192: The Trouble With Seth

The History of Egypt Podcast


Identity crisis. Seth (aka Sutekh / Setekh / Suty) is a complicated deity. A master of storms, winds, deserts and seas, Seth dominates foreigners and the world outside Egypt. However, he is also treacherous, violent, and aggressive; a god who slew his own brother and tried to seize the throne for himself. As a result, Seth has a complicated relationship with the Egyptian kingship. Part defender and source of legitimacy, but also a threat to the stable order of the world (ma’at). Most kings navigated this relationship fairly easily. But then, most kings weren’t named after the god himself. As a pharaoh of Egypt, a living Horus, and the son of Osiris, King Sety I had to work hard to reconcile his personal identity with his divine. The results are visible on his monuments…

  • Date: Reign of Sety I (c.1300 BCE).
  • Music intro, outro, and interludes: Michael Levy.
  • Music interludes: Keith Zizza and Luke Chaos.
  • Logo image: A Seth-headed-Sphinx, on an obelisk of Sety I, originally from Heliopolis but now in Alexandria (Line drawing by Dominic Perry, based on a photo by Heidi Kontkanen).
  • Additional information, resources, and perks available on my Patreon www.patreon.com/egyptpodcast.

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