scene from the north-west (second from west) of the “Complex of Sokar and Nefertum” in the “Great Temple” of King Sethi I at Abydos:
King Sethi I offering food and pouring sacred water on lotus and papyrus plants before Sokar enthroned.
On the top right, Horus of Behdet in His form of sacred Falcon, spreading His wings in protection.
Above the plants, six small images of the King kneeling and offering vases.
Sokar is represented mummiform, falcon-headed, holding the ‘Heqa’-scepter, the ‘Uas’-scepter, and the Flail.
On the throne of Sokar, the symbol for “Union of the Two Lands”.


“Hail, Sokar-Osiris, salutations, Ra-Harakhty and Khepry Who created Himself.
How beautiful is Your rising on the Horizon when You illuminate the Two Lands with Your rays!
All the Gods rejoice when They see Horus, King of the Sky, the Uraeus on Your head, the Crown of Upper Egypt and the Crown of Lower Egypt on Your brow.
They have made Their seat, while Thoth abides on the prow (of the Sun boat.)
Thoth abides in order to see the beauty of this, Your image.
I have come before You and I am with You.”
(inscription from a corn mummy, Brooklyn Museum 2007.1a-c)


from the Bremner-Rhind papyrus, dated to the beginning of the Ptolemaic age
(cfr. JEA, Vol. 23, No. 1).

This is one of the most important hymns recited in honor of Sokar during the highly sacred Mysteries of Osiris-Sokar celebrated in the month of ‘Ka-her-Ka’. After the invocations to Sokar there is also an hymn to Hathor connected to Her various forms identified with several Goddesses (like Sati, Outo, Sekhmet, Neith, and others).

“The Ritual of Bringing In Sokar in order to approach the Sheteyet Shrine” (the Cult-Shrine of Sokar in the necropolis of Memphis)

“As to any faithful devotee who shall serve his God, there shall be no prophet-priest of Bastet against him (because the prophet-priests of Bastet punish, at the ritual level, the impious ones), but as for the impious-one who hates the Temples of the Gods, death shall strike at his throat:
the Lord of Upper Djedu (Djedu is Busiris, and Upper Djedu is Abydos; the Lord of both cities is Osiris-Sokar) has come and has smitten the impious-one.

Recite sixteen times and make music,
words to say:

‘O Thou Who didst wear the White Crown even when coming forth from the womb!
O Eldest Son of the First Primeval One!
O Possessor of many faces, manifold of forms!
O Medicament of gold in the Temples!
O Lord of Time Who grantest years!
O Possessor of everlasting life!
O Lord of millions of years, rich in myriads!
O Thou Who shinest when rising peacefully!
O Thou Who healest for Thyself Thy throat!
O Thou Lord of fear, at Whom human beings tremble greatly!
O Possessor of many faces, rich in Uraei!
O Thou Who appearest with the White Crown, Lord of the Ureret-crown!
O Thou august offspring of Horhekenu!
O Soul of Ra in the Boat of Millions of Years!
O Lord Who rests, come to Thy Sheteyet Shrine!
O Thou Lord of fear Who came into being of Himself,
O weary of heart, come to Thy city!
O Thou Who rejoicest, come to Thy city!
O Thou well-beloved of the Gods and Goddesses,
O Thou Whose waters of life are great, come to Thy Temple!
O Thou Who dwellest in the Netherworld, come to Thine offerings!
O Thou Who protectest Thyself, come to Thy Temples!
O Thou Whose darkness is more enduring than the light of the Sun!
O august kiki-plant (the castor-oil plant) of the Great Temple!
O august rope-maker of the Night-bark!
O Thou Lord of the Henu-bark, youthful in the Sheteyet Shrine!
O Thou excellent Power Who art in the Realm of the dead!
O august controller of Upper and Lower Egypt!
O Thou Hidden One Whom the common folk know not!
O Thou Who blindfoldest him who is in the Netherworld from seeing the Sun!
O Lord of the Atef-Crown, great in the Temple of Herakleopolis!
O Thou Who art greatly majestic beside the naaret-tree!
O Thou Who art in Uaset, Who flourishest for ever!
O Amon-Ra, King of the Gods, Who dost perpetuate Thy flesh in peaceful rising!
O Thou Who increasest offerings and sacrifices in Rosetau (the NetherWorld)!
O Thou Who placest the Uraeus on the head of its Lord!
O Thou Who establishest the Earth in its place!
O Thou Who openest the mouths of the four Great Gods Who are in the Realm of the dead!
O Living Soul of Osiris when He appears as the Moon!
O Thou Whose body is hidden in the Great Sheteyet Shrine in Iunu-Heliopolis!
O Divine One Who hidest Osiris in the Realm of the dead!
O Thou Whose soul rests in Heaven, Whose foe is fallen!

The Divine Isis speaks to Thee with joyful voice from the river which the pure abed-fish cleaves in front of the bark of Ra.
The Lady of Horns (Hathor) is come into being with joy, the egg is come into being in the canal,
the heads of the impious-one are cut off in this Her name of Lady of Aphroditopolis,
the Lady of Horns is come in peace in this Her name of Hathor Lady of Mefkat (the Sinai),
the Lady of Uaset is come in peace in this Her name of Hathor Lady of Uaset,
She is come in peace as Tayt in that Her name of Lady of Hetepet, She is come in peace to overthrow Her foe in that Her name of Hathor Lady of the Temple of Herakleopolis,
the Golden One is come in peace in that Her name of Hathor Lady of Memphis,
. . . . Thou being at peace in the presence of the Lord of All (Ra) in this Thy name of Hathor Lady of the Red Mountain (near Iunu-Heliopolis),
the Golden One rises beside Her father (Ra) in this Her name of Bastet,
She Who has gone in front of the Temples beside the Sanctuary of Upper Egypt in this Her name of Satis,
She Who makes green the Two Lands and guides the Gods in this Her name of Uadjet,
Hathor has power over those who rebelled against Her father (Ra) in that Her name of Sekhmet,
Uadjet has power over good things in that Her name of Lady of Momemphis,
myrrh is on Her tresses in that Her name of Neith.

Hail to the Gods, each in His place:
Hathor Lady of Uaset,
Hathor Lady of Herakleopolis,
Hathor Lady of Aphroditopolis,
Hathor Lady of Sycomore-town,
Hathor Lady of Rohesa,
Hathor Lady of the Red Mountain,
Hathor Lady of Mefkat,
Hathor Lady of Memphis,
Hathor Lady of Uauat,
Hathor Lady of Momemphis,
Hathor Lady of Imet,
Hathor Lady of Sixteen.
O You, Nine Companions, come with Your hands bearing Your father Osiris:
the revered God comes – to say four times.

Hail, Crowned One, Crowned One, Sovereign!
Hail! How sweet is the smell which Thou lovest.
Hail! Live Thou, live Thou for ever.
Hail! Be Thou festal for ever.
Hail! Obeisance to the Opener of Roads!
Hail! Be Thou enduring in Upper Djedu (Abydos).
Hail, O God! Hear Thou the joyous worship,
hear Thou the worship in the mouth of the God’s region.
Hail! He Who came forth from His eyes is the son of a prophet-priest.
Hail, Thou Who art protected according to Thy word!
Hail! Behold, the King, Horus on Earth, does what Thou desirest.
Hail! Behold, the King, Horus on Earth, does what Thou praisest.
Hail, Thou Enthroned One! Come, O Thou weary-hearted one!
Hail, Thou son of a prophet-priest for Whom the ritual is recited!
Hail, Thou Whose name endures in Upper Djedu!
Hail, Thou Sweet-savoured one in Upper Djedu!
Hail! Come, Thou Who crushest the rebels against Maat.
Hail! Come, O Thou Youthful Adored One.
Hail! Thou the fear of Whom is put in the impious-ones!”

represented on the II Court of the “Temple of Millions of Years” of King Ramses III, West ‘Uaset’-Thebes

I scene:


King Ramses III offering food to Sokar enthroned.
Sokar is represented falcon-headed, wearing the White Crown with the two feathers, holding the ‘Ankh’ and the ‘Uas’-scepter.
Behind Sokar are represented two groups of three Gods enthroned:
the Gods in the upper register are called “the Ennead within the Shetayet (the Shetayet is the Cult-Shrine of Sokar in the necropolis of Memphis)”,
the Gods in the lower register are called “the Ennead residing in the Great Mansion”

II scene:


King Ramses III “offering incense to His Father Khnum presiding over His Walls”; behind Khnum are represented “Her-remenuyfy resident in the Great Mansion”, and “Shesmu presiding over the Great Mansion” both giving the ‘Ankh’ to the King. The three Gods confer to King Ramses III Jubilees, Kingship, Provisions, Health, Life, Joy, Victory and Dominion over all lands like Ra.

III scene:


King Ramses III holding the ritual censer and performing the Litany of Offerings to Sokar in all His names before the enshrined ‘Henu’-barque of Sokar-Osiris.
On the top left, Nekhbet in Her form of sacred vulture, holding the ‘shen’-ring with the ‘Heb-Sed’ (the symbol for “Royal Jubilee”).
On the prow of the ‘henu’-barque, an antelope-head facing backwards, a fish, and six small falcons; in the middle, the shrine topped by a falcon, and with another falcon emerging at its left. The pedestal is decorated with ‘Ankh’ and ‘Djed’ signs, and is flanked by altars and tables with various offerings (‘nemset’-jars and libation-ewers at left, the ritual censer and ointment vases at right); at right, a bouquet of flower.
Painting by Bollacher, from “Medinet Habu, Volume 4” by the Epigraphic Survey, plate 222


(first row)
Sokar in Sheteyet (the Cult-Shrine of Sokar in the necropolis of Memphis)
Sokar in the Royal Residence
Sokar in Heryt-ib
Sokar in Rosetau (one of the names of the Netherworld)
Sokar presiding over Rosetau
Sokar upon the desert hills
Sokar upon His sand
Sokar in His place within Rosetau
Sokar in Tjanenet (Memphite Sanctuary)
Sokar presiding over the Divine booth of the craftsmen
Sokar in Sahty (region near the I Pyramid of King Snefru)
Sokar in Nedyt
Sokar in Serut
Sokar in Bikty
(II row)
Sokar in Ne-Uret
Sokar in Shenut
Sokar in Sinu
Sokar in Hekenut
Sokar in Raminen (Ra-hemennet)
Sokar in the Land of Sokar
Sokar in Aper
Sokar of the Lake of …
Sokar in Qefenu
Sokar in Pedjushet (the Overflow)
Sokar in Faut
Sokar presiding over His city
Sokar in the barque of the Two Maat-Goddesses
Sokar in Ges-peseh-Sokar
Sokar in Henu
(III row)
Sokar in Siut
Sokar in Biket
Sokar in His places within Upper Egypt
Sokar in His places within Lower Egypt
Sokar in the foreign coutries
Sokar in the Southern Lake
Sokar in the Northern Lake (Lake Moeris)
Sokar in Heaven
Sokar on Earth
Sokar in all His Temples
Sokar in all His establishments
Sokar in all His tombs/shrines
Sokar in all His Divine booths
Sokar in every place in which He likes to be
Sokar in all His Names
, by the gift of King Ramses III, Thy son Who celebrates Thy festival, eternally”

IV scene:


this scene is entitled “Drawing along Ptah-Sokar-Osiris in order to go round the Walls by the King Himself”.
King Ramses III walks forth “following the God at His promenade when He goes round the walls by this One (the King)”; Sokar confers to the King Jubilees, Kingship, Provisions, Health, Life, Joy, Victory and Dominion.
The ‘Henu’-barque of Sokar is carried by sixteen priests, four by four (and in the middle there are two other priests)

V scene:


to the left, the symbol of Nefertum (the Lotus) is carried by eighteen priests (in the middle there is a ‘sem’-priest); the symbol of Nefertum is called “Nefertum-Nebkau-Hor-Hekenu”; behind it, another priest carries a Falcon standing on a standard, called “Horus on His papyrus”. Then, there are two rows of courtiers, royal princes, and prophet-priests holding the long ends of a cord of which the mid-point is held by King Ramses III (to the right, following them); before them is represented the lector-priest reciting from a scroll the main text of this scene:

“To be recited sixteen times. The Chief Lector Priest recites the words, and the courtiers reply to him.

Words that the Chief Lector Priest utters when conducting Sokar:

“Hail! Be triumphant, triumphant, O Sovereign!
Hail! How sweet is the fragrance which Thou lovest!
Hail! Behold, I perform the things which Thou lovest!
Hail! I shall do what Thou dost praise!
Hail! I kiss the Earth, I open the way, O Favoured-Ones of Abydos!
Hail! Fiery of Eye, son of a prophet-priest!
Hail! Protection is according to what Thou sayest!
Hail! I love Thy face when Thou restest in the God’s broad hall within the Temple!
Hail! Abydos has for name, ‘Abydos’; Abydos has for name ‘Abydos’!
Hail! How pleasant is the fragrance of Abydos, Abydos is protected, protected!
Hail! My God, hearken Thou to the worship!
Hail! Pray, be joyous, and hearken Thou to the worship that comes from the mouth of ‘the two regions of the God’ (Egypt)!
Hail! As for a devotee who follows his Lord, Bastet shall not have power over him!
Hail! We pray, come, drive out the rebels against Maat! We pray, come, instruct the child (the child is Horus)!
Hail! Put the fear of Thee into the rebels against the Gods!
Hail! Be Thou pleased and come Thou, O Weary-hearted One!
Hail! The son of the prophet-priest it is he who reads the ritual.
Hail! Enduring of name in Upper ‘Djedu’ (Abydos)!
Hail! Mayest Thou live, mayest Thou live forever!
Hail! Thy festivals shall be everlasting.
Hail! The Lord of Upper ‘Djedu’ (Sokar-Osiris) has come, He has smitten the rebels against Maat!
For the beautiful, good, and perfect God, beloved of Sokar, that He may grant very numerous jubilees to the King Ramses III, Horus on Earth”

VI and last scene:


The whole scene is divided in two rows: from left to right, priests beating time, censing, and libating; then, priests carrying five sacred boats, Lotus-standards of the God Nefertum, and a box with five geese; there follow Uab-Priests carrying standards and offerings; the foremost Uab-Priest on the lower register carries a standard before which other priests fall down in adoration; the last priest on the lower register offers incense to King Ramses III. The King follows the procession, and is attended by two rows of priests.

The Texts:

-Over the priests beating time:
‘Chorus of musicians:
“The Doors of Heaven are opened, that the God may come forth!
Be Thou pure! The Two Shrines rejoice, O One Pure in Beauty.
The Two Lands honour the Triumphant, the Righteous One: Welcome to Thee, welcome to Thee, O Apis, in the goodly procession.
Mayest Thou protect the Lord of the Two Lands, King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, forever”.

-Over the priests censing and libating:
‘Purifying the path of the God with incense and libation before the Majesty of this God, when going around the walls of this Temple’

-Upper register:
First Barque:
‘The one who navigates gloriously for Hathor. She says:
“O Ramses III, I love and endue Thy limbs with Life and Dominion like Ra”.
May She give all Life, Stability, and Dominion, and all Health to King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, like Ra, forever’.

Priest with the Lotus-standard of the God Nefertum:
‘He Who gives Ihy to Hathor’

Second Barque:
‘The One Who makes prosper the people resident in Sau … . May She gives all Life, Stability, and Dominion, all Joy, and Health, to King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, forever’

Second Priest with the Lotus-standard of the God Nefertum:
‘Around, around, like Ra’

Third barque:
‘The One Who prospers the people for Shesmetet, Who comes forth as Horus for Sekh-bawes. The Lady of Diadems, Queen of the Two Lads, may She give Life, Stability, and Dominion to King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, forever.
May She give Health and Joy to King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, forever’

Third priest with the Lotus-standard of the God Nefertum:
‘Nefertum, Protector of the Two Lands’

-Lower register:
First Barque:
‘The One Who pacifies the Lords, protecting the Two Lands for Bastet. She says:
“O Lord of the Two Lands, Ramses III, Horus on Earth, I love Thy Beauty, I give Thee jubilees like Ra” ‘.

Second Barque:
‘The One Who opens the Secret Cavern, Who protects the Two Lands for Sekhmet, may She give all Life, Stability, and Dominion, and all Joy to King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, as King of the Two Lands’

-Text over the Procession, Upper register:
‘The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, User-Maat-Ra Beloved of Amon, He invokes His father Sokar-Osiris.
Words uttered by the Lord of the Two Lands Who protects His father:

“I shall celebrate the Feast of my father Osiris at its proper time.
I shall hide His weariness in Abydos, I shall conceal the Hidden Mysteries in this night of the Festival of the Weary-hearted One.
I shall drive away the aggressor, and restrain his confederates.
I fill the offering-tables and vessels.
I restore the Altars.
I endow Him Who is in His Shrine.
Hail to Thee, my father Osiris.
Thou art exalted upon Thy standard.
Thy Great Crown is in the hearts of those who are yonder, while the Ennead of the Gods is in Thy following.
They give Thee praise and adoration in the residence of Nefertum, in Busiris, in the nome of Mendes, in Abydos, and in the Temple of Ramses III in the estate of Amon; as long as Thou endurest, mayest Thou be living, happy, powerful, stable, and protected in the necropolis” ‘.

-Text before the Procession:
‘The Gods Who accompany Sokar, may They grant Eternity as King of the Two Lands to Ramses III, Horus on Earth, and may They incline Their hearts towards Ramses III, , Horus on Earth, that He may celebrates jubilees forever’

-Text before the Procession, Lower register:
‘Praise to Thee, O Sokar-Osiris, Great God, Lord of Sheteyet! Mayest Thou give Life, Stability, and Dominion to King Ramses III, Horus on Earth, forever’

-Text over the Procession, Lower register:
‘Adoring Upuaut by King Ramses III; words uttered:
“Arise Thou, O Horus,
mayest Thou inherit these Thy two portions,
Lord of the four portions, Thou alone!
Rejoice, O Horus,
Thou hast taken Thine Eye, Thou hast raised it to Thy face, Thou hast grasped it!
Lift up Thy countenance, O Horus,
That Thou mayest see Heaven!
Those in Heaven have come to Thee on the day on which Thou didst see.
Be exalted, O Horus,
Thou hast awakened Him Who is in the darkness!
Live Thou, O Horus,
In Thy name of ‘Life of all people’!
Thy Great Crown has seized the hearts of the Nine Bows (the ‘Nine Bows’ are the enemies of Egypt)!
Fear of Thee is in Upper Egypt,
Thy following pervades Lower Egypt.
This Horus, the Heir of Geb,
He commands the Gods, He has served Him (Osiris).
Embrace Thy harpoons, O Horus,
be bold of heart!
Go, O Horus,
take Thy knife, take the road against them, open Thou the way against them, mayest Thou be powerful!
Thou seest with Thine Eye of Thine own body.
Live, O Horus,
Behold Thou, Thou art the God at the head of the Gods upon Earth!
Thy Righteousness is Thine, O Horus,
Thou art united with Thy Ba (the Soul).
‘Tis granted Thee, O Horus,
that Thou be before the Gods,
Living as Atum” ‘

-Text before the King:
‘Burning incense before His Majesty, Life, Power, Health, to His Uraeus and to His Two Serpent-Goddesses’

-Text above the attendant-priests of the King:
‘The King follows Sokar, He drives off the rebel, He has overthrown the foes of His father Osiris, that He may give the inheritance to His beloved son as millions and hundred-thousands of years forever and eternally!’



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