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Ancient Egypt /
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

Detailed articleAncient Egypt

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Other spelling: Khons

Wall relief showing Khonsu. From his temple at Karnak, Luxor, Egypt.
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Wall relief showing Khonsu. From his temple at Karnak, Luxor, Egypt.

Temple of Khonsu at Karnak, Luxor, Egypt.
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Temple of Khonsu at Karnak, Luxor, Egypt.

In Ancient Egyptian Religion, the moon-god. Khonsu was a popular god, though not among the most important ones.
His name meant "wanderer" or "he who cross over."
Horus was usually represented as a human with a moon disk, sometimes mummified, sometimes with the head of a hawk. He would normally hold a sceptre and a flail. At Karnak he is usually represented as a divine child, which was indicated by the sidelock (long hair arranged on either side of the head), the sign of youth.
The clearest sign of a figure being Khonsu, was his wide necklace, but this may be worn by other gods as well (see Atum). When represented as a falcon, Khonsu usually differ from Re and Horus by carrying a moon disk above his head. But there are exceptions to this rule, like with the illustration of the Re article).
Khonsu belonged to the triad of Thebes, being the son of Amon and Mut. He also belonged to the triad of Kom Ombo, here being the son of Sobek and Hathor.
The main temple at Karnak was dedicated to Khonsu, built during the 20th Dynasty (12th and 11th century BCE). There were several other, but smaller temples dedicated to him across Egypt. His temple at Karnak was part of the processional route of the New Year festival.
Khonsu of the Old Kingdom was a god very different from the his appearance during the New Kingdom. In the older Pyramid Texts, he is presented as a bloodthirsty deity, who assists the deceased king in catching and slaying lesser gods, with whom the king could be fed to obtain his necessary strength.
In an intermediary stage, Khonsu came to be associated with child birth, which is obviously linked to his former role of giving the king life in the afterlife.
Much confusion relates to his role at Karnak, where he is presented with several different roles.
At his latest stages, like during the Ptolemaic dynasty, Khonsu would become more of a healing god. He was reported to have healed King Ptolemy 4 Philopator.

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By Tore Kjeilen