Osiris And Seth
Dating from Old Kingdom times (2700–2200 B.C.E.), this pair of opposites was defined in the Pyramid Texts and other ancient Egyptian mythological texts as brothers. While Osiris—together with his sister/wife Isis—was the incarnation of fertility and, eventually, life everlasting, Seth was evil personified. He was also a reflection of the arid desert that presses in on either side of Osiris's domain: the fertile Nile Valley. Seth was jealous of his brother and, through trickery, caused his death. However, with the help of Isis and their son Horus, who was iconographically represented as a falcon-headed man, Osiris was resurrected and ascended to heaven to become the judge of the dead. Meanwhile, Horus and Seth struggled mightily. It was one of the first examples of a supernatural conflict between good and evil, between a demon and his diametric opposite (Horus later became identified with the pharaoh, who was worshiped as a god incarnate). The falcon-headed god finally prevailed, and Seth was killed and dismembered. But the latter remained a quintessential demon, the template, as it were, for a great many later Western demonic figures.
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