breasted, Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, 33.
40
ibid.
41
Griffiths, The Conflict of Horus and Seth: From Egyptian and Classical Sources, 10.
42
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 169.
43
ibid.
44
Griffiths, The Conflict of Horus and Seth: From Egyptian and Classical Sources 10, 34, 59, 124.
45
Simpson, The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 103. H. te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his
role in Egyptian mythology and religion, (Leiden, 1977), 107.
46
Cruz-Uribe, stH aA pHty: Seth: God of Power and Might, Journal of the American Research
Centre in Egypt, (45, 2009), 202.
47
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 70-1.

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The dominant piece of evidence of the who gods reconciled and united, come from the Pre-
Dynastic Period. Where both gods worked together in representing the concept of kingship,
and the king was expected to process the divine powers of both Seth and Horus. 48 This
representation can be found on the iconography of the royal serekh;49 the pre-cursor of the
cartouche that is found in later periods. Furthermore, during the Pre-Dynastic Period, the
queen carried the title, who see Horus and Seth,50 confirming that she saw the king as the
representation of the two gods united in reconciliation.
An interesting representation of the united gods, is drawn together by Kees, who
demonstrates that there was at least several Egyptian nomes who worshipped Horus and Seth
as a pair of falcons, which were viewed as a single god.51 Te Velde concludes that this form of
Horus and Seth is known as the dual god, Horus-Seth called Antywey.52 In support to this
initial worship of Horus and Seth combined, this form appears within the Book of Gates. Here,
Horus and Seth is known as Hrw.yfy or He with Two Faces and is depicted as a man with
two heads (one of Horus and the other of Seth).53 Te Velde states that Piankoff describes this
form, as representing:
the opposites, the forces of good and evil, Horus and Seth, are conciliated and now
form one figure.54
While there is some truth behind Piankoffs description of truth, however, describing the
union as the union of good and evil is an oversimplification. In his chapter, Seth und Apophis:
Gegengtter im gyptschen Pantheon?, 55 Brunner describes the relationship of the unity
between Horus and Seth as a relationship of dualities and is the pre-solved question of the
relationship of power and justice.56 Essentially, Seth is the embodiment of power and Horus
is the embodiment of law or justice; without each other, Seth is wild and dangerous and Horus
is weak and immature.57
A club of iron is swung down on your head. Horus seizes it and Seth will destroy you.58
A good example of this dual relationship of the two, comes from the reign of Hatshepsut of
the Eighteenth Dynasty. Where she was described as ruling the country as Horus (the king)
and as strong as Seth.59 Emulating that for the king to successfully rule, Horus and Seth must
cooperate with each other. Hence, Seth was known as the Guardian of Law or Order and it

48
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 71.
49
A. OBrien, The Serekh as an Aspect of the Iconography of Early Kingship, Journal of American
Research Centre in Egypt, (33 1996), 123.
50
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 71.
51
ibid.
52
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 69.
53
ibid.
54
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 70.
55
H. Brunner, Seth und Apophis: Gegengtter im gyptschen Pantheon, Das Hrende Herz
Orbisbiblicus Et Orientalis, (80, 1988), 121.
56
ibid.
57
Brunner, Seth und Apophis: Gegengtter im gyptschen Pantheon, Das Hrende Herz
Orbisbiblicus Et Orientalis, 122.
58
ibid.
59
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 71.

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is this attribute that he holds, that assists Seth in being the protector of the sun god every
day.60
Seth as the guardian of the sun god, especially during his route through the underworld, is his
best known positive aspect, and can be attested within a series texts. However, it is in the
Contendings of Horus and Seth, where we can find Pre-Harakhti declaring his decision to
choose Seth to stay by his side:
Let me be given Seth, the son of Nut, that he may dwell with me, being a son to me,
and he shall thunder in the sky and be feared.61
It should also be mentioned that throughout this version of the story, Pre-Harakhti was a
strong supporter of Seth and wished for him to inherit the throne of Osiris over Horus. For
reasons, which where stated before, the elder god believed that Horus was too immature for
the position and preferred the strength and seniority of Seth. 62 Nevertheless, Seth found
success as a guardian of the sun god, particularly as he is the one god who can single-handedly
fight and defeat the enemy of the sun, Apophis.63
To the ancient Egyptians, it was the serpent Apophis, who was believed to be a threat to their
livelihoods. Apophis, who has already been discussed above, was the enemy of the sun god.
Unlike Seth, he was never considered as a god, he was never represented within statuary and
was never worshipped.64 Therefore, it was Apophis, not Seth, who was the enemy of the gods
and humanity.65

Actions towards Osiris justified?


Within the Book of Dead, where the deceased had to declare innocence, it is stated that
adultery was an offence. 66 While it was more a family matter where consequences were
handled internally; with divorce was more than often the outcome.67 However, there are
fictional accounts which feature adultery with darker outcomes, nevertheless, provide insight
of how the ancient Egyptian legal system dealt with certain cases.
The first of these stories is King Cheops and the Magicians, where a man called Webaoner
finds his wife committing adultery with a townsman.68 This resulted in Webaoner summoning
a crocodile to snatch the man, and keep him at the bottom of the Nile. Webaoners actions

60
ibid.
61
Simpson, The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 103. te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role
in Egyptian mythology and religion, 107.
62
ibid.
63
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 99.
64
L.D. Morenz, On the Origin, Name, and Nature of an Ancient Egyptian Anti-god, Journal of Near
Eastern Studies, (63, 2004), 204.
65
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 71.
66
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 172.
67
ibid., 172.
68
K.W. Simpson, The Literature of Ancient Egypt, (New York, 2003), 14-16. VerSteeg, Law in Ancient
Egypt, 173.

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were ultimately approved by the King himself, a personification of Maat, and the townsman,
assuming, died.
... And His Majesty said to the crocodile: Take what belongs to you! The crocodile then
went down to the [depths] of the lake, and no one knew the place where he went with him.69
The second is the story of The Two Brothers, where the elder brother, Anubis finds his
younger brother Bata, with his wife.70 Resulting in the deaths of the wife and Bata; although
Bata is later pardoned by Anubis later in the story. This story, however, is often attributed to
being reminiscent to the story of Horus and Set, due to the similarity they share of sibling
rivalry.71 But the other theme it shares with the pervious story, is that of the vengeful husband,
guilty wife, is also shared with the story of Nephthys own act of adultery with Osiris.72
Despite that these stories are fictional, there is still evidence that a man could take the law
into his own hands and kill the man committing adultery with his wife, or both. However, it is
explicitly stated that such acts were not common. 73 Nevertheless, the act of vengeance,
especially one that is approved by the King in fiction, would provide Seth the perfect platform
to justifiably kill Osiris, even if it was out of jealousy of being the object of affection for his
sister/wife, Nephthys.
One conclusion that can be determined through this discussion, is that Seth, in his position as
guardian of the law and order, was maintaining law and order but unfortunately in his forceful
and chaotic nature. Giving the impression that he has committed a great injustice, even
though it was known that Osiris was to eventually die, to teach humanity about death and
loss.74

Views from modern scholarship.


While te Velde, who is an authority on Seth, only discussed Seths demonisation during the
time of the ancient Egyptians within his work on Seth: God of Confusion. It has been
increasingly common in more recent years, to find scholars such as Brunner, Cruz-Uribe and
von Lieven, demystifying the demonisation of Seth, by demonstrating that he is not an evil
god, that he is one of strength and was admired and he was not the only criminal throughout
ancient Egyptian religious history.
Brunners chapter, Seth und Apophis: Gegengtter im gyptschen Pantheon is a significant
discussion in relation to this topic regarding Seth. As it was discussed earlier within this paper,
Brunner deliberates on the duality between Horus and Seth, enforcing the true nature of Seth
and avoiding the ever-popular definition of evil that gets attested to him.75 And because of

69
ibid, 16.
70
Simpson, The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 82-83.
71
ibid., 104.
72
Griffiths, The Conflict of Horus and Seth: From Egyptian and Classical Sources, 91. te Velde, Seth:
God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 30.
73
VerSteeg, Law in Ancient Egypt, 174.
74
te Velde, Seth: God of Confusion: A study of his role in Egyptian mythology and religion, 32.
75
Cruz-Uribe, stH aA pHty: Seth: God of Power and Might, Journal of the American Research
Centre in Egypt, 201.

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Seth being defined as such, Brunner reminds us of who and what they ancient Egyptians
considered to be evil; Apophis, the enemy of Re.
Apophis ist der Urfeind schlechthin. Er wird nie als Gott...76
Cruz-Uribes own discussion on Seth, comes from his catalogue of artefacts that are significant
to understanding the role and position within ancient Egyptian religion. Keep true to the title
of his paper, stH aA pHty: Seth: God of Power and Might, Cruz-Uribe has chosen artefacts
that directly demonstrate the power Seth as a positive force within ancient Egyptian
religion.77 Which he also believes that modern scholars have misunderstood the significance
of Seths role and position; he states that there was never a proscription on the cult of Seth,
since it did survive after the New Kingdom.78
Finally, von Lievens article on Antisocial Gods? does not necessarily focuses on Seth, but
does focus on the offences and crimes that have been committed by other gods of the ancient
Egyptian pantheon. These crimes include acts of murder, rape and violence by gods such as
Osiris, Geb and Horus.79 The reasoning behind this paper is to bring forth the discussion that
Seth has long been the victim of receiving a negative reception due to his offensive actions,
due to her persona. Yet, even those who have a positive force within Egyptian religion, were
capable of committing offences that were just as bad or worse.80

Can the demonisation of Seth be justified Final Thoughts?


Following the discussion on what was concerned to be a crime and appropriate punishments
for those who committed them, how and what crimes were committed by Seth, as well as the
punishments he was said to have received. It can be concluded that Seth truly fitted into the
definition as the god of chaos. But unlike what he has been attributed to, Seth was never
considered to be evil.
For the ancient Egyptians, it was Isfet and Apophis who were the embodiments of evil. Isfet
was the opposite of Maat, meanwhile Apophis was the arch-enemy of Re and every night it
was Seth, who had the strength and might to defeat him. Ultimately protecting Re and
ensuring the continuity of his journey, so earth can see a new day.
Furthermore, as a god of kingship alongside his nephew, Horus. It was proposed within
ancient Egyptian literature that the two did reconcile and co-operate with each other for the
good of the world. It was also believed that the king of Egypt was meant to be the
embodiment of both gods, carrying the qualities of Horus sense of justice and Seths strength.
Seth, even though taking the law into his own violent hands, did murder Osiris out of
vengeance. Was still considered to be a guardian of law, and the guardian of Horus. If the

76
Brunner, Seth und Apophis: Gegengtter im gyptschen Pantheon, Das Hrende Herz
Orbisbiblicus Et Orientalis, 127.
77
Cruz-Uribe, stH aA pHty: Seth: God of Power and Might, Journal of the American Research
Centre in Egypt, 201-2.
78
ibid.
79
A. Von Lieven, Anti-social Gods?, in R. Nyord and K. Ryhott (eds), Lotus and Laureal: Studies on
Egyptian Language and Religion in Honour of Paul John Frandsen, 181.
80
ibid.

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ancient Egyptians did see Seth in such a negative light, like modern literature has portrayed
him, he would not be taking up such critical and important roles within the ancient Egyptian
cosmos.

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