Khonsu, god of Egypt
Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Khonsu
The Mythology & History of ancient Egypt surrounding Khonsu, the god of the moon and fertility
Khonsu, god of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Khonsu, the Egyptian lunar god of fertility. According the ancient Egyptian mythology he was the son pf Amun and Mut and together the three gods were referred to as the Triad of Thebes. Reminiscent of Horus, he was depicted as a man with the head of a falcon. On his head he wore a crown or headdress consisting of a crescent moon, topped by a full moon. The moon god Khonsu, was described as the pendulum of heaven and precise divider of months. Khonsu was the mathematical aspect of Thoth, the ibis-headed god of knowledge. Additional, interesting facts and information about ancient Egypt, and its mysterious gods is also available via:
Who was Khonsu?
Khonsu was the Egyptian god of the moon and fertility. Egyptian gods and goddesses closely resembled the appearance of humans, but many of their gods, such as Khonsu, were also perceived as 'human hybrids' depicted with human bodies with the heads of birds or animals. The symbol of Khonsu was the falcon which was used as a recognition aid and a device to visually convey the powers, identity and attributes of the god.
Facts about Khonsu
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Khonsu:
Khonsu Profile & Fact File
|Egyptian Name:||Khonsu. Alternative Names: Chons, Khons, Chonsu, Khensu, or Khonshu. His name means "wanderer"|
|Role & Function:||The function of Khonsu is described as being the lunar god of time and fertility |
|Status:||Member of the Theban triad (Mut, Amun and Khonsu) |
|Symbols:||The crescent and full moon, the falcon, a crook, flail, and scepter |
|Cult Center:||Thebes (modern day Luxor)|
|Titles:||"Khonsu, the chronographer" and "Khonsu the Merciful"|
|Name of Parents:||In the Thebes Triad he was the son of Mut and Amun|
|Name in Hieroglyphics:||Translation of Hieroglyphics for Khonsu: Moon over water, papyrus stem, quail signifying the horizon & sign of sitting god|
Khonsu in Egyptian Mythology
Khonsu, the Egyptian god of moon, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology. His symbols were crescent and full moon, the falcon, a crook, flail, and scepter. Although best known as a lunar deity he was also associated with healing. According to ancient Egyptian mythology he was credited with healing the pharaoh Ptolemy IV who subsequently took the epithet "beloved of Khonsu who protects the king and drives away evil spirits". Khonsu was often depicted as a child and revered as a protector of children against dangerous animals and represented standing on crocodiles. Ancient Egyptians appealed to him as 'Khonsu the Merciful' for help when they were ill.
Khonsu in Egyptian Mythology
The duties of the ibis-headed god Thoth included that of secretary of the sun god Ra and scribe of the Underworld and Khonsu was perceived as his mathematical counterpart. The Egyptians appreciated the regular cycles of the moon, and made them the base for their calendar of twelve months making up a lunar year. Khonsu was therfore described as the pendulum of heaven and the precise divider of months and had the epithet of "Khonsu, the chronographer".
Khonsu and the Triad of Thebes
Khonsu was a member of the three gods referred to as the Triad of Thebes. The sacred Triad of Thebes consisted of Mut, the vulture goddess of the sky, the mighty Amun god of the air, sun and the sky and their son Khonsu. Temples and shrines dedicated to the worship of the three gods in the Triad of Thebes existed throughout Egypt, however their cult center was at Karnak, part of the ancient city of Thebes (Luxor), with its massive temple complex. Major construction work on the massive temple complex during the Eighteenth dynasty of the New Kingdom (1570 BC - 1070 BC), when Thebes became the capital of the unified Egypt. Khonsu was also one of a triad of gods with Sobek and Hathor called the Triad of Kom Ombo.
Khonsu and the Religious Revolution of Akhenaten
The worship of the gods in the Triad of Thebes was halted temporarily by the edicts of the pharaoh Akhenaten, the father of Tutankhamen. Akhenaten started a religious revolution in Egypt by banning the worship of all gods including Khonsu, in favor of just one god - the Aten. During this period the Pharaoh Akhenaten used the Egyptian military to destroy the old religion and all of its gods. He also tried to destroy the powerful priesthood of the Triad of Thebes. The Temple at Karnak in Thebes and dedicated to the triad of gods was closed, the priests were thrown out and Akhenaten ordered the statues of the old gods to be destroyed. The religious revolution lasted for 16 years from 1349BC - 1333BC until the abdication and death of Akhenaten. The worship of the Triad of Thebes including Khonsu was re-established and grew into even greater prominence in ancient Egypt.
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The Temple of Khonsu
The Temple of Khonsu is located in the large Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak, in Luxor, Egypt. The Temple of Khonsu iwas originally constructed by Ramesses III (1184 BCE to 1153 BCE), on the site of an earlier temple. The gateway to the temple was at the end of an avenue of ram headed sphinxes, the symbol of Amun, that ran to the Temple of Amun. Ptolemy III Euergetes constructed a great gateway and enclosing wall for the temple but only the gateway now remains. The Khonsu Temple The temple contained not only a suite of rooms for the housing of the statue of the god, but also a separate barque chamber. The statue of Khonsu, along with statues of Amun and Mut, were conveyed by boat from the temple of Karnak to the temple of Luxor, a journey of about 2 miles, during the Opet festival, in order to celebrate the marriage between Amun and Mut.
- The Temple of Khonsu was protected by an avenue of ram headed lion sphinxes, called a criosphinx The 'Crio' in Criosphinx comes from the Greek word "Krios" meaning ram
- A quay connected the temple, via a Canal, to the Nile
- The Sacred Lake at the temple complex in Karnak provided water for the purification of priests and symbolically represented the primordial-ocean and renewal as the sun rose over it each day
- Egyptians were only allowed to go to the gates, or forecourt, of the temples to offer gifts to the Gods
- Egyptian temples, such as the Temple of Khonsu, had similar designs and features and would probably have included a pair of obelisks at the entrance to the temple and pylons
- Temples had heavy gates which accessed a massive hall with great stone columns, and led to a series of many other chambers that gradually decreased in size
- The lighting in the temples was deliberately reduced to create an atmosphere of mystery
- The Naos was the stone tabernacle inside the shrine which would have housed a great statue to Khonsu
Facts about Khonsu in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Khonsu, the Egyptian god of the moon and fertility. The facts about Khonsu provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Khonsu in Egyptian Mythology.
History, Mythology and Facts about Khonsu
|Fact 1:||Khonsu was a lunar deity, the god of fertility and healing and a keeper of time|
|Fact 2:||He was the son of the god Amun and the goddess Mut. Together, the three gods were called the Triad of Thebes.|
|Fact 3:||His name derives from the Egyptian word "khenes" meaning "to cross" or "to travel" in reference to to his journeys across the sky|
|Fact 4:||As a god of fertility Khonsu was believed to make the plants grow and for women to conceive.|
|Fact 5:||Khonsu is often depicted as a mummy or as a child with the symbol of childhood, a sidelock of hair|
|Fact 6:||The Great Temple of Khonsu was built in the precinct of the temple of Karnak at Thebes (Luxor)|
|Fact 7:||A great statue of Khonsu was conveyed by boat from the temple of Karnak to Luxor during the Opet festival, in order to celebrate the marriage of his parents, Amun and Mut|
|Fact 8:||One of the walls at his temple at Karnak depicts a cosmogeny in which Khonsu is described as the great snake who fertilizes the Cosmic Egg in the creation of the world|
|Fact 9:||Taweret, the hippopotamus goddess, as "Opet," had small temple near the 'House of Khonsu' at Karnak.|