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Ancient Egyptian deities: Sokar
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Sokar

also Soker, Seker, Sekar, Sokaris
 
    Originally, Sokar, zkr (transliteration zkr) was venerated in the region of Memphis, above all the local necropolis, and may have been a patron god of artisans–during the Old Kingdom he made the bones of the kings [13] and became associated with Ptah;[9] in the New Kingdom Book of the Dead he manufactured silver foot-baths for the deceased. He may also have been involved in the production of perfumes for the deceased:[13]
May Sokar make your smell pleasant
Tomb of Mehu, Saqqara [14]
He was probably also an earth and fertility god. Like Osiris, with whom he was associated early on, he became a god of the dead and of the underworld.[1]
Sokar-Osiris, Lord of the Secret Place (StA.yt), Great God, Lord of the Necropolis
Book of the Dead, pLondon BM 10470 [4]
    Sokar was the personification of the underworld. Thus in the Book of the Dead Re enters Sokar daily:
Greetings to you, who sets in the West, Father of gods!
May you join your mother in the mountain of the West!
Her arms receive you every day.
The image of your majesty
(i.e. the sun) is inside Sokar.
pTurin Museo Egizio 1791 Tb 1-113, Tb 015 i [6]
The same papyrus speaks of the darkness, the kk.w,[8] which is in Sokar,[7] while according to Pepi I's Pyramid texts, spell PT 566, Sokar stands in the bow of Re's maat-barque.

Cult

    Memphis was the god's cult centre. At Sokar's festival, which in Ninetjer's times was celebrated every six years but may have become an annual event later on,[11] his bark, the Henu (translit. Hnw), was put on a sledge, loaded with a stone which may have been a representation of the god, and dragged through the fields. The procession was followed by people wearing strings of onions around their necks.[1] Agricultural activities were symbolically enacted, such as hoeing the earth and digging irrigation canals.[10] A harper's song refers briefly to the festival:
One says of you: "He has pulled Sokar's bark," when you put Henu on his sledge and went around the enclosure in his following, while Faience was on his chest.
Harper's song from the tomb of Neferhotep (TT 50) [3]
    In the Book of the Dead dragging the god on his sledge was considered one of the laudable deeds improving the deceased's chances in the underworld:
I have opened the caves of Hapi.
I have freed the path for the Aten.
I have dragged Sokar on his sledge.
Book of the Dead, pNu [2]
    Osirian corn mummies were buried in the ground in ceremonies related to rebirth. Corn mummies of Sokar-Osiris were at times hidden in Sokar statuettes. For the enactment of the Osirian mysteries during the Khoiak festival Sokar figurines were made, according to how the goddess Shentayet had formed Sokar's body: spices, dates, precious stones and metal were added to clay from which an egg was formed, which was then divided into fourteen parts.[12]
    Since the New Kingdom the festivals of Sokar, above all the one in the Theban necropolis, had become quite important [9] and may have been second only to the Opet festival;[13] but Sokar was above all connected with the royal mortuary cult and the scarcity of Sokar scarabs suggests he did not inspire the populace at large to any great extent in a non-mortuary context.[10]

Appearance

Sokar From the Amduat: Sokar in a cave of the underworld guarded by the double-headed Aker, overcomes a snake of chaos.
Tomb of Thutmose III at Thebes.[12]

    The first depictions of the god date to the New Kingdom.[13] Sokar was shown in the shape of a falcon, apparently his original form,[10] sitting on a stone. in the Amduat he has the form of a man with a falcon head,[1] at times his body is mummiform.[9] He was also represented as a human or falcon head emerging from a mound.[12]
    As Ptah-Sokar-Osiris he is at times shaped like a pigmy.[10] He is also depicted as an earth mound at times, supporting a boat with a hawk's head.[9]

Syncretisms, relationships

    As early as the Old Kingdom Sokar was connected with Osiris:[1] Sokar was the name of Osiris after he had been killed by Seth.
They found Osiris after his brother Seth had thrown him to the ground in Nedit, when Osiris Pepi said: "You shall go away from me!", his name Sokar coming into being.
Pyramid of Pepi, PT 532 [15]
the pun on "go away from me", zj=k r=j serving the Egyptians as 'explanation' for the name Sokar, zkr.
    Known as Ptah-Sokar-Osiris since the Middle Kingdom. the god was depicted as a mummy with a human head, wearing a double feathered crown.[9]
    As Ptah-Sokar his consort was Sekhmet.[13]
    The divine ferryman Nemty was in charge of Sokar's Henu-boat.

Epithets

    A text from a temple library calls him Sokar, Lord of the Horizon.[5] In the Amduat he is He who is upon his sand.[9]. He is also referred to as He of Rosetau, Rosetau, R'-sTA.w, being the entrance to the underworld.[10] He was also the Great God with his Two Wings Opened.[13]
[1] Manfred Lurker, Lexikon der Götter und Symbole der alten Ägypter, Scherz 1998, p.189
[2] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Totenbuchprojekt, Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften => pLondon BM EA 10477 (pNu) => Tb 100
[3] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften => 4. Poetische Literatur => Harfnerlieder => Harfnerlieder Text J: Neferhotep (TT 50), Lied 3 => Harfnerlieder Text J
[4] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Totenbuchprojekt, Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften: pLondon BM 10470 => Tb 185
[5] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => späte Ritualbücher => Tempelbibliotheken => Bibliothek eines Tempels im Delta (Heliopolis?) => pBrooklyn 47.218.50 ("Confirmation du pouvoir royal au nouvel an") => 2. Die Zeremonien zum Lobpreis des Horus, "der das Erbe verleiht", Line [17,23]
[6] After a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Totenbuchprojekt, Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften => pTurin Museo Egizio 1791 Tb 1-113 => Tb 015 i, Line [44]
[7] pTurin Museo Egizio 1791, Tb 017, Line [73]
[8] cf. Kuk, transliteration: kkw, the god of the primordial darkness
[9] Ian Shaw & Paul Nicholson, The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, British Museum Press 1995, pp.273ff.
[10} Richard H. Wilkinson, The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson 2003, pp.209f.
[11] Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early dynastic Egypt, Routledge, 2001, p.301
[12] Geraldine Pinch, Egyptian mythology: a guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt, Oxford University Press US, 2004, pp.202f.
[13] George Hart, The Routledge dictionary of Egyptian gods and goddesses, Routledge, 2005, p.149
[14] after a transliteration and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website: Altägyptisches Wörterbuch, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften => Grabinschriften => Sakkara => Unas-Friedhof => Grabkomplex des Mehu => Texte aus dem Mehu-Grab => Pfeilerportikus => Nordwand => Texte
[15] 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 => Westwand => PT 532
 

 
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