Khonsu

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Khonsu (alternately Chonsu, Khensu, Khons, Chons or Khonshu) is an Ancient Egyptian god whose main role was associated with the moon. His name means "traveller" and this may relate to the nightly travel of the moon across the sky. Along with Thoth he marked the passage of time. Khonsu was instrumental in the creation of new life in all living creatures. At Thebes he formed part of a family triad with Mut as his mother and Amun his father. At Kom Ombo he was worshipped as son of Sobek and Hathor.[1]

Contents

Attributes

Khonsu is typically depicted as a mummy with the symbol of childhood, a sidelock of hair, as well as the menat necklace with crook and flail. He has close links to other divine children such as Horus and Shu. He is sometimes shown wearing a falcon's head like Horus, with whom he is associated as a protector and healer, adorned with the sun disk and crescent moon.[1]

He is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts, in which he is depicted in a fierce aspect, but he does not rise to prominence until the New Kingdom, when he is described as the "Greatest God of the Great Gods". Most of the construction of the temple complex at Karnak was centered on Khonsu during the Ramesside Period.[1] His temple at Karnak is in a relatively good state of preservation, and on one of the walls is depicted a cosmogeny in which Khonsu is described as the great snake who fertilizes the Cosmic Egg in the creation of the world.[2]

Khonsu's reputation as a healer spread outside Egypt; a stele records how a princess of Bekhten was instantly cured of an illness upon the arrival of an image of Khonsu.[3] King Ptolemy IV, after he was cured of an illness, called himself "Beloved of Khonsu Who Protects His Majesty and Drives Away Evil Spirits".

Locations of Khonsu's cult were Memphis, Hibis and Edfu.[1]

Etymology

His name reflects the fact that the Moon (referred to as Aah in Egyptian) travels across the night sky, for it means traveller, and also had the titles Embracer, Pathfinder, and Defender, as he was thought to watch over night travelers. As the god of light in the night, Khonsu was invoked to protect against wild animals, increase male virility, and to aid with healing. It was said that when Khonsu caused the crescent moon to shine, women conceived, cattle became fertile, and all nostrils and every throat was filled with fresh air.

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