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a leopard skin over their ceremonial dress, and a leopard skin hung always near his images or statues. In seeking to explain the meaning of the names inscribed at the base of the Sphinx, we will again make use of the Maya language, which may be for us, in this instance also, the thread of Ariadne that will guide us out of this more than dædalian labyrinth.
Henry Brugsch again tells us: "The Sphinx is called in the text Hu, a word which designates the man-headed lion, while the real name of the god represented by the Sphinx was Hormakhu, that is to say, 'Horus on the horizon.' It was also called Khepra, Horus in his resting place on the horizon where the sun goes to rest.'"'1
Herodotus says 2 that Horus was the last of the gods who governed the Egyptians before the reign of Menes, the first of their terrestrial kings. He came into the world soon after the death of his father, being the youngest son of Isis and Osiris; and he stood forth as his avenger, combating Set and defending his mother against him.
According to the Maya language Hormakhu is a word composed of three Maya primitives-Hool-ma-ku: that is, hool, "head," "leader;" ma, "country,' 99 or ma, radical of Mayach, that becomes syncopated by losing the desinence yach in forming the compound name; and ku, "god. Hormakhu would then mean "the God chief in Mayach." It is well to remember that the Maya inscriptions and other writings were read, as generally were the Egyptian and many other ancient languages, from right to left. That Ma stands for Mayach in this instance, there seems to be no doubt, since the sign
which is the shape
'Henry Brugsch, History of Egypt, vol. ii., p. 464.
of the peninsula of Yucatan, forms part of the hieroglyph representing the name of the Sphinx. Had not this been the intended meaning, the hierogrammatists would no doubt have made use of some other of the various signs with which they represented the Latin letter M. We must not lose sight of the fact that hierographic writings were mostly pictorial. Besides, the sign
zon," makes it
the "sun resting on the western horievident that the hieroglyph
intended to represent a country, having similar geographical contour, situated in the regions where the sun sets; that is, the West. The Mayas made use of the same sign to designate regions situated toward the setting sun.1
Khepra would read in Maya Keb-la. Keb means "to incline;" La is the eternal "truth," the god, hence the sun. Kebla or Khepra is therefore the sun inclined on the horizon.
As to the name Hu, used in the texts to designate the Sphinx, it may be a contraction of the Maya hul, an "arrow," a "spear."
The Greeks placed offensive weapons in the hands of some of their gods, as symbols of their attributes. So also the Egyptians. They represented Neith, Sati, or Khem holding a bow and arrows. To Horus they gave a spear, hul, with which he was said to have slain Set, his father's murderer. They represented him sometimes standing in a boat, piercing the head of Set swimming in the water. Did they mean by this to indicate that the tragedy took place in a country surrounded by water, reached only by means of boats? They
This sign forms part of the word Alau in the Troano MS., in part ii., plates ii. and iii.
See Introduction, ubi supra, p. lix.
'Plutarch, De Yside et Osiride, 25, 36.
also figured Horus on the land, transfixing with a spear the head of a serpent (illustration, p. 124).
Was, then, the serpent in Egypt one of the totems of Set, Osiris's murderer, as it was in Mayach of Aac, Prince Coh's slayer?
No doubt it was, since Osiris's worshippers were wont, at the celebration of his feast, to throw a rope into their assembly, to simulate a serpent, emblem of his murderer, and hack it to pieces, as if avenging the death of their god. Was this a reminiscence of the tragedy that occurred in the mother country, where one member of the Can (serpent) family slew his brother?
From the portraits of his children, carved on the jambs of the door of Prince Coh's funeral chamber at Chichen, we learn that his youngest son, a comely lad of about sixteen, was named Hul; his totem, a spear-head, is sculptured above his head. Are not Hul, Hu, Hor, Hol, cognate words?
Elsewhere1 I have endeavored to show, from the identity of their history, from that of their names, and from their totems, that Seb and Nut, and their children Osiris, Set, Aroeris, Isis, and Niké, worshipped as gods by the Egyptians, were the same personages known as King Canchi, his wife Zoɔ, and their five children Cay, Aac, Coh, Móo and Niké, who lived and reigned in Mayach, where, having received the honor of apotheosis, after their death, they had temples erected to their memory and divine homage paid them.
Queen Móo, not finding vestiges of the land of Mu, went to Egypt, where we meet with traditions of her family troubles. There she became the goddess Isis, was worshipped throughout
the land, her cult being superior even to that of Osiris.2
Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, p. 87, et passim. 'Herodotus, Hist., lib. ii., 42, 59, 61.
knew that, centuries before, Maya colonists, coming from India and from the banks of the Euphrates, had established themselves in the valley of the Nile. She naturally sought refuge among them. They received her with open arms, accepted her as their queen, and called her Iɔin, "the little sister," an endearing word that in time became changed into Isis.
Apuleius, in his "Metamorphosis," makes her say: "But the sun-illumined Ethiopians and the Egyptians, renowned for ancient lore, worshipping me with due ceremonies, call me by 2 I am my real name Isis." Diodorus causes her to say: Isis, queen of the country, educated by Thoth, Mercury. What I have decreed, no one can annul. I am the eldest daughter of Saturn (Seb), the youngest of the gods. I am the sister and wife of King Osiris. I am the first who taught men the use of corn. I am the mother of Horus.'"
In the Book of the Dead Isis says: "I am the queen of these regions; I was the first to reveal to mortals the mysteries of wheat and corn. I am she who is risen in the constellation of the dog."3
Was it she who, to perpetuate the memory of her husband among the coming generations in the land of her adoption, as she had done in the country of her birth, caused the Sphinx to be made in the likeness of that with which she had embellished the mausoleum of her beloved Coh in Chichen? There she had represented him as a dying leopard with a human head, his back pierced with three spear wounds. In Egypt she figured him also as a leopard with a human head; but erect and
'Apuleius, Metamorphosis, lib. ii., 241.
Book of the Dead, chap. cx., verses 4-5.