Horus Falcon “Symbol of Kingship” The Horus Falcon is an enduring symbol of ancient Egyptian culture and religion that reflects the ancient Egyptians’ respect for the falcon which is the official animal of Egypt and their belief in its connection to Horus the falcon sky god of protection and kingship. The Horus Falcon was used as a hieroglyph, meaning “God” or “Divine”. It was often combined with other symbols to form the names of gods, such as Ra-Horakhty (Horus of the Two Horizons), Khonsu (The Traveler), and Montu (The Warrior). The Horus Falcon hieroglyph was also used to write the word “pharaoh”, which literally means “Great House” or “Palace”. The Horus Falcon can be seen carved on temples, tombs, statues, and amulets which were worn by the elites of the Egyptian Society. The falcon is the spirit animal and one of the images of this great god. The flacon can be seen wearing a double crown that symbolized his rule over Upper and Lower Egypt and sometimes with outstretched wings and a sun disk on its head to represent royal authority and divine protection.
History The king’s name was written in hieroglyphs and the Horus falcon, in reference to the god Horus, usually surmounted it. As a result, the king’s name in the serekh came to be known by Egyptologists as his ‘Horus name.’ The writing of the king’s name within the serekh symbolized the king in his palace as the center of royal administration and power. The serekh as a whole was therefore a symbol of kingship. The presence of the Horus falcon showed that the living king was a manifestation of the god. Additionally, the Horus names of several First Dynasty kings expressed the aggressive authority of Horus, perhaps reflecting the coercive power of kingship at this early stage of Egyptian statehood. Examples of such names are ‘Horus the fighter’ (Hor-Aha), ‘Horus the strong’ (Djer), and ‘arm-raising Horus’. All of these names reveal the warlike iconography of the earliest royal monuments from the period of state formation. They emphasize an authority based upon military strength and the power of life and death. The emphasis in the Second Dynasty, however, began to change possibly due to the periods of instability that the kings faced, though the exact reason is still disputed. This led to a slight alteration in the structure of the serekh, solely during the reigns of Peribsen and Khasekhemwy. Since this alteration only occurred during these two reigns, it is seen as an exception, as the succeeding kings returned to the previous iconography.