With the astounding success of the movie “Zeitgeist,” there has been a great deal of interest in the Egyptian god Horus. In that movie, which purportedly has been viewed some 100 million times, there were several comparisons between the lives of Horus and Jesus Christ. How true are these comparisons?
As it turns out, they are true for the most part, because they represent mythical motifs, not “history.” And this mythology is largely based on the movements of the sun and other natural phenomena. One of the claims in the movie that draws a large amount of attention is that Horus was “crucified.” Is this claim true?
If you are thinking that it means Horus was killed by crucifixion, being thrown down to the ground and nailed to a cross, then the claim is wrong. But if you understand that “crucify” can simply mean “to affix to a cross,” then the claim is correct, because Horus was both associated with and identified as a cross in ancient times. He was also placed on the cross of the vernal equinox, between two “thieves,” no less! That would make his story even more like that of Jesus Christ, who purportedly lived after these myths were created.
In the first place, it is important to know that the cross in a wide variety of forms, including the ones we usually think of as being “Christian,” was very popular for many centuries before the Christian or common era. The cross can be found on many artifacts in several cultures around the world dating back thousands of years. There are even ancient artifacts with people wearing crosses around their necks, just like we see in Christianity today! Other artifacts such as ossuary urns used to hold the bones of the deceased were marked with crosses centuries before the cross became important in Christianity. The cross in Egypt – the ankh – was a very sacred symbol of eternal life that can be found on countless artifacts. The Egyptians were a very religious people, and they took their faith as seriously as people do today. It is estimated that over the thousands of years during which the Egyptian religion was popular there were at least 500 million worshipers – that’s a half a billion people!
Secondly, we have many artifacts from the ancient world showing gods and goddesses with their arms outstretched in a cross shape, which is called “cruciform.” These figures from religion and mythology, which include the Greek god Prometheus and the Greek princess Andromeda, could be said – and have been said – to have been “crucified.”
The fact is that the cross was a very popular symbol long before the Christian era and that Horus was one of many pre-Christian gods and goddesses who are depicted on a cross or in cruciform. These facts mean that Jesus Christ’s placement on the cross is not unique in religious and mythological iconography. Although it has been written about many times over the past centuries, this history has not been extensively taught in schools or made available through mainstream publications such as textbooks.
For more on this subject, see my article “Was Horus Crucified?”
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