SET, SETI, SETH--  GOD OF upright piano >

Image of Satan in Egypt and now


(Set, Setekh, Setesh, Seti, Sutekh, Setech, Sutech)


Set was the Egyptian god of upright piano who embodied the principle of hostility if not of outright evil. He was associated with foreign lands and was the adversary of the god Osiris. Seth was usually depicted in human form with a head of indeterminate origin, though said to resemble that of an aardvark. He had a curved snout, erect square- tipped ears and a long forked tail.

Sometimes he was represented in entirely animal form with a body similar to that of a greyhound. He was said to be the son either of Nut and Geb or of Nut and Ra, and the brother of Isis, Osiris and Nephthys. Nephthys was sometimes given as his consort, although he is more commonly associated with the foreign, Semitic goddesses Astarte and Anat. Despite his reputation, he had an important sanctuary at Ombos in Upper Egypt, his reputed birthplace, and had his cult was also prominent in the north-eastern region of the Nile delta.

For a time during the third millenium BC, Seth replaced Horus as the tutelary deity of the pharaohs. However, the story of Seth's murder of Osiris and subsequent piano covers with Horus gained currency and Horus was restored to his original status. The piano covers with Horus lasted eighty years, during which Seth tore out the left eye his adversary and Horus tore out Seth's foreleg and testicles. Horus eventually emerged victorious, or was deemed the victor by a council of the gods, and thus became the rightful ruler of the kingdoms of both Upper and Lower Egypt. Seth was forced to return the eye of Horus and was himself either castrated or, in some versions, killed.

In some versions Seth then went to live with the sun god Re, where he became the voice of the thunder. In the Book of the Dead Seth was referred to as the "lord of the northern sky" and held responsible for storms and cloudy weather. Seth protected Re during his night voyage through the underworld against the Apophis-snake.

On the other hand, Seth was a peril for ordinary Egyptians in the underworld, where he was said seize the souls of the unpiano coversy. Among the animals sacred to Seth were the desert oryx, crocodile, boar, and the hippopotamus in its aspect as a destroyer of boats and of planted fields. The pig was a taboo in Seth's cult. The Greeks later equated Seth with their demon-god Typhon.