Egypt: Haurun, The Victorious Herdsman


Haurun was an earth-god of Canaan identified most importantly in Egypt with the Great Sphinx at Giza.

Haurun is attested as a name in Egypt for over 1200 years from 1900 BC when he occurs in the name of a foreign prince w3hom the Egyptians ceremonially curse.

It is likely that a settlement of Canaanite-Syrian workers near the Sphinx in the New Kingdom made the initial analogy between the guardian figure of Khephren carved over a thousand years earlier, and Haurun. Possibly from its position on the western desert looking towards the rising sun, reinterpreted by this time as the sun-god Harmachis, the Sphinx suggested to the foreign artisans the god Haurun viewing the "City of the East" which Canaanite legend has him founding. A temple to this god, the "House of Haurun" as it was called, was constructed in front of the Sphinx.

Haurun also figures in a magical spell against the dangers of wild animals such as lions or ferocious dogs; he provides the protection under his epithet "the victorious herdsman". There is an inherent contradiction (or dualism) in his character since his role as a healing god in Egypt must be balanced against his action as a god of doom in the Canaanite myth where Haurun is responsible for planting a "tree of death".