Shed (deity)

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Amulet depicting Shed subduing dangerous animals.[1]

Shed is an Ancient Egyptian deity, popularly called, "the savior" and is first recorded after the Amarna Period.[2] Representing the concept of salvation he is identified with Horus and in particular "Horus the Child".[3] Rather than have formal worship in a temple or as an official cult, he appears to have been a god that ordinary Egyptians looked to save them from illness, misfortune or danger.[4] He is shown on the Metternich Stela as vanquishing danger in the form of a serpent, a scorpion and a crocodile.[5]

The rise of "Savior" names in personal piety during the Amarna period has been interpreted as the popular response of ordinary people to the attempts by Akhenaten to proscribe the ancient religion of Egypt. Shed has also been viewed as a form of the ancient Semitic god Reshef.[6] Shed can be depicted as a young prince overcoming snakes, lions and crocodiles.[7]

Shed has been viewed as a form of savior, a helper for those in need when state authority or the king's help is wanting. The increased reliance on divine assistance could even extend to saving a person from the underworld, even to providing a substitute, and lengthening a person's time in this world. In the New Kingdom Shed "the savior" is addressed on countless stelae by people searching or praising him for help.[8]


  1. ^ Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 135
  2. ^ "The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt", p. 306, Ian Shaw, Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 978-0-19-280458-7
  3. ^ "The Egyptians: an introduction", Robert Morkot, Routledge, p210, 2005, ISBN 0-415-27104-5
  4. ^ Thompson, Stephen E. in Kathryn A. Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, Routledge 1999, ISBN 0-415-18589-0 p.610
  5. ^ "The Secret Lore of Egypt: its impact on the West", p. 56, Erik Hornung, Translated by David Lorton, Cornell University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8014-3847-0
  6. ^ "The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology", edited Donald B. Redford, p. 120 & 312, Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-425-19096-X
  7. ^ "Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt", Geraldine Pinch, p. 195, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-19-517024-5
  8. ^ "Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt", Erik Hornung, p. 211-212, 1996 edition, Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-8014-8384-0