Set (Seth, Setekh, Sut, Sutekh, Sety) was one of the most ancient of the Egyptian gods and the focus of worship since the Predynastic Period. As part of the Ennead of Heliopolis he was the son of Nutand Geb and the brother of Osiris, Horus the elder, Isis and Nephthys. He was a storm god associated with strange and frightening events such as eclipses, thunderstorms and earthquakes. He also represented the desert and, by extension, the foreign lands beyond the desert. His glyph appears in the Egyptian words for “turmoil”, “confusion”, “illness”, “storm” and “rage”. He was considered to be very strong but dangerous, and strange. However, he was not always considered to be an evil being. Set was a friend of the dead, helping them to ascend to heaven on his ladder, and he protected the life giving oases of the desert, and was at times a powerful ally to the pharaoh and even the sun god Ra.
The earliest representation of Set can be found on a carved ivory comb from the Amratian period (Naqada I, 4500BC – 35BC, orthodox dates) and he also appears on the famous Scorpion mace head. His worship seems to have originated in one of the most ancient settlements in the town of Nubt (Kom Ombo), in upper (southern) Egypt. Nubt (near modern Tukh) lies near the entrance to the Wadi Hammammat, the doorway to the eastern desert and its gold deposits, and the city took its name from the word for gold, Nbt (which also means ruler or lord). As a result Set was sometimes called “He of gold town”. Nubt was the most important of the ancient settlements, and was located close to the site of the Naqqada settlement from which this early culture takes it name. Pre-dynastic worship of Set was also evident in the 19th and 19thNomes of Upper Egypt.
The standard for the 11th Nome is topped by a Set animal…
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