Ideas of kingship in Egypt were inextricably linked to creation myths and the legends of Osiris, Egypt’s mythical first king. According to these, Osiris was murdered by his brother Seth, but avenged by his son Horus, who took his father’s place as the rightful ruler of Egypt. Every Egyptian king was seen as Horus in life and Osiris in death. This is reflected in art where the living king is represented naturalistically with a straight beard, and the dead king in the form of a mummy with a curved beard. Whether ruling the world of the living as Horus, or the world of the dead as Osiris, it was the king’s duty to maintain Maat, or divine order.
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