Set, god of Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Set

The Mythology & History of ancient Egypt surrounding Set, the Egyptian god of evil and hostility

Set, god of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Set, who became known as the Egyptian god of evil, war, hostility, darkness, hot barren deserts and storms. Set was the younger son of the Earth God, Geb, and the Sky Goddess, Nut. Set was the brother of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys and he was also the consort of his sister Nephthys. Set featured in the mythology of the ancient Egyptians as the infamous brother of Osiris who he murdered and cut into pieces.

Set was depicted with the body of a human and the head of a fox-like animal with a long curved snout, tall rectangular ears. Additional, interesting facts and information about ancient Egypt, and its mysterious gods and goddesses, is also available via:

The Gods of Ancient Egypt Index

A - Z of Egyptian Gods & Goddesses

Who was Set?
According to many myths Set was the Egyptian god of chaos, evil, war, hostility, confusion, darkness, deserts and storms. He was associated with any unusual and frightening events in nature such as the eclipse of the sun, terrible storms or drought. However, in earlier myths he was seen as a friendly god to the dead. 

Facts about Set
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Set:

Set Profile & Fact File

Egyptian Name: Set

Role & Function: The function of Set is described as being the god of evil, hostility, war and foreign lands

Status: Set was a member of the Ennead, the name given to the nine original, most important, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses of the cosmogony of Heliopolis (the birthplace of the Gods)

Symbols: The symbols of divinity such as the 'was scepter' and the ankh, also dangerous water animals. His symbols therefore included the mythical griffin, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the tortoise, and above all the serpent

Alternative Names: Seth. His epithets were the "Powerful one of Thebes," and "Ruler of the South", "Powerful is His Mighty Arm" and "Lord of the desert"

Gender: Male

Name of Wife: Nephthys

Name of Father: Geb

Name of Mother: Nut

Name of Siblings: Osiris, Isis and Nephthys

Names of Children: None

Name in Hieroglyphics:

Set in Egyptian Mythology
Set, the Egyptian god of evil, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology as the personification of all that was terrible in nature, such as the harsh desert, drought, the storm and the tempest. This however, was the later description of the god. As an enemy to life, Set is identified with all destruction, however, earlier myths described Set in a more friendly light. 

Set and Warrior gods
According to one of the many other creation myths of ancient Egypt Set was believed to be the consort of Neith the warrior goddess of hunting and warfare and the father of Sobek the ferocious crocodile god and patron of the Egyptian army and royal warriors.

Early Egyptian Mythology about Set
In early Egyptian mythology Set was the brother of Horus. Set was the patron of Lower Egypt and Horus protected Upper Egypt. Set representing the night, the opposite to Horus who represented the day.  Together, these two gods performed many duties of a friendly nature for the dead. He was seen as a great warrior who protected the sun barge of Ra and fought the snake-like monster called Apep. Other legends say that together they set up and held the ladder by which the deceased made their way from earth to heaven. He was officially worshipped in an insignificant province west of the Nile, which was the starting point of the road to the northern oasis. The inhabitants of the area, were mostly guides to desert caravans, and it was in their interests to worship Set, the Lord of the desert.  When the Upper and Lower Egypt became united, Set and Horus were often depicted together, crowning the new pharaohs.

The Kings called Seti
The name Seti means "of Set", which indicates that a personage with this name was sanctified to the god Set. Seti I (reigned 1290 BC 1279 BC) the second king of the nineteenth dynasty of the 'shepherd kings' who was a Pharoah of the New Kingdom (1570 BC - 1070 BC) derived his name from the god Set as a sign of the high honor.

Set is turned into the God of Evil
Upper Egypt then conquered Lower Egypt and the pharaohs and kings of the south started to portray Set as the evil enemy of Horus and turned him into a god of evil. By the period in Egyptian History known as the Third Intermediate Period (1070 BC - 525 BC) Set was referred to as the god of evil. Figures of the benign god are uncommon, for most of them were destroyed by the Egyptians when they changed their views about him. The Egyptians of the twenty-second dynasty went so far as to erase Set's name from many of the older inscriptions and even to change the names of former kings that were compounds of Set. Set, the great and strong god of prehistoric times, was converted into Satan with the rise of the cult of Osiris. Typhon, or Typho, was the Greek form of Set, a serpent like monster in ancient Greek mythology. The 'typhon' was supposedly of a red color and made a sound much like that of a donkey, the animal to which Set is sometimes associated.

Set is turned into the God of Evil in Egyptian Mythology
The perception of the god Set therefore changed from that of an ambivalent god to the god of evil. His evil persona was illustrated in the mythology associated with the gods who formed the Ennead of Heliopolis in which he is cast as the murderer of his brother, Osiris. Osiris inherited the throne of Egypt and set was jealous of his power and position. According to the myth he tricked Osiris by inducing him to lie in a magnificent coffin as part of a game. He then murdered Osiris, his body into pieces and threw the coffin into the Nile. He then assumed the throne of Egypt. The wife of Osiris, Isis, found all the pieces to his body. Anubis, the son of Osiris, helped Isis and her sister Nephthys to rebuild his body and Anubis presided over the first mummification. When Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, became older he battled and vanquished Set, becoming the king of Egypt. The conquest of Set by Horus is seen as the victory of life over death and of good over evil.

Facts about Set in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Set, the Egyptian god of evil. The facts about Set provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Set in Egyptian Mythology.

Mythology and Facts about Set

Fact 1: He is sometimes depicted with a canine body and a forked tail

Fact 2: He was associated with foreign lands and foreigners

Fact 3: A great temple was devoted to Set, as the god of war, in Tanis

Fact 4: He was strongly linked to the color red.

Fact 5: His persona changed from that of a 'good guy' to a 'bad guy'

Fact 6: The Greeks associated him with the serpent monster Typhon

Fact 7: In burial rituals invocations were made to the good deities to defeat all the evil intentions of Set and his followers

Fact 8: The dread of hunger, thirst, and other ills was a perpetual source of fearful anticipations to every Egyptian.

Fact 9: He was worshipped at the temples of Ombos in Upper Egypt and in Sepermeru where he had a temple called House of Set, Lord of Sepermeru, his consort Nephthys had a smaller temple in this complex.

Fact 10: Sepermeru enjoyed prominence as a largely populated religious and military center during the 19th and 20th Dynasties (1292-1069 BC), known as the Ramesside period of the New Kingdom, after the eleven pharaohs that took the name of Ramesses.

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