ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian deities: Kherty

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Kherty

also Kherti, Cherti etc.
 
    Kherty, Xr.tj ,[1] was an ancient chthonic god of the underworld associated with Osiris. His name has been interpreted by some as "the Lower One", embodiment of the earth itself.[2] Like Osiris he could be dangerous to man and was feared, but was also invoked as a protective deity.[3] Thus Pepi I pleads in the Pyramidtexts
Respect me, Osiris! Protect me, Kherty!
PT 534 [4]
and Menkaure hoped to get on the god's good side by calling himself beloved of Kherty.[5] Becoming an akhu was apparently conditional upon not falling into the hands of these two gods of the Underworld who might enclose the deceased in the bowels of the earth and prevent him from rising to the heavens and take his place among the eternal stars:
He [8] has saved me from Kherty, he will never give me to Osiris, for I have not died the death. I possess a spirit in the horizon and stability in Djedut
PT 264 [6]
    In the Pyramidtexts of Unas Kherty was also a ferryman:
O Kherti of Nezat, ferryman of the jqh.t-barge, made by Khnum, bring this (i.e. the boat) to Unas. Unas is Sokar of Ro-setau[10]
PT 200

Appearance and associations

    Usually Kherty had the shape of a ram which led to his being associated with Khnum, but was also depicted as a lion or a bull and in these shapes he was at times associated with the sungod Re. His main cult place was at Letopolis,[3] where he became assimilated to Horus the Elder.[7] According to PT 581 he was also the foremost of Nesat.[9]
Footnotes:
[1] MdC transliteration Xr.tj, Wb 3, 396.11
[2] Griffiths 1980, p.174
[3] Wilkinson 2003, pp.193f.
[4] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Pyramidentexte => Pyramide Pepis I. => Ebener Eingang => nördl. der Fallsteine => Ostwand => PT 534
[5] Fiechter 2001, p.34
[6] Faulkner (1910) 2004, p.73
[7] Schwarz 1979, p.142
[8] i.e. Re-Harakhte (Hart 2005, p.85)
[9] University of Birmingham, Historical Journal, Volume 5, Issue 1, 1955, p.4
[10] Ro-setau, MdC transliteration rA-sTA.w, is often translated as Underworld, though Afterworld might be more apt. It was among other things the place in the Amduat dedicated to Sokar, where his boat had to be towed over sandbanks.
 
Bibliography:
R. O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, originally published in 1910, Kessinger Publishing, 2004
Jean-Jacques Fiechter, Mykérinos: le dieu englouti, Maisonneuve & Larose, 2001
John Gwyn Griffiths, The origins of Osiris and his cult, Brill, 1980
Hart 2005
Fernand Schwarz, Géographie sacrée de l'Égypte ancienne, Nouvelles éditions Oswald, 1979
Wilkinson 2003
 

 
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